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The History of Surrey's early Transfer and Freight Services

The inspiration, materials and photos for this page were researched
and supplied by Bruce Harger. Contact Bruce at: 604–531–4798

Rural Truck Lines Co–operative Association

In 1917 a handful of Fraser Valley truck operators banded together to open a tucking terminal at the corner of Georgia and Cambie Streets in Vancouver. The Rural Truck Lines Co–operative Association was born and was to have a long history of service to the Lower Mainland.

Rural Truck Depot

Jim Vanderspek is standing in front of one of Rural Truck Lines tanker fleet.

Rural Truck Co-operative

The Co–operative membership grew over the years and included: Black's Motor Freight, Chilliwack Cartage, Cloverdale Freight lines, Delta Freight Lines, Fraser Transfer, Green Motor Freight, Lake Freight lines, Mission City Freight Lines, Oliver Transfer, Vanderspek Transportation, White Rock Transfer, Winton Transfer, White Transport.

The Co–operative Terminal in Vancouver was located initially at Georgia and Cambie Street, but moved to 32 Water Street. In 1924 it moved back to Cambie, between Robson and Georgia, and finally in 1947 to a location on Charles Street.

Service was provided throughout the lower Fraser Valley and though the Fraser and Thompson Canyons. Princeton, Penticton and east was serviced via Highways 8 & 5 to through Merritt to Princeton. Prior to 1949 and the opening of the Hope–Princeton, all traffic went up the Fraser Canyon to Kamloops and the Okanogan. After 1949 service was provided over the Hope–Princeton to Princeton, Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon. Only the severe rationing to the war years with gasoline and rubber rationing forced the suspension of service.

Public Freightways Limited.

Vanderspek Transportation started in 1934 and Jim served Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon and Kelowna.

After the war ended Jim Vanderspek of Vanderspek Transportation promoted the merging of nine small trucking firms into Public Freightways Limited. Each company was given equal shares in the new company. Anderson Freight Line, Mission City Freight, Winton's Transfer, Chilliwack Cartage, Lake Freight lines (Harry Black Sr.), Surrey Freight, Langley Freight, Black Motor Freight, Oliver Transfer and Vanderspek Transport. All were prominent names in the early postwar trucking industry, and represented service which blanketed the lowlands of the Fraser Valley–Vancouver region with the exception of Richmond, Ladner, and Mission. On March 1st, 1951 Public Freightways was formed. This was the year following the great railway strike of 1950. Freightways was the biggest merger in the history of British Columbia's motor transport history. The nine operating freight lines, trucks, trailers and terminal were valued at upwards of half a million dollars.

Public Freightways remained a member of the Rural Co–operative Association. In 1957 the co-operative association included Black's Motor Freight, Delta Freight Lines, Fraser Transfer, Mission City Freight lines, Oliver Transfer, and White Transport. It ranked as the largest short line haul trucking company west of the Great Lakes. Public Freightways had depots at Chilliwack, Hope, Kent, Langley, Maple Ridge, Matsqui, Cloverdale and White Rock. In 1972 Public Freightways and Johnson Terminals merged as one. Public Freightways closed its doors in 1989 due to a downturn in the economy and a small profit margin.

White Rock and Crescent Beach

In March 1913 White Rock residents were urged to "ship your good in care of Eli Atkinson" of White Rock Express. White Rock and Crescent Transfer advertised in the Semiahmoo Gazette from May 1926 to January 1929, as did Frederick's Rural Transfer Many 1926 through June 1927. Years of Promise: White Rock 1858–1958. p75

White Rock Transfer

White Rock Transfer began service to Vancouver circa 1926 and served the area under various names and owners over the years. The licence was operated in the early 30's by Cec Collishaw who sold to Tommy Hogg in 1937. Tom Hogg operated the transfer service until 1943 when he sold to go logging. Sadly Tommy was killed in a logging accident on Vancouver Island in 1944.

White Rock Transfer was operated from 1937 to 1943 by Tommy Hogg as a member of the Rural Truck Line Co–operative.

