These shops are among the earliest of all the railway owned car building shops of Canada, and were opened in 1859, at about the same time as the adjacent Victoria Bridge.
The first cars built were three sleeping cars completed in 1859, and other similar sleeping cars were built there at the rate of two or three a year until 1870, when Pullman's Palace Car Company took over all sleeping car services on the Grand Trunk. 81 box cars were also built in these shops in 1859 and 1860.
Freight car production for the Grand Trunk was largely carried out by custom car builders until about 1876 when some fairly large groups began to be constructed at Point St. Charles. By the 1860s orders for groups of 500 box cars placed with the shops were common, and up until 1912 these shops built complete many thousands of freight cars of all kinds.
Passenger car production was sporadic, a few being built each year until the early part of the century, when some fairly large orders for standard G.T.R. wooden passenger cars were completed in the years 1903 to 1912.
As well as building all of the first sleeping cars of the road in the years 1859-1870, Point St. Charles shops also built 38 Pullman sleepers over the years 1870 to 1889, for use on its lines under the Pullman contract drawn in the former year. These were owned and operated by The Pullman Company and were built to standard Pullman designs of the period.
A few quite noteworthy official cars were built at Point St. Charles over the years. The first of these were two cars built in 1872 for the use of the G.T.R. President and its General Manager. One of these was used by Canada's then-new Governor-General, the Marquis of Lorne in his vice-regal train from Halifax to Ottawa in 1878 when he first arrived in this country to take up his post.
The next official car built at Point St. Charles was the VIOLET (later renamed BONAVENTURE) built for Mr. Charles M. Hays, then G.T.R. president, in 1896. Then came the ONTARIO in 1907, the TRANSCONTINENTAL for the Grand Trunk Pacific in 1908, and finally the OTTAWA, in 1913. Some of these cars were very sumptuously appointed, as was the custom of that day, and most of them are still in service on the Canadian National, steel plated and in vastly-altered form.
In all, the Point St. Charles shops built 744 passenger cars — 703 for the Grand Trunk, 3 for the G.T.P., and 38 for the Pullman's Palace Car Co.
No new passenger car production has taken place at these shops since 1922, and the Canadian National, which took over the Grand Trunk in 1923, has used the shops as a repair facility only, and it is today one of the main shops of the C.N. system, handling all passenger car work, and much of the freight car work in the St. Lawrence and Great Lakes Regions.
As originally laid out in 1859, the Point St. Charles area contained two cruciform engine houses of twelve stalls each (three stalls in each bay) with turntables completely roofed over; a stone locomotive erecting shop, a brick fitting shop and a brick stores and office building flanking the erecting shop. It also had a brick car building factory, and wood car repair shop.
The Point St. Charles station, which was then the main G.T.R. station in Montreal before the company's removal to Bonaventure station some years later, was adjacent.
Also close by was the Grand Trunk Railway System's head office building, which remained such until the opening in 1902 of the new head office building at 360 McGill Street in downtown Montreal, which later became the Canadian National Railways system headquarters building, and from which the railway moved only in the summer of 1961.
Several generations of devoted Grand Trunk and Canadian National shop employees have grown up in the rows of dwellings on Sebastopol St., Congregation St., Ste. Madeleine, Bourgeoys and Charron Streets in Point St. Charles — the streets immediately bordering the shops.
Here in St. Ann's Ward were the homes of the large Irish community of Montreal, which still has left its stamp on the cosmopolitan character of that great city, and which at one time supplied a very large number of its members to shop and railway service.
Here also were the first railway yards and terminals in the city of Montreal, and the lands hereabouts have been in use for railway purposes well over a hundred years. If ever there was a place in Canada steeped in railway tradition, "the Point" is that place, and even today it is spoken of with a special reverence by many members of the Canadian National family.
The Grand Trunk was a British road, and was originally staffed entirely by English officials and mechanics. Thus the whole original atmosphere of "the Point" was that of an English mid-Victorian railway terminal picked up and laid down in North America.
Only slowly did its character change, but many improvements have been made during the years, and Point St. Charles shops today is a very modern railway shop facility.
Considerable attention was always given to training G.T.R. apprentices in these shops. This was carried out in a thorough British manner, as was characteristic of all matters on the early Grand Trunk.
The shops also had their own G.T.R. Fire Brigade, which, in addition to always being on hand to fight fires in and around the shops, was occasionally called out to quell biases in wood sheds and stations on the road.
Probably the most important personality in the early period of the Grand Trunk Car department, and the one having the most influence on car design over this period was William McWood, Master Car Builder, G.T.R. and finally Superintendent of its Car Department.
Mr. McWood was born in Montreal in 1830 and entered railway service with the Grand Trunk car department in 1855. In 1860 he was promoted to foreman and in 1873 to Assistant Mechanical Superintendent, with charge over the Car Department of the entire system. He was Superintendent of the Car Department on his retirement in 1903, having spent his entire career with the Grand Trunk Railway from almost its earliest beginnings to the time when wide-vestibuled, electrically lighted coaches were in service.
He was Vice-President of the Master Car Builder's Association from 1882 to 1887, and its President from 1887 to 1890.
Thirty-eight Pullmans wre constructed at Point St. Charles shops and it was a favourite saying of Mr. George M. Pullman that next to those built in his own workshops, he liked those constructed by Mr. McWood at Point St. Charles, for exellence of workmanship.
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The Great Western Railway was one of the pioneer lines of western Ontario and had its headquarters and shops at Hamilton. Its line now comprises the Canadian National main line from Niagara Falls to Windsor, via Hamilton and London, and what was originally called the G.W.R. "Toronto Branch", from Hamilton to Toronto, is now the most heavily travelled piece of railway anywhere in Canada.
The Great Western was a British road, with two Boards of Directors — one in London, England, and the other at Hamilton, Canada. As a consequence, all officials of the railway, including its Mechanical Department officials and staff, were recruited in England, this fact having its reflection in the characteristic high British standard of workmanship carried out in the shops. It also could not fail to have its effect, at least to some extent, on the slightly British appearance of some of the equipment.
Whilst railway shops of a sort were established in Hamilton as early as 1853, they were greatly enlarged and extended in 1859, after which locomotives and cars in volume began to be produced there.
A popular fiction exists to the effect that the sleeping car was invented in Hamilton and first produced by these shops in 1858. The writer, who is a native of Hamilton and has fully researched this matter, cannot subscribe to this view, and regards it both as an oft-repeated boast of the city's publicists and as an over-simplification of the facts.
It is further claimed that Mr. George M. Pullman, the inventor of the type of sleeping car bearing his name, visited the G.W.R. sleeping car at Hamilton, and later copied its design in the United States to his considerable financial benefit. I am obliged to reject this story also, and the following are the true facts of the case.
In November 1858 three sleeping cars entered service on the Great Western Railway which had been built in their Hamilton shops to designs of Samuel Sharp, then Car Superintendent of the line. Several months prior to this event, on June 22, 1858, the Grand Trunk Railway introduced sleeping cars on its trains which they had built in their Point St. Charles shops, Montreal. Both these events were antedated by the establishment of sleeping car services on the Illinois Central, the Chicago & Alton and certain other U.S. railways, as early as 1856.
