The Interurban tramcar 1220 is the largest artefact in the City of Richmond’s artefact collection.
The rail line on Lulu Island, built and owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1902, ran freight and passenger steam trains. In 1905, the CPR leased the line to the BC Electric Railway Company (BCER), which electrified the line.
In 1913, BCER added 28 tramcars bought from the St. Louis Car Company in Missouri. Among these was Tramcar 1220, which today is the largest artefact in the Richmond Museum’s collection.
The Interurban line contributed to the development of Richmond’s city centre. The Interurbans and the people who worked on them became an important and cherished part of the community.
The Interurbans did not survive the post-war prosperity that led to an explosion in the number of automobiles on the roads and an expansion of new suburbs not serviced by rail. On February 28, 1958, the final Interurban tramcar rolled the rails between Marpole and Steveston, marking the end of a definitive era for the Richmond community and for transportation history in BC.
As of today, there are only 7 BCER operated interurban trams left. Of the 28 original 1200 class tramcars from St Louis, five survive today including Car 1220 in Steveston. The other four surviving “sister” tramcars are the 1223 located at the Burnaby Village Museum, the 1231 in storage at False Creek in Vancouver, the 1235 in eastern Canada and the 1225 in Surrey operated by the Fraser Valley Heritage Railway Society. The remaining two cars, the 1207 and the 1304, were both built by BCER at their New Westminster car barn and are also located in Surrey with the 1225.