It’s an attempt to get our vehicles in better positions within our Langley shop to allow for easier exit when required for duty and to allow for inspection to diagnose vehicle condition.
Step 1: Move everything outside. Luckily it’s a Sunday: the are very, very few other vehicles in our parking area.
Step 2: Put everything back where we want it.
It can be a tight squeeze. The coach has to be brought in at an angle… there is less than ten feet available to enable it to turn the 90 degrees so it may be backed in to the lefthand side parking spaces.
Phase 1 completed: time for lunch!
While this may sound simple, it really isn’t. Few of our coaches have power steering. So this involves a “work-around”: two person steering, one in the driver’s seat, the other providing extra muscle. Then we have to consider those participants that are reluctant to start (or shouldn’t in an enclosed space!).
While doing the dance, opportunity was taken to inspect the business end of TDH4512 #730. Our maintenance staff have noticed some vibration back there, that over the years has caused some components to shake loose, or cause oil leaks. The consensus seems to be that it is occurring in the transmission. While not urgent, its something they’d like to fix in time.
Sean Keating lines up the ramp – but the 671 aboard #730 doesn’t provide enough “uumph” to reverse up. So driver Lawrence Walker has to perform some tricky two-foot driving to give the coach of a running start while being able to brake in time before overshooting the ramp.
Jason Sharpe, Lawrence Walker, Sean Keating and Richard Dyer hunt for the cause of the vibration.
Meanwhile, taking advantage of the sunny weather, Jason Sharpe moved his “seat rehab” project outdoors.
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:
Jason has emabarked on a project to replace seat cushions on #9753. In the midst of recovering the seat frames, he decided to take a break and tackle the heating enclosures on #9753. Though the heaters are working, there’s a lot of rust and flaking paint: anything attached to the floor will naturally be subject to moisture.
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!
At 12 noon on Saturday, February 4th, coach #4612 departs on our first fan-trip of 2023. It won’t be its first outing. Trevor Batstone drove the 1964 GM TDH4519 “Fishbowl” in the Lunar Parade on January 22nd. Then it will perform two private charters during this week, culminating with the fan-trip on Saturday.
This Sunday, 29th January our volunteers were busy putting the finishing touches to the bus. Matthew Walker has fitted a Grant Money-Meter farebox – bring some spare change to donate to the Museum and hear the musical tones once part of every bus ride in the sixties and early 1970s! (The musical fareboxes were introduced in 1960 –along with tokens rather than tickets — and were replaced by the simple ‘Duncan’ in 1973.)
The tour was programmed by Milan Streit with assistance from Andrew Joyce. We’re sure everyone onboard will enjoy the fan-trip. Hopefully this will be the first of many in 2023! (This fan-trip is now sold out!)
Matthew Walker makes some last-minute adjustments to the farebox and affixes the licence plate.
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)
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.
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 tours.transitmuseumsociety.org
You may also pay onboard with Cash – no credit cards accepted.
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.
Streetcars used trolley wheels to collect electrical current from the circular profile overhead wires – as the trolleybus used newer grooved profile wire, it used a sliding shoe. This greatly increased the contact area reducing arcing. But a necessary component was a disposable, replaceable insert made of carbon. In the early and mid-20th Century, when our Brill trolleys were introduced, the premier supplier of overhead components was Ohio Brass of Mansfield, Ohio. In Vancouver, the carbon shoe insert used was manufactured by Morgan Advanced Materials based in England.
With the delivery of New Flyer trolleys, the design of the trolley shoe was changed to one by Vossloh Kiepe of Germany. The carbon inserts are not interchangeable.
Ohio Brass shoes were made by different companies after Ohio Brass no longer made them. The Kiepe carbons for the New Flyer low floor trolleys are longer and narrower and simply drop in place. This speeds up carbon changes. The Ohio brass shoes require a socket wrench, bolt and cotter pin each time they are changed. OB shoes can operate in forward and reverse. Kiepe shoes are designed for forward operation – you might be able to travel a short distance in reverse at a very slow speed on straight wire.