Select Page

Canadian Streetcar Systems- Vancouver


Olympic Line


Began Operation: 2010

Route Miles: 1.1

Stops: 2

Org: Transit Agency

Schedule: Daily

Photo: John Smatlak

Vancouver’s Olympic Line was a 1.1 mile (1.8 km) demonstration streetcar line in operation during the 2010 Winter Olympics. The line connected Granville Island to the Sky Train Olympic Village station. The line operated over a portion of the Downtown Historic Trolley right-of-way, newly upgraded to accommodate the new operation. The line consisted of approximately one mile of single track with a mid-point passing siding. There were no intermediate stations, the line simply serving as a high-capacity shuttle between the two locations. Operations was 18 hours a day, seven days a week, with a six minute headway. The line was but one part of an elaborate multi-modal transportation plan put in place during the games.

The Olympic Line demonstration was intended to build interest in the 10 km of streetcar routes that have been approved by the Vancouver City Council. Preliminary Engineering and Design are already underway for the first 3 km line, which will include the recently upgrading trackage being used for the Olympic Line.

A pair of Bombardier Flexity streetcars were borrowed from Brussels, Belgium for the two-month demonstration. The 100% low-floor streetcars are 105 feet (32 meters) long, and consist of five modules supported on three trucks. As seen in the pictures below, the attractively styled cars are quite comfortable and have been a real hit with riders.

When the games concluded the cars returned to Brussels, and operation of the Downtown Historic Railway resumed. The trolley operations keep the track active while development continues on Vancouver’s first permanent streetcar route.

Olympic Line 12 sm.JPG (202221 bytes) Olympic Line 2 sm.jpg (200921 bytes) Olympic Line 3 sm.jpg (209677 bytes) Olympic Line 4 sm.jpg (288446 bytes)
Near the east end of the line
Olympic Line 5 sm.JPG (308884 bytes) Olympic Line 7 sm.jpg (237419 bytes) Olympic Line 9 sm.JPG (124449 bytes) Olympic Line crowds sm.jpg (140276 bytes)
 At the east end terminus which provides a connection to the SkyTrain rapid transit system. 
Olympic Line 1 sm.jpg (228841 bytes) Olympic Line 10 sm.jpg (166683 bytes) Olympic Line 11 sm.JPG (127362 bytes) Olympic Line 13 sm.jpg (149067 bytes)

At the west end terminus at Granville Island, a popular tourist
destination and a key entertainment center for the Olympic games.

Olympic Line 14 sm.JPG (153875 bytes) Olympic Line 18 sm.JPG (238480 bytes) Olympic Line 19 sm.JPG (261259 bytes) Olympic Line 8 ROW sm.jpg (146710 bytes)
Granville Island terminus Approaching the east end station Mid-point passing siding
Olympic Line 20 sm.jpg (194177 bytes) Olympic Line 15 interior sm.jpg (222992 bytes) Olympic Line 16 interior sm.jpg (226935 bytes) Olympic Line 17 controls sm.jpg (122530 bytes)

The attractively styled interior. This particular pair of cars
from Brussels is 2.3 meters (7 feet-6 inch) wide, making them noticeably narrower than typical US Light Rail vehicles. However, the modular Flexity is also available in 2400 mm (7 feet-10 inch) and 2650 mm (8 feet – 8 inch) widths.

A view inside the operator’s cab.

News / Updates

June 2010- Operation of Vancouver’s Downtown Historic Railway resumed on June 5, 2010 during the APTA 2010 Rail Transit Conference. A special charter was conducted for the APTA Streetcar Subcommittee who were treated to a round trip on the line and an update from DHR volunteers. Regular operations are scheduled to resume in July.

BCE 1207 DHS1 sm.jpg (153666 bytes) BCE 1207 DHS2 sm.jpg (187724 bytes) BCE 1207 DHS3 sm.jpg (126576 bytes) APTA group on board sm.jpg (145288 bytes)

BC Electric Railway heritage cars are once again in operation on the Downtown Historic Railway. Passenger service was resumed with a special operation in June for the APTA Streetcar Subcommittee during the 2010 Rail Transit Conference.