History of Rail

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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.  

White Rock’s lifeblood flowed along the rails and the station was the community’s heart. Four trains a day rolled into town from either direction. Introduced in 1911, the three-car Campers Special ran between Vancouver and Blaine from July to October. That service ended in 1925, despite protests. In 1950, the streamlined International service was picking up passengers three times a day on its way between Seattle and Vancouver. Rail service to White Rock dwindled, then ceased in 1975.  

Though long retired from its original function, White Rock’s constant landmark has been the train station, built in 1912. Its metamorphosis began in 1975 when the building was ceded to the city. Befitting its historic status, the depot became home to the White Rock Museum and Archives. Local railway history is one of the Museum’s core themes, represented in the original ticket office, which has been restored to its 1954 appearance.

The above history of White Rock's Rail are excerpts from “The History of White Rock”, as told by community historian, Lorraine Ellenwood.