The restored Interurban tram #1223 is back at the Museum in its brand new tram barn. This structure houses the Interurban tram and interpretive displays and educational materials.
The tram is available to the public during BVM open hours.
Interurban tram car 1223 moved people and goods throughout the Lower Mainland between 1913 and 1958. Electric railway service in the region ended in the 1950s, replaced by buses. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers, the 1223 was preserved and restored.
In 1912 the B.C. Electric placed their largest order for tram cars, purchasing 32 1200-series cars from the St. Louis Car Company – including the 1223. This car 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 seven B.C. Electric Railway cars that was saved from destruction: the car became the property of the Burnaby Historical Society. The Society put it on display at Edmonds Loop, at Kingsway and Edmonds.
During the 1960s the car was vandalized. The decision was made to donate it to what is now the Burnaby Village Museum. The car was put on display, but its continued exposure to the elements led to a proposal by the Burnaby Historical Society for its restoration. In 2000, the Friends of the 1223 was formed to undertake the restoration project.
The restoration of the 1223 was undertaken by a group of dedicated volunteers: the Friends of Interurban 1223. The Society was formed in 2000 and was responsible for the work of the restoration, as well as raising the money to complete the restoration project. The Museum's conservator provided technical advice and support for the five-year project.
In September 2001 the deteriorating car was moved from the Burnaby Village Museum, where it had been stored outdoors since 1971, to a warehouse on Royal Oak Avenue. Once it had been given time to dry out, the tram was taken apart, with each piece inventoried. The sides of the tram were removed, leaving only the floor and roof, with the roof held up by metal scaffolding.
The Friends persevered with the project, recruiting volunteers, raising money, and finding suppliers to donate materials and services. A few of the projects they undertook as part of the restoration include:
Patterns were drafted and repairs of the original steel side beams and structural posts to support the wooden side structure of the tram completed. After years of exposure to the elements, much of the wood was rotten. The new beams and posts ensure the structural integrity of the tram. The seats were entirely reconstructed, including having casts made for the 18 iron seat frames in the tram, working with a foundry to recreate the seat frames, and finding a supplier that could replicate the original twill weave rattan upholstery. Each individual seat had to be machined and adjusted to ensure smooth movement of their reversing mechanism.
The entire electrical system, including the interior system that lights the interior and the wiring to the switches, controllers, and motors that operate the tram was rewired. Missing brass hardware was recast and produced, including luggage racks, window hardware, and handles.
The Friends also worked with other tram restoration groups to locate pieces that had been collected from sister cars of the 1223. Some of these items were donated to the Friends – including the controllers. Others pieces were loaned to them so they could use them to make patterns – including the trolley pole base. Countless other tasks were completed by the volunteers and their supporters. By the time the project was complete, the Friends of Interurban 1223 had contributed over 20,000 volunteer hours and generated over $550,000 of cash and in-kind support for the project.Go to Top