HISTORIC RAILWAY BRIDGES OF VANCOUVER ISLAND

Railway bridges are a utilitarian part of our economic infrastructure, but they are also an important part of our cultural heritage. Bridges reflect the state of science and technology when they were built, and are literally a part of the landscape for generations. Eventually, decayed or dismantled after disuse, they and their significance are all too easily forgotten.

Vancouver Island has a unique combination of railway bridges, in part because many were moved here after being used elsewhere. They form a microcosm of bridge design from the late 19th century to the present. One of the bridges is a major milestone in world bridge engineering as well as the single most important structure from the building of the original CPR across Canada.

Our project will capture as much technical and historical information as we can about historic railway bridges of Vancouver Island while the people involved, records and the bridges themselves are still accessible. This repository of information will be preserved and eventually made available to the community for the future. We have made a lot of progress on our plan but a number of bridges remain for documentation in 2001 and beyond.

These are the activities we are involved in:

1. Inventory locations of current or demolished/dismantled bridges

2. Identify, locate and review published documents, drawings and photographs for each

3. Identify, locate and review archival (non-published) documents, drawings and photographs for each

4. Locate and interview individuals who may have recollections, insights or historic documents and photographs

5. Visit each bridge location site and do a work-up (photographs and measurements, field notes)

6. Produce drawings (general arrangement, site plan, details) to standard format for bridges where adequate drawings have not otherwise been located

7. Visit, photograph and measure bridges or parts of bridges that have been moved, stored or abandoned at locations other than their original one (if any) 8. Build web site to store and publish the findings of the project

9. Open website to access over the net.