Historic Interurban Cars Arrive in Cloverdale
Two interurban cars being restored by the Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society (FVHRS), BCER 1225 and BCER 1304, arrived to their new home in Cloverdale Wednesday evening.
The FVHRS, a non-profit charitable organization, was formed in 2001 based off of an idea and personal funding from Jim Wallace, a commissioner with the Surrey Heritage Advisory Commission (SHAC). The organization’s purpose is to rehabilitate some of the original BCER Interurban cars and Fraser Valley line for use as a heritage tourism initiative south of the Fraser.
BCER 1225 was the first car to arrive back in 2005. It was built back in 1913 and worked between Vancouver, Steveston, and Burnaby until February 28, 1958.
BCER 1304, also named the “royal car”, was the car ridden by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their daughter Princess Patricia back in 1912 when the car was just 15 months old. Later, on September 16, 1945, BCER 1304 caught fire near Cloverdale and was burnt beyond repair; however, because of the demand for more passenger service on the line, a new 1304 car patterned on the 1309-1311 series was built in Kitsilano and was quite possibly the last wooden interurban car built in North America.
Since the first car, BCER 1225, arrived in 2005, the society has clocked over 18000 hours restoring both it and BCER 1304 (arrived in 2009) to get them ready to run again on the line they ran over half a century ago.
Despite a lengthy delay in the afternoon, the cars arrived at the Cloverdale car barn without a problem, and after being lowered back down on to their trucks, were successfully rolled into the barn early in the evening.
With the historic cars now at their new home, the FVHRS is one step closer to starting runs of the BCER 1225 in May 2013. In addition to becoming a heritage tourism initiative for the region, it is hoped that these runs will be the launching point for future investment in light rail technology in the region.