Back in the ’40s rail worked well

Back in the ’40s rail worked well

The Times October 5, 2010


(Re: Rail for the Valley)

I have been following the progress on this initiative since it was first announced with great interest. In the 1940s we lived in Surrey, and our nearest station for the BC Electric Interurban was at Hunt Road. Many trips were made to New Westminster and Vancouver as it was a primary mode of transportation. I had occasion to travel to Abbotsford and Chilliwack a few times.

I had a Vancouver daily Province paper route and my bundle of papers was dropped off at the Newton Station by the Interurban freight car. Clearly this mode of transportation got the newspaper through to Chilliwack, as well as other freight.

It has now been 60 years since there has been no passenger rail to the valley throughout a period of vast growth. Now with the mounted pressure of resurrecting this facility, I believe that there may be an important component, which is not being explored. The component is rail and tourism for the valley. As an example, think of the great attractions there are from Surrey to Chilliwack. There are museums, the history of various locations. Transportation could be provided to Fort Langley. Tourists could experience the history of Abbotsford and its present form of agriculture, Cultus Lake, historical Chilliwack, sturgeon and salmon fishing, Harrison Hot Springs, just to name a few.

From Chilliwack to Surrey there are many who would visit Vancouver as an alternative form of transportation and not have to fight the traffic or find a parking spot. We are all aware of the vast number of tourists taking cruise ships out of Vancouver. How many of those tourists would consider taking a side trip by rail to the valley and have the opportunity to visit the various areas of interest? At the end of the line in Chilliwack, how many might there be that would like to spend some time at the world-renowned Harrison Hot Springs, while the husband takes a day off for a day of sturgeon fishing?

Jerry Olynyk,


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