In 1909, a railway line opened along the shoreline of Semiahmoo Bay, where the Canada-United States boundary meets the Pacific Ocean. The new railway made the superlative beaches of Semiahmoo Bay easily accessible, and soon scores of beach-goers arrived with almost every passing train. In response, the communities of White Rock, Crescent Beach and Ocean Park sprang up and prospered. But as the years passed and the automobile usurped the passenger train as the principal mode of transprotation, residents began to resent --then curse--the railway tracks on their doorsteps. No longer viewed as providing access to the beach, the tracks were seen as impeding access. Occasionally, beach-goers were struck by trains as they crossed the tracks, almost always with fatal results. Demands to get rid of the railway filled newspaper columns and even reached the Prime Minister's office in Ottawa. No section of railway track of comparable length in British Columbia has generated such furious and sustained controversy.
This book is not intended to resolve the controversy. Rather, it records--in words and photographs--the story of the first 100 years of the Railway by the Bay, as seen by someone who, as a child, watched with rapt fascination the beachfront trains passing his bedroom window.
About the Author
Barrie Sanford is one of BC's most prolific and highly regarded railway historians. Born in New Westminster and raised in White Rock, Sanford is also an avid photographer who has lived in Quesnel and has an engineering degree from UBC, plus a business administration degree from SFU. In 1973 he won and award for best technical paper in British Columbia from the Corporation of BC Land Surveyors.