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Trestle approach to Fraser River Bridge

October 15, 2011
GN train on trestle approach to Fraser River Bridge Amtrak on trestle at Pattullo Bridge
A Great Northern Railway steam locomotive and train on trestle approaches the Fraser River Bridge, inbound to Vancouver BC from Seattle, 1950.
–Artray photo, Vancouver Public Library
The trestle approach to the Fraser River Bridge in 2011.  The Amtrak passenger train from Seattle  is waiting for the rail bridge to swing into alignment after opening to allow boats to pass through.

The Great Northern Railway began using the southwest approach to Fraser River Bridge at Brownsville in 1909, after adopting a new route from the US border via Semiahmoo Bay.

Since the first photo was taken, the  topography in Brownsville has changed from rural to industrial.  The house near the trestle in the first photo was on the Bridge Road,  originally a plank road connecting the Yale Road and the Fraser River Bridge, which supported a top deck for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Amtrak on trestle inbound to Vancouver
Amtrak train about to pass under the Pattullo Bridge on trestle approach to the Fraser River bridge.  Amtrak trains northbound from Seattle to Vancouver reach this point about 11 a.m. daily.

BCER spur to Fraser River

A  few years ago some remedial work on the trestle replaced some of the wooden cribbing with steel supports.  The small signal platform remains in place here.  Subjacent to the platform is an underpass that accommodated a spur line from the BCER Fraser Valley Line to a wharf at Brownsville, where logs from lumber camps up the valley were dumped into the Fraser River, feeding local mills.  The underpass—below engine in photo above– remains in place, but the spur line is long gone. The rail loop also had to cross the Tannery extension of the GNR twice between the rail bridge and the Yale Road.  It was located in present-day Brownsville Park.

BCER spur underpass Site of BCER log dump on Fraser River at Brownsville
Old BCER spur underpass on GN trestle Brownsville Bar Park
BCER spur to Fraser River
BCER map shows rail loop at present location of  Brownsville Bar Park
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