Sue Walker has been busy cleaning the seat covers on the cushions that Jason Sharpe removes from our D40LF.
Hubby Lawrence meanwhile has constructed a permanent solution to our problem of ventilation aboard #730 during the summer.
On summer days, the interior is quite hot. To provide a cross-flow breeze, we generally open the emergency door. In the past we cordoned off the exit with a cone and fabric rope, Now we have a child’s gate. Lawrence modified it so that bolts extend from the gate into the body of #730, making a rigid and safe anchor.
Matthew is putting the finishing touches to a Grant Money Meter farebox to be gifted to Vancouver mayor, Ken Sims. Meanwhile, he is starting on restoring another farebox, but this one is slightly different to the ones we are familiar with.
This one has a window to show the mechanism… the BC Hydro versions we have seen usually had a plate covering the aperture instead.
On March 10th, #4612 -driven by Trevor Batstone- visited Winston Churchill Secondary School. It was part of an end-of-term project by TMS Member Aden Wong.
During the couple of hours the coach was parked in front of the school, 155 students visited. Says Lawrence, who with Matthew, hosted: “We were well received and quite popular.”
And, in closing, we’d like to mention Matthew’s YouTube playlist featuring our TMS buses. You can watch it at:
At the TMS Annual General Meeting held in New Westminster, March 3rd, our new Board of Directors was elected. Pictured above, in this picture by Rhonda Larrabee, are (L to R) Jason Sharpe, Lawrence Walker, Michael Taylor-Noonan, Sue Walker, Bryan Larrabee, Milan Streit, Rob Chew and Angus McIntyre.
“I think this Board of Directors will do some good things and I’m proud to be a part of it. For the first time in our history, we have elected a woman to the Board of Directors. Special congratulations to Sue who has already made her mark on our organization and I know will help take us into the future.
When I looked around the room last night (at the AGM) I saw a lot of young faces and cultural diversity and it gives me a real feeling of enthusiasm for the things that we can do together moving on.”
Bryan Larrabee, President
We have a number of “foreign” transit artefacts – this roll blind comes from Seattle.
Especially with such limited storage space as we have at Langley, we must sharply define our accession guidelines. Such items as this are being offered for sale. Here, Sue helps a customer inspect the item. Thankfully our parking lot was almost empty this day!
Missing from our donated D40LF were any fleet name or other branding. BC Transit had removed these before we picked it up. The horizontal stripes along the bodywork remained, but there was space where the company logo had been on the nearside and front. Chris Cassidy stickhandled putting the TMS logo on the front dash. But the shape of the nearside space below the ‘belt line’ precluded doing the same there.
Our logo, designed by Mike Cui, included our name. Jason Sharpe had the idea of just using that text to fill the vacant space. He also that that we could use a reversed version of the logo on the rear panels, in the same fashion as West Vancouver Municipal Transit used a sailboat motif.
With help from myself and President Bryan Larrabee, we produced high quality drawings suitable for use as decals. In a strange twist we found that the hexadecimal ‘colour code’ of our blue TMS logo matched the blue of the existing stripe almost perfectly. According to the BC Transit graphic standards, it should have much darker. (Maybe the BC Transit colours were formalised after the stripe was applied, or the decal had darkened through exposure to the climate.)
When applying the rear decal, Jason noticed that it would be more attractive if the surplus black background was trimmed off – this he did with consummate care, and the results look fantastic.
You’d be correct if you noticed the snow on the ground in these pictures. I took them on Tuesday, 2nd February at Cullen Diesel Power Ltd. on 192nd Street in Surrey. Bryan Larrabee drove #9753 there so they could perform a CVIP inspection and certification. While the bus was there, Cullen also examined the underside of the coach as part of our Preventive Maintenance program. We’re pleased to say we received good news on both!
Those of us over a certain age will no doubt remember listening to our vinyl records and how much clearer digital CDs were (for good or bad!). The same holds true for photographs. Today’s digital photographs are so much more detailed and able to be tweaked to correct minor problems. Yesterday’s photos just can’t compare – especially those taken with consumer-grade cameras. Colour prints from the seventies and eighties are notoriously unstable. Add cheap camera optics, small image size, poor contrast range and bad lighting to the mix, and one could be forgiven asking whether its worth preserving some of the photos.
