Fort Edmonton Park Streetcars
Edmonton Streetcars #1 (1908), #42 (1912) and #80 (1930) pose at the Fort Edmonton Park Streetcar Barn (July 1, 2010) © Hans Ryffel, ERRS
Fort Edmonton Park, North America's largest interactive historic park, is a place where time has stopped and is waiting for visitors to experience life as it was through four historical periods. The journey goes back in time more than 150 years through the days of the fur trade and the pioneer years of 1885, 1905 and 1920. Costumed staff bring the past to life, answer questions and invite visitors to experience the best of each period.
Dominion Day at Fort Edmonton Park with Streetcars #33 & #1 (July 1, 2010) © Oliver Ryffel, ERRS
Providing the best in living history, Fort Edmonton Park is situated on 64 ha (158 ac) of parkland in Edmonton's river valley. What began as a Canada Centennial project in 1967 to reconstruct the old Fort Edmonton, quickly grew to encompass much more. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Fort Edmonton Foundation, the Park now includes the 1846 Fort and Cree encampment and the Streets of 1885, 1905 and 1920, depicting the evolution of Edmonton's early history. Fort Edmonton Park is owned and operated by the City of Edmonton.
Edmonton streetcars #1 and #42 meet at 1905 Street © Hans Ryffel, ERRS
The Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) is proud to be an important part of this outstanding historic complex. Founded in 1980 with virtually nothing more than former Edmonton streetcar #1, the volunteer members of the society worked hard to create an authentic streetcar system operating on 1905 and 1920 streets. The roughly one km long streetcar line is double tracked and features turning loops near the Park entrance and the outer terminus at Egge's barn. A replica of the original south side streetcar barn in Edmonton houses a number of operational streetcars as well as the Society's workshop, where maintenance and restoration work is carried out. The streetcars use trolley poles to pick up electricity (600 Volts DC) from the overhead wires.
Upon abandonment of the City's streetcar system in 1951, only streetcar #1 was kept in Edmonton, but suffered substantial damage through weather and vandalism. The metal parts of other cars were sold for scrap. Many bodies saw further use as cottages, pig or chicken barns, sheds or even roadside diners. It took quite a bit of detective work to find the locations of such historical artifacts and bring them back to Edmonton. With few exceptions these bodies were manufactured from wood and thus suffered substantial damage over the decades. Much reconstruction work and countless volunteer hours were needed to transform some of these ruins back into fully operational streetcars. Even complete new trucks were built in the Society's own workshop! Many visitors do not realize how much it took to enable them to ride in authentic and beautifully restored streetcars up to 100 years old.
The volunteer members of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society find much satisfaction in their ongoing efforts and are always happy to find new colleagues who share their passion. Enough work is available for decades to come!
Edmonton Streetcar #1 and the Ford Model T both date from 1908 (June 15, 2008)
© Hans Ryffel, ERRS