This 1953 NFB documentary about Paul Tomkowicz, a Railway Switchman for the Winnipeg Electric Company, is fascinating. A long forgotten and thankless job which disappeared with the Streetcars, keeping the rails clean of mud/snow and dirt. It appears he was at peace with his work, (compared to his previous life in Poland) and looking forward to retirement in a few years. He mentions he