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Christmas Time… Time for Christmas Lights!

Behind the Christmas Lights Tours

If you went on one of our Christmas Lights Tours, you would have met our hosts and driver at Scott Road Station. The hosts keep track of our passenger roster, collect fares if people haven’t pre-paid and answer the phone if any of our passengers is delayed and wants us to hold the bus. One host goes along with the tour and acts as the tour guide and makes sure we don’t leave anyone behind at one of our stops. What you don’t realize is that there are a few other Transit Museum volunteers involved before and after the tour.

(Host Matthew at Scott Rd Station awaiting our passengers. All photos except where indicated otherwise: L. Walker)

Before the tour becomes a reality, much research is involved to design a route. It starts with the memory of past tours and the great lights displays from last year. We only have a couple of weeks as most people start building their displays in early December. Some of the past displays are gone so we have to adjust the tour and see if there are new displays to discover. After some mapping and test driving, a route is determined. We try to be flexible and in fact we added a couple of houses at the last minute this year. Every year 3 or 4 people are involved in the final design of the route.

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(Chris checks the brakes as part of his pre-trip. Photo Brian Larrabee)

Members of the shop crew decorate the bus under the supervision of our electrician. In past years the bus became “Rudolph” with antlers, eyes and a big nose but this year with the big move to Langley we decided just to decorate the interior.

We realized a few years ago that we needed a reservation system and a way for our riders to contact us with questions or concerns. A fairly simple (and free!) software system developed for a small airline was adopted by our webmaster. People can reserve and prepay for a seat or have the option of making a reservation and paying in person at Scott Road Station. Our hosts are emailed a passenger roster before the tour and know who to collect fares from and if there are any seats available for walk on customers. A phone system is activated for last minute problems. We like the bus to be at Scott Road Station at 6:30pm so that people can spot it and know where to go, and our first step is to meet at the Langley Shop an hour early. Someone gets the bus started and aired up and backs it out of the shop. The driver arrives and does the pre-trip inspection which consists of an air brake check, fluids and lights are checked and they make sure that a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and emergency reflective road kit are on board. They walk around the bus and do a visual inspection of the wheels and tires. The driver fills out and signs the pre-trip form and completes a driver log to track the hours that they have driven in the past week. Just before leaving, the driver calls our recorded phone service confirming that the bus is on its way to Scott Rd.

It’s about a half hour drive to Scott Road Station, so the bus departs at 6pm and the shop is locked up. At around 10:30 the shop crew returns to meet the bus as it arrives after the tour. The driver hands in the paperwork and lets us know how the tour went and if there were any problems with the bus. The fuel level is checked and the bus floor is swept and washed. Wheels and tires are inspected. Bus batteries are turned off and the bus is ready for the next trip.

Everyone involved is a volunteer and just as you support the Transit Museum by purchasing a ticket, our planners, hosts, drivers and shop crew are contributing their time to help with this valuable fundraiser. Thank you everyone for keeping the Museum alive and active.

Bryan Larrabee, President, Transit Museum Society

On the Road

Our Christmas Lights Tour organizer also has a few words to say about what makes them possible. “I have had one of the best CLTs in years!” says Lawrence Walker, especially that of Saturday December 17th

“With Stephan Goodman checking off names, now a TMS host in training, Chris driving superbly, always a character, lamenting on how much he missed driving bus. Andrew and Chris working well together with Andrew Joyce directing. The roads looked wet but we’re a lovely sheet of ice. The owner of the “Inflatable House” in North Delta  coming out and greeting us, (he also emailed us before we even had a route plan), Chris asking Andrew if he had a few different places that he didn’t , and taking us past them including Alex Jager’s house!”

In closing, we must also mention our other hosts (Sue & Matthew), drivers (Evan, Michael H. & Alan), service personnel getting 9753 ready, (Milan, Matthew, Jason S., Jason B., Richard, Sean, and of course, Bryan who stood by ready to drive our ‘rescue’ bus (4612) if it was needed – which it wasn’t! My apologies to anyone I’ve missed. A pat on the back to you all…

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Our Christmas Lights Tour returns

Its Christmas Lights Tour time!

