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Canadian Rail 532 2009

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Canadian Rail 532 2009

Postal Permit No. 40066621 E •SNTAE BELÉISDHNEDOF174
The CRHA may be reached at its web site: or by telephone at (450) 638-1522FRONT COVER: It’s 1956 and the end is weeks away for streetcars on Saint Catherine Street, Montreal’s main shopping thoroughfare.
Two man car 2171 is heading west at University Street and it looks like he just missed the green traffic light. Note the new bus stop sign
that has been erected on the white band of the support pole. Christ Chur
ch Cathedral is opposite the car, and the Bay store is in the
background. The famous Notman photograph on page 181 was taken half a block east of this location. CRHA Archives, Fonds Kemp
BELOW: Canada’s shortest lived street railway system was the Belleville Traction Company of Belleville, Ontario. It was opened on
August 3, 1895 and ceased operations on September 12, 1901. Its rolling stock was shipped to Kingston, Ontario where it was put into
service on that nearby system. In this undated photo, motor car 8 is coupled to trailer car 7. Trailer car 9 is barely visible behind the front
of the motor car. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
commerciale principale de Montréal. Le tramway no 2171, de type à deux hommes, attend le feu rouge en direction ouest à l’intersection
de la rue Université. À noter, un panneau d’arrêt d’autobus déjà installé sur la bande blanche d’un poteau support de fil aérien. On voit
au premier plan la cathédrale Christ Church et plus loin le magasin M
organ (maintenant La Baie). Le célèbre cliché du photographe
Notman à la page181 a été pris quelques mètres plus à l’est. Archives ACHF, fonds Kemp.
CI-DESSOUS: La Belleville Traction Company de Belleville, en Ontario, est le réseau de tramways qui a eu la plus courte durée de vie au
Canada. Elle fut créée le 3 août 1895 et cessa ses activités le 12 septembre 1901. Son matériel roulant a été par la suite transféré à
Kingston, en Ontario, et intégré au réseau de cette ville. Sur cette photo, la voiture de traction no 8 est attelée à la voiture remorque no 7.
La voiture remorque no 9 apparaît en partie à côté de la voiture de traction. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.Nous sommes en 1956 à quelques semaines du retrait des tramways de la
rue Sainte-Catherine, artère Commemorating 50 years since streetcar service, by M. Peter Murphy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Montreal Transportation Commission, by J. R. Thomas Grumley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
Stan’s Traction Photo Gallery, by Stan Smaill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Ottawa Transportation Commission, by Bruce Dudley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway, by Robert J. Sandusky. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Toronto’s Street Railway in the Postwar and Modern Era, by Ted Wickson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
Business Car, by John Godfrey and David Gawley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
For your membership in the CRHA, which
includes a subscription to Canadian Rail,
write to:
CRHA, 110 Rue St-Pierre, St. Constant,
Que. J5A 1G7
Membership Dues for 2009:
In Canada: $50.00 (including all taxes)
United States: $50.00 in U.S. funds.
Other Countries: $85.00 Canadian funds.Canadian Rail is continually in need of news,
stories, historical data, photos, maps and other
material. Please send all contributions to
Peter Murphy, X1-870 Lakeshore Road, Dorval,
QC H9S 5X7, email:
No payment can be made for contributions, but
the contributor will be given credit for material
submitted. Material will be returned to the
contributor if requested. Remember “Knowledge
is of little value unless it is shared with others”.INTERIM CO-EDITORS:
Peter Murphy, Douglas N.W. Smith
Hugues W. Bonin
Michel Lortie and Denis Vallières
LAYOUT: Gary McMinn
PRINTING: Impression Paragraph
DISTRIBUTION: Joncas Postexperts Inc.
CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009175Canada’s first electric railway was the Windsor
Electric Street Railway, engineered by Charles Van
Depoele (born in Belgium in 1846 and died in Lynn,
Massachusetts in 1892). Van Depoele was a prolific
inventor. He had an electric locomotive hauling flat cars
with seats at the 1885 Toronto Industrial Exhibition. This
primitive electric railway hauled passengers from the
terminus of the Toronto Street Railway – then using
horsecars – to the exhibition grounds, a distance of about
a mile. The train ran at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour
and carried 200 passengers a trip.
The driving forces behind the Windsor Electric
Street Railway were John W. Tringham, an electrician
working for the local telephone company, and Richard
Bangham, a Windsor town councillor. The inspiration to build the line followed Bangham’s visit to Brighton,
England in 1885 where he was greatly impressed by
Magnus Volk’s 2’ 8 1/2” gauge electric tram line which had
been built along the beachfront in 1883. After his return
to Canada, the partners erected a barn in Walkerville
where Tringham built a wooden trolley car. Van Depoele,
who by then had set up shop in Chicago, supplied the
electrical parts and technical expertise.
The Windsor line opened on June 3, 1886. Built
to 3’ 6” gauge, the 1¼ mile long line ran between the
British American Hotel in central Windsor and the Grand
Trunk Railway’s bridge in Walkerville. The fare was 5
cents, a bargain as stagecoach operators were charging 12
cents. The line was the pay as you enter operations as the
motorman collected the fares. Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary
of the Abandonment of Electric
Street Car and Interurban Service in
Many of Canada’s Cities
by M. Peter MurphyCanada’s first street car on
June 3, 1886, the opening
day for Canada’s first
electric street railway. The
un-numbered, homemade
car sits in front of the British
American Hotel in Windsor,
Ontario. Charles Van
Depoele is standing in the
centre of the car (where the
controls are). Note the
overhead ‘troller’. The car
was equipped with a
10-horsepower motor.
Soon it will head to
Walkerville, though the trip
was only one and a quarter
miles long, it sufficed to put
the Windsor Street Railway
in the Canadian history
books. Francois Baby
H o u s e , W i n d s o r ’ s
Community Museum.
Inauguration du premier tramway électrique au Canada le 3 juin 1886. Le véhicule, de fabrication artisanale, non numéroté, est
stationné devant l’hôtel British American à Windsor, en Ontario. Charles Van Depoele est debout au centre du véhicule. À noter la
particularité de la perche. Le tramway, avec son moteur 10 CV, se prépare à rouler vers Walkerville, une distance de 1,25 mille (2
kilomètres). Maison François Baby, Musée communautaire de Windsor.
responsible for many other major inventions including:
the ‘wheelbarrow’ method of mounting traction motors
on axles; the trolley pole; multiple unit control, train
safety controls and high speed electric elevators, etc.
Sprague’s system in one form or another was used on
virtually all electric railway systems built after 1887. His
fundamental inventions are still in use today, on
elevators, subways, rapid transit trains, and diesel
locomotives. RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009176This historic photo appears on page 76 of Frank Rowsome’s
book entitled Trolley Car Treasury published by McGraw Hill
in 1956. The photo is not credited and we could not locate the
source. It depicts Canada’s first interurban, the St. Catharines
Street Railway, serving St. Catharines, Merriton and Thorold.
Number 4 which was another Depoele system vehicle, made
its first run on October 5, 1887. The motor was located on the
front platform and the power was delivered to the axle by a
chain drive mechanism. Note again the lack of a trolley pole
which Frank J. Sprague invented by 1888.
Cette photo apparaît à la page 76 du livre de Frank Rowsome
intitulé Trolley Car Treasury, édité en 1956 par McGraw Hill.
L’auteur et l’origine de la photo ne sont cependant pas
connus. Elle illustre le tramway no 4 du Merriton and Thorold
Railway de St.Catharines en Ontario. Construit aussi par
Depoele et inauguré le 5 octobre 1887, ce fut le premier
tramway de type interurbain au Canada. Le moteur, situé sur
la plateforme avant, transmettait le mouvement à l’essieu à
l’aide d’une chaîne. À noter l’absence de perche, celle-ci
ayant été inventée en 1888 par Frank Sprague.Unfortunately Tringham died shortly after the
opening on August 1, 1886 at age 42. Bangham lived to a
ripe old age. Van Depoele installed four other electric
railway systems, three of which were in the USA. He
electrified the St. Catharines, Merritton & Thorold Street
Railway in 1887 using the Van Depoele 2-wire system with
troller. This was Canada’s first ‘interurban’ system. Who
would have known that the Niagara, Saint Catharines &
Toronto Railway (which absorbed the St.CM&T) would
be Canada’s last true interurban system, ceasing
operations some 72 years later?
The Van Depoele system gave way to that of
Frank J. Sprague (born in Connecticut in 1857 and died in
1934). Sprague was a prolific inventor whose name would
be as common today as that of Thomas Edison or
Alexander Graham Bell except that Sprague on many
occasions sold his patents to General Eletric,
Westinghouse, Otis Elevator, etc. He assumed, but did
not insist, that his name be associated with his patents – it
Frank Sprague’s inventions made the electric
streetcar practical. He fathered the first citywide trolley
system in Richmond, Virginia in February of 1888. He was Perhaps Frank Sprague’s greatest inventions were the
‘wheelbarrow’ method of mounting traction motors on axles
and the pinion – main gear drive. These solved the greatest
problem facing the infant sparkers, that of motors being
shaken to bits by vibration.
L’installation de type « brouette » du moteur de traction avec
transmission à l’essieu par pignon fut peut-être la plus grande
invention de Frank Sprague. Elle eut pour effet de corriger le
problème des étincelles produites par la vibration du moteur.
Trolley Car Treasury.
Streetcars were a major invention – they changed
the way we live and how cities were built. The
combination of streetcar transportation and electric
elevators permitted high density city cores to develop.
Street cars permitted us to live farther from work, and
were responsible for early ‘urban sprawl’ and city
development; they displaced the horse cars and all that
goes with it; they provided entertainment (company
owned amusement parks) as well as sightseeing
opportunities, wartime transportation when fuel
rationing limited auto use, and generally provided clean,
efficient, pollution-free urban and interurban
transportation. They even permitted longer distance
courtship through efficient transportation! Electric
streetcars were both exciting and fashionable compared
to walking, bicycle, or animal hauled cars.
From these humble beginnings, Canada’s street
and interurban railway systems grew into a full-fledged
industry employing thousands of people and having a
major social impact on our way of life. Canada had dozens
of cities and towns, large and small, served by an electric
railway system, (some by more than one). At the turn of
the century, a city wasn’t ‘on the map’ if it didn’t have an
electric streetcar system.

177CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Belleville Traction Company (Belleville, Ontario)August 3, 1895September 12, 19012.25
Brandon Municipal Railway (Brandon, Manitoba)June 2, 1913April 30, 1932 (1)8.5
Brantford & Hamilton Electric Railway Co. (Brantford, Ontario)1908193123
Brantford Street Railway (Brantford, Ontario)March 31, 1893January 31, 1940 (1)?
British Columbia Electric Railway (Vancouver, lower mainland and Victoria, B.C.) February 22, 1890 February 28, 1958327
Calais Street Railway (St. Stephen, New Brunswick)July 4, 1894October 31, 19297
Calgary Municipal Railway (Calgary, Alberta)October 30, 1908 December 29, 195055
Cape Breton Electric Company (Sydney, Nova Scotia)1901May 15, 194730.5
Chatham, Wallaceburg & Lake Erie Railway Co. (Chatham, Ontario)1905193036.9
Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power Co. (Cornwall, Ontario)July 7, 189627 July 19494
Edmonton Transit System (Edmonton, Alberta)October 31, 1908 September 2, 195150.6
Fort William Street Railway (Fort William, Ontario)June 1, 1893October 16, 194811.6
Grand River Railway Company and predecessors (Preston, Ontario)July 26, 1894April 23, 195517.8
Guelph Radial Railway Company (Guelph, Ontario)September 17, 1895 September 30, 19378.5
Hamilton & Dundas Street Railway (Hamilton, Ontario)March 1, 1898September 5, 19237
Hamilton Grimsby & Beamsville Electric Railway Company (Hamilton, Ontario) October 17, 1894 June 30, 193122
Hamilton Radial Electric Railway Company (Hamilton, Ontario)July 1896January 5, 192925
Hamilton Street Railway Company (Hamilton, Ontario)July 2, 1892April 6, 195122
Hull Electric Company (Hull, Quebec)1897March 30, 194715.6
International Transit Company (Sault St. Marie, Ontario)March 30, 1903November 1, 19414.3
Kingston Portsmouth & Cataraqui Electric Railway Company (Kingston, Ontario) September 26, 1893 March 4, 19308
Kitchener – Waterloo RailwaysMay 18, 1895December 27, 194610.4
Lake Erie & Northern Railway Company and predecessorsFebruary 7, 1916April 23, 195551
Lethbridge Municipal Railway (Lethbridge, Alberta)September 1912September 8, 194711
Levis Tramway Company (Levis, Quebec)December 8, 1902 November 24, 1946 11.7
London & Lake Erie Railway and Transportation Company (London, Ontario)June 4, 1906October 15, 191828
London & Port Stanley Railway Company (London, Ontario)July 1, 1915February18, 195724.2
London Street Railway Company (London, Ontario)September 12, 1895 November 27, 194025.7List of Canadian Electric passenger urban and interurban railways
excluding freight, mine, industrial and tourist operations.