The Great Western sleeping cars were therefore neither the first sleeping cars anywhere, nor even the first ones in Canada. Their design was entirely different from those later built under the Pullman patents. The G.W.R. sleepers of 1858 had a partition dividing the car lengthwise into two parts, against which were three tiers of berths — six in a row. Thus each car held 36 sleepers — on the one side gentlemen, and on the other side ladies and children. The space between the berths and windows was wide enough to admit a row of single seats next to the windows.
Pullman sleepers came into operation in joint line service over the Great Western, Michigan Central and New York Central Railroads in January 1867. At this period, Mr. George Pullman did not have shops of his own in which to build the cars, so they were built by various custom car builders to his designs, and also in the shops of some of those railways over which they ran. Thus it was that several were completed in the G.W.R. Hamilton shops, the first being outshopped on May 10, 1867 and placed in joint line service between Chicago and Rochester, using G.W.R. rails between Windsor and Suspension Bridge.
These cars were unique in that they were placed upon Allen's centre bearing swing beam eight wheel trucks, an invention of C.F. Allen, Master Mechanic of the C.B.&Q. shops at Aurora, Illinois, and used on the first Pullman cars built by, and used on that road. These trucks were rigid, and provided sixteen wheels under each car. They were ruled off the road as being too rigid by the New York Central in 1875 and cars equipped with them could no longer be interchanged. These sleepers were therefore re-equipped with conventional six-wheel trucks.
But we have diverted far from a general discussion of the G.W.R. Hamilton shops. A rail re-rolling mill was established by the railway at its Hamilton shops in 1864. In common with most railways at that time, the G.W.R. suffered extensively from the poor wearing qualities of iron rails. Worn rails were re-rolled in this mill and made satisfactory for re-use until the operation was closed down on March 8, 1872; steel rails having become available at the end of 1869.
This rolling mill had been operated for the railway under contract by Ward, Clement & Potter of Detroit and Chicago, and was leased in 1879 by the railway to the Ontario Rolling Mill Company, for custom steel rolling. This company became a division of The Steel Company of Canada Limited in 1909, and the old G.W.R. rolling mill, enlarged and modernized, is at this date still in use as the Ontario Works of The Steel Company of Canada Limited. It is situated immedately behind the C.N. Hamilton roundhouse, and among other products, it now rolls tie plates for railway use.
Prior to January 1867, all operations on the Great Western were conducted on the old Provincial broad gauge of 5'6". However, for the speedy interchange of traffic with U.S. railways it was found necessary to lay a third rail of standard gauge (4'8-1/2") between the running rails of the G.W.R. main line. On January 1, 1867 the main line was opened for traffic as a three-rail line of double gauge. Then ensued a busy period at the Hamilton shops in converting cars from broad to "narrow" gauge. At this time much of the original rolling stock was scrapped, and much new rolling stock built.
By the spring of 1873 the use of broad gauge locomotives and cars was discontinued, and on June 30, 1873 the last broad gauge rail was taken up. In this tremendous conversion program, the Hamilton shops of course played an important part.
Hardly had this phase been completed than the railway decided to move the Car Department from Hamilton to London, where it built completely new car shops which were opened in September 1874. The locomotive shops remained at Hamilton and operated until 1888, after which they were leased to Canada Iron Foundries Limited and used as a wheel foundry, operating as such until 1960, when the old buildings were torn down. Their location was between the present C.N. Hamilton car repair track and the roundhouse, on the south perimeter of Hamilton yard.
Locomotive building and repairs were carried on until 1888 at the Hamilton shops by the Grand Trunk Railway, which had amalgamated with the Great Western on August 12, 1882. In 1888 the machinery from the Locomotive Department at these shops was moved to the G.T.R. locomotive shops at Stratford.
At this writing, parts of the C.N. Hamilton roundhouse, and its stone machine shop and office building are all that remain of the original Great Western installations.
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In September 1874 the Great Western Railway moved its car shops from Hamilton to a new site at London, Ont. The reason for this move was that the shop area at Hamilton was hemmed in by the rolling nature of the land immediately south of Hamilton yard, and the topography did not permit the expansion so necessary in a large shop facility.
The new shops laid out by the G.W.R. at London in 1874 are little changed today from their appearances at the time. They occupy an entire city block on the northern boundary of the C.N. London East yard.
Some notable passenger cars have been built there in times past, first by the Great Western, and, after that line was taken over in 1882 by the Grand Trunk.
The parlour cars CONTINENTAL and INTERNATIONAL of the Great Western were built at London car shops in 1876. These were built to the designs of Mr. J.D. McIlwain, Master Car Builder at the shops, and received much acclaim.
In 1883 the London shops built the parlour cars LONDON and CLIFTON, and the dining car WINDSOR, all of which wre written up extensively in the press and contemporary railway publications.
Active passenger car production ceased in 1888, but the shops since that time have been a very active repair facility on both freight and passenger cars. About 1959 the passenger car work was removed to Point St. Charles from London by the Canadian National, who acquired the shops with the Grand Trunk in 1923.
Present plans call for abandonment of these shops, as well as the remaining facilities at Stratford locomotive shops in July 1965.
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This car shop, whilst not situated in Canada, is included here because it was owned and operated by the U.S. subsidiary of the Grand Trunk, and as such had close ties with the railway picture in Canada.
On the G.T.W. the old Fort Gratiot car shop was known as the Block "I" shops, because it was situated in Block "I" of the city of Port Huron, the townsite of which was divided up into blocks, which were assigned letters of the alphabet.
It was first constructed as both a locomotive and car shop on the short of Lake Huron above Port Huron in 1882, and was designed to serve the Chicago & Grand Trunk Railway, which was then the name of the Grand Trunk main line between Port Huron and Chicago.
Both locomotives and cars were built there, and its production of freight cars was especially impressive. Vestibuled passenger cars were built there as early as 1890, and these were in through service between Chicago and Montreal. The last passenger cars produced in these shops were built in 1899.
The shops continued to be the main car repair point on the Grand Trunk Western however, and in 1907 the locomotive department at the shops was moved to newly-constructed exclusive locomotive shops at Battle Creek, leaving Fort Gratiot an exclusive car repair facility.
In the month of November 1913, two disasters struck Fort Gratiot shops in quick succession. The first was the great "Black Friday" storm of November 9, 1913 which caused extensive damage to the plant. Later that same month, on November 26th, the shops were almost completely destroyed by fire, completing whatever damage the storm had not made.
On account of the exposed position of these shops at the lower end of Lake Huron, at its confluence with the St. Clair River, it was decided not to rebuild, and a site was sought elsewhere. One had to be found quickly, as car repair programs could not wait until new facilities were built. The solution was found in buying the plant and business of the Whipple Car Company at Elsdon, Illinois, a Chicago suburb in which the main yards and freight terminals of the G.T.W. in the Chicago area were situated.
The Whipple Car Company specialized in the building and repair of refrigerator cars, and owned a refrigerator car operating affiliate known as the Chicago, New York & Boston Refrigerator Co.
That company had been organized on May 3, 1893 and operated its cars in eastbound perishable freight service between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic seaboard, through the northern states and Canada. Its traffic was confined almost exclusively to dairy products and meats.
Its traffic to the New England states was handled over the lines of the Grand Trunk, Central Vermont and Boston & Maine railways, while its New York and Philadelphia business was carried over the Grand Trunk, Lehigh Valley and Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroads.