A Christmas tradition returns. This year our Christmas Coach, #9753, will tour houses in Surrey and Langley. This year, though, we will limit the number of tours to six: three public and three private charters. As President Bryan Larrabee says, “we’re all exhausted after completing the move. We can’t impose on members to do more.”

It’s unfortunate because there was demand for additional public tours, coupled with a decision to restrict seat sales to forward-facing positions. All three tours were quickly sold out, although we did direct disappointed customers to a private charter organized by Andrew Joyce. Andrew, in cooperation with Lawrence Walker designed this year’s route.

On Saturday, December 10th, the first tour departed from Scott Road Station. #9753 was driven (expertly and very professionally according to Lawrence) by Michael Hayter. Future trips and the private charters will be driven by Chris Cassidy and Alan Mihatov. A shortened version of the route for the Blue Eagle Cadets/TransLink Police was driven by Evan Russell. Hosts for this first excursion were Lawrence, Sue & Matthew Walker. The coach was decorated by Matthew and Milan Streit. Photographs by Stephen Goodman. (Top to bottom: Sue, Matthew, our first customers!)A picture containing outdoor

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No, not Lawrence

But this:

We’re not sure of the design philosophy involved here, but this is a “hinge” that attaches various door flaps to the body of our 1976 Flyer E800 10240 #2649. The obvious explanation is cost savings since its made from rubber, not stainless steel. The lifespan of the part is in the neighbourhood of ten years – eventually it will need to be replaced. And then Flyer’s parsimoniousness  will turn round and bite the the operator’s finances. It’s not just a simple matter of screwing on a new hinge; the surrounding body panels will probably have to be removed from the bus to be able to fully slide the new piece of rubber hinge in place. That operation could require up to four or more hours of labour to accomplish – far exceeding the cost savings realized by Flyer. **Retired CMBC Operator and TMS past President Dale Laird -who should know!- points out that these rubber hinges were first used by GM on radiator doors.  ** (Below: It’s a two-person job: Anthony Sherst helps Lawrence replace the engine door on 2649.)

The design was carried onto our 1991 New Flyer D40, #3106. But by 1996, when our D40LF was built, New Flyer had begun using stainless steel “piano” type hinges that are much easier to replace.

Mission accomplished!

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Christmas time!

It’s that time of year again! Christmas! And time for our Christmas Lights Tours. And if you need a “stocking stuffer” why not order a copy of our new 2023 Calendar, celebrating 75 years of Vancouver trolleycoaches!

Milan sweeps out 9753 in preperation for the 2022 Christmas Lights Tours, while Matthew decorates with festive lighting. The tours will operate December 10th and 17th, departing from Scott Road Skytrain Station. Please reserve (and optionally pay) for your seat at

You may also pay onboard with Cash – no credit cards accepted.

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Making ourselves at Home


Member Milan Streit removes the previous signage from our canopy (Editor – who also helped!)

On Sunday, 13th November, the work-party continued to rearrange our belongings in the new facility in Langley. Lawrence, Sue, Milan, Sean, Jason S, and myself put in a few hours to “tidy-up” the place. Trevor drove #9753 to Super Save on the Langley bypass for a top-up. It’s unfortunate, but the price of Diesel is currently very high ($2.33/litre) due to shortages caused by refinery maintenance. Bryan must have had some trepidation as he fueled #9753: the dollar amount spun crazily upwards, and it was his credit card that would bear the brunt. Angus had driven the coach for the pipe-band Remembrance Day tour; with Christmas season approaching it has to be ready for the charters and tours we have planned. Details will be released soon, but TMS will be operating at least two trips: December 10th & 17th. If there is demand, we may add more trips.

