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Nelson's Streetcar 23 ready to get back on the rails

Nelson Streetcar 23 has been forced to make a few changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be back starting Monday, July 6. — Photo courtesy Michael Dill

Streetcar 23 is heading back to the rails, beginning Monday, July 6 on the Nelson waterfront.

After being forced to delay opening for the season due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Nelson Electric Tramway Society was recently given the green light to begin the 2020 season following the implementation of Phase 3 of the provincial Restart Plan.

“When phase 3 came into effect in June, it allowed attractions such as the Nelson Electric Tramway Society to begin operating again,” a spokesperson for NETS said in a media release.

“The maintenance crew swung into action, performing the required safety checks on Car 23, then turned their attention to the necessary track work and inspection.”

The NETS said operators have been busy as well, writing their annual exam and hands-on re-qualifying their skills as conductors and drivers.

NETS Superintendent Terry Thompson says it's been “all hands-on deck” for several weeks now.

“There's been non-stop enquiries asking if we were going to run this year, so we certainly didn't want to disappoint our local supporters, and we hope to give visitors to Nelson something to remember,” Thompson explained.

 “Safety is paramount to the streetcar operation, and this year we've been given the added responsibility for the health and welfare of our Operators and the general public due to the COVID-19.”

Thompson said the WorkSafe BC COVID-19 Safety Plan is now in place.

However, due to the constraints some seating on Car 23 has been lost, including the inability to for staff to operate the Mobilift for those requiring extra assistance boarding.

“But we've done what we had to do in order to get back on the rails,” Thompson said.

The first day in service is Monday July 6 with some adaptations to schedule required.

This year the NETS is operating Monday to Friday starting at the Prestige Station 11:10 a.m., the last run leaving Lakeside Park at 2:30 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday is the same as previous years, starting at the Prestige Station  at 11:10 a.m. with last run leaving Lakeside Park at 4:30 p.m.

“We are all looking forward to seeing our old friends again, and can't wait to meet our new ones,” Thompson said.