There is nowhere else except in Edmonton where riders can experience the highest streetcar river crossing in the world transported along at a stately pace in a restored almost century old streetcar across a century old bridge like a transportation time machine.

The Edmonton Radial Railway Society is the operator of historic streetcars boasting the largest fleet of heritage streetcars in Western Canada with over twenty-five streetcars including eight in seasonal service, two undergoing restoration and fifteen others in storage or awaiting restoration.

The streetcar takes riders from Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona area through the only Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Tunnel built east of the Canadian Rockies along former CPR tracks out onto the High Level Bridge for the short journey into Edmonton’s Downtown.

Hankai Electric Railway (Osaka) No. 247 was built in 1921, rebuilt in 1947 and remained in service in Osaka until 1990 when it was acquired for spare parts by the Edmonton Radial Railway Society and shipped to the Alberta capital. When the streetcar arrived however it was in such excellent condition that the plans were revised and the car restored for use on the High Level Bridge Line.  Osaka No. 247 has been in regular seasonal service since 1997 and was for a time the only streetcar running on the line.

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The High Level Bridge is an iconic Edmonton landmark but this bridge is both a physical as well as historic link to the past as work began in 1912, the same year as the separate communities of Edmonton and Strathcona amalgamated to become one city. The rail deck soars 47 meters or 155 feet above the North Saskatchewan River and the crossing via streetcar affords riders sweeping river valley views in all directions. The bridge was designated a Municipal Historic Resource  when it was added to the Alberta Register of Historic Places in 1995.

At the southern end of the High Level Bridge there is a siding that allows the two streetcars to pass as there is only a single set of tracks across the bridge’s rail deck. Passing Osaka No. 247 is the 1947 vintage Melbourne 930 which served the Australian city until its retirement in 1997 before being shipped to Edmonton as an ambassador for the City of Melbourne and the State of Victoria. Following extensive truck and brake overhauls, car 930 entered service in 2006 and is well suited to the High Level Bridge Line because of its seating  for 50 and max.  capacity of 140 passengers.

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The tracks of the former CPR line winds their way through the Old Strathcona neighborhood on Edmonton’s south side terminating at the Strathcona Streetcar Barn & Museum, just north of the Strathcona Farmers Market. The route runs to Jasper Plaza south of Jasper Avenue on the north side of the river with three intermediate stops where passenger may request a stop.

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A 34-minute round trip ride costs $7 per passenger and includes admission to the Strathcona Streetcar Barn & Museum which has gathered artifacts, pictures and information relating to Edmonton’s original streetcar system whose service ended in 1951 as well as the historic streetcars gathered from around the world. A short 1949 colour film of Edmonton’s streetcars is also shown.

The High Level Bridge line runs daily May 17 – September 2 before dropping to weekend only service between September 6 – October 14 before the last run of the 2019 season on 14 October.