A band of thieves suddenly appeared out of nowhere and galloped down the dry, tumbleweed hillside, with guns and rifles blazing! It was blistering hot, and the sight of this wild band of cowboys charging towards us on horseback carrying guns, made me sweat all the more. A cloud of dust rose from the dry sun baked ground as horses and riders thundered across the open field, heading straight for the train. I ducked for cover when the first shot rang out! They galloped alongside the century old steam locomotive until one of them jumped aboard and with his gun drawn and aimed directly at the engineer, shouted for him to stop the train. Once halted, more gang members boarded and as they moved through the carriages row by row, men and women alike were ordered to toss their valuables into the open sack they carried. No one was spared, not even the children. The rest of the bandits patrolled alongside the train making sure no one escaped without handing over their valuables. I was able to get a close look at one of the horsemen as he passed by my open window, and recognized him as one of the Garnett Valley Gang from a “Wanted” poster I had seen back at the station.
Once the thieves made their way through to the last car, they jumped from the caboose with their bags of booty and mounted their waiting horses. With excited shouts and shots fired into the air, they raced back to the hillside leaving behind only dust from the horse’s hooves, and happy smiling faces on all the passengers who had just been robbed!
This Great Train Robbery is a unique “Wild West” experience from a bygone era, carried out entirely by volunteers dressed in period costumes. With live music, entertainment and historical commentary along the way this makes a very memorable experience for the whole family. A cowboy style BBQ of beef, chicken, and baked beans along with salads, buns and beverages, is waiting under the shade for all participants and guests back at the station.
Proceeds from the “robbery” and ticket sales go to various charities. Discover the beauty of the Okanagan Valley as you travel on this 90 minute train ride on the only remaining section of the Kettle Valley Railway in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. The views are breathtaking as you pass through the scenic orchards and vineyards that the valley is known for. For more information on this not to miss adventure, schedule, current rates, and location, go to: kettlevalleyrail.org or call toll free 1-877 494-8424.