South of the Fraser

Surrey, Delta, White Rock and Langleys

A trip on the interurban, with The Reenactors

Welcome aboard ยป the Interurban, from Cloverdale to Sullivan

The original trains were run by the BC Electric Railway Company


The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway has spent years repairing and rebuilding the 1225, one of the last of the electric rail cars connecting Vancouver to Chilliwack, and now it's running again.

Sure, it doesn't quite have the scope of its heyday: it only runs on weekends and holidays, and only in the summer, but surely it's only a matter of time before it hooks up to Skytrain, right?

Another train being restored - the ConnaughtThe official opening day was Saturday, June 22, with all sorts of grand poobahs, ribbons being cut, and oratorical flourishes. We came on Sunday. When we finally got to the ticket booth, a few minutes before the 2pm train was scheduled to leave it was sold out. Apparently all the trains had sold out. No matter. I bought tickets for the 3pm train, the last train of the day.

While waiting we were treated by several presentations from The Reenactors, actors who stay in character during the course of the day. The two we encountered were Zennosuke Inouye and Mary Jane Shannon. These were real people, and they were absolutely amazing. Mr. Inouye was a Japanese Canadian, a veteran of the first World War who had a strawberry farm on -- are you ready? -- Strawberry Hill, which I thought was East of Tynehead in North Surrey but @SurreyArchives says is in West Newton. Thanks @SurreyArchives! Mr. Inouye had the unfortunate distinction of being the only Japanese-Canadian who got his land back after the Second World War. A remarkable story, and well told by the actor, whose Japanese accent was incredible.

Ms. Shannon was the daughter of the first Warden of Surrey, which is what they called the Mayor back then. She was a school teacher in Surrey for a while, and it was this character that was portrayed, although possibly in a more musical form than the original.

There still being a bit of time we were lucky enough to get a tour of the train shed in the back where another car, the Connaught, is being restored. This one had carried the Duke of Connaught during a visit out to this part of the world. And then, onto the train!

Ms Mary Jane Shannon take a break from teaching to belt out a tune on the trainThe trip goes from the Cloverdale station, a replica on the site of the original over substantially the same track the original took, to Sullivan Heights, and then back again. The Reenactors were on the car engaging passengers with period anecdotes and a few songs too.

The train has two sections. The main cabin has rattan-covered seats. They have a special pattern that I was assured would not rip silk stockings. Nice to know. Past a door was the smoking section, with wooden seats -- wood so the seats wouldn't catch fire. Smoking isn't allowed any more, but to  be authentic people sitting in that section don't get cushions. The seat backs on both types of bench can switch positions, so the crafty travellor can always face forward.

The whole trip took about half an hour, through farmland that in some areas would have looked familiar to travellors on the original line. 

The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway's website is

A conductor in period costume 

Zennosuke Inouye - a Reenactor Surrey berry farmer - shows off a jam sample


Stripped down - the interior of the Connaught


No overhead power means the trains have to carry their own generator - cunningly disguised as a miniature car



Info on South of the Fraser River: Surrey, Delta, White Rock, City of Langley, Township of Langley, Fort Langley. Maybe a bit of Abbotsford, just for fun.

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