William D. Middleton.

The interurban era online

. (page 15 of 23)
Online LibraryWilliam D. MiddletonThe interurban era → online text (page 15 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Exceptional among these spacious wooden chariots were the cars of PE's 1000
class, which arrived from the Newark (O.) works of the Jewett Car Company
on their own wheels in 1913. A year later they were featured participants in the
gala celebration and parade attended by 20.000 which marked the opening of
PE's celebrated San Bernardino line. William D. Middleton Collection.

Slated with other PE wooden cars for scrapping on the eve of World War II, the 1000's were re-
prieved to meet the severe test of record PE passenger loads. These five jam-packed 1000's hurtled
down multiple track to Long Beach in 1942. The Long Beach line, the last PE interurban line to op-
erate, was abandoned April 1, 1961.. H. L. Kelso.

In 1929, when PE converted six cars purchased from the SP Oregon lines into
reserved-seat parlor cars, extra-fare passengers on boat trains to Los Angeles Harbor
enjoyed the questionable privilege of viewing each other's knees, rather than the
scenery. The service didn't last long, thanks to the depression. Ira L. Swett —
Magna Collection.


In 1906 Henry Huntington opened a new PE inter urban route to Pasadena which

was designed to serve his Hotel Huntington — an elegant resort hostelry atop Oak

Knoll — and adjacent Huntington real estate. Late one October afternoon in 1950,

only a day before the line's abandonment, lone interurban No. 1129 lumbered up

the slopes of Oak Knoll not far from the hotel. A year later the 50 cars of the

1100 class were loaded aboard ship at New Orleans for a trip to new duties in

Buenos Aires. "William D. Middleton.

Race Track Special

On such occasions as the annual Tournament of Roses at Pasadena or races at
Santa Anita, the four-track main line of PE's Northern District absorbed a truly
phenomenal traffic of rail-borne humanity. On an average day 100,000 rode the
red cars to see the ponies run; atid multi-car trains, such as this trackbound special
barreling through Sierra Vista in January of 1951, rolled over the line in
profitable profusion. WILLIAM D. MlDDLETON.




During the final years of its passenger operation
PE acquired from abandoned interurban properties
in the San Francisco Bay Area a fleet of owl-faced
electric cars of prodigious dimensions. Over 12 feet
in length, and weighing up to 61 tons, the big cars
provided seats for 80 passengers after remodeling

and refurbishing by the company's Torrance shops
in 1947. Led by combine No. 498, a four-car special
train of former Southern Pacific Oakland-Berkeley-
Alameda suburban cars rolled northward to Los
Angeles off the San Pedro line at Dominguez Junc-
tion. Donald Duke.

The great length of these massive
cars is evidenced in this broadside
view of No. 312 — an aluminum-
bodied car that once rolled down to
the Golden Gate on Marin County
rails of the Northwestern Pacific —
entering the Los Angeles elevated
terminal. William D. Middleton.

For services more suburban than interurban in char-
acter. Pacific Electric had 160 cars of the "Hollywood"
type, so called for their long association with the lines
to the film capital. In 1950 No. 152 burst from the
gloom of the mile-long subway into bright Southern
California sunshine on the long journey to the San
Fernando Valley. These low-floor, center-door cars,
built between 1922 and 1928, were unusually successful.
William D. Middleton.



Deadheading into Subway Terminal for rush-hour service on the Glendale-Bur-
hank line, a two-car train of Hollywoods snaked its way out of Toluca Yard in
1954. Some of these cars now operate in Argentina (see page 367).
William D. Middleton.


•Mor/ty W^e World War II Pull-
man-Standard delivered 30 PCC-
type streamliners, modified for dou-
ble-end, multiple-unit operation, for
service on PE's Glendale-Burbank
route, which was thereupon restored
to all-rail operation after a highly
unsatisfactory experiment with joint
bus-rail service. In 1950, 5026
crossed the high Fletcher Drive
trestle on the climb over Elysian
Hills on the way from Glendale to
Los Angeles. William D.


An outbound Edendale-Atwater
local dropped downgrade from the
hills into the Los Angeles River
valley at Montesano in 1954. In
1959 the 30 PCCs joined two
previous PE car types on Argen-
tina's Ferrocarril Nacional Ge-
neral Urquiza at Buenos Aires.
William D. Middleton.


j 1


-,- -^r-.

