On this glorious day that was this sunny Saturday I had to go to work. Yeah, it’s not my favourite part of the job either but I do what is necessary. Anyways, I had some errands to run so I couldn’t get to the office until the early afternoon. I also decided to drive to work.
I still haven’t figured out the best route to work from Port Moody but I settled on one that required me to only make three turns. I’d boot along the Barnet until I got downtown, left on Burrard, and then left onto W. 1st Ave.
The trip was uneventful until I got downtown along the Burrard, just blocks away from the bridge. Traffic came to a standstill and it was because of some sorta parade for world peace. It blocked off all lanes of Burrard and their were police monitoring the situation. A quick left and then a right brought me to Howe which would lead me to the Granville St. bridge. It wasn’t that big of a detour in the whole grand scheme of things.
I was about halfway across the bridge when I saw that a trolley bus was about ten or so car lengths ahead of me. I’m not sure if the bus had reached a junction point or not but the driver lost both of his poles. Now, if you’ve lived in Vancouver for any amount of time, the sight of a trolley bus losing connection with the overhead wires is probably something you’ve seen many times before.
Today, however, was something I’d never seen before. One of the poles swung up when it lost contact with the wire. The other did same thing but I think it hit some wires and/or some equipment along the wires either on the way up or down. It must have made a short circuit by touching both wires at the same time because it made a dazzling display of sparks that wowed myself and other drivers around me. Keep in mind we were in the bright sun, so the fact we saw so many sparks was pretty amazing. After the two second light show, the left pole then broke in half and I could see it fall on top of the bus and then onto the roadway. I had never seen a trolley pole break off before.
When the pole broke, it sent a shockwave through the grid of trolley wires that run along the entire length of the bridge. I’m not talking plucking guitar strings here, there was some wild movement of wires, much like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. By now, the four or so cars behind the bus all braked and the car directly behind the bus stopped completely. I was behind that car, so I signaled and moved into the other lane.
As I got closer to the bus, I could see a large piece of the pole had landed behind the bus but amazingly had not blocked any other lanes. Through the driver side window, I could also see the driver putting on a safety vest to get ready to go behind the bus. I’m pretty sure at that point, he didn’t know he had actually broken a pole.
I didn’t stick around to see what happened afterwards but I’m certain he would have limped the rest of the way along the bridge using battery power and then kicked out all the passengers at the next stop.
And that’s the most exciting thing to happen to me today.