Thursday, June 10, 2010

PDP #233: Tracking the Trackless Trolley

Vancouver and Toronto have at least this in common - they're now the only two cities in Canada with a network of wires strung above their streets. While in Toronto they power streetcars, here in Vancouver that's how the electricity flows into what is now the country's last operating fleet of trolleybuses, thanks to the city of Edmonton's short-sighted abandonment of its system last year. They're great vehicles to ride, though they take a bit of getting used to: when one is stopped, say waiting for a streetlight to change from red to green, aside from the hum of a few fans it is entirely silent. You really can't appreciate how horrifically loud an internal combustion engine is when all of a sudden you don't have to hear it anymore. Given that Toronto abandoned its own trolleybus system back in 1993, this is the first opportunity I've had to actually experience one.

In this photo, trolley #2262 is waiting to turn off Seymour Street onto West Cordova in downtown Vancouver, bound ultimately for Phibbs Exchange.

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