“Connaught Day” is coming to Cloverdale June 18.
On Connaught Days, the Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society (FVHRS) brings out its special interurban car and runs it from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan Station.
“The Surrey Heritage Railway is celebrating Connaught Day,” Allen Aubert, FVHRS secretary, told the Cloverdale Reporter. “We bring this very special and only remaining B.C. Electric Chilliwack Interurban into service offering four excursion trips to Sullivan that day.”
The car is named after the Duke of Connaught as it was the special railcar he used during his visit to Vancouver in 1912.
The Connaught is scheduled to leave Cloverdale Station at 10 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3 p.m on June 18.
Aubert said FVHRS plans to offer patrons a “Connaught Day” experience once every six weeks as a special event. The following Connaught Day will likely be at the end of July or the beginning of August. When a final date is announced, FVHRS will post the info to its website and Facebook page.
Connaught is a “unique interurban” according to Aubert. The car was built in New Westminster in 1911 and is the only working railcar of its kind in North America.
Numbered 1304 when it was built, the Connaught ran on the Fraser Valley Interurban line, which was part of the B.C. Electric Railway (BCER). The BCER was incorporated in 1897, but the Fraser Valley line only built in 1910, starting passenger service in October that year.
The BCER could run four round trips a day from Vancouver to Chilliwack and the original line still exists from New Westminster to Chilliwack.
Aubert also said there are a few new things happening at Cloverdale Station during the weekends now.
“The next new experience at the Cloverdale Station is live music on the platform patio,” he said. “Stephen Plant, our director of guest experience, has made arrangements with several groups to come out and entertain our visitors.”
Aubert said another volunteer, Roger Bose, can be found in the Cloverdale Station museum on weekends reciting historical tales of the railway and of the Cloverdale and Surrey areas for visitors.
“Judging by his audience, Roger is an excellent storyteller,” added Aubert. “The young visitors in particular really enjoy this.”
FVHRS opened for the summer season May 7 and will remain open until the end of September.
“Our visitor numbers indicate that many people are keen to get out and about and experience the heritage railway and our very special Discovery Centre tours.”
The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society operates out of the Cloverdale Station and the restoration Car Barn at Hwy 10 and 176A Street, in Surrey.
For more information, or to buy tickets, visit fvhrs.org.