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Canadian Rail 377 1983

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Canadian Rail 377 1983

—–~~==~~.–
Canadian Rail
No. 377
NOVEMBER­
DECEMBER 1983

Published bi-monthly by the Canadian Railroad
Historical Association P.O Box 148 St. Constant
P.O.
JOL IXO. Subscription rates $21.20
(US funds
if outside Canada)

EDITOR: Fred F Angus
CO-EDITOR: M. Peter Murphy
OFFICIAL CARTOGRAPHER: William A Germaniuk
LAYOUT: Michel Paulet
cover
Early in 1892 Ottawa Electric Railway sweeper No.2, just
delivered from the builders, was photographed outside the
car barns on Albert Street. Standing on the front platform
of the sweeper we see, left to right, Messrs. Warren Y. Soper,
Thomas F. Ahearn, P. St. George C.E. At the controller
is Frank Ahearn, then five years old, who would be the last
president of the Ottawa Electric Railway half a century latel
Public Archives of Canada. PA-3391J7.
opposite
One of the first Ottawa electric cars was open car No. 10
built in 1891.
Public Archives of Canada. C-2460.
Seven street cars, some open some closed, jammed with
people going to the Church of England Sunday School
picnic at Ottawa Electric Park in July 1893.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-27305.
ISSN 0008-4875
NEW BRUNSWICK DIVISION
P.O. Box 1162
Saint John,
New
Brunswick E2L 4G7
ST. LAWRENCE
VALLEY DIVISION
P.O. Sox
22 StationS
Montreal, Que.
H3B 3J5
BYTOWN RAILWAY SOCIETY
P.O. Box 141,
Station A
Ottawa,
Ontario K1 N 8V1
TORONTO & YORK DIVISION
P.O. Box 5849, Terminal A,
Toronto Ontario M5W 1 P3
WINDSOR-ESSEX DIVISION
300 Cab-ana Road East,
Windsor
Ontario N9G 1 A2
GRAND RIVER
DIVISION
P.O. Box 603
Cambricjge,
Ontario N1 R 5W1
NIAGARA DIVISION
P.O. Sox 593
St. Catha rines,
Ontario L2R 6W8
RIDEAU VALLEY
DIVISION
P.O. Box 962
Smiths Falls
Ont. K7A 5A5
ROCKY
MOUNTAIN DIVISION
P.
O. Box 6102, Station C,
Edmonton Alberta T5B 2NO
CALGARY & SOUTH WESTERN DIVISION
60 -6100, 4th Ave. NE
Calgary, Alberta
T2A 5Z8
CROWSNEST & KETTLE-VALLEY DIVISION P.O. Box 400
Cranbrook, British Columbia
V1C 4H9
PACIFIC
COAST DIVISION
P.O. Box 1006,
Station A,
Vancouver British Columbia V6C 2P1
SEVEN HUNDRED DAYS
THE STORY OF AHEARN & SOPER AND
THE BEGINNING
OF ELECTRIC TRACTION IN OTTAWA
By: Fred Angus.
1. Introduction -Ottawa Considers Electrification.
The nineties of the last century was the time
when the electric street railway took over as the
main means of public transportation in the cities
of North America. In that decade most of the
horse car lines were electrified, cable car systems
(some only a few years old) were converted, and
new systems were built, in addition to numerous
extensions to existing electric systems. In Canada
one of the pioneers of the electric railway move­
ment was the Ottawa Electric Railway, begun in
1890, opened in 1891 and always a leader in the
industry. This is the remarkable story of how this
system came to be, how it weathered the storms,
literally and figuratively, of the first year of its
existance, and how it affected the development of
transit in Canada, all within the short time of 700
days.
To appreciate fully the importance of the Ottawa
Electric Railway to the history of the city transit
in Canada it is necessary to consider the status
of electric railway lines in 1890. The preceding
five
years had seen tremendous strides in electric
railway development in the United States, usually
in more temperate climates, and much of the
technique of urban operation was still being dev­
eloped. In Canada electric cars were running near
Windsor Ontario (since 1886), St. Catharines (since
1887) and on the Summer-only exhibition line
in
Toronto (since 1885). In 1890 itself the lines
in Vancouver and Victoria B.C. had opened as
electric routes (never having run horse cars), and
a short electric line was under construction in
Winnipeg which would open in 1891.
No other city in Canada had electric street
cars, and, except for the yet-unproven Winnipeg
line,
none of the cities that had electric service had
the severe winters and heavy snowfall of Ottawa.
Certainly the winters in St. Catharines Windsor and
southern British Columbia were fa( different
from those in the Ottawa valley. This was the
situation when the city council of Canadas cap­
ital decided
to consider the possibility of intro­
ducing electric street cars into their city.
Ottawa in 1890 was a city of about 41,000
people, and had been the capital of the Dominion
of Canada for 23 years not to mention its role
as capital
of the old province of Canada for nine
years
before that. No longer was it the old vil­
lage
of By town but was an important national
capital whose importance was growing all the time.
It was still the Ottawa of Sir John A. MacDonald,
who was then in the last year of his life, but it
was
only ten years away from the Twentieth Cen­
tury which a future Prime Minister would say
:belong~d t? Canada. Clearly, in keeping with
Its growing
Importance, Ottawa needed an up-to­
date street rai Iway, and in 1890 that meant an
electric street railway. True, Ottawa had a street
railway, and in fact had had one for 20 years but
it was quite small and of course horse-oper~ted.
This was t~e Ottawa City Passenger Railway which
had been Incorporated in 1866 with a perpetual
charter and opened in 1870. The leading spirit
behind the O.C.P.R. was Thomas C. Keefer (1821 –
1915) one of the foremost engineers in nineteenth
century Canada who had designed and built a num­
ber of public works in the Ottawa area and else­
where.
Although there were several shareholders
in the company Mr. Keefer owned the majority
of the stock. Initially the company owned six
horse
cars and a line that ran between New Ed­
inbu.rgharld the Chaudiere Falls via Sussex, Sparks,
Wellington and Duke Streets. Cars ran at 20 min­
ute intervals, and in later years 15 minute service
was
provided. One of these cars has, very fortun­
ately, been preserved and may be seen at the Nat­
ional Museum
of Science and TeChnology in Ottawa.
In winter, sleighs were used, and in spring and
autumn omn ibusses came into service. The latter
were decidedly uncomfortable as they bumped
over the rough unpaved streets, although a certain
degree. of comfort: returned in the spring when
the ra~ls could again be used. Since no significant
exte~slons had been made, except for a physica­
lly-disconnected section in Rockcliffe there was
no service at all to the areas of the ~ity opened
up between 1870 and 1890.
About 1888 the Ott~wa City Council, hearing
of .the success of the pioneer electric lines in the
United States, began to think of electric street
cars for Ottawa. The big problem was, of course,
PLAN
OF
QTTA1~A
Carleton
C
OUllty
ONTARIO
A
MAP
OF
OTTAWA
IN
1877
SHOWING
THE
HORSE
CAR
LINE
AS
WELL
AS
THE
STREETS
ON
WHICH
THE
ELECTRIC
CARS
WOULD
LATER
RUN.
One of the original horse cars of the Ottawa City Passenger Railway built in 1810. This photo was taken many years
later (note the absence of street car wheels), and this car has been preserved at the Museum of Science and Technology
in Ottawa.
Public Archives of Canada. C-2458.
In the Spring and Autumn, omnibusses were used during the time the track was not passable. This ancient specimen,
with sagging roof, was nearing the end of its career as it struggles through the mud of Sparks Street in 1890. The elec­
tric line would make all this a thing of the past.
Public Archives of Canada. C-l182l.
CANADIAN
191
R A I L
winter operation as it was realized that year-ro­
und
electric service was the ideal, although perhaps
unattainable, goal. Such as electric line would
not replace the old company {which, as we have
seen, had a
perpetual charter} but would be in
addition to it, running on different streets. By
1890 the City Council was prepared to act and
they placed an advertisement offering to gi~e. a
franchise
to anyone who would make a definite
offer to build the line, and who would also put
up $5000 as a guarantee of good faith. This set
the stage for the historic events of 1890 and 1891.
II. The Contract Is Awarded -1890.
In the Spring of 1890 a few replys came .a~ a
result
of the Citys offer, but the only definite
scheme came from a Toronto syndicate headed by
W.H. Howland. Mr. Howland came to Ottawa on
July 7 1890 and laid his proposal before Coun­
cil. Briefly
this was for a company of $250,000
capital {only $50,000 of which :Voul? b~ su~­
scribed in Ottawa} which would build five lines In
Ottawa and have them operating by the end of
1892. Mr. Howland had an Ottawa partner, Mr.
J.A. Gemmi II, and it was through the latter that
further negotiations took place. It certainly looked
as
if the way would soon be clear for the new
modern street railway system for the city of Ottawa.
At first things went well. The City Council,
having first considered
holdi~g a referen.dum,
decided, on July 15 1890, to give the franchise to
Howland. A contentious clause, which would have
meant forfeiture of the charter if all lines were not
completed by the deadline, was dropped, and the
syndicate agreed to pay the city $400 for. each
mile
of double track and $300 for each mile of
single track. Furthermore, they also agreed to
leave the $5000 deposit {which had not yet even
been deposited!}
with the City until the. comple­
tion of the work. As the Summer went on It looked
as if
most of the discussion had boiled down to the
type of rail to be used, the C!ty wantin~ girder
rail
throughout, and the syndicate wanting less
expensive
T rail in some places.
Yet things were not really going well. Although
the usual arguments were made pro and con for
electric traction it soon turned out that the How­
land
syndicate was not all that well versed in e.le­
ctric railway matters. As an example, Mr. Gemmill,
in listing Canadian cities that had electric cars,
included
Saint John N.B. which did not have them
until 1893! Above all, the $5000 deposit had not
been made despite almost daily assurances that
the cheque would be delivered momentarily. Fin­
ally
the city set a deadline of 3.00 P.M. on October
20 1890 for delivery of the cheque failing which
the negotiations with the Howland syndicate would
be broken off. On October 18 the synd icate prom­
ised again to deliver the cheque, and in fact de­
posited
$5000 in a bank account to the credit of
Mr. Howland giving a receipt to the City. This was
not, of course, acceptable and the deadline of 3.00
P.M. October 20 passed without the City receiving
the cheque. This fact was announced in the even­
ing
papers that day and was to be considered at a
Council
meeting that night. The citizens of Ottawa
were disappointed for it looked as if their hopes
for electric street cars had been dashed.
At the Council meeting that night Mr. Gemmill
tried to explain his reluctance to make the deposit
and he did offer, under protest, a cheque for $5000
if the City would not accept his previous receipt.
But Mayor Erratt that any such deposit should be
unconditional, and in any case the deadline had
passed. Most important of all a letter had just
been received that altered the whole situation.
There then ensued some debate as to whether this
letter should be read, after which this new, soon­
to-be-historic letter was read to the City Council:
Ottawa, October 20, 1890.
The Mayor and Corporation of Ottawa,
Gentlemen,-
Understanding that
the security
offered
by the Company with whom negotiations
have been carried on for some months for the con­
struction
of an electric railway in this city is not
satisfactory to your Corporation: and that the
time stipulated for making such security satisfactory
has expired, thereby terminating your negotiations
with that Company:
we now offer to undertake
the immediate formation
of a local company for
the construction and operation of the railway in
accordance with the terms of the agreement already
prepared, and as security for the proper fulfillment
of the contract we enclose herewith our accepted
cheque in favour of your Corporation for the sum
of $5000.00.
Yours truly,
Ahearn & Soper
CANADIAN 192
R A L
Enclosed with the letter was an accepted che­
que, No. C955 on the Bank
of Ottawa, for $5000
made out to the Corporation of Ottawa! One can
well imagine the effect of this bombshell on the City
Counci I. A lengthy debate ensued as to the pros
and cons
of both offers and whether the City
could legally back out of the Howland agreement
since
their $5000 deposit had been received, al­
:Jeit late
and under protest. On the other hand
the
firm of Ahearn and Soper was a company of
undoubted integrity with a reputation for getting
things done, and
furthermore was a local company,
ensuring against absentee
landlordism of the
system.
It also turned out that the Howland group
had only produced their cheque after they got
wind of the A&S offer. At length a vote was called,
and
by a vote of 12 to 10 it was resolved to term­
inate the negotiations
with the Howland syndi­
cate and
furthermore to accept the offer of Ahearn
and Soper. The cheque
of A. & S. was thereupon
handed
to treasurer Kirby who next day deposited
it in the Citys account in the Quebec Bank. One
alderman gave notice of intent to propose a motion
of reconsideration, and so the matter was still
undecided.
But public opinion favoured Ahearn
and Soper, and on October 30 the Howland syn­
dicate
withdrew, the reconsideration motion was
dropped, and so the coast was clear.
E R ES A
GO! proclaimed a newspaper
headline on Tuesday October
21 1890 in announ­
cing the surprising
turn of events, for the fact that
Ahearn and Soper were now involved suggested to
many that the electric railway would be built
after all. Although their bid on the street railway
was a surprise to most people, the firm of Ahearn
and Soper was already well known in Ottawa.
It was a partnership of two corporate geniuses of
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
Thomas Franklin Ahearn and Warren Young Soper.
Mr. Ahearn
was born in Ottawa on June 24 1855,
while Mr. Soper had been born in
Oldtown Maine
on March 9 1854 but came to Ottawa in 1856 at
the
age of two. Both were good friends at school,
both started
their careers as office boys, and both
in time became telegraph operators,
working at the
office
of the old Montreal Telegraph Company.
Although later going,
temporarily, their seperate
ways,
their interests were still allied. Mr. Soper
later became manager
of the Dominion Telegraph
Company,
and subsequently superintendant of
that companys I ines. In 1882 he was offered the
position
of superintendant of C.P. R. telegraphs
in the Ottawa valley
but declined, having made up
his mind to go into the electrical business in partner­
ship
with his old friend Mr. Ahearn. So it was that
in 1882 was formed the partnership of Ahearn and
land and 6emmlli.
Tyg HOWLAND ELECTRIC R!I~WAY
COIlTRACT SQUI3HED.
• ·lerceDebate A.monK the Olty
Fathen Last NlgIH.
Local Men Step Into the Dreach wtth
a~Oheque for $15,000, l
d Uarly tbe
Day by a Vote ofl2 to lO-Notlce of
. Re.conslderation Given by A.ld.
Bortbwlok,
When tbe albJ conDoil met lalb eTeDlojf,
Mayor ErnU ADd tlweoty·two aldermen Wfre
pre&eo , The abaenbees were Bill and Riobard.
· The I.reeb railway queiOion was inhoduoed
bY .. JeUer from Mr. W. H. Bowlaodi 11011·
oltOn, Measri. Gemmill and May. tt ra·
· Dewed tlbe teoder of be Imperial Bank
d,poo!l …. Ipl. for 86.000 .. forf.lb lor
Mr.·. Howland,; dae ful6lment! cf hiS
oDDno~ witb tbe ohy,. It also encloaed a
Clhtqne for 86.000, ser.t onder proteu, in oua
be oonnoil .. her oOofideration IIblll refused boJ
t olalmed bhe dOl;Ofh receipt was ample eeouriby.
The obeque proved to be paYBble II cQ. pro·
tto depout reoelpb, or fomellbiDg or that
.klnd.
THII lLlTOB WOULD NOT BIGN.
YOU brub,
(SiS •• d) A H &, BonR.
The offer WII 8coompanied by a ohEque lor
85,000 00 Dbs O~hwa bank.
ALD. H.EllDEBSON SAYS TAB:Ji: IT.
.Ald. Henderiloo, moved seoooded by Ald.
Heoey, Iltb, ~hi. oouncil having oooaidertld
~he oommuuic .. ~loDS tJQ bbe lIuLjtlot of fib, dE·
posib of $6,000 by ~e8~u Howland &. GJoo,
mill in bbe mabter of fibs propolled eleobtio rail.
Wlioy, to~ebber WiDh bbe oorreepondenoo ra ..
ferred bo berewibb,iollbCUOtl lIhe OiDY trealllUer tJ
retlurn Dba depolli~ reeeipD and cblque and
~b:i~8bo~:~a:~~be~~~~~~~~fD.~:3~biabIOD8 in
,I AllJo. that. flhs oITer of MeS.!Ird. Abearn &
Soppr, IIcco.>oopanied by Dbeir marked oheque
for $5,000, !be accepl!ed and thaI! ~he IIbree~ rail­
way oomml~tee be iOllbruobed bo bave a Dew
cool!raQIl pre~ared and exeoubtHi fortlbwibh aD
I!be lIame berm. al tbole of bbe proPolled aJ;lree.
mont wiob M64lra. Howland arld Gemmill.
ALD. OBANNELL TALK8 ODT •
Ald. Orano~1I had been a uil road man from
~~~eb~~~~ii~gi!JlIll~ll~e tobb~b~~b ~~.e ~i::la ~~
Wben IIhe time o!un! b) coDlpielle IIhe conbraob,
Mr.Howl8Dd fenb dowo a reoaipb whlob hll reo
~~ilidnr~8!I.vT!h:~rhee -:!abae:W~ ~b~=i~~e~hi~g
bankers, mercbaobll Dnd I.wyera agreed w .. Dei
Rood. Now ollme a ohl que accompauied by ..
leLbor ooohiuiol{ ooudibiooll wbiob no bUlinel8 man could
aooep~. Be bad tbree boYf, and if
ehbtlr 0 bhert. ecooptCtI ~1Job a dooomeo~ he
IIb.1I1d feel inclined La whip bim.
ALl), H£NllE:B80~d MOnON G!BBJ~.
ca~l~d ~~~~:rf~lI~~in~i~fv~;~llt:,eo pUb ao~
I Y!alll-·Ald. Hutt-f!fworbb, Campbl:U, eran.
J~~~~~~~~IIL~~~~~1~~~~nit11~h~;~ N~~t~;i:~I~
Scrlm.-12.
; NAYS-Ald. lIkwi~h, lBI~i~, DiuFfbam,
l~orehwick. Dnrooher, Onrdoo, MaoLean,
~lollk. fjeob~ and Strnuct,-lO.
Ald. B~rbhwlck $:SV(J uobio!! of reoonelden.
tlon find the 00110011 adjourned.
· MaJOr Erratt said tbab as bhe abeque wall Vllat. Is Sa.ld To·da.y.
·madf! pr.vable rubjt1lt to oondlbloD8, be b,d 1<6;1; acbioDII of (be ol~y oouncil for mBor
no feJ~ jCtlbl6ed In signing bbe coMrao~, and, I )el
II hAvo OrE8tad-all mnab l!Iell1l8~ion all ~be
❗ ~~deb~k:&~ill:;aStb:o::~b~:b~g:~ vote 01 laab evening, JlivlD~ he oonbraob for
lb.Dd
ov~r. DbI: cOllllbruaLlon of bhe electric IIlreet railway
THE NIGGER IN TBE }:IWOi, bo Mouu. Abparn k Soper.
Ald. ReDderaon rOIlEl bo auggelt tbM a lebber WI]Al HRS3BE;, ABK.!.BN &, ROPEH BA.f.
Irom Meallri,A.bs8rn:& Soper, whioh .bad ooen Mesara. Ahearn &S:lper werE! 1!6f.n by THE
for lome daYIIID tbe bando of the ol~Y c}{rk, JOURNAL lbill morning. Tho reporter bund
be roud beforo a vote be tBken. bhem holding a regular leveo of aome of tbe
Ald. Borbbwiok pr~be81ed. He folb lowe prinolpal men of tho oiby. who Wo:!tE 6xbeudioR rnolllb(1rs of
Dba o?ulloll bnt1 beeD dtlahnK III !!II I!hem bbelr olDgrallulabions 00 bbeir haviolg
Dub podeobly 8brR.IRh~forWbrd mau~er. !leoured the oontraob.
Ald. Bfnay though~ Mr. Gemal1ll had beau
dillmlssed.
HERES A GO: The account of the stormy meeting of the
Ottawa City Council on October 20 1890 as seen in the news­
paper the next day. The handwritten date under the headline
is by the original Warren Y. Soper. The excitement of the
occasion must have reached even the newspaper compositor
who got the printed day of the week spelled wrong!
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
A cheque that made history. This is the actuai $5000. cheque that Ahearn andSoperSent to the City of Ottawa on
October 20 1890 to secure the contract to build the electric railway. Note the endorsement of Treasurer Kirby on the
back. and the stamp showing it was deposited on October 21. The cheque, after being cancel/ed, was returned to Ahearn
and Soper and has been preserved.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
Soper which was to last unbroken for 42 years
until
Mr. Sopers death in 1924. The first large
contract awarded to the new firm came from
Thomas Shaughnessy of the C.P. R. who gave them
the contract to supply telegraph instruments for
C.P. from the Atlantic to Pacific .. From then on
Ahearn and Soper forged ahead and constructed
and equipped some of the largest electrical works
in Canada including long-distance telephone and
telegraph lines. In 1887 they had organized the
Chaudiere Electric Company which had purchased
the Baldwin property and was increasing its cap­
acity to supply dependable hydroelectric power.
By 1890 the company was providing Ottawa with
an excellent electric light service and was in a
very good
position to increase its capacity even
more to power the electric street cars. For some
weeks they had thought of tendering for the street
railway but had been reluctant to do so until the
Gemmill negotiations broke down. It is therefore
little wonder that most Ottawa citizens were pleas­
ed that Ahearn and Soper would now have the
chance to build the electric railway. At about
Thomas Franklin Ahearn and Warren Y. Soper as they
appeared at the time of the building of the Ottawa
Electric Railway.
From the Utica Globe, April 11 1891. Collection of
Warren Y. Soper.
CA NAD IAN 194 R A I L
11 :30 A.M. on Wednesday November 5 1S90 the
contract was signed between the City of Ottawa and the firm
of Ahearn and Soper to build equip
and operate
an electric street railway in the City
of Ottawa.
III. The Struggle For The Charter. 1890 -1891.
Even before the formal resolution of November
5 Ahearn and Soper were making plans and init­iating procedures for constructing
the electric
railway.
As early as October 24, eighteen men were
starting work on
the excavations for the flume for
the power house at the old Baldwin property
at
the Chaudiere Falls. The completed power station
would cost
$12,500 and would supply sao horse­
power, enough
to run the street cars. I n mid-Novem­
ber formal application was made for a charter, and
soon thereafter the rails and cars were ordered. The car design was described as being a facsimile
of
the Broadway cars, and thirteen (10 motors and
3 trailers) were ordered from Patterson and Corbin
of St. Catharines
Onto On December 13 Mr. Patter­son
of that firm was in Ottawa and stated that the
cars would be ready long before they were required. They would
be very luxuriously fitted up, the doors
sashes mouldings and ceilings would
be quarter­
oak veneer, and
the seats would be upholstered with Wilton carpet imported from England.
By the end
of the year a sample
of the new girder rail was
exhibited and was found
to be even more suitable
than the one originally planned. Also before
the end
of 1S90 Messrs. Ahearn and Soper announced
that
they would run electric cars year-round and keep
the street clear using 60 horsepower sweepers. This raised a few eyebrows of people who still believed
that year-round street railway operation
was impossible.
The next step was to secure the charter and ob­tain formal incorporation
of the company without
which no work could be done in the streets. It
soon appeared that this would not be plain sailing
for several reasons -two
in particular. First and
foremost was
the fact that the Ottawa Street Rail­
way (the horse car company) opposed granting
the charter on the terms proposed. A major com­
plaint was, according
to a statement made by
Mr. Keefer on December 31 1S90.
Because it crosses our tracks three times within a
distance of 650 yards and that all these crossings
are at the foot of heavy grades; that a speed of 10
miles per hour is permitted to the electric railway;
that in two crossings of Sparks Street the houses ob­
struct all views of cars approaching; that the electric
cars being heavier than horse cars and capable of
being hauled in trains will make these crossings very
dangerous to us especially as they are to be made
every 5 minutes on the average for 14 hours of the
day~
The old company felt that it would be better for
the new electric line to run on the tracks of the old on Sappers Bridge (now Confederation Square)
between Rideau and
Elgin Streets, and they offer­ed
the use of their tracks for this purpose. This
would avoid diamond crossings at three intersect­ions: Rideau -Sussex. Sparks -Elgin, and Sparks –
OConnor. The second major objection to
the char­
ter was that Officials in the Federal government
did
not want the street car tracks to run on Welling­
ton Street in front of the Parliament Buildings; this could be avoided
if the electric railway ran on
Sparks Street,
but the old company al ready ran there. Despite the seeming offer
of cooperation
between
the companies it looked as if there would
be a long fight.
For the first six weeks of 1S91
the arguments
went back and forth. At one point Sir Hector
Langevin,
the federal minister of public works,
stated categorically
that no track would be allowed
on Wellington Street,
but this plan still seemed to
be necessary
if Sparks Street could not be used.
It was further pointed out that street railway
matters were under city and provincial jurisdiction
and
that the federal government might not be
able to interefere
if the other governments gave
approval. In the meantime the public was getting
impatient as they wanted
to see construction
start. The following editorials are typical of the
comments made:
It is to be hoped that the City will be able to come
to some. compromise with the Government regarding
the laymg of the electric railway tracks along a
short portion of Wellington Street.
Evening Journal, January 24 1891.
Snobbery at the capital … .In other words a binding
contract between the City and Ahearn & Soper is
to be smashed, the railway deprived of its only
route a.cross t~e canal and the desire of the city
for rapId transIt thwarted, all because His Excellen­
cys ca~riage must no~ jolt slightly while crossing
level raIlway tracks tWIce each year on the opening
and closing of Parliament.
Toronto Telegram, January 29 1891.
Horse. car stree~ service has been in use for sixty
year~ In ~he Un~t~d States and represents a capital
of ftfty-elght mil/Ion dollars. Electric railways have
only been !n exi~t~nce for five years and already
represent ftfty mIllIon dollars. This may be taken
Before the electric railway. Car No. 13 of the Ottawa City
Passenger RaHway at the corner of Sparks and Bank Streets
in 1890. The letter board reads Rideau Hall and
Suspension Bridge~ This is what transit was like in Ottawa
before Ahearn and Soper appeared on the scene.
Public Archives of Canada. C-1728.
CANADIAN 196
R A I L
as fair indication of the coming system of rapid
transit
in cities. Mr. Keefer ought to arrange to
apply electricity ro his hearses. N
Evening Journal, January 30 1891.
The term Hearses was a local name applied
to the Horse Cars due to their dark sombre colour
and slow funenal pace.
Although some of the objection concerned the
overhead
trolley wire, many people thought this
would°T
be permanent, but would soon be super­
seded by battery power. Through the 1890s and
even later it was believed that an improved high­
efficiency storage battery would be developed
which
would provide self-contained power and
dispense
with the overhead wire. Such a belief
was not unreasonable in those days of rapid tech­
nological change,
but in fact this wonder battery
was never developed and it remained for the in­
ternal combustion engine
of a later era to give on­
board power. However no one could realize this
in 1891.
Of course a few negative comments came from the
public, one
of the most amusing was that the
overhead
trolley wire was dangerous and would
give rapid transit
off the Earth. The usual doubts
about winter operation were also brought forward.
While it was obvious that sooner or later the
electric car would come
it was an interesting trade­
off on the part of the City that finally broke the
deadlock. Back in 1889 the horse car company
had built an extension in Rockcliffe but had not
been allowed by the City to build the connection
on
city streets to its main line on Sussex Street.
This missing
link had been a sore point for some
time, and now the City offered to let them build
this
link if they would grant the electric line run­
ning rights over its tracks on Sparks Street. The
proposed charter
was now changed to authorise
the line on Wellington Street unless agreement
could
be made with the old company to use Sparks
Street. In view
of the missing link offer an agree­
ment
seemed likely, but this could not be done at
once
for a very good reason. If the electric line were
to use Sparks Street it would have to lay all new
tracks there
for in the words of Ahearn and Soper:
the present ones are obsolete and unfit for modern
car service. Certainly
if electric cars had run on
the old horse car rails, Sparks Street
would have
lived up to its, name and become a Street of Sparks
from the continuous sparking between the wheels
and the old unbonded rails! Since the horse car
company would
not condone being shut down
while the tracks were rebuilt
it was obvious that
the track on a short portion of Wellington Street would
have to be built, temporarily at least, de­
spite the objection
of the Federal ministers.
