Car 1304
BCER 1304 – The Connaught Car

Car 1304
BCER 1304 – The Connaught Car

The Connaught Car

On April 25, 2009 BCER 1304 – The Connaught Car – was welcomed back to Canada at our Sullivan Station car barn. For the story of this car, including a devastating fire and brush with royalty read further.

The History of Car 1304

Citations and page references, unless otherwise noted, are from The Story of the B.C. Electric Railway Company, by Henry Ewert, Whitecap Books 1986. Used with kind permission of the author.

Originally built at the New Westminster shops in June 1911, as part of the three car Fraser Valley interurban work order for 1303, 1304 & 1305, patterned after the existing set: 1300-1302. They were joined in June by three G.C. Kuhlman Car Company cars that became 1306 – 1308.

“How the B.C. Electric prepared for royalty! For the visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their daughter, Princess Patricia (the Duke was then Canada’s Governor-General), the company decorated its head office building with a blaze of lights and royal motifs. (This was their second visit. What changes they must have observed since their first trip in 1890.) But the company outdid even itself. Selecting one of its New Westminster-built Fraser Valley branch interurban cars, the fifteen-month old 1304, the company sent it back into the car shops for an extraordinary transformation, and when it reappeared, it had been freshly painted; it also bore the royal coat of arms, twice on each side, the name “Connaught” and the company’s name in full, both delicately, but boldly, lettered in gold on each side.”

“Its interior, with seats and partitions removed, resembled a well-appointed living room, with carpet, curtains, and upholstered chairs, mostly in cream and green. The orange glass of the upper arches of the windows was masked by the curtains, and red light bulbs were strategically installed elsewhere to resemble an open fire in a grate.”

(p 105-106)

Service

“… Car 1304 soon reverted to normal life and service, its transformation having been quite magical and certainly short-lived. (It is the only Fraser Valley interurban still in existence today, at Fraser Valley Heritage Railway in Cloverdale, BC.

(p 107)

The Connaught Car

On April 25, 2009 BCER 1304 – The Connaught Car – was welcomed back to Canada at our Sullivan Station car barn. For the story of this car, including a devastating fire and brush with royalty read further.

The History of Car 1304

Citations and page references, unless otherwise noted, are from The Story of the B.C. Electric Railway Company, by Henry Ewert, Whitecap Books 1986. Used with kind permission of the author.

Originally built at the New Westminster shops in June 1911, as part of the three car Fraser Valley interurban work order for 1303, 1304 & 1305, patterned after the existing set: 1300-1302. They were joined in June by three G.C. Kuhlman Car Company cars that became 1306 – 1308.

“How the B.C. Electric prepared for royalty! For the visit of their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and their daughter, Princess Patricia (the Duke was then Canada’s Governor-General), the company decorated its head office building with a blaze of lights and royal motifs. (This was their second visit. What changes they must have observed since their first trip in 1890.) But the company outdid even itself. Selecting one of its New Westminster-built Fraser Valley branch interurban cars, the fifteen-month old 1304, the company sent it back into the car shops for an extraordinary transformation, and when it reappeared, it had been freshly painted; it also bore the royal coat of arms, twice on each side, the name “Connaught” and the company’s name in full, both delicately, but boldly, lettered in gold on each side.”

“Its interior, with seats and partitions removed, resembled a well-appointed living room, with carpet, curtains, and upholstered chairs, mostly in cream and green. The orange glass of the upper arches of the windows was masked by the curtains, and red light bulbs were strategically installed elsewhere to resemble an open fire in a grate.”

(p 105-106)

Service

“… Car 1304 soon reverted to normal life and service, its transformation having been quite magical and certainly short-lived. (It is the only Fraser Valley interurban still in existence today, at Fraser Valley Heritage Railway in Cloverdale, BC.

(p 107)

1945 – The BCER 1304 is on Fire!

Photos below, (L-R): BCER 1304 on Sept 16, 1945 – just after the fire, Photo by Ken Hodgson, collection of Bob Webster, BCER 1304 after the fire, BCER 1304 rebuilt after the fire.

