A Squamish tourist attraction has a new name. West Coast Railway Heritage Park is now the ‘Railway Museum of British Columbia’.
After having been closed to the public for over a year, the WCRA reopened as the Railway Museum of BC on July 1.
From now until September 18, the museum will open only on Saturdays, from 10 am to 5 pm.
“The WCRA didn’t really define what we have here, and we wanted to capture the name that really represented who we are,” says Gordon Bell, the general manager of the Museum.
Locals and visitors can expect a more interactive experience at the museum.
“One of the big changes is that when you buy a ticket, it will include everything, so you can ride the mini rail, and ride as much as you want. Also we have a new speeder trail and again you can ride as much as you want,” he says.
Guests will also be taken to the new restoration facility where they can experience the trains being restored. There is also a new blacksmith shop, a new PGE fire hall, an old-time print shop with a vintage printing press, and a new general store.
Visitors can ride the big trains such as BC Rail Budd Diesel Rail Car and the Henry Pickering Observation Car, but kids and adults will enjoy the ever-popular mini-rail that will also be back in service.
The museum also has three new railway historical pieces they will be restoring and displaying over the summer.
The museum is also planning events in the fall, such as the North Pole Express, the Christmas train ride, and dinner trains.
Bob Philip, the president of the newly named Railway Museum of BC, says the museum has always been known for restoring and preserving cars. That work will continue but those who visit will also get to know about the cars and their history.
“It’s time to tell the story of the railway and the history of the rail car and how if reflects on the development of BC and Canada and the role trains have played in that,” he says.
“We were in the business of restoration and we will still do restoration, but we are also going to tell the story of how the railways built the province and the country.”
Philip, a UBC Athletic director for several years, joined the railway museum board in 2018, and has since worked with Gordon Bell and other board members to find ways to best tell the story of railways.
After several brainstorming sessions, they applied for a name change, which took almost a year. Both are excited as the new museum opens its doors to the public next week.
Philip and Bell are very grateful to the volunteers who have been working tirelessly for the museum’s opening. Both are also looking forward to welcome the community and tourists.
“Our new name really represents who we are, and I think people will be surprised at what we have at the new Railway Museum of BC and what they can do here,” says Philip.