Company NameCommencedClosedMilesOne example as to how the electric streetcar
contributed to urban development and growth. This
photo was taken at Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street
and Girouard Avenue in Notre Dame de Grace (note
the N D G on the car lighting arch) on opening day of
tram service in 1908. Today, this location is not even
considered a ‘suburb’, but a western borough of the
City of Montreal. CRHA Archives, Fonds MTC
Voici un bon exemple de l’influence des tramways sur
le développement urbain. Nous sommes à
l’intersection de la rue Sherbrooke et de l’avenue
Girouard dans Notre-Dame-de-Grâce à Montréal (à
noter les lettres NDG sur l’arche d’éclairage du
véhicule) à l’occasion de l’ouverture d’un nouveau
service en 1908. De nos jours ,l’endroit n’est plus une
banlieue, mais plutôt une partie d’un arrondissement
de Montréal. Archives ACHF, fonds MTC.
continuously been served by electric street cars. The first
electric cars operated in 1892 making for 117 years of
service.In all, Canada had a total of approximately 70
Electric Street and interurban railways. Some were short
lived – the Belleville, Ontario system only ran from 1895
to 1901. Toronto is the only Canadian city which has
178RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009Moncton Tramways, Electric and Gas Company (Moncton, New Brunswick)August 11, 1896December 31, 1931 (1) 3.5
Montreal & Southern Counties Railway Company (Montreal, Quebec)November 1, 1909 October 13, 195650
Montreal Tramways Company and predecessors (Montreal, Quebec)September 21, 1892 August 30, 1959279
Moose Jaw Electric Railway Company (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan)September 4, 1911 October 8, 19329
Nelson Street Railway Company (Nelson, British Columbia)December 27, 1899 June 20, 1949 (1)4
New Brunswick Power Company (St. John, New Brunswick)April 12, 1893August 7, 194812.5
Newfoundland Light & Power Company (St. Johns, Newfoundland)May 1, 1900September 15, 19483.2
Niagara Falls Park & River Railway Company (Niagara Falls, Ontario)May 24, 1893September 11, 193211.9
Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway Company and predacessors (Ontario) October 5, 1887March 28, 1959104
Nipissing Central Railway Company (Cobalt, Ontario)April 30, 1910February 9, 193510.7
Nova Scotia Light & Power Company (Halifax, Nova Scotia)February 12, 1896 April 29, 194912.3
Oshawa Railway Company (Oshawa, Ontario)June 13, 1895January 28, 19409
Ottawa Transportation Commission and predecessors (Ottawa, Ontario)June 29, 1891April 30, 195958
Peterborough Radial Railway Company (Peterborough, Ontario)August 1893March 31, 1927 (1)6
Pictou County Electric Company (Nova Scotia)October 10, 1904 May 7, 19317.9
Port Arthur Street Railway Company (Port Arthur, Ontario)March 2, 1892February 15, 194812.4
Quebec Railway Light & Power Company – Citadel city division (Quebec, Quebec) July 20, 1897May 25, 194830
Quebec Railway Light & Power Company – Montmorency interurban division May 27, 1900March 15, 195926.6
Regina Municipal Railway (Regina, Saskatchewan)July 28, 1911September 10, 195030.8
St. Thomas Street Railway Company (St. Thomas, Ontario)June 16, 1898February 15, 19267
Sandwich Windsor & Amherstburg Railway Company (Windsor, Ontario)June 3, 1886May 6, 1939 (1)39.9
Sarnia Street Railway Company (Sarnia, Ontario)January 1901February 25, 19318.2
Saskatoon Municipal Railway (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)January 1, 1913November 10, 195112.6
Sherbrooke Railway & Power Company (Sherbrooke, Quebec)November 1, 1897 December 31, 19319
Sudbury-Copper Cliff Suburban Electric Railway Company (Sudbury, Ontario) November 11, 1915 October 1, 19506
Three Rivers Traction Company (Three Rivers, Quebec)December 11, 1915 September 12, 19333.9
Toronto Transportation Commission and predecessors (Toronto, Ontario)August 16, 1892Still operating266
Toronto & York Radial Railway Company(Toronto, Ontario)September 1, 1890 June 26, 193672.4
Toronto Suburban Railway Company (Toronto, Ontario)September 6, 1892 August 15, 193148.3
Windsor Essex & Lake Shore Rapid Railway Company (Windsor, Ontario)September 19, 1907 September 15, 193236.1
Winnipeg Electric Company (Winnipeg, Manitoba)January 27, 1891 September 18, 1955 100.8
Winnipeg Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway Company (Winnipeg, Manitoba)May 23, 1908193722.1
Yarmouth Street Railway Company (Yarmouth, Nova Scotia)August 26,1892October 20, 192831 (1) Electric service suffered interruption and was not continuous
2 Miles are route miles and are approximate
3 This list is not a comprehensive list of every electric railway that operated in Canada, many lines were acquired, or
amalgamated into larger systems especially in metropolitan Toronto and Montreal, as well as some Ontario interurban
lines. Start date is when the earliest component electric railway commenced regular passenger operation. The closed
date is when the last regularly scheduled passenger car completed its final run. Every attempt has been made to provide
accurate dates, please report any errors.
4 Sources:
On a Streak of Lightning, J. Edward Martin, Studio E, 1994
Canadian Street Railways Website by David A. Wyatt, 2006
Riding the Radials, Robert M. Stamp, Boston Mills Press, 1989
Edmontons Electric Transit, Colin K. Hatcher and Tom Schwarzkopf, Railfare, 1983
Trolley Car Treasury, Frank Rowsome, McGraw Hill, 1956
Traction on the Grand, John Mills, Railfare, 1977
Lines of Country, Christopher Andreae, Boston Mills Press, 1997
179CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Montreal Street Railway system were the last lines to be
abandoned. This brought to an end 73 years of electric
streetcar service in Montreal, and was the last system to
be abandoned in Canada.
We have gathered together some of the most
authoritative authors on the subject to present a capsule
history of each of the 16 streetcar and interurban lines
that ceased regular passenger operations in the 1950s.
This feature will be presented in several installments,
commencing with this issue of Canadian Rail. Systems
will be featured in reverse chronological order of
abandonment from Montreal in 1959 to Regina in 1950 as
Montreal Transportation Commission, August 30, 1959
Ottawa Transportation Commission, April 30, 1959
Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway,
March 28, 1959
Quebec Railway Light & Power Co., March 15, 1959
British Columbia Electric Railway, February 28, 1958
London & Port Stanley Railway, February 18, 1957
Montreal & Southern Counties Railway,
October 13, 1956
Winnipeg Electric Company, September 18, 1955
Canadian Pacific Electric Lines, April 23, 1955
Saskatoon Municipal Railway, November 10, 1951
Edmonton Transit System, September 2, 1951
Hamilton Street Railway, April 6, 1951
Calgary Municipal Railway, December 29, 1950
Sudbury – Copper Cliff Suburban Railway,
October 1, 1950
Regina Municipal Railway, September 9, 1950
We wish to thank all our contributors who are
keeping their memory alive.
On a positive note, the streetcar is making a
comeback albeit under the guise of the current catch
phrase ‘LRV” (Light Rail Vehicle). Calgary and
Edmonton lead the revival of the electric transit
operations with their Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in the
1980s. Ted Wickson has contributed an article explaining
why and how Toronto has not only kept, but also is
presently expanding its streetcar system. Toronto is firmly
committed to electric rail transport. It has just signed a
contract with Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. for
the supply of 204 low floor streetcars, with an option to
purchase an additional 194 cars. Toronto has announced
ambitious multi-billion dollar plans to build new lines into
its suburbs At the same time, Calgary and Edmonton are
extending their LRT systems. Today, Montreal and
Ottawa are planning ambitious new LRT lines.
Everything old is new again! Canada’s electric railways have undergone three
major waves of abandonments. The first was in the 1929-
1935 era. Reduced ridership following the widespread use
of the automobiles by the middle classes and the Great
Depression doomed many of the early electric lines. This
was followed by the next wave after the end of the Second
World War in 1945. Ridership dropped as automobile
production resumed and the flight to the suburbs began.
Streetcars, which were viewed as clogging the street and
old fashioned, started to fall from fashion. Some streetcar
companies fought back with the introduction of the PCC
(President’s Conference Committee) car – only Toronto,
Montreal and Vancouver ever operated them in Canada.
The final wave of abandonments occurred in the
1950’s when the remainder of Canada’s operating
streetcar systems (except for Toronto’s) were abandoned.
Electric interurban lines discontinued passenger service,
although some lines retained trolley powered freight for a
period of time. Within a few years, this gave way to either
dieselization or total abandonment.
Fifty years ago, on August 30, 1959, the Papineau
route 45 and Rosemont route 54 of the once vast
‘End of an Era’ was marked by the ceremonial closing of the
doors behind Montreal PCC 3517 on August 30, 1959,
following the streetcar parade on Papineau Avenue. This
brought to an end the electric streetcar and interurban era in
Canada except for Toronto. From left to right: Arthur
Duperron, Chairman and General Manager of the Montreal
Transportation Commission; Sarto Fournier, Mayor of
Montreal; Joseph-Marie Savignac, Montreal City Councillor.
Cérémonie de fermeture des portes – « La fin d’une époque »
– après le défilé du 30 août 1959 à Montréal derrière le
tramway PCC (Presidents Conference Committee) no 3517.
Cet événement marquait la fin des tramways au Canada, à
l’exception de Toronto. De gauche à droite : Arthur
Duperron, président et directeur général de la Commission
de transport de Montréal, Sarto Fournier, maire de Montréal,
et Joseph-Marie Savignac, conseiller de la Ville de Montréal.
180RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009By J. R. Thomas Grumley
Electric Streetcars
(1892 – 1959)
French Translation: Denis Vallieres
J. R. Thomas Grumley, the youngest son of a
career CNR employee, was born and educated in
Montreal. Riding on streetcars to/from school in
Montreal and riding in the cabs of Central Vermont
RS3s, CNR FPA4s and FP9s ensured that an avid
interest in streetcars and trains was acquired at an
early age. Now semi-retired from a career in
Telecommunications, he resides in Manotick, Ontario
(near Ottawa). Tom has recently written six books on
street railway systems in Quebec, one of which won the
2006 CRHA Book of the Year award. Tom is a member
of the CRHA, The Bytown Railway Society, the C.
Robert Craig Memorial Library and the Ottawa Valley
Associated Railroaders.Par J.R. Thomas Grumley
Les tramways
de Montréal
(de 1892 à 1959)
Traduit par Denis Vallières
O.S.A. Lavallee
J.R. Grumley, le plus jeune fils d’un employé
du CN, est né et a étudié à Montréal. Comme il se
rendait à l’école en tramway et qu’il se baladait souvent
dans les cabines RS3 du Central Vermont ou les FPA4
et les FP9 du CN, il s’est intéressé très tôt aux tramways
et aux trains. Maintenant semi-retraité après une
carrière en télécommunications, il habite à Manotick,
en Ontario, près d’Ottawa. Récemment, Tom a rédigé
trois livres sur les systèmes de tramways québécois, et
l’un de ces ouvrages a remporté le prix CHRA Book of
the Year 2006. Il est membre de la CHRA, de la
Bytown Railway Society, de la C. Robert Craig
Memorial Library et des Ottawa Valley Associated
As early as 1861 Montreal, the largest city in
Canada at the time, had public transportation albeit using
horses in a somewhat restricted geographical area. It
wouldn’t be until 1892 that the Montreal Street Railway
introduced electric trams to the city. On Wednesday
September 21st, 1892, following delivery of 25 new
streetcars from various car builders from the United
States, car number 350 “The Rocket” was chosen to
inaugurate service over an initial route bounded by
Bleury, Park Ave., Mount Royal, St. Lawrence, Rachel,
Amherst and Craig Streets, a distance of a little over eight
kilometers.Un réseau de transport en commun hippomobile
fut établi dès 1861 à Montréal, la ville la plus importante
du Canada à l’époque, pour desservir un territoire plutôt
restreint de cette municipalité. Ce n’est qu’en 1892
qu’apparurent les tramways électriques, avec la création
de la Montreal Street Railway. Ainsi, en ce mercredi 21
septembre, le tramway no 350, surnommé « le Rocket » et
choisi parmi les 25 nouvelles acquisitions provenant de
différents constructeurs américains, inaugura la
première ligne de tramways électriques de la ville. Cette
ligne était délimitée par la rue de Bleury, l’avenue du
Parc, les boulevards Mont-Royal et Saint-Laurent, les
rues Rachel, Amherst et Craig, soit une distance de plus
de huit kilomètres.
181CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Thus started almost 57 years of electric street
railway operation by the Montreal Street Railway initially
and then by the Montreal Tramways Company starting in
1911 and finally by the Montreal Transportation
Commission from in 1951 until the end of streetcar
service on August 30, 1959. Two suburban electric
railways became part of the Montreal Street Railway.
Formed in the late nineteenth century, the Montreal Park
& Island Railway operated north and west of the city
centre and the Montreal Terminal Belt Railway operated
in the east end of the city.
Over the years Montrealers were blessed with a
variety of equipment to ride and view. During the peak of
its operation in the 1930s, the streetcar system operated
on over 500 kilometers of track using 1,200 pieces of
equipment and supported by over 14,000 employees. At
one time over 55 streetcar routes served the ever-
expanding city. The city sported the most diverse
collection of street railway vehicles. The most famous
were the four open air “Golden Chariots” designed by the This famous Notman photograph is an excellent illustration of an early Montreal electric streetcar. This image was made circa
1894, only two years after the system was electrified. It was taken on St. Catharine Street at Phillips Square. Car 386 is towing
trailer No. 39 with electric car 388 following. Your Co-Editor’s grandmother recounted how she would wait for a horse drawn tram
instead of boarding the ‘electric car’, she was afraid of being ‘electrocuted’! This story confirms that horse and electric cars co-
existed until enough electric cars had been delivered. Eventually grandmother had no choice but to ride the ‘electric cars’ and she
lived to be 90 years old! The building in the background still exists as the Bay store. CRHA Archives
Cette célèbre photo de Notman constitue une excellente illustration des premiers tramways de Montréal. Le cliché fut pris en 1894 du
Square Phillips, rue Sainte-Catherine, deux ans après l’électrification du réseau. Le tramway no 386 tire la remorque no 39, suivi par le
tramway no 388. La grand-mère de votre coéditeur racontait qu’elle avait attendu alors le passage d’un tramway hippomobile,
craignant d’être électrocutée en montant à bord d’un « véhicule électrique ». Cette anecdote confirme que les tramways
hippomobiles et électriques coexistèrent jusqu’à ce que le réseau soit complètement électrifié. Plus tard, ma grand-mère n’eut plus
le choix de voyager à bord de ces véhicules électriques, ce qui ne l’a pas empêché de vivre jusqu’à l’âge de 90 ans! L’édifice en
arrière-plan est maintenant un magasin La Baie. Archives ACHF.
L’ère des tramways de Montréal se poursuivit
pendant plus de 57 ans. La bannière de la Montreal
Street Railway, par contre, fut remplacée en 1911 par la
Montreal Tramways Company et plus tard par la
Commission de Transport de Montréal de 1951 jusqu’au
retrait des tramways le 30 août 1959. Deux entreprises de
tramways interurbains s’intégrèrent à la Montreal Street
Railway à la fin du 19e siècle : d’abord la Montreal Park &
Island dans l’axe nord-sud du centre-ville, puis la
Montreal Terminal Belt Railway dans l’est de la ville.
