The streetcar was never actually used in Vancouver and originally comes from Belgium.
A streetcar being stored in a shed at Vancouver’s Leg in Boot square is up for auction by the provincial government.
However, while it’s been in the city for years, it’s never seen use on Vancouver rails.
The streetcar was donated to the Transit Museum Society by the Belgian government around 2000, according to Matthew Lairdwho’s been involved with the society for years.
The idea was for the streetcar, which could be operated by a single person and have a wheelchair ramp installed, to run on the Downtown Historic Railway between Granville Island and Olympic Village Station (under the Cambie Street Bridge). That line (which still physically exists) was in use for a decade, until after the 2010 Olympics.
However, Laird notes the Belgian streetcar up for auction never ran, other than when his father, Dale, moved it a few feet back and forth. With no current plans for the historic railway to be used, it is unlikely ever to carry passengers in Vancouver.
The streetcar was to be renovated, but that only partially happened, with UBC students building a new controller, Laird says on Twitter. The interior was never restored.
Now it sits in a shed next to the unused rail line at Leg in Boot square.
But not for long. The streetcar was just listed on the province’s auction website. The online auction will run until Aug. 29.
The auction notes the electric streetcar is “untested,” “not in working condition,” damaged, missing pieces, and may need to be dismantled to move. One thing it does have, though, is asbestos.
Currently, the top bid is $100.
However, before leaping to make a bid, know this.
“It is the responsibility of the winning bidder to make all shipping and removal arrangements,” the government says on the auction site. “All disassembly, removal and shipping of this auction item are the sole responsibility and at the expense of the high bidder.
“The winning bidder is solely responsible for any and all damage to the unit and the premise that may occur in the disassembly and removal of this unit.”
Laird notes that as a street car, its wheels may not line up with other railways.
“They’re smaller on a streetcar. It wouldn’t be able to handle the tolerances on a freight railway without falling between the tracks at switches,” he notes on Twitter.
Also, the winner will have to get it out of the shed five days after the auction ends, which may bring new meaning to ‘Labour Day’ for the winner’s friends.