Thus the Fort Gratiot shops disaster was put to good account in acquiring a company whose shops and business were each desirable to the company for differing reasons. With this purchase the G.T.R. acquired 741 N.Y.D.X. refrigerator cars.
The city of Port Huron was however, extremely reluctant to lose the Grand Trunk car shops, and a citizens' commottee was formed to see what steps could be taken to secure their return to the city. It was found possible to acquire and present to the railway a tract of land formerly occupied by an agricultural implement works at Port Huron, which was contiguous to the G.T.W. main line. When this was done, the railway agreed to build new car shops at Port Huron.
These were duly built and opened, and are serving the Grand Trunk Western to this day. All new car building work on the Grand Trunk Western since 1899 however, has been performed by custom car builders.
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The Q.M.O.&O. Railway was built and owned by the Provincial Government of Quebec and had two divisions — the Western Division from Montreal to Ottawa (via the north shore and Montebello), and the Eastern Division from St. Martin Junction (near Montreal) to Quebec. The line was opened to Hull in 1877 and to Quebec in 1879.
On March 4, 1882 the Quebec Government sold the Western Division from Montreal to Ottawa to the Canadian Pacific Railway, and on the same day sold the Eastern Division, from St. Martin Junction to Quebec, to a corporation known as the North Shore Railway, which was allied to the Grand Trunk. On September 19, 1885, due to intervention on the part of the Dominion Government, the North Shore Railway was also sold to the C.P.R.
The Q.M.O.&O. Railway's Montreal shops and yards were located in the eastern suburb of Hochelaga, about one mile east of what later became Place Viger station. Here they built a number of passenger and freight cars, most pretentious of which were the sleeping cars CHAPLEAU and ROBITAILLE. These events took place between 1880 and 1882.
Upon the acquisition of the line by the C.P.R. in 1882, Hochelaga became its first Montreal freight terminal, and its first transcontinental train left a few years later from Dalhousie Square station, later to become Place Viger station.
The C.P.R. greatly enlarged and further equipped the old Q.M.O.&O. Hochelaga shop, and it became for many years the principal car building and repair facility of the company, being replaced only in 1906 with the opening of the much larger and more modern Augus Shops some miles distant.
The Hochelago shops operated in conjuction with the adjacent Delorimier Avenue locomotive shops, which were closed at the same time and the facilities moved to Angus. Some of the buildings of these shops now form part of the plant of Dominion Oilcloth & Linoleum Co. Ltd.
The first cars built by the C.P.R. in Hochelaga shops were four baggage cars which were completed in 1883. Production of new cars was small for the first few years because of limited facilities, and also because most of the company's freight cars at that time were being produced in shops at Perth, Ont. and Farnham, Que. The facilities were greatly enlarged by 1890 however, and production then showed a marked increase.
The first passenger cars of note produced in the shops were the parlour cars KENNEBEC and PENOBSCOT in 1891. The sleeping car WAPELLA, built in 1892, was one of the first narrow vestibule cars on the road.
In 1893 Hochelaga shops produced an entire train consisting of locomotive, baggage car, colonist car, first- and second-class coaches, diner and sleeper for exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair of that year, where it attracted much favourable comment. It had narrow, closed vestibules throughout, and was finished entirely in mahogany, as was the company's practice at that time. Certain cars which were in this train are still in service today as work equipment.
In 1898 a group of sleepers were built with unusually ornate interiors, the carving being carried out in the shops from designs of Theodore Jongers, of the French interior decorating firm of Irenee at Cie., of Paris. These bore French names, such as CHANTILLY, FONTENOY, ROCHELLE, TRIANON, etc. and represented the all-time high of flamboyant interior decoration in Canadian Pacific passenger equipment.
In 1901 Hochelaga shops also produced three special private cars for the use of the Duke and Duchess or Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary) on their state visit to Canada in the fall of that year. These were the private cars CORNWALL, YORK and CANADA, which contained car-to-car, and room-to-room telephone service, electric lighting, bathtubs and numerous other unusual amenities. The car CORNWALL was equipped with a piano for the use of the Duchess. Later, all three of these cars were sold to the Canadian Government, and two of them are still in service as Canadian National business cars. They were in use for many years in the grain of the Governor General.
Hochelaga shops continued to produce cars — especially passenger cars — in fair volume until 1906, when the shops were closed and the facilities moved to Angus Shops, about one mile distant, which had recently been opened by the company.
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This tremendous locomotive and car building and repair facility is situated east of Iberville Street in the east end of the city of Montreal and was opened in 1904. It was designed as the main shops of the Canadian Pacific, which is a system of over 19,000 miles. They have admirably fulfilled this function in the years since.
At, or around the time of its opening, the company's passenger car shop at Hochelaga, and its freight car shop at Perth, Ont. were closed, and their facilities.
Heavy new construction program of every kind were instituted immediately, and the number of cars of all types built at these shops between 1904 and 1920 was phenomenal. Production rivalled in every way that of a large custom car building plant, which was, in fact, what Angus had been equipped to be.
For many years the C.P.R. used the car building facilities of Angus to their maximum capacity, and the only cars which were built for the C.P.R. by outside builders during this period were those which for various reasons the company had not time to build themselves.
So great was the trend on the part of the C.P.R. that in 1919 representation were made to the company by some of the custom car and locomotive builders. Their large investments in plant were, it was claimed, unwarranted, unless at least some share of car and locomotive building work was sent their way by Canadian Pacific, which then formed about half of the total market in Canada for this type of equipment.
The company acceeded to their request, and thereafter placed most of the new car building work in the hands of custom builders. In the case of passenger equipment however, they let the custom builders complete the frames and trucks of the car, which were then shipped to Angus for finishing. This practice continued until 1931, after which in most cases the custom builders have finished the cars completely.
Some unusually handsome passenger cars have been built at Angus, both in wood and in steel. In 1909 Angus shops completed eleven MOUNT class observation sleepers — the first observation cars on the Canadian Pacific. These were placed on transcontinental trains and enjoyed a wide popularlity.
Also of particular interest were the first and second cars KILLARNEY — official cars for the company's president, Sir Thomas Shaughnessy. These were built in 1906 and 1910 respectively.
The first experimental steel passenger car was first-class coach 999, completed at Angus in 1912. The last wooden passenger cars were built the next year — 1913, and in 1914 Angus launched into a steel coach production program which was interrupted for two years during World War I while a large portion of the plant was engaged in shell production. It resumed again at the end of the conflict, but was shortly afterward transferred to custom car builders for the reasons previously stated.
Fifteen unusually fine official cars were built at Angus shops between the years 1926 and 1930. These beautiful heavyweight business cars are all still running, and are maintained in top condition. The represent the last passenger train car construction built complete at Angus.
The shops to this day are as busy as ever, though on car repairs rather than on new car construction. These they carry out for all the eastern lines of the system.
Over its history Angus shops has built 1866 passenger train cars an innumerable freight cars, and is probably the largest railway shop in Canada.
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In about 1884 the Canadian Pacific Railway established a large freight car building shop in the pleasant Eastern Ontario town of Perth, and in the next ensuing twenty years built thousands of freight cars there for use on its burgeoning system.
This was, of course, a 100% wood car plant, and its production was extremely large. No passenger cars were ever built there.
The plant was closed in 1904 when the company's new Angus shops at Montreal were opened, and all freight car production of the company was concentrated there.