Pendant toutes ces années, les Montréalais
eurent l’occasion de voyager à bord d’une grande variété
de modèles de tramways. Le premier modèle, le Birney,
ne comportait qu’un seul bogie. Plus tard, on intégra
l’acier dans la structure des voitures et vers la fin
apparurent les PCC (« Presidents Conference Comittee
»), des tramways profilés aux allures modernes. On créa
aussi quatre tramways observatoires, surnommés les «
p’tits chars en or », conçus à Montréal et dont l’idée fut
reprise par les villes de Québec, Vancouver et Calgary. Ils
182RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009Montreal Tramways crew and car 1209 pose at the corner
of St. Catherine Street and Glen Road in Westmount
around 1914. The 1209 was built by Canadian Car and
Foundry in 1912 and was one of 125 similar 1200 class
cars produced by two manufacturers (Canadian Car and
Ottawa) between 1911 and 1913. They were the first cars
ordered after various component companies were
reorganized to become the Montreal Tramways Company
in 1911. Note the ‘lots for sale’ sign and horse drawn cart
just in front of the car! CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
L’équipe du tramway no 1209 de Montréal pose à
l’intersection de la rue Sainte-Catherine et du chemin
Glen à Westmount en 1914. Le no 1209 fut construit par la
Canadian Car & Foundry en 1912. Il fait partie des 125
tramways de la classe 1200 produits conjointement par
deux manufacturiers (Canadian Car et Ottawa Car) entre
1911 et 1913. Ce furent les premiers véhicules
commandés après que divers transporteurs eurent fusionné pour devenir la Montreal Tramways Company en 1911. À noter
l’affiche Lots for sale et le tombereau hippomobile sur le côté du tramway! Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.Montreal Street Railway and replicated in Quebec City,
Vancouver Calgary and Edmonton. These cars, during
the summer months, would with a full complement of
tourists and locals alike, circumvent Mount Royal an
extinct volcano, situated in the centre of the city. These
cars operated each summer (except for the World War II
years) until 1958. Fortunately these four cars have been
preserved by museums in Canada and the United States.
For Montreal’s not so famous residents, the
company operated two prison cars between the Provincial
Court House on Notre Dame Street East and Bordeaux
Jail in the city’s north end on behalf of the provincial
government. The prison cars were withdrawn from
service in 1925 and replaced by motor vehicles as local
roadways became more improved. The company also had
two specially built funeral cars that operated to the east Montreal acquired a fleet of 14 Birney Cars second hand
from Detroit in February of 1924. Montreal proceeded
cautiously with the introduction of one man car operation,
these Birneys were the first one man cars used
extensively on light traveled lines in Montreal. This
undated photo was taken on Remembrance Road,
probably at the Mountain loop, the eastern terminus for
this shuttle line. Despite being one man cars, Montreal’s
Birney’s retained their green paint scheme, initially to be
less obvious as the one man concept was a sensitive
issue with the labour unions. They simply never got a
cream with red trim paint job as did all other one man
cars. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
Montréal fit l’acquisition de 14 tramways Birney
d’occasion en provenance de Détroit en février 1924.
Cette photo non datée a été prise sur le chemin
Remembrance, probablement à la boucle de la
Montagne, le terminus est de cette ligne de navette. La compagnie procéda avec prudence à l’insertion de ces voitures Birney à
un seul homme sur des lignes à faible achalandage. Les Birney arborèrent ainsi la livrée verte, car le concept d’un tramway à un
seul homme n’était pas bien vu des syndicats des équipes de tramway. Ils ne furent en fait jamais peints de couleur crème avec
bordure rouge, contrairement à tous les autres à un seul homme. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.
furent utilisés à Montréal à partir de 1905 pendant toutes
les saisons estivales et ce, jusqu’en 1958 à l’exception de
la période de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Ils
transportaient tant les touristes que les Montréalais dans
des balades autour du mont Royal, un ancien volcan situé
au centre de la ville. Ces quatre tramways furent
heureusement épargnés de la casse; deux d’entre eux sont
actuellement préservés à Exporail, le Musée ferroviaire
canadien, et les deux autres dans des musées américains.
Certains tramways d’une livrée couleur crème avec
bordure rouge étaient conduits par un seul homme, le
garde-moteur, tandis que d’autres, de couleur verte avec
bordure crème, étaient conduits par une équipe de deux
hommes, le garde-moteur et le contrôleur. À son
apogée, vers les années 1930, le réseau comprenait plus
de 1200 véhicules circulant sur plus de 500 kilomètres de
183CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009end’s Hawthorndale Cemetery about seven miles from
the centre of the city. This service was discontinued in
September 1927 as motor hearses were introduced and
used thereafter. The street railway company had a
popular band car that plied the streets of Montreal
carrying the employee band. The band car was chartered
to various organizations and firms for promoting and
advertising products and sporting events. The car
officially stopped operating in 1928, but it was used very
occasionally for a few years after.
Of course, like any large city operating a
streetcar service especially in Canada, the Montreal
system had its fair share of snow fighting equipment to
combat the ferocious winters known to frequent
Montreal. To compound the problem, Montreal had
many narrow streets making street cleaning difficult and
there were many track grades and underpasses
throughout the system. In 1928 the Montreal Tramways
Company had 42 snow sweepers on record. By the 1950s
this had dwindled to 16. This was a result of more liberal
amounts of salt being applied to the streets and the
increase in the number of motor vehicles converting the
snow to slush and making it more manageable to navigate
the streets.
In outlying areas of the city, the company
employed a number of rotary plows. Of course to assist
with the expansion and maintenance of the streetcar
system the company had a number of freight cars
including flat cars, stores car, tool cars, vacuum cars,
machine, bonding and rail grinder cars. To assist with the
administrative aspect of the operation, the company had
instruction cars to teach the prospective employees on the
operation of a streetcar and farebox cars to collect the
fares each day from the various divisional offices. The
company also had two locomotives to assist with its freight
operation. Tower cars were used to maintain the overhead
trolley wire (on private right of ways) and cranes used on Montreal Golden Chariot No. 3 posed on
September 4, 1949 for famous USA traction
historian and photographer William D.
Middleton. The MTC’s impressive Craig
Street Terminus is in the background, east
bound cars exited the visible portal behind
the car. California State Railroad Museum
Negative C-115, Peter Murphy collection
Le tramway observatoire no 3 pose pour le
photographe William D. Middleton,
historien américain spécialisé dans les
véhicules de traction, le 4 septembre 1949.
L’imposant terminus de la rue Craig
apparaît à l’arrière-plan. Les tramways en
direction est sortaient par la porte que l’on
voit derrière le tramway no 3. Musée
ferroviaire de l’État de Californie, négatif C-
115, Collection Peter Murphy.voies et employant au delà de 1400 personnes. Plus de 55
lignes de tramways desservaient la ville en pleine
croissance. Deux tramways furent modifiés pour le
transport des détenus entre le palais de justice de la Cour
du Québec, rue Notre-Dame Est, et la prison de
Bordeaux, de juridiction provinciale, dans le nord de la
ville. Ces fourgons cellulaires furent cependant
remplacés dès 1925 par des véhicules routiers. La
compagnie a aussi construit deux tramways funéraires
pour desservir le cimetière Hawthorndale, situé à 11
kilomètres à l’est du centre-ville. Le service cessa dès
1927 au profit de corbillards routiers. La compagnie
possédait enfin un tramway de fanfare très populaire qui
circulait dans les rues de Montréal en transportant
l’orchestre des employés. Ce tramway était aussi nolisé
par diverses organisations ou par des entreprises pour la
promotion et la publicité de produits ou d’événements
sportifs. Il fut retiré officiellement en 1928, mais on
l’utilisa encore à quelques occasions dans les années qui
À l’instar des autres grandes villes ayant un
réseau de tramways et en raison du climat au Canada, la
compagnie dut s’équiper pour lutter contre les rigueurs
de l’hiver. Les rues étroites de la ville, les nombreuses
pentes et les viaducs compliquèrent le déblaiement à
travers le réseau. En 1928, la MTC possédait plus de 42
voitures balayeuses pour l’enlèvement de la neige. Dans
les années 1950, ce nombre fut réduit à 16, car on
commença à l’époque à utiliser le sel pour déglacer les
voies et des véhicules routiers pour déblayer la neige. En
périphérie de la ville, la compagnie déblayait la neige en
utilisant plutôt des chasse-neige rotatifs. Évidemment,
pour l’expansion et l’entretien de son réseau, la
compagnie avait besoin de certains véhicules spécialisés
tels que wagons plats, wagons entrepôts, wagons
d’outillage, wagons aspirateurs, véhicules pour
l’entretien du réseau de fils aériens et des rails, en plus de
184RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009major construction projects, including the dismantling of
the Mountail line.
Of course Montreal had a complement of
passenger cars from the single truck Birney car to the
combination steel/wood cars to the modern PCCs. It was
easy to distinguish the one-man car from the two-man car.
One-man cars were painted in a cream livery with red
trim, while the two man cars were painted in a green livery
with cream trim. Also, while most street railways had
streetcars with a headlight, Montreal’s cars had indirect
lighting across the front dash of the car. Cars operating on
private rights-of-way were equipped with headlights and
rear markers.
The last cars ordered were new PCCs from the
St. Louis Car Company (cars 3500 to 3517) in 1944.
These cars were assembled in Canada by the Canadian
Car & Foundry Company in Lachine.
Montreal had some interesting and scenic
streetcar routes. One of the more famous was the
Mountain line – Route #11 which operated over the
summer months between the corner of Mount Royal and
Park Avenues to the summit atop Mount Royal. This
route afforded the rider a magnificent view of the eastern
Car 2053 was one of a class of 39 cars purchased second hand from the Springfield Mass. Street Railway Company, they went into
service after some alterations in 1941. The cars had been built by Wason Car Company in 1927. Most were converted to single end
operation retaining the rear end controls for back up purposes. The 2053 was one of a few retained as double enders, it is pictured
here at the western terminus of the Van Horne line at Cote des Neiges Road. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
Le tramway no 2053 fut l’un des 39 véhicules achetés d’occasion à la Springfield Massachusetts Street Railway Company. Après
quelques modifications, ils furent intégrés au réseau en 1941. Ces tramways avaient été construits par la Wason Car Company en
1927. La plupart furent convertis en roulement à sens unique, le contrô
le en arrière du véhicule ne servant que pour la marche
arrière. Le no 2053 fut l’un de ceux qui conservèrent la double direction. On le voit ici au terminus ouest de la ligne Van Horne sur le
chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.grues pour la construction de nouvelles lignes et de deux
locomotives pour le transport de marchandises. La
compagnie a aussi conçu des voitures pour la formation
de ses gardes-moteurs et pour la collecte quotidienne des
boîtes de perception. Tandis que la plupart des tramways
avaient un phare sur le devant, ceux de Montréal étaient
équipés d’un système d’éclairage indirect sous les pare-
brise; néanmoins, ceux qui circulaient sur des voies
privées avaient un phare en plus de feux de position à
l’arrière. Les derniers véhicules, des PCC, élaborés par
la Saint-Louis Car Company (no 3500 à 3517), furent
assemblés au Canada par la Canadian Car & Foundry
Company de Lachine.
Il y avait à l’époque à Montréal certains circuits
panoramiques de tramways. Le plus célèbre était sans
contredit la ligne no 11, celle de la montagne, qui fut
ouverte pendant les périodes estivales entre le 30 juillet
1930 et le 6 octobre 1957 avec entre autres le tramway no
1347. Le circuit débutait à l’intersection du boulevard
Mont-Royal et de l’avenue du Parc pour se terminer au
sommet de la montagne. On pouvait ainsi de son siège
admirer une vue splendide de l’est de la ville. Au plus
haut point du trajet se trouvait un tunnel long de 337 pieds
185CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Origionally built as a two car
train motorized trailer (2
motors) by Canadian Car and
Foundry in 1924, car 1695 was
converted to one man
operation in 1935. This
i n c l u d e d i n t e r i o r
rearrangement and repainting
the car from olive green to
cream with red trim. Varnished
doors remained until about
1947 when the doors were
painted in the car’s colour
scheme. This photo was taken
at Snowdon Loop on August
23, 1947. CRHA Archives,
Fonds Corley Car 2196, a 1929 product of Canadian Car and Foundry rolls along Mount Royal Avenue in this undated Forster Kemp photo. The
2100 series consisted of 140 cars purchased in three lots. These two man cars were specifically designed for service on St.
Catherine Street, Montreal’s main shopping thoroughfare where passenger turnover was high. They were so successful they
were quickly introduced to many other lines. Note the painted white band on the pole indicating a car stop. Peter Murphy
Sur cette photo de Forster Kemp, on voit le tramway no 2196, construit en 1929 par la Canadian Car & Foundry, circulant le long de
l’avenue du Mont-Royal. La série 2100 comprend 140 véhicules livrés en trois lots. Ces tramways à deux hommes étaient tout à fait
désignés pour le service rue Sainte-Catherine, l’artère commerciale principale de Montréal dotée d’un fort achalandage de
passagers. Ils eurent tant de succès qu’ils furent introduits sur plusieurs autres lignes. À noter, la bande blanche sur le poteau
indiquant un arrêt de tramway. Collection Peter Murphy.Le tramway no 1695, à l’origine un train de deux véhicules motorisés construit par Canadian Car & Foundry, fut converti en deux
tramways à un seul homme en 1935. Les modifications? On réaménagea l’intérieur et on remplaça la couleur olive d’origine par la
couleur crème avec bordure rouge. Les portes vernies demeurèrent cependant ainsi jusqu’en 1947 pour être repeintes ensuite
aux couleurs de l’ensemble du véhicule. Ce cliché fut pris à la boucle de Snowdon, le 23 août 1947. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.
186RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009portion of the city. Because of the steep track grade,
specially equipped cars from the 1325 Class cars with
dynamic brakes were used on this route. The line opened
on July 30, 1930 and operated each summer until October
6, 1957 when car #1347 traversed the line for the last time.
At the route’s highest point there was a 337 foot long
tunnel. During the 27 years of operation on this line, more
than 6,300,000 persons (including this author) used this
scenic line with no fatalities or major injury.
