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End of the line for False Creek streetcar

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It looks like the Downtown Historic Railway won’t be leaving the station in the near future, if ever.

The century-old streetcars that once ran along the south shore of False Creek have been deemed unsafe.

According to a review of the service done by staff with the City of Vancouver which had leased the cars, they are simply too old and would cost too much to fix.

“The business case for them is not great because they had very low ridership,” admits Councillor Geoff Meggs.

“So neither Granville Island or Tourism Vancouver were factoring them in very much as part of the city’s economy.”

That means the two cars will go back to their respective owners, the local volunteer Transit Museum Society (TRAMS), and a private individual in Oregon.

The locally-owned car will be allowed to remain as a static display.

“The view is we should really be focusing on the Broadway Corridor,” adds Meggs.

“We have tens of thousands of trips per day and people being passed up and overcrowding and [we should] try to get new investment there.” 

The historic trains, which had been running off and on this line since 1998, have sat idle since 2012.

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The borrowed Bombardier Streetcar operating in 2010 from the Olympic Village Canada Line station to Granville Island had excellent ridership… and I don’t think that was solely due to the novelty.

Phase 0 of an actual, non-historic, streetcar was to be from Science World to Granville Island. This could be a critical piece of infrastructure to keep more people of the congested Broadway corridor and to connect South False Creek including, and especially, the SkyTrain and Canada Lines.

I would suggest that the Science World to Olympic Village Canada Line Station would be the busiest part of this route.

Get on with it Vision. Bike lanes are great… but the Broadway Corridor Skytrain line is a long way off!

March 25, 2014 at 8:23 am
Heritage Advocate

I think Geoff Meggs is missing the point regarding the streetcars; they were never meant to be money-makers, but rather represent a part of our city’s history that is now mostly gone. A lot of these interurbans and streetcars were burned in the 1960s after the system was shut… and whatever we have left is basically irreplaceable. I mean… look at our heritage building stock. A lot of it was lost at around the same time, and only now are we investing heavily (money and politically) on protecting what is left. Also, making these things run isn’t expensive: the FVRS managed to get itself running last year at a cost that is probably less than all of Gregor Robertson’s bike lanes. Of course, it might feel expensive if Geoff Meggs decides that his next pet projects are to remove the viaducts and build condos on heavily polluted False Creek, but anyway… I’m not suggesting that money be poured into these machines like mad, but they at least deserve a home and place here for all to see and be proud of.

March 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm