Red Pass junction

British Columbia. Railway point and former locality
W end of Moose Lake
52.986 N 119.0045 W — Map 083D14 — GoogleGeoHack
Earliest known reference to this name is 1911 (Wheeler)
Name officially adopted in 1983
Official in BCCanada
26 miles west of the Yellowhead Pass on the Canadian National Railway
Mile 0 in Tete Jaune Subdivision (Red Pass to McBride as of 1977)
Mile 44 in Albreda Subdivision (Jasper to Blue River as of 1977)
Topographical Map Showing Mount Robson and Mountains of the Continental Divide North of Yellowhead Pass. Detail of Moose Lake. 1912

Topographical Map Showing Mount Robson and Mountains of the Continental Divide North of Yellowhead Pass. Detail of Moose Lake. 1912
Victoria Library, University of Toronto

Water tower and locomotive at Red Pass station. Canadian National steam engine 6057 (manufactured by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1930 and scrapped in 1960, 4-8-2, U-1-e).

Water tower and locomotive at Red Pass station. Canadian National steam engine 6057 (manufactured by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1930 and scrapped in 1960, 4-8-2, U-1-e).
Valemount & Area Museum

Red Pass before 1949; colour tinted at a later date. Ishbel Cochrane.

Red Pass before 1949; colour tinted at a later date. Ishbel Cochrane.
Valemount & Area Museum

The Red Pass railway point is shown on Arthur Wheeler’s 1912 Topographical Map Showing Mount Robson and Mountains of the Continental Divide North of Yellowhead Pass, but near the middle of Moose Lake, not at the western end. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was the only railway through the pass at that time.

The railway junction at Mile 27 at the west end of Moose Lake was originally called Resplendent, a name also deriving from the color of the rocks. East of Red Pass, the tracks of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, descending to the Fraser River on route to Prince George in 1912, were kept as low as possible. The tracks of the Canadian Northern Railway, heading for Albreda, were kept high. After the consolidation of the railways in 1923 as the Canadian National Railway, Lucerne disappeared as a divisional point and Resplendent blossomed as Red Pass Junction, the point where the removal of the separate tracks stopped and where the two lines diverged. Red Pass probably had a GTP Type E station at one time.

During the 1930s, there was a hobo jungle at Red Pass where the vagabonds waited for trains. About 50 people lived at Red Pass in the 1940s. During World War II it was the site of a Japanese internment camp. The Red Pass hotel burned down in 1949. After the highway opened in 1962, the need for Red Pass diminished. Canadian National Railway still uses some buildings at Red Pass. The headquarters of Mount Robson Park were moved from Red Pass to Valemount in 1987.

The lower railway line was since discontinued and the junction was moved near Charles north of Valemount.

The post office was open from 1921 to 1976, when it was closed and moved to Valemount.

C. W. Palmer 1921-1923
Earl Francis Woodley 1923-1946
Lloyd Francis Williams 1946-1967
Robert Francis McLeod 1967-1969
Lionel D. Young 1969-1972
Mrs Diane Audrey Rogers 1972-1973
Mrs Winnifred Lynn Castle 1973-1974
Mrs Margaret Wentzel 1974-1976
Mrs M. A. Watt 1976
Mrs P. Murphy 1976

Wrigleys 1918 Directory lists Red Pass junction as a “flag-station on the G. T. P. Ry., 22 miles west of Lucerne. Lucerne is nearest post office.”

The Jasper Booster weekly newspaper published a story on August 12, 1981, entitled “Mayor of Redpass Steps Down”:

Since the end of July, Red Pass has been without a mayor and it is doubtful that the position will be filled in the near future. In fact, the mayor’s residence and office will no longer be available to serve as town hall but will be purchased by the Province of B.C. and removed from Mt Robson provincial park. The mayor has moved to Cranbrook and so ends the last private residence on the shores of Moose Lake.

William Hallam (aka the mayor of Red Pass Junction or Old Bill) was a familiar face to most railroaders. Othern than the CN gangs he was the only person to wave to in Red Pass and he was often out with his dog Pard checking over the trains. Many residents of Jasper would recognize Bill from his monthly trips into town to buy pipe tobacco and “visit his girlfriends.” Anyone who has ever talked to Bill knows he’sbeen around and he has lots of stories to prove it.


  • Bohi, Charles W. Canadian National’s Western Depots. The Country Stations in Western Canada. Railfare Enterprises, 1977
  • Waxu, Warren. “Mayor of Red Pass steps down.” Jasper Booster, 12 August (1981)
  • Topping, William. A checklist of British Columbia post offices. Vancouver: published by the author, 7430 Angus Drive, 1983
  • Canadian National Railways
    Steam Locomotive Roster
    . Trainweb. Trainweb

17 thoughts on “Red Pass junction

  1. les kozma

    Red Pass Jct. first appeared in May 1917, the beginning of the 205-mile consolidation of the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk Pacific lines that ended at Imrie (later Styal), Alberta. The GTP rail was lifted with the intentiion of shipping it overseas for the war effort. The original Red Pass station on the GTP was two miles east of here; it was a blind siding (i.e. no depot) that was installed in 1912, but subsequently used as the CNR alignment when that line came through in 1913 to create a double track alignment from the east end of Moose Lake to the later location of Red Pass Jct. The GTP also installed a station and siding at Resplendent (the CNR had a station with the same name, just up the hill), which was about two miles west of present day Red Pass Jct. It was later renamed Selwyn.