Besides the routes the open observation cars
used during the summer, another interesting line was the
Cartierville Route #17 which operated between Garland
terminus (opened in 1949), situated about a mile north on
Decarie Boulevard above Queen Mary Road, and
Cartierville station – only a block from the famous
Belmont Park amusement park. Operating largely on a
private right-of-way the streetcars travelled up and over a
trestle that spanned the CPR tracks and on some
stretches the motorman could open up the throttle and
the streetcar would rock from side to side much to the
Montreal acquired a small fleet of 18 PCC (President’s Conference Committee) cars during the Second World War. One hundred
cars had been allotted to Canada by St. Louis Car Company, the allotment was divided up between Vancouver, Toronto (who got
the most) and Montreal. The cars came in kit form and were assembled by Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Montreal. Car
3517 was the last car purchased by the Montreal Tramways Company and was chosen to end service on August 30, 1959. CRHA
Archives, William Bailey photo, Fonds Corley
Montréal acquit 18 tramways PCC pendant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale. Plus de 100 tramways furent distribués au Canada par la
St.Louis Car Company; la plupart allèrent à Toronto et les autres furent répartis entre Vancouver et Montréal. Les véhicules
arrivèrent en pièces détachées, puis furent assemblés par la Canadian Car & Foundry Company de Montréal. Le no 3517, la
dernière acquisition de la MTC, fut choisi pour clôturer le service le 30 août 1959. W. Bailey, Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.(0,1 kilomètre). Certains tramways, dont le 1325, furent
spécialement conçus pour cette ligne, avec entre autres
des freins rhéostatiques leur permettant d’aborder en
toute sécurité la rampe accentuée du parcours. Aucun
accident majeur ne survint et personne parmi les 6 333
000 utilisateurs (dont l’auteur de ces lignes) ne fut
sérieusement blessé pendant ces 27 années
d’exploitation de la ligne. Mis à part les parcours utilisés
par les tramways observatoires, un autre trajet intéressant
était celui de la ligne Cartierville no 17 entre le terminus
Garland, ouvert en 1949 et situé à environ 1 mille (1,6
kilomètre) au nord du boulevard Décarie près du chemin
de la Reine-Marie, et la gare de Cartierville, à un pâté de
maisons du parc d’amusement Belmont. Cette ligne était
située en grande partie sur une emprise privée et à un
certain endroit elle traversait un pont à chevalets en
empruntant une rampe prononcée pour franchir des
voies du CNR. Cela causait un certain stress au garde-
moteur, qui devait accélérer au maximum afin de gravir la
rampe, d’où un mouvement de roulis du véhicule à la
O.S.A. Lavallee187CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009delight of youngsters like myself on the car. The
Cartierville line operated between 1904 until June 28,
1959. Buses were substituted the following day.
Montreal had the distinction of having two last
day parades. The first one occurred on September 3, 1956
along the St. Catherine Street line, a major east/west
artery which was being converted to buses. The MTC’s
historic streetcar collection, eventually to be donated to
the CRHA, was used in the parade from Harbour Street
to Atwater Avenue in a westbound direction. Another
ceremonial parade was held on Papineau Street on
August 30, 1959 to mark the end of streetcar service in the
city. Appropriately PCC car #3517, the last car ordered
for Montreal in 1944 (and now preserved at Exporail),
entered the Mount Royal car barn for the last time.
When the Montreal Transportation Commission
took over from the Montreal Tramways Company in 1951
the intention was to replace streetcars by buses within ten
years. This was accomplished in eight years. Incredibly
fifty years have already passed since that historic event.
Photo caption technical information from
Montreal’s Electric Streetcars by Richard M. Binns and
published by Railfare Enterprises in 1973.
Preserved Montreal streetcars:
Exporail, Saint-Constant, Quebec: cars 200, 274, 350, 859,
997, 1046, 1317, 1339, 1801, 1953, 1959, Golden Chariots
1 & 3, Sweeper 51, Flat car 3151, Tool car 3200,
Locomotive 5001, Crane W-2 , Shop shunter Y-5 ,
Canada’s oldest existing electric locomotive 7 (via
Courtaulds in Cornwall).
Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunk, Maine: cars 957,
2052, 2652, Golden Chariot 2.
Shoreline Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut cars
2001, Rotary plow 5, 3152, Locomotive 5002, Crane W-3 ,
and an unnumbered shop shunter.
Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor,
Connecticut: cars 2005, 2056, Golden Chariot 4,
Crane W-1.grande joie des jeunes de l’époque, dont… l’auteur!
Montréal clôtura l’ère du tramway non par un,
mais par deux défilés. Le premier eut lieu le 3 septembre
1956 et se déroula le long de la ligne est/ouest de la rue
Sainte-Catherine, une ligne principale déjà convertie au
transport par autobus. Des tramways historiques de la
collection de la MTC, confiés plus tard à l’Association
canadienne d’histoire ferroviaire, défilèrent ainsi vers
l’ouest, de la rue du Havre jusqu’à l’avenue Atwater.
Lorsque la Commission de transport de Montréal (CTM)
prit en en charge la Montreal Tramways en 1951, elle
prévoyait remplacer tous les tramways du réseau par des
autobus avant dix ans – ce qu’elle fit finalement en huit
ans. Le deuxième défilé eut lieu le 30 août 1959 pour
marquer le retrait définitif des tramways des rues de
Montréal. Le PCC no 3517, le dernier tramway
commandé pour Montréal en 1944 et maintenant
préservé à Exporail, rentra au garage Mont-Royal pour la
dernière fois.
Aujourd’hui, on peut encore admirer cette
splendide collection variée de véhicules de la MTC.
Quelques-uns, dont certains en état de marche, se
trouvent à Exporail à Saint-Constant/Delson, Québec,
dont les nos 200, 274, 350, 859, 997, 1046, 1317, 1339,
3151, 3200, 1801, 1953, 1959 et 5001, les tramways
observatoires nos 1 et 3, la voiture balayeuse no 51, la
grue no W-2, la navette d’atelier Y-5 et une locomotive
non numérotée. Le Shoreline Trolley Museum de East
Haven, au Connecticut, héberge les tramways no 2001,
3152, 5002, le chasse-neige rotatif no 5, la grue no W-3 et
une navette d’atelier non numérotée. Au Seashore
Trolley Museum de Kennebunk Port, dans le Maine, on
peut voir les tramways nos 957, 2052, 2652 et le tramway
observatoire no 2. Enfin, au Connecticut Trolley
Museum à East Windsor, au Connecticut, on peut
admirer les tramways nos 2005 et 2006, le tramway
observatoire no 4 et la grue no W-1.
When Ottawa, Ontario was ready for electrified
public transportation, Thomas Ahearn and Warren Soper
delivered it. They formed the Ottawa Electric Street
Railway and started operations on July 29, 1891. In its first
year, the OESR carried over a million passengers.
Rapidly losing business to its competitor, the horse-
drawn Ottawa City Passenger Railway agreed to
amalgamate with the OESR. The two formed the Ottawa
Electric Railway Company on August 13, 1893.Ottawa’s first streetcars came from St.
Catharines, Ontario but new cars arrived in 1892 from
Ottawa’s W. W. Wylie Carriage and Wagon Works, which
became the Ottawa Car Company the following year; the
Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company in 1913; and finally
the Ottawa Car and Aircraft Company. With a few
exceptions, all the company’s new streetcars would come
from Ottawa Car and its successors.Ottawa’s Electric Street Railway
By Bruce DudleyBruce Dudley has had a life-long interest in Ottawa,
Ontario’s streetcars that began in the late 1930s when
he would spend Sunday afternoons riding on an
Ottawa Electric Railway car which his father was
operating. Bruce worked for the OTC himself as a
motorman in the early 1950s but spent most of his
adult working life as a patent agent with the Gowling law firm in Ottawa. In October 2001 he got to sit at the
controls of OTC car 859 at the CRHA Museum at
Delson, QC, 50 years after he operated the same car on
the Bronson-Elgin line in Ottawa. He recalled his
reminiscences in the Ottawa Electric Streetcar book
published by Railfare in 2007.In 1897 number 65 posed for a builders photo at the Ottawa Car Company p
lant which was located in downtown Ottawa. This
streetcar was the first in a new class of cars from Ottawa Car which displayed what came to be known as the ‘Ottawa roof’, a
distinct feature on all successive Ottawa streetcars except on the final order of 1000’s. Archives & Library Canada PA 143140
Le tramway no 65 a été choisi pour la photo officielle du constructeur sur le site de la Ottawa Car Company au centre-ville d’Ottawa
en 1897. Ce véhicule fut le premier d’une nouvelle série avec toit de type « Ottawa », un élément distinctif de tous les tramways
successifs à l’exception de la série 1000, qui fut la dernière commande de tramways pour cette ville. Bibliothèque et Archives
Canada PA 143140.
189RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009Ottawa Car produced single truck streetcars for
the OER from 1894 to 1908. These were all wooden, two-
man operated cars. The best of these were salvaged in re-
building programs in the 1920s. One sad case saw 14 cars
of the 500 class, re-built in 1926, destroyed in a fire at
Rockcliffe barn in 1937.
By the end of its first decade the OER had
experienced substantial growth with a new line to
Rockcliffe in 1895; a Chaudière line to Hull, Quebec the
following year; the Exhibition loop on the Bank Street
line in 1897, and finally the Britannia line opened on May
21, 1900 with a run of 4 miles from Holland Avenue on a
private right-of-way to Lake Deschenes west of the city.
The heavy summer crowds travelling to park the OER
built at the end of the line showed the need for longer,
double-truck streetcars.
The OER had been, up to this point, a street
railway of single-truck cars, with only a few exceptions.
The company already had 202, a double-truck car built in
1897 as a combine unit and then rebuilt in 1899 as a full
passenger car for Britannia service. Two other 50-foot
double-truck cars, 203 and 204 were constructed in 1900,
204 being luxuriously customized and named the
“Duchess of Cornwall and York” for the Royal tour of
1901. These three 200 class cars were then joined by four
double-truck cars numbered 312 to 315. These cars
started out in 1900 as open trailers and then were re-built
in 1909 as closed revenue cars.
Routes were extended and more streetcars cars
were added by the start of the Great War in 1914. The Cloverdale loop was built in Rockcliffe in 1901; the Bell
Street track was laid from Gladstone to the Canada
Atlantic Railway tracks the following year; Elgin Street
was double-tracked to Argyle Avenue in 1904; and in 1906
the Bank Street underpass beneath the centre town tracks
was opened. Gladstone Avenue was double-tracked and
George Street loop was opened in 1907. The Holland end
of the Somerset line was extended into the Experimental
Farm in 1908 and Pretoria Bridge was built with double
tracks in 1910. In 1912 and 1913 the Bank Street Bridge
over the Rideau Canal and the Ottawa south extension
were completed. 1913 also brought service to Preston
Street; double tracks to Queen Street and Crichton
Street together with a multi-block turning loop.
Eighteen double-truck, single-end cars arrived
from Ottawa Car in 1910-1911, numbered 520 to 539. The
last wood-bodied cars built for the OER these units were
the first Ottawa streetcars to run on Brill 27-FE-1 trucks
with 33-inch wheels and were the first OER cars to use a
stationary cabinet-type fare box in a Pay-as-You-Enter
car. Of the class, 520 was rebuilt in 1924, 12 cars were
scrapped in 1933 and 1934 and five were burned in
Rockcliffe barn in 1937.
The OER then ordered 20 of its first steel-bodied
streetcars, numbered 600 to 621, in 1913. In 1915 another
10 cars of this class, numbered 622-632, came into service.
The three final cars of this series, the 633 to 635, were
delivered in 1917. Like the 520s, they were two-man
operated and ran on Brill 27-FE-1 trucks.
Le tramway no 651 du Ottawa Electric Railway se prépare à quitter la plateforme couverte de la gare à Britannia lors d’une chaude
journée d’été de 1943. Ce véhicule est le premier de la série 600 et aussi le premier avec une carrosserie métallique. Il fut construit
en 1913 et numéroté 600, puis allongé et rénové en 1924, et renuméroté 651. Le seul changement par la suite de son apparence
extérieure fut l’ajout en 1950 de panneaux latéraux de type « Toronto » en forme de sourcils de chaque côté du panneau avant. À
noter, l’inusité de la fenêtre suspendue à la verticale au centre du devant. William Bailey, collection de l’auteur.Ottawa Electric Railway car 651
is ready to pull away from the
covered station platform at
Britannia on a warm summer day
in 1943. This car was the first of
the 600 class and the first of
Ottawa’s steel bodied
streetcars. It was built in 1913 as
number 600 and then
modernized and lengthened in
1924 and renumbered 651. The
only further change to its
outward appearance was the
addition in 1950 of ‘Toronto style’
eyebrow light hoods on each
side of the front body panel.
Note the unusual vertically
hinged front window frame.
William Bailey, Author’s
Ottawa’s Electric Street Railway continued on page 199
190RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009Stan’s Photo Gallery Les photos de Stan
September – October, 2009
By Stan Smaill
French Version Denis Latourseptembre – octobre, 2009
Par Stan Smaill
Traduction française de Denis Latour
Introduction: 1959: It hardly seems possible that
fifty years ago, the era of streetcar and interurban electric
railways operated for passenger service finally came to an
end in Canada. Beginning with the Quebec Railway Light
and Power on March 15th; the Niagara St. Catherines
and Toronto on March 28th; and continuing with the end
of streetcar service in Ottawa and Montreal on April 30th
and August 30th respectively the electric way for streetcar
and interurban transit was over, except of course for
The photo gallery for this issue of Canadian Rail
features an eclectic look at the final year of streetcar and
interurban operation in Canada by The Niagara St.
Catharines & Toronto, the Ottawa Transportation
Commission and finally the Montreal Transportation
Commission. 1959. Some these operations continued as
electric freight operations such as the Oshawa Electric
railway, the CP Electric lines in southern Ontario and the
famous Cornwall Street Railway operation in Cornwall,
Ontario. Thanks to the many contributors who offered
material for this photo gallery which is dedicated to the
memory of electric railway historians Fred Angus and
Raymond Corley.
