Kimberley Underground Mining Railway is now open for the season (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)

Kimberley Underground Mining Railway is now open for the season

Take a tour of the scenic Mark Creek Valley via KUMR

For almost 30 years, the Kimberley Mining Railway has been in existence. Over the May long weekend, the popular tourist attraction opened for the season. An abundance of locals and tourists flocked to the train station to buy their tickets for the hour and 45 minute tour of the Mark Creek Valley.

The tour allows passengers to learn about the rich history of Kimberley and the Sullivan mine, and the miner guide describes what is involved in hard rock mining and how to use some of the mining equipment. Passengers take a tour of the powerhouse and learn how the compressors and generators, that once powered the mine, work.

According to the City of Kimberley’s website, Galena was discovered at the North Star Mine in 1891, which is now the location of the Kimberley Alpine Resort.

Four prospectors, Walter Burchett, EC Smith, John Cleaver and Pat Sullivan were drawn to the area because of the discovery of the abundant lead-zinc mine. The four realized that the entire hillside had been staked, so they crossed Mark Creek to explore what is now called Sullivan Mountain, where they found ore and staked three claims.

Six years later Burchett, Smith and Cleaver formed the Sullivan Group Mining Co. after Pat Sullivan, who died in a cave-in at a mine in Idaho.

With the mine booming, a small settlement formed and was called Mark Creek Crossing. In 1896 the settlement’s name was changed to Kimberley, in the expectation that the Sullivan Mine’s lead, silver, and zinc deposits would be as rich as the diamond mines of Kimberley, South Africa.

“The first shipments of ore to the smelters in Nelson and Trail began in 1900,” says the website. “Large-scale production of the ore started in 1923, following the takeover of the mine in 1910 by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company Ltd, Cominco. Cominco went on to construct a Concentrator at Chapman Camp in 1922 and a Fertilizer Plant in 1951.”

In 1968, the community realized that Kimberley’s mineral resources would eventually be depleted and began to investigate new opportunities including recreational resources and tourism.

In 2001, the Sullivan Mine closed, beginning the transition for the community of Kimberley.

Part of that transition involved the creation of the Kimberley Underground Mining Railway (KUMR).

As KUMR describes online and in their tour, the railway originated with the idea of having a commuter train route from downtown Kimberley to the ski hill. In 1978 the Kimberley Steam Railway and Navigation Society was formed by a group of men who went to an abandoned mine at Salmo B.C to obtain rails for the new project.

In the Spring of 1984, the railway, named the Bavarian City Mining Railway (BCMR), was operational and had a ridership of 4,681 passengers. The route consisted of a two and a half kilometre track, which circled the Happy Hans Campground.

In 1995, the railway line was extended by five kilometres, winding down the mountainside and through the Mark Creek Valley to the Downtown Station.

By 2004, the extension to the Kimberley Alpine Resort was completed.

In 2005, the drilling a 750 foot tunnel began. This tunnel is located in the Mark Creek Valley and houses the Sullivan Mine Interpretive Centre. The tunnel project was funded by the Canada/British Columbia Infrastructure program and by Teck Cominco Ltd. The excavation was done by former Sullivan miners employed by Redding Mining of Kimberley.

In 2006, the BCMR volunteers constructed a new locomotive on three new railcars and by autumn of that year the final construction of the rail bed, laying of rails, and underground facilities were complete.

Today, the KUMR operates on weekends during May and June, and daily tours begin July 1. The tours take place at 11a.m., 1p.m., and 3p.m. and the resort express tours run at 10a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays.

Ticket prices range from free to $25, depending on your age. Groups and school groups get a discounted rate for bringing 20 or more people. The entire train is even available for rental, for special occasions such as weddings, at a rate of $750.

For more information on tours, rates, history and photos, visit the website at


One of the orginal train cars of the KUMR (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)

Take a tour of the Mark Creek Valley via the Kimberley Underground Mining Railway and learn about Kimberley’s rich history in mining (Corey Bullock/Kimberley Bulletin)

Just Posted

The Live at Studio 64 Concert Series wraps up with an evening of blues

The Rooster Blues Band was the fourth and final concert of the fall series.

Hundreds in attendance for Platzl Light Up

The weekend festivities included Light Up, a visit from Santa and music from the Kimberley Choir.

Godspell; this week at Centre 64

Playing at Centre 64 this week is Turner and Adler’s production of… Continue reading

One game; one win for Nitros

JOSH LOCKHART The Kimberley Dynamiters had a lone game this past weekend,… Continue reading

Cranbrook Council tired of taking the flack for the province’s deer

Council voted to proceed with another cull of the city’s deer herd, but not without some words for the Province of B.C.

Hundreds in attendance for Platzl Light Up

The weekend festivities included Light Up, a visit from Santa and music from the Kimberley Choir.

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

B.C. boy’s social media bid to get levidrome in the Oxford dictionary goes viral

‘It’s been five weeks and has totally blown up today.’

Whistler venues could see 2026 Olympic action

Calgary is looking to cut down on costs

Most Read