Nelson Electric Tramway
|Locale||Nelson, British Columbia|
|Transit type||Heritage streetcar, seasonal|
|Number of lines||1|
|Began operation||June 1992|
|Operator(s)||Nelson Electric Tramway Society|
|System length||1.2 kilometres (0.75 mi)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Old gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||600 V DC, overhead wires|
The Nelson Electric Tramway is a heritage railway in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. It uses two restored vintage streetcars which carry tourists along Nelson's waterfront and was the first operating heritage streetcar line in British Columbia. The service is seasonal, starting on the Easter weekend and ending on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend each year. It is operated by the non-profit Nelson Electric Tramway Society (NETS). The line was opened on June 15, 1992, by the city's mayor; a second opening ceremony was held on July 1, 1992.
Nelson's original streetcar system operated from 1899 to 1949. It was run by the privately owned Nelson Electric Tramway Ltd. from 1899 until 1908 and then, following a suspension of service when a fire destroyed a substation, was restored to operation in 1910 by a newly formed Nelson Street Railway Company and, in turn, became municipally owned in 1914. The heritage streetcar line adopted the name of the town's first streetcar company.
Car 23 was built in 1906 by the John Stephenson Company (then owned by the J. G. Brill Company). Originally purchased by Cleveland, Ohio's Forest City Railway (in whose fleet it was No. 3334), the car was purchased in 1923 by the City of Nelson and used as a spare, or back-up tram. In 1930 the car was renumbered from "3" to "23", and it remained in service until the closure of the system, in 1949. In 1951 the car's body was sold and turned into a dog kennel and eventually a chicken coop. NETS purchased car 23 in 1982 and together with the Chamber of Commerce and Selkirk College restored the car body cosmetically. Later, replica trucks were fabricated, so that the car could be returned to operating condition.
Birney-type car 400 was originally ordered in 1921 by the British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER) from the Preston Car Company. The car was manufactured in Preston, Ontario, and shipped in parts to the BCER for final assembly at their yards in Vancouver before entering service in Victoria, British Columbia in March 1922. The car was retired from service in 1948, then sold to the Mayo Lumber Company in Cowichan Lake to be used as a bunkhouse. Purchased in 1970 by the provincial museum, the car was restored in 1973 for static display. Purchased by the society in 1990, the car was restored to operating condition. By 1999, this work was nearly completed, and the car was expected to be placed into service in 2000, but various issues subsequently delayed the car's entry into passenger service until 2005 or later. Currently, car 400 is not in regular service, and all scheduled trips use car 23.
- Light Rail and Modern Tramway, October 1992, p. 271. Ian Allan Publishing/Light Rail Transit Association.
- "Service". Nelson Electric Tramway Society. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- Kelly, Brian; Francis, Daniel (1990). Transit in British Columbia: The First Hundred Years. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. p. 25. ISBN 1-55017-021-X.
- Young, Andrew D. (1997). Veteran & Vintage Transit, p. 3. St. Louis: Archway Publishing. ISBN 0-9647279-2-7.
- History of Streetcar No. 23
- "History of Streetcar No. 400". Nelson Electric Tramway Society. 1999. Retrieved June 24, 2014.