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Southern Railway of British Columbia's Trapp Yard Visits

by Elizabeth Guenzler

Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY) is a shortline railway based in New Westminster, British Columbia. Originally the B.C. Electric Railway starting in 1897 and then B.C. Hydro Railway in 1961, it operated until 1988 when it was sold to Itel Rail Corp and became Southern Railway of B.C., one of the Washington Group of Companies.

They have a marshalling yard on Trapp Road in New Westminster, called Trapp Yard which is MP 14.32 on the Marpole Spur, which opened on October 28th, 1965. It was built on a 21 acre site at a cost of $1.25 million, the yard consisted of 25 storage tracks totalling 7.4 miles, with a capacity of 540 cars. Prior to that, B.C. Hydro Rail's main yard in New Westminster was Sixteenth Street Yard, which had a capacity of 240 cars. By 1963, the railway sometimes had to handle up to 700 cars in a 24-hour period, making it a priority to expand yard capacity. So Trapp Yard was created about one mile to the west, and the two yards co-existed. The locomotive and car shops were added in 1967.

I made several visits here in the 2000's, either by myself or over the years with my friends Richard Isles, Bob Alkire and Chris Guenzler. After signing releases and donning hard hat and steel-toed boots we were allowed to photograph the equipment here as long as we were careful and kept off the tracks. Surprises were almost always in store.

SRY SD38AC 381 (nee B.C. Hydro 381) and MP15DC 152 (nee B.C. Hydro 152) lead a train through New Westminster near the Quayside development, along Stewardson Way on July 14th, 2000.

SRY steel caboose A2 brings up the rear of the above train.

Outside the shops on July 14th, 2000 was SRY GP9 122 (ex. Montana Rail Link 122 1999, exx. Burlington Northern 1929, nee Northern Pacific 344 1970).

Its mate, GP9 124 (ex. Montana Rail Link 124 1999, exx. Burlington Northern 1935, nee Northern Pacific 352) was also here.

GP9s were prevalent this day with 129 (ex. Montana Rail Link 129 1999, exx. Chicago and North Western 4376, nee St. Louis-San Francisco 512) on the grounds as well.

SRY MP15DC 151 (nee B.C. Hydro 151) was espied in the shop.

Two years later, I found SRY MP15DC 151 had emerged from the shops on July 5th, 2002.

SRY SW900 903 (ex. B.C. Hydro 903, nee B.C. Electric 903) on July 14th, 2000.

SRY SW900 904 (ex. BCH 904, nee BCER 904) being worked on in the shops that day.

SRY SW900 907 (ex. BCH 907, nee BCER 907) was also undergoing some maintenance.

Returning outside, I found SRY SW900 908 (ex. BCH 908, nee BCER 908).

One of their four SD38-2s, 383 (nee BCH 383) was found on July 5th, 2002 and had recently returned from a five-year lease to I&M Rail Link.

SRY SD38-2 384 (nee BCH 384) was next to its sister 383.

A Trapp Yard scene on February 8th, 2010.

SRY GP9 121 (ex. MRL 121 2008, exx. MRL 1927, exxx. BN 1927, nee NP 342) on the same day.

In 2005, Southern Railway of B.C. bought five former Canadian National GMD1s which had been stored at North Bay, Ontario. Here is SRY 1203 (ex. CN 1169 1987, nee CN 1069 1960) on November 12th , 2005.

SRY GMD1 1204 (ex. CN 1170, nee CN 1070). Photo by Bob Alkire.

Still in Canadian National paint, SRY GMD1 1205 (ex. CN 1172, exx. CN 1072 1990, exxx. Northern Alberta Railways 311 1981, nee CN 1072 1962) was here on March 11th, 2006.

SRY GMD1 1201 (ex. CN 1116, nee CN 1016) had been painted in SRY livery when photographed on March 11th, 2006.

Still here four years later, SRY GMD1 1204 (ex. CN 1170 nee CN 1070) was found on February 8 th, 2010.

