The BC Electric Railway ran its own lunch counters and had monogrammed dishware that is now considered collectible. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Langley passenger rail service marks nearly 70 years since termination

Fraser Valley Heritage Research Services shares Langley’s role in the Interurban Line

This weekend the Langley City Library is providing a look back at the interurban passenger rail that once connected the city to Vancouver and as far east as Chilliwack.

The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) was an interurban electric railway created in 1897. At its peak the BCER provided interurban service on three lines that covered a large portion of southern B.C., according to Canada-Rail.

On Saturday, Graham Evan MacDonell, a BCER researcher and historian, will be on site at the City Library from 1 to 3 p.m. to share a local perspective about the Fraser Valley Interurban Line.

When the line was completed in 1910, the passenger rail service connected locals between New Westminster and Chilliwack, according to Surrey’s Heritage Rail.

In recent years there have been efforts to reintroduce the passenger rail.

READ MORE: VIDEO: BC Electric Railway’s last run into Langley

Earlier this year Translink released a report addressing a proposal to reintroduce community passenger rail service, which found “the benefits of implementing rapid transit on the interurban corridor are insufficient to warrant further consideration.”

One of the issues addressed specifically related to Langley involves the segment of the corridor between Cloverdale and Langley.

“One of the corridors that has experienced growth in freight movements and is expected to grow is the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor (RBRC) that connects Delta Port with the CN heavy rail network and allows the movement of bulk materials and containers between the Vancouver Gateway and the rest of Canada,” according to the TransLink report.

MacDonell said the economy is too big an issue to take on and reintroducing the passenger rail is never going to happen.

“You are not going to move CPR to allow a public transit system,” said MacDonell.

“I wish it would [come back],” he added.

READ MORE: Interurban rail would ‘lay the spine’ for sustainable growth south of the Fraser, professor says

Although Chilliwack is known as the official opening site of the Fraser Valley line on Oct. 3, 1910, Langley Prairie (City) marks the site where the company officially terminated its passenger service nearly 40 years later on Sept. 30, 1950.

MacDonell will provide an overview of the history of the BCER in Langley, share maps of the township from the past 100 years, before inviting guests on a virtual ride from Hunter Station on the west side of Langley Prairie (City) to Jackman Station on the east side of Langley Township, looking at a number of “famous” stations and the people connected with them.

“They can see photographs of parts of the line most people have never seen before,” said MacDonell.

The presentation is free to the public and will include refreshments.

The original Fraser Valley line is now known as the Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY) and still runs along the original route providing freight service.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teen cashier pays grocery bill for Aldergrove woman who comes back a week later to shower her in gifts

Otter Co-op’s Brooklyn Roberts asked to pay Tamara Smith’s $44 grocery bill after debit card declined

Langley senior fashions tiny toques to spotlight shaken baby syndrome

Since mid-March, Mavis Kaschl has made more than 225 toques, all of them purple

Fuel oil contaminates Langley salmon-bearing stream

Source of Saturday leak near airport may be connected to Friday leak near LMH

GREEN BEAT: Joining Langley’s first-ever virtual bioblitz this June

Thanks to an app, this two-week venture is no longer just for the nature nerds out there

Road washout affecting section of Highway No. 3 near Manning Park

Road maintenance crews are on the scene, with an almost two kilometre long stretch impacted

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Langley Advance Times to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Human Rights Tribunal denies church’s request to toss out White Rock Pride Society’s complaint

Star of the Sea and White Rock Pride Society to go to Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read