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Official opening of the High Level Streetcar line extension scheduled for Thursday


Streetcars ran in Edmonton from 1908, including along Whyte Avenue

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An extension to the High Level streetcar line in Old Strathcona will see its grand opening on Thursday after more than a decade of planning.

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The Edmonton Radial Railway Society operates the historic High Level Bridge streetcar and celebrates the completion of the link to a new terminal just north of Whyte Avenue, connecting passengers to the downtown terminal, west of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Company president Chris Ashdown said that while it’s about an 800-foot addition to the line, it will provide a big boost.

“Streetcars ran in Edmonton from 1908, including along Whyte Avenue. So we have streetcars again present at one of the main intersections in Old Strathcona, so for us that’s a lot more visibility,” he said.

After the Canadian Pacific Railway gave up its right-of-way, the line could be extended across Gateway Boulevard and south to the north side of Whyte Avenue.

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The grand opening will take place at 11 a.m. at the new wharf north of Whyte Avenue, between Gateway Boulevard and 102 Street. The project, which costs just over $1 million, was funded by the city, Alberta Culture, the Edmonton Radial Railway Society and private donors.

A popular tourist attraction, the tram began carrying passengers this season in late May and will continue to operate until October.

In its last full season of operation in 2019 before service disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Level Bridge light rail line carried over 92,000 passengers.

“A lot of these people were coming to Strathcona — some for the first time,” Ashdown said.

The company also operates the Fort Edmonton Streetcar Line inside Fort Edmonton Park during the park’s operating season.

ljohnson@postmedia.com


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