On July 29, 1998, the first streetcar rolled down the “Vancouver Downtown Historic Railway,” operating service between Science World and Granville Island. The railway was built as a demonstration line, with the intention to bolster support for future streetcar expansion in the downtown core.
Science World Station was the end of the terminus station for this rail line, which operated only on weekends during the summer months. The cars that ran on the line were restored rail cars, originally operated by the BC Electric Railway Company. Interurban Car 1207 and Tram 1231 visited the station every 30 minutes to take passengers on a journey that cost just $2.
The rail cars were operated by volunteers, and were described as a “living museum.” They were clean, efficient, and said to be a large tourist trap. While the railway’s purpose was never to be primarily transit, many residents used it as such and wanted to see it expanded.
Funding for the line was cut in 2012. Continued development in the Olympic Village area of Vancouver has removed much of the tracks around that area, so now the Science World Station sits awkwardly surrounded by asphalt. Since the line’s closure, the other stations have become overgrown with weeds and blackberries, and much of the overhead copper wire has been stolen. While there has been some interest by residents and city staffers to resurrect, and even expand the railway, this is not likely.