Before there was Skytrain, there was the Interurban


Hopefully you’ve watched and still remember those really cool Skytrain promotional videos from the ’80s that Bob had posted awhile back. If you haven’t you really should, or if you want a refresher, you can find them here. Oh sure, its fun to laugh at the now-dated fashions in those videos, and its amazing how much the city has changed in the 30 years since then. But how much has the city changed in 60 years?

Below is a video about the Interurban Electric Tram service which served the transportation needs of Vancouver and the surrounding area before the city switched exclusively to electric and diesel buses in the mid 50’s. The video was shot on Super-8 between 1948 and 1950 (in glorious colour no less!) and narrated by retired BCER engineer Frank Horne in 1990. The reason I chose this particular clip is that it follows a section of a route that was eventually incorporated into the Expo Line of the Skytrain.

The above clip is a small excerpt from a larger video that is available for purchase from the good folks at the Transit Museum Society of Vancouver, an organization ‘established in 1986 to restore, preserve and operate historical vehicles significant to the history of public transit in British Columbia’. If the video has tickled your fancy and you would like to see more, or if you appreciate the work that this organization is doing and you’d like to let them know, you can buy the full DVD here.

(if you’ve visited the Burnaby Heritage Museum, you can see a restored car BCER 1223 there. You can walk through the car, take a seat and if you ask really nicely, they might even let you sound the whistle!)