Vancouver, the streetcars are coming!

Post by Mike Klassen in


Slideshow: Vancouver's brand new streetcars that will run between Granville Island and the Athlete's Village are off the boat in Tacoma, and traveling up the I-5 to the Canadian border - see full screen has been contacted by the local Bombardier team about the new streetcars about to arrive here in Vancouver. We're very excited about their arrival, and hope it signals a new dimension to rapid transit in Metro Vancouver after their temporary trial between Granville Island, and the Athlete's Village in south False Creek.

The cars are en route to Vancouver, via the Port of Tacoma. If you click the "I" (information) in the Flickr slideshow above you can read details about the cars, which feature the flags of Vancouver, Canada and Belgium on their sides.

The cars will be moved up the I-5 on Sunday; and then will stop near the border until very early Monday morning when they will have clearance to drive them through the burbs up to Vancouver. There are restrictions on when you can drive a huge trailer like this within Greater Vancouver – it has to be outside rush hours.

Bombardier have provided us with a logistics fact sheet about the cars, which we provide here:

BOMBARDIER FLEXITY Streetcars’ Voyage to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games – Transport Details

Departure of streetcars from Brussels to the Port in Bremerhaven, Germany

  • Distance from Brussels to port in Bremerhaven: approximately 600 km
  • Transport vehicle: flatbed trailers
  • Length of time to reach departure port from Brussels: two nights (transport can only take place at night)
  • Length of trailerbed: 41,950 mm (137 feet)
  • Method of lift: loading is by special rail ramp and winch to trailerbed equipped with rails
  • Length of streetcar: 32,024 mm (105 feet)
  • Weight of streetcar: 39,200 kg

Shipping of streetcars from Bremerhaven, Germany, to Tacoma, WA

  • Names of shipping companies: Prangl GmbH and WWL WalleniusWilhelmsen Lines
  • Name of vessel: TOMAR
  • Route of voyage: Bremerhaven - Zeebrugge - Southampton - Panama Canal - Pt. Hueneme - Tacoma
  • Distance of voyage: 9090 nautical miles equal to 16,835 km
  • Type and size of ship: MV "TOMAR" is a PCTC (Pure Car and Truck Carrier) RoRo vessel, built in 2008. Overall length is 200 m, beam 32.2 m DW (Deadweight = max weight of cargo, bunkers and stores) 22,144 tons
  • Length of journey: 30 days from port of loading in Bremerhaven to port of discharge in Tacoma
  • Method of loading onto ship: in the Port of Bremerhaven, the streetcars will be transferred from the road trailers onto to special roll trailers
  • Tiedowns: the roll trailers are lashed to the vessel's deck by chains
  • Location of streetcars: main deck

Arrival of streetcars in Tacoma, WA

  • Arrival at Port of Tacoma: December 2
  • Transfer to flatbed trailer: December 3

Travel to and off-loading of streetcars in Vancouver, British Columbia

  • Start of journey for first streetcar: December 6 at 9 am
  • Distance from Tacoma to Vancouver: approx.300 km
  • Off-loading on Vancouver’s Olympic Line: December 7 (early morning)
  • Method of off-loading: roll-off ramp onto the 1.8 km Olympic Line
  • Arrival of second streetcar: December 10

For additional information, visit our website and


Sadly this seems to be funded by the City of Van for the Olympic period, and Translink is strangely silent on all things related to this Streetcar. Ir would be very unfortunate if this is only a 2 month trial and nothing else comes of it.

Beautiful machines. They reflect the Vancouver of old. Very cool.

Something to be happy and proud of.

Here's a pic from the Vancovuer archives of a Streetcar arriving at the first Vancouver Exhibition via McGill Street, 1910.

Thanks for posting this, John. I love this stuff.

Looks beautiful and I'm very excited that it's coming. Only wish that it would stay!!!

Beautiful AND Canadian spun technology. Would be fantastic if street cars were running silently and efficiently throughout Vancouver once again.

The two streetcars, called trams in Europe, are Bombardier Flexity Outlook cars, from the 'Flexity' modular car family.

Being modular, the vehicle can be built to meet different transit demands in other cities, as with Siemens Combino and Alstom's Citidis cars.

There are about 7 different basic modules that can be chosen to fulfill the needs of various operators, creating an almost custom built car, very inexpensively.

The Flexity Outlook car can, by adding various modules can be built to operate at speeds from 65 kph to 80 kph and have passenger capacities between 200 (27m long) to 350 (43.4 metre long).

The trams are 100% low-floor, which means level access (no steps) from station platforms and in Europe offer quick and unaided loading for the mobility impaired.

It's a shame that they will run on an almost hidden route, that never did see electric operation and to bad they could not operate on the Arbutus Corridor, so everyone would have a chance to see 21st century public transit and transit philosophy in action.

Though Bombardier built, these cars are strictly European designed with little or no Canadian influence.

Its all show,,,thats what we are about in Vancouver -- its like having a relative come over you havent seeen in a long time....cut the grass paint the house....hang a picture...blah blah blah...thats what we do here a convention centre, order new ferries, get some hydrogen busses,,,,and guessed it...lets get some electric modern streetcars that can run for (only during the olympics) on a small 2km track...and oh the tracks will beed 8million in upgrading for this temporary system....
I am not a pessimist but the govt has said it is temporary and I believe we dont even own the cars - they are onloan before they go back....what a about your carbon footprint with the cost benefit of this facade.....but we want to put on the green smile face for the world right....even if its "fake"...

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