(September 16, 1945) “…interurban 1304, the former ‘Connaught car,’ caught fire near Cloverdale while making its way west from Chilliwack, the last car of an empty three-car train. Only a virtually destroyed shell was left by the time the train’s crew realized what was happening behind them and a brave, though futile, attempt was made to extinguish the blaze. It was not to languish long as a bizarre floor on wheels outside the company’s Kitsilano complex; since passenger vehicles were still in great demand, the shops, busy with street car refurbishing and rebuilding, got to work, constructing a beautiful, new interurban car, its exterior patterned after the 1309 – 1311 series. Dark leather, foam-filled, flip-over seats were installed; walls of dark varnished mahogany and a cream painted ceiling clinched its unique handsomeness. For the second time in its career, car 1304 was an attention-getter. Its return to action on December 29 was an unqualified triumph, denizens of Carrall Street viewing with some amazement and pleasure a prime example of the car builders’ art at its best, something the company’s shops might have turned out in 1910, and could still do thirty-five years later later. ‘Built at Kits. Shops Jan. 1946’ proudly lettered over a vestibule door, 1304 quite possibly was the last wooden interurban car built in North America.”

1945 – The BCER 1304 is on Fire!

Photos below, (L-R): BCER 1304 on Sept 16, 1945 – just after the fire, Photo by Ken Hodgson, collection of Bob Webster, BCER 1304 after the fire, BCER 1304 rebuilt after the fire.

(September 16, 1945) “…interurban 1304, the former ‘Connaught car,’ caught fire near Cloverdale while making its way west from Chilliwack, the last car of an empty three-car train. Only a virtually destroyed shell was left by the time the train’s crew realized what was happening behind them and a brave, though futile, attempt was made to extinguish the blaze. It was not to languish long as a bizarre floor on wheels outside the company’s Kitsilano complex; since passenger vehicles were still in great demand, the shops, busy with street car refurbishing and rebuilding, got to work, constructing a beautiful, new interurban car, its exterior patterned after the 1309 – 1311 series. Dark leather, foam-filled, flip-over seats were installed; walls of dark varnished mahogany and a cream painted ceiling clinched its unique handsomeness. For the second time in its career, car 1304 was an attention-getter. Its return to action on December 29 was an unqualified triumph, denizens of Carrall Street viewing with some amazement and pleasure a prime example of the car builders’ art at its best, something the company’s shops might have turned out in 1910, and could still do thirty-five years later later. ‘Built at Kits. Shops Jan. 1946’ proudly lettered over a vestibule door, 1304 quite possibly was the last wooden interurban car built in North America.”

1950’s Closing Services

(Saturday, September 20, 1950) “… much special activity was occurring, adroitly stage-managed by interurban superintendent Mouat and chief dispatcher D. W. Stearman.” Car 1311 left from Chilliwack in the morning heading west. Cars 1310 and 1307 departed New Westminster with a full load of officials, seniors and retired Chilliwack line employees. These trains met at Langley Prairie at noon, touched cowcatchers and then the passenger service on the Fraser Valley line ended. At the conclusion of these ceremonies the three cars of the two trains were joined together and deadheaded to the New Westminster yards; all officials and guests completed their journeys on the buses.

“Within a week … with a view to the possibility of their giving longer-term service on the Central Park line, should that be necessary, the two ‘newest’ interurban cars, 1304 and 1321, had their toilets removed in favour of seating space.”

(p 267)

At 1:30 a.m. on July 16, 1954 the last interurban train operated from the Carrall Street Station on the Central Park line. Reaching Park Avenue at 2:10 a.m. it then proceeded to the New Westminster barn. Closing down sixty-three years of passenger service on the Central Park line was an interurban train consisting of cars 1316 and 1304. Car 1304 was saved from the scrap yard being declared the system’s official standby coach. This decision enabled the car to survive until to today.

(p 278 – 249)

1955 – One Last Run!

“Interurban car 1304 had not been out on the Chilliwack line for almost five years, but when Yarrow teacher Miss J.E. Fowlie wondered in a letter to president Grauer if her grade three students might not have a train ride to round off a study unit on transportation, it was as good as done. One of the diesels hauling a freight train brought 1304 to Chilliwack, where the thirty-eight students, with their teacher, boarded it for a forty-five minute ride to Yarrow. After the students had inspected the train’s caboose, the freight train continued on its way to New Westminster, leaving behind a class of bubbly, still side-eyed children.”

A reunion was held in the summer of 2015 of the riders of this last run. See our blog for more on this.

Car 1304 left Canada in 1955 and moved to Glenwood, Oregon to reside at the “Trolley Park” of the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society. It was returned to Canada, to the FVHRS in 2009.

