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Burnaby Village Museum Interurban Anniversary

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B.C. Electric’s interurban train 1223 circa 1930. Image 204-375 courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.

Repost: Written by Jhenifer Pabillano and originally published September 18, 2012.

We’re very pleased to welcome Lisa Codd back to the blog. Lisa is the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel. Readers of the blog will remember Lisa from her great help with the past posts on women in transit, interurbans and the history of the Pattullo Bridge.

A Century of Service: Four Metro Vancouver transit artifacts celebrate 100 years – by Lisa Codd

A century ago, in 1912, the B.C. Electric Railway Company placed an order with the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri to purchase 28 passenger cars for use in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions.

The BCER had been operating in this region since 1897, when it bought out a group of investors who owned streetcar lines in Vancouver and New Westminster, and an interurban line built in 1891 that connected the two cities. The BCER invested in expansion of the system, and by 1912, this region’s street railway was by far the largest in the country, with over 200 miles of track (Winnipeg was a distant second with 80 miles).

Up until 1912, the BCER had built their cars locally in a shop in New Westminster. But in 1912, they decided to purchase the cars rather than build them themselves, probably because their shop was not set up to build steel-framed cars, which provided more safety to passengers in the event of an accident.

The St. Louis Car Company was a major manufacturer of streetcars and interurban trams from 1887 to 1973. They built vehicles for some of the major transit systems in North America, including New York City and Chicago.

The cars entered service in 1913, and ran throughout the Lower Mainland for 45 years. In the 1950s, electric railway service was replaced by buses. The 1223 was retired from service in 1958. It was one of only ten B.C. Electric Railway cars that were saved from destruction. The 1223 became the property of the Burnaby Historical Society, who put it on display at Edmonds Loop. Today, the restored tram car is housed at the Burnaby Village Museum.

Sister cars to the 1223 include the 1225 owned by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society, the 1231 operated by the Transit Museum Society in Vancouver, and the 1220 are currently being restored by the Richmond Museum.

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

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A group of conductorettes after finishing a training course in the 1940s. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives.

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version.


Repost: Written by Jhenifer Pabillano and originally published November 9, 2009

Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975.

And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes.

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

Burnaby Village Museum interurban anniversary

B.C. Electric's interurban train 1223 circa 1930. Image 204-375 courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.

We’re very pleased to welcome Lisa Codd back to the blog. Lisa is the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel. Readers of the blog will remember Lisa from her great help with the past posts on women in transit, interurbans and the history of the Pattullo Bridge.

A Century of Service: Four Metro Vancouver transit artifacts celebrate 100 years – by Lisa Codd

A century ago, in 1912, the B.C. Electric Railway Company placed an order with the St. Louis Car Company in St. Louis, Missouri to purchase 28 passenger cars for use in the Vancouver and Fraser Valley regions.

The BCER had been operating in this region since 1897, when it bought out a group of investors who owned streetcar lines in Vancouver and New Westminster, and an interurban line built in 1891 that connected the two cities. The BCER invested in expansion of the system, and by 1912, this region’s street railway was by far the largest in the country, with over 200 miles of track (Winnipeg was a distant second with 80 miles).

Up until 1912, the BCER had built their cars locally in a shop in New Westminster. But in 1912, they decided to purchase the cars rather than build them themselves, probably because their shop was not set up to build steel-framed cars, which provided more safety to passengers in the event of an accident.

The St. Louis Car Company was a major manufacturer of streetcars and interurban trams from 1887 to 1973. They built vehicles for some of the major transit systems in North America, including New York City and Chicago.

The cars entered service in 1913, and ran throughout the Lower Mainland for 45 years. In the 1950s, electric railway service was replaced by buses. The 1223 was retired from service in 1958. It was one of only ten B.C. Electric Railway cars that were saved from destruction. The 1223 became the property of the Burnaby Historical Society, who put it on display at Edmonds Loop. Today, the restored tram car is housed at the Burnaby Village Museum.