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Day Seven


Bryan gets to write about Day 7: It started with a lot of uncertainty. On Sunday, Day 6, we knew that Mundies was scheduled to pick up the Office Bus #2805 at 9am on Monday and take it 108 km out to Rosedale. The rental forklift and pallet jack in Langley were booked for pick up and return in the morning. Our forklift at the Roseberry Shop was scheduled to go to Langley sometime Monday or Tuesday. We needed a smaller cube van for the last load of supplies from Roseberry to Langley. Would Penske have one available? The huge garbage bin in our compound had to be picked up Monday. The pile of scrap metal in our compound had not been touched by the guy that was removing scrap metal for us. (Photos: Bryan Larrabee and Rob Chew)

At 9am Monday morning, Sean and I were waiting at the shop for the tow truck and I noticed that over half of the scrap had been removed late Sunday evening. The scrap guy came through for us. As the tow truck arrived on the scene it occurred to me that when it got to it’s destination, it might not be able to make the tight right hand turn onto the property. I called Rick at Mundie’s and said that we may need a “plan B” but he assured me that the driver he assigned was the best in North America at coaxing his truck into tight spaces. He would call me if there was a problem. I was doubtful.

Michael agreed to deal with the rental forklift company and he asked them not to pick it up in Langley until 2pm. Alexia at Penske had a cube van available for us and she had it ready to go at 10:30 when I picked it up. Sean and I loaded the truck and we were on the road by 11:30. Rob agreed to meet us out in Langley and would coordinate the forklift coming and going.

We got a call from Chris while we were on the way to tell us that our forklift was getting loaded at Roseberry already .

As Sean and I arrived in Langley to unload the cube van I got the news that the Mundies tow truck was able to successfully deliver and unload #2805 although it was a slow and highly technical process.

In Langley, we had to back the Museum Bus #730 out of door #3 to get the rental forklift out and start unloading the cube van. As we were unloading the last two pallets I got a call from the rental company to tell us their truck was on it’s way to pick it up. The truck showed up just in time and as they were loading the rental forklift our own forklift arrived from Roseberry. We got it inside and pulled #730 back in the shop with hardly any room to move.

Rob kindly brought me lunch and he stayed to clean out the D40LF Low Floor to get it ready for a charter on Remembrance Day. Sean and I were back in Vancouver by 3:30 and I got a text from him to say that the garbage bin had been picked up. I put $60 worth of fuel in the cube van and returned it to Alexia at Penske in one piece. It felt like a major alignment of the stars had to take place on Day 7 and it did!

Editor: Typically, Bryan understates his involvement in this huge, complicated operation. I’m sure everyone would admit that without his planning and tireless oversight, we’d still be resident in Roseberry as the bulldozer moved in. Thank you, Bryan. Also thank you to those members of the Society who helped – stretching all the way back to those who scouted the Lower Mainland for suitable premises, way back when. They started our journey which culminated on Monday. Yea team TMS!

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Day Six


It’s Day 6. Time for a garage sale. Our sales team of Savannah Dewolf, Rhonda Larrabee, Thomas Westlake and leader Sue Walker welcomed buyers to our Roseberry shop. There were bus stop flags, destination blinds, assorted books and other transit miscellanea. (Pictures by Bryan Larrabee/Sue Walker)

Savannah & Rhonda count the proceeds….

The result?

That’s $4126! Well done crew!

The office bus is moved outside ready for pickup by Mundie’s and a trip to Rosedale. The end of a most successful operation… a big “thank you” to all!

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Day Five…

A bus parked in a parking lot Description automatically generated with medium confidence Here we are…. Day 5. The remaining coaches are driven to their new home in Langley. (2805 will be the sole occupant of Roseberry until it is trailered out to Rosedale on Monday.) Trevor drove #730 out to Langley. “It was a lovely, sunny, Saturday morning drive.  The motor in that baby sings real nice on the road,” says Trevor. Probably no-one is more surprised by that than Lawrence. He wondered what the effect of being piled high with documents and archives would be on its pulling power.

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(Photos by Trevor Batstone/Sue Walker) The remaining drivable coaches were driven out to Langley. All made the journey successfully with no issues reported. (Remainder of photos: Bryan or Rhonda Larrabee.)

