Speeders: Another of my Hobbies

Like a lot of people, I have more than one hobby. My “Summer Hobby’ is restoring and operating old railway motor cars, or speeders. Once used by railroads in MOW service before being replaced by high rail trucks, speeders are now owned and (sometimes) operated by private individuals across North America.

I belong to the North American Railcar Operators Association, or NARCOA for short. http://www.narcoa.org

Much like an old car club, we meet several times a year on selected railways, and with their permission and assistance, operate our cars on a portion of their tracks. We have our own rule book, insurance, and operating licenses, so it is all perfectly legal.

I currently own 4 cars, 2 of which run, with a 3rd almost complete and a 4th set aside as a future project.

That future project is quite special to me, as it is a former BC Rail Railcar Canada CBI car.

The car as I bought it:

BCR CC721 FRONT DEC 13 10 ONO IMG_7201

The most interesting thing about the car is the lettering on the doors:


“Grounded for Operation in Electrified Territory” which to me says this car likely operated on the electrified Tumbler Ridge Subdivision.

The car is in rough shape, but I did managed to get the motor to run! It is a very model built by the Railcar Canada company in Hamilton Ontario, in 1981. The car still has its builders plate, with a serial number A022, making it the 22nd car built! It is estimated Railcar Canada and its successor Woodings built around 400 cars.   It is currently stored awaiting the day when I can restore the car. I want to keep as much as I can on the car original, which means leaving the paint as found. Most of the work will be mechanical and interior. I stripped out most of the interior and all the old rotted wiring from the car before placing it into storage.

Through the magic of the internet, I managed to track down the original owner of the car, after it was purchased from BCR. It seems that back in the day, BCR would not sell any surplus speeders to Canadian residents, for fear they might run them on railway tracks! Americans, however, were free to buy as many as they wanted! The old owner of the car told me he was able to purchase my speeder from BC Rail for the princley sum of $30 Canadian. Yes that’s right, 30 bucks! Here is a photo the old owner sent me, of my car in the back of an old Ford Ranger (the original full size Ranger) in the Squamish (corrected thanks Dave!) yard.

bcr05004 CROPPED

Someday that old BC Rail motor Car will run again!