Photo Essay: Exploring The Train History Gem of West Coast Railway Heritage Park

Last Updated on September 5, 2015

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With Madison being so interested in trains now, we knew we had to stop along the way as we ventured to the resort town of Whistler, BC. Located in Squamish, British Columbia the West Coast Railway Heritage Park is a great attraction to stop at while traveling along the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler. This heritage park holds Western Canada’s largest collection of locomotives and railcars that are very impressive and beautifully restored.

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Beyond just the incredible Royal Hudson, their prized train centrepiece, there are a lot of trains to wander through. It was cool to see how people travelled through different eras of time, some of the trains even being 70 years old. We loved being able to wander through all the history and that we were able to see artifacts and memorabilia from different eras as well. We loved that we didn’t feel that we were roped away from history; they actually allow you to feel and touch most of it.

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As you can see from the above photos, they really do great restoration work on the trains at the heritage park and it was great to be able to see and feel their finished work.

There is also a mini-rail for the kids to enjoy, as well as a small playground.

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We thought it was neat seeing all the old advertisements that were displayed that promoted the railway and employment with the railway. Vintage advertisements really take you back in time!

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It was also neat to see the Brightbill House restored on the grounds. The house was built in 1937 by Harry Brightbill, the very first conductor hired on the Pacific Great Eastern Railway or PGE in 1912. The PGE was the first railway to run north – south in British Columbia, operating from Squamish to Quesnel. He was a conductor for 40 years. Mr. and Mrs. Brightbill raised three daughters in this house (at the corner of 2nd Ave. and Winnepeg Street.) During this time there was not a highway to travel to Squamish from Vancouver – you would have had to take a steamboat.

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The West Coast Railway Heritage Park is a must stop visit for those who enjoy trains. It is a great historic site suitable for the entire family to visit. Experience time travel with nostalgic displays of one of the most important vehicles in our history and enjoy the opportunity to take many unique photos.

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What are some of  your favourite historic sites to visit?