Red Cross supplies are being loaded into the White Rock Transfer Truck, 1941. On the back of the photograph is written "'Well boys, let's go'. White Rock's first Red Cross Shipment May, 3, 1941." Tom Hogg (taking off his jacket) was the owner of the company. He died in an industrial accident at a logging camp on Vancouver Island in 1944. Years of Promise: White Rock 1858–1958. p367

The picture above is taken at the corner of Elm Street and Marine Drive.

Picture courtesy of White Rock Museum and Archives WRMA 1993–64–1

White Rock Transfer was sold by Tom Hogg and it was purchased, in 1943, by Pacific Stage Driver Jim Roddick and his partner Frank Best. They operated from a Victoria Avenue building near Vidal Street. The Roddick family lived in an upstairs apartment. Their Public Utility Commission license area was primarily Ward 7 which is roughly the present boundaries of the City of White Rock.

The White Rock Transfer Depot

White Rock transfer operated out of a building at 14955 Victoria Avenue. The operators were Frank Best and Jim Roddick. In the picture above Frank Best is resting on the bumper of the truck on the left, Mrs. Roddick and Jim Roddick are in front of the truck in the middle. The Delta Freight lines truck must have been used by White Rock Transfer.

Demolistion of old Transfer Depot

One of White Rock's historic buildings was demolished and this picture published in the June 25, 2010 issue of the Peace Arch News. At one time this was the White Rock Transfer garage and the Roddick Family lived in one of the apartments above the garage.

The pictures' caption read:

"End of an era. The building at 14955 Victoria Ave. – home of the Sausalite Bed and Breakfast and Daisy's Treasure Trove Thrift Store – falls to the wreckers' claw Wednesday to make way for redevelopment. Originally home of White Rock Transfer trucking company in the late 1940s, it has also been a car dealership, a real estate office and an interior design centre, and was in the news last year when owners Bob and Jacqueline Yearsley won a Supreme Court decision which ruled the City had exceeded their authority in denying their development application.

White Rock Transfer was a member company of the Rural Truck Line Co–op. Ten companies served the Fraser Valley and with Vanderspek Transportation providing service to some interior points they formed the Rural Truck Co–op. They shared a common Vancouver Warehouse and office services. In 1951 eight companies amalgamated to form Public Freightways Ltd. Roddick and Best sold their White Rock Transfer to Public Freightways. Jim Roddick went to work for West Vancouver Blue Bus where he retired as manager.

Pacific Flyer in front of the Fedham Block

Mrs. Connie Feedham poses in front of the Pacific Stage Flyer with Jim Roddick. The bus is parked in front of the Fedham Block in White Rock. Circa 1940s.

Public Freightways bill board

When Public Freightways took over in 1951 the business was operated from the Old Pacific Stage Garage at Washington avenue and Elm Street. The Bus operation had moved to the new BC Electric building and Bus Depot on Oxford Street. Public Freightways was first managed for a few months by Jack Winton. He was succeeded in April 1952 by Lewis Stevenson. "Louis" managed the branch until the company left the White Rock area in 1958. His drivers included; Len Collishaw, Len Weston and Harold Smith. At this time Crescent Beach White Rock Transfer took over the White Rock License area. Louis was transferred to Grand Forks in 1958 when Public Freightways left White Rock as they were expanding into the Interior.

When Crescent Beach Transfer was granted an extended licence, Public Freightways left as there was insufficient business for two carriers. The Company was renamed Crescent Beach and White Rock Transfer and continued operating out of the Elm Street building from 1958 into the 1970s.

There were two other PUC licenced carriers based in White Rock

Davey's Light Delivery

This pictures was taken in 1946 and shows Bert Davey with his young son, Bobbie, in front of his first light delivery truck. Bert Davey's family arrived from Saskatchewan in 1926 when he was nine. His parents, Charlie and May operated Charlie's Fish and Chips (forerunner of Coney Island) on the east beach area of White Rock. Their other businesses included Dance Halls and concessions. After his war service Bert went into business for himself. Davey's Light Delivery, later renamed Davey's Transfer carried the Vancouver Sun to Part of Delta, Langley and all of Surrey and White Rock from 1946 to 1986.

