Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Tram move to cost $1.3M

with 5 comments

Richmond News

The City of Richmond will spend up to $1.3 million to house a tram that may never run again, according to a plan going to the city’s parks, recreation and culture department tonight.

This is a sorry story. Richmond has not performed well with respect to the Interurban which pretty much created it. Vancouver and Burnaby have done much better. Vancouver certainly benefited from a former head of BC Transit who recklessly spent the crown corporations funds without proper authorisation on restoring a car now on Vancouver’s Heritage line. Burnaby have recently spent a packet on their interurban car. Richmond has a long history of arguments and law suits and the car is still not in running condition.

I got an idea from a story in the Vancouver Courier today (not on their site at the time of writing) which lauds Hatch Mott McDonald for getting the contract to design the expansion of the streetcar lines between Granville Island and Science World.


If the project goes ahead, the single tracks between Granville Island and Science World, where the Downtown Historic Streetcar runs on weekends during the tourist season, would be replaced with double tracks that would accommodate both the new and old streetcars.

Single cars would run down a grass median in the centre of First Avenue with a car and a bicycle lane on either side. Whether the wires that power the electric cars will span First Avenue or run off posts in the centre of the median will be examined in the report HMM will submit to the city by the end of the year.

My suggestion would be that the City of Richmond lend the tram to Vancouver. They hope to borrow some other cars to have some running by 2010. TRAMS have a lot of experienced people, and the technology of electric traction is common to trolleybuses. So 1220 could be running again, as long as we don’t have to wait for Richmond to get its act together. And we might even have some money from our Olympic venture to contribute. The main thing is that the car run, not be a static museum piece. We have lots of nice pictures in our Archives – which cannot be published because no-one knows who the photographers are. They form a very nice exhibit right now. A few artifacts could round that out. A working car on a line that is actually performing a function is a much better memorial to the interurban.

BCER 1222

Richmond should hang its head in shame. It has already allowed housing to be built on part of the right of way. In future years our children will look at the monstrosity on No 3 Road and wonder what on earth we were thinking of. We could have had a real light rail system here again. We chose not to. Incredibly short sighted and as always driven more by penny pinching than common sense.


Tram moving to next stop

By Matthew Hoekstra

City staff will announce next Tuesday the new proposed home for the Steveston tram.

Last October city council abandoned plans to relocate interurban tram #1220 to Britannia Heritage Shipyard, over cost and community concerns that a shipyard wasn’t the right spot for a historic rail car.

Council opted instead to leave it at its current home in a barn in Steveston Park until a new location could be found.

Now, according to city spokesperson Ted Townsend, a new location has been identified. That location will be revealed at the next parks, recreation and culture committee meeting, Tuesday at 4 p.m. at city hall.

And something I had missed in  the Province last Monday from Derek Moscato

Written by Stephen Rees

May 29, 2007 at 3:19 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I always did think it was odd that Richmond wanted the tram route to run as a purely tourist run in Steveston.

    Are there any plans afoot to use the Railway Ave. ROW for a downtown Richmond to Steveston run?

    With the Canada Line complete, the LRSP requirements of rapid transit between regional town centres will have been met – and Translink will probably turn its mind to streetcar and light rail projects fanning out from each rapid transit terminus (i.e. where ridership is lower).

    Planning for the South Fraser Transit Plan (and City of Surrey plans) indicates light rail fanning out from the Surrey Central area.
    The Evergreen Line will eventually be a light rail network centred on Coquitlam with a rapid transit tie-in (transfer) at Lougheed.
    I expect Richmond would have a light rail (or streetcar) system fanning out from its downtown too. The Bombardier alternate bid for RAV would have kickstarted a streetcar, as it had a streetcar down No. 3 Rd. with a rapid transit tie-in (transfer) at Bridgeport (but ultimately, I think that Richmond will benefit from a one-seat ride to its core, while Coquitlam got screwed without a one-seat ride to its core).


    May 31, 2007 at 5:52 pm

  2. Since there is now housing development at the southern end of Railway Ave on the old row that is now not possible. A bit like the way one Starbucks Cafe put a stop to linking the Heritage Streetcar to the Arbutus line. Besides, the (new) residents of Steveston have made it pretty clear they don’t want trams.

    Stephen Rees

    May 31, 2007 at 7:52 pm

  3. That’s a shame. I’ve seen aerial photos at Global Air Photos / Waite Air Photos that seem to show a school (?) built on the northern end of the ROW too.
    I’m not sure if that would be a huge impediment, as I think Granville Ave is designated as the east-west route to access the Railway Ave ROW rather than coming down past the Olympic Oval site. (Even though having a streetcar through the new Olympic Oval neighbourhood along, say, Lansdowne to Lansdowne Station would make sense.)


    June 1, 2007 at 12:06 pm

  4. The tram used to follow Railway, then round the curve onto Granville and up Garden City. The school was built on the link to the CPR Van Horne Spur which used to run through what is now the works yard and Dover Park. The next section was recently tarmaced for the replacement
    to River Road

    Stephen Rees

    June 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

  5. […] with a fair amount of prominence (lead on the web page but much less meat) for a story they have already covered. Not much new really: basically the people who know something about Steveston’s history point […]

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