Final agreement
was reached on February 9,
the charter
was prepared, dated February 13, and
was received on February 25 1891. It incorporated
Thomas Ahearn, Warren Soper, and three others
as the Ottawa Electric Street Railway Company
with a capital of $500,000 divided into 5000 shares
of $100 each. The electric railway was now an
assured fact and Messrs Ahearn and Soper started
that they would push the work as rapidly as possible
and
have the principal portions of the line open
early in the Summer.
IV. Building The Ottawa Electric Railway. 1891.
With the charter now secure, Ahearn and Soper
got
to work in real earnest. The stock books were
opened on
April 4, capital began to flow in, and
the
first ground was broken, on Rideau Street,
on the
mo rn ing of Apri I 9 1891. Work now went
on at a great rate to make up for lost time, and
fast-and-furious news bulletins chronicled its pro­
gress:
April 10 1891. First cars are now being painted
at the builders works.
April 21 1891. Ten tons of spikes arrive.
April 22 1891. First annual meeting of company.
J.W. McRae
is president, J.E. Hutcheson is
superintendant. About three quarters of the
stock
is sold.
April 27 1891. Seven car loads of girder rail
arrive
from Johnstown Pa.
April 28 1891. Tracklaying begins on Albert
Street between Metcalfe and Bank. Men are
being paid $1.25 a day for nine hours of work.
April 30 1891. Animated discussion at City
Hall as to who should pay for grading the
streets on which tracks
are being laid.
May 1 1891. Work on street railway being rushed.
Tracklaying going on rapidly at Bank and
Albert. 40
men at work.
May 4 1891. Bank Street almost completed.
First
cars expected soon from builders.
May 6 1891. Newly completed track
on Bank
Street being moved
to center of street.
May
11 1891. All work stopped pending res­
olution of dispute with City over sewer con­
struction. However
work resumed in a few days.
May 22 1891. Diamond crossing at Sparks and
Metcalfe installed where the electric I ine
crosses
the horse car line. The crossing was installed
last night
by a crew working under an arc
light.
CANADIAN
197
R A I L
On Friday May 22 the first two electric cars arrived
in the city from the works of Patterson and Corbin
in St. Catharines. They were 22 feet
long including the two platforms, were painted
in two colors, dark salmon and lemon yellow,
giving a bright and attractive appearance. On each side of the body on the salmon ground were the words Parliament Buildings
in large silver letter­
ing. On the lower board in dark red lettering were the words Ottawa Electric Railway.
On the roof
were triangular signs bearing the route of the car, while on each dash were the words Electric Motor
and the car number. Folding gates were on each platform
to keep people from boarding on the
wrong side of the car. The interior was finished
in polished oak, the windows were of plate glass with oak shutters, while
the seats were upholster­
ed
in Wilton carpet. A neat coal stove was in the
centre of the car, and
all cars were electrically lighted. The clerestory windows were of figured
white
glass while the transoms over the doors were
of
red glass.
During the next two weeks the story of the street railway was played out against the back­
ground of a sad event
in Canadian history which was happening
in Ottawa at the same time. Friday
May 22 1891, the same day that the first cars arrived, turned
out to be the last day in Parliament
for Sir John
A. MacDonald, Canadas first Prime Minister,for on the following day
he was taken ill,
and soon suffered a series of strokes which event­ually proved fatal. During
his last illness it is said
that the bells were taken off the horse cars
so as
not to disturb Sir John as he lay dying in his home Earnscliffe near the
line on Sussex Street. Sir John died on the evening of June 6, and
five days
later
was buried at Kingston.
Meanwhile the work on the electric railway
went on:
May 27 1891. Sixty-seven men are now at work
May 28 1891. Cave-in on roadbed on Rideau Street, some rails bent. The supply of
T
rails arrived at Montreal from England aboard the Beaver line ship Lake Winnipeg. Expected
to be in Ottawa in a few days.
May 29 1891. Sir Hector Langevin and govern­ment officials terminate the 1885 agreement with City regarding upkeep of certain streets
and park. This
is in revenge for the City allow­
ing track to be built on Wellington Street.
June 5 1891. Car sheds
on Albert Street are nearing completion. Fittings are being
put
on the cars already there. June
11 1891. First car ready to be put on the track.
On that day the Evening Journal printed
an interesting article describing to the public how
an electric street car works. June 13 1891. The tracks and switches at the
car barn are now
all in place. June 16 1891.
Mr. A.H. Knott of the Westing­house Company
is busy with a gang of men
stringing the trolley wire over the completed
track. June 17 1891. The track
to the exhibition grou­
nds was completed today. June 20 1891. The trolley wire
is going up at a rapid rate. The opening day
of the first line
will be some time next week.
It was only two-ancl-a-half months after the first sod was turned when, on June 24, the first trial
run was made.
Word of the impending test had
gotten around and as the car appeared people shouted
Its coming, its coming! and hundreds
ran from all directions while dogs barked like mad
and horses frantically tried to get away from their drivers
as the first electric car sped along Albert
Street. The test
was successful, but the newspapers pointed
out that drivers should watch their horses carefully until they become accustomed to the
new mode
of transit, while young children should
be kept away from the tracks. At
6:00 A.M. the next day four cars were run for
an hour and Mr.
Ahearn opened them to the public during which
time hundreds of people tried them
out and enjoy­ed the ride.
It was announced that there would
be four routes: Main Line, Bank Street Branch,
New Edinburgh Branch, Elgin Street Branch. Work
was soon completed, crews were trained, and all
was in readiness for the long awaited official open­
ing of the Ottawa Electric Railway on Monday,
June 29 1891.
V. The Electric Railway In Operation. 1891.
The big moment for the Ottawa Electric Rail­
way came at 2:00 P.M. on June 29 1891 when the invited guests and other spectators came to the new car barns on Albert Street
to witness the opening of the first line. Four cars were ready, numbers 10, 11, 12, 13, and they were decorated for the occasion including a little
flag flying from
the trolley pole. The motormen and conductors were dressed
in their natty blue silver-buttoned uniforms and everything
was as spic and span as
possible. Although everything was new and compari­tively untried, everything went off
well that day
as Mayor Birkett declared the line open. It is said
that Mr. Ahearns five year old son Frank threw
the switch
in the power house to turn on the cur­rent and start the service. Then the four cars, carrying a total of 140 invited guests, started off
An engraved invitation sent to guests invited to the opening
of the Ottawa Electric Railway on June 29 1891.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
and made the 12-mi nute trip to the Landsdowne Park exhibition grounds. There the carriage build­
ing had been converted to a restaurant room and the party partook of a banquet and listened to the speeches. Enroute and at the grounds, stories were
told of earlier first things
in Canada including tales of
the first locomotive more than fifty years before. To these heroes of the past could now
be
added the names of two local men, Messrs. Thomas
F. Ahearn and Warren Y. Soper. During the fest­ivities a street car made a special run downtown and back for the benefit of newspaper reporters, and finally the entire party returned downtown by
6:00 P.M. Contrary to what had been expected the horses were not at
all frightened by the new cars. Following
the return of the special party the line
was opened to the general public and ran until
11 :00 P.M. Hundreds of delighted passengers rode the cars, and many of these carried memories of that day for
as long as long as they lived. Once the cars were really running the company worked to iron
out the minor bugs that were bound to crop up. It
was soon found that most of the public fears were unfounded. The cars did not affect the telephones, horses were not unduly
frightened, and breakdowns were rare.
In fact it
appeared that the electric cars were run very effic­iently and
in a business-like manner. Little things
seemed to please the public such
as the arrangement that American coins would be received at par, wheras they passed at a discount elsewhere. Early
on the morning of July 5 the passengers returning
on an excursion train arrived at the station in the pouring rain to find six nice warm street cars waiting for them even though
it was 1 :30 A.M. on a Sunday when the cars ordinarily did not run. Would that present-day transit companies were
as considerate! Meanwhile work went ahead on the construction of
the remaining routes and more cars were order­
ed from Patterson and Corbin. The Rideau Street
roUO.V. JUNE SO. 1891.
….
THE ELECTRIC OPENING
OELEBRATION LUNOBF.ON Al
LANSOOWl VIgorous Speeobes by Leading Men
J:teoogllltlrljf tbe EDerg1 and Suc­
cess with which Local Men have
Establlsbed the I~oad.
THE ItLiOTBIO THAll!.
(By on … W,od,J1 HoI.,…)
They Ollmt. o( oouue a. tbelr maaten oall
Tbe wltobee,lhe brooml!lio1u,~he oaDIi aDd all.
He led be bagt Do ralhu, Dr.ID
Tbe bone. were r,loJ[ ~o drAg in vain.
Now, thOD, ,ay. he. vou,,, bad your fUD,
ADd hero are tbA oan youve Jlo6 ~roD,
The driver mo.,. Ju uabltoh bl, eam,
Va don 1untl banOl, we dODlteaw i
You may k&ep Joar old blaok O~I kl buR.
But he loaded lIulnl 700 have ~oll 110 lull.
Since .hen 00 mao, to car you Il lee
A brol)mlUck plain a. plin Ola be,
00 evely car there. a wlob ,.hlde-
!~d l:b~D!I)ld!e: ~I~:bt;f~fl~~~e~a,
BlH flbe .bloR I. beld by A GAtefu man,
And wbeo ever ~be eil mlaJed wUcb
Would outl lome oaper be fjllvell a ,witoh.
As for the bag, you ooD ee her,
Hub bark I rou CIon bear ber blaok 0 purr,
A.od .now and ,heo,. the ~ratD goel by
You rna,.. oa.ob a Rleam of ber laked e1e.
OHali you looked 00 • ru,bloll ~ralD,
Bub fURb wball mMed ib wa. noD 10 piIID.
h oDuldoO be bbDlLe wire. bove
~~or they dJntd nei.her poll nor ,hove J
Wherl wa. the moe.r ball made III go
You cr.aldo gueu, bUb nO yoU know, Remember my
rbyme wbeo yOb ride ualo
00 bbe rab~li ng raU by tbo ~oottuojDik ttaio.
the ttllitiog ot De bUb o~u ior oba 08101,1
opeD 10K of tbe eleobrio ran way yelDerday,
britfly nollieed in velteida,. JOUBNjJ., kK>k
plaoe froui IIbe Alberll ,treell Ibop 10 bbe
preaenoe of a Area orowd of oitlzeDI aod
sbrang( 8, oomprlsiDf meo; woweD aod obll~
dreD of every age and eery walk of lift; aod
all tbe MrI io ~niok loaoeiliotl glided ,mootlbly
aloDIl Alber. and B.ck atree 00 only were
tbo bon~o doou and wltldow. crowded, bu IIbe
etreeblJ Wf.re lined by crowds of .peoh~rI
wbo (uqueubly ebeered aDd waled IIbelr bat.
aDd bandkercblr fa all bb05 oan paned.
Ex· Aid MaoL~an II obairman of lad yeara
IIb,eeo railway commitoe lOaned tbe first oar, Mavor Birke1I
be seoond, Mr, J. W. MoR,~,
Ei:~~:r~~D 01 IIb~efo~~:b .btI:~I~~~:d tat:~g
obllofge of he ranoioR of lib it oar .hentudl
on bo,b brips. _
Arrl~d ab t.ha F:x.bible!on grollodll, bbe QOD·
bral1f1Or8, MellIn AboMD &. Soper, led the 19r.y
to tbe oaula(:Cb houpt, tbnt> is ~be ofrrillge and
bu~U bomo all exblbiUoD ~imel, wh/jre t-he
jtullsoa found Mr. Vlker aad a ,~aa of /US,
eiabaul had Iprend B cold ooJla~!oD on ~be
bard, wbioh uooupied cOlDple~ely ODe of bbe
wings of tbe buidln~.
OONOBATOLATIO.1IiI8 ON THE WOBK DONI.
Mayor BirkeU, In repty, off.rred Clbe ooogr.·
tulalion8 of thfl oltyof Ollla.a CIO .be DOW
oompany 00 bbb proare .. ~bey bad made. and
00 IIhe comple,,oD of 10 mnch of .belr liDe,
and wlsbed bbem .all properi,..
Al~. SeDdenoD bad A:rUb pleIDNl in belDg
prt8eoll •• 006 of .be m011l tnler&aiDIJ &len
:~O~tO~~a::~pei,~~t ~~a:~~ :~j:a:rm:tf :~:
TlJan whu would bue .ted. thal aD eleohlo
roed would be rUDning 10 OUaa ., IIbe
preleot IIlIne would have beeD lucked opon M
.. villooar III a firell ollell oraDk. Yt .bey
were there tlba day Clo oelehraCle ih op,nlojjf of
:b~O~~~:::~/~:q~~:d al~ tbo:arJe~: ~~6~:
:~~ ~alaJ ~~~~~d~~~d:~~:.~::, :~e;!~I;~ ~:~
ftllbonllbed and deligbted aCl be relul.. Mooh
yeb remloed bo be dODe, ball be oomplelon
d bbe whole road would DO doubll be made
on olme.
Tbe toaat o( bbe Domlnlo., AOTerament I
06X_ drank. 10 propollDg tbll Do … Mr.
MoRtA rsmarked ~ba one member … leI
bad objpoted ~o ebe roa-d. bn~ be boped Jodg-
:::~;i~b~~ ~b:~at~~~d:~u~ddr~~en D!b~b~:~
ioo to iCa being who ib wal or _oben ,. IL
BON. JOHN OARLINQS BnfABKS,
HOD. J obo Darling aoknDwl6dsred tbe .lr:iod
WDf in wblob tbe loalb had been booored. It
J(&Ve bim milch plet.eurfil bo ba il:.ere and aull
Jtb tlbe openinEr of IIbl. railw&t. Be Ifgretted
tlbn. tho Hoo. J J. O. AbboU, be ·pramler
Will Dob &blo bo be preltlDt owing ro the w8iRb
80rt )lrenure of bl, duclel. Oould be poulbly
hue beeD prelent, be . woold ban heeD ,lad
110 8II-I,b in opPDiog be Hoe. He bim.elf b,d
In 1868 M Ilovroment. Then III. prpnlIIioD wu aboaa
6.000 now ib had lnoreued to 00,000. AI.
Oansdfrln he was proud tlo .ee .h.~ Her
Majeey. obolce of a OAplll.1 bad beEoa 10
wittily made, and complellely jUIMfi.id. Be
progno,blo.Cled bbat lbe el60trlo Inee railway
was ~oloR to prove aD Important laolor
In ~he cloy of UbClaw., wblob poneutd
lDrllY natural 8dvanh~eol ,.e. hardly
u·erl. ~he Immense waber power aO bhe Obau.
dlrr .. , h,therbc. ooofioed 110 one Indulllr?, ~w ..
belua brotlgbb inCo (ervIOf) lor olber worln luoh
.1 bt>e Droduot-ioo of Jlllbll aDd Dower. I
Hun. Senator Cle.mow .hlo paid a hlgb
trlbul< to tbe geul •• ODd obllJLy 01 ~be
bullderl. He W&lI glad to lay tbey were
Ot.tawe. boye baving beoo. borll in t.he olty
(apphltlBe) and had raised themlolvel up
from being me188nger boys in the teiegr&.pb
offioe. Tbe bulldlDg o( t he road was j uet.
&nother evldtDoe of whe.b could be done and
he olned heartily 10 the oongratulatlon •.
Cana.d. was moving npidly ahead.
Thoy bad bullb tbeloDge.b r&lIway 10 the
world lD Lhe short.eab time. He hoped t.he
uUwsy would be ,financial IUCoeU. ODe
reanll; of It woald be t.o enbance the value
of La08dolYD.e park and make Itl , IOU roe of
revenue 10 the fu~ure thougb Ih bad been
I … La tbe p •• b. .
Mr. M,,lnto.b La • brief apeoch. 01 con·
r.
tul,UOD promll8d hi.l Militance In tbtl
atlUt AI for .. poaolbl ..
Tn» BOILDJrnS.
Sir Jamal Grant In a uHuterly Ipeoch pro·
po.ed tbe bealtb of Ahoarn growth .. of tbl. olt.y ·bad been !onli vrbs.t reo
malka.ble, and no olty in CSDada had a
brighter foture before 11; than OHawB. There
were oroBokers who lay the olty III very muoh
deprelled, bub let them look o.rnund and
bbey would .01. tbob Obtawo hort Ot good.
qegree ot prosperity &II any oity Pouywhere.
Mr. AhAarD ond Mr. Sopor .Doh brl bub happily roapoDdcrl.
The hearth of ex·Ald. MnoLean, chairman
of the Ra.Ulway oomml~tAJe of t.he Clt.y OOUn·
0,1, wat ned propolsd and relponded to.
followed by thot of Ald. Durooher and the
obahmsD. The IBrge oompat;ly were tbeD
conveyod baok to t.he elty and the 0&%1 be·
gaD tbo rrglliar running.
The account of the opening of the Ottawa Electric Railway
as reported by the Evening Journal the day after the event.
The poem about the Broomstick Train had been written
by Oliver Wendell Holmes in honour of the opening of the
first electric line in Boston in 1888. The reporter has quoted
the last three verses of the poem.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
Only sixteen days after the system opened a special excursion of Senators and Members of Parliament was made to the
Government Experimental Farm. This very clear photo was taken that day on Wellington Street near Bank and shows
considerable detail of the original Patterson & Corbin cars which innaugurated the service. The M.P.s did not seem
upset that day about the line having been built on Wellington Street!
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
branch was opened on July 11, followed by the
Elgin street route on July 23 even though the
track was not fully ballasted. For the latter, car
No. 17 was placed
in service the day after it was
delivered from the builder. The St. Patrick Street
branch opened on August 4 and at
the same time it was announced
that four vestibuled cars 24
feet long were being ordered. Tickets were now
in use and sold in strips of six for 25c instead of
20 for $1.00 as had been the case. So many people
were riding
the cars that the Evening Journal noted:
The people in the cars running to the park last
night were crowded like herrings in a barrel. Such
a mass of packed herrings was never seen before
in this city. They were clinging to the uprights and
hanging on like flies to a jam pot on every little bit
of foothold they could find.
Evening Journal, August 6 1891.
Some troubles did crop up of course as was
to be expected of a new system. One car broke a
trolley pole due to a loose span wire,
but it was
One of the first O.E.R. tickets. The address, 341 Albert
Street, of the office shows that this was before the move to
Metcalfe Street on December 9 1891. The tickets were
engraved and printed by the British American Bank Note
Company.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
They were clinging to the uprights and hanging on like flies to a jam pot on every little bit of foothold they could find~
No less than 503 passengers were crowded on to this four·car train consisting of a motor car hauling three trailers en
route to the Exhibition in September 1892. Quite a load for two motors on a single·truck car, and a good advertise­
ment for the Westinghouse equipment used!
Public Archives of Canada. C-20580.
CANADIAN
201
R A I L
soon returned to the barn without incident. An
amusing
episode which caused a delay was a fight·
between two large dogs on board one of the cars
on July 9; this led the company to ban canines
from the cars from then on. On July 22 two ladies
narrowly escaped serious injury when their carr­
iage was smashed
by an electric car, and several
other accidents happened, but fortunately with
no loss of life or serious injury. On August 1-1
lightning disabled
the generators at the power
house and service was halted until the morning of
the 13th.
On the positive side was the story of the elderly
lady
who had suffered from rheumatism for years,
and when she rode
the car was completely cured;
by the electricity as she put it. Inevitably the
new line made the horse car line look old fashion­
ed
and there was talk of converting the latter to
electricity. Much discussion was had of storage
batteries (favoured by Mr. Keefer) but all through
the summer of 1891 nothing was done. The only
other major discussion that Summer was whether
cars would run on Sunday, but it was still to early
for such a radical step in Victorian Ontario.
A few anecdotes survive from this first Summer.
One of the best is of a passenger who several times
got a free ride by proffering a $50 bill (a very large
sum
in those days) which the conductor was unable
to change. Finally the conductor changed the fif­
ty by giving ten $1 bills, $20 in 25c pieces and $20
in 10c pieces. No more $50 bills were forthcoming
after that! It makes one tremble to speculate on the
present-day coin collector value of those 10c pieces
and quarters. How many 1875 quarters, 1889 10c
pieces or other goodies were among that lot? Ano­
ther story was that when the western suburb of
Hintonburg asked for street car service, the reply,
saying
it would be considered, was recorded on a
phonograph by Mr. Soper and played at the first
phonograph concert in Canada, October 19 1891.
Meanwhile new extensions were contemplated
including double tracking on existing lines. By
the time of the exhibition in September sixteen
cars
were in service including two new vestibuled
cars. One
of these, number 23, was used by the
Govenor General, Lord Stanley on his trip from
Rideau Hall to the exhibition. There is no record
that His Excellency was in any way displeased that
tracks had been laid on Wellington Street! A sudden
development on October 9 surprised Ottawa when
the news came out that Mr. T.C. Keefer, the presi­
dent of the horse car company, had sold his shares
(amounting to about 65 percent of the total out­
standing) in that company to unknown parties.
For several days there was speculation until on
October 12 it was revealed that the purchasers
were none other than Ahearn and Soper, who now
had controlling interest. This ensured cooperation
between the two companies, and although no
attempt was made to amalgamate at that time, the
way was now open for a unified transit system in
Ottawa.
As winter approached the old doubts about
snow came again. The electric railway had proved
itself in summer, but how about winter? All eyes
in the Canadian transit industry were on Ottawa,
for other systems, particularly Montreal and Tor­
onto, were contemplating the big switch and wanted
to see how Ottawa fared. In fact president Jesse
Joseph of the Montreal Street Railway flatly said
that electric cars wont do in a statement made
at an M.S.R. directors meeting in November 1891.
rt!lrO<~I~i1J8
i
SA YB TREY WON~T DO.
TI!IIi MONTBJ:AL STIiIiET RAILWAY PBDIDIlIIT·S
OPINION OF ELEOTRIC
OAIlI.
MONTBIlAL, November 6.-A$ th& IIDDllIl –
roeellng I)eo~erday of ~he Montzea! •• nt !
railway oompany, .he ques,lon of II obUlg6 i
~o eleo~rloly ollme up. Pr •• ideo Jeoll J
J o.eph Bald be had ,horougbly looked into h,
aDd It would 00 do. He 1IIal aurd eleo.rlfJ
oare oould no be run III wln~r,.o tber& would
bave to be IIservloe of sleighs ball tbe y .. r.
To aHer one of the borA ou. Into 6Q 8180·
ulo oar woold 00i~ $2.000, while Dew OlIn
tqIoped with eleoorlo IOpparalal woold OCI
83,500 eaoh.
O.loulallDIl 8ervloe of 8lS oare 10 .urom~r
lJer day and 86 .Iel~b. per d&y iD wlntH, .he
ruoollJg of ouoh aD eleoDrlo pprviC9 wODld ood
p;r vear 00 leo. bbao $360,000 agalDo $208,.
000 per Ybar 118 at pre,eot.
In .ddltloD 00 obi. aD cxPtDdlOure of 110,­
OOU wouhJ be rl Quired for ooo.~roobioo pur­
.J Tbe greab roo hie. however, agalDI luoh a
y_l.m a. ~be IOIlW io be ioer iro~, whlab
thu preddeDb t h~ol!hb WM a weU·Dillh loour
mountable diffioulty. II ,…..1rue ,b.,
O,Lllwa haa .rbed ouoh II Iy.lew, bul be
prAaideDb, from what information be· had
,·b8iner. aboub ~.a..JCrvloe, tb(,ugb~ .b ••
I
ODWI< ,,old Dob be able bo op~ute tbe ro.d
to ~bH ,iot Toe o,ee~iDg dropped the ~uhico~ aod
,.djc SA YS THEY WONT OO~ This classic article was clipped
out
of an Ottawa paper in November 1891 by Mr. Soper
who marked some of the choice items in the margin. Within
a
few weeks a/l this would be proved wrong, and less than
a year later Mr. Joseph was retired and Montreal, following the
lead of Ottawa, would have electric cars in regular service.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
CANADIAN
202
R A I L
He eventually resigned when Montreal decided to
go electric over his objections. More typical
of the Montreal feeling was an account in the Mon­
treal
Witness by a visitor who had seen the Ottawa
cars:
The electric cars there are delightful to travel on
after the old jog-trot hitch-forward and jolt-back­
ward of our street railway here. N
Montreal Witness, December 15 1891.
Meanwhile Ottawa ordered two large double­
ended snow plows, as well as a large sweeper,
the latter to be built by Lewis and Fowler of Brook­
lyn N. Y. The sweeper arrived at the C. P. R. yard
at Ottawa on November 8 and attracted much
attention. The regu lar cars were now fitted with
vestibules for winter use, but which could be re­
moved in the spring. So the Ottawa Electric Rail­
way was battening down for the Winter of 1891 –
92, its biggest test.
Ottawa Electric Railway street car No. 17 on a snowy street in 1892. This is one of the earliest electric cars, it was built
with open platforms but had vestibules added for winter use. After 1891 all closed cars were built with permanent vest­
ibules. This photo is also rare in that it is the only one seen of an Ottawa passenger street car with a number containing
the digit 7~ A t some early date, for reasons now unclear, the company stopped using any numbers that contained
seven.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-33927.
CANADIAN
203 R A I L
VI. The First Winter -The Battle Is Won –
1891-1892
The first winter of the Ottawa Electric Railway
got off to a bad start with three serious accidents.
At 12: 30 on the afternoon of December 10 the
fears of Mr. Keefer were borne out when horse car
No. 10, going west on Sparks Street crossing Met­
calfe, was hit
broadside by electric car No. 16.
There was a terrible crash as the side of the horse
car was stove in while the vestibule of the electric
car was demolished. The two lady passengers on the
horse car were severely shaken but soon recovered.
Two days later another electric car on Albert
Street hit the Metcalfe stage. The passengers were
shaken up
and the horses thrown to the ground;
one horse broke his leg and had to be killed. So far
no person had been killed,
although one elderly
man had died a
day or two after being hit, but
for reasons probably not caused by the accident.
This record was spoiled on December 18 when
Mr. Ira Morgan, a
prominent citizen, trying un­
wisely
to board a moving street ,car from the front
at the corner of Sparks and Metcalfe, was knocked
down and had his chest crushed by the car step.
Although consious when taken to hospital, he died
at 3: 15 the next morning.
Despite these traged ies progress was made.
On November 9 came news
that the companys
offices were being moved from Albert Street car
barns to larger quarters on Metcalfe Street. Then
on December 12 came another new beginning.
Mr, W.w. Wylie, who had a carriage sbop at the
corner of Slater and Kent Streets, was given an
order to build six open cars and one closed car
for
the electric railway. Mr. Wylie had car building
experience, having worked in that capacity for
the Liverpool Tramway Car Co. in England. This
started the car building industry in Ottawa, the
shop was later purchased by Ahearn and Soper,
and, in 1895, became the celebrated Ottawa Car
Company which built most of Ottawas street
cars as well as many for other Canadian cities.
On December 15 1891 the long-awaited first
big
snow storm came to Ottawa. The horse rail­
way soon put sleighs on the line, while the elec­
tric system brought out the new sweeper as well
as gangs
of men with shovels. It was a lot of work
but the cars kept running and did much to con­
vince
the unbelievers. But the snow of December
1891 was like
nothing compared to that which
fell
in January 1892. It was as if nature was throw­
ing
all it had at Ottawa to test the electric rail­
way. Day
in day out the snow fell and the winds blew,
and day in day out cars kept running as the
sweeper cleared the tracks. After the big storm on
January 6 the Evening Journal said The electric
railway
company did nobly last night. People will be
wanting the tracks on every street in winter at
this rate. On January 14 car No. 23 became the
first street car in Canada to be fitted with electric
heaters, much to the comfort of the passengers.
Still
the snow came down but the railway man­
agers said:
The cars will run if the snow comes
4 feet deep; nothing will stop them. We expect
a stormy February but the cars will run!. Every­
one knew that this Winter was the big test that
would make or break electric traction in Canada,
:Qttawatfeddf ~aUVay C():;
,. .. ~:-…. ,
SCHOOL TICKET
, Goocffor TWENTY rides for Children:
llOder Fourteen years of age while
attending school. ,-
NOT TRA~SFERAnLE
Yes jump on but blame yourself if you have a
rough
time. So said superintendant Hutcheson
to the reporter for the Daily Citizen who was
given a ride
on the sweeper during a big storm on
January 3 1892 and who boarded the car at 1: 00
A.M, that Sunday morning (yes, the sweeper did
run
on Sunday). The reporters description is so
The Welcome Sn!)w.
