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BC Electric Railway and its Stations in Surrey

The research and production of the maps showing the locations of the BC Electric Railway Stations was completed by Lorne Pearson in 2005.


The Beginning of the BCER

With the opening of the Fraser River Bridge on July 23, 1904, the British Columbia Electric Railway moved forward to establish a regional railway to serve the logging and agricultural communities on the south shore of the Fraser River (from Brownsville to Chilliwack) that had been developing since 1860.


Turning the sod 1907

On August 26, 1907, B.C. Electric Railway officials and Henry Bose, Reeve of Surrey, turned the first sod at Old Yale Road, near present–day 125 Street (approximately a half mile south of the Scott Road Skytrain Station).


The railway was formally called the New Westminster–Chilliwack Railway. However, it was more commonly known as the Chilliwack Line or the Fraser Valley Line. It provided a critical link for residents and businesses travelling or moving goods between Vancouver and Chilliwack. Rail construction started in December, 1908. The community of Sullivan provided lumber for railway ties, materials for trestles, and gravel for ballasting. By the fall of 1909, track laying and electrification were underway.


The New Westminster–Chilliwack Railway cost $20,000,000 and took two years to build. Regular service to Chilliwack commenced October 4, 1910.


Operating Highlights

Over the four decades of operation, passengers and freight moved within Surrey and between communities to the east and markets to the west. A series of stations mostly small shelters, along the route in Surrey provided crucial community connections.


Milk train service began on May 4, 1910, and continued until January 18, 1939, when local processing plants and truck haulage took over. In 1929, a portable substation was added at Kennedy to boost the ability of the locomotives to haul heavier loads up the long hill from the east end of the Fraser River bridge.


In 1945, Hyland Station (at 140th Street) was demolished and two new stations built on either side of it – Burkhart – to the west and Archibald to the east. Service began on June 13 to better serve the growing number of residents


On November 6th, 1910 the BC Electric Railway(BCER) from New Westminster to Chilliwack was formally opened by Premier Richard McBride. This extension of the Vancouver–New Westminster interurban was designed to serve the agricultural communities and the forest industries of the Fraser Valley. The Market, Milk, Mail, and Owl trains provided important freight and passenger links between the Upper Valley, Surrey and the Metropolitan areas.


Local Surrey Stations provided access to the BCER passenger and freight service. Most were of the open–side shed variety except for major stations such as Cloverdale.


BCER car 1305

This is the typical configuration of a BCER train that provided service from Vancouver to Chilliwack. This passenger configuration of three cars provided service through out the lower Fraser Valley.


Liverpool, South Westminster, Hjorth Road, and Scott Road Stations

Kennedy to Archibald Stations

School kids at Sullivan Station Sullivan Station

Sullivan Station to Anderson Station

Cloverdale Station Cloverdale Station

Anderson Station

Anderson Station was the typical stations along the BC Electric Railway line. It provided basic shelter for passengers and freight. These stations aided the settlement and development of northern and central Surrey.


The End of an Era

The B.C. Electric Railway was the mainstay for many parts of Surrey. It provided passenger transportation, carried the mail, and was used by the mills to ship shingles and lumber. Until 1940, students travelled to the high school in Cloverdale on the Interurban. Improvements in roads and an increase in cars and trucks in the late 1940s made rail transportation less viable. Passenger service ceased on September 30, 1950. Since then, the line has functioned solely for freight. B.C. Hydro took over the line in 1962. In 1988, the rail division was sold, and is now owned by Southern Railway of B.C., part of the Washington Group.


Sources



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