PE trains to San Pedro mingled intimately with harbor traffic. Momentarily seen
from the bridge of a tanker tied up in the San Pedro Harbor's West Basin, an
interurban train from Los Angeles was about to cross the huge SP bascule bridge
that separated the basin from the remainder of the harbor. H. L. Kelso.


The intense activity characteristic of Pacific Elec-
tric 's four-track steel boulevard leading south from
Los Angeles is evident in this scene near Watts. At
left, a freight train had just entered the line from
Graham Freight Yard. On the right, a northbound
drag of oil tankers struggling upgrade was being
passed by a fast-moving passenger train inbound
from San Pedro. William K. Barham.

In downtown Los Angeles, Pacific Electric op-
erated two major passenger terminals, and it had
both an elevated and a subway line. In 1905 Henry
E. Huntington opened the 2-million-dollar nine-
story terminal building at Sixth and Main streets
which was Los Angeles' first "skyscraper" and, at the
time, its largest building. Hundreds of daily train
movements caused intolerable congestion in sur-
rounding streets, and in 1916 an elevated approach
was constructed, which thereafter accommodated
a majority of train movements. In 1925 PE opened a
4-million-dollar subway and terminal that took at
least some Western District trains off the downtown

Merchandise and small freight shipments of every description were loaded aboard
box motors at Pacific Electric's Eighth Street Yard. Car 1459, in the foreground,
came from SP's Portland (Ore.) interurban lines. Pacific Electric Railway.





■ - -







In earlier years, PE-predecessor Los Angeles Pa-
cific had formulated plans for a far more ambitious
subway than the mile-long tube finally opened in
1925. In 1906, only months after the Southern
Pacific's E. H. Harriman had purchased control of
LAP, plans were announced for a four-track subway
and private-right-of-way route from Vineyard to
downtown Los Angeles, along with new connecting
cutoff routes, which would have created the greatest
rapid transit system west of Chicago. But Har-
riman's plans were "temporarily postponed" dur-
ing the panic of 1907, and LAP's great subway was
never built. 1

Mail and express activity was concentrated around
PE's Sixth and Main Street terminal and the Los
Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. It was
handled by box motors such as 1415, a standard
type constructed in large numbers by PE. The
extra train approached Slauson Junction inbound
from the Whittier line in 1950. William D.

The scattered industry of the Southland was well served by Pacific Electric, and the greatest of all
interurbans became California's third-ranking freight railroad. Electric freight activity centered around
compact Butte Street Yard, where traffic was interchanged with the major transcontinental systems.
Steeple-cab locomotive No. 1610 worked the south end of the yard. Pacific Electric Railway.

; u


Moving behind one of the standard Baldwin-W estinghouse steeple-cab designs that served PE in
large numbers, a solid block of refrigerator cars hurried along the Santa Monica Air Line near Palms.
Donald Duke.



The extraordinary freight traffic of World War 11 was responsible for such dramatic activ-
ity as this combination of Mogul and steeple-cab working an east bound extra freight
through the vineyards near Etiwanda on the San Bernardino line. Overburdened with



wartime traffic on its main line east of Los Angeles, Southern Pacific diverted much ton-
nage to the line of its parallel subsidiary. Confronted with a resulting motive power
shortage. Pacific Electric borrowed SP steam to help out. F. J. Peterson.


Sunset on the Fraser River . . . and this British Columbia
Electric 1200-class car tripped lightly over the trestle fro?n
Lulu Island, bound for Mat pole and Vancouver. Symbolic
of the Pacific Northwest are a sawmill burner and fishing
boat masts in the dusky background. Stan F. St


*T4T M


1 « !* 8

Maple Leaf Traction

Canada's Interurbans

Maple Leaf Traction

Canada's Interurbans

iNORTH of U.S. borders the interurban was less
frequently seen, and nowhere were to be found the
interconnecting electric networks common to New
England or the Midwestern states. Over half of the
Canadian mileage was located in the Province of
Ontario and virtually all of this was concentrated in
the southern part of the province bordering Lakes
Erie and Ontario, where industrial development and
population were greatest. Elsewhere the vast dis-
tances and sparse population of the Dominion of-
fered scant inducement to interurban promoters,
and few lines were built except those which ven-
tured out from the largest metropolitan centers.

