British Columbia Electric Railway Company Ltd. (BCER)
The British Columbia Electric Railway's interurban passenger service for the Fraser Valley, B.C., area came through Langley in 1910. The company was building rail lines into Langley as early as 1906, when they signed an agreement with Langley government. The company itself began as a merger of the National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (Victoria), Vancouver Electric Railway and Light Company Ltd., and Vancouver & Westminster Tramway Company, and was responsible for hydroelectric power generation, power transmission, and electric rail lines on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. All three companies had gone into receivership in 1895, and the BCER was met with receivership in 1896, following the Point Ellice Bridge Disaster in Victoria. The company was only able to survive through assistance from London financers, and began operations in 1897 as an English-owned company. A station built at 240 St. in the general area formerly known as Harmsworth in Langley was named after Rochfort Henry Sperling, general manager of the B.C. Electric Company, and the area subsequently came to be known as Sperling community. In 1910, a substation was built at Coghlan, and still stands (2021). The substation stepped the voltage from the power transmission lines down for use by the trains passing through. It did not provide power to the surrounding community. Interurban passenger services on the B.C.E.R's Fraser Valley Line ceased in 1950. The company ended all service in 1958, and broke up into the branches it is modernly: BC Hydro, Translink, and BC Transit.
Chamberlayne, Francis (Frank) & Annie
Frank Chamberlayne was born in Gloucester, England in 1888. For a time he was a member of the Gloucester Yeomanry. In about 1911 he married his wife, Annie, 6 years his senior. Frank's father promised to give them the farm in Sandhurst, England, but not for five years. The couple decided to try their luck in the colonies in the meantime. First settling in Vancouver or New Westminster, Frank swept streets for a time. Then, he bought a horse and cart and made deliveries until the horse died. At this time he landed a job with the B.C.E.R. Co., which had opened the Interurban tram line between New West and Chilliwack in 1910. Frank became the operator of the Coghlan substation, one of the five substations on the Interurban line that used large motor generators to convert alternating current to 600 volt direct current. Before Frank enlisted in World War I, the couple had two children. He sailed from Halifax with the Canadian Artillery in October 1916, on the S.S. Missanabie. He was wounded twice, and his last wound in Cambrai, France, in September 1918 might have saved his life, as he was in the hospital until after Armistice. When discharged from service in August 1919, the family moved to England where they had their third child, Betty. The family never returned to live in Canada, but did visit on several occasions.
Term Source: Warren Sommer, through Chaberlayne's daughter, Betty.
One of five substations on the Interurban line between New Westminster and Chilliwack: the others being at Sumas (Vedder Mountain), Chilliwack, Clayburn (Abbotsford), Coghlan (Langley), and Cloverdale (Surrey). Only Coghlan and Sumas remain (2019). The Coghlan substation was built between 1909 and 1910, and was named for Nathaniel and Henry Coghlan, who supplied approximately 20,000 ties for this route. H. B. Watson was the architect of the building.
Information source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spetersongallery/17180131337.