It is Labour Day Monday, September
3, 1956 and the love–hate
relationship by Montrealers with their
streetcars on Saint Catherine Street
came to an end on Sunday,
September 2, when the last late night
regular car pulled into the car barn. A
streetcar parade was held to mark
the occasion the next day. Hundreds
of thousands turned out to witness
the passing of trams from Montreal’s
main shopping thoroughfare. Car
1046 is now a featured exhibit in
Exporail’s Angus Pavilion. The 1046
started life on the Montreal Park and
Island Railway and exhibits a
likeness of what the MPI&R colours
were before the era of MSR and MTC
green. CRHA Archives, Fonds Kemp
Lundi 3 septembre 1954, fête du Travail. Ce fut là une date marquante dans le transport en commun à Montréal, puisque la veille on
avait procédé au remplacement des tramways sur une importante artère commerciale de la métropole. Des centaines de milliers
de Montréalais ont pu voir défiler tous ces véhicules dune autre époque! Le 1046 fut dabord au service du Montreal Park & Island
Railway. Il porte ici les couleurs quarboraient les trams locaux avant lépoque du Montreal Street Railway et de la couleur verte de la
Montreal Tramways. Archives de lACHF – Fonds KempReportons-nous en 1959… Difficile dimaginer
quil y a déjà 50 ans, plusieurs compagnies de chemins de
fer urbains et interurbains électriques canadiens
mettaient fin à leurs services-voyageurs. Le premier fut le
Quebec Railway Light & Power, le 15 mars; le Niagara,
St. Catharines and Toronto suivit le 28 mars. Quant aux
tramways urbains, ceux dOttawa furent mis au rancart le
30 avril; à Montréal, ils roulèrent jusquen fin daprès-
midi le dimanche 30 août. Cest alors que prit fin lépoque
du transport par tramways urbains et interurbains
électriques. Sauf, bien-entendu, à Toronto!
Les photos dans le présent numéro montrent des
scènes variées prises au cours des dernières années de
service des tramways urbains et interurbains au Canada,
dabord à la Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto, puis à la
Ottawa Transportation Commission, et finalement, à la
Commission de transport de Montréal.
Certaines de ces compagnies continuèrent à
utiliser la traction électrique pour remorquer leurs
convois de marchandises. Le Oshawa Electric Railway le
fit, de même que le réseau électrifié du CP dans le sud de
lOntario… sans oublier le fameux Cornwall Street
Railway, dans la ville ontarienne du même nom. Merci
aux nombreuses personnes qui nous ont offert des photos
pour cette galerie de photographies, que nous dédions à
la mémoire des historiens de chemins de fer électriques
Fred Angus et Raymond Corley.

The best and possibly the busiest years for the
Ottawa Electric Railway began in the early 1920s when
the company signed a new franchise with the City of
Ottawa – this agreement that helped launch a substantive
expansion and modernization program. In 1924
construction of the Bronson Avenue line, the extension of
the Ottawa east line to a loop at Clegg and Main streets
and the opening of the Civic Hospital land Hull loops.
The Lindenlea line and Champagne Barn both opened in
1925. The Champagne’s new facilities were needed for
the rebuilding programs and for storing the new cars
coming into service.
The new 800 class streetcars were designed by
Frank Beattie of Ottawa Car and were the best ever
constructed for the OER. They were steel, double-
trucked, designed for one or two-man operation and they
had full air-actuated doors and brakes with ‘dead-man’
controls. They rode on Brill 77E trucks built by Canadian
Car and Foundry with 26-inch wheels and were noticeably
lower than the 520 and 600 series cars. The first six 880s
went into service in November 1924; the remainder of the
first 20-car order, the 806 to 821, was delivered in 1925. A
second order of 20 cars, numbered 822 to 843, was built in
1926, essentially unchanged from the first group. The last
20-car order for cars 850 to 881 was built in 1927. Their
brass window frames and sashes were the only difference
from the earlier cars of this class.
Cars 520 and 600, the first of each class, went into
the shops for the modernizing program in 1924. The 520
was the only one of its class to receive extensive changes
and returned to service renumbered 650. Car 600 and all
its class mates through to 635 received substantial
changes between 1925 and 1927, having their front
vestibules lengthened, new air brake systems with dead-
man controls installed and were renumbered 651-696. Most of the 600s ran into the early 1950s with a few
continuing until 1957-1958. This made them the longest
serving streetcars in the Ottawa system.
The installation in 1925 of the Lindenlea
extension on the Hull-St. Patrick line marked the point of
maximum trackage of the OER — a little over 58 miles
(93 km); however, the system would soon start to diminish
in size.
The company experimented with one-man car
operation in 1925 and completed the system-wide
conversion by August 1933 when the ‘operator’ replaced
the traditional ‘conductor’ and ‘motorman’. In the
meantime, a second fire at Rockcliffe barn in 1932
reduced the size of the roster moving the OER to order
new streetcars from Ottawa Car. The first ten, numbered
900 to 910, were built in 1933and the remainder
numbered 911 to 923 were delivered in 1934. They rode
on the high Brill 27-FE-1 trucks taken from the 520 series
cars that were scrapped at this time.
Ottawa’s street railway began to shrink in the
1930s when the Rockliffe line was cut back from
Cloverdale to Buena Vista and rails were lifted from both
the Laurier Avenue Bridge and the Experimental Farm
south of the Civic Hospital loop in 1932. However, the
biggest change was the removal of streetcar service from
Elgin Street in early 1939 prior to the Royal visit in May of
that year.
In 1937 the third fire at Rockcliffe barn took out
the last cars of the 520 class. By 1942, being thin on reserve
revenue cars and dealing with wartime increases in traffic,
the OER bought 10 old wooden cars from the TTC in
Toronto. These units were numbered 950 to 960 and, by
1952, all had been scrapped after slugging away as extras
during the war and for several years thereafter.Destined to be the last streetcar to
operate on the Ottawa Transportation
Commission in revenue service. Car
831 is far from downtown traffic as it
crosses Richmond Road at
Richardson Avenue on its way to
Britannia. The date was October 14,
1958. Ralf Clench, CRHA Kingston
Ce tramway fut le dernier en service
régulier sur le réseau de la
Commission des transports d’Ottawa.
Le no 831 s’est éloigné de la
circulation du centre-ville et traverse
maintenant l’intersection du chemin
Richmond et de l’avenue Richardson,
en route vers Britannia, le 14 octobre
1958. Ralph Clench, division Kingston
de l’ACHF.Continued from page 189
Bucking the trend in the 1940’s, the Ottawa Transportation Commission did not experiment with, nor order, any PCC type
streetcars. They did opt to order 4 new semi streamlined units from Ottawa Car in 1947. Car 1003 was the last streetcar built for
Ottawa and the last conventional streetcar built in Canada. CRHA Archives, William Bailey photo, Fonds Corley
À l’opposé des autres transporteurs urbains dans les années 1940, la Commission des transports d’Ottawa décida de ne pas
utiliser des tramways de type PCC. Elle commanda plutôt quatre nouveaux véhicules semi-profilés de l’Ottawa Car en 1947. Le no
1003 fut le dernier tramway construit pour Ottawa et le dernier tramway conventionnel construit au Canada. W.Bailey, Archives
ACHF, fonds Corley.Following the end of the Second World War, Brill
77-E trucks with 26-inch wheels were purchased from
Third Ave Railway in New York City. They replaced the
old, large-wheeled 27 FE-1s on all the 900 class cars.
Concurrently, quieter gearing was obtained from the
same source and installed in the 800s. Then in 1947 the
last 4 new streetcars for the OER were built and delivered
by Ottawa Car and Aircraft. Cars 1000 to 1003 came with
slow-acting, second-hand brake systems that had been
salvaged from Hull Electric streetcars; not pleasant cars
to operate.
The Ottawa Electric Railway was sold to the City
of Ottawa on August 13, 1948 for $6,300,685.15. The
company’s new title was the Ottawa Transportation
Commission (OTC).
Street railway shrinkage continued with the
transition from streetcar to trolley-bus service on the
Bronson line in late 1951. A sufficient number of 800 class
cars were thereby made available for regular use on the
Britannia line, replacing the long serving 600s, which were
relegated to use as extras until final retirement.
January 1954 saw the end of service on Sussex
Street. The last OTC car pulled out of the Hull loop on
November 27, 1954. Streetcar service from Holland
Avenue Junction south to the Civic Hospital loop was
discontinued in April 1956. With service removed from Sussex Street, a new George Street loop was built along
Dalhousie, George. Cumberland and Rideau Streets.
Changes were also made to the downtown destinations of
the remaining routes.
Final runs were made in the early months of
1959. Car 816 made the last run on the Bank Street line on
January 12th. The last car ran on the Somerset line on
February 16th and car 854 was the last one on Preston
Street on April 6th. Gordon Anderson had the Britannia
non-revenue ‘work car’ late run on April 30th. He left
the Britannia loop for the last time in car 831 and backed
it into Cobourg barn at 3:25 am on Friday, May 1st, thus
marking the end of 68 years of electric street railway
operation in Ottawa.
Preserved Ottawa streetcars:
Exporail, Saint-Constant, Quebec: Rail grinder 6, Former
Royal Mail car 423, sweeper A2, car 859,
Canada Museum of Science and Technology: Sweeper
B1, car 854.
OC Transpo, Ottawa: Car 696.
Seashore Trolley Museum: Sweeper B2, car 825.
Shoreline Trolley Museum, East Haven, Connecticut:
Tower car 25.
1887 to 1959
The Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto
Railway was the last interurban railway to operate in
Canada. With 75 line miles (104.3 trackage) at its peak it
was the most enduring of all Canada’s intercity electric
lines and could even claim that one of its predecessor
companies had operated the first interurban electric line
in the country. While its closing image was the lonely
passenger run between Thorold and Port Colborne, with
that was a connected maze of lines remaining in and
around St. Catharines which bore the reminders of its
former glory. At its peak it encompassed most
characteristics of the electric railway industry. Those
included city streetcar service, mainline running with
multiple unit trains, roadside operation through the
orchards, bus operations and freight trains with cabooses.
In addition to its passenger, express, freight and bus
services it had a steamship line along with an amusement
park. It even built locomotives, cars and gas-electrics!
Niagara peninsula’s transportation history itself
began with the first Welland Canal in 1829. The first rail
transportation systems included the Erie and Ontario RR
in 1842, the Great Western Railway in 1853 and the
Welland Railway in 1859. The intersection of east-west
directed commerce with that moving north and south
created a fertile field for railway development. In this
sphere the NS&T was an impressive 80-year ‘event’ in which it accumulated its own characteristics from the
many different transportation initiatives that came and
went during its first 50 years.
Early municipal growth along the Welland Canal
led to the opening in 1879 of the St. Catharines Street
Railway, a horse tramway in St. Catharines. By 1881 it had
extended along the streets to Merritton and Thorold as
well as locally to the Welland Railway station, connecting
with WR trains to Port Dalhousie. Following a name
change to St. Catharines, Merritton and Thorold Street
Railway the line was electrified in 1887 using the Van
Depoele 2-wire system. This was our first so-called
‘interurban’ system. A second horse tram opened in
Niagara Falls in 1886. The seeds of expansion had been
On a larger scale a new steam railway, the St.
Catharines and Niagara Central began building westward
from Niagara Falls in 1881 in competition with the Great
Western. It reached the centre of St. Catharines just as the
local horse tram was electrified. By 1897 it was decrepit, in
receivership and was sold, then renamed Niagara, St.
Catharines and Toronto Railway Co. Its new
management bought the Niagara Falls horse tram and
electrified both operations in 1900. They expanded their
empire to Port Dalhousie in 1901 and bought the original
St. Catharines to Thorold trolley as well. The Lakeside Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway
By Robert J. SanduskyRobert developed his first awareness of railways in
1946 due to enrolment in a trackside high school,
leading to a photographic interest during the following
year. Membership in Upper Canada Railway Society
dating from 1950, Canadian Railroad Historical
Association from 1952 and Ontario Electric Railway
Historical Association (charter) from 1953 with directorship positions held in UCRS and OERHA.
Career was in computer technology in the petroleum
and petro-chemical industry which led to frequent
periods of residence in Calgary, Montreal and
Toronto. Now retired with family in Oakville, Ontario,
still following the railway world and contributing
occasional articles on the subject.R.J. Sandusky
Transportation Co., a Toronto to Port Dalhousie
steamship line, was bought as a subsidiary in 1902 and
named the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto
Navigation Co. These all formed the nucleus around
which the future NS&T developed; a continuous
electrified railway from Port Dalhousie to Niagara Falls, a
steamship line to feed it, a local street system in St.
Catharines and the original ‘low line’ to Thorold.
These were indeed the years of the trolley and
there was one ambitious plan to extend the NS&T to
Hamilton via Port Dalhousie, link up with the radial
system there and provide competition to the Grand Trunk
Railway’s perceived monopoly. (The roundabout routing
of the Port Dalhousie line to the west side of the town
rather than the east side, as originally intended, was to
facilitate such a link.) The then Chairman of the NS&T
was Z. A. Lash who had a previous association with
McKenzie and Mann endeavours. A minor depression
occurred in 1903 which caused the NS&T’s U.S. owners to sell it by 1905 to a mainly Canadian Northern group in
Toronto. Unsurprisingly, by 1908 the NS&T had become
a semi-autonomous entity controlled by the CNoR. This
gave the latter a position in the Niagara hydro power
region and a possible strategic association with
McKenzie’s power transmission interests.
The Canadian Northern expanded the NS&T
system significantly. In 1907 the Pt. Dalhousie Division
was upgraded. The Welland Division from Thorold to
Port Colborne was built by 1911 (allowing a connection
with the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo at Welland).
Federal plans for a fourth Welland Canal to exit at Port
Weller rather than Pt. Dalhousie prompted construction
of the Lake Shore Division from St. Catharines to
Niagara-on-the-Lake via Pt. Weller between 1912 and
1913. New cars were added to the interurban roster in
1914. In the marine division a new steamer “Dalhousie
City” was built in 1911 to handle the increasing Niagara
Falls traffic.Freight played a very important
role on the NS&T from its earliest
days. Locomotive number 1 was
built in 1901 and was used in
switching duties. CRHA
Archives, Fonds Corley
Le transport de marchandises a
joué un rôle important pour le
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto
Railway à ses débuts. La
locomotive no 1, construite en
1901, fut utilisée pour des
manœuvres de triage. Archives
ACHF, fonds Corley.Single truck open car 15 was
built by Patterson and Corbin in
1896, this photograph dates
from around 1907, the car was
scrapped in 1921. CRHA
Archives, Fonds Corley
Photo prise en 1907 du tramway
ouvert no 15 construit par
Patterson and Corbin en 1896.