The two great Canadian transcontinentals occa-
sionally took an interest in the interurbans. Cana-
dian National acquired several important properties
from predecessor companies upon its formation after
World War I, and added another to its holdings as
recently as 1951. Canadian Pacific's electric line ac-
tivities were confined to an important pair of inter-
connected lines in Ontario, the Hull Electric Railway
in Quebec, and the Aroostook Valley Railway in
Maine. Government ownership of electric railways,
a practice which was virtually unknown in the
United States, was much more frequent in the

On a quiet Sunday evening in 1958 a Quebec Railway, Light & Power

Company interurban waited at Montmorency Falls, Que., for a late evening

local run into Quebec City. William D. Middleton.



!• :


» i

l : 'f9S9BBEs|r 1


■ J



Chemin de Fer de la Bonne
Sainte Anne

Aside from returns on traffic of a suburban
nature, passenger revenues on the Quebec
Railway, Light & Power Company's interur-
ban were derived in large measure from the
movement of summer visitors to one of North
America's most celebrated Roman Catholic
shrines at Ste. Anne de Beaupre. Such was the
identification of the railway with the shrine
that among French-Canadians the former was
widely known as the "Chemin de Fer de la
Bonne Sainte Anne." Long after its disappear-
ance elsewhere the trolley excursion continued
on the Quebec interurban, and the "Special
Tourist Electric Train Service" remained on
summer timecards until the end of passenger
operation. Excursion car 455, whose crew in-
cluded a bilingual guide-lecturer, waited for
the return trip in a siding at Ste. Anne during
the last summer of passenger operation in 1958.
William D. Middleton.

For peak movements to the shrine the railway retained a fleet of incredibly antique
rolling stock, much of it constructed during the 19th century for QRL&P's steam
road forerunner. This string of 1889 Jackson & Sharp coaches rolled down the
north bank of the St. Lawrence to Ste. Anne behind a steeple-cab passenger loco-
motive on the occasion of the annual feast day of Ste. Anne in 1958, the
tercentenary of the shrine. William D. MlDDLETON.


Over 100 feet higher than Niagara, Montmorency
Falls, not far from Quebec, constituted a major
attraction for trolley excursionists. In earlier
years the interurban operated a park and me-
nagerie at the base of the falls, and an incline rail-
way carried tourists to a hotel at the top of the
cliff. A short pause on the electric line's bridge
below the falls was always scheduled for the en-
joyment of passengers on "tourist specials." After

completing a local run from the city, this in-
terurban turned on the wye beside the falls in
1952. Wooden car No. 401, built in 1902 by Ot-
tawa Car, remained in operation until abandon-
ment of the electrification in March 7959, by
which time the car had long since assumed the
title of North America's oldest interurban car
still operating in revenue service. Robert J.

Until Canadian National acquired the line in 1951,
the 25-mile QRL&P interurban was the only link
between the transcontinental and its isolated Murray
Bay Subdivision. To power CNR passenger trains
moving over the electric line, QRL&P provided a
pair of big steeple-cab locomotives. After CNR

purchased the line steam and diesel power operated
straight through, but the passenger electrics were
retained for special movements, such as this train
of Canadian Pacific equipment leaving Quebec
in 1958 with 215 nuns from Montreal on a pilgrim-
age to the shrine. William D. Middleton.

Among the assets acquired by Canadian National
from its predecessor Grand Trunk Railway was
the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway, an in-
terurban which represented, in part, electrification
of former steam lines of the Grand Trunk's subsidiary
Central Vermont. An eventual long-distance elec-
trification of CV lines was contemplated, but the
trolley wire never extended beyond Granby, some
41 miles east of Montreal, which was reached in 1916.
Much of the company's traffic was of a commuter
nature to suburban communities across the St. Law-
rence from Montreal. In 1953 this wooden car
waited at the McGill Street terminal in Montreal for
a run to suburban Mackayville. Philip R. Hastings.

At the conclusion of its electric passen-
ger operation in 1956, M&SC still used
much of the same equipment acquired
to inaugurate service nearly a half century
before. This train of wooden coaches,
approaching Canadian National's Vic-
toria Jubilee Bridge from St. Lambert
in 1949, was typical. Trailer car 201, at
the rear of the train, had been on hand
at the opening of initial Montreal-
St. Lambert service in 1909.
William D. Middleton.


Si §£**

■. - ^HH

This M&SC "mixed train," made up of a pair of l.c.l box cars
and a like number of passenger coaches, was photographed at
St. Lambert in 1949. Charles A. Brown.

Following discontinuance of passenger service to Granby in
1931, M&SC electric cars terminated their runs at Marieville,
backing around this wye to reverse direction.
Robert J. Sandusky.