1950’s Closing Services

(Saturday, September 20, 1950) “… much special activity was occurring, adroitly stage-managed by interurban superintendent Mouat and chief dispatcher D. W. Stearman.” Car 1311 left from Chilliwack in the morning heading west. Cars 1310 and 1307 departed New Westminster with a full load of officials, seniors and retired Chilliwack line employees. These trains met at Langley Prairie at noon, touched cowcatchers and then the passenger service on the Fraser Valley line ended. At the conclusion of these ceremonies the three cars of the two trains were joined together and deadheaded to the New Westminster yards; all officials and guests completed their journeys on the buses.

“Within a week … with a view to the possibility of their giving longer-term service on the Central Park line, should that be necessary, the two ‘newest’ interurban cars, 1304 and 1321, had their toilets removed in favour of seating space.”

(p 267)

At 1:30 a.m. on July 16, 1954 the last interurban train operated from the Carrall Street Station on the Central Park line. Reaching Park Avenue at 2:10 a.m. it then proceeded to the New Westminster barn. Closing down sixty-three years of passenger service on the Central Park line was an interurban train consisting of cars 1316 and 1304. Car 1304 was saved from the scrap yard being declared the system’s official standby coach. This decision enabled the car to survive until to today.

(p 278 – 249)

1955 – One Last Run!

“Interurban car 1304 had not been out on the Chilliwack line for almost five years, but when Yarrow teacher Miss J.E. Fowlie wondered in a letter to president Grauer if her grade three students might not have a train ride to round off a study unit on transportation, it was as good as done. One of the diesels hauling a freight train brought 1304 to Chilliwack, where the thirty-eight students, with their teacher, boarded it for a forty-five minute ride to Yarrow. After the students had inspected the train’s caboose, the freight train continued on its way to New Westminster, leaving behind a class of bubbly, still side-eyed children.”

A reunion was held in the summer of 2015 of the riders of this last run. See our blog for more on this.

Car 1304 left Canada in 1955 and moved to Glenwood, Oregon to reside at the “Trolley Park” of the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society. It was returned to Canada, to the FVHRS in 2009.

The Relaunch of Car 1304

For several years, 1304 sat six feet in the air for ease of crew to work under the car. Finally, the area was cleared and the trucks (wheels and motor assemblies) were moved into place and lined up with the king pin to connect the car to the wheels.

Hydraulic jacks were inserted at critical points, and activated with precision to allow for the removal of the wooden support piles until the steel I-beams could be removed and the car settled back onto it’s trucks, an operation of several hours.

On September 9, 2017, the Connaught Car 1304 was officially lowered back onto her trucks and reinaugurated into heritage service, with Lt. Governor Judith Guichon launching the day’s event.

The Relaunch of Car 1304

For several years, 1304 sat six feet in the air for ease of crew to work under the car. Finally, the area was cleared and the trucks (wheels and motor assemblies) were moved into place and lined up with the king pin to connect the car to the wheels.

Hydraulic jacks were inserted at critical points, and activated with precision to allow for the removal of the wooden support piles until the steel I-beams could be removed and the car settled back onto it’s trucks, an operation of several hours.

On September 9, 2017, the Connaught Car 1304 was officially lowered back onto her trucks and reinaugurated into heritage service, with Lt. Governor Judith Guichon launching the day’s event.

FVHRS is 100% Volunteer-run

We are actively looking for volunteers to help support the activities and operations of the society.
You don’t need to be an engineer to get involved!  Click here to learn more.

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Just out for a Saturday morning rip through Cloverdale #interurban #BCER #BCElectricRailway #FVHRS ...

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Third place in the annual paint the train competition put on by the #fraservalleyheritagerailway ...

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This rail car at the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society will be raised for the next 12 - 24 months while the motor and other technical parts are restored to working order.

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All aboard!  If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, consider taking a ride on The Fraser Valley Heritage Railway.  All trains depart from the Cloverdale Station (Hwy 10 & 176A St) on Saturday and Sunday. The route goes from Cloverdale to Sullivan Station returns to Cloverdale.  While you’re there, be sure to check out honeybeecentre bee hotel that is helping make the beautiful meadow bloom with their hard working pollinators. 📸: honeybeecentre ...

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Our Christmas experience, the Electric Express 2021, has sold out! Thank you to all who purchased tickets! ...

