Edmonton and Calgary, the two cities that began the revival of light rail in North America in the late 1970s, are the sites of our 2006 Convention.
The Westin Edmonton is in downtown Edmonton at 10135 100th Street, and is connected by underground passage to the Churchill station of the Edmonton Light Rail line. The Sandman Hotel Calgary City Centre is in downtown Calgary at 888 Seventh Avenue, located along Calgary’s C-Train Transitway (8th Street station). Both are convenient venues in the two traction capitals of Alberta. These full-service hotels offer such amenities as fitness/exercise centers and swimming pools, and both offer high-speed internet access. Our annual movie/slideshow will be held in Edmonton and our banquet will take place in Calgary.
A special Edmonton Trolley Coach Fantrip will begin at 1 PM this afternoon in front of the Library on the south side of 102nd Ave. between 100th and 99th Streets. If it is in working order, our equipment will include the system’s 1948-built Brill coach. The trip will last three hours and is priced as a supplement to the full Convention package.
At 8 PM our Annual Movie/Slideshow will begin at the Westin. Colin Hatcher, noted Canadian streetcar and interurban historian, will present historic videos of traction in Edmonton and other areas of Western Canada, while Don Scafe will present a slideshow about the rebirth of historic streetcar operations and light rail in Edmonton. Be with us to relive traction memories from bygone days in the Canadian northwest.
There are two electric traction operations in the City of Edmonton and we will visit both today. In the morning we have scheduled a fantrip on the Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s High Level Bridge streetcar operation. We will ride both operable units, the streetcar from Osaka (247) and the light rail vehicle from Hannover (601), and many photo stops and runbys are scheduled. In addition, there is a Melbourne car on the property whose restoration is nearing completion and that will be placed outside for photographs. We will meet at 8:45 AM at the inner terminal of the line, on the west side of 109th Street between 99th and 97th Avenues, just 2 blocks away from the Light Rail Line’s Grandin station. (Leave Churchill for Grandin by LRT at 8:25 AM). The fantrip will return to its starting point at 11 AM At that time participants will have a choice of either getting lunch near the Grandin LRT station or making another round trip on the streetcar line, which will return a little before noon.
At 12:15 our chartered Light Rail Vehicle will pick us up at the Grandin LRT station. We will cover the LRT line and then visit the system’s Carhouse and Shop for a tour. We will possess day tickets, so the remainder of the day may be spent riding and photographing Edmonton’s LRT system and/or returning to the High Level Bridge streetcar (or going to the famous West Edmonton Mall).
Special Bonuses in Edmonton: We have a great many special arrangements worked out for out stay in Edmonton.
Day Tickets: Participants will receive an Edmonton Transit System Day Pass for July 2 and Edmonton High Level Streetcar Day Passes for July 1 and 2.
For Trained Streetcar Operators: Any convention participant who can demonstrate that he or she is qualified to operate railcars on a rail transit system or at a trolley museum will have the opportunity to participate in a special excursion over the High Level Streetcar. This event will start at the Grandin terminal at 4:40 PM on July 2. This very special offer is being made by the Edmonton Radial Railway Society. After providing proof of eligibility each participant will pay $10.00 to the ERRS representative for a 20-minute spin on the streetcar. Space is limited so reservations will be accepted on a first come first served basis and you will be assigned a specific time. This offer is subject to change, based on weather and operating conditions.
Our chartered coach(es) will leave from in front of the hotel at 8:25 for the ride to Fort Edmonton and then on to Calgary. Please check out of the hotel and have your bags ready for placing on the bus(es) before our departure. We will have our own charters and the run of the streetcar system before the park opens at 10:00. There are a large number of beautifully restored Edmonton and Toronto cars in the Edmonton Radial Railway Society collection and they will try to get as many on the road as possible. After 10:00 AM we will have the opportunity to ride and photograph the steam railway as well as visiting the park’s other attractions, or we can continue to ride the streetcars, which will also be carrying the general public. We will leave the park at 12 Noon and then head for Calgary, stopping along the way for lunch.
Today is a very busy day, as we will be riding the Calgary C-Train light rail system, touring its shop facilities and then continuing on to Heritage Park, where we will have the opportunity to ride and photograph the attraction’s streetcar and steam railway lines. We will gather at the 8th Street station, right next to our hotel, at 8:55 AM to meet a representative of the Calgary LRT system, who will arrange for our trip to the Anderson Road shop. He will distribute day tickets to all of us for use later in the day. Then, after a tour of the shops and carbarn, which now house two different kinds of LRVs, we will travel by bus to Calgary Heritage Park. Our hosts plan to have both of their streetcars, which run between a remote parking area and the gate, out on the road for an informal fantrip. Once inside the park you will have the opportunity to ride the steam train and participate in many of the park’s other interesting attractions. You may leave the park at any time, riding the streetcar from the gate to 14th Street, where you can board a CTS shuttle bus or walk to C-Train’s Heritage station. Then you can spend the rest of the day on your own riding and photographing the three lines of this fine light rail system.
ERA’s Annual Banquet will be held in a private room at the Sandman Hotel. An hour-long informal reception and cash bar will begin at 6:30 PM, and dinner will follow promptly at 7:30. Our main guest speaker, Bill Kuyt, is the dean of Calgary’s railfans and author of the definitive history of Calgary’s streetcars. He will provide us with an illustrated talk about the long-abandoned local trolleys along with current and future plans for LRT expansion.
So come to the Canada, our neighbor to the north, for the big July 4 weekend. Ride light rail and heritage streetcar lines and visit trolley museums. Stay over on July 5 to cover the full extent of Calgary’s expanding light rail transit system. Join us!