Agenda Index City of Vancouver


Date: March 9, 1998

Author/Local:Peter Bremner/7920

TO: Vancouver City Council

FROM: General Manager of Engineering Services

SUBJECT: Interurban Car Operation False Creek South


A.THAT Council approve implementation of a demonstration street car line as outlined in this report at a cost of $160,000; source of funding to be provided by passage of a diverting by-law re-allocating debenture capital approved in the 1994-1996 Capital Plan and allocated to Streets Basic Capital Account No. 12/31/9825/999 -(Burrard, Cornwall to 3rd Avenue left-turn bay). Diversion of these funds will require eight affirmative votes of Council.

B.THAT the General Manager of Engineering Services be authorized to begin planning for the extension of the line to Vanier Park and to negotiate with CP Rail to secure rights for operation of a street car to Vanier Park across CP Rail’s land, (see Appendix 2) with a report back to Council for approval.

C.THAT Council instruct the Director of Legal Services to bring forward the required amending by-law.


Funding for the Burrard, Cornwall to 3rd Avenue left-turn bay was approved in the 1995 and 1996 Engineering Capital Budgets. A total of $1.625 million has been allocated from debenture authority approved as part of the 1994-1996 Capital Plan and borrowing of these funds has been completed.

Recommendation "A" requests Council approval to divert the use of this debenture funding by transferring $160,000 from the Streets and Bridge Infrastructure section of the Capital Budget to a project for which debenture funding was not specified in the associated borrowing by-law. Section 244 of the Vancouver Charter specifies that, where a borrowing by-law has been issued, Council may divert the use of the funds from that by-law by a two-thirds majority vote. Confirmation of that diversion is provided in an amending by-law.


Council has established transportation priorities which encourage transit.

Council has in the past supported projects preserving and promoting street car heritage.


This report seeks the necessary funding and approval for a demonstration street car line.


In the last two years, the City has made several important steps toward achieving an operating street car. Namely:

- purchased the False Creek South rail corridor from CP Rail in April 1996;

- secured a lease of Interurban Car 1207 in July 1996;

- unveiled Interurban Car 1207 in February 1997;

- secured a lease of Interurban Car 1231 in March 1997;

- completed the restoration and move of Car 1231 in October 1997.

In addition, a consultant study of the street car extension into the downtown area is now underway. This study examines alignments beginning at Science World and includes identifying station locations and urban design issues. A business case analysis of capital and operating costs, and revenues will also be undertaken.


The first stage of operation is proposed as a demonstration line on the old CR Rail corridor from 6th Avenue and Moberly Road to Anderson Street under the Granville Bridge. However, to achieve this requires funding for several work items on the car, the track and power supply.

Fund raising for the street car project has been ongoing. To date, approximately $30,000 has been raised, with about half of this coming from individuals. This money has been put towards the restoration of Car 1231 and completion of the storage building for Car 1207. Other funding possibilities currently being pursued include BC Hydro, Heritage Trust, other corporations and individuals.

Although these efforts have been helpful, if we wait to raise funds before implementation, operation will be delayed beyond summer 1998. To order and install the necessary electrical equipment requires approximately 3 months. If we are to operate this summer, we need to accelerate the program and provide funding to begin implementation. It is estimated that $160,000 is needed to put the Car into operation. This is based on continued cash donations and anticipated volunteer work.


Interurban Car 1207 is proposed to be used for this operation which would be a weekend, summer time operation. The Car would run on the former CP Rail corridor from 6th Avenue and Moberly Road to Anderson Street. Passengers would be able to board at either end of the line.

Operating expenses for the Car are not expected to be significant. The operation, display and maintenance will be by volunteers through the Transit Museum Society (TRAMS). All operators will require training and will follow safety manual procedures. Electricity for the year is estimated to be approximately $3,000 and is expected to be covered by continuing donations.

While this phase of the project has limited operation, it does achieve four key objectives as follows:

1.Celebrates a valuable piece of our heritage.

2.Demonstrates the viability of street car technology in meeting the transportation needs of the inner City.

3.Provides limited improved accessibility to Granville Island by connecting to the parking areas around the Cambie bridgehead.

4.Creates an opportunity to extend a transit line into the Vanier Park complex which currently has poor access.

Work Required

The work involved includes an electrical and mechanical safety check of the car, power supply and electrical equipment, track work, poles and trolley line installation. A single trolley line is required which will be supported by wood poles and a cantilevered arm with heritage style scroll. There is also an opportunity to add street banners to the poles. Access to board and view the Car on the rail corridor just east of Anderson is also required. This will consist of a raised platform the length of the car, a paved pathway, benches and some landscaping. With approval of this report, we will consult with the neighbourhood on design details.

In addition to the construction activity, it is recommended that we initiate planning of the extension of the trolley line into the Vanier Park complex. This is an area with poor access generally and limited transit access which has been a problem for both the area residents and the public institutions. Past preliminary discussions with C.P. Rail have indicated a willingness to discuss running rights across their property. These discussions should be reinitiated. There should also be an extensive consultation process with area residents on alignment, operations, design, and mitigation measures.

Funding Implication

Funding reallocation of $160,000 is proposed from the left turn bay project on Burrard Street between Cornwall and 4th Avenue. Council approved funding for the Burrard Street project, and subsequently approved construction of a reduced scheme. Funding of $160,000.00 can now be provided from Streets Basic Capital Account No. 12/31/9825/999. These funds will need to be supplemented by further fund raising and volunteer activities.


In order to begin operation of the Interurban Car this summer, additional funds must be provided now to allow preparation work to begin. This will allow the Car to operate and provide demonstrations of Vancouver’s transit heritage as well as a potential view of Vancouver’s transportation future.

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