An old· fashioned snowfa.ll
came 1&S1i lllght.
to deligh t the hearts of everyone. The 8~e,
fell thickly and softly all night and were
still coming down in
the morning. —.Tle)oy
sLreet !Ilrf,ces
were covered at; –dayUBht
wilh e. deep h .. yer of snow. The sweepers
of
th~ doclri.: ruilway a.nd the snow ploWa
of the city contractors were out-betimes, and
trck~ and sidewalks were cleared in _fine
style,
hLrgr gangs of men being thus em.
ploye(} in u.1l pu.rts of Lhe oity.
This wu.s the fir.t rea.lIy bueineas·llke fa.ll
(Ii the pnlscllL winter, a.nd ga.ve an Id~ of
wht bort of stu.te of thing. would be
c·I><:riCI:I:CJ ill lion a.verage anowy winter
bel Wtlll [he e1ectrlo trlIoOk .weepers and the
sidewalks snowplows. The BIlOW-thrOwn
olf
Lhe tracks and sidewalks la.y in big high
1
),u·lI.llel ridges along the sidewalk ourDis,
caving good walking and wide sleighing
roods eauh sillo of
the trlIoOks. The work was
efliciontiy and quickly done. Bank ~treet
particularly was in splendid condition for
both sle.ghing
and walking long before the
!vcrage breakfast hour. The electric roads
and sidewalks being thus repidly
aud effectively cleared, the nert. thing
was to cart the snow away. and
this job is now being handled in a
style that indicates the practical 801u.
tion of tile anow question in Ottaw&,
The work
has been systematized and is be·
ing
carried out in a pra.ctica! manner with
no nonsense about it.
———-,
I
mItt ~thw.m ~~tUM (!tiH~£lll
SIX PAGES.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER Hi, 1801.
STRUGGLE WITH THE STORM.
The Electric SY8tem 1 .. 118 Tbronl{h With
S .. cces~ •
.
~he first heavy Sllowstorm this senson vIslted.Ottawn. yestel(lay.
It cornlncnce early In the ITwrntng, n.ml turning to sleet
l~ter, .on contlnucd until la[e last night.
SIClghmg
~n.s good dnring the UILY, and
w~eeled vehIClcs wero e-enerully relegi~teu [0
wlnler ljuf1.rtors, Tho horse p,~sengcI· COIll.
pany took 0111. [-heir _ runllcr cnr~ HhorUy
before noon, wIllIe
[he Elcclric COIlIpn.ny
Buc?essfully combatted the snow n.nd mil
their c~rs on good time 0.1 day, This W-II.S not
dOlle Without considerable tronhle n.nd the
expense 9f adrlitionallabonr, and the com.
p.
ill.y receive(1 the commcll(latiQns of all
c:tlzons
fo~ their ~nergy and em·ned SIlCCCS~.
): eRter(bY,8 oxporlencc goes fllr to show thILt
thoy Will ltkely cn.rry out tllOir dulcllllilll.
tio~ to run th~ electric system 1111 winl-cr.
Even
tho ratlways felt the scverity of the
storm, and neflrly all the tmins arrived in
the city yesterday about an honr late.
ThQ snow clearing contractors commcnce,l
o~el(l.tions yestc:rdn.y. It would scn.rcely ho
flr, perhaps, to comment upon the chumc.
ter of all tho work uono 011 the VCly first
day of tho servico. Contrnctor I::>t,ulley
though, had t-ho New E,linburgh siJelValk~
in good condition.
The electric snow brush secms too (10 the
busincss completely. A Cry good scheme
was
the rnnning of n. heavy roller Oer the
8now thrown upm either si,le of the track
which left the strcet q II i te hn.ru.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 31 1891. 1
The watch night services in J)OlOiniO~
Church to·lIi~ht lJlgin ILt IO.:iO, and will he
conducte.l by the pu.stor, Rev. Dr, R-yck.·
lIIan, o.~siste~ by Rv. ,Mr. Pike, the el·ange.
hHt. Electllc UMS wll run uulill ()clO<.:k
New Ycal~ nlorning.
—•.. -.–~—-.. ~ .. –.–
/ .-
…… Photographing the Sweeper. J
I,
Phis morning Mr. Soper, Mr. HutehesoJ(,
Il.nd I~ nlllllber of friends of the Electric Rn.i1·
wfly company, with Mr. A. O. PiLtaway,
photogrnpher, n.sscmbled on Wellington st.,
in front of the Langevin block,
to
witness the interesting -process of
photogl swcoper Iosh from hor memorable and vic·
torious tusslo
with tho first typical snowfall
of tho plesent winter.
Hearty congratula.
tiuns wcre ~ho\cred 011 Mr. Soper and the
-encrgetic superintendent, Mr. Hutcheson, to
whose iu(lcfaLigable exertions the company
(lWO 80 much, on the spltndid
rCBnll.B of the Ilights operations. Rideau
strcet liLy stretched hefore the party,
; fI mn.guiJicent pictnre, level as a board its
I en Lire will th clear of snow from curbstone
to cllrbslone. Those who had just come
over
lln.n k Iltreet said it was if pos~ible even
more
pcrfectly clearo(1 afad levelled than
Rideall ~trect an,! in _ perfect condition for
sleighillgllever ill sllchcondition in
the winter
hcfole. 1 t was amusing in thn.t thoronghfare
I
too Sec pe,]eslrian~ following the sweeper.
The S
W-(per looked n.s fresh n.s fI dn.isyafter
_ her work. with bCIUGoly n. trace on her of the
-{;ghL /he Illen on her say they could have
cuped
with a good rleul mora snow than was
Illel wilh, The secret is to get out en.rly
!lull kP(P Oil rfgr~ing u.\ay, EVlry time
lho -IIOW hils l-rt::,I, (lXPO/i(IIlCC is gthorud
nlld I lll: IleX ~ job C:Ollle~ !,nsicr.

M.-w ADVIIBDBU.lCD.
Flne oll-Bb Ja.::ohB
Orga.n for oIe-Ht Sparks
Wach loab Leave at tll1B offieG
Sucese -R J Dsvlln
Fornllure-Metropolltan MIg Co
Horees wanted-wE Wilsey Monday
lUh-O ROjljllll Uo
lreab openlng-R M Me Morran
OlrAWA.,
THURSDAY JA.N. 7 18U.
Till Dlftloult:v Overoom9. 1
When the BDOW .term Ibarbed lub nIght
bhe (hatrlo Iwe~per wa, pub III operatlonlond
through tbe night kept lib 1)1 work leaving
bhe traok olear aod reldy for brAffil. AI.
bhough the tAlm wa. a heavy 009, 101Ile
e/ghb Inohn or anow falling, nofi8lD~le brlp–
.1 bhe q Ir had been ·lll.t. frhb . morning the
pl4ugb. oleaned the lurphu BMW bo III lenl
aod d.zelll .1 ~psah.lln~w Blelg.i, have re.
D.l0ved I~ be the dampIng gronnc!. plaofng
bae
.trestlla exoellenb oondlblon •. there II
e ,eod evidence bo prove that the offiolau of
the IIl1e have lelved the preblem of r.D,
Q4U 4qrlDf .po ,,1ft, ~ Q~~w. .
J ~ )~l_~(,_l~~~~ / _q I Cf ~,
The experiment iu Ott~wa. with electrio
etrccb care iij, accor,li;j; tc. all I~Ooullt~, lin
1I11(junlifldd tilO~u.S. I;. wae foared Lhat the
pr<8eo~e of snuw III to. largo tjll.,otity wOllJ
renuer
the systom lIo\ork~bJe, bue it ha3
bot)) dcmoD!trnted th,,~ with uuerg~tio 1I1an­
ul(omnt thu elorncnt.1 call bu OVCICOIII~. Til
1Olouto much less difliolll~y wOllld be ex·
perlenced ill k.elillg the tr~.::I(ij cJl!~r, for,
compared
with thac of the o)lpJr.I, ollr dilll4t·J
i! almost tropkal. Tho~e who have I kuow·
ledge oi ihe tl.,lv~ntgee of eloctri~ CIlT3 11.8 to
apted and comfon will have watched the ex­
c
riment ill O~~wa whn Intere,S alld bll
pleaoled
with it!! Buoael. 10 far.
01TAWA,THURSDAY, JAN. 7, 1892.
THI!: EI€ctric Railway company did
nobly last night. Peotl1e will be want.
iDg the tracks on every street in winter
at this rate.
.. .
the Electdo Dotng Well.
The heavy f~ll of snow yesterday ami last
night did not interfere with the running of
the electric care. Last night the sweeper
ran most of the night, keeping tlio rou.dboll
clear while the rollers perambulo.ted the dif·
ferent streets, beating fla.t the snow on elch
side of the tra.ck. Men worked until late
into the night shovelling ba.ck the SIIOW from
the rails. This morning the companys clI.rls
were bUllily engaged co.rting off all accumu·
lations. The city snow·ploughs went at
~ their work about twelve Qclock with the
result that all the principal street!! were
olear at. eight ol/lock this morning.
Old Probs sa>,. we will hay!) lower tern·
perature and hIgh northwest win(le.

THE EVENING JOURNAL. I
OTTAWA, THURSDAY, JAN. 21, 189~.
.. -. . .
They Follow Ottawa.
rbe Kings~on News slI.ys: An clool-riu
uet 1p.i1way will be built in the city~hi8 _
: I: ThIs la now beyoncl douLt.. Th!; old
mte will ~ experimented upou filt, nd if
.I:u (iceipts are heavy it will he It goo(1
I.lioation that the people moan to cll~11ge ,
n terprise, and tracks will be laic! (,II other
(·1 eets.· Tho coaches will be lun in wiuter
,s well JiB in sumlJ1er, and it will la.ke u. great
Iuantityof snow to blocka,le them. rhey
will be ma:de as comfortable in severe weather
lij Pul)me.n carll. Yesterday !If … Hili hlIfoICI,
f the Thomaon·Romton Electric T.ighl c(,nl
pany,
Toronto, was. in the cit.y figlldng on
,he,~t of.the plan~ He left Iu.Ht evenillg
,lid wlll firilaH hill work at another visit.

They RUI1 In Rtdgell There.
A gentleman who returned to·day from
HlUJliliton
and Toronto eays that in those
placel they have about as much snow 8.8 in
Ottawa, and that the street car service is
~till continued on wheels. But they are
lIIo.klng 110 sony attempt at it compared with
(}(,tawo.. There is no effort by either tho
,atyor the company to clean tho rnilwn.y
treets, and only enough snow is scooped out
around the rails to o.l1ow the cars to run,
the result being that there are with double
tracks 4 big ridges on the streets. Toronto
,Jeople are greatlv interested in Ottawas
dectric railway.

THE EVENING JOURNAL.
OTTA W A, MONDAY, JAN. 25, 189.!.
ALTlJOUGU tho electrlo railway II! re·
ceiving cODsiderable
attention from
snowstorms
DOW, it does DOt Beem much
tbe worse.
Nothing Will Stop Them.
The cars will run if the silOW comes 4
feet deep; they are going to run all winter. i
. Nothing will stop them. 80 said Mr. J.
W. McRae, the president of the electr~c I
road wbi1~talking to a JOURNAL man thIS.
lno~lng Ollthe removal of the.lino. .1
Tal1ting about the cost of the cleo.ntng, r
Mr McRae 88>id the company had so far I
paid ollt.a.bout $2,000 for labor alone, and
tli9ugh Itla IIxpeneive, he a.dded, I tell I
yquit dOOfJ me good towalk aroun~ irond lee,
sO:DWly men at work, who othennse WOuldj
be idle.
Mr. MoRae .. id that he expected utonny
:te~, but he todded, the oarI will
run,)f ,
..

THE OTTAWA ELEOTRJO OARS.
THIIY ARK A SUCOBSS. Ttl t
(Sp~dal to tM Wi/nell.) I I •
OTT.l.WA, Jan. 27.-The electric cars are
running on schedule time wIthout a broak.
Bundays snowfall made no dim-rence, for
Monuay morulng found them running as
usual. Tho suow id IIlIIIOSc! from tuo tracks
by olectrio rOelry ruttan bruahu., atlllcbccl La a
a special CH. Tueu A horSd-power plQ()gh shoves
the enow La ooe side of the stroet,
trom which it is completely rewoved
in large box sleighs to.nd dumped lin to
the canal. Tce compa~y makes the en­
tire street their care and the streeta on which
the road runs are in better condilion
for publio use than any of the other streets.
There Is an eleotric snow· plough, which, how­ever,
it h&s not yet been found Decessary to
mD oler the tracks. The snow has not de­
tained the cars this winter for a single minnte,
socomplelely is the problem solved) dne chiefly
to the wisdom of the company In c80ling fof
the entire street and Dot simply for tbeir own
tracks. The road and it.a operAtion is 110 com-
plete success. .

No account of an event can be as clear as the day-to-day news items as they appeared at the time. Here we see a number
of news articles, collected by Mr. Soper in the 1890s, describing some of the events of the struggle of the Ottawa Elec­
tric Railway to keep running through the snows of the winter of 1891 . 1892. Some of the items are from newspapers
of other cities as they watched to see what would happen. Even by the end of January it was evident that the battle
would be won, and city transit in Canada would be changed forever.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
CANADIAN
206
vivid that it is a classic well worth quoting word
for word:
The genial Superintendant in his big fur coat
covered with snow and ice from head to foot looked
like a belated Santa Claus driving an electric rein­
deer. The snow was falling thick and fast and as the
sweeper turned on to Wellington Street the east
wind seemed to howl as it swept up from the bridg­
es. Even at that hour great drifts of snow had formed
across the intersections of streets and threatingly
blocked the way, but as the superintendant turned
on the current, notch after notch, the immense
rotary brooms spun around with a deep whirring
R A I L
noise, and the sweeper leaped out upon the track
seemingly concious of its power. Through the drifts
it sped, the snow flying from the brooms in great
white clouds and filling eyes and ears of the soli­
tary passenger, who by this time had begun to real­
ize where the rough part of the trip came in.
