A little girl from Victoria celebrating her fourth birthday became the 5,000th passenger to ride the restored heritage interurban train out of Cloverdale Station on Thanksgiving weekend.
Bridie Kay Mayer and her parents were among the final passengers Oct. 13 to take the one-hour round trip to Sullivan Station at 64 Avenue and 152 Street and back on the century-old B.C. Electric Railway car 1225.
The volunteer-driven Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society has wrapped up its inaugural season operating the heritage railway pilot project, and is looking forward to resuming operations next May.
Meanwhile, restoration work at the Cloverdale car barn will continue on car 1304 and the society is expecting to increase its fleet to include BCER 916, currently in Edmonton.
The society will also meet with partners to review changes and improvements.
Society secretary Allen Aubert says one of the biggest surprises was that the heritage railway is a big hit with children.
“Most have never even been on a train,” he said, adding about half of this summer’s passengers were kids – often in the company of grandparents who remembered riding the Interurban during its heyday.
Another surprise was that the appeal of trains among the young passengers seemed to be equally divided between boys and girls.
The society is gearing up for as many as 8,000 passengers next year.
Meanwhile, the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway has another reason to celebrate. It recently earned the 2013 Significant Achievement Award from the Association of Tourist Railroads & Railway Museums, in recognition of its efforts.
In the past year, the society completed and relocated its operations to a new car barn in Cloverdale, finished restoring original B.C. Electric Railway car 1215, built Cloverdale Station, a replica of the 1910 original, and also launched passenger operations, the culmination of a decade of volunteer effort.
For more information, visit www.fvhrs.org.