Similarly, Dal Bradley deliver the Vancouver Province to most of the Valley south of the Fraser and terminated in White Rock. His freight delivery service operated from 1947 to 1975, the last eighteen years on night shift.

Crescent Beach Transfer

Crescent Beach Transfer was originally operated by R.L. "Pop" Taylor circa 1922. The operation was taken over by Aubrey Stevens circa 1930 until 1953.

Crescent Beach Transfer

This was the small truck Aubrey Stevens operated as Crescent Beach Transfer. Jimmy Smith was the driver as Aubrey had other commercial obligations that kept him busy.

Aubrey was also the Imperial Oil Agent for Ocean Park and Crescent Beach Elgin area. He was also an early volunteer fire chief for the Crescent Beach/Ocean Park and was instrumental in building the new fire hall – hall 12.

Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith worked for Aubrey Stevens for most of those years with the exception of some of the war years. In the period from 1930 to 1955, Jimmy was the driver/operator for most of these years. Aubrey was occupied as the Imperial Oil agent for the Crescent Beach, Ocean Park, and Elgin areas. This picture of Jimmy Smith was taken in 1936.

Crescent Beach Transfer had the Public Utility Commission authorized operating territory of Elgin, Crescent Beach and the area west of Nichol Road (140th Street). This could be referred to as the West White Rock and Ocean Park areas and corresponded to Surrey's Ward 6. Scheduled service required for this district was to be at least a five day service.

Previous to the opening of the Patullo Bridge in 1937 and the King George Highway in 1940, Aubrey and Jim traveled to Vancouver via Mud Bay or Brown Roads, to Pacific Highway, Fry's Corner, Whalley, over the New Westminster Railway Bridge, through New Westminster, up the 12th Street hill and then along Kingsway into the city.

Aubrey Stevens sold Crescent Beach Transfer to Andy Tulloch and Tulloch Western Fisheries Ltd. in 1953. The company operated as the Crescent Beach Ocean Park Transfer until 1958 with Jimmy Smith as a working manager.

During this period many White Rock Merchants requested service and Jim proposed a licence extension to the Public Utilities Commission.

Surrey's Ward System

In 1958 Crescent Beach Ocean Park Transfer was granted a licence extension to serve Ward Six and Seven. As there was insufficient business for two carriers Public Freightways left White Rock and the new Company, Crescent Beach White Rock Transfer, took over the warehouse and Washington Avenue and Elm Street. They continued in business until the mid 1970s with drivers Len Weston, Harold and Jimmy Smith. Jim served as working manager as well.

Jimmy and Audrey Smith

In this 1960 picture Audrey and Jimmy Smith are standing in front of one of the Crescent Beach White Rock Transfer trucks.

Moving jobs were done by the company with large or long distance jobs handled by Ross Hume Moving of Langley

Other trucking businesses included a late addition to the moving business, Suburban Moving, in the late 1950s was based in Sunnyside. Some early dump truckers were Bert Davey's brother Harry Davey who working on the building of the King George Highway and was an independent contractor but in later years a City of White Rock contractor. Marv Wahl provided sand and gravel for local contractors. Others were Eric Hepper, and A.M. Tuttle. Fred Haynes and Fred Tiller operated local delivery services.

North Surrey and Cloverdale

In addition to early rail freight service to Surrey provided by the Great Northern, its predecessor subsidiary companies, and the BC Electric Railway there were several early truck freight businesses. The BC Electric had their own subsidiary truck line; the BC Rapid Transit Company. It was in business from 1924 to 1932, and provided service to Lulu Island, Ladner and south of the Fraser River to Chilliwack.

BC Rapid Transit BC Rapid Transit Trailers

BC Rapid Transit provided transfer services to North Surrey and Cloverdale. The advertising on the last trailer indicates the areas served which included; Langley Prairie, Ladner, Cloverdale and Murrayville among others. Picture courtesy of: Transit in British Columbia: the first hundred years pp116–117

Greenaway Truck Line, June 1943

An early freight carrier from Cloverdale was Clark Greenaway. During the Second World War this service was operated by a pioneer milk hauler, J. Austin Lonely. As milk was an essential product 'Aussie' was asked to handle the service as milk haulers were not subject to the same rationing as Freight Lines. Rationing for fuel and tires was quite stringent.