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Eric Webster, Lawrence, Jason and Alex discuss strategy before moving in the next coach. A bus parked in a parking garage Description automatically generated with low confidence

Bryan Larrabee: “Yesterday Jason and I took the Triesel (#2649) out to the new shop.  We were concerned with the probability that there is a transmission leak on that bus, so I bought some ATF to take on the trip.  Richard pre-tripped the bus for us, took it around Roseberry for a short warm up and added a half liter of ATF.  We drove the bus to the Flying J on Annacis Island to fuel it up and Jason checked the transmission level.  It was at full.  We drove the route that Trevor suggested, through New Westminster, over the Mary Hill By-pass and through Coquitlam over the Golden Ears Bridge.  No hills and I was able to keep it at 60 km/hr or less all the way.  We successfully made it to the Langley shop and when Jason checked the transmission, the ATF lever was at add.  I logged the odometer reading at the Flying J but forgot to check it in Langley, but I will do it this week. The bus ran great, steering was fine and braking was good.  The bus obviously leaks ATF when running.  We backed into the service bay at door #1.”

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“Don’t you forget about me….” #4612 at Roseberry.

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Our active coaches await their turn to be parked indoors.

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“Well, that was easy.” 35 footers alongside 40’ Brill coaches.

Below: They’re all in! (Photos: Lawrence Walker.)


A firetruck parked in a garage Description automatically generated with low confidence “All by myself…” #2805 looks lonely at the now almost-deserted Roseberry warehouse. The facility will be demolished to make way for an extension to the Flower distribution complex. And, as a bonus, we have Angus’ video of 2416 leaving Roseberry… click thumbnail to play.

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Day Four … The move is almost complete!

Day Four…

#2416 arrives, buses moved around. The previous tenant laid rubber mats on the floor. When they removed them, adhesive residue remained. These provided guidelines for lining up the vehicles. The new shop will allow more buses to be accessible, rather than having to stage vehicles in anticipation of their use. We can see Hayes #63 parked temporarily in the area we have designated a service bay (Door #1). The space will be occupied by Triesel #2649 when it arrives (hopefully! Check that transmission oil level!) on Saturday. It and #9753, #4612 and #730 will also be driven out. (Pictures courtesy of Bryan Larrabee and Trevor Batstone.

Although it doesn’t look like it, we will have shelving space to spare. This despite having to cut-down (Alex, thank you) the shelf uprights from 12ft to 8ft to confirm to a local by-law. Some redundant and duplicate spares were disposed of rather than being moved.

Other items will be sold in a garage sale on Sunday. We even got mentioned in the Burnaby Now!

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Day Three

Day Three…and more deliveries.

Mundie’s brought out CD52A #3405, Hayes #63 and Fageol M852. Trolleycoach #2416 stayed overnight with Mundie’s and will be delivered Friday. Slated for the trip Saturday are the remaining coaches at Roseberry: 2649, 9753, 4612 & 730. Bryan was worried that there wouldn’t be enough room for the Triesel, but it looks as though we can fit the planed eight buses in Langley. To complete the picture: 3106, 3404, 3334, 4107 & 2040 are in Deroche. 678 and 4276 are in temporary storage in Rosedale.

(#3405 loaded at Roseberry/Milan Streit) (Arrival at Langley/Trevor Batstone)

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(It’s a tight squeeze! Lawrence slips #3405 into position/Bryan Larrabee)

(#2416 loaded/Ron Hoskyn)
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(Hayes #63 arrives at its new home/Bryan Larrabee)

(Fageol #M852 at Langley/Trevor Batstone)

I’d like to thank Sue, Bryan, Trevor and Ron for their photos – there are more I couldn’t fit in. We’ll publish those in the next newsletter. Above, Lawrence, Trevor and Jason at Langley, Ron is behind the camera.

Oh and the last delivery? Well, Bryan wanted to check to see if we have mail at the “Ninja House”. The postie opened the door and asked who we were before delivering a letter mailed by Bryan. We do not have a mailbox though, so please don’t mail anything – Canada Post doesn’t deliver on Sundays.