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Out for a Fall Spin. #SurreyBC #CityofSurrey #TrueSurrey #Cloverdale #fvhrs #FraserValley #FraserValleyHeritageRailway #trains_worldwide #thecanadiancollective #explorebc #exploreCanada #imagesofcanada #ilovebc ...

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A Railway Halloween🚂 #fraservalleyheritagerailway #cloverdalebc #beautifulbc #happyhalloween #welcomeaboard 🎃👻🙀 ...

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It’s really happening! We really are finally back on TRACK!

Rides on Surrey’s Heritage Rail will start on Saturday, September 4! We will run every Saturday until October 9. The 1225 Interurban will run four trips each Saturday from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan Station and back. This is approximately a 50-minute ride. In addition, you can also ride the Speeder on our Spur line.

We will also be hosting special Halloween Rides from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan Station on Saturday October 16 and Sunday October 17. More information to follow, watch this space!

This is a fun family experience! Bring the kids, and bring Grandma and Grandpa too, they may have stories from when they rode the rails. Experience Surrey’s 110-year-old heritage rail history!

We want to get the word out, please SHARE this post on your Facebook page!

Please visit our website for more information: www.fvhrs.org

Ticket prices here: https://fvhrs.org/ticket-info/

ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED ONLINE

Purchase your tickets for the Cloverdale to Sullivan trip here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-surreys-heritage-rail-to-sullivan-station-tickets-163949442195

Purchase your tickets for the Speeder rides here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-fvhrs-speeder-on-our-own-spur-line-tickets-164198172153

Purchase your tickets for the Halloween Train here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/surreys-heritage-railway-halloween-train-sullivan-haunted-station-oct-16-tickets-166012159839

#fraservalleyheritagerail #surreysheritagerail #funfamilyexperience #fallevent #surreyfamilyevent
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Take the Electric Express this Christmas! Get your tickets now before they sell out!

Shake the snow globe and travel back in time with the Electric Express to 1921. See the characters, hear the Christmas music, experience the stories of the Fraser Valley one hundred years ago.
Feel the magic of Christmas as we visit Father Christmas in his secret workshop. You will want to bring your whole family to enjoy our theatrical event that is sure to warm your heart and make you laugh.

This is a heritage railway theatrical experience that takes place on the train run on our 1/2-mile section of our track, with a destination visit to the secret workshop of Father Christmas. Please note the train does not run to Sullivan Station, it travels a short distance up our spur line and back to Father Christmas’s Secret Workshop. The Electric Express experience is approximately 50 minutes long.
This experience will set the scene for the start of a wonderful Christmas season.

Receive a souvenir button! Sat. Dec. 11 and Sun. Dec.12 - 4 trips each day.

All tickets must be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-the-electric-express-2021-tickets-192761323307

More information at www.fvhrs.org

*Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

Please share this post with your friends! The Monster Express sold out last month, don`t miss this opportunity to get your tickets before they are gone!
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BCER Interurban 1225 crosses a trestle over the Serpentine River in Cloverdale. Originally constructed in 1910, the line was used by interurban cars such as this one would, making the 3 hour journey between Vancouver and Chilliwack. Service stopped in 1950 and is currently used by a freight railway. Over the last few years, the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society (FVHRS) has been running a restored interurban along the line to let visitors experience another time.

The photo is actually a composite of two separate photos. The black and white image was taken by David Davies in 1965. I`m using the image for personal/educational use which is permitted. I`ve overlaid my image taken from today to show how very little the backdrop has changed on 50 years!

#bcer #fvhrs #surrey #Cloverdale #interurban #train #iliketrains #westcoast #cityofsurrey #museum #heritage #railway #railways_of_our_world #railfan #fraservalley #landscape #nature_brilliance #nature #mkexplore #trolley #flashback #throwback #trestle #yvr #604 #bcelectric #river #oldtimes #restoration #vintage
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#firstresponderscelebration #truesurrey #fraservalleyheritagerailway #surreyfirefighterspipesanddrums ...

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STOP! and get your tickets for this Saturday! Conductor Colin says, bring the whole family! We`re kid friendly!

Tickets purchased online only.

Please visit our website for more information: www.fvhrs.org
Ticket prices here: https://fvhrs.org/ticket-info/

Purchase your tickets for the Cloverdale to Sullivan trip here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-surreys-heritage-rail-to-sullivan-station-tickets-163949442195

Purchase your tickets for the Speeder rides here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-fvhrs-speeder-on-our-own-spur-line-tickets-164198172153

Please share this post with your friends!

