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Railway history enthusiast presents at Nanaimo Historical Society’s next meeting

Mike Bonkowski discusses the rise and demise of the E&N Railway
A railway history enthusiast will discuss the challenges of building a railway on Vancouver Island in the 1880s at the next meeting of the Nanaimo Historical Society. (Photo submitted)

The Nanaimo Historical Society’s next guest speaker will show how sections of the now overgrown and silent E&N railway negotiated mountain ranges, rivers, hills, gullies and road crossings.

In his presentation, the ‘E&N Railroad: Obstacles and Challenges Still Visible Today,’ Mike Bonkowski will talk about the two-year-long project to build the original 115-kilometre section of track between Victoria and the coal mines around Nanaimo in 1886, how the railway later expanded into Courtenay, Lake Cowichan and Port Alberni in the years following Dunsmuir’s sale of the track to the Canadian Pacific Railway and how the railroad started to fail economically.

Bonkowski is a lifelong Nanaimo resident who enjoys walking amongst railway history and photographing and video documenting the present-day scenes along the length of the railway.

The historical society’s next monthly meeting is Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Bowen Park activity centre.

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