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High Level streetcar bids ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Edmonton

Work underway to send Edmonton streetcar back to Germany
WATCH ABOVE: It’s seen as a piece of modern history and it will soon be heading back home. Work got underway today to transport high level streetcar 601 to Hannover, Germany. Vinesh Pratap has the details.

It’s spent more than a decade in service in Alberta’s capital but it’s nearly the end of the road for High Level streetcar 601.

The trolley is returning to Germany where it was actually a prototype used in Hannover when that city made the switch from streetcars to an underground metro. It eventually ended up in Edmonton thanks to the Edmonton Radial Railway Society. Since 2005, it’s been taking Edmontonians across the North Saskatchewan River via the High Level Bridge.

“We’ve been running this mostly when we have had large crowds,” the Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s Chris Ashdown said. “So that would be during the Edmonton Fringe Festival, Canada Day and maybe Labour Day weekend.”

Ashdown said about three years ago, prospective buyers in Germany first approached him about the possibility of selling the train which was seen as a missing piece for Hannover’s railway society.

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“I think it took him several years to get the nerve to ask us to ever consider selling it to them,” he said. “I received an email asking about that and for us, it was actually a really easy decision to make.”

WATCH: Historic streetcar not coming back

Fritz Faupel from Strassenbahn Hannover explained what prompted the desire to purchase the streetcar.

“We have the last tram, streetcar, we have the first metro car… but we have not between it,” he said.

Ashdown said the streetcar is being sold for a mere $1 CDN and is expected to arrive in Hannover next month.

According to Faupel, the streetcar is expected to return to the tracks in Hannover next year in time for his light rail company’s 125th birthday.

-with files from Vinesh Pratap