Cloverdale’s Heritage Rail completed major renovations over the last two years.
The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society (FVHRS), aka Heritage Rail, put $327,000 into upgrades, repairs, and improvements. That money was from of a grant the society received through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program.
Those renos were on display for members of the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce Aug. 16 as the Chamber held its monthly luncheon at Cloverdale Station.
“We call this our platform-patio expansion,” said Allen Aubert, secretary for FVHRS, as he pointed to the newly built platform at Cloverdale Station. The concrete-based platform extends east from the original platform, more than doubling the platform area at the station.
“This allows us to use it for entertainment—like on (Aug. 20), we’ll have the Ragtime Ramblers performing—and next year, when we have our second car, and we’re running two-car trains, we’ll have the room we need,” he added.
The station’s discovery centre was also revamped. A lot of new items were added to the displays. Radiant heating panels were also added to the ceiling.
“That will be heated during the winter time,” explained Aubert. “Visitors will be able to go into the car barn and enjoy the discovery centre. It also allows our volunteers to continue to work throughout the winter—it’s been very cold in there—and it’ll help to keep all of our stored trains at a constant temperature, so we don’t get these major fluctuations in temperature which brings moisture issues with these old wooden trains. It’ll keep it balanced.”
Heritage Rail added another railway track. The new spur allows the group store their small vehicles, such as their yellow and red trackmobiles. The trackmobiles are small, very powerful tugs, so to speak, that allow FVHRS to move cars around the yard, but also to head out and bring one of the railcars back if there is a breakdown on the track.
“The new track gives us room to maneuver the big vehicles in and out of the car barn without having to move the small vehicles back and forth and so on.”
And in the station’s annex building, a new concrete floor was poured.
“That’s how we spent $327,000 of the provincial grant we received.”
Aubert said Heritage Rail will host a special “Roaring Twenties Day” at Cloverdale Station Aug. 20.
“Quite a lot of people will be dressed up in ’20s costumes,” he added. “As I mentioned, the Ragtime Ramblers, a Dixieland Jazz band from Surrey, will be performing on our patio from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.”
Aubert also said the Heritage Rail Players, a volunteer group who dress in period costumes to help the railway augment a visitor’s experience, will be out in full force around the station that day.
The inaugural Roaring 20’s celebration will become an annual event, Aubert noted.
The @CloverdaleCOC held their monthly luncheon at Heritage Rail's Cloverdale Station Aug. 16. Members rode the rails, explored the discovery centre, and enjoyed lunch provided by @tommiesjerk. @Clovrdalebia @FVHeritageRail pic.twitter.com/0rP4xAWK1g— Cloverdale Reporter (@CloverdaleNews) August 16, 2022
During their 2022 season, FVHRS is operating two trains, their Connaught BCER 1304 and their BCER 1225 car. Next year, the society hopes to run a third car after it gets restored—their BCER 1231 car.
The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society has about 350 members and about 90 station-side volunteers. FVHRS operates the railway out of the Cloverdale Station and the restoration Car Barn at Hwy 10 and 176A Street, in Surrey.