The answer is “yes”. No matter how much below the quality we expect nowadays, there is often detail in the images themselves that can only add to our knowledge of transit history. So, I have started a project to scan these images that have been donated to our library through the years. I’m placing them in their own gallery on our website, so viewers know we are preserving them for their historical content more than their photographic merit. Sometimes, the historical content may not be evident at the moment: perhaps some future archivist will discover a nugget of valuable information contained in them!
We all know of the celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of transit – but what about the 90th?
The “Bus” sign was not a decal?
#2601 was fitted with a Brown-Boveri chopper control. Compare the “hump” between it and #2605
Of course, some are “borderline!”. Maybe it is not worth keeping.
Well, this week, we have a “housekeeping” entry. But it’s big news!
We’re going on a Fan Trip! It’s aboard 1964 TDH4519 #4612. We’ll travel around Surrey and Delta, stopping for photo opportunities and some interesting points along the way. The route isn’t fully planned yet, but don’t let that stop you from reserving your seat!
The fan trip is open to all, at our regular price of $30 (Members) / $35 non-members. To provide maximum viewing experience, only the number of forward-facing seats will be available. Of course, you can sit anywhere you like, except for that one reserved seat in front. In addition, we’ll only fit four on the back bench – so that limits the seat spaces available to 30. This trip is sure to be popular – reservations are now available – BUT MEMBERS GET A SPECIAL ADVANCE BOOKING PERIOD. To reserve, you must log into Admidio first.
Enter your credentials in the first panel. Forgotten your password? Click the link under the blue sign-in button. You’ll receive instructions at your registered email address. Forgotten your log-in? Changed email address? Send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your browser must accept cookies in order for us to validate your membership.
Once logged in, select Web Links from the dark grey bar on the left. Click on the first link presented. You must sign-in again! Click Continue to reservations page under the TMS logo. (We’re investigating ways to make this process simpler!)
Non-members will be able to reserve any remaining seats beginning Monday, January 23rd.
The trip will depart from Scott Rd SkyTrain on Saturday, February 4th at 12 noon, The duration is approximately 3 hours.
Unsure of where to board at Scott Rd? We’ll email you details, explaining that and lots more, whether you travel by car, bus or SkyTrain. Watch your email (and junk inbox!) a few days before departure date.
We encourage you to pay for your ticket(s) after you make a reservation. (You can reserve tickets for a companion who isn’t a member). We accept credit cards, and also debit cards bearing the VISA or Mastercard logos.
If you wish to pay onboard, please remember: for this tour we will only accept cash.
Sunday 8th January was the rescheduled Christmas Lunch (and ‘Secret Santa’ ) at our Langley shop. It had been postponed from December 18th due to severe weather. Lunch was generously provided by Bryan & Rhonda Larrabee, partly as a “thank-you” to the shop crew who helped with our recent move, and partly because, well, Bryan & Rhonda are just great guys! Thank you, Larrabees!
In attendance: (Clockwise around the table from bottom), Matthew Walker, with back to camera, Milan Streit, Sue & Lawrence Walker, Richard Dyer, Savannah Dewolf, Rob Chew, Bryan Larrabee, Angus Macintyre, Jason Sharpe, Trevor Batstone and Rhonda Larrabee. Camera-shy: Michael Taylor-Noonan and Aaron Meier
It’s just after 10pm on 14th December 2022 when TMS member Jeff Veniot witnesses an unusual sight on West 1st Avenue near Crowe St. There, a tractor unit is attempting to do a right turn. Attached is a specialized trailer loaded with an very large object wrapped in a large white tarp. Peeking out from the end is the unmistakeable face of Car #4, a tram once owned by the Transit Museum Society, purchased to one day run on the now-abandoned Downtown Historic Railway.
How the streetcar came to this point, squeezing by cars with centimetres to spare under the watchful eyes of transportation specialists from Nickel Bros, with a police escort no-less, began nearly 87 years ago in Brussels, Belgium.