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The town of Farnham, situated in Quebec's Eastern Townships, was originally the headquarters and operating hub of the South Eastern Railway, a line of considerable importance running from opposite Montreal to connections at the U.S. border. This line was leased by the C.P.R. in 1887 and used as part of the Quebec section of its "short line" from Montreal to Saint John, N.B.
The Farnham shops of the Canadian Pacific were therefore an enlargement of the original shops of the South Eastern, and in the years from 1899 to 1908 the C.P.R. concentrated caboose production there.
During this period the largest part of all cabooses on the road were built at Farnham, together with many freight cars. Also built there were 14 small "superintendent's cars" and two dynamometer cars, which from a constructional point of view, were not dissimilar to cabooses. The superintendent's cars were small business cars 35 feet in length, and a few of these are still in service.
In 1908 new car production at Farnham was curtailed, and this work was thereafter carried out at the company's Angus shops in Montreal.
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These shops were opened in 1875 and built their first cars in that year.
Throughout their history they have been principally a repair facility, first for the Intercolonial and Canadian Government Railways, and more recently for the Canadian National Railways. However, a small number of passenger and freight cars have been built there, and many more rebuilt there.
Often in the official records it is difficult to determine whether the cars and locomotives purportedly built at Moncton were built complete there, or whether rebuilt cars have been listed as having been "built" at Moncton. In any case it is certain that some 113 passenger cars and innumerable freight cars were either built or rebuilt there in the years 1875 to 1916.
Moncton was the headquarters, and Moncton shops were the main shops of the Intercolonial Railway, which now forms part of the Canadian National between Montreal and Halifax, with numerous branches. In 1912 this line was renamed the Canadian Government Railways and in 1918 it became part of the Canadian National Railways.
Moncton shops today remain the principal locomotive and car shop for the Atlantic Region of the Canadian National, and its facilities have steadily improved with the years, until today it is one of the three most important repair points on the C.N. system.
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These shops functioned as a car building facility between 1865 and 1876, when all such work was transferred to the larger Moncton shops of the Intercolonial.
The Nova Scotia Railway, which built Richmond shops, was owned by the Province of Nova Scotia. The adjacent Province of New Brunswick owned a railway from Saint John to Shediac known as the European & North American. At Confederation in 1867 the public works of these two provinces became the property of the Dominion, and these two roads were connected and merged as the Intercolonial.
Richmond shops continued to function as a repair facility of the Intercolonial, long after new car building work had been transferred to Moncton.
Records show that 18 passengers and a large number of freight cars were built at Richmond shops for the Nova Scotia Railway prior to Confederation. Considerable locomotive work was also carried out there.
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This railway is now the Canadian National line from Saint John, through Moncton to Shediac and Point du Chene, N.B.
Its construction was commenced in 1856 and completed on July 18, 1860 by the Province of New Brunswick. Under the terms of section 108 of the British North America Act, brought into force by Royal Proclamation on July 1, 1867, this property, together with the public works and property of each Province, became the property of the Dominion of Canada.
The railway derived its somewhat globe girdling name through the fact that it was designed as a means of speeding the British mails from Europe to Montreal. Instead of having them remain on the inbound steamer for the slow voyage up the Gulf and River St. Lawrence to Montreal, it was planned to land them at Point to Chene; transport them via the E.&N.A. Railway to Saint John and across Maine to a connection with other Canadian railways in Quebec province running to Montreal.
This plan never came into being, and the line was merged by the Dominion Government with the Intercolonial Railway in 1872.
Prior to this occurrence the railway built several passenger and freight cars in its shops in Saint John. Very little is known about them at this late date, but for the sake of completeness of record, the fact is here recorded.
The railway's shops at Saint John were closed after the merger with the Intercolonial, and the construction by that railway of much larger and better-equipped shops at Moncton.
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The Canada Atlantic Railway, projected and built by the indomitable Ottawa lumberman J.R. Booth, now comprises the Canadian National lines between Ottawa, Coteau, Lacolle and Swanton, Vermont, and from Ottawa to Madawaska and Depot Harbour.
It thus provided a through line on which grain could move from Depot Harbour elevator on the Great Lakes to a connection with the Central Vermont Railway and over it into the New England states. It was also a route over which much Canadian lumber from the Ottawa valley moved to markets in the United States.
The first section of the road, that from Coteau to Ottawa, was opened in 1882, and a reciprocal running rights agreement was worked out with the Grand Trunk, by means of which the passenger trains of each could run on each other's lines Montreal to Coteau, and Coteau to Ottawa.
The Canada Atlantic also instituted a through Wagner sleeping car service between Ottawa and Boston via the Central Vermont and the Fitchburg Railroads. It was early in the field with superior passenger equipment and had two cars equipped with electric lights as early as August 10, 1887.
Its Ottawa terminals were at Bank Street yard, Ottawa, a facility dismantled in 1962 in connection with railway relocation now under way in Ottawa by the National Capital Commission. Its extensive car shops were at the same location.
Being controlled by J.R. Booth Limited, the largest lumber operators on the upper Ottawa River, the Canada Atlantic could obtain the best lumber for car building at cost. The most was made of this, and several lots of new box cars and flat cars for grain and lumber service were built in these shops, as well as a number of caboose cars.
Nine or ten passenger cars were built in these shops between 1896 and 1903. These were finished outside in cherry varnish stain and included the official cars CHAMPLAIN and OPEONGO, the last being the private car of Mr. J.R. Booth.
Three passenger cars built from 1901 to 1903 had wide vestibules and six-wheel trucks and were thus quite modern for their times. These were used in the fast through trains between Montreal and Ottawa in competition with the Canadian Pacific, in which some of the greatest official speed records ever made in Canadian railway history were recorded.
In April 1902 the Ottawa car shops of the Canada Atlantic were damaged by fire and two coaches, one combination car, two freight cars and one wrecking derrick were destroyed. The shops were immediately rebuilt.
The Canada Atlantic Railway was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway on October 1, 1905. After this event, the shops were no longer used for car building, but did engage in extensive car repairing. They were closed by the Canadian National, which acquired the Grand Trunk in 1923.
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This railway began operations in 1900 and built northward from the Soo toward Michipicoten Harbour, and later from Hawk Junction to Hearst. It was one of a number of enterprises at the Soo brought into being by the late F.J. Clergue, and built its shops and yards on the northwestern outskirts of Sault Ste. Marie in an area named Steelton, due to its proximity to the steel mills of the Algoma Steel Corporation.
Not only did the Algoma Central build complete a large number of flat cars and other cars for itself in these shops during 1902 and 1903, but there is a record which states that they built 300 additional flat cars for the Canadian Pacific. All subsequent cars of the Algoma Central were built by custom car builders.
This railway is still very much in existence, as are the shops, now greatly enlarged and modernized. Today, the Algoma Central is one of Canada's most prosperous short lines and originates much iron ore and forest product traffic. It also operates a line of freight steamships on the Great Lakes.
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The lines of the former Midland Railway of Canada comprise the present Canadian National lines between Belleville, Peterborough, Lindsay and Midland, plus the lines from Port Hope to Peterborough and Lakefield, and from Scarboro Junction to Lindsay and Haliburton, with some branches. It was an amalgamation of several earlier roads and was itself amalgamated with the Grand Trunk Railway in 1884.
Its original headquarters and locomotive and car shops were at Port Hope, but the locomotive shops were later moved to Lindsay, along with the operating headquarters. The car shops however, remained at Port Hope and a total of sixteen passenger cars and a fair number of freight cars were built there in the period 1874 to 1883. These were all standard wooden coaches and baggage cars of the period with the exception of one parlour car built in 1881, which was a noteworthy piece of car construction.
The shops were closed when the railway was taken over by the Grand Trunk in 1884.
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The Quebec Central Railway's Newington shops on the eastern outskirts of Sherbrooke, Que. produced a great many freight and passenger cars for a road of its size.
Whilst it is probable that the shops went back almost to the commencement of the road in 1875, actual car production did not get under way until 1902. Between that year and 1909, six baggage cars were built.
Later, between 1910 and 1921, a number of first and second class coaches and combination cars were constructed for the use of the road, making a total of 20 passenger cars in all, built in Newington shops.
In 1913 the Quebec Central was leased by the Canadian Pacific, but it still maintained its own equipment under its own name for many years afterward, and maintained it at Newington shops.
In the 1920s Newington shops were very active in steel sheathing Q.C. wooden passenger equipment, and some of the earliest steel-sheathed wooden passenger cars in Canada belonged to this railway.
The great depression of the thirties however, brought about widespread economies, and among these was the closing of Newington shops and the subsequent maintenance of Quebec Central equipment at the C.P.R. Angus shops at Montreal. This took place in 1939, and the practice is still in effect.
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The Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway is now the present Canadian National Railways line from Fort Erie to Goderich via Caledonia, Brantford, Paris, and Stratford. It thus traced an oblique line across the peninsula of southwestern Ontario from the Niagara River, opposite Buffalo, to Goderich, on Lake Huron.
The headquarters and shops of this railway were at Brantford, and between 1853 and 1863, when the line was taken over by the Grand Trunk, a number of freight and passenger cars were built there.
Most famous of the latter was the private car of this railway built for the use of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) on his journey over the B.&L.H. Railway from Paris Junction to Fort Erie on September 14, 1860. Because a good photograph and contemporary description of this car exist, it has been the most publicized of the several Royal cars used by the Prince on his Canadian state visit. Unfortunately, the same is not true of the Great Western car, or of the Grand Trunk car, which were equally sumptuous, and in which he travelled many more miles that was the case in the Buffalo & Lake Huron unit.
After the Grand Trunk took over the Buffalo & Lake Huron in 1863, it continued to use the Brantford car shops for car repair work. It is not definitely known at present when they ceased to be used by the railway for this purpose, but it is believed to have been about 1890.
At a somewhat later date the shops were purchased or leased by the Pratt & Letchworth Co., Ltd., a foundry operation which later became a division of Canadian Car & Foundry Co., Ltd. Despite however, its affiliation with this car building concern, it functioned purely as a foundry, and no further cars were built there. This industry closed, and the plant was razed shortly after the end of World War II.
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The Windsor & Annapolis Railway, later known as the Dominion Atlantic Railway, made its headquarters at Kentville, N.S., where its locomotive and car shops were also located.
In the late nineteen and early twentieth century this line was a favourite with vacationers from Boston and New England who came over on the boat to Yarmouth, where they entrained on the D.A.R. for the picturesque trip through "the valley" to Halifax.
A considerable passenger car stock was kept on hand to handle this, and other traffic, and the road was unique in that all its locomotives and passenger cars, even down to the first and second class coaches, bore names — usually from Greek mythology in the case of the locomotives, or the classical names of women in the case of most of the coaches.
Kentville shops built a number of coaches and baggage cars in the winter months of the seasons 1888 to 1897. The balance were supplied by custom car builders. Among those built in the company's shops were the cars SYLVIA, VIOLA, FELICIA and IRIS. These were ordinary open platform wooden coaches of the period.
A small production of freight cars was also carried out at these shops.
In 1912 the Canadian Pacific Railway obtained control of the Dominion Atlantic, and in the years since the D.A.R. has become the last repository of much older C.P.R. rolling stock. As time went on, the quantity of original D.A.R. rolling stock in service gradually diminished, and by 1940, heavy repairs on most of this was being carried out at the C.P.R. Angus shops, Montreal.
While Kentville shops still exist today, very little work is carried out there in comparison with former times.
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The Northern Railway of Canada was the successor to the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Union Railway, one of the first railways in Upper Canada, being opened in 1853. The line of this railway was between Toronto and Collingwood, on Georgian Bay, and later extensions carried it from Allandale to Huntsville, and ultimately, to a connection with the C.P.R. transcontinental main line near North Bay. It was thus the pioneer line which opened up most of the country north of Toronto, including the famous Muskoka district.
Its shops were located on the Toronto waterfront just west of Brock Street (now Spadina Avenue) and many of the railway's freight and passenger cars were built there between the years 1865 and 1888.
Noteworthy among the passenger equipment built there were two unusual wood parlour cars named ORILLIA and COLLINGWOOD built in 1873. These were among the first parlour cars used on trains anywhere in Canada and had the unusually wide windows characteristic of parlour cars of a later day. These two cars were later renamed NIPISSING and MUSKOKA and used as extra fare cars to Muskoka resorts, and one of them was in service as late as 1940 as a Conadian National boarding car.
An official car, number 20, was also built in these shops in 1879 for the use of F.W. Cumberland, president of the road. This car, in vastly-altered form, was also in service until quite recently as a business car on the Canadian National.
In 1881 the Northern Railway amalgamated with the Hamilton & North-Western Railway as the Northern & North-Western Railways. It then had a system extending from Port Dover on the south, to Collingwood and Nipissing Junction (near North Bay) on the north, with several branches.
In 1888 this aggregation was taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway, and the N.&N.W.'s valuable Toronto terminal property and shops added to the assets of that railway.
The Grand Trunk Railway, in its turn, became part of the Canadian National in 1923, and the shops disappeared in the grade separation work connected with the building of the new Toronto Union Station in 1927. No further new cars were built there following the acquisition of the N.&N.W. by the Grand Trunk in 1888.
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Fort Rouge shops, Winnipeg were the main shops of the Canadian Northern Railway System, which had its origins in the province of Manitoba, and grew to be a transcontinental system 9,500 miles in length within the remarkable span of twenty years.
The nucleus of Fort Rouge shops was the small shop of the Northern Pacific & Manitoba Railway, a Canadian subsidiary of the Northern Pacific Railroad, which was taken over by the Canadian Northern in 1901. These facilities were vastly enlarged until a large locomotive and car shop emerged, capable of handling the work connected with the rapid expansion of this railway system.
Very few new cars were ever built at Fort Rouge, this work being given to the custom car builders. However, in 1904, two small official cars, numbers 16 and 17, were built for the use of Division Superintendents. These were the first passenger cars built in western Canada.
A total of six of these small business cars were built at Fort Rouge between 1904 and 1915, plus a large number of cabooses and other miscellaneous freight cars. Two small gasoline motor cars for use at Kamloops were built there in 1919 and 1920.
The Canadian Northern Railway was taken over by the Canadian Government in 1918 and merged with the Canadian National. Other constituents of the Canadian National were the National Transcontinental Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which shared Transcona shops on the eastern outskirts of Winnipeg.
While the Canadian National used Fort Rouge shops for a lengthy period after amalgamation, work was increasingly transferred to Transcona shops until finally, Fort Rouge was closed about 1948.