Waving the motorman back on dead
slow, an M&SC conductor at Marieville
ponders the difference in drawbar lev-
els as he makes up his train. He's going
to have to get in between there,
against the rules, and armstrong
60V s coupler up about 5 inches.
Philip R. Hastings.


North from Lake Erie

An important figure in Ontario traction was Sir
Adam Beck, founder of the Hydro-Electric Power
Commission of Ontario. In 1912 he advanced an
ambitious scheme for a system of "radial railways"
(as interurbans were commonly known in Ontario)
which, together with already existing lines, would
link the Toronto area, the Niagara peninsula, and
the cities north of Lake Erie with an integrated net-
work of high grade electric railways. Sir Adam,
whose power commission represented the first major
successful public power project in North America,
envisioned that the Commission would construct,
equip, and operate the radials for the benefit and at
the expense of the municipalities concerned, with
the initial financing to come from bond issues which
would be guaranteed by the provincial government.
The Hydro proposal was delayed during a decade
of political bickering and cessation of construction
during World War I, perhaps fortunately, as the
ultimate collapse of interurban railways was to
prove. Eventually government skepticism about the
ability of the lines to become self-supporting and
the all-too-evident growth of highway travel killed
the plan.

Electrification of the London & Port Stanley Rail-
way, a former steam railroad, in 1915 afforded a
prototype of the sort of electric railways contem-
plated by the Hydro Commission. Originally con-
structed in 1856 by London business interests to ob-
tain lower freight rates than those charged by the
Great Western (now CNR), the municipally owned
L&PS was rebuilt and electrified under the direc-
tion of Sir Adam Beck and the Hydro Commission.
A 1500- volt D.C. system was employed and the new
all-steel cars for the service were built to specifica-
tions of the Commission. Beck himself invited guests
to the line's June 30, 1915, opening celebration,
where the project was described as the first step in a
1500- volt D.C. electrification of Ontario municipal
railways which would ultimately extend through
central Ontario from Lake Erie to Georgian Bay. So
successful was the London & Port Stanley electrifica-
tion that within three years of its opening the paral-
lel London & Lake Erie electric line had been forced
into bankruptcy and abandonment.

Heading southward to Lake Erie in 1952, a two-
car L&PS train sped under the catenary just south
of the Thames River bridge at London. A motor-
less control trailer of wooden construction pre-
ceded the steel motor car. Robert J. Sandusky.

LrzJ^jjn - * 35


The steel Jewett coach that headed this north-
bound L&PS train at St. Thomas in 1949 had an
all-steel roof of unique contour. Constructed for
the original electrification in 1915, the car was con-
sidered a prototype for electric cars that radial

railway proponents believed would soon traverse

much of central Ontario. To combat the rigors of

the Canadian winter, the cars came equipped with

storm sash, a not infrequent feature on Dominion

interurbans. William D. Middleton.





With some 100 railroad enthusiast passengers
aboard, a three-car London & Port Stanley train
raced southward across the substantial Kettle Creek
viaduct just north of St. Thomas in 1 952. The train

was made up of cars acquired in 1941 from the Mil-
waukee Electric Lines, on which they had been the
de luxe parlor cars Mendota, Waubasee, and Menom-
inee. John A. Myers.


L&PS trains provided Londoners convenient con-
nections with Michigan Central (NYC) trains at
St. Thomas, where this train waited at the steam

line's depot in July of 1956. The diesel in the
foreground headed a westbound freight.
Herbert H. Harwood Jr.

Three of these GE box-cab locomotives powered L&PS freight trains from the time of the 1915 elec-
trification until dieselization in 1951. This one switched at the London yard in 1949. A. C. Kalmbach.


The combined trackage of the Lake
Erie & Northern Railway and the
Grand River Railway, closely as-
sociated under Canadian Pacific
ownership, extended southward
from the CPR main line at Gait to
Port Dover on Lake Erie, affording
the transcontinental system a stra-
tegic connection to the cities of
the Grand River valley. Like
some of the other important On-
tario lines, LE&N-GRRy operated
at right angles to the east-west
trunk lines of the major steam
railroads. This is the bridge which
carried the electrics over the
Michigan Central and Toronto,
Hamilton & Buffalo lines at Water-
ford. The car was northbound on
the last day of passenger operation
in J955. Robert J. Sandusky.

