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Field Trip: West Coast Railway Heritage Park – Part 6

Click on each image for a closer look!

Continuing our field trip to the West Coast Railway Heritage Centre in Squamish, B.C. to learn from what other railway museums have accomplished, we now focus on the the building where a visitor first enters the museum proper. This is their Mac Norris station. Here is what the museum says about the station on its website:

"In 1915, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway had grand plans for Squamish. This was to become the railway's home base, and a large railway station was designed for the town. Unfortunately, all of the grand plans would not make it to fruition, as construction costs far outstripped the resources available.The railway ultimately was rescued by the Province of British Columbia and was completed to Quesnel. But the planned major station for Squamish was among the projects never completed. Until year 2000, that is. In 1999 construction started on the station building 85 years after it was designed, and on August 19, 2000, the station opened as the centrepiece of the Town Centre at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park! The drawings were discovered as the Heritage Park worked with BC Rail, today's major railway through the centre of the province that grew from the Pacific Great Eastern. The station design was perfect for the Heritage Park in both size and room space."

The station houses office for the museum as well as fine gift shop. As shown in the images above, they have done a fine job of creating the station operator's area as well. When special excursion trains leave from the park, they do so from the track directly in front of the station.

Nearby is the Brightbill Heritage House as shown at the left below. This is a historic structure which is the first of a number of planned structural additions to the Park intended to build a small historic community around their facility. This serves their plan to build the park as an attraction to everyone in families visiting the park. Here is what they say about this structure:

"Located on Railway Avenue in the Heritage Park's Town Centre, the Brightbill Heritage House takes you back to another era. As you look into the living room and listen to news stories and music from the 30's and 40's, you will enter the era of Harry Brightbill, a PGE conductor who owned the house in those days. The kitchen and pantry are stocked with a great collection, from the icebox and stove to the appliances and trimmings. The bedroom and den feature wonderful antiques. Upstairs the child's room and attic bring memories and delights of years past."

Finally we see a "beanery" building where snacks and drinks are sold to visitors and a small station that they built at one of the end points of their miniature railway.

Click here to read the next TRHA News post in this series!

Posting and images by Russ Milland

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