  2. Gary Sargeant

    I would just like to let you know that I lived upstairs in the Redpass Jct station from 1950 to 1953. My dad was the operator (agent) sent in when the Canoe River wreck happened. In 1953 he bid on the agent job at Pacific and got the posting and we moved to Pacific tilll Dec 1957 he bid on the agens job at Clearwater BC on the mail line and got it where he stayed until he retired.

    submitted by Gary Sargeant

  3. Chris Rye

    My first summer, working on the railway (1974), was as the 2nd trick operator at Redpass. Lionel Young was the agent. Bob Holt and John Castle were the other two operators. John lived upstairs and worked midnights. At 2330, I would take the train order hoop and hammer on the ceiling to wake him up. In August of that year, a trunker derailed on the crossover switch while I was standing there waiting hoop up the tail end orders. I dropped the hoop and ran for it! All in all, quite a summer.

    Chris Rye

  4. Gerry Taylor

    I was an Operator on the CNR in 1957 though 1958. During this time I the Job that I bid in as third trick Albreda. Bob McLeod was the agent at Albreda at the time. I joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1959 and returned to the CNR in 1965 at Redpass Jct as an operator. I eventually lived upstairs above the station with my wife and children, until bidding an operators job at Blue River in 1969. In Blue River I worked with Gary Sargent who was on another shift. When I arrived at Redpass Jct. after release from the RCN, Bob McLeod was the agent. Him and his wife Rose eventually left the Railway, and bought the Store at Redpass Jct. Then Lionel Young became Agent. This was an important time time my life, as I learned to be a parent and responsible adult. I have many fond memories at Redpass Jct and all the train crews that ran out of Jasper.
    Other operators that worked at Redpass Jct. while I was there were, Mat Medvid, Dan Stewart and Lionel Young.
    The section foreman on the main line was Robert Pollie, the Linesman was Bill Tochnuck and the signal foreman was Joe Tepasse. I have probably spelt surnames wrong, but sounds like that.

  5. gary sargeant

    Hi Gerry great to hear from you. In 1950 the Canoe River head on with no2 and the troup train, the operator at RedPass was pulled out of service over this train order, My dad Phil Sargeant was sent to Red Pass to take his place, We lived up stairs it that station from 1950 until Dad bid on the agency in Pacific on the north line and we moved there. I went to school in Redpass and also my older brother Dale.

    1. Gerald Taylor

      Great to hear from you Gary, I now live in Abbotsford but not in great health. I have Pulmonary Lung Disease, from expose to asbestos and chemicals while serving in the Canadian Navy. On oxygen 24/7.
      But still kicking. It’s really great these site’s are made available for us to remember our railroad days.

      1. Tom Walker

        I lived in Red Pass from 1948 to 1953. My father Alex Walker was the CNR section foreman on the CNR mainline. I remember him going to the Canoe River troop train wreck. I recall that he found one of the deceased engine crew. I remember Jack Atherton, the CNR operator at the time.

  6. Sylvia Medvid

    Hello everyone. I remember hearing your names when I was younger. My Mom mentions these names once in a while. I’m Matt Medvid’s oldest daughter, Sylvia. Bill Tocheniuk was my uncle. Sadly, Dad passed away in 1995 (52), and Uncle Bill, a couple years ago. Dad became work train coordinator in Calder and I was a relief operator for many years. We were all very blessed to have lived in such a beautiful place and to experience life in a CN family. Sylvia

    1. Andy Tepasse

      Hey Sylvia – you probably don’t remember me but I recall living in red pass as a youngster and my sister Barb an I visiting at the station house with you and your family the Pooli’s Toshnuks ( spelling) and going to the Christmas party there when “Santa “ arrived lol – still remember the water tower Wow long time ago – me and the wife stop in every once in a while and have a look around – the diesel house still stands next to where we lived

  7. Kevin Barker

    I was traveling CNR from Prince George to Vanc. via Jasper in November, 1976 and got rerouted to Red Pass where I waited four hours. I eventually boarded a train ditect to Vancouver, without going to Jasper. But I don’t remember a station youse there. Was there one at that time? Kevin Barker

  8. Joe Regan

    My first job was working in Red Pass . I lived there for about a year 1973-74. Joe Pacerini (?) was my foreman. It was a memorable year. Beautiful country. I often think of the people I met there.

  9. Bill Drinkwater

    I worked as a relief operator at Red Pass Jct. during the spring and early summer of 1969. Many familiar names in the preceding posts. My short time there was shared with Lionel Young, Darcy Brown, Danny Stewart, Frances Arendt and Bob Yuzwa from Blue River. Bill Laurie was the swing operator travelling between Lucerne and Red Pass to cover various shifts. I met Bill’s daughter a few years later after he had moved to McLure. We married in the summer of 1972 and are still talking railroading. One memory that stands out is that a huge derailment occurred at the Fitzwilliam siding and a speed freight train that was transporting new automobiles was involved.

