The Steveston Interurban Tram (Steveston, BC)

photo credit: Neil T

I happened to walk upon a site within the community of Steveston where there was an interurban tram (The Steveston Interurban Tram). Considering how complicated the urban transit situation is in the Greater Vancouver area, I am totally shocked that there was an interurban tram and that urban planning folks in the region didn’t make better use of it, or make sure to keep it around.

I didn’t get to actually see the train (which is in Steveston Park – I was near by but the light was waning). I did take a couple of photos of some areas of the park.

The interurban rail car #1220 has found a permanent home in Steveston Park. Car 1220 was built in St. Louis Missouri, by the St. Louis Car Company, in 1913. She was purchased by the British Columbia Electric Railway Company to carry passengers from Vancouver to Steveston. She worked long and hard, primarily on the Steveston Interurban Line until cessation of service in February of 1958. She served a total of 45 years, carrying passengers of all ages through an era that relied heavily on public transportation.

The Interurban Tram is the largest artifact in the Richmond Museum Collection and a valuable asset to the City of Richmond. [City of Richmond website]

Steveston Interurban Tram

Steveston Interurban Tram

I’m still puzzled. Why would this region choose NOT to have trams? It still puzzles me that we didn’t use the Arbutus corridor for the Canada Line. And yes, I had students of mine in my Public Policy class analyze both options. But still, I think trams are solid transportation options (unless convinced otherwise).

Related posts:

  1. A walk around Steveston (Richmond, BC)
  2. The Cannery Cafe (Steveston, BC)
  3. The Britannia Heritage Shipyard (Steveston, BC)
  4. Gulf of Georgia Cannery (Steveston, BC)
  5. The Steveston Village (Steveston, BC)

Comments (6)

Jon StrocelJuly 16th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Wasn’t the deal that buses were the cool, modern thing in the 50s, so they just started getting rid of the trains? I’m sure a student of history out there could enlighten us.

RaulJuly 17th, 2010 at 7:45 am

@ Jon – I’m going to forward my post to Stephen Rees, Karen Quinn Fung and Paul Hillsdon (all transportation fiends). Or I could just ask Rebecca Bollwitt to write about it too (she is a total history geek, and loves it!)

JohnMay 23rd, 2011 at 1:02 pm

The Arbutus Corridor runs through Kerrisdale. The residents in Kerrisdale don’t want the corridor to be used for transit, for fear that the riff raff from the city or suburbs will encroach on the domain. Which is a real shame, since much of the corridor still remains unused and ready to be reused as a corridor connecting Vancouver and the Fraser Valley communities at a reasonable cost.

sandyNovember 15th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

My father has written a book about the Sockeye Special and will be out before Christmas 2011. Please check this site in the next month for details.

Keith stangerNovember 2nd, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I’m looking forward to visiting Steveston next year when I’m on vacation and will continue looking at the route of the old line that I started whilst here in May this year. I’m not sure which cheeky person used the photo at the top of the page but it certainly isn’t in Vancouver. It’s one of the cars of the Snaefell Mountain Railway in the Isle of Man which climbs to the summit of the mountain from the interchange with the trams of the Manx Electric Railway at Laxey where this photo was taken. If you love working vintage transport have a look at It’s probably the best original working system of steam & electric railways in the world dating back to 1873.

NigelDecember 28th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

There`s no real mystery at all. During the 50`s General Motors Corp apparently paid off a lot of politicians in the states to get rid of electric trams and replace them with gas and diesel powered buses, made of course by General Motors. This set the standard for future public transit bus systems. Older tram manufactures went out of business because they were basically cancelled out of the market place. This must have had some impact up here. A number of PCC streetcars(electric) used in Toronto in the late fifties and early 60`s were only six years old when purchased from transit authorities in the states such as Alabama. I really like those old PCC street cars.

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