There, Car #4 –or to give it its original number of 5023 – entered service in 1935. But to the casual observer, this would be hard to determine. On ﬁrst glance, Car #4 looks to be one of the large number of PCC-based streetcars purchased by European systems after WW2, some actually using trucks from scrapped US cars. But appearances can be deceiving.
Below: #5023 in service in Brussels (TMS Archives); Lower: Car #4 as offered at auction. Restoration will be a daunting task! We do not know the intentions of the winning bidder. (BC Auctions)
#5023 was part of a 25-car order by Ateliers de La Dyle et Bacalan, a well-known Belgian builder, based in Louvain. Les Tramways Bruxellois (predecessor of today’s Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company or STIB-MIVB) wanted them to carry crowds to the 1935 world exhibition. They were the ﬁrst dual-truck streetcars in Brussels. They had wooden bodies, carrying 90 passengers, 34 of whom were seated. They were fast and reliable. Distinguishing marks were the square and stiﬀ appearance. They were referred to as Standaardtrams. (https://www.nycsubway.org/wiki/ Brussels,_Belgium_Trams)
Four cars, though, #5006, 5020, 5021 and 5023 were rebodied following accidents. In 1964-65, #5023 was given a new steel body which resembled the PCC cars of the #7000 series which began to be delivered in 1951. The class was retired in 1976. The four rebodied cars became “works cars” #5023 became Works Car #4. (https://www.bec-kits.co.uk/Kitpages/kit32.htm) They retained their exterior appearance except side windows were blocked oﬀ, leaving only small openings at the top.
It’s the late 1990s, and STIB decides to withdraw Car #4 from service. Streetcar buff Claude Sabot who grew up in Belgium, has settled in Gibsons, BC. Here he hopes to build a heritage tramway, purchasing old retired Brussels trams. His dream would falter through lack of money, and he would be forced to sell his acquired streetcars. (While at least two would travel to museums in the US, I have been unable to determine their fates.) Claude used his experience to convince STIB to donate Car #4 to TMS and secure half-price shipping to Vancouver. (Dale Laird). The tram arrived in Vancouver on 15th September 2000.
Dale Laird supervises unloading of Car #4, 15th September, 2004 (TMS Archives)
“(The enthusiasts) found the money to put windows in and the volunteers started to restore the car. A UBC student project worked on the controller and they almost got it into running condition. At the time the City of Vancouver was a part sponsor and did the servicing and maintenance on the two interurban trains. I don’t think they put any money into Car 4. Eventually the DHR became a victim of budget cuts within the city and Car 4 was abandoned. “ (Bryan Larrabee)
The City put Car #4 up for auction in August, 2022. Special note was made of the condition it was in, the presence of Asbestos, and the need for specialized equipment and manpower to remove it from the DHR car barn. Nevertheless, there were 130 bids, mainly from two interested parties. Both were serious — one had a history of over 60 successful bids – but it came down to the final few seconds. A bidder was trumped by $5 just as the auction ended. It’s hoped the successful bidder –with a winning bid of $405 –realizes the challenges of removing and transporting the streetcar. The city had stated the streetcar had to be removed by October 14th, 2022. But it wasn’t until December that preparations were started to move car #4. A few days later, on December 14th, the move took place.
Nickel Bros is a long established trucking company specializing in house and large object moving projects. Jeff reports that from the car barn, the low-loader carrying the streetcar moved under the Cambie bridge along the abandoned right-of-way.
(Now) on First Ave… they tried turning right onto Wylie St, but that wasn’t going to happen…so they went one more block to Crowe St. That proved difficult as the street had not been cleared of cars. They had to back up & pull forward a few times. Fortunately the rear set of wheels had a steerable truck & they made it.
Then another slow turn onto 2nd Ave heading West. Then the tight Left turn onto the Cambie Street southbound loop – opposite the Olympic Village Canada Line Stn. I left them as they sailed through Cambie & Broadway.
I asked the movers where they were going & got different answers. The most common answer was somewhere on Marine Drive (Vancouver), to a private residence (?) for restoration & then it would become a restaurant somewhere.
Car #4 travels up Cambie past Broadway, heading to a new phase in its long and varied life. (All photos of the move courtesy Jeff Veniot)
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!)
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.
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!