It could be described as a large locomotive and car repair facility, rather than as a new car building one.
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The city of St. Thomas, midway between the Detroit and Niagara Rivers in the peninsula of southwestern Ontario, has been a railroad centre of major importance since 1873, when the Canada Southern Railway first made its headquarters there. This railway was opened in this year between Amherstburg and Fort Erie principally as a through freight line connecting with U.S. roads at both ends. Headquarters and shops were established at its midway point, St. Thomas.
In 1883 the Canada Southern was leased ito the Michigan Central Railroad, and became a diversion of that line. As the Michigan Central was, in its turn, controlled by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, the C.S. Division of the Michigan Central became a much-used bridge route between the two systems. A fast and frequent passenger and freight service resulted, and St. Thomas shops were enlarged by the railroad to handle a much larger volume of work.
Considerable new freight and passenger car construction was carried out there over the years 1882 to 1900. All of the passenger cars constructed were first class, second class and combination cars used in the company's local passenger service in Canada, and some 25 of these cars were produced. All were standard wooden coaches of the period.
Freight cars produced were of standard M.C.R.R. designs, but built for loading and homing on the company's Canadian Division.
Whilst no new cars were built at St. Thomas after 1900, the car shops there remained very active as a repair facility until about 1958, when they were torn down by the New York Central, which had leased the Michigan Central in 1929.
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In 1890 a contract was awarded by the Newfoundland Government to Mr. R.G. Reid, a railway contractor of Montreal, for the building of extensive lines of railway in Newfoundland. Eight years later an agreement was made whereby Mr. Reid would operate the railway lines then existing in Newfoundland owned by the Government of that colony, including those lines recently build by him.
He was also to receive an additional land grant, and at the end of fifty years the railway would become the property of the Reid Newfoundland Company. In return, Mr. Reid was to pay the Government one million dollars, operate seven coastal steamship services, built a new station at St. John's, build an electric street railway at St. John's, and pave Water Street, the main street of St. John's.
The cross-country main line was completed and service commenced on June 29, 1898. Several extensive branch lines were subsequently built.
The Reid Newfoundland Company first established its locomotive and car shops at Whitburne, several miles out of the capital, St. John's. Here between 1903 and 1916 a large number of freight cars and several passenger cars were built.
Mr. Reid, before engaging to build the Newfoundland Railway, had been a contractor on the construction of the main line of the Canadian Pacific, and was a strong personal friend of such luminaries at Lord Mount Stephen and Lord Strathcona of that line. Perhaps on this account it was not surprising that most of the Reid Newfoundland Company's rolling stock designs for its 42" narrow gauge lines were worked out in the Mechanical Drawing office of the C.P.R. in Windsor station, Montreal. Many of these were scaled down versions of C.P.R. equipment, redesigned to accommodate the narrow 42" gauge. All through the Reid regime on the Newfoundland Railway, there appeared to be a close liason between their organization and that of the C.P.R., especially on the matter of engineering designs and standards. Perhaps by this means Mr. Reid saved his own line much expense.
By 1922 the Reid Newfoundland Company was in financial difficulties and had cause to regret their bargain of 1898 with the Newfoundland Government. On May 16, 1922, the entire railway was abandoned by the Reid interests and train service completely discontinued. Service was resumed a week later pending negotiations, and on July 1, 1923 the railway was repossessed by the Government and reorganized as the Newfoundland Government Railway.
In October 1930 construction of new shops commenced at St. John's. These were completed in June 1931. A few passenger cars had been built by the Government at the old shops in 1924, shortly after their takeover.
On March 31, 1949, the British colony of Newfoundland confederated with the Dominion of Canada, and the Newfoundland Railway was transferred to the Dominion, and handed over by it to the Canadian National Railways for operation. The C.N. organization then commenced a large-scale rehabilitation of the line, and it is now, by contrast, a relatively modern and efficient facility. It remains however, narrow gauge, and there is no present disposition to change this state of affairs.
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The Prince Edward Island Railway was a 42" narrow gauge line until standardized by its new operators, the Canadian National, from 1927 to 1930.
It had been built by the Dominion Government in 1875 as a condition of confederation of that island with the Dominion, and from 1883 to 1915 built all its own freight and passenger cars in its shops at Charlottetown, with some assistance from the Mechanical Department of the Government-owned railway syste on the mainland, the Intercolonial.
In 1918 the Canadian Government Railways, of which the Prince Edward Island was a part, were turned over to the newly-formed Canadian National Railways for operation.
It was then felt advisable to convert all lines on Prince Edward Island to standard gauge, and this was finally completed in 1930. This included the conversion of all P.E.I. cars to standard gauge. Upon completion of the gauge conversions, the Charlottetown shops were closed, and all major car maintenance work was thereafter handled at Moncton shops on the mainland.
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The Montreal Street Railway converted from horse cars to electric cars in 1892 and commenced to build some of its street cars in its own shops in 1896. This was in its old shops on Cote Street, very close to the Craig Street tramways terminus.
Production of single truck open and closed cars continued there until 1899, when a much larger shop was opened at Hochelaga car house in the east end of the city. The old Cote Street car shop then became one of the car barns of the company.
In 1898 twenty single truck open street cars were built in Cote Street shop for the West India Electric Co. of Kingston, Jamaica, whose tram lines were then under construction by a syndicate of Canadian financiers which included some of the directors of the Montreal Street Railway.
A very large number of cars were built by the company after the opening of Hochelaga car shop, partly in an effort to replace a great many cars which had been destroyed by fire at Hochelaga car barn a short while earlier.
1900 saw the production of the first double truck car in the shops. This was number 638, a so-called "Scotch" car, with a centre entrance and exit. In 1901 some convertible double truck cars were built which were adaptable for either summer or winter traffic.
In 1902 a series of ten large suburban cars were built for the company's subsidiary, the Montreal Park & Island Railway. These were the largest cars every produced by the company, and were used on the Cartierville, Lachine and Sault aux Recollets lines.
In 1903 six double truck closed cars were built at Hochelaga for the Saint John Railway Company in Saint John, N.B. These were the only double truck cars ever used in Saint John, and they proved too large for the service there and were later sold to Levis, Que. and Berlin (Kitchener), Ont.
The first of Montreal's famous sight-seeing street cars was built at Hochelaga shops in 1903. This was an open double truck street car with seating arranged in descending depth from rear to front in the manner of theatre seats, for maximum visibility. It was placed on a circular sight-seeing route "around the mountain" through Outremont, and returning to St. Catherine Street. The idea proved immediately popular, and a second such car was added in 1906, and two more in 1924. The idea was also copied in Quebec, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
In 1904 the first Pay-as-you-Enter street car in the world was built by and for the M.S.R. at Hochelaga car shops, and the design was subsequently adopted as a standard not only in Montreal, but on nearly all the street car lines in North America.
In 1913 the Hochelaga car shops were displaced by the company's new Youville shops, located north of Cremazie Blvd. in the north end of the city, where various miscellaneous pieces of tramway work equipment were built in the 1920s.
A unique product of Youville car shops were the Montreal Tramways two prison cars which it built there in 1913 for transporting prisoners from the court house downtown, to Bordeaux prison on the city's northern outskirts. These were actually rebuilt from other types of cars and had high barred windows and hard seating. They were painted forbidding funereal black.
