Even in the summer it rains a lot in coastal British Columbia. That’s hardly headline news to the residents; Squamish ranks as one of the rainiest places in Canada. Indeed, natives seem less concerned about frequent rains and more concerned about summer dry spells. For us it means that on every mountain biking expedition north of the border, we can count on having weather induced off days. The rain becomes our warrant to explore the areas tourist attractions.
This year the rainy weather yielded a visit Squamish’s West Coast Railway Heritage Park. The railroad museum endeavors to preserve the artifacts of the era when the rail connection put the region on the map. Collected on the yard are all sorts and all eras of rolling stock. The oldest cars and engines date from the turn of the century; the newest were in use late in the 20th Century. Some of the train cars have been carefully restored. Others show the patina and neglect of the ages. Rehabilitation of more rail cars is ongoing. For us we’d prefer that some of the old cars, with the weathering and wear of the time intact, remain as they are. Corrosion tells its own story.
Visiting the Railway Heritage Park brought us back to the time when the railway opened travel across the west. Strolling through the exhibits plants the feel of what it must have been like to work in a mail car, stoke a locomotive’s engine, or rest in a sleeper car. Perhaps I’d just been cooped up inside too long but while walking through the lot I swear I could smell axle grease and coal smoke and hear the screech of the rails.
We weren’t sure that it would be but the West Coast Railway Heritage Park was interesting. The rains had an upside after all.
See photos from Becky’s exclusive photo shoot at WCRA Heritage Park on Picasa.