  10. Bob McLeod

    It’s good to read so many of the names I know here. The above article states the Highway opened in 1962. It may have opened but it was a dirt road for a couple more years after that. I was a kid then and went to the one room school up by the highway from grade 3 -grade 6 and then we were bussed to Valemount. Herb Green was the Parks and Recreation officer. Wes Mickey was his assistant. We were there from 1963 and left in 1969 when we moved to Cedarvale BC and bought the cafe. The Hubics, and Sharas were therefor a while. Mom, Rose McLeod is still living in Terrace BC. Claudia is in Smithers BC and I live in Kingston Ontario. I had corresponded with Wayne Toshenuick before he passed away. I have many fond memories of growing up there as Just about all the people were good people.

  11. Bob McLeod

    I was just up to Valemount and spent a couple of days traipsing around Red Pass doing some fishing. The repeater station that was beside Lionel’s place is still there as is the old generator shed down by where the Tepasse house stood. The bridge has been redone in that all the wooden ties and railings have been replaced. There is only one siding left on the “North Line” or “Trunk Line”. All of the docks are long gone. (There had been four; The lower dock which was three logs with a deck of planks. Bill Hallam’s dock which we weren’t allowed on was a smaller dock. Lionel Young’s dock which was well engineered. If you know where to look, you can still see two of the logs that were part of the base structure. Then there was the William’s dock where Lloyd used to keep his plane).
    If you know what you are looking for, you can still work out where the various buildings were. If you don’t know the area you wouldn’t know what all was there.

  12. Michael James Machin

    I just came across this page and looked at some of the comments. I was Joe Tepasse’s signal apprentice from
    Before that I was operator at Albreda and Valemount from 1966 to 1968
    1968 to 1969 when I went back to BCIT.
    I remember babysitting all the kids so the adults could go to an event inJasper . Matts kids, Joe and Agnes’s kids and Bill’s kids.
    I lived in the shack that was between Lionals house and Matts house . Lot of memories of this place
    I pass the road down to Redpass everytime we drive to Fort Mac to see the grandkids.
    I am now 74 and retired from Telus after 33 years.

  13. David E. Emmington

    I worked for the CNR Bridge & Building Department, Gang 6 I think. In Redpass one or two summers, 1956 and 1957. I stand corrected on the years, was it one summer or two? I remember Les Bowes cabin by the bridge, a couple of fellows got a model T from him and headed for Mount Robson. The car never made it back, pushed of the road and down the band I’m told. We also fixed up an old boat and motor to go fishing, smoking cigars on the William’s Store porch. I recall buying a sleeping bag from a DEW Line worker train hopping from Edmonton to Vancouver, know what year this might have been may confirm the year at “God’s Green Earth”.

  14. Jim Satterthwaite

    I just found this site and I have been very interested in reading the comments attached. My connection to Red Pass Jct. is that I am currently writing an article for next year’s ‘Trains’ magazine concerning the Canoe River train wreck and the 2025 75th memorial commemoration. I, my self, as a UBC summer student had a CNR connection through my father, and in the summers of 1957 and 58 I worked as a operator on a work train spreading crushed rock ballast for siding (passing tracks) lifts between Port Man and Jasper. In 1957 Shovel 149, our outfit, was largely based out of the crushed rock pit at Canoe River. Immediately after the 1950 wreck block signals were installed throughout the Albreda Sub and later CTC took over the entire CN western Region. As operator, I would hook up (‘tie on’) to the telegraph wires at trackside wherever we happened to be. Often I worked out of the work train caboose. Occasionally on the weekends we would catch a ride on #4 into Jasper where many of our gfs had jobs at the local hotels and especially JPL which was, and still is, for the monied class only. Many of you will have heard of one of the offshoot stories that came out of the trial of Operator Atherton in the Canoe River wreck. He left off the 2 words ‘at Cedarside’ from the train order that he handed up to the Troop Extra West at RPJ. The troop train was to take the hole at Cedarside and instead ran head on into #4 on the long curve east of CR. That curve was immediately removed. John Diefenbaker got Operator Atherton off the Manslaughter charge and this event started him on his path toward Prime Minister of Canada. Other memories of this time are the wonderful Dolly Varden Trout that we caught in the swamp outside the station at Albreda, having a stray rock bounce off one of our work train ore cards and bust the main station window in the station at Clemina, the abandoned trapper’s cabin at Red Pass that still had bills from Jasper stores dating to the early 1900s, the 2 sisters who lived in a cabin near Pyramid and who had a good licensed trap line along the CN right of way there, and far into the bush. I still take a couple of days of train spotting each year, armed with my cell phone camera and my railway scanner radio. Good luck and safe travels to any old time CN employees still following crossing whistles wherever they may reside!

    Jim Satterthwaite,
    May 1, 2024.


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