British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 with a promise that it would be linked to the rest of Canada by a transcontinental railway within 10 years. The Canadian Pacific Railway began construction on that railway in 1881 and the last spike was driven at Craigellachie, BC on November 7, 1885, to complete the link. Chinese workers played a very important part in this railway construction, often undertaking the most dangerous tasks and being paid less than European workers.
Currently, there are a few rail companies operating in British Columbia. CN moves freight. The Rocky Mountaineer takes tourists from Vancouver through Whistler, Kamloops to Jasper. Amtrack brings people from the United States into Vancouver. The West Coast express brings people into Vancouver from nearby Mission. Fraser Valley Heritage Railway offers a 55-minute train ride in Surrey. Finally, the Sky Train operates in Metro Vancouver moving people around.
If you love watching trains, there are a few great spots to check out around Vancouver. Below you will find 5 incredible spots for train lovers to visit in Metro Vancouver.
5 Incredible Train Watching Spots in Metro Vancouver
White Rock Beach
The City of White Rock has a railway that runs along the waterfront. This single-track rail line operates 24 hours a day and is operated by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) and is used by BNSF and Amtrak passenger trains.
The Great Northern Railway Company (predecessor to BNSF Railway) commenced the operation of services along the Semiahmoo Bay in 1909. At the time, the railway operated a single daily freight train each way, primarily transporting construction material and mail, along with limited passenger services.
Today hundreds visit White Rock to walk the promenade, enjoy the stretch of beach or dine and shop locally. Those who love trainspotting can enjoy the trains that pass along the waterfront everyday.
Location: 8th Ave, White Rock
Fort Langley Train Watching
Right along the Fraser River in Fort Langley trainspotters can watch trains as they pass through Langley. Park anywhere in Fort Langley and walk towards the river (to the North) and you will come upon the tracks. Nearby Wendel’s coffee shop has a front row seat to the trains crossing the city.
Those who enjoy history will also enjoy the Langley Heritage Society’s CN Station. The station was built for the Canadian Northern Railway in 1915 as agriculture expanded and new settlements drew people into the Fraser Valley. Absorbed by the Canadian National Railway in 1918, its life as a passenger station spanned the steam through diesel eras until 1980.
Location: 23245 Mavis Ave, Langley BC
Coast Meridian Overpass
The Coast Meridian Overpass in Port Coquitlam crosses the CN Railyard giving plenty of opportunity to watch the action at the railyard.
Location: Coast Meridian Overpass, Port Coquitlam
The network of skytrain lines makes for great train watching. You can see the routes on their website and find a spot outside the station. Trains run every few minutes.
Did we miss a great trainspotting location in Metro Vancouver? Please let us know in the comments so we can update this post!
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!