With gongs ringing, brushes whizzing and snow
everywhere, on across Dufferin Bridge the sweeper
rushed -in front a blind unbroken waste of snow –
behind a cleanly swept track, with its polished rail
tops glistening under the electric lights, and so on
without interruption until the top of Rideau Street
was reached.
Daily Citizen, January 4 1892.
Yes jump on, but blame yourself if you have a rough time. This vivid action photo of sweeper No. 1 was taken in
January 1892 and shows the conditions faced as the company successfully kept the street cars runninq that first winter.
Dne can feel how the newspaper reporter felt as he wrote about the ride on the sweeper only a few days before this ph-­
oto was taken. Note the vestibuled passenger car following the sweeper. Action shots like this were very difficult to take
with the camera equipment of the 1890s.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-8420.
The corner of Bank and Sparks Streets in the late 1890s. Contrast this view with the horse car scene at the same corner
only seven years before.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-8843.
On January 14 the sweeper paused briefly in its
work
to allow Mr. Soper, superintendant Hutche­son and a number of friends to board it while
it
was photographed fresh from its memorable strug­
gle with another storm. The sweeper looked fr­
esh
as a daisy after her work with scarcely a trace
on her
of the fight. The secret was to get out
early and keep pegging away. Th is photo has
survived and still shows the drama
of the occasion
in those days before action photography. The work
of
the sweeper was made easier when the second
one, similar to the first, was placed
in service on January 29.
The memorable Winter of 1891 -92 kept on,
but the street railway coped with it .. Gradually it appeared
that they would be successful and
keep their promise to run the electric cars
all winter.
So too, the other systems, led by Montreal and
Toronto, watched the struggle at Ottawa and made the decision
to adopt electric traction. As tile
Spring of 1892 came and the snow melted
it was clear to
all that the battle was won and that Ahearn
and Soper were right. Electric cars were indeed
successful
in the Canadian winter, and the future
of traction
in Canada had a clear track ahead. Only seven hundred days had passed since
the
Ottawa City Council had decided to try the merits of
an electric railway, but so much happened in
those seven hundred days.
VII. Epilogue -1893-1983.
The Ottawa Electric Railway went on to bigger
things
in the years ahead. In 1893 they consolid­
ated with, and electrified, the horse-drawn street railway, and obtained a new thirty-year franchise.
This consolidation allowed the eventual abandon­ment of the controversial track on Wellington

THURi:lDAY, JUNE 11, 1891.
THE FIRST CAR READY.

THE ELEOTRIO ROAD NEARLY OOM.
PLETED.

Before the Bod of tt.ze Month the
Bank Street Bllll1ch Will be Read1
For Operation-How the lIotOl9 Set
t,be VlIeel8 Going.
The firet of tbe tlolW ete/ittiO eau IR praoti.
oally ready to be put on the traok and more
oAre beiDA proceeded wlCh rapidly. The
arrangement! for opeoloA the road are quiokly
approllohloA oomple~loo. Mr. Hibbard Is Dear
bhe end 01 hie wor~ on DlOnk atreet.
~be lioe In ibat seotloo Ie now ru.le~~d, so far as blo oonstruotion
goeo, D~mely, cuC Co cbe
exhibition grounda, wblleb on Albrrb eor~e~
wesb of Bank he blO8 flootber large gaog dll(,
p;inl{ hole6 for ~ho Ble~perB.
Til! OVEIIIIEAD WIIIIII.
Mr. Knobb Ie bere and ,Ia siln!!lng the over­bead wire, whlob
la II tlonged barq· drawn
double oopper Wire, of about a quorb·jn· of an inob In tblckn688. 1hls tvife
la p~soed 10 the
oenbre of bhe rosdway, and servee ~o ttane.mi
bbe ourrenb bo the oar moCor. .Lbla I.
done bv means of che brolly. The
Drolly arm ends In a wheel w hieb rUns lIioii~
bbe under side of bhe oopper wlrp, lind recelv
iDg bhe ourrenb from tbe overhead wire brans­
min it to the arm, whenoe It paoses down a wire whlob
travels down bhe side of tbe oer
noder thll woodwork bo bbe oob-off box,siuabej
UDder bhe 8eat of bbe oar, betweeo tbe toobors
l
and so bbrouAb the motors to bbe wbeel ana
.Ibenoe to the ground.
HOW THill POWEll IS USED.
But how doe! this hansmlBioD 01 the our-
rent from bbe overbead wire to bhe
groUDd oause the wheels bo move r
Tbe ,molor cODlIIoID! II oylinder filled wlbb
oolled wire lind bbe pasellge 01 the eleotrlo ourreDt bhrough bbls, exoloe,
bhe Iron of bhe
oylinder lind frllme until Ib beoomes one powerful mllgneb,
tbe magneblsm belog oon oenorabed
In a splib oopper rlDg, made 1&
many pllrbs nob wholly JolDed bogether.
Tbe olroumferenoe of this ring abtraobs a Dumber of wire
magD£bB 8l1ghtly proJeotlng from the motor wbeel.
As eaoh of the8e wires magnets
io firmly bound IDbo Its plaoe In
the wheel, Ita effort bo rRaob the point of
aUrBobloD, wblob is wit bout tbe
radius .)f Ibo revolutiou, ollHlel h
00 violently tf)wardo bbe polnb of atbractlon tbab It oveuhoobo
ibll mark, bbae atllrtiDg bbe
revolution of bhe mobor wbeel and ab tbe 8ame bime brlnglDg
bbe nexb mllAneb wlibla bhe
lofiuenoe of tbe oenbre abtuotlon. So tbe
mobor wheel beln!, .tarted bbe revolutlona
lDU8t oontlnue (u long aa bhe exoitfment or magDebism exists.
Tbe motor wheel oODneots
wltb a shah armed with a oog wbeel, wbiob fits
into a oog on tbe axle 01 the ORr wbeels, thus bransmIbblng tbe
mLblon and drivl0A bbe
oar.
THii SPJl:i:n.
Tbe rllte 01 motion I. regulabed by what Ie
kDown as obe oompbroller. ODe 01 wblob la
.Ituabad ab eaob end of everr.·olt. Wben the
baed Ie is over tbe oentre po nt aD tbe top of the oomptroller
tbe power 10 .hub eff. As tbe
dri ver turDS It to the laID the maohlnery In the
interior glvea a loud oliok for aboub every
half inoh it la burned. Eaob ollok emibled slgoifie. an Inoreaee of
Bpeed, and by burning
tbe handle In bbla dlrrobion bhe Gar Is pro­llelled.
In order:J drive bhe oar baokwards
it r6verBe the 60gi06, aB it were,tbe haodle Is
I~rned to bbe right. Eaob oar is .upplled with
.A 0 motors, 80 bhat should one break dowD from
any oause, all tbe dr! ver hao to do io to
go to tho cub~ing off box, under bhe sellt of bhe
cu, aod switoh ff the uee/eod aDd oonneob the
good mobor wiob the current. Eaob motor is
of 20 horse power. Eoch oar .. eigbo ahout 6
bonB.
LUXURY ON WHEFLS.
The oarB are moet luxurious iD bbe Inberlor.
Tbey ar910fty and airy. tne side windowo belnp;
sup!Jlem~Dted hy vAnbilaboro In bbe roof. At
Di~hb caob oar;8 lit up by five inoaDdesoent lights.
The woo:!worl< ie of light oak,pollshed, with mirrored euds.
Tbe oeats are uphule­tored
iD Engli8h Wllbun oarpebe of heather mixture wlbh maroon, hlack alid
Aold ebripes.
Tbe outBlde of bhe oar Is equally basDeful.
The hody Is a rich crange with tbe word a
Parliament BulidiDl(s in: gold, he ende :and
UDder portions of the oars beiDA light
prlmr08e.
lNtlRKllS AND XOSItllR,
At eaob endtbere are pMentgatle8 whioh are olosed
at tbe end that tbe driver i8 Btabiooed,
at wheD tbe oar ie In progreso, ~huo oUbtiDg off·
the m~n at the wheel fro.a ail oommunios.­
tioD and foroiDjr everybody to enber or leave bbe
oar at the rear end.
Ab the fittlDg Bhops and offioes on Alherb atreeb, men are busy ge
bblng Ibe oafS mouoted and
fixiog poolieo, ebo ,ready for operatiolls. Ib
i8 probahle thab tbe open inA day will be betweon
June 20 and June 30, the firot oars Co
run helDg on Jjronk street,
fHE OTTAWA EVENING JOURNAL, MONDAY, AUGUST IS, 1904
Childrens Great Outing at
CHILDREN IN CHORUS.-IfAint Mister Ahearn and Soper Real Nice.
TWO GREAT NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ABOUT THE O.E.Ry.
The writer of 1891, in explaining the unfamiliar
new te c
hnology, use d such te rms as Comptrolle r
IITrolly and II Pool ie s II (i. e. trolley wheel s) .
In 1
904 a special childrens outing saw 7600
happy youngsters given a wonderful day at the
park at Britannia.
Britannia
A REAR VIEW. I..
In 1894 the Ottawa Electric RaIlway secured the contract to carry the mail, and this car was built that year. A later
Ottawa mail car (1906) has been saved at the Canadian Railway Museum.
Public Archives of Canada. C·18684.
During the time the O.E.Ry. had the mail contract it had the words Royal Mai/ on a/l its cars, not just those that car­
ried the mail. This was an attempt to give the street cars right-of-way over other vehicles. This rare view shows one of
the cars so lettered on Rideau Street.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-45642.
CANADIAN
210
R A I L
Street. In 1894 they secured the contract to carry the
mail and built special cars for this purpose. For a time
all the street cars in Ottawa were letter­
ed II Royal Mai I to give them the right-of-way
over
other vehicles. Later came the double truck cars, and
in 1900 the long suburban line to Brit­annia
Bay. Then came steel cars of increasingly
modern design
as the system expanded. All these cars were built by
the Ottawa Car Company, re­
organized as the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Comp­any
in 1913, which had a reputation second-to­
none
in Canada. Ottawa-built cars were found in
most Canadian cities, hundreds of them, built
between the 1890s and 1914
in Montreal alone.
It is significant that there are no less than 12 Ott-
. ; ….
awa-built cars at the Canadian Railway Museum. The larger cars built between 1910 and 1917
re­
placed the pioneer cars of 1891 and 1892, and
sadly none of these has survived,
the oldest ex­
isting Ottawa electric car dating from
about 1896.
A busy summer on Sparks Street at the corner of Bank about 1897. The horse cars were long gone now, and the D.E.
was expanding rapidly as it headed towards the Twentieth Century.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-8763.
By 1898 the car numbers were up into the 200s. This busy
scene was taken on Rideau Street in that year.
Public Archives of Canada. C-ll09.
SANTA CLAUS
IS COMING
HE WRITES THE JOURNAL AN.
NOUNCING THE FACT
!!:e Will irrive the Bay Before Xmas and
WiJi go Through Ille City on Top of
an Electric Car
Editor Journal,-l,sually, as you
I,no,,, I make In) -isits 10 the homes
of good little c-hildrtll atter d3.rl; on
Christmas E(, but 1\0 years ago]
(
:ntured 10 appear in til!. d:l>time, and
en
J(,yed myself so much that J hale
deided to visit Ottawa again this year,
J
£hall trael ith Illy reindeer (<:nd
o,unges) o,er the mountains ar.d
frllzen rilers, and go :h!ou,:h th~
st:-eets of Olta,,a thf 3.(I.;-rno(n an;:!
~.-t-ning bofe! Chti~lnlas.
] am I~in~ing-four litt1~ hr,wnif:::
with me this time, and am a!,a;c:;in~
to have them accompany me through
Otta,,a on top of an electnc (ar,
I will lTit you again from time to
time. Give my 101 811.1 girl,. of O;Ull,a and It., I I Ihem to
lao), (ut for us,
SA:lA GLACS,
::t, :i(holas Hall,
;:0,; o:-t h Pole, Dec, 1st, l89S,
On Christmas 1898, Mr. Warren Soper played the part of Santa Claus and rode on the roof of the Santa Claus Speciar
street car as it ran through downtown Ottawa. A car like this (perhaps this very car) is preserved at the Canadian Rail­
way Museum.
C.R.H.A. Collection.
CANADIAN 212
R A I L
Superintendant Hutcheson of the O.E.R. later
came to Montreal and had a long career with the
Montreal Street Railway and its successor the
Montreal Tramways Co. He became Vice President
and General Manager of the latter company be­
fore he retired in 1935. In 1923 the thirty-year
franchise of the Ottawa Electric Railway, granted
in 1893, expired and was renewed for a further
25 years -until 1948. Messrs. Ahearn and Soper
continued to direct the organization until May
13 1924 when Warren Y. Soper died, at the age of
70, at his residence Lorando at Rockcliffe. On
the day of his funeral, May 16 1924, all street
car operation in Ottawa was stopped for two minu­
tes from 3:30 to 3:32 P.M. Mr. Ahearn lived another
14 years and died on June 28 1938, just four days
after his 83rd birthday. The firm of Ahearn and
Soper carried on and in fact continues to exist
to the present day. Sadly, there are no longer any
relations of the founders in the company, the last
having sold
out some years ago. The firm still handles electrical
equipment, now dealing in such
late-20th century devices as computer terminals.
The Ottawa Electric Railway continued as a
private
company for yet another ten years, its
last
president being the same Frank Ahearn who
as a five-year-old had thrown the first switch in
1891. The Ottawa car Manufacturing Co., later
renamed
Ottawa Car and Aircraft Co., built its
last cars
in 1947, appropriately enough four cars
(numbers 1000 to 1003) for the Ottawa Electric
Railway.
In 1948 the City of Ottawa took over
the Ottawa Electric Railway and operated it as the
Ottawa Transportation Commission. Street car
service continued through most of the 1950s
until the last Ottawa street car ran in a sad cere­
monial parade
on May 2 1959. By that time almost
68 years had passed since the line was opened in
1891, but some people were still there who could
remember that day.
Today it is almost a quarter century since the last
street car ran in Ottawa. More and more these days
The last development of the Ottawa Electric Railway in the nineteenth century was the long suburban line to Britannia
Bay opened in July 1900. These big double·track open trailers were built especially for this service. The Britannia line
ran until 1959 and is still fondly remembered by many residents of the capital.
Public Archives of Canada. C·2461.
