Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society


When I first read Bill Harvey’s recent re-visit to Kerrisdale  I noticed the picture of the interurban at Kerrisdale Station. It was a picture of BCER 1225 circa 1950s.

As Bill mentioned it was a great system of light rail transit and one that, I am sure, most of us remember or, like me, had many rides. With me the rides left a definite impression.

Most of the cars were scrapped, or sold to U.S. rail enthusiasts. Only one stayed in B.C. and that was car 1223 lovingly rehabilitated and now on display at Burnaby Village Museum. The others saved from the fires under the Burrard Street Bridge were 1220, 1231, 1235, 1225, 1207, 1304. The first 3 went to Olympia, Wa; 1225 to Perris, Ca; 1207 to Snohomish, Wa. and 1304 to Glenwood, then to Brooks, Oregon. All are now back in B.C. except 1235 which is in Ottawa, Ontario.

BCER 1225 was the first car the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway (FVHRS) returned to B.C. Built by the St. Louis Car Co in 1912, it began operation in late Spring 1913 on the Steveston to Vancouver Line. The Vancouver terminus was on Davie Street, between Granville St and Seymour St. In 1952 the Vancouver section was closed and the car operated from Steveston to Marpole. Occasionally, it could be found on the Burnaby Lake Line. Since its return, in 2005, over 16 000 volunteer hours have been put into its rehabilitation.

Working with the Steveston Interurban Restoration Society the FVHRS helped bring back BCER 1304 the only remaining Fraser Valley Line interurban. It, too, is located in the FVHRS car barn.

In the mid 1990′s, Mr. Jim Wallace, a Surrey business man and member of the Surrey Heritage Committee posed a question about a revitalization of the Fraser Valley Interurban Line.  He wrote a $25 000 personal cheque and asked the committee to research it.  The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society was formed as a result of the research.

Hopefully, my short introduction has, or will bring back memories of the service and you may want to share some experiences. Or you might have some opinion on modern light rail for the valley. I will continue to inform on what to me is an interesting and enjoyable retirement “hobby” (but that might not be the right word).

Check out the FVHRS for pictures and videos. or the link on the Magee59 home page. Click on the “links” sidebar.

BCER 1225 at OERM, May 2004

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One Response to Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society

  1. Brent Reid says:

    Thanks for posting this entry and link, Bob. Seeing and hearing that video clip sure brings back memories for a guy who grew up at 62nd and West Boulevard, just three houses from the Interurban tracks.

    The trams and the occasional freight trains that went by were a constant source of fascination for every kid in our neighbourhood, and a good source of primitive bling and pocket change. The big steel wheels flattened many a coin for us, and if you drove a nail through it near the edge you had the beginnings of a neck ornament. We had plenty of change, too, because we used to crawl under the platforms after the coins that commuters had dropped between the gaps in the planks. For some reason, the 64th Avenue station was the most lucrative.

    In prestige, the conductors and engineers were right up there with firefighters to us kids. They were always friendly, and seemed to like their jobs and the passengers–even kids. Most of us got our parents to buy us a ticket punch and a belt-mounted change dispenser so we could “play tram” on our own.

    I remember longing for the day when I could reach the leather straps that hung from the ceiling for standees. And then there were the exciting trips to the “end of the line” in New Westminster, Steveston, or downtown Vancouver.

    Riding the trams never got old, as bus ridership does, and the Skytrain experience doesn’t come close to life on the trams. It’s too bad the politics of transportation on the Lower Mainland eliminated them so soon. Most commuters would jump at the chance to sit back and enjoy the view, a converstation, or their newspaper, rather than fighting gridlock twice a day. Heck, the trams would probably be equipped with Wi-Fi and cappuccino if they still ran.

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