Letter to the Editor,
March 1 Creston Valley Advance, “Creston became Sirdar, then Creston again” was confusing rather than helpful and informative. A few corrections.
Creston was called seventh (7th) siding, then Fisher, and finally (1898), Creston.
Creston was never called Sirdar. The Great Northern subsidiary in our valley was the Bedlington & Nelson, (B&N Railway). It began at Bedlington, BC, north of Porthill, Idaho, now the site of Canada Customs. Highway 21 now runs on this original rail bed north from Bedlington, passing below Creston to Highway 3. Take the lower Wynndel Road north. Look east to the right. That is the original B&N Railway grade. It continues to just south of Wynndel. It was here the CPR and B&N joined. The CPR called this point ‘Creston Junction’ while the B&N called it ‘Wilkes’. This point is now called Loasby.
The two railroads shared the track north past Sirdar to Atbara, which had a signal tower controlling trains leaving and joining this portion of the line. The CPR at Atbara turned west to Kootenay Landing. The B&N continued north to Kuskonook. From Atbara to Kuskonook Highway 3A is built on the old railroad grade. (An aside, Kuskonook with an O is the Great Northern spelling.) Buried under the Kuskonook boat launch parking lot is the former B&N turntable.
From the beginning of the 1900s until the 1930s Sirdar was the valley’s economic dynamo, not Creston. The CPR had a station, water tower, coal loading trestle, a turntable to reorient the engine for its return trip to Cranbrook, and a 5- bay roundhouse to oil and service locomotives with staff to maintain it. The regional track maintenance headquarters with supervisors and staff lodging was just north of Sirdar. Sirdar school took students from its region and south to near Wynndel. With its regular payroll and a large number of workers, Sirdar had the businesses to serve its salaried community. It was never called Creston.
As a Sirdar old- timer told me, “If you wanted to purchase a radio in those days you came to Sirdar, not Creston.”
By 1931 the CPR rail was completed along the west shore of Kootenay Lake. The work was moved to Nelson as Sirdar was no longer needed. Another historical loss.
Former Sirdar resident