CANADIAN 213 R A I L
it is realized that electric traction, in one form or
another is the most efficient form of urban mass
transpo;tation. Already several Canadian cities have
re-adopted this method, either as subway rapid­
transit or as light rail operation, the latter being,
in reality, modern street car lines. Toronto never
fully
abandoned street cars, and its new units are
great examples of the re-born technology. Perhaps
electric traction may yet return to Ottawa in time
for its centennial in 1990. All in all the science of
electric transit is in better shape than it has been
for at least twenty-five years.
Electric transit in Canada today is the direct
decendent of the pioneer efforts of almost a century
ago. And few of these efforts were as important,
or bore as much fruit, as those done in Ottawa
by two of the real fathers of Canadian electric
traction -Thomas Franklin Ahearn and Warren
Young Soper.
Note: The author would like to acknowledge the
great help given by Mr. Warren Y. Soper, grandson
of the original Warren Y. Soper, who made avail­
able priceless scrapbooks and documents collected
by his grandfather between 1890 and 1924. Without
these, this article could not have been written.
~,-.<,-/- ~- c-. -,,,-,, ;. •
. ……. , … .,
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~ •. ..
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When Their Royal HIghnesses the Du/te and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary)
visited Canada in 1901 the Ottawa Electric Railway had this special car built for the occasion. One view shows it on
Sappers Bridge while the other depicts it turning west on to Wellington Street from Bank. Note that the track on Wel­
lington in front of the Parliament buildings had already been abandoned.
Public Archives of Canada C26378 and C26390.
Another winter scene as a later single-truck car runs along a cross street in Ottawa.
Public Archives of Canada. PA-44940.
WHY HAVE ALL THE SEVENS GONE?
One of the unusual things about the Ottawa Electric Railway was the numbering system used for their passenger street cars. It
is best described
as a nonary system, for it used nine numerals
instead of
the usual ten; there was no number containing the digit
7 in any position. An exam­
ple
of four consecutive numbers would be 666, 668, 669, 680 and
so forth, skipping any number
containing a
7.
Why this was so is still somewhat of a mystery.
One story puts it down to superstition, another says
that, many years ago, car 77 was involved in
a serious accident and part of the settlement with
the fami
Iy of the victi ms was that sevens never
again
be used. While this may be so, no one I have spoken
to hqs anything definite or concrete. One thing
that is sure is that in the early days
seven was used, since there
is a good photo of car
17 taken in 1892. However no other photos, even
those
in the late 1890s or early 1900s, show a
car with a 7,
so whatever caused the seven to be banished happened at
an early date.
Your editor would be very grateful to anyone
who could shed some light on this mystery, either
by telling some definite reason for this strange occurance,
or by finding a photo of an Ottawa passenger street car containg a
7 (work cars
sometimes did use 7s). Any reasonable-sounding answers
will be printed, and if anyone can come up with the whole story the editor
will gladly give
a years free subscription to Canadian Rail to whoever sends it
in first.
a flDerr£ Although a reader and a weil-wisher of the O.E.R.
Bulletin, I have not made as much use of its columns
as perhaps I should to speak a work now and then to
the O.
E. R. employees. It gives me great pleasure to
again extend to you and yours my best wishes for a
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I
think I should add a word or two more to my
message this year. Some of us have been together
for a long time in this business, and it is natural for
me
to view with regret any chance that our relations
may be altered. I cannot forecast the future, but I
can honestly say that, whatever may be ahead
of us,
I
shall always appreciate the loyal service and willing
co-operation of
the men who have helped to make
this system one of which I could speak with pride
wherever I have gone.-T. Ahearn, President.
I wish to again join with NIr. Ahearn in our an­
nual message of good cheer to the employees of the
O. E. R.
vVe have seen the road rise and prosper
through many eventful years. There were some who
were very doubtful of its success
at the start, as there
are others now who look upon any new development
as
fraught with peril. This gives me occasion to say
that I regard the efficiency of our staff as one of the
mainstays in whatever success our railway has at­
tained. vVhile careful management is a necessary re­
quirement, it cannot avail for good service without the
hearty backing of the men who meet the public on the
cars and take care
of the various departments of our
business. I recognize at its full value the part the
employees have played in the growth of this com­
pany, and wish them all a
Merry Christmas and a
Happy New
Year.-Warren Y. Soper, Vice-Pres·idenl.
~~J2if,(. ~?C .~,
~~ @,
The achievements of Ahearn and Soper were not forgotten as witnessed by this elegant tribute by the directors of the
Ottawa Electric Railway on the death of Mr. Soper in 1924. It was now more than a third of a century since the pioneer
days of 1890.
Collection of Warren Y. Soper.
1+
uneere
nouvelle
Vous Alas invMs a accueHlir IALAT, Ie nouveau mode de transport a
la fine pointe du progreso Apres Ievoir essaye, (ondez-vous au pare
Thornlon 00, gratu~emenl, YOU, pourrez falre do fabuleux tours de
montgoffiere, asslster a des spectacles de jazz, de chansonniers, de
~~:~~~~ep~~~,:~:t::t:~~=Kd~rles
enlanls.
Asslslez aux c&r6monies douvsrture Ie lundi 27juin a 9h30. Partido
~:~I~~~~~~: d;~~~6eSn~~;:~~ ~I~:~:zd:~!~,~lt~owe.
nouvelle!
Horaire des activites au pare Thornton
Secteur
principal
MII/II,* .. Ctt6.:>911n
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HUUIClSdOUVllrtulCl: 27juln-9h30A 20h
2B·29Jun-12hA20h
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SItIJO au Pare lllornlOn, 8U carrelour dOS was Terminal 01 Main,
adjaconl au oovveau ALAT Pleb.i! Canada
On June 27 to 24 1983 the first part of Vancouvers new A. L.R. T. system was opened. This First Riders certificate
was specially autographed for Canadian Rail by Bill Bennet the Premier of British Columbia. The opening of this State­
of-the-Art transit system makes an interesting comparison to the inauguration of the Ottawa Electric Railway 92
years before, to the day. Each was a bold step using new technology, and todays development shows that the spirit
that motivated Ahearn and Soper so long ago is still alive in Canada today.
C.R.H.A. .
communications
CRHA COMMUNICATIONS is published by the
Canadian Railroad Historical Association. Con­
tributions of items about C R HA Divisions, mem­
bers, etc. including photographs, newspaper
articles
are solicited and should be sent to: Bruce
Ballantyne 266
McElroy Drive, Kanata, Ontario
Canada,
K2L 1Y4. Telephone 613-836-5601.
All membership enquiries including change of
address notice should be sent to Jim Patterson,
Membership Services at Box 282, St. Eustache,
P.O. Canada, J7R 4K2. Telephone 514-473-7766.
Mail
for the Canadian Railway Museum and the
Board
of Directors of the CRHA should be sent
to P.O. Box 148, St. Constant P.O. Canada JOL
1
XO Telephone 514-632-2410.
The
addresses of all CRHA Divisions appears
on
page three of this magazine.
IMPORTANT NOTE
With th is issue we close the books on the 1983
version
of Canadian Rail. We wish to take this
opportunity to thank you for your kind comments
regarding the new
format and as promised we are
on time with our delivery. Our main problem at
this time
is the fact that with all the figures in it
looks like Canadian Rail will be coming in with
a deficet of approximately $2000.00. Our closing
membership
is some 1325 down about 100 members
from 1982. We actually lost about 300 members
and obtained 200 new ones during the year.
If Canadian Rail is to continue in its present
format
it is IMPERATIVE that we obtain an ab­
solute minimum of 1550 members in 1984. To
this end we
ask each and every Division to promote
the
CRHA and Canadian Rail at each available
opportunity. We have already sent each Division
membership material and more
is available for
specific events, excursions, hobby shows, etc.
just
drop us a line. We are placing ads in both
Trains
and Railfan magazines and doing our part
here to boost membership whenever possible.
You will notice the indicator which will appear
on the inside back cover
of Canadian Rail through­
out the year to let us all know how we are doing
in
our attempt to acheive our goal of 1550 mem­
bers.
So please do your part, if you have any ideas
to help us promote the CH RA please let us know,
we cant over state the importance of this matter.
GENERAL DIVISION NEWS
You will all hopefully received by now the
promotional package containing among other items
a roll
of 35mm slide film. As mentioned the object
is to expose the film on your projects, displays,
directors, members, etc.
for incorporation into a
master slide show
to be made available to all Div­
isions
for presentation this winter. Please shoot
and return the slides
as soon as possible to give
us time to do our thing before winter.
NEWS FROM THE DIVISIONS
SI. Lawrence Valley Division
October 1 saw the operation of a special steam
hauled excursion
from Ottawa to Maniwaki Oue.
using National Museum
of Science & Technologys
1201 and train. This excursion
was the first CRHA
steam charter in many years and was sold out at
least
two weeks before departure. The warm tem­
peratures coupled
with a fine sunny day saw over
350 members and friends enjoy the spectacular
fall scenery
on a line that may have seen its last
passenger train
as it is thought that CP will apply
for abandonment of the Maniwaki Sub. in the near
future. Special thanks
to Bob Cox, the safety
committee, Bill Williams in Ottawa and
Mr. John
Corby
of the National Museum for making the
day possible.
The regular meeting notice
of the Division has
been posted and November through May meetings
will be held on the second Thursday of the month
at Vanier College, 5160 Decarie Blvd. Montreal.
Easy to get to via the Snowdon Metro Station or
by car. Everyone welcome and bring a friend.
Pacific Coast Division
Some of the meeting programs for the first half
of 1983 included a slide show which included shots of The Canadian Railway Museum
at Delson presented by Fred Angus. John Collins presented
a movie
of CP travel between Revelstoke and the Connaught Tunnel
as well as of the Sicamous Sub. The June meeting
was an evening of commercial movies:
The Pathfinders (Canada 1932), Terror
on a
train (Britain 1952) and so on. Some of the activities of the Division include the restoration of
CPR 4-4-0 No. 374 which has been moved to a building on Granville Island. This building
is being used for the restoration and is
being altered to allow the public to view the work. The restoration has received media coverage which
has resulted in a number of donations.
PCD members participated in a N R HS excursion to Penticton and the Divisions outing
to BC Rails Squamish Works. which include a visit to the Brit­annia Mining Museum on the way back. Thanks
in part to the Divisions efforts in lobby­
ing government officials, the Drake Street round­house, turntable, machine shop and pattern shop
have been saved from destruction. Further lobby­
ing will be required to ensure there is some per­manent
rail presentation at the facilities. Con­gratulations to the Division for
all the effort and good luck on further action concerning the round­
house.
Calgary & Southwestern Division
The Division is considering getting into the restoration business. At Barlow Trail,
N.E. Calgary are 3 early -1940 vintage, outside frame boxcars
in restorable condition. The restoration project would serve two purposes:
1) preserve some earlier examples of freight rolling stock
2) provide storage facilities for the Divisions growing archival mat­erial and small artificats.
The Division
will likely (or has by the time you read this) assist the Alberta Pioneer Railway Assoc­iation
in work on old car 54 (see previous com­munications)
as well as assist in the project of
digging out the old boiler of CPR No. 314 near Field
B.C.
The By town Railway Society
The Societys old Central Vermont steam crane
was back in action this past summer and members and visitors to the National
Museum of Science and Technology where it
is stored, enjoyed watch­
ing an old crane at work. It is hoped it can be
steamed up again before winter comes. Steam locomotive 1201 began operations August 3 to Wakefield Quebec after a months delay
in
completion of an overhaul. The Society is again
participating in the Sunday trips.
Earl Roberts, society president, reports that
work continues on CP Official Car No. 27. She now has a coat of
CP maroon and some varnish. The lettering
will likely been on by the time you read this.
As well, the Society has been donated a
CP wood caboose for use on the Thurso Rail­way on future excursions.
From our Saudi Correspondent
Walter Bedbrook has developed an English
Saudi railfan magazine entitled the Sandpaper. There are some interesting articles from news­paper clippings and from Walters own experiences
and observations. One includes a list of Saudi locomotives some of which were Canadian built! Walter says
he put it together mostly for the fun of it, but
in a way too to be able to reach more of
all those in CRHA, and others yvho have regular­
ily written to me. The first issue must have been a success for Walter came
out with a second edi­tion. However,
it may be short lived for rumour has
it that he will be returning to Canada for good by the end of the year.
We will loose our first for­
eign correspondent.
SWITCH LIST
83-12 John D. Godfrey, 6650 -3rd Avenue, Mont­
real Que. H1Y 2X7 is looking for a slide of a commuter train stopped at one of the stations along the former Canadian National
commuter run
to Montreal-North. He is
also looking for a timetable dated between 1964 and 1968 for
the same run. In addition to this John would also like to obtain a slide of a commuter train at the Cartierville depot and a
CN Montreal -Vaudreuil com­
muter timetable from the 1950s.
He is
willing to pay the going rate for having duplicate slides made and
will pay a reason­able price for the timetables.
83-13 Peter Miller, 1309 Victoria Ave., St. Lambert Que. J4R 1
R4 has a pocket watch for sale. The watch
was presented to John G. Mel­
ville, Head Engineer for the original Victoria Bridge. The watch was, made
in 1857 and has
a
gold case with a stainless steel interior.
83-14 Ronald Rumer, 543 East Geneva Avenue, Philadelphia
PA 19120, is looking for record­
ings (tape or record) of Canadian Pacific Railway steam locomotive
in regular service
in the Rockies.
e. uSlne
car
THE CANADIAN TRANSPORT COMMISSION approved an improved, provisional passenger­train service between Edmonton and Calgary
for one year.
VIA proposed service to CNs downtown Edmon­
ton station, and discussed with
CP the use of their track between South Edmonton and
the CN inter­
change at 104th Avenue.
CP insisted that the track must
be upgraded to main-line standards (an esti­
mated cost
of $750,000); the intermodal operations be located elsewhere
(an estimated cost of
$15,000,000, excluding land costs); and adequate
interchange track capacity be provided north of
Jasper Avenue.
