Barnard's Express, later known as the British Columbia Express Company or BX, was a pioneer transportation company that served the Cariboo and Fraser Fort George regions in British Columbia, Canada from 1861 until 1921.
Cariboo Road was operated by William Ballou in 1858. Others soon followed, usually one or two man operations where the proprietor himself packed the express goods, either on his back or with the help of a trusty mule.
sleighs in the winter were used instead of wagons. The year of 1864 saw the start of a 14 passenger four-horse stage. Later, with increase of business, the stage was enlarged to a six-horse coach.
Fraser was opened, and trains came to Lytton. Tingley made his final move to Ashcroft and drove continuously until 1897 when he sold the company to a group of Toronto lawyers headed by Charles Vance Millar. In 1903, Willis West became General Manager, a position he held until the company demise in 1921.
The stagesSome had closed-in carriages and others were open. For winter travel, the stagecoaches were replaced by sleighs of all sizes, including some that could carry fifteen passengers. Many of the later stagecoaches were Concord stages, built with shock absorbers made from leather springs which made for a more comfortable ride. I beg your pardon but I have ridden in them and it is very rough travelling.
In 1876, the company had a stagecoach built in California specifically for the visit of the Governor General, Lord and Lady Dufferin, who rode in it from Yale to Kamloops and back. The coach was painted in the bright red and yellow BX colours and had the Canadian coat of arms on its front panels. It cost $50 a day to ride in this famous coach, but many visiting diplomats and English aristocracy rode in the Dufferin when they went hunting in the Cariboo.
The best time ever made was by special conveyance from Yale to Barkerville. The 380 miles from Yale to Barkerville was covered in 30 hours of continuous driving. The usual stage time for the same distance was four days.
After the company's headquarters moved to Ashcoft in 1886, the main stageline extended from Ascroft to Barkerville, a distance of 280 miles. Other branch lines led to mining camps and settlements all over the Cariboo.