A Canadian Interurban Electric Railway - 1930's - 1940's
British Columbia Electric Railway


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The British Columbia Electric Railway (BCE), was (and is) a suburban and interurban transit system in the province of British Columbia. Centered in Vancouver but extending a total of 125 miles, being the largest transit system in Canada. It was built to very high standards, and concentrated heavily on freight traffic. It had several routes from Vancouver to New Westminster. and then a main extending east to Chilliwack. 76 miles. A disconnected line ran from Victoria north to Deep Creek, 22 miles. Interurban runs were light, but suburban runs were quite frequent in Vancouver, New Westminster and Victoria urban areas. The BCE was more than just a street and interurban railway -it built hydro-electric dams and provided the province with most of its electric and natural gas energy. As with most interurbans the BCE lost passenger business was after the WW2 and closed passenger operations in 1950. Taken over be the province in 1962 the BCE lost it's non-rail acquisitions in the following years and closed down in 1983.
Short history of the British Columbia Electric Railway
The BCE was under English control from its inception until 1927 when control passed to the Power Company of Canada.
Victoria Street Railways
1888 - The National Electric Tramway and Lighting Company (NET&L), a company organized in Victoria in November 1888 and incorporated the following year.
1890 - On 22 February the NET&L introduced streetcars to Victoria, the third city in Canada to create a transit system made up of electric-powered streetcars.


British Columbia Electruc
British Columbia Electric
November 1, 1946
1892 - The NET&L steam plant is destroyed by fire.
1894 - NET&L went into receivership. The company was sold to the Colonial Railway and Investment Company of eastern Canada. This company in turn sold it to a new London based company who refinanced the company as the Victoria Electric Railway and Lighting Company (VER&L0.
Vancouver Street Railways
1889 - Vancouver Electric Railway and Light Company formed.
1895 - North Vancouver Electric Company formed.
New Westminster Street Railway
1890 - Westminster and Vancouver Tramway Company formed.
Street Railway Consolidation
1895 - In April the Victoria, New Westminster and Vancouver Street Railways became part of the Vancouver-based Consolidated Railway and Light Company incorporated in 1895.
British Columbia Electric Railway
1896 - A river bridge in Victoria collapsed, killing 55 people. Consolidated suffered from shaken investor and customer confidence and went into bankruptcy. The company was sold to the Colonial Railway and Investment Company of eastern Canada. This company in turn sold it to a new London based company, and the British Columbia Electric Railway was formed.
1891 - The New Westminster and Vancouver Tramway's Ltd. was built from Vancouver to New Westminster, B.C., 12.5 miles.
1897 - British Columbia Electric absorbs NW&V.
1905 - The BCE leased the Vancouver and Lulu Island from the Canadian Pacific, and electrified it from Vancouver to Stevenson for passenger service.
1909 - A link was completed fom Eburne (Marpole) on the Stevenson line from New Westminster
1910 - On October 3. the BCE opened a 65 mile line from New Westminster up the Frazer Valley to Chilliwack, primarily to haul logs and lumber, but providing 3 car per day passenger service.
1911 - A third line to New Westminster via Burnaby is completed. BCE provides 30 minute interval suburban service.
1911-12 - Double tracking and reduction of grades into New Westminster is accomplished, and much carload freight is handled.
1913 - On June 19, the BCE opened a 22 mile line from Victoria to Deep Grove, disconnected from the Vancouver lines.
1927 - Control of BCE passes from English interests to the Power Company of Canada.
1946 - The BCE is running three passenger trains a day between Vancouver and Chilliwack, 76 miles, with a Sunday only run between Vancouver and Nt. Lehman, 44 miles.
1950 - The Vancouver - Chilliwack (Frazser Valley Line) passenger runs discontinued on September 30, and the line was dieselized.
1953 - The line through Burnaby Lake, parts abandoned in 1937, is now completely abandoned.
1952-56 - The Vancouver to Marpole to New Westminster segments abandoned.
1954 - Marpole - Stevenson service discontinued.
1958 - Marpole - Stevenson line abandoned.
post 1958 - Most of the mains except for the Burnaby lims have been retained for freight service.
1961 - The BCE is appropriated y by the province of British Columbia on August 1st, 1961.
1862 - BCE renamed BC Hydro and Power Authority (BCHP) on March 30, 1962.
post 1962 - Over the following years the Crown corporation lost its transit, railway and natural gas divisions, retaining just its electric power obligations.
1983 - BCHP was dissolved on May 10, 1983.

BCE
British Columbia Electric - November 1, 1946

BCE map
British Columbia Electric (BCE)

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- various editions
The Electric Interurban Railways in America-Hilton & Due- pp 422-23
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April23, 2009, revised AAA-pril 21, 2011