On January 25th, 2004, Canadian Pacific transfer freight led by CPR GP38AC 3011 and 3002 were at MP 2 of the Fraser Valley Sub. This was about one mile from Trapp Yard. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

Canadian Pacific GP38AC 3005 spent a few years in this two-tone green after being re-lettered for E&N Railfreight (an internal shortline which operated on Vancouver Island starting in 1996). It was returned to 'Canadian Pacific' in 2000, and was at the entrance to Trapp Yard on April 30th , 2006. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

Howe Sound Pulp and Paper SW900 950-001 (ex. CN 79352 1990, nee CN 72351 1985) on July 14th, 2000. Note the CN number in the rear numberboard. It was still here on July 5th, 2002.

SRY caboose A7 on the property on July 14th, 2000.

VIA FP9 6304 (ex. VIA 6509, nee CN 6509) on July 5th, 2002, in the throes of being painted after being sold to IFE Leasing of Saugus, California.

VIA FP9 6304 (ex. VIA 6509, nee CN 6509) in the livery of IFE Leasing of Saugus, California. This was one of the two FP9s renumbered for the Confederation train in 1967, celebrating the centennial of Canada's Confedration. 6304 was re-numbered 1967 for the event. It was at Trapp Yard on March 15th, 2003.

VIA FP9A 6311, ex. VIA 6529, nee CN 6529 was found on January 25th, 2004. Photograph by Bob Alkire.

A rare find "out west" was Algoma Central FP7 1756, ex AC 1756 2002, exx. VIA 6553 1995, exxx. VIA 1404 1980, exxxx. CP 1404, nee CP 1403 1954 on November 9th, 2003. It had been sold to the West Coast Railway Association museum in Squamish, British Columbia.

During a January 25th, 2004 visit, Bob Alkire had his opportunity to photograph this same locomotive.

The donation plaque on WCRA FP7 1756 (ex AC 1756 2002, exx. VIA 6553 1995, exxx. VIA 1404 1980, exxxx. CP 1404, nee CP 1403 1954). I had not seen such a plaque before or since.

Former CP SW1200 8134 ready to be converted to battery-powered "green kid" units on March 15 th, 2003. It was sold to Alstom in October 2002.

Canadian Pacific GP9 1634, nee CP 8654 on the grounds on January 25th, 2004. Photo graph by Bob Alkire.

Fletcher Challenge SW1900 1501, nee Southern Pacific 2598 at Trapp Yard on November 12th, 2005.

Railpower Technologies RPRX GG20B 2001 (ex. Willamette Valley GP9 2890 2000, exx. SP 2890, exxx. SP 3723 1978, nee SP 5887) was found on November 12th, 2005.

A little over four years later, RPRX GG20B 2001 was still on the grounds on February 8th, 2010.

RPRX GG20B 2003, ex. Alstom 8139, nee Canadian Pacific SW1200 8139 was photographed by the late Michael Coles on August 4th, 2003.

PLM International {CITX} SD40-2 3057 (ex. Alstom Canada {GCFX} 3057, exx. East Coast Motive Power, nee Canadian Pacific 5686) was found on February 8th, 2010.

PLM International {CITX} SD40-2 2785 (ex. CEFX 2785, exx. UP 2785, exxx. UP 4735, nee SP 9128) was also here this day.

Neptune Bulk Terminal T6 804 (ex. Neptune 46 2004, nee Portland Terminal Railroad 46 1984) was another surprise here on February 8th, 2010.

The SRY shops also do work on passenger cars. On July 14th, 2000, this unidentified coach was undergoing restoration.

CN 54960, ex. CN 2182 "Beartooth Island" 1954, nee 2-section 1 drawing room CN sleeper 1540 "London" 1923. It was being refurbished on July 5th, 2002.

One of the former CN coaches in the same paint scheme as VIA FP9 6304 owned by IFE Leasing was espied here on March 15th, 2003.

As part of its rebuild and return to service in 2001, Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 2816 visited Trapp Yard for some work. Here it is on April 20th, 2002, photographed by the late Michael Coles.

Michael Coles also took this picture of the famous steam engine on May 8th 2002, four days after I had ridden it for the first time from Port Coquitlam to Mission.

As with the other Lower Mainland railway yards, I always enjoyed my visits to Trapp Yard. You never knew what surprises lay in store and it was fun to visit and take my friends there too.