Stephen Rees's blog

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

The old trolleys are now gone

with 8 comments

Regular operation of the 1982-1984 built Flyer E901A/902 trolley coaches ceased shortly after midnight on Saturday April 19 2008.

source: TRAMS

There was also a short bit on News1130, which I would have missed if not for VanKeefer

All photos on this page are by me except for the two interiors by Alex Eng

Photo by Alex Eng

Translink etb 2811 E901 on Arbutus 2008 0410

TL 2887 on 4 UBC at 6th and Fir 2006_0417

Translink 2765 E902 on 19 at Pender and Carrall 20070701

TL 2887 rear on 4 UBC at 6th and Fir 2006_0417

Written by Stephen Rees

April 20, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Transportation

8 Responses

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  1. *Sniffle* 😦

    I’m gonna miss those old things, with their hideous orangey-brown seats, and flat, run-straight-to-the-back layout. Can you blame me for still being enamoured with the old red and blue horizontal stripes?

    What I won’t miss is getting stuck when the poles come off the wires. But I would have enjoyed one last “goodbye” trip. Oh well… I have gazillions to remember.

    Erika Rathje

    April 20, 2008 at 6:15 pm

  2. I expect that the enthusiasts will have earmarked one or two for preservation, just as they did with the previous Brills. And because of your comment I went back to flickr and found some interior shots for you

    Stephen Rees

    April 20, 2008 at 6:41 pm

  3. I’m going to miss those as well, for the nicer colour scheme and the fact that for me they seem infinitely easier to move around in when crowded (which is often on the 4 and 7). The new trollies seem designed to make moving about inside almost impossible, though I think they were designing without the actual usage numbers in mind. Thanks for posting the photos – those trollies went way beyond what could have been expected of them.

    Todd Sieling

    April 21, 2008 at 11:56 am

  4. @Erika: There will be a nostalgia trip involving the Flyers (and maybe a Brill) this weekend. I clicked through to the TRAMS site at the top, and they have the details there.


    April 22, 2008 at 6:12 am

  5. Todd, I completely agree with you. The new low-floor trolleys, like the low floor diesels, have a lot less room for passengers for a couple of reasons. First, because the floors of the new buses have been lowered to improve accessibility, the tops of the front wheel-wells are now several feet above the floor of the bus, preventing the installation of passenger seats. On the old trolleys, and diesels too, the floor is high enough to put bench seats on top of the wheel-wells at the front of the bus. On the new trolleys, this space is used by electronic equipment on the left front wheel, while the right front wheel is empty space that is sometime used to carry passengers’ bags.
    Second, the steps leading to the back of the bus seem to act as a barrier; standing passengers seem reluctant to step up to the back of the bus, and instead prefer hanging out around the rear door area. This contributes to crowding in the front half of the bus, as the back standing area goes under-used. On the old high-floor buses, the back of the bus was more open as there were no steps to contend with. I think only the new low-floor 60 foot (articulated) buses can carry the same amount of passengers as the old 40 foot high-floor buses. I wonder whether Translink realised this when they ordered the new buses, and that they’d need more low floor buses to replace the old trolleys in order to make up for the decreased carry capacity of the new buses? The new buses can legally carry the same amount of people as the old trolleys, but they can’t in practice. But I guess this was all a compromise. I’m far happier that the new buses are accessible for wheel chairs and easier to board than I am disappointed that they don’t carry as many people.

    Andrew L.

    April 22, 2008 at 10:30 am

  6. It’s interesting that the wooden streetcars lasted about 50 years, the Brills that replaced them lasted about 35 years, and the old New Flyers that replaced the Brills lasted less than 25 years.


    April 22, 2008 at 1:18 pm

  7. Then it’s obvious, we have to bring back streetcars to save money in the long run.

    I was happy when these ‘ol electric Flyers appeared in my UBC days because there was more standing room for student sardine sandwiches than in the GM diesel buses that preceded them. And the single seats on the left side were treasured islands of privacy — IF you could score one. They could’ve used better designers, but then they were conceived in the Disco decade when everything big, orange and boxy were common.

    I once was a passenger on one of these Flyers which was near-empty at the time, seated about half ways down. A guy with two gallons of paint got on at an uphill section of Pender near Beatty. He put the paint on the floor to pay, but the driver stomped on it and as soon as the guy picked up the paint, momemtum was against him. He broke into a halting run all the way down the aisle and crashed into the back seat. Only one of the gallon containers broke open. The guy and the orange back seat and a couple opf windows changed colour before my eyes to a pale yellow. I had to get off two stops later so I did not witness the altercation with the driver, but I could clearly see the guy building up to one.


    April 22, 2008 at 2:55 pm

  8. I’ve been taking action photos of E901/902 Flyers for the last few months. They DO look good with the white paint, the red front and the stripes. Fortunately for photographers, only a couple had all-over advertising paint when they retired. The advertising wasn’t all bad; it broke up the monotony a little.

    In 1981 I tried to land a job working on the chopper electronics. I don’t envy the poor guy who beat me to it. For the first few years, many a Flyer was seen parked by the wayside after a burnout. Even after “Farewell to Brill” in 1984, BC Transit had to keep a few Brills on strength. In those days we still had TB’s on the 41st Avenue and Cambie routes, and no SkyTrain of course, so BC Transit needed all the vehicles it could get. remember taking interesting Brill joyrides in that period.


    April 24, 2008 at 5:39 pm

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