Developments near Summerland were created in the early 1900s when speculators anticipated the route of the Kettle Valley Railway.
J.M. Robinson contemplated the townsite of Appledale, another was Meadowland.
The most ambitious plan was by Ralph Deans ( 1873-1916). His proposal included almost 1,000 acres (405 hectares) of land and a hydroelectric dam at the mouth of the Trout Creek Canyon. The proposed dam would capture all of the Trout Creek canyon water before being lost to the gravels at Faulder.
The railway was initially designed to bypass Summerland.
In 1910, James Ritchie, the reeve of the community, made a request to have the railway not bypass Summerland. This request was denied.
Ritchie then surveyed the area, using a carpenter’s level, and designed a route that would pass near the present research station. The plan had a grade of no more than two per cent, and shortened the route by nearly a kilometre.
A steel bridge over Trout Creek Canyon was built in 1913. Passenger train service in Summerland was in place from 1915 to January 1964.
Today, a tourist train, the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, operates steam trains along a portion of the old railway bed in Summerland.
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