#fraservalleyheritagerail #surreysheritagerail #funfamilyexperience #fallevent #surreyfamilyevent
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Continuing time travel, the FVHeritageRail held their holiday gathering with period costumes to celebrate another successful season on the railway. #fraservalleyheritagerailwaysociety provides a lot of fun & education about life in #oursurrey back in the day. ...

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Enjoying the #funinthesun in this #bc #heatwave by partaking in #surreydoorsopen events at #bearcreek #park and #cloverdale #fvhrs #surrey interurban #train with my hubby and #minime 😄❤️ #saturday #family #fun ...

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In 1913 this was rapid transit from Vancouver to Chilliwack and the track still exists from NWest to Wack - superior to current rapid transit to the Valley - 100 years behind it seems - this runs on weekend by the Heritage Railway Society #explorebc #electrictrain #railway #fraservalleyheritagerailway #train #cloverdale #surrey #traincrossing #vintagetrain #bcelectricrailway #car1225 ...

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Tickets still available for this Saturday Sept. 11. Ride history on Surrey’s Heritage Railway Car 1225 from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan Station and back.

This is a fun family experience! Bring the kids and bring Grandma and Grandpa too! Please share this post with your friends!

Please visit our website for more information: www.fvhrs.org
Ticket prices here: https://fvhrs.org/ticket-info/

ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED ONLINE

Purchase your tickets for the Cloverdale to Sullivan trip here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-surreys-heritage-rail-to-sullivan-station-tickets-163949442195

Purchase your tickets for the Speeder rides here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-fvhrs-speeder-on-our-own-spur-line-tickets-164198172153

#fraservalleyheritagerail #surreysheritagerail #funfamilyexperience #fallevent #surreyfamilyevent
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Old adverts from the bc electric rail.#fraservalleyheritagerailwaysociety ...

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On the Monster Express riding by the Witches Coven! ...

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Interurban 1225. Rumour has it these things had reached speeds of up to 80 miles an hour back in the day. These days, they are legally limited to 15. Let`s hope that changes one day!

#bcer #interurban #surrey #Cloverdale #bcelectric #train #railfan #railway #fvhrs #iliketrains #railways_of_our_world #red #wood #heritage #restoration #choochoo #yvr #604 #explore #travel #streetcar #trolley #fraservalley #liveauthentic #history #bevisuallyinspired #trainspotting #clangclangclangwentthetrolley
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Got your tickets for this Saturday’s (Sept. 4) ride on Surrey’s Heritage Railway from Cloverdale Station to Sullivan Station and back?! There`s still some left!

This is a fun family experience! Bring the kids and bring Grandma and Grandpa too!

Please visit our website for more information: www.fvhrs.org
Ticket prices here: https://fvhrs.org/ticket-info/

ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED ONLINE

Purchase your tickets for the Cloverdale to Sullivan trip here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/fvhrs-sept-4th-to-oct-9th-ride-surreys-heritage-rail-to-sullivan-station-tickets-163949442195?fbclid=IwAR3AsflLMMdEzZyaofXVeM5ovhTm-RJZOS2GefKGzAxsX-mqIbHd5Q95bbQ

#fraservalleyheritagerail #surreysheritagerail #funfamilyexperience #fallevent #surreyfamilyevent
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Car 1304 #fraservalleyheritagerailwaysociety #builtinstlouis #usedinbc #okeefes ...

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At the station
roxanne__lewis
#fineartphotography
#womenstreetstyle
#womanpower
#contemporaryphotography
#greatambience
#moodyphotography
#ig_exquisite
#ig_mood
#foggynight
#afterdark
#retrostyle
#filmnoir
#filmnoirstyle
#FVHRS
#FraserValleyHeritageRailway
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Old ass passenger train. #fraservalleyheritagerailwaysociety ...

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Thank you to everyone who has purchased tickets to the Monster Express! It is now sold out! However, you have one last chance to ride Surrey`s Heritage Rail this season, and that`s, this Saturday, October 9, we still have a few tickets left! All aboard! ...

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rscrowson and I spent the morning delivering little ‘kiss’mas thank yous to volunteers in our community kindred_farm salvationarmycanada innforwomen bcspca pahospicesociety sourcesbc self_advocates_of_semiahmoo peacearchfoundation alexandraneighbourhood royalcanadianlegion 240 fraservalleyheritagerail #fvhrs thetimesofcanada ...

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