Sister cars to the 1223 include the 1225 owned by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society, the 1231 operated by the Transit Museum Society in Vancouver, and the 1220 currently being restored by the Richmond Museum.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Burnaby Village Museum has organized a programme of expert speakers who will provide fascinating looks into the history of electric railway transportation, as well as the possibilities of reviving the system for future use. It’s called “Going Electric” and it is scheduled for September 29 at the Burnaby Village Museum.

More information is available on the Museum’s website:

In addition to the lecture series, the Burnaby Village Museum will be open to the public on September 29th and 30th from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm, to celebrate Burnaby’s transportation heritage. The Museum’s exhibits will be open, including the Interurban 1223 tram barn, and activities, entertainment, and demonstrations will take place throughout the site.

 

The conductorettes: the first women to drive transit in Vancouver

A group of conductorettes after finishing a training course in the 1940s. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives.

A group of 33 conductorettes posing in front of the 16th Avenue streetcar at Prior Street barns in 1944. They were at first issued skirts as part of their uniform, but this image shows the transition to pants. Skirts were difficult to manage when climbing the trolley to reset the poles! Photo courtesy of the Coast Mountain Bus Company Archives. Click for a larger version.

Today, I’m pleased to present the story of the conductorettes, a group of 180 women who were the only women operating transit vehicles between 1943 and 1975.

And I’m especially pleased to tell you that this article includes an audio podcast containing interview excerpts from three former conductorettes.

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together, based on the research of Lynda Maeve Orr, the Museum’s Assistant Programmer. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

Happy birthday: the Buzzer blog turns one

The Buzzer blog turns one year old today – can you believe it?

After just one year, this blog has over 400 posts, over 3,500 comments, and a community of sharp readers who are a genuine pleasure to connect with.

So on this occasion, an enormous thanks to all of you for reading, commenting and otherwise coming here to share. (Remember, there’s a birthday meetup on Thursday, so we can celebrate together!)

For my part, I really must say I’m proud of the blog we’ve built together. Every day, I’m glad to help you find out what’s new and where you can learn more about us and our region’s transportation issues.

Plus it’s always great to listen to what you guys have to say about everything, and it’s super nice when the blog gets a compliment or two :)

OK now, cue up a nostalgic song, and let’s take a tearful look back at some notable posts from this past year.

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The Central Park Line: the very first interurban in greater Vancouver

A map of the Central Park Line,  outlined on a 1936 Wrigley's transit map supplied by the <a href=http://burnabyvillagemuseum.ca/>Burnaby Village Museum</a>.

A map of the Central Park Line, outlined on a 1936 Wrigley's transit map supplied by the Burnaby Village Museum.

Today, I’m pleased to present a brief look at the Central Park Line, one of the interurban lines that used to run in the Lower Mainland.

(If you’re not familiar with the interurbans – electric railways that ran between cities – you can check out this earlier blog post on the history of the interurbans in greater Vancouver.)

Again, Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together. It’s a continued collaboration to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

Read more »

A short history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

The very first interurban on the Burnaby Lake line, leaving New Westminster. (Item 166-001, from the Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives Collection, courtesy of the City of Burnaby Archives.)

Today, I’m pleased to present a look at the history of interurbans in the Lower Mainland.

Lisa Codd, the fantastic curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, helped me put this article together. She first shared a luncheon menu and programme from the 1937 Pattullo Bridge opening in January – and this is a continuation of that collaboration, to explore transit history and Burnaby’s archival holdings!

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From the opening of the Pattullo Bridge, 1937

A detail from the cover of the 1937 Pattullo Bridge souvenir programme. Scans provided courtesy of the <a href=http://www.burnabyvillagemuseum.ca>Burnaby Village Museum</a>.

A detail from the cover of the 1937 Pattullo Bridge souvenir programme. Scans provided courtesy of the Burnaby Village Museum.

Thanks to Lisa Codd, the curator at the Burnaby Village Museum, here’s a special history treat to celebrate the Pattullo Bridge reopening this week. It’s the souvenir programme and luncheon menu from the 1937 opening of the Pattullo Bridge!

Download the items here:

I’ll run through some of the highlights from both in this post. I’ve also got some great historical background from Lisa to share with you!

Read more »