While on this note, it may be added that the company had still other cars designed for the handling of funerals. A drop panel was located in the side of the car at waist level so that the pall bearers could deposit the casket within the car without the necessity of entering it. Seats in the rear portion of the car were provided for mourners. This car operated before the days of motorized hearses, for the often considerable distances from certain city undertaker's parlours to cemeteries in the suburbs.
While the prison cars were unique to Montreal, funeral cars were also in use in several U.S. cities.
The last passenger cars built in the M.S.R. Hochelaga shops were cars 1100 and 1101 for the Lachine line in 1908. Many years later, in 1943, however, four temporary passenger cars were built at Youville to assist in the wartime transportation emergency. These had masonite panels and operated for only about two years in rush hour service to war plants.
Montreal finally abandoned the last of it street car lines in 1959 and at that time Youville shops was converted 100% to bus maintenance.
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The Quebec Railway, Light & Power Co. operated the city street car lines of Quebec, and also an interurban line from Quebec to Ste. Anne de Beaupre and St. Joachim, which had been converted from a steam line in 1899.
The car shops of the interurban line were first located at Ste. Anne, and it was at this point that several cars were built complete for use both on the interurban and city divisions of the system.
The first unit to be completed at Ste. Anne was electric locomotive number 6 which was placed in service in 1910. In the following year the Ste. Anne shops produced two sight-seeing street cars for use in the city of Quebec. These were built of wood, but on the same design of that of similar cars which were already popular in Montreal.
Over the years 1916 to 1918, the Ste. Anne shops built eight double truck city street cars for use in Quebec, and new car production then languished for several years.
In 1927 the Q.R.L.&P. Co. launched into a large rehabilitation program on its property, and among other things built new car shops on Canardiere Road in the Quebec suburb of Limoilou. The Ste. Anne shops were then closed and all work concentrated at the new location.
The first new car to be built at Limoilou was trailer 411 for the interurban, or Montmorency Division. The followed another similar trailer and a motor crane car in 1928, and finally in 1930, a large electric locomotive.
The last street cars operated in the city of Quebec on May 27, 1948. The interurban line, or Montmorency Division was sold to Canadian National Railways on November 1, 1951 and passenger service was abandoned on it on March 15, 1959. Wires were removed shortly afterward and diesel freight service substituted.
The Limoilou shops remained the property of the Quebec Power Company, and are now a repair facility for that company.
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This company first commenced to build horse cars at its shops at Frederick and Front Streets, Toronto, in 1882. By 1890, when the last horse cars were produced, they had built 79 open and closed horse cars.
The street railways of Toronto were converted to electric operation in 1892, and in that year the shops began the production of single truck open and closed electric cars. In the same year they built a private street car for Sir William Mackenzie, president of the line, 3 sprinklers and 5 sweepers — two for their own use, and three for Montreal.
In 1894, the first double truck car was built, along with an order of 20 single truck closed cars for Montreal. At the period the street railways of Toronto and Montreal had a common ownership — hence the construction of cars by one for the other. Ten more open street cars were built in Toronto for Montreal in 1895.
In 1896 the shops produced a sweeper for London, and four large double truck open cars for the Toronto & Mimico Electric Railway. They also built one large double truck closed car for the Hamilton & Dundas Street Railway. This car was hauled for two years in service behind a steam "dummy" type locomotive, and was then electrified as an interurban car.
Sir William Mackenzie was at this time interested in the street railways of Winnipeg, and in 1900 the Toronto Railway shops built 23 closed and 4 open single trucks cars for use in that city.
In 1903 ten sigle truck closed car bodies were united on five double truck underframes, or spliced as "twins". Ultimately, fifteen of these "twins" were created. In the same year, the shops built the first of several groups on interurban cars for the Toronto & York Radial Railway, a line which was also under Mackenzie management. The first six double truck cars were also built for Winnipeg.
1904 saw the construction of the first of many convertible open-closed cars for use in Toronto. The left hand, or devilstrip side on these cars was permanently closed, whilst the right hand side, on which passengers boarded and alighted, was open in summer, but could be closed in winter. This was a useful innovation as it did away with the necessity of maintaining separate groups of summer and winter cars, on which the trucks and controls had to be changed from one to the other every spring and fall.
In 1915, as a result of an accident at Queenston Heights in which a great many passengers of an open car on the International Railway were killed, the Ontario Railway & Municipal Board ruled that further open cars would not be constructed, and existing ones be converted or taken off as soon as possible. As a result, cars built after this date by the Toronto Railway Company did not have the convertible feature, and those which were equipped with it were kept permanently closed in the summers after that date.
As the franchise of the Toronto Railway Company was coming up for renewal, and the City of Toronto had signified its intention of taking over the company at the expiration of the franchise, no further cars were built by the company after 1918, and the city took the road over on September 1, 1921, having formed the Toronto Transportation Commission to operate it.
The T.T.C. then entered into a large scale general rehabilitation and modernization of the system, one phase of which was the replacement of the old Frederick and Front Street shops with new shops at Davenport Road and Bathurst Streets known as the Hillcrest shops.
So great had been the producation at the company's own car shops, that at this period almost every single street car in Canada's second-largest city, as well as large numbers in Montreal and Winnipeg had been built by the company, and the only cars which the Toronto Railway Company owned which were built by custom builders were a small group of cars built around the time of its electrification in 1892.
The cars built were of several types and designs, but eventually a standard convertible car design was fixed upon, and large numbers were built. Some of the cars, with their narrow windows, and guard rails between the trucks, showed a marked British influence, and perhaps had "old countrymen" as designers.
Taken as a whole however, the rolling stock of the Toronto Railway Company could only be described as a glorious hodge-podge, with car designs ranging from the slightly picturesque to the downright ugly. Much of this was quickly swept away by the T.T.C., but for some years quite a few of the old cars remained.
The Toronto Railway Company's car building story is remarkable because of its quantity, if not because of its quality.
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The Toronto Transportation Commission formally took over the city street car system of Toronto from the Toronto Railway Company on September 1, 1921. Hillcrest shops were completed shortly afterward.
Unlike the Toronto Railway Company, which built nearly all of its own cars, the T.T.C. placed nearly all of this work out with custom car builders. It did however produce a pieces of work equipment at Hillcrest, including a motor crane car in 1921, five wing plows in 1922, three sweepers in 1924, a rolling stock department supply car in 1926 and a work flat car in 1945. Between 1922 and 1929, it also produced twelve small electric shunters for switching trailers at the various car houses.
Toronto remains today one of the few cities on the continent with a street car system in full operation and in top condition. Every sign presently points to its continuing to have one into the indefinite future.
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From 1928 to 1930, ten new single truck steel street cars were built jointly between these two firms for use on the city street car lines of the New Brunswick Power Co. in Saint John, N.B. It is the only instance of either of these companies engaging in new car production work.
Street car service ended in Saint John on July 31, 1948.
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The N.S.&T. Railway, which since 1918 has been a subsidiary of the Canadian National, was an extremely active electric railway in the Niagaga Peninsula until March 23, 1959, when it operated its last electric passenger service, and shortly afterward dieselized its freight service.
The operating headquarters and shops were in the city of St. Catharines, and from 1907 until 1918 it was controlled by Sir William Mackenzie of the Canadian Northern Railway
The first car "built" in the St. Catharines of the N.S.&T. was actually a rebuild. This was car 104 which consisted of two single truck car bodies spliced together on one double truck underframe. This was done in 1904.
