A wave of thanks from the platform at Cloverdale Station

A wave of thanks from the platform at Cloverdale Station

Lord Tweedsmuir 65th reunion goes on – and off – the rails

The class of 1951 got together in Cloverdale, climbing aboard Surrey's Heritage Rail for a trip way back

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Actual time travel may not be possible – yet – but don’t tell Lord Tweedsmuir High’s class of 1951.

On Sept. 18 a group of Cloverdale grads celebrating their 65th class reunion took a spin on Surrey’s Heritage Rail, hopping aboard restored Interurban car 1224 for a journey from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan and back.

The group included former Surrey Mayor Bob Bose and his brother Roger, a historian and writer.

They were part of a graduating class of just 25 students, making it ever more remarkable that a dozen or so turned out for their 2016 class gathering.

About half of the attendeehttp://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wDSC_7661.jpgs took advantage of the ride on Car 1225 but all toured the car barn that’s home to the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society’s operations. Some also tested the human-powered velocipede, and the speeder car, or capped the day off with a ride on the speeder, a small track maintenance car.

Riding the Interurban again stirred up vivid memories for the passengers, who seemed to agree that the restored electric railcar is a smoother, gentler ride than they remembered on the original passenger railway, which operated from 1910 to 1951.

“It rattled. A real shake, rattle and roll and it would vibrate and make a lot of noise,” recalled Roy Merritt, who lived on New McLellan Road on a family property with 20 acres the railway ran through.

He’d catch the Interurban at the Latimer Road station, taking the train to New West, Vancouver and “even to Cloverdale,” he said. “Cloverdale is rather unchanged,” he pronounced during the reunion ride. “Langley was a more vibrant town.”

Jocelyn Glacier’s strongest memory of the Interurban was probably the time she was 14 or 15 years old, climbing aboard the train and taking it all the way to the BC Electric building in downtown Vancouver for an event she called the Sweet Sixteen. “It was just a normal part of life in those days,” she said, recalling the last 1940s commute from Surrey to Vancouver. “I remember the car as swaying more, from side to side. But really, in this fast-paced world we’re living in today, it’s very soothing and wonderful to know that there’s still some farmland in the Fraser Valley.”

During high school, Eileen Menun lived outside of Sullivan. “This was our basic means of transportation.” As a teen, she rode the Interurban to the Surrey Coop in Cloverdale, picking up meat in cold storage and riding back. There was a three-hour delay between trains coming and going.

“Riding the car today is very nice compared to then. It went sideways more as far as I remember.”http://webpapersadmin.bcnewsgroup.com/portals/uploads/cloverdale/.DIR288/wveloDSC_7649.jpg

“Those were the days,” said Norm Dinsmore, whose father used to put him on the train at Sullivan Station at 152 Street and 64 Avenue, taking it to Clayburn to visit a cousin in Milner. “It seemed that there was always someone on the road that wanted to go as fast as the train, and the guy was going about as fast as he would go as well. It seemed to me they said it could go to seventy or eighty miles per hour.”

He was wowed by the restoration efforts, calling the car, “Just like she was – really good.”

Lorraine Goddard lived in Abbotsford until Grade 11, and still remembers riding the Interurban from home to downtown Vancouver, where she got off at Carrall Street. From there, she took a streetcar to her aunt’s house.

“It was a new experience,” she said. “Today, it’s very nice. You can see so much more than you can from a car, and it’s interesting to hear the history.”

Surrey’s former mayor Bob Bose has a constellation of memories of the Interurban. In 1938 or ’39, when the King and Queen came to Vancouver, his parents bundled the kids onto the Interurban to ride to Vancouver for the occasion, even though they had a car.

When his mother moved to Surrey in 1920 to take up a position as an elementary school teacher at Anniedale School,  she was met by Surrey’s Superintendent of Schools.

“It was part of the landscape when I was growing up, because we farmed the Serpentine Valley,” he said.

The Sept. 18 ride on the Interurban was his first in 75 years.

“This is a marvelous restoration,” he said, praising the talent and commitment of the volunteers of the FVHRS, and the vision of those involved. “Life was so much more relaxing in the days when the Interurban was part of the Fraser Valley. You got on the train and you visited. I remember seeing the original Sullivan Station after it had become a chicken coop. And there were some of the original graphics on the inside walls. That was the station we would have used to board the train.”

In those days, the high school was located on Highway 10. “It was a small school.” The gym had a 16-foot ceiling, presenting challenges for volleyball and basketball games.

“It was tough, but it was still a good school,” he said. He and his fellow grads attended high school during the Second World War years. “We all survived, and most turned out really well. They’re all good memories.”Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Gerry Vowles (left), Michael Cook, and Dave Sinclair were awarded “Dominion Command Presidential Citations” June 17 in Cloverdale. The rare awards were given out for “exemplary service to the Legion.” (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Three B.C. legionnaires awarded ‘Presidential Citations’

Ceremony took place in Cloverdale June 17

A cache of 89 crabs was discovered during a 2018 compliance inspection at South Surrey’s Elgin Park Marina. (Contributed photo)
$7,500 fine for illegal crab harvest discovered in South Surrey

Laird Goddyn found guilty in Surrey Provincial Court following 2018 investigation

City of Surrey photo
Surrey starts Slow Streets pilot project

Speed limits have been reduced in six Surrey neighbourhood zones for one year to monitor impact on residents

Kaushal Parikh raised $2,840 for COVID-19 relief in India during his almost nine-hour run around the new North Delta Secondary School track on Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
North Delta ultramarathoner raises over $2,800 for COVID relief in India

Kaushal Parikh ran the 90-km virtual Comrades Marathon around the NDSS track in under nine hours

Gymnast Shallon Olsen. (Photo: olympic.ca)
Olympics-bound Surrey gymnast Shallon Olsen enters sports hall of fame – in Coquitlam

She was the youngest member of Team Canada when she made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read