StfS ~— —

Southbound to Port Dover, an LE&N car rolled into
Simcoe over a well- maintained roadbed in 1950.
During the latter years of passenger service the Ca-
nadian Pacific electrics experimented with various

front end color schemes, designed to improve vis-
ibility of the oncoming cars for motorists. A yel-
low checkerboard effect had been applied to this
wine red coach. William D. Middleton.


Though elsewhere on the system freight traf-
fic predominated, the Grand River Railway's
short Preston-Hespeler branch did a lively pas-
senger business, and even after World War II
some 35 daily round trips were offered. The
sturdy wooden car arriving at Preston was a
797 5 product of the home-town Preston Car &
Coach Company. David H. Cope.

Just arrived from Brantford behind a pair of

Bald win-W estinghouse steeple-cabs one leaden

winter day in 7 956, an LE&N freight pulled

into the Canadian Pacific interchange at Gait,

where a Mikado freight engine of the parent

road waited for a westbound trip. Electric

freight operation on the combined LE&N-GRRy

continued into 1961. William D. Middleton.

Prominent in Ontario traction development were
Sir William MacKenzie and Donald Mann, who had
been contractors in the construction of the Canadian
Pacific, and later began construction of their rival
Canadian Northern in 1896. The most important
of the four interurbans developed by the MacKenzie,
Mann & Company partnership was the Niagara, St.
Catharines & Toronto Railway, which operated
across the Niagara peninsula between Lakes Erie
and Ontario, and into Niagara Falls. Ultimately,
the NStC&T, along with other Canadian Northern
electric properties, became part of the Canadian
National system.

Before the decline of electric railway travel NStC&T
formed a link in leisurely travel between Buffalo
and Toronto. From a Niagara Falls (N. Y.) con-
nection with the International Railway's Buffalo-
Niagara Falls High Speed Line, cars of the Canadian
line operated over the old Rainbow Bridge and
across the peninsula to Port Dalhousie East, where
a shipside connection with Toronto-bound Lake
Ontario steamers was made. Such traffic still moved
in profitable volume in the '20's, as evidenced by
this train of elegant wooden cars, representing a
1914 Preston Car & Coach order in its entirety.
William S. Flatt Collection.

In the final years of its electric operation NStC&T
used a group of widely traveled cars on its re-
maining passenger line between Tborold and Port
Colborne. Built by the Ottawa Car Company in
1930 for an ill-advised modernization of the Wind-
sor, Essex & Lake Shore Railway under Hydro Com-
mission management, the original group of five
medium-weight interurbans spent but two years on
the "Sunshine County Route" before its abandon-

ment. The cars then moved to Canadian National's
Montreal & Southern Counties, where they operated
until 7955, when one went to a Maine museum and
the remainder were transferred to NStC&T. No. 620
was ascending the steep grade between Merritton
and Thorold early on a Sunday morning in
1956 en route from the carbarn at St. Cath-
arines to begin the day's operation. William D.


At speed near Port Colborne on a bleak March day, 620 typified the exciting, exhilarating operation
of a cross-country interurban paralleling a highway. Unfortunately, no passengers were aboard to enjoy
the sensation. William D. Middleton.


Except for two Ft. William (Ont.)
city cars, Canada's only curved-side

Cincinnati lightweights, were op-
erated by the Niagara line in local

service on the St. Catharines-Port
Dalhousie route. Charles A. Brown.

Motors and gears groaned as NStC&T's little steeple-
cab locomotive No. 19 slowed almost to a walk and
then settled into a steady stride that finally gained
her the summit of the steep Merritton hill with
seven cars of freight for the Welland Subdivision
in 1956. William D. Middleton.




In all the vast reaches of the Canadian prairie there
was but one interurban, the Winnipeg, Selkirk &
Lake Winnipeg Railway, which radiated from the
Manitoba capital to Selkirk and Stonewall. Against

a frosty backdrop near Stony Mountain, one of the
line's big wooden combines headed south to Win-
nipeg on a midafternoon run in the early '30's.
Stan F. Styles.

The winter of 1928-1929 and its aftermath proved difficult for the Winnipeg in-
terurban. Motorman Ray Styles and two sectionmen posed atop a snowbank on
the Stonewall line after the railway's rotary plow had cleared up the results of
a February blizzard. Stan F. Styles.


In April of 1929, the winter's snow melted and produced a severe spring flood, causing this two-car train
on the Stonewall line to make its way cautiously through water that lapped at the rails. Stan F. Styles.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryWilliam D. MiddletonThe interurban era → online text (page 15 of 23)