Between 1910 and 1916 five electric freight locomotives were built at the shops. Some of these were rudimentary affairs consisting of little more than cabs placed on the decks of common flat cars and equipped with controls and motorized trucks.
In 1920 the shops built a very creditable double truck sweeper of the steeple cab type. This was the first unit built under the supervision of the railway's very capable Master Mechanic, Mr. W.E. Massie.
In 1923 the parent Canadian National was experimenting with storage battery cars and various other self-propelled passenger cars for use in branch line service. Therefore, as their N.S.&T. subsidiary was felt to have more experience with electrical equipment than any other shop on the system at that time, the N.S.&T. St. Catharine shops were chosen as the place to build C.N. storage battery car 15804. It was accoringly built complete and shipping in that year.
In the following year, 1924, some very creditable units were produced in the shops. First completed were three electric locomotives — much more professionally built than the previous home-made models, and equipped with motors and signal equipment manufactured by the English Electric Co., a local St. Catharines concern.
In the same year, a line car and an impressive box cab type electric locomotive were completed at St. Catherines shops for the Toronto Suburban Railway, another Canadian National electric subsidiary with a line from Toronto to Guelph.
In 1925 three all-steel interurban cars were built complete in the shops — two for the Toronto Suburban and one for the N.S.&T. In addition, a line car was completed for the Oshawa Railway, still another Canadian National electric line subsidiary.
The work on these cars and locomotives reflected great credit on Mr. Massie, and in every case the work on this equipment was quite the equal of any produced in a custom car shop.
Some of these units had varied careers in the years following, and the electric locomotive built at St. Catharines in 1924 for the Toronto Suburban is now doing daily duty on the Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern Railway in the state of Iowa.
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This company owned three suburban electric railway lines out of Montreal — to Lachine, Cartierville and Sault aux Recollets.
They had a small shop of St. Dominique Street where in 1901 they built four double truck convertible cars, with the left hand side closed to the belt rail. In the winter, the right hand side was also closed in.
The following year, control of this railway was acquired by the Montreal Street Railway Company, and all subsequent cars used on the Park & Island lines were either built or supplied by them.
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The Dominion Power & Transmission Co. controlled both the street railways of Hamilton and the interurban railways radiating from it to Dundas, Beamsville, Oakville and Brantford.
Cars of both city and interurban lines were repaired in the car shops of the Hamilton Street Railway, which were situated on the southwest corner of Sanford Avenue and King Streets in Hamilton.
There, under the supervision of this writer's grandfather, Robert Merrilees, five city street cars were built complete in the years 1909 to 1911.
In 1923, a large interurban car was completed for the Brantford line in these shops, being in appearance similar to other cars already in the service which had been furnished by the J.C. Brill Company.
These shops were closed and sold in 1928 and are now an automobile showroom and garage. In the same year the company built new car repair shops on Wentworth Street North a few blocks away, where Hamilton's street cars were repaired until the final cessation of electric railway activity in Hamilton on April 7, 1951.
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This line was one of the first interurban electric railways in Canada, being opened in 1894.
It secured its early cars from the Ottawa Car Company, including a particularly fine combination passenger and baggage car named the CLINTON which arrived in 1900. Mr. Scott Marlett, then Master Mechanic of the line attempted to build other similar cars in his shop to duplicate the CLINTON. Between the years 1901 and 1904, he completed four such cars, named WINONA, GRIMSBY, VINELAND, and HAMILTON. They were very creditable cars, and all of them except the HAMILTON, which was subsequently destroyed by fire, served many years.
They were the only cars ever built by the H.G.&B. Railway. This railway was acquired in 1907 by the Dominion Power & Transmission Co. and was abandoned on June 30, 1931.
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This electric switching road in the city of Oshawa has built three electric locomotives and one motor flat car in its shops. These locomotives were built in 1914, 1922 and 1925 respectively and the flat car in 1919.
In 1911 this line was bought from the Rathbun Company of Deseronto, Ont., by the Grand Trunk Railway. In 1923 it passed, with the parent Grand Trunk, to the Canadian National Railways.
The line is still in service as a subsidiary organization.
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The car shops of this street railway built two single truck closed wood street cars in 1917 and 1918 which were designed and built by their Master Mechanic, Mr. F.X. Couture.
They had previously constructed an electric snow plow for their own use in 1912. All other cars of this company were supplied by custom car builders.
Street car service in Sherbrooke was abandoned on December 31, 1931.
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The electric street railways of Winnipeg were controlled early in the century by Sir William Mackenzie of the Canadian Northern Railway. Mr. Mackenzie was also president of the Toronto Railway Company, the street car system of Toronto, and most of the earlier street cars of Winnipeg were built in the shops of the Toronto Railway Company.
In 1904 however, facilities were established at the Main Street car house to manufacture street car bodies in Winnipeg, and eight cars were built in that year. The company soon fixed upon a standard design of double truck car and commenced building them in their shops in volume over the years 1904 to 1914. By the latter year, nearly every street car in Winnipeg was locally built.
In addition to building all the cars required for Winnipeg proper, the Winnipeg Electric Railway shops also built six extremely large interurban cars for the Winnipeg, Selkirk & Lake Winnipeg Railway, and followed this up with three more in 1911.
From 1914 until 1928 no further cars were built. In that year, however, the company shops built an experimental 53'3" long steel street car numbered 798. In the following year, 1929, they built another but slightly shorter experimental car numbered 796. This latter car was 45 feet in length.
These were the last two new street cars furnished for use in Winnipeg. All service there is now performed by buses.
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The B.C. Electric's car shops in New Westminster were opened about 1903. Their object was to assist in reducing the cost of the considerable quantities of new rolling stock which the company expected to need in its electric railway expansion program in the lower mainland area and in Victoria.
Freight rates on new street cars imported from builders in the east added materially to their laid down cost on the Pacific coast, and it was felt that car bodies could probably be economically built of local woods in the company's own shops, and only the specialties such as trucks, motors and controls purchased from eastern suppliers for assembly on the cars.
A start was accordingly made on constructing five single truck city cars, a freight motor car and an electric locomotive. The following year the company built two electric locomotives and three large interurban cars named the SURREY, DELTA and LANGLEY.
In 1905 they commenced car building in volume, and between that year and 1910 completed an entire series of 79 standard double truck city cars. At various times in between they also added to their fleet of large interurban cars operating between Vancouver and New Westminster, and later to Chilliwack.
In 1909 the company built two open sight-seeing cars on the same design used previously in Montreal. In 1910, 1911 and 1913 large numbers of additional city cars of newer design were built, as well as further additions to the interurban car fleet.
The year 1913 saw the end of large scale new car construction at the B.C. Electric's New Westminster shops. Three sweepers were however built by them in Vancouver in 1923 and two more in 1935.
The shops were extremely busy in 1922 when the rule of the road changed in British Columbia from "keep to the left" as in England, to "keep to the right". This necessitated alterations to the doors and vestibules of all the street cars and interurbans of B.C. Electric, and the program kept the shops going for over a year.
The New Westminster shops remained the principal car repair facility of their suburban and interurban lines to Chilliwack, passenger service on which was abandoned in 1950.
Electric street car service has now completely vanished in Vancouver, Victoria and New Westminster, and the freight service over the electric interurban lines in the area is now performed by diesel-electric locomotives.
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