Heritage Rail has reopened after being closed for nearly two years.
Allen Aubert, director of fundraising for the Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society, said things went “absolutely splendid” on opening day Sept. 4.
“Each of the four trains were sold out with 40 passengers on each,” said Aubert. “When the trains came back, we offered the passengers a complementary ride on our speeder.”
Aubert said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy and mines, and Surrey councillor Linda Annis were both on hand for opening day.
“(Ralston) was here to see, in his capacity as minister for energy, whether or not there’s an opportunity for us to adopt a hydrogen generator which would allow us to retire our diesel generator in due course.”
Currently Heritage Rail’s cars are powered by electricity produced from a diesel generator.
“He said he will look into what the province could do to help us.”
Aubert said the volunteers were pleased to be back after being away from the station for so long.
“They absolutely loved it. We had a few new volunteers, but everyone was delighted to be back and meeting one another and meeting all the visitors. It’s a very satisfying thing to do.”
Aubert said the day flew by. After the last train arrived back at Cloverdale Station at 4 o’clock, he said the station was cleared a half hour later.
“It was a very good start and we’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
He said tickets are being booked fast and the trains over the next few weeks are filling up. He said bookings can be made online through the Heritage Rail website: fvhrs.org.
“We are also selling tickets online for our Halloween Monster Express.”
He said the Monster Express will run two days, Oct. 16-17, and that tickets are also selling fast.
“We’ll do four trips on both days.”
Aubert added that long term plans include a possible Christmas Train. He also said the railway is restoring another rail car, so in the future Heritage Rail will run two cars down the track, which will double their capacity.
Aubert said he gets the feeling from people that they are really keen to get out again and they are really keen to ride the Heritage Rail train.
“It’s something very special,” Aubert explained. “There isn’t another one like this—a B.C. Electric—that’s operating. There’s a couple of restored cars, one in Burnaby and one in Steveston, but they’re only restored cosmetically. They don’t have any track and they don’t operate.
“To have trains that operate, and run on the original track, and do all the things that trains do, is the icing on the cake.”