The volunteers who operate Cloverdale’s heritage railway are getting ready to welcome the first passengers of the season.
And if all goes according to plan, restored Interurban Car 1225 will pull out of Cloverdale Station with its first paying customers of the year on May 11 – Mother’s Day.
The electric-powered heritage railway launched weekend passenger operations last June, making good on the dream of returning a working Interurban to the original line through Surrey.
More than 5,000 passengers climbed aboard for the trip to Sullivan Station and back, and many more visitors are expected this year, according to Allen Aubert, secretary of the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society.
The 55-minute train ride appeals to multiple generations, from little kids taking their first ride on the rails to seniors and retirees who remember riding the Interurban as kids.
Aubert said the replica 1910 passenger station, located at the foot of 176A Street south of Hwy 10, has been the focus of intense preparations this spring.
The grounds have been spruced up as part of a landscaping project designed by Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s horticulture department. Sponsors BC Hydro, Scotiabank Cloverdale, and Potter’s Nursery have also helped out.
The centrepiece is a new, paved pathway connecting Cloverdale Station to the car barn. The path includes an optimal viewpoint that’s bound to be a hit with shutterbugs.
New this year will be a speeder ride and car barn tour for just $5. There will be guided tours every hour.
Passenger service begins Sunday, May 11 and operates Saturdays and Sundays to Oct. 13.
Cloverdale Station will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets $10. No advance sales. Trains run at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3 p.m. – subject to availability of the track, which is used by the Southern Railway of B.C.
Passengers are advised to call ahead or check the society’s website before heading to Cloverdale Station; Aubert said there were approximately a dozen delays last season.
The society is “working furiously” to get approvals in place for a bypass track that would ensure the Interurban passenger service could operate without interruption, he added.
– For more, visit www.fvhrs.org or call 604-574-9056.