Justin Loney with his truck at Port Kells

This picture was taken in 1930 at the Port Kells' Store. J. Austin Loney was 25 at the time and this is his 1923 Garford Truck. The solid rubber tires wouldn't have provided for a smooth ride for the milk cans. J. Austin (Aussie) Loney is on the fender of his delivery truck and the crumpled front fenders of the truck resulted from one trip into Vancouver. Loney was following the street car tracks in thick fog when he caught up to a stopped street car. He attempted a pass, but unfortunately an oncoming car was approaching. The damaged fenders were the result.

After the war Tom Dent Sr. operated part of the PUC License from Cloverdale with Lewis Stevenson, serving South Westminster, Whalley, Fleetwood, Port Kells and West Langley. The district was basically north of highway 1A (Fraser Way), terminating in Milner.

In 1951 Surrey Freight Line became a founding member of Public Freightways. Tom Dent managed the Cloverdale Branch until the mid-sixties, 'Louis' Stevenson managed the White Rock Branch until 1958 when Public left White Rock. From 1960 to 1964 'Louis' worked at Cloverdale and then until 1975 in Vancouver and Burnaby at which time he retired.

Stevenson Truck Line

Lewis (Louis) Stevenson operated Stevenson trucking serviced North Surrey east as far as Milner. His general freight service operated until April of 1952 when it merged with Public Freightways. This is Lewis 'Louis' Stevenson and his near new 1948 Mercury Truck. He was 36 at the time.

Ladner Transfer served the Scott Road, Kennedy, Strawberry Hill and Endersby area as well as Delta.

By the late fifties parcel delivery companies came into being. Early ones were Kemp Motor Freight and Valley Express from New Westminster and Wholesale Delivery Service from Vancouver among others.

Early milk haulers include A.J. Ellis, W.T. Mervyn, T.C. Senay as well as J. Austin Loney. Milk haulers who entered later were; Jimmy Clark, Bob Routledge, and Clark Greenaway. Cec Collishaw, who operated White Rock Transfer in the early thirties started hauling milk for A.J. Ellis. In the 1950s Aussie Lonely sold his trucks and routes to his drivers; his brother "Toots", Pat Warwick, Hank Reger and Gerry Hennel. Aussie then operated the Home Oil distributors Bulk Plant at Langley Prairie. Other milk routes were operated in Surrey by Langley carriers Lawrence MacDonald and Willoughby Rooke. Charlie Busby and Gerry Bailley combined in 1948 to form B&B Trucking with two dump trucks and three flat decks to haul feed and farm produce. From 1928 to 1952, Brown Bros. hauled fuel and building supplies. Don Galloway and Bruno Zappone were dump truck contractors for the Municipality among others.

Rural Truck Line Co-op

  • Anderson Freight Line
  • Black Motor Freight
  • Boothy Truck Line (Mission)
  • Chilliwack Cartage
  • Haney Hammond Motor Freight
  • Hope Freight Lines
  • Lake Freight lines
  • Mountain Transfer
  • Mission City Freight
  • Oliver Transfer
  • Overland Freight Line (Chilliwack)
  • Surrey Freightways
  • Vanderspek Transportation
  • White Rock Transfer
  • White transport
  • Winton Transfer

Public Freightways in 1951

  • Anderson Freight Line
  • Hume Truck Line
  • Chilliwack Cartage
  • Lake Freight lines (Harry Black Sr.)
  • White Rock Transfer after 1951
  • Oliver Transfer
  • Surrey Freight Lines
  • Vanderspek Transport.
  • Winton's Transfer


  • Crescent Beach Transfer
  • White Rock Crescent Beach Transfer
  • Cottrell Truck – Hope
  • Ladner Transfer to 1969
  • Langley Freight Line
  • Delta Transfer
  • Boothby Truck Line – Mission
  • Green Motor Freight (Agazzi) becomes Overland
  • Country Freight (Abbotsford, Hope)


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