Heritage Rail in Cloverdale is getting more than $300K to improve their facility.
The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society (FVHRS) was recently awarded the grant money from the provincial government.
The money—given through the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP)—will be used to expand the railyard track by 100 feet, to add a roof over the extension, and to pour a concrete floor in an existing railcar shed.
“We are extremely grateful,” said Allen Aubert, director of fundraising for the FVHRS. “The $327,000 provincial CERIP funding will complete the heritage railway infrastructure at the Cloverdale car-barn railyard.
“It’s really important to the railway,” added Michael Gibbs, co-chair of communications. “It’s for infrastructure improvements in the guts of the railyard. We applied last fall and it’s nice to see it finally come through.”
Aubert explained the money will be used to construct a fourth rail line for FVHRS’s railway support vehicles like their track-mobiles, which are basically tugs that move the bigger cars around.
“Most importantly, the money will cover the cost to construct an expansion to our car-barn annex to provide weather protection over the new 100-foot track,” explained Aubert. He said they’d also add “a concrete floor in the existing annex to reduce the humidity in that building and protect our restored interurbans from deterioration.”
Aubert noted the grant money will cover the full cost of the project.
He said when construction is completed, visitors will be able to access the speeder carriages more easily from the new track and the general railyard area will be opened up.
“(It will) offer more space to demonstrate our various interactive vehicles such as the velocipede and quad machine.”
He added volunteers will also benefit from the project. They’ll have a much easier time on operating days as they will not have to constantly shift equipment back and forth in a restricted area, such as when two interurbans are in use.
Aubert expects construction to start in the next two months and to be completed before November.
Aubert also noted work is underway at Cloverdale Station to rejuvenate the station’s wild flower meadow. The FVHRS is also preparing for the arrival of the beehives in a partnership initiative with the Surrey Honeybee Centre.
“Work to double the length of the Cloverdale Station platform is well underway too, which … will provide additional space for social distancing for visitors waiting to board,” Aubert said. “Importantly, the larger platform provides the opportunity to operate and board a two-car train.”
He said the Heritage Rail Society is preparing to reopen this season, but will only do so if provincial regulations related to COVID-19 ease up.
“Basically, we need the rules on gathering that permit 50 visitors.”
Aubert said if/when they do open, tickets will only be available online. He asked that people visit fvhrs.org for the latest info.
“We are hopeful that we will be able to open in June or July.”