Things to Do with Kids in Vancouver: The Miniature Burnaby Central Railway

Burnaby Central Railway Offers Minature Train Rides for All Ages

Image Courtesy of Burnaby Central Railway

Burnaby Central Railway Overview

Nestled in north Burnaby's Confederation Park, about ten minutes east of the PNE, is one of the best attractions for kids in all of Metro Vancouver (and a hidden gem so hidden many life-long Vancouverites don't know about it): the Burnaby Central Railway.

A non-profit labour of love created and run by the British Columbia Society of Model Engineers (BCSME), the Burnaby Central Railway is a six-acre miniature railway park where people of all ages can ride miniature trains pulled by perfect, 1/8th-scale models of real train engines. There are even steam engines that actually work!

Open on weekends only from Good Friday to Thanksgiving, the Burnaby Central Railway is an incredible experience for anyone who loves trains. Everyone can ride the trains--the engines pull padded "benches" that riders sit astride--and, unlike the (larger) Stanley Park Miniature Train, there are multiple routes the trains can take, so every ride is different.

When: Saturdays, Sundays & Statutory Holidays only, from Good Friday / Easter to Thanksgiving

Where: Confederation Park, 120 North Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby, BC

Cost: $2.50 per ride; free for kids 3 and under

Getting to the Burnaby Central Railway: The easiest way to get to the Railway is by car: if you're coming from Vancouver, just head east along Hastings St., turn left onto Willingdon Ave, then turn right onto Penzance Drive, where you will see signs for the Railway; parking is available nearby. Buses to Hastings and Willingdon are also an option; it's about a 15-minute walk from Hastings to the park.

Map to the Burnaby Central Railway

Birthday Parties at the Burnaby Central Railway

Train enthusiasts of every age would love a birthday at this incredible attraction; they even do retirement parties. But every year the Burnaby Central Railway becomes a little less of a "hidden" gem. Now, enough people know about its charms that booking a birthday party at the facility requires a year notice! Party Bookings at the Burnaby Central Railway

Halloween at the Burnaby Central Railway

The Railway's amazing volunteers / BCSME members open the park for Halloween night (October 31), for a night ride on the trains, followed by hot chocolate with witches (most of whom are the wives of the BCSME members). In 2012, 700 visitors turned out for Halloween night, so expect crowds!

History of the Burnaby Central Railway

The B.C. Society of Model Engineers was founded in 1923, and before 1990 they ran their model, miniature trains at the Burnaby Village Museum. But they couldn't expand their tracks at the Museum, so Burnaby Parks offered BCSME a seven-acre municipal works yard (their current site at Confederation Park). BCSME took the site, but still needed 8,500 loads of fill--which they luckily got from the Cassiar Connector highway project--to create their railway terrain.

Most of the train engines used by the Burnaby Central Railway are privately owned by BCSME members; some were even hand-crafted by the members. All of the maintenance and operations of the Railway are 100% volunteer-driven; if you love trains, the Railway always needs more volunteers to keep the trains going! Donations are also always welcome, to help with winter maintenance.

Christmas with the Miniature Trains at Lougheed Town Centre

The trains don't run in the winter at the Burnaby Central Railway, but they do run inside Lougheed Town Centre for Christmas, thanks to the big-hearts of the volunteer-based B.C. Society of Model Engineers.

Burnaby Central Railway Tickets, Schedules & Volunteer Information: Burnaby Central Railway

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