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Field Trip: West Coast Railway Heritage Park – Part 1

Click on each image for a closer look!

My primary goal from a TRHA perspective in my recent trip to the West Coast was to visit the West Coast Railway Association’s Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, B.C. Don Evans, their President and CEO, was kind enough to spend most of a day with me so that I could fully explore their heritage park and understand what they had accomplished and learn from their experiences in doing so.

At their website, they describe their history and purpose as follows:

“The origin of the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA) can be traced back to 1958 when the steam engine was in its last days. As history was passing before their eyes, the pioneers of the Association, ten in all, began meeting on a regular basis and started acquiring a collection of rail cars and artifacts. Over the years the Association has grown and evolved but its purpose remains the same: to collect, preserve and restore railway cars and artifacts and operate a licensed railway. The passion of the Association is the enjoyment of the railway by sharing experiences through the Heritage Park, railway excursions and railfan fellowship. To members of the Association, railways are not in history books or in glass cases - they are a joyful and exhilarating experience.”

The West Coast Railway Association has amassed the largest collection of railway rolling stock and artifacts in Canada outside of Quebec with 95 items in its collection of engines and rolling stock. Most of this equipment is showcased at their 12 acre heritage park website in Squamish, B.C. which is nestled between the Squamish River and the CN mainline. The attached sketches above were displayed in one of their passenger cars and show some of the original conceptual ideas for the park. The image at the lower right is the one found in the brochure provided to each visitor to guide them as they explore the park. The railway track shown around the perimeter of the park is a 7 ½” miniature railway much like ours. The image at the lower left is the latest Google satellite image of the park.

In future news postings we will further explore the Heritage Park in pictures and prose. Click here to read part 2 of this series of News postings.

Posting and pictures by Russ Milland

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