Le véhicule fut envoyé à la casse
en 1921. Archives ACHF, fonds
203CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Expansion halted during World War 1 after
which the Canadian Northern had become financially
over-extended. In 1917 it was authorized to be taken over
by the Canadian Government and so became just one of
several troubled Canadian railways which were being
combined to form the future Canadian National Railway
The Hydro Radial dream for Southern Ontario
was still alive and included the NS&T. However by 1919 a
new provincial government was becoming more
interested in highway improvements. So it was that in
November 1921 the CNR offered the Ontario Hydro
Electric Power Commission an option on the entire
NS&T system. Then the NS&T’s General
Superintendent sent a detailed report on the system’s
prospects to the CNR top brass. Perhaps because it was
based upon the results of 1921, the NS&T’s best year, Sir
Henry Thornton, CNR’s new president, may have
become inspired by it as he now announced that he would
build and run his own electric railway between Toronto
and Niagara Falls (much to the chagrin of HEPC’s
Chairman Sir Adam Beck). However a critical municipal
vote revealed that previously eager local councils had now gone cold on the radial plan and it died there.
In 1923 the CNR moved to consolidate electric
railway operations that had come under its wing as the
Canadian National Electric Railways. Included were the
Toronto Suburban Railway, the Toronto Eastern (never
electrified) and by 1925, the NS&T. While other CNR
electric operations were not under this umbrella they
were still closely associated. By now the NS&T was sorely
in need of an upgrade so a 4-year program of
improvements began that would lift both it and the
Toronto Suburban to their pinnacles.
In 1924 a 6-track interurban terminal was
completed in St. Catharines along with a link to the
nearby mainline station (formerly that of competitor
Grand Trunk but now parent CNR). The CNR’s former
Welland Railway branch to Port Dalhousie (east) became
the NS&T Grantham Division and was electrified with
high-speed overhead catenary, ostensibly for freight
traffic improvements but incidentally for the Toronto to
Niagara Falls steamship traffic. A new connection in
north Merritton allowed travel time from Toronto to
Niagara Falls to be reduced by 25 minutes to 3-1/4 hours. Many of the NS&T cars were second hand, some
cars had as many as three owners. Here we see a
Niagara Falls city car at the end of the Bridge
Street line on March 14, 1943. W. Bailey, CRHA
Archives, Fonds Corley
Plusieurs tramways du NS&T étaient d’occasion,
certains eurent jusqu’à trois propriétaires. Ici,
nous voyons un tramway de la ville de Niagara
Falls à l’extrémité de la ligne Bridge Street le 14
mars 1943. W. Bailey, Archives ACHF, fonds
In 1926 the NS&T acquired 12 new Cincinnati
lightweight, curved side, one man cars for
operation on St. Catharines and Niagara Falls city
lines. These were the last cars acquired new by
the NS&T. Eight of these cars were assigned to
Niagara Falls, here we see car 305 at an
unidentified location in Niagara Falls, in July,
1944. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
Le NS&T acquit 12 voitures légères de Cincinnati
avec flancs courbés et à conduite par un seul
homme pour les réseaux de St.Catharines et de
Niagara Falls. Ce furent les derniers tramways
neufs acquis par le NS&T. Huit de ces nouveaux
véhicules furent affectés à Niagara Falls. Ici, nous
voyons le no 305 à un endroit non identifié de
Niagara Falls en juillet 1944. Archives ACHF,
fonds Corley.
204RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009NS&T lines radiated out from St. Catharines, its headquarters, map courtesy The Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway by
John M. Mills published in 1967.
Les circuits de la NS&T émanaient de la ville de St. Catharines, leur point de départ. La carte–réseau est tirée du livre The Niagara,
St. Catharines & Toronto Railway de John M. Mills, publié en 1967.Baldwin-Westinghouse freight motor 18 is street
running in Saint Catharines on May 23, 1943.
Number 18 was built in 1918, weighed 55 tons and
was rated at 400 horse power. It came third hand to
the NS&T in 1927, and then went on to the Oshawa
Railway in 1960. The locomotive is preserved at the
Connecticut Trolley Museum, East Windsor,
Connecticut. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
La locomotive Baldwin-Westinghouse no 18 circule
dans une rue de St.Catharines le 23 mai 1943.
Construite en 1918, elle avait un poids de 55 tonnes
et une puissance motrice de 400 CV. La NS&T en fut
le troisième propriétaire en 1927. Elle fut cédée en
1960 à l’Oshawa Railway. Le véhicule est
maintenant préservé au musée Connecticut Trolley
à East Windsor, au Connecticut. Archives ACHF,
fonds Corley.
205CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009The St. Catharines car shop was expanded as a
car-building centre which served virtually all of CNR’s
electric lines at one time or another. Here the NS&T built
some of its own electric locomotives, battery cars for the
parent company as well as untold modifications to its own
passenger fleet. When new city cars were ordered from
Cincinnati in 1926 the body kits were assembled and fitted
here. The local trackages in St. Catharines and Niagara
Falls were upgraded and extended and one-man
operation introduced. An inconvenient interurban
terminal in Niagara Falls was replaced in 1928 by the
magnificent Tower Inn Terminal erected at a prime
location by the present Rainbow Bridge. This expensive
new link also connected to the gorge-hugging Niagara
Falls Park and River Railway. After all upgrading, the
NS&T’s total track mileage expanded from 85.8 in 1922 to
a final peak of 104.3 in 1928.
All these upgrades had placed the NS&T in a
better competitive position for leisure passenger traffic as
well. Co-operation existed between the NS&T and bus
lines in Ontario and New York as well as the International
Railway Company for Niagara-related passenger traffic.
The now-CN Steamship service from Toronto was more
cost-effective than the competing Canada Steamship
Lines run to Niagara-on-the-Lake and Queenston. Freight traffic was increasing steadily as well.
This was all a decent picture at first glance but
beyond it were dark clouds. The overall passenger count
was falling due to the growth of paved roads and motor
vehicles. The amortization of the upgrade costs was now
impacting the total revenue picture and in 1929 the NS&T
introduced its first bus operation in St. Catharines in lieu
of a line expansion. Bus service was introduced to
Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1931 while the line was cut back
to Port Weller. That same year the St. Catharines to
Thorold local service over the original ‘Low Line’ route
was discontinued due to a disagreement with Merritton.
The depression took its toll and the passenger
count descended to 2 ½ million in 1933, a severe drop
from the nearly 8 million of 1921. In 1939 the St.
Catharines local lines were converted to bus. In 1940 the
Tower Inn Terminal was demolished to make way for an
access road to the new Queen Elizabeth Way. Niagara
Falls Mainline passenger service ceased the same year but
local Niagara Falls services remained. With the advent of
war the above services were ordered back by the
Dominion Transit Controller as bus services everywhere
were severely curtailed by wartime shortages. Ridership
(including buses) briefly soared higher than ever. (This
was true for most other electric railways at the time.)In 1914 a series of six Preston built luxury wooden interurban cars
were acquired for main line service to Niagara Falls. They had
quarter-cut oak interiors inlaid with white holly. They had
thermostatically controlled electric heat, a rarity at that time, picture
windows and dead man control. Until 1927 they were the only
multiple unit cars on the property. In this photo cars 135 and
combine 134 are operating on Bridge Street in Niagara Falls around
1944. CRHA Archives, Fonds Corley
En 1914, six voitures interurbaines de luxe en bois, construites par
Preston, furent acquises pour la ligne principale vers Niagara Falls.
Elles avaient une finition intérieure en chêne blanc, un thermostat
contrôlant un chauffage électrique – une rareté à l’époque – et un
contrôle d’homme mort pour la conduite. Ce furent les seules
voitures jumelées sur le réseau jusqu’en 1927. Sur cette photo, la
voiture no 135 et la voiture mixte no 134 circulent rue Bridge dans
Niagara Falls autour de 1944. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.
The sixty series of cars came second hand from
various properties, car 64 was built by Ottawa in
1914 for the London and Lake Erie. It came to the
NS&T in 1920, it was equipped for multiple unit
operation and is pictured here at the Tower Inn
Terminal in Niagara Falls on July 13, 1940. CRHA
Archives, Fonds Corley
Les tramways de la série 60 furent acquis
d’occasion et de plusieurs sources. Transféré en
1920 au NS&T, le no 64 fut construit par l’Ottawa
Car en 1914 pour le London and Lake Erie. Il était
équipé pour être exploité en unités multiples. On
le voit ici au terminus de Tower Inn à Niagara Falls
le 13 juillet 1940. Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.
206RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009The decline resumed after war’s end. The St.
Catharines local lines reverted to bus in 1946/47. The
Niagara Falls mainline service ended September 13th,
1947 followed by local lines on November 26th. Steamer
service from Toronto ended in 1949 and the Port
Dalhousie service, which had never stopped, ended
March 1st, 1950. By now the NS&T passenger services
were by bus with the exception of the Welland Division
which soldiered on between Thorold and Port Colborne
(via Humberstone).
The survival of the Welland Division service was
a minor miracle, enabled by an order from the Board of
Transport Commissioners to continue. The NS&T kept 4
aging cars available for this service but finally decided in
1955 to replace 3 of them with newer 1930-built cars which had been released from the Montreal and Southern
Counties Railway. Their arrival gave the NS&T another
3½ year lease on life. Ridership continued to drop and
service frequency was reduced until the BTC finally
allowed cessation of service. The final run was made on
March 28th, 1959.
The NS&T had been quite popular with railway
clubs since the mid-1940’s and could be counted on for
several charters each year by various USA and Canadian
groups. These charters began when Niagara Falls was still
rail-accessible and ended on March 29th, 1959, the day
after the final public run. The ‘last stand’ cars were 623,
the last all-passenger interurban built for a Canadian
railway, and number 83, which also made the final
Toronto Suburban Railway run on August 15, 1931.When the Montreal & Southern Counties ceased
operation in 1956, one of its ex Windsor Essex and
Lake Shore high speed cars went to the Seashore
Trolley Museum in Maine, the others were sent to the
NS&T. There they received a new, albeit short lease
on life. They were converted from multiple unit
operation, colorful pilots were added along with
electric markers, a fresh CN green paint scheme with
gold maple leaf appliqué mid car. This photo was
taken on a fan trip on March 29, 1959 at Beaver Dams
and was the last day that passenger cars were used
on the NS&T. J. D. Knowles, CRHA Archives, Fonds
Lorsque le Montreal Southern Counties cessa ses opérations en 1956, l’une de ses voitures rapides originaires du Windsor Essex
and Lake Shore fut acquise par le Seashore Trolley Museum dans le Maine et les autres livrées au NS&T. Ces dernières eurent droit
à un nouveau, mais court sursis; elles furent converties en unités multiples avec le bas de caisse sur le devant peint en stries, des
feux de position électriques et une livrée vert CN avec une feuille d’érable appliquée au centre de leurs flancs. La photo fut prise
lors d’une excursion d’amateurs ferroviaires le 29 mars 1959 à Beaver Dams, le dernier jour d’utilisation d’un véhicule de passagers
par la NS&T. J.D. Knowles, Archives ACHF, fonds Corley.
All remaining passenger and express cars were
scrapped in London in 1959. Three locomotives went to
Oshawa for a few more years and the NS&T was
converted to diesel operation by the CNR with electric
locomotives filling in where needed until an unrecorded
day in July 1960 when the power was finally turned off.
The NS&T Railway Co. was folded into the CNR system
that same year and ceased to exist. The NS&T’s bus fleet
was turned over to the St. Catharines Transit Commission
in 1961.
The NS&T (including predecessors) had a very
diverse roster of 96 passenger cars from 10 different
builders and from or to 11 different electric railways. Some
of them saw ownership in up to 3 different companies. Also
rostered were 16 equally diverse electric locomotives and
24 assorted service vehicles. None of its cars exist to-day.
No. 130 had gone to the Rail City tourist attraction at
Sandy Pond, NY but fell into disrepair and was scrapped
for its remaining useful parts after 1977. Oshawa Railway
line car 45, on the Halton County Radial Railway is the
only surviving vehicle built by the NS&T shops. To-day little remains of the NS&T. After the
line’s demise in 1960 the Niagara region continued to
evolve. Most trackage succumbed to industrial retreat,
railway rationalization and urban growth but segments of
the NS&T remain in Thorold, Merritton, St. Catharines,
Humberstone and Welland for industrial switching by the
Trillium Railway Co.
Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter:
John F. Due. The Intercity Electric Railway Industry in
Canada. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1966
Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway, John M.
Mills, Railfare Enterprises, 2007, ISBN: 978-1-897190-
Personal observations; 1950-2009.
Preserved NS&T interurbans: None
207CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009Toronto’s streetcar system has been unique in
many ways, particularly for its longevity, size, extent of
mixed traffic operation and ongoing expansion in the
modern era. The reasons for its survival also include the
continued investment made by the Toronto Transit
Commission (with substantial funding from Queen’s
Park) in physical plant and new rolling stock and the
political and public support for these clean electric
vehicles. As well, public transit had to meet the challenges
imposed by Toronto’s downtown street grid characterized
by narrow 66-foot wide roadways and short blocks where
streetcars have proven to be best suited to move heavy
passenger loads.
For most of its history, the TTC has enjoyed
Canada’s highest per capita ridership and greatest
number of passengers carried annually. Streetcars in the
Peter Witt, PCC and CLRV/ALRV eras (especially 1940s
to date) have always been the vehicle of choice on heavy
carlines when compared with the performance of the
typical modern 40-foot transit bus. On a crush loading
basis, two four-axle trams can do the work of three buses.
By the early 1970s, Toronto’s streetcars were still
the workhorses on major downtown and cross town transit routes, carrying almost a quarter of all surface
route passengers, despite a much larger combined bus
and trolley coach fleet. In 1972, TTC operated eleven
streetcar routes (48 route miles) with a fleet of 418 PCC
cars. The entire bus fleet then totalled 1,058 vehicles
assigned to 85 lines with a total of 558 route miles.
By comparison, in 2008 there were eleven
carlines (90 route miles, including some duplicate
trackage) and a fleet of 247 cars. The 2008 bus fleet
totalled 1,545 units operating over 2,215 route miles.