CP has also sought to lower maximum speeds
from
90 to 75 mph from Soth Edmonton to Cal­gary. This would
have increased travel time by
20-30 minutes. VIA feels
that since LRC equipment
is being considered for future service in this area, any competitive advantage of these high speed
trains would
be negated by the proposed reduction
in maximum speed. V
IA recognized the need for some local service on this route but believes
that its first priority is
to serve the inter-city travel market and most of the communities between Edmonton and Calgary are simply
not large enough to be significant gene­rators
of rail traffic. As well, VIA feels that the cost –not only financial, but
in schedule time-­
cannot be justified. To quote: In order
to compete sucessfully
in the inter-city market, VIA must create
the perception of a non-stop express service. Stopping
at local points will not enforce this per­
ception.
VIA has also recommended that the $4 minimum fare remain
in effect and the Friday restriction on 7-day and 1-day excursion fares be lifted during the provisional period.
CTC did not feel that for a provisional service,
and with V
IA and CP far apart on the matter,
rail service should be provided through to down­town Edmonton.
VIA has been directed
to maintain all current
stops, add no new ones,
but change Wetaskiwin, Innisfail, Olds and Didsbury
to flag stops.
It will be interesting to watch this service. Two bus companies currently provide downtown-to­
downtown express service, quicker and more frequ­
ent than trains. VIAs provisional service will not be much different form
the existing one, except that
it will have on-board food service and use modern­ized
RDCs. It remains to be seen if this will be
enough to increase ridership. The true attraGtion would
have been a connection to downtown Edmonton.
S. Transport 200 News
-CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
and Canadian Pacific Limited have announced
an agreement with Consolidated Rail Corp­oration (Conrail) for the acquisition
of certain
of its Canadian assets. The acquisition would be made by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific
in partnership.
The assets involved include Conrails leases
of
the Canada Southern Railway line and the Detroit River Tunnel,
about 72 per cent of the shares of The Canada Southern Railway Company, and
all
the shares of the Detroit River Tunnel Company.
S. CP RAI L NEWS
CANADIAN
221
R A I L
TRAVELLING THE ROOT RIVER FROM
Lac Seul to Lac St-Joseph (north west of Thun­
der Bay, Ontario), we came upon the remains
of an ancient log-and-rock dam which the river had
long since breached. In
its day, the dams reser­
voir had submerged a bad set of rapids called Flower
Falls, which are now exposed and around which
we had to portage. A shack leaning at a precar­
ious angle still houses
the old steam engine which
hauled boats and barges around the dam on small
flat railway cars. The tracks are still there. A number
of these marine railways were built in northern
Ontario to connect some of the larger lakes for
mining operations. With the building of the CII R
line, however,
they were soon abandoned.
SOURCE
Canadian Geographic Magazine
June/July 1983
Artilce Calgary To Quebec by Canoe by Stanley
Burfield Page 57
THE AMHERST AND AREA INDUSTRIAL
Commission in Nova Scotia has raised its
.
~oice in support of the proposal that railway
lines
In the Maritime Provinces be electrified. It is an
idea
which is growing in popularity and one which
certainly has the support of a number of
considerations.
Poor rai.lway service,
as much as any other factor,
has
contnbuted to the loss of traffic through the
ports
of Halifax and Saint John. It is a situation which
will not be corrected until such times as faster, and
less expensive, service is available over the route.
As well, passenger use
of the line has been
discouraged by schedules which are unnecessarily
slow.
The blame may be put upon poor roadbeds and
part
of the trouble there is attributable to the
locomotives currently in use.
Given
electrification and an upgraded roadbed
rail service between
Montreal and Halifax could
experience a great transformation. On such branch
lines
as that to Sydney, it could be a factor
contributing to a new and more prosperous day for
the industries of that part of the province.
Electricity, in the
long run, would be more reliable
and less expensive.
To be sure, there would be a
large expense
for initial installation, but that is not a
discouraing consideration when it is weighed beside
the need
for exployment which is so serious a need in
this part
of the country these days.
High speed trains racing over rails made in Sydney
and
drawing energy from overhead lines strung on
supports fabricated in the steel plants of this
province are a
practical possibility. Clean and non­
polluting, they would not intrude on the atmosphere.
The proposal is good and reasonable. It is pleasing
to
note that vocal representations in favour of it are
growing in volume. .
S. Editorial, Halifax Chronical Herald, SRS News
VIA RAIL IS CONSIDERING REOPENING QUEBEC
Citys Palais station, closed (and believed to be
.without any rail access??) years ago.
Target
date is 1984, when Quebec city will have celebrations
marking the 350 Anniversary of the voyage of
Jacques Cartier. The plan is part of VIA Rails $20
million plan to cut travel time between Montreal and
Quebec City from the current 3V2 hours on an LRC
train
which leaves travellers in beatiful downtown
Ste. Foy.
S. The Marker
THE FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL HAS RULED
that in perpetuity has not yet expired, and
~eans exactly what it says. The ruling
pertained to a 1982 contract by which the Canadian
Government underwrote the $915,000 in bonds for
the construction, by both Canadian National and
Canadian Pacific, of a relatively obscure 14 km line,
jointly operated, from Rosedale to East Coulee, in
the Drumheller area of Alberta. Lawyers
representing the two railways presented the
interesting definition of in perpetuity as being as
long as the two railways wanted to run the line! The
judges disagreed, in a case brought against the
railways
abandonment of the line, although Chief
~ustice Arthur Thurlow produced a dissenting
Judgement almost as curious as the contention of the
railways. He saw
nothing in the agreement (a 1928
Act of Parliament) which gives the public a right to
service by either company -operating the line in
perpetuity differs from serving clients according to the
dissenting judgement. The 2-1 majority judgement
overturned a 1981 CTC ruling allowing
abandonment of the branch line, but did indicate that
Parliament, as a party to the original contract, can, if
it sees fit, amend the original terms of the
contract.
Since in perpetuity and similar phrases are
abundant in older agreements, it will be interesting to
see if this goes to the one remaining higher court
(Supreme Court of Canada) for appeal since this
could be a most interesting precedent if the ruling
stands.
S. The Marker
THE ROBERTS BANK SUPER COAL PORT IS
currently undergoing an expansion which will
. qua?ruple its size to 198 acres (80 hectares) and
increase its
capacity to handle export coal.
Expansion is expected to be completed this year
on the
man-made bulk-handling port facility which is
divided into four sites. When completed, coal
handling capacity on sites 1 and 2 will be increased
to
33 million tons (30 million metric tons) while
capacity on the remaining sites will be increased to
27 million tons (25 million metric tons).
Dredging has been underway since early
1981 with
the dredged material serving
as reclaimed land for
three new ship berths. Only one berth exists at
present.
Dredging operations
only take place in the fall and
winter
months to minimize the impact on marine
environment.
The improvements will cost about $150 million and
will include new
loading/unloading equipment for
both storage and transfer of the commodity to
awaiting vessels.
The
four-mile-Iong (6.4-kilometre-long) causeway
connecting the island with the mainland is also being
widened to allow
for more trackage and roads.
The work
is being carried out within the guidelines
set
by Environment Canada. In addition,
experimentation with a new dust control system is
underway.
S. CP Rail News
CN RAIL HAS INTRODUCED A COMPUTER­
based traffic control system more advanced
than anything currently in use on the
North American railroad scene.
Already in operation in some parts of Canada, the
new system has demonstrated its value
in increasing
average train speed while reducing fuel
consumption by automatically selecting optimum
meet points for trains on a single-track system. In
fact, when operational, it will
~andle nearly all
routine dispatch decisions, leaving traffic control
personnel free to deal with problem areas.
The system, the most technologically advanced
of
its kind, was developed in-house by a working
group from the Engineering and Transportation
Departments. Its design permits quick and
inexpensive modifications.
S. CN Mavin
CP RAI L SAID IT PLANS TO SPEND MORE
than $2.2 million this year to upgrade and
build new facilities at the Angus Shops in east
Montreal, the railways largest maintenance centre.
Of this $425000 will be spent modernizing
the
locomotive-r~pair shop to reduce the time a
locomotive spends there
by 20 percent.
About $1 million will be spent to build a waste­
treatment plant to process effluent water from the
Angus Shops. . . This includes construction
of a new building and
purchase
of such equipment as an oil separ~tor.
About $800,080 will be spent starting cons­
truction of a proposed $5-million paint shop. The project
IS part of CP Rails 1983 $25.5-
mi(lion capital
works program in Quebec. Accross
Canada the railway
will spend $315 million in
capital works projects, besides $722 million of
regular track maintenance and repair programs.
Mtl. Gazette.
CP RAIL HAS INTRODUCED TWO IJEW HIGH­
speed specialized freight trains on its ~ont­
real-Toronto corridor to complete for piggy­
back trailer and container
traffic between southern
Ontario Quebec and the Maritimes. The trains
operate five days a week. Shippers
can bring trailers
or containers to CP Rails Toronto terminal in the
evening and
have them delivered in Montreal at the
consignees
door early the next morning.
Mtl. Gazette.
THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF CANADA
Southern Railway Co. of Philadelphia by Cana­
dian National Railways and Canadian Pacific
Ltd., both of Montreal, is unlikely to win support
from minority shareholders until details of the
companys true value, and the
future of its tangled
legal affairs, are spelled out.
The two Canadian railways announced Monday
that agreement had been struck with Consolidated
Rail Corp.
of Philadelphia for the joint purchase
of the railway tunnel between Windsor and Det­
roit a bridge at Niagara Falls and a 72 per cent
controlling interest in Canada Southern, which
owns 360 kilometres of track in Southern Ontario.
Under the terms
of the agreement -only sket­
chy details of which have been released -the
minority shareholders will be offered about $200
a share for their stock.
That appears to be a fantastic offer -but
I will not recommend it unless we get more infor­
mation, said Albert Segal, spokesman for a woup
that controls 68 percent of the shares outstanding.
One
reason for the caution is the size of Canada
Southerns treasury. Mr.
Segal said that when
all sums owing
to the railway are included, it could
be worth $180 a share. If that were the case, the CP
Ltd.-CN offer might appear less attractive.
Mr.
Segal said his group, which blocked the
proposed
sale of Canada Southern assets to the
two national railways last September, was also
worried about the
future of a lawsuit, now in
progress against the trustees
of the defunct Penn
Central Transportation Co.
of Philadelphia. Can­
ada Southern is trying to recover assets valued at
more than $69-mi Ilion
which, it alleges, disappeared
while the Canadian line
was controlled by Penn
Central.
Created
by the U.S. Congress in 1976 to ration
alize the operations
of seven faltering U.S. rail·
ways, Conrail
also assumed the legacy of Canada
Southern.
But transfer of title of this land and other Cana·
dian rail assets was never recognized
by the Cana· dian
Transport Commission, which continued to
view P
enn Central as the legal owner. and, to further
confuse
matters. Michigan Central Railroad Co.
of Philadelphia as holder of a lease on the line.
The CTC position ruled
out abandonment of Can·
ada
Southern, and left Conrail with a choice of
continuing to operate the railway or finding a buyer.
Mr. Segal said he believed the future of canada
Southern under its proposed new owners would be
abandonment. The plum was the Detroit River
tunnel, vvhich
he said would likely be deepened
to accommodate tri-Ievel railway cars operating
over existing
CP Ltd. and CN track.
The transfer must be approved
by the U.S.
Inter-state Commerce Commission,
the CTC and
CP Ltd. shareholders.
S. Globe & Mail
A CONSUMER LOBBY GROUP IS WARNING
Via Rail may shift the eastern terminal of its
transcontinental train
to Toronto from MOnt­
real. Via
Rail. the federal passenger rail agency, con­
firmed yesterday
that negotiations are under way
w
ith the two national railways to have the coaches
of the Canadian serviced
in Toronto.
But
Via representative Emery Leblanc denied
that the federal agency is preparing to drop Mont·
real
as eastern terminal for transcontinental service.
The 3O·year-
old stainless steel cars are serviced
in Montreal by Canadian Pacific Ltd.
In Toronto. they would probably be serviced by
Canadian National.
Leblanc said the move would save money and
passengers from
Montreal would get the same
service.
S. The Gazette
IF YOU NOTICE ANY NEWS ITEMS THAT MAY
be of interest to our readers please clip them and mail along with a black and white crisp
pho
to if available to The Business Car c/o Peter
Murphy, 75 Sevigny Ave., Dorval, P.O. H9S 3V8.
Plcllse indicate the source of the item so it may be
correctly creditcd.
BACK CaVER
ERRATA
Unfortunately several errors occurred in the May·
June 1983 issue of Canadian Rail. Following are
the corrections of these errors.
Page
89: The photo of the train carrying Grand
Trunk
(not G.T.P.) officials was taken at Strath­cona, across the river from
Edmonton. The train
is C.P.R. hauled by C.P. engine 658.
Page 90: This photo was also Grand Trunk
officials
at the C.P.R. station at Strathcona in 1904.
Page
93 (top): The station and train were Cana­dian Northern (
not G.T.P), the date was November
24 1905 (not November 4) and the occasion was
the driving
of the last spike, in Edmonton, of the
C. No. Ry. The locomotive was Canadian Northern
No. 103.
Page 93 (lower right): The locomotive is G.T,P.
45 (not G.T.R.).
Pages 96,101,106: In each case Hinks should read
Hincks.
Our
thanks to Messrs Aay Corley, Harry Wethey,
J.S. Nicolson and Max Martyn for pointing
out
these errors.
The following errors occured
in the article Coal
and Railroad
s in the September-October issue
of canadian Rail:
Page 163, Col. 1, Line 9: Strettler should read

Stettler.
Page , 63, Col. 1. Lines 14 and 15: The first
carload
containing approx. 4068 tons, was sent
by the C.N.R.
in 1912. should read The first
carloads containing approx.
4068 tons, were sent
by the
C.N.A. in 1912. This would require a train
of 135 cars, eacl) with a weight capacity of 30 tons,
large even by todays standards in some instances.
Page
163, Col. 1, Line 39: miles should read
mi
nes .
The
editor regrets any misunderstanding this may
have caused.
ArOlllld (he turn of the cenwry OtTawa street car 226 headed through Rockcliffs Park en rOllte to downtown OU8W8.
By now the meet cars were such a part of Canadas c8pital that it was difficult to imagine what it would be like without
them.
Public Archives of CalJ8da. PA-8797.
Canadian Rail
P.o. Box 282 St. Eustache, Que., Canada
J7R 4K6
Postmaster. II undelivered within
10 days return to sender, postage guarantee second deuxl!me cl
ass claste
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