Broadway streetcar — when and if it’s built – may not need overhead wires

If the current talks between Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom and the Translink Mayor’s Council produce a funding formula to build the long-awaited Evergreen Line, a decision to build both Surrey transit and a new rapid transit corridor on Broadway could follow.

But would the streetcar, when and if it comes, require new overhead wires? Not if a new wireless technology, developed by Bombardier for the Flexity cars we saw during the Olympics, is selected to serve the line.

One option under consideration at Translink: a streetcar connection from VCC Clark, across False Creek Flats and the up the Burrard slopes to connect to Arbutus and West Broadway. A Skytrain extension to Arbutus is considered a logical option at least as far as Arbutus, because it would serve the second-largest business district in BC.

Although trolley wires already serve the route, new ones would be required for a streetcar. But the Bombardier system uses a wireless system with infrastructure buried in the pavement. Batteries on the train — or wirelesss bus — help carry the vehicle over gaps.