It’s been 2 years, one month, and three days since the Bombardier Olympic Streetcar got sent back to Belgium for good. But who’s counting right? It’d be nice if the City of Vancouver could at least put up the few thousand dollars to get the Downtown Historic Railway running again this year…but that’s a story for another day.
Until now, some of us had to be content with their memories of the Olympic Line. Others like transit enthusiast Rob Chew (check out just some of his memorabilia here) go to Brussels and buy their own model version of Bombardier’s Flexity cars.
But there’s good news for all you light rail-deprived out there. To remind us of the potential that light rail has for our region, Bombardier is bringing a full-scale model of its Flexity Freedom light rail vehicle to Surrey and Vancouver. Surrey will get it first, at the Cloverdale Millennium Amphitheatre on July 1st from 10am to 6pm. Then Vancouver gets a look on Granville Island from July 6th to 8th. The model will also visit Edmonton and Calgary on its Western Canada tour.
The Flexity Freedom is the same vehicle that Bombardier is building for Metrolinx in Toronto and it is tailored for North American design standards and climate. The vehicle frame and carbody sidewalls are made of stainless steel that can handle all the salt put on roads every winter.
Having driven the Flexitys on the Olympic Line in 2010 I can vouch for their speed, handling and quiet ride. Have a look at them when they come to town and perhaps if we encourage our politicians enough we’ll see them on our streets in the not-too-distant future.
John Calimente works as a transportation planner, supporting great mass transit, cycling, walking, transit integrated communities, and multimodal urban life. Follow TheTransitFan on Twitter.
John, where did you get that Bombardier Flexity model? I collect a lot of these transit models. I find it difficult to find anything North American or European. It’s probably because I have an idea where to find the Asian ones, but not things like the Flexity. Please share. Thank you.
Hi Henry – the Flexity Outlook model is made by Leopold Halling of Austria. As I mentioned, Rob bought his in Brussels but you can also buy them (and many others!) online here: http://www.halling.at/railwaymodel/index.php?g=Br%FCssel
My name is Gary and I’m one of Rob’s friends. I think the Flexity is a very good idea for the City, it can be used for Light Rail. Our Mayor who is pushing the Green agenda, should consider this. Love to see this run down the middle of Hastings and call it the Hastings Express and run it down to Waterfront, via Water Street, up Burrard, down Robson and Robson can be a Greenway then, no car traffic, just the Flexity and make this a Free Transit Zone. Run it along Beach and then along Pacific, into China Town, then loop it back down towards the VIA Station and then have it go along the line to Granville Island.
I found the business card from the store where I bought the Flexity model. Here’s the website http://www.dreamcollection.eu