Railway Heritage Park buys BC Rail Squamish shops

By Don Evans, West Coast Railway Association

It has been a long time in the works, but as of today, West Coast Railway Association now owns the former BC Rail Locomotive shops and all the access trackage, immediately across the road from its West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, BC. The $2 million transaction was funded half from Federal Government funding announced yesterday, and half from private donations. The aerial photo here shows the area that was purchased.

West Coast Railway Heritage Park is located at left, centered around the roundhouse/event center. Its owner, the West Coast Railway Association, has purchased the former BC Rail shop complex at right.

Attendees to the Fall 2019 HRA Conference in Squamish, BC will get a firsthand look at the “new” West Coast Railway Shops complex, which contains seven track bays and is equipped with ten ton and 50 ton overhead cranes. There is also a locomotive service building with raised tracks and elevated side platforms, allowing access underneath and to the roof of a unit for servicing. In addition to the main shops building, there is a three story office facility which features a large model railroad under construction on the second floor and training rooms on the third floor.

While half the funding is for the purchase, an equal amount is for upgrading the building – which will include new insulation, heating system, electric and plumbing upgrades, new security and sprinkler systems and other improvements. Upgrade work will get underway immediately.

WCRA has leased this facility for several years, but now the museum has long term tenure to develop the facility into a future main attraction as an operating shop and one day, a future museum of railroad technology.

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