Our grand old streetcar #23 is now put to bed for the winter. Big thanks to all our volunteers who worked hard to ensure that we ran during this summer of social distancing and disinfecting! And heartfelt gratitude to the people who rode with us… it’s our passengers that make us successful!
Good bye to one of our amazing volunteers! Yesterday was Zac’s last shift as streetcar operator as he’s moving to Kelowna. Zac, we will miss you and your dedication to the streetcar! Happy trails, the best of luck and we’re pretty sure you’ll be back on board some day!
Zac (left) and Jean at the end of Zac’s last shift
Check out this great Youtube video by “DownieLive”, a brother and sister duo traveling through BC in search of rail history in this year of limited travel due to Covid. They really do our streetcar and volunteers proud!
Forty years ago Reid Henderson of the RDCK wrote to the City of Nelson that the body of streetcar #23 was available for sale, and wondered if there was interest in a restoration project. With a lot of help from the City of Nelson, the Chamber of Commerce, CP Rail, the Province of BC, West Kootenay Power (now Fortis BC) and many local businesses and individuals, over the next ten years the restoration of streetcar #23 was completed, the car barn built and tracks and electrical system installed.
Local dentist, Dr. Mike Culham, was involved almost from the beginning. He had a passion for trains and he was a natural choice for Chairman of the Restoration Committee. When this committee became Nelson Electric Tramway Society (NETS) in 1988, Mike became the Society’s inaugural President, a position he held for many years. Mike led the acquisition of the mechanical and electrical parts from around the world needed to make Streetcar 23 operational, the building of the tracks from Rotary Lakeside Park to the airport, building the car barn and recruiting and training volunteers, in short ensuring the success of NETS and creating such a delightful and interesting piece of working history right on our waterfront.
When operators pass their written and on-board tests, they are issued a number. Culham became Operator #1, meaning he was the first licensed operator to be qualified to operate the revived Streetcar 23 out of almost 200 volunteer drivers to date. He moved to Vancouver several years ago but still returned to Nelson every summer to operate the streetcar.
Sunday, August 16th, 2020 was Mike Culham’s last run. A group of dedicated NETS volunteers (including Reid Henderson, talk about full circle!) surprised Mike at the car barn at the end of his last shift, where he was presented with a piece of photographic art by Greg Osadchuk and donated by Jean Elliot, another long time volunteer and operator. Mike did say that he still might come back, so maybe this isn’t the end of an era after all?
We’re ready to roll!
Okay folks… here’s the news you’ve been waiting for!
Our Start Date is Monday July 6
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 11 am to 2:30 pm Sat., Sun., Holidays 11 am to 4:30 pm
Fare by Donation or Annual Pass. No change given.
Annual Passes for Sale from Conductor Adult $25. Senior / 6-12 years $15. Family (max. 2 over 18) $50.
COVID-19 Precautions: • Maintain Social Distancing while waiting for streetcar • Bicycles, strollers, wagons, wheelchairs, etc. NOT accepted • Pets NOT accepted • Use provided Hand Sanitizer upon entry • Seats will be assigned. We are operating at 50% capacity (20 seats) • Children to remain seated. Sorry, no gong ringing.
May 7, 2020
The Nelson Electric Tramway Society has requested funds from Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives to help complete our substation upgrade and would appreciate your support in this matter. Click http://forms.ourtrust.org/cip-rdck-online-engagement-form/ and select “Area Nelson CIP”, choose “Nelson Electric Tramway Society” and leave a positive comment. You can do this every day for maximum exposure, thank you for your support!
Upon advice from Health Authorities, the Nelson Electric Tramway Society will delay the 2020 season opening. As much as we looked forward to offering our streetcar rides and visits to our museum, we recognize the important role everyone plays towards the overall safety in their community and region by practicing social distancing.
With the ever-changing conditions, we will monitor the situation on a day by day basis and look forward to announcing our official opening for the season when the time is right. In the meantime, our President, Jim Robertson, will respond to all inquiries as efficiently as possible. Please feel free to contact him at 250-352-7949 or check updates on our website or our Facebook page.
We thank you for your understanding and cooperation towards the health and safety of our community.
We at NETS are so grateful to our local Rotary Club for their generous donation to assist in enhancing the access to our museum. The Walt Laurie Memorial Museum is located at the Nelson Electric Tramway Society’s car barn in Lakeside Rotary Park and plans are in place to build a ramp for easier access for those who use a wheelchair or scooter.
Photo L – R: Streetcar volunteers Ed Stockerl, Dave McMichael, Al Walker, Terry Thompson, Rotary President Tom Roy, Tina Coletti (Walt Laurie’s daughter), Gary Shroeder, Bill Drake (in streetcar), Norm Facchina and NETS President Jim Robertson
Photo Credit to Michael Dill