Richmond looks to put Steveston tram from 1913 back on the tracks

Click to play video: 'Is the Steveston Interurban Tram back on track?' Is the Steveston Interurban Tram back on track?
It was once a cherished part of the community, but Richmond's Interurban tram made its final stop 60 years ago. Now the city is looking to set the wheels in motion again, exploring the cost and opportunity of running a tram in Stevenson. Tanya Beja explains – Apr 9, 2018

For 45 years, Tramcar 1220 traversed a route from Vancouver into Steveston, where today it rests in a shed in the tourist village at the intersection of Moncton Street and No. 1 Road.

Over the years, the tramcar has been released so that it can take passengers on a short ride for special occasions, like the Salmon Festival on Canada Day.

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But the explosion of car culture in the post-WWII period meant that the car wouldn’t be used for regular transport anymore.

The tramcar’s era of idleness may be ending, however, as the City of Richmond considers plans to run it through the village and take people to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery.

The city is looking at putting the tram back in motion along Moncton Street.

“The concept is to attract people to come down to Steveston and give them a glimpse of what Richmond was like back in the day,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie told Global News.

Volunteers and staff have worked to restore Tramcar 1220, preserving details such as rattan seats, all the way down to graffiti and match striker plates, where you can strike up a light just like people did in the old days.

“You would not find that today, an opportunity for someone to light up a match on a car that’s primarily wood,” said Rebecca Forrest, curator of collections at the City of Richmond.

The project has many uncertainties: the city has to evaluate whether the streets would be wide enough to accommodate the tram, and what impacts might be on neighbouring residents.

READ MORE: Battle brewing over empty Steveston development

Opinions are mixed on Steveston’s streets.

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Some love it, some are skeptical that it will happen given land values and traffic.

The City of Richmond expects a report on the tram within four months.

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