Streetcar routes represented only 4% of the total surface
transit network but accounted for 11% of the total city-
wide route miles operated.
In the second half of the 20th century, TTC
planners had generally favoured replacing the busiest
carlines with heavy rapid transit, such as the Yonge
Subway (opened 1954) and the Bloor-Danforth Subway
and extensions (1966, 1968 and 1980). In the decade
following the end of World War II, the TTC joined many
other Canadian streetcar properties in embracing the
modern trolley coach. The CanCar-Brill trolley coaches,
exemplified by models T-44 and larger T-48, first made
their appearance in Toronto in 1947 (LANSDOWNE Toronto’s Street Railway in the Postwar and Modern Era
By Ted Wickson
The Peter Witt type streetcar was the car of
choice in the post wood, pre PCC era for the
Toronto Transportation Commission. Here we
see Small Witt 2766 in Tourtram service circa
1980, by this time, the Witts had been withdrawn
from regular service. The car is on King Street at
Saint Lawrence Hall. Ted Wickson
Le Peter Witt a été le choix de tramway par
excellence pour la Toronto Transportation
Commission pendant la période qui a suivi les
voitures en bois et précédé ceux de type PCC.
Ici, nous voyons le Witt de type court no 2766 à
l’intersection de la rue King devant l’édifice du
Saint-Lawrence Hall lors d’une randonnée
touristique dans les années 1980. À cette
époque, les Witt étaient déjà retirés du service
régulier. Ted Wickson. Ted Wickson is a former career employee with the
Toronto Transit Commission, retiring in 1997 after 31
years of service, mostly spent in the Marketing and
Public Affairs Department. During the 1980s he was
editor of TTCs emplyee magazine, The Coupler, and
during the 1990s served as the Commissions first
corporate archivist. Ted is an active local historian and
avid student of Torontos waterfront, railway and
public transit heritage. He has been a long time documentary photographer of this infrastructure and
keeps busy as an occasional contract archivist and
contributor to railway and transit enthusiast
magazines. In recent years he has authored the offical
bicentennial book of Torontos port and harbour
(Reflections of Toronto Harbour) and, similarly, the
centennial book (1904-2004) for the Canadian Urban
Transit Association. Ted lives in Etobicoke and is a
seventh generation Torontonian.
route). In almost every case, Toronto and elsewhere,
these electric buses operated over former carlines where
much of the existing traction power infrastructure could
easily be adapted for use by TCs. Wartime deferred
maintenance had taken its toll on track, roadbed and
rolling stock and Canadian transit systems rushed to
convert carlines to bus. In the two or three years following
the war, ridership levels remained high in the larger cities
(especially streetcar systems), partly due to the wartime
riding habit of transit users, the delayed end to gas and
tire rationing, and the shortage of automobiles new and
General Motors led the pack of established and
emerging bus makers in offering a wide range of new
diesel and gasoline powered vehicles. GM soon gained a
notorious reputation for its aggressive marketing tactics
but it did offer a superior but more expensive diesel bus
(the “Old Look” model). Postwar inflation and a backlog
of orders at the factory conspired to prevent many cities
from switching to bus overnight. In the ten years following WWII, 21 Canadian cities retired their streetcar fleets,
leaving only Ottawa and Montreal to continue with
streetcars until 1959. Toronto bucked the trend, for
reasons stated above.
During the early years of WWII, the TTC was in
a far better situation than its counterpart streetcar
properties in Canada. Toronto had taken delivery of 250
new PCC streetcars between 1938 and 1942. At the war’s
outset in 1939, Canadian street railway operators
(Canadian Transit Association members) had a total of
3,416 cars on roster, compared with only 611 transit buses.
By the end of 1945, these figures would be 3,512 and 1,454
respectively. As wartime traffic increased, systems with a
critical shortage of rolling stock appealed to the TTC for
used streetcars. Thus, ex-Toronto streetcars were sold to
Halifax in 1940 (14 Birney cars) and, by directive of the
Federal Transit Controller (office created November
1941), 20 ex-Toronto Railway wooden cars (“TRs”) were
sent to Quebec City, Ottawa and Fort William.Toronto Transportation Commission car 4034, one of the first PCC streetcars built for Toronto by Canadian Car & Foundry, from a
kit supplied by St. Louis Car Company in the USA. These cars were of lightweight construction and had an expected service life of
25 years. This car, delivered in 1938 marked the beginning of the revitalization of TTC rolling stock. This (and subsequent) orders
for new and boomer equipment was the critical move that set the stage for the retention of streetcars in Toronto. At the end of
service in Montreal, except for 18 PCC’s, most one man cars dated back to the late 1920’s. In the mid 1950’s, seventeen one man
cars were rebuilt, but the program was cancelled when the decision to eliminate Montreal’s streetcars altogether was taken.
Despite the lack of will, the cost to upgrade the 1955 Montreal streetcar fleet all at once would have been massive. CRHA Archives,
Fonds CanCar
Le tramway no 4034 de la TTC. C’est le premier tramway PCC construit par la Canadian Car & Foundry à partir de pièces détachées
fournies par la St.Louis Car Company des États-Unis. La livraison de ce tramway en 1938 marque le début d’une revitalisation du
matériel roulant de la TTC. Cette livraison et les autres qui ont suivi furent décisives pour l’avenir des tramways à Toronto. Par
ailleurs, à Montréal, au moment du retrait des tramways, la majorité de ceux à un seul homme dataient déjà de la fin des années
1920, à l’exception de ses 18 PCC. Ces tramways légers avaient une espérance de vie de plus de 25 ans. Au milieu des années
1950, on commença à rénover 17 véhicules à un seul homme, mais ce programme fut annulé après que la Ville eut décidé de retirer
tous ses tramways. De toute manière, le coût de rénovation du parc de tramways de Montréal en 1955 aurait été considérable.
Archives ACHF, fonds CanCar.
209CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009With the establishment of the American Office
of Defense Transportation in late December 1941,
deliveries of transit vehicles from U.S. builders were
severely restricted to all North American customers. Bus
manufacture was the most affected (ODT froze
production levels in June 1942), forcing some cities to
reopen carlines closed just before these restrictions were
in place. In Toronto, full streetcar service was restored to
the SHERBOURNE route in June 1942 and continued
until 1947.
During the second half of the War, TTC received
another 40 air-electric PCC cars, much fewer than
requested due to directives imposed by the ODT and
Transit Controller. Montreal and Vancouver, also
needing new cars, were permitted to receive a portion of
TTC’s original procurement request. As with all former
Canadian PCC orders dating from 1938, assembly of
these cars was carried out at Montreal’s Canadian Car &
Foundry plant from kits supplied by the St. Louis Car Co.
By 1944 Allied victory in Europe seemed assured
and all Canadian transit systems began to focus on their
post-war modernization and fleet renewal plans. Only
Ottawa and Toronto prepared plans for acquiring new
streetcars. During the war, refinements to the PCC
streetcar were made by the U.S. based Transit Research
Corporation (TTC was an active partner) which
continued the work of the original Electric Railway
Presidents’ Conference Committee. A prototype all-
electric PCC car was ready for testing in 1944. By war’s
end, the TTC was the only Canadian customer of the next
generation PCC car. Ottawa, never a PCC car property,
chose to order a small number of standard cars from the
Ottawa Car Manufacturing Co.CC&F/St. Louis Car supplied the TTC with 250 all-
electric PCCs between 1947 and 1951:
1947-48: 100 cars class A6 fleet nos. 4300-4399
1949: 100 cars class A7 fleet nos. 4400-4499
1951: 50 cars class A8 fleet nos. 4500-4549
These PCC deliveries, coupled with a few carline
abandonments (especially those using double-ended
equipment), allowed the retirement of the remaining pre-
1921 cars inherited from the Toronto Railway Co. and
Toronto Civic Railways. Some of the 30-year old Peter
Witt cars were also retired but many would remain in
service for another dozen years until the Yonge and
University Subways opened and an additional 205
boomer PCC cars were acquired from American street
railway operators 1950-1957. These almost new cars,
purchased at bargain prices, were selected from cars
recently, or about to be, retired in Cincinnati, Cleveland,
Birmingham and Kansas City. By 1957 the TTC had the
world’s largest active fleet of 744 PCC cars.
The 100 class A6 PCCs (4400s) were m.u.
equipped and were assigned to the BLOOR-
DANFORTH route where two-car rush hour train
operation commenced March 13, 1950. This was TTC’s
second busiest carline after YONGE and this service
improvement was the first exclusively street operation of
multiple-unit PCC cars anywhere in the world. The
Cleveland boomer cars (including original “Louisville”
cars) were subsequently equipped for m.u. operation and
joined the fleet assigned to the Bloor carline. Shortly after
the Bloor–Danforth subway opening, these cars were
regularly assigned to the QUEEN route where m.u.
service was instituted in October 1967. It was
discontinued in February 1977 when TTC accepted the
tradeoff of single car operation and the attendant shorter
headways the riding public demanded.It’s October 1967, and it is the first
week of multiple unit operation on
Queen Street. Two pairs of two car
trains passing on the private right-of-
way section of the line were lensed by
Ted Wickson. PCC 4477 leads,
represented in the two trains are
classes A-7, A-11, and A-12 of PCC
Le PCC 4477 en octobre 1967 durant
la première semaine de circulation,
rue Queen, de tramways jumelés.
Deux paires de trains viennent de se
croiser sur l’emprise de la ligne devant
l’objectif de Ted Wickson. Ces trains –
on voit au premier plan le PCC 4477 –
sont des tramways PCC de classes A-
7, A-11 et A-12.
210RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009The decision to achieve this all-PCC fleet
followed a 1950 review of streetcar operations. It was
expected that the heaviest carlines would remain for
another 20 years at which time they would be replaced by
rapid transit or an intense trolley coach service. In
subsequent years, other studies have been undertaken to
develop a streetcar replacement policy and but proposals
to introduce buses have been tempered by fears of
worsening traffic congestion, longer trip times for buses
and expected public outrage. And so, the status quo has
essentially remained despite the flexibility argument in
favour of buses and strong business cases made for
converting some underperforming carlines.
In November 1972, matters came to a
head when a loose coalition of citizen’s groups,
politicians and streetcar enthusiasts convinced
the Toronto Transit Commissioners to abandon
their staff’s recommendation of doing away with
streetcars (1980 was suggested final
abandonment date). Briefs tabled by the
Streetcars for Toronto Committee articulated
clearly the viability of streetcars versus buses and
many other advantages. Essentially, it was shown
that streetcars outperformed buses in respect to
passenger capacity per unit, capacity per route,
loading speed and average operating speed.
TTC’s General Manager admitted that “pound
for pound, the streetcar is the best vehicle for
As expected, the Commission’s decision
to retain streetcars indefinitely met with wide community
support. Only the lightly patronized ROGERS and MT.
PLEASANT routes would be closed (1974 and 1976
respectively). The PCC car, then nearing 25 years of age,
would soon need to be replaced. No research on streetcar
technology had been undertaken in North America since
the PCC development in the 1930s and 1940s. As the TTC
pondered the fate of the PCC, a three-year heavy rebuilding program was undertaken in 1972 to extend the
lives of 173 of these cars for another ten years by which
time a new fleet would be introduced.
The Province’s Urban Transportation
Development Corporation was created at this time. Its
first major task was to oversee the design and
construction of the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle for
Toronto. TTC’s engineering staff provided considerable
input as specifications were developed. An order for 196
cars was placed with UTDC, the first six manufactured by
Swiss builder SIG in1977-1978, and the balance supplied
by Hawker-Siddeley’s Thunder Bay plant 1978-1981.
New lease on life – heavily rebuilt PCC streetcar 4540 as
photographed on June 10, 1973. Ted Wickson
Le PCC no 4540 grandement rénové, photographié le 10 juin
1973. Ted Wickson.The first LRV streetcar (car 4002 but un-numbered when
shipped) arrived by ship to the Port of Montreal on December
24, 1977. There it was loaded onto two CP Rail flatcars and
brought from the Port to Hochelaga Yard where it was
eventually marshaled into a train to Toronto. Canadian Pacific
Railway Archives 77-350-35, Ted Wickson collection
Le premier VRL (véhicule léger sur rail), le no 4002, non
numéroté au moment de sa livraison, arrive au port de
Montréal en ce 24 décembre 1977. Il fut réparti ensuite sur
deux wagons plats de CP Rail amenés vers la cour de triage
Port d’Hochelaga et insérés dans un train en partance pour
Toronto. Archives Canadien Pacifique 77-350-35, collection
Ted Wickson.
A subsequent 52-car order for an articulated
version was placed with UTDC and assembled at its
Kingston plant. Following many teething problems and
retrofits (especially with CLRV truck assemblies and
motor insulation), revenue service commenced with the
CLRV in September 1979 and the ALRV in January 1988
(both on the LONG BRANCH route). The ALRV’s high
capacity has made it well suited for the heavy 501-
QUEEN and 511-BATHURST carlines. The CLRV,
slightly larger than the PCC, was configured to meet the
design envelope of the former Large Peter Witt Car,
which had governed all existing track and special work
clearances since the 1920s.
In times of budget restraint, especially during the
211CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009downturn of the 1990s, the TTC and its political masters
still considered the streetcar to be “sacred”, with funding
for normal track maintenance and car overhauls
continuing on a regular basis. However, the fleet surplus during this time spelled the end of the second PCC
rebuilding program (19 cars outshopped 1986-1991) and
ultimate retirement of this iconic car (dubbed Toronto’s
“Red Rocket”) in 1995.
The first LRV car 4002 is still un-
numbered and in its original SIG paint
scheme in this photo taken on February
9, 1978 on the TTC’s Hillcrest shop test
track. Ted Wickson
Photo prise le 9 février 1978 – sur la voie
d’essai de l’atelier Hillcrest de la TTC – du
tramway 4002 pas encore numéroté
malgré sa nouvelle livrée. Ted Wickson.In service PCC class A-13 4738 an
ex-Birmingham, Alabama car is
operating west bound on King
Street at Wilson Street in August
of 1972. Ted Wickson
Le PCC de classe A-13 no 4738,
un ex-Birmingham d’Alabama,
circule en direction ouest sur la
rue King à l’intersection de la rue
Wilson en ce 12 août 1972. Ted
Wickson.CLRV 4057 plying route 504 is
east bound at King and Queen
Streets near the Don River Bridge
on July 22, 1981. Ted Wickson
LE VLR no 4057 de la ligne 504 en
direction est, à l’intersection des
rues King et Queen près du pont
de la rivière Don en ce 22 juillet
1981. Ted Wickson.
212RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009The bad economic times also spurred the Mike
Harris PC Government to cancel funding for TTC’s
ambitious rapid transit plans (heavy rail and light rail) in
1995. This scheme was first tabled in 1990 as Let’s Move
under Ontario Liberal Government auspices and
tweaked again during the successor New Democrat
administration as the Rapid Transit Expansion Program.
More than a decade would pass before the essential
elements of these former proposals were resurrected and
incorporated into the current Transit City plan (see map) which, unlike its predecessors, was even more ambitious
and placed an emphasis on light rail. Despite the austerity
of the 1990s, the TTC and Province followed through on
commitments made to build and open three new light rail
lines—the Harbourfront and Spadina LRT lines
ultimately combined as route 510 (opened 1990 and 1997
respectively) and route 509-HARBOURFRONT
(opened 2000), the latter linking Union Station with the
Canadian National Exhibition.
Once again, TTC’s streetcar fleet was soon
stretched to meet service demands as ridership recovered
after the millennium. Specifications for the next
generation streetcar, to be fully accessible, also needed to
be prepared and new cars sourced. An additional fleet
(cars differing slightly from the standard, urban on-street
version) would also be needed for the LRT component of
Transit City. The high floor CLRV, dating from the late
1970s, was approaching the end of its nominal 30-year
design life.
On June 30, 2009 the TTC signed a contract with
Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc. for the supply of 204 low floor five section articulated streetcars. The
agreement gives Toronto the option to purchase an
additional 194 cars, mostly for the LRT routes in the
Transit City plan. A prototype vehicle is expected in 2011
and revenue service will begin in 2012. Deliveries will be
completed by 2018.
As Toronto gears up to celebrate the
sesquicentennial of its street railways in 2011, there can be
much reflection on the rich history of this legacy and the
many decisions made over the years to shape the system
we see today and can expect tomorrow.
213CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009September – October, 2009
Edited by David GawleyHERITAGE
Steam train fuels up on cash handout from Quebec
The Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield steam train is
getting a $264,465 boost from Quebecs tourism ministry.
The popular tourist attraction had not operated in the
summer of 2008 when landslides damaged parts of the 64-
km line it runs along. The cash injection goes to the
Compagnie de Chemin de Fer de lOutaouais, which
operates the train, to help rehabilitate the section of the
rail corridor between Gatineau and La Peche.
All three levels of government stepped in after
the owner, who was saddled with the costs of fixing the
line, threatened to close up shop and sell the train last
year. In January, the City of Gatineau announced it was
kicking in $1.2 million to help fix up the line, and the
federal and provincial governments pledged $1.9M each.
The steam train resumed service this spring. About 50,000
people ride the train each year. (Ottawa Sun)
CPR announces sale of Windsor Station to Cadillac
CPR announced the sale of Windsor Station and
significant other related real estate assets to the Cadillac
Fairview Corporation Limited for $86 million. As part of
the transaction, CPR has entered into a long term lease
with Cadillac Fairview, and will remain the principal
tenant of Windsor Station, reflecting its close connection
to the building and its long-term presence in Montreal.
The transaction has received the necessary
regulatory approvals, including federal government
approval. Windsor Station currently houses more than
300,000 square feet of leasable office space and serves as
an important hub for commuters to access the Montreal
underground and Montreal Metro subway system. Its
impressive architecture and rich history remain an iconic symbol for the heart of downtown Montreal and a major
point of interest in the citys urban landscape. (Canadian
Smiths Falls train station theatre, chugging ever
closer toward completion
The curtain isnt going to rise until next spring on
the new Smiths Falls Community Theatre but future
patrons got a chance to peek behind the scenes as part of
the Doors Open event this June. What they saw was a
small-town performance space second to none slowly
chugging to completion, a $600,000 train station
conversion drawn out over 10 years mainly by financial
Owned by the municipality, the theatre has taken
over most the space in what was an 1887 CPR station, part
of which is still used by Via Rail. The towns other historic
station built by CN in 1914 was also on the 19-stop Doors
Open tour. It was transformed several years ago into the
Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. Other stops
recalling the towns rich past as a transportation hub
included an 1885 building at 34 Beckwith St. which served
as a CPR ticket office and bunkhouse into the 1930s,
three lock stations on the Rideau Canal, and the rare,
cantilevered Canadian Northern Bascule Bridge over the
Rideau canal. (Ottawa Sun)
New Chamber office in former Carlton Place train
station officially opens
Bob Hawkins remembers his ride on the last
passenger train to ever stop at the former CPR station in
Carleton Place, Ontario. I took my grandson Ryan and we
went to Arnprior. He was just a little lad – only four years
old, a smiling Hawkins told the Record News. It was sad
to see it (passenger rail service) go. The date was Jan. 14,
1990 meaning the Hawkins train trip occurred nearly 20
years ago. Only weeks after the last passenger train passed
through the community the tracks, which connected
Carleton Place and nearby Ottawa, were torn up.
Its a move that remains controversial to this day,
especially in light of the current trend toward expanded
commuter rail service from suburbs, including Carleton
Place, into the centre of the nations capital. The official
opening of the sections of the former station which will
now house the towns Visitors Centre, along with the
Chamber offices, touched off a wave of nostalgia. Many of
those who came to the opening were there to see how the
structure has changed in the two decades since it was last
used as a railway station. (Almonte/Carleton Place)
Steam engine displayed in Kingston to be restored
Kingston, Ontario, will spend $70,000 to
refurbish a major tourist attraction in Confederation
Basin, despite a bid by one city councillor to postpone the
work. Councillor Mark Gerretsen wanted to cut the
214RAIL CANADIEN • 532SEPTEMBRE – OCTOBRE 2009spending to restore the Spirit of Sir John A. locomotive
until a work plan is available. The money for the project,
contained in the citys capital budget, will be spent on
shoring up some parts of the locomotive to make it safe
and create detailed drawings for a permanent shelter
around the old locomotive.
City commissioner Cynthia Beach said the
locomotive will eventually become unsafe in its current
position and work needs to be done to ensure that
eventuality doesnt come to fruition. The jet-black
locomotive, No. 1095, has been a fixture in Confederation
Basin for more than four decades. The locomotive came
to life in 1913, built in Kingston at the site of the former
Canadian Locomotive Company. The engine criss-
crossed the country for CPR, spending most of its time in
Winnipeg before coming to the end of its line in Montreal.
The Canadian Junior Chamber of Commerce
paid $10,000 for the locomotive as a gift to the city in 1966.
But over its four decades in the park across from City
Hall, little if any work has been done to keep it in decent
condition. A group of volunteers came forward to restore
the locomotive, aiming for the work to be completed by
2013, in time for the 100th birthday of No. 1095. The
overall cost of the project is estimated to be nearly
$500,000, the majority of which will be covered through
donations. (Kingston Whig-Standard)
Toronto Union Station plans near completion

Nine years after acquiring historic Union
Station, Toronto appears ready to soon begin a $640-
million remake of the beaux arts landmark, including the
addition of a new mall. City councils executive committee
will be asked to finalize plans for the train station that
stalled after a deal with private investors sputtered out
three years ago, then re-launched in 2007 with the city
going it alone.
If loose ends are tied up, the massive overhaul
would start in early 2010 and be completed by 2015, a
much tighter timeline than initially envisioned.
Unfinished business includes securing federal funding,
provincial approval of GO Transits deal to buy part of the
station and city councils endorsement of a leasing deal
with a property management company for a retail
concourse. (National Post)
Last spike being driven again in re-enactment in
Northern Ont
A little piece of history was recently recreated in
Kenora, Ontario. The last section of the CPR between
Thunder Bay and Winnipeg to be completed was the 107
kilometre stretch between Eagle River and Keewatin with
the last spike driven on June 19, 1882 just south of
Kenora, near Feist Lake. Retirees of CPR, members of
the railway museum and Kenoras model railroaders re-enacted the moment at Kenora Forest Products recently.
As the only women present at the ceremony
more than 100 years ago, Jenny (Eliza Jane) Fowler, sister
of a civil engineer on the project, hammered in the spike
linking east and west. Ron Baker, president of the retirees
of CPR, wasnt even aware of the landmark until the
Fowler family recently posted a plaque on Highway 17
near Stewart Lake and said he wants to make the
community more aware of the its heritage and relation to
the railway. In 1875, the federal government began
construction on a railway spanning the 600 kilometres
between Thunder Bay and Red River (now Winnipeg). It
took seven years to complete. The first shipment of
Western grain made its way to Thunder Bay in the fall of
1883. (Kenora Daily Miner & News)
Portage la Prairie Heritage members anxious to
complete CPR station project
The Canadian Pacific Railway Station project in
Portage la Prairie has a way to go before completion, but
remains a pressing concern, members of Portage la
Prairie Heritage Society heard recently. Chairman Vic
Edwards addressed the roughly 25 members who
attended the annual general meeting about the delays
facing the project. While the funds are available to
continue the work, an engineers report still needs to be
completed. That is stalling progress on the project. The
work that still needs to be completed for the interior of
the building includes installing heating, constructing
washrooms, and sheeting the ceiling with gyproc. The
organization also hopes to install a geothermal heating
system. Costs for the work are as expected, with some
government grants lined up. The engineers report will
likely cost $5,000. (Portage La Prairie Daily Graphic)
Donald M. Bain, 1939 – 2009
Donald Morrison Bain died peacefully on
Canada Day at the Rosedale Hospice in Calgary just six
weeks after his beloved wife of nearly forty-six years,
Carol Ann Bain. Born in Edinburgh in 1939, and
educated at St. Pauls, London and the University of
Nottingham, Donald immigrated to Canada in 1963 and
lived in Dundas, Ontario and Dawson Creek, B.C. before
settling in Calgary, AB in 1966. He was a geologist, a
banker, an international traveler, and for over thirty years
an author and publisher of historical books dealing mostly
with Canadian railways but also other transportation. His
soft cover, horizontal format books grace the shelves of
many a hobby shop and museum boutique, including
He was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall
of Fame in 2007. He is survived by three children, five
grandchildren and a brother. We offer our sincere
condolences to the family.
215CANADIAN RAIL • 532SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER 2009BACK COVER TOP: Introduced in 1921, the Peter Witt type streetcar was the workhorse of the Toronto Transportation
Commission especially before the introduction of the PCC type cars in 1938. They worked alongside the PCC’s from 1938 to
1961(Large Witts) and 1965 (Small Witts) when the final units were retired from regular passenger service. In all a total of 575 large
and small Peter Witt type motor and trailer cars were operated by the TTC. The bulk of them were built by Canadian Car & Foundry
but Brill and Ottawa supplied a minor portion each. Here we see former TTC class K-2 Large Witt 2424 which was built by C.C.& F
in 1921, at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum at Milton, Ontario. The car has been newly painted and striped to represent
the 1939 – 1941 era, when these cars were converted to one man car operation. Three Large Witts have been preserved, the 2424
and 2984 at Halton County and Exporail’s 2300. David Barrett
COUVERTURE ARRIÈRE HAUT: Le tramway de type Peter Witt introduit en 1921 fut la bête de somme de la Toronto Transportation
Commission avant l’arrivée des tramways PCC en 1938. Les Witt furent utilisés simultanément avec les PCC de 1938 jusqu’en
1961 pour les modèles allongés et 1965 pour les modèles courts, date de leur retrait définitif. Un nombre total de 575 véhicules de
traction et de remorques Peter Witt dans les deux formats circulèrent sur le réseau de la TTC. La plupart furent construits par la
Canadian Car & Foundry et les autres par Brill et Ottawa Car. Ici, nous voyons le Peter Witt allongé de classe K2 no 2424 de la TTC,
construit par la C.C. &.F. en 1921, au musée ferroviaire de Halton County Radial à Milton, en Ontario. Le véhicule a été peint et
décoré avec une livrée représentant la version 1939-1941, moment où il fut converti à un tramway de type à un seul homme. Trois
Peter Witt de modèle allongé furent préservés, soit les nos 2424 et 2984 au Halton County et le no 2300 à Exporail. David Barrett.
BACK COVER BOTTOM: The look of streetcars to come. Artists rendering of the 204 new lo
w floor 5 unit articulated streetcars
ordered by the Toronto Transportation Commission from Bombardier Transportation Canada Inc.
COUVERTURE ARRIÈRE BAS: Les tramways à venir. Illustration artistique d’un exemplaire de la commande des 204 unités
multiples à cinq voitures et à plancher surbaissé commandés par la TTC à l’entreprise Bombardier.Lord Revelstoke attended the 2009 Revelstoke

James Baring, 6th Baron of Revelstoke,
attended the 2009 Revelstoke Homecoming which took
took place July 24 to 26. Lord Revelstokes connection to
Revelstoke, BC dates back to the 19th century. In 1885 the
president of CPR went to Europe to seek backing for the
troubled railway company. While there he met with
Edward Baring, First Baron Revelstoke, and senior
partner in Barings Bank of London. The bank bought a
majority of shares in the railway company, allowing for
the completion of the Trans-Canada Railway. The Last
Spike was driven in Craigellachie in 1885 and in 1886 at the request of CPR the name of the settlement of Farwell
was officially changed to Revelstoke in order to
commemorate Lord Revelstokes involvement.
James Baring, 6th Baron of Revelstoke, is a
direct descendent of Edward Baring. Baring was
honoured to make his first visit to the Americas for the
Revelstoke homecoming. In his words he said, From
where I stand, the honour is mine to share a few days with
the descendants of all those who were involved with
building the CPR and making Revelstoke a thriving
community. Theyre the story, not me. On the other hand,
if I can help to remind people their history and feel good
about it, I am glad to take a part. (Revelstoke Times
James Baring, 6th Baron of Revelstoke poses at
the Revelstoke Railway Museum on July 24,
2009. Dr. David Johnson
James Baring, le 6ième Baron de Revelstoke,
capté au « Musée ferroviaire de Revelstoke » le
24 juillet 2009 par Dr. David Johnson

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