Helen Williams, manager of the heritage CN station in Fort Langley, is seen on Tuesday, March 23, next to the antique rolling stock that is a regular target of taggers and people climbing up on the roofs of the century-old cars (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Taggers and illicit climbers causing headaches for heritage rail station in Fort Langley

Constantly shooing people off the roofs of the antique caboose and passenger car, manager says

People are not only scrawling graffiti tags on the heritage caboose and passenger car at the CN station in Fort Langley, they are treating the antique rolling stock as their personal playground.

Helen Williams, manager of the heritage station, called keeping people off the train roofs an “ongoing challenge” for the Langley Heritage Society (LHS) volunteers who look after the site.

“The Langley Heritage Society’s Station Committee would like to find a solution as to how to instill respect for the items on display at the station site,” Williams remarked.

“Every time I or my committee members catch them, we politely explain that they are walking on a piece of heritage that is a hundred years old,” Williams recounted.

“We tell them that it is dangerous and that there is no admittance on the roofs. We ask them to get down, which they do, but they return. One told me he did it all the time.”

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It is “most frustrating,” Williams commented, especially when the visitors, almost always young people, leave garbage – bottles and take-out food containers – behind on the roof.

Graffiti is a perennial problem, the most recent incidents of tagging taking place between January and March, with the caboose tagged twice, the passenger car once, and a garbage can once.

“We’ve been fortunate that the tags have been small in size,” Williams remarked.

“We have a long-time member, and professional painter by profession, who has been able to use what he calls some ‘good old fashioned elbow grease’ and a product in his arsenal to get the tags off.”

Williams has also removed tags, buying a spray product which worked on the caboose.

But the activity will likely mean the heritage cars will have to be repainted sooner than expected, the metal passenger car in particular, because the removal product has dulled or “muted” its original colour, Williams explained.

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No decision has been made yet on re-opening the station, which was shuttered due to COVID-19.

Normally, it would begin accepting visitors on Victoria Day, Williams said, but “as the vaccine rolls out, we are reviewing the COVID protocols for historic sites to evaluate what is needed to open the depot and keep our volunteers and visitors safe.”

When it does re-open, the public will see how the LHS has refurbished the CNR freight room to present a “complete” station showing the type of goods that would have been shipped and received by the station agent, Williams shared.

Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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Langley Advance Times


The use of products to remove tagging like this recently applied graffiti from the heritage passenger car at the Fort Langley CN station has dulled the finish, the station manager said. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Visitors left bottles behind on the caboose roof at the historic CN station in Fort Langley. Keeping people off the antique rolling stock is a challenge, the station manager said. (Special to Langley Advance Times)