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.”
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.
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.
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