But when the doors opened to the Spooky railway station, the pleasant weather was forgotten. The somewhat fearful adults and their brave children, in costume of course, began their quest in the crypt (Transit Museum) where an empty coffin provided the proof that the body of the Duke of Connaught, Prince Arthur, was missing.
The task of the intrepid Halloweeners was to follow the clues found in the casket and find speak with the ghost of the Duke.
After leaving the crypt, they boarded the ghostly train Boooo Ceeee Elleeeeeek Trickarrrrrr 1-2-2-5 to ride the ghost train itself, and see if the ghost of the Duke should appear to the travellers on the same train system he traveled on in 1912. At that time he was Canada’s Governor General when he toured part of the Lower Mainland in another car, BCER Car 1304.
The clue from the swamp directed them to the haunted barn where they walked through the old railroader’s graveyard and then plunged into the dark of the wicked Pumpkin Walk. At that point a mysterious fog appeared, out of which the grim reaper, with fright mask, black cloak and scythe, glided into view.
The black spectre directed the questors to follow the blood coloured string of lights up a spooky staircase into the ghostly hallows of an old railcar called the “Connaught.” Here they encountered more ghosts, spirits and spiders, before coming face to face with the ghost of the Duke of Connaught, old Prince Arthur himself. He told of his tail of woe and suffering, of the agony of not seeing the grand old railcar he had loved so well, the railcar that was named after him, not yet fully restored to ride the rails once again in all of its former glory. He proclaimed he would proudly ride the car (probably every Halloween) but as a much happier ghost.
This first special event by Surrey’s Heritage Rail sold out – and then some! We entertained 283 people, big and small, short and tall, and there was a strong demand by others who were disappointed, unfortunately as there was no more capacity for additional visitors. Next year there will be more space as we are expecting additional capacity in the form of BCER Car 1207, very soon now.
The idea for this special event came out of the enthusiasm of the Special Events committee which began meeting last spring. The Halloween event was conceived and led by Director Stephen Plant who created the story and with the help of about 40 fabulously creative volunteers in both the station operating crews. All decorations were collected and Haunted Station and the Duke’s crypt was brilliantly set up by the Station volunteers. The Operations and restoration crew was equally brilliant in their establishment of the old Engineer’s graveyard, the haunted barn, fog machines, and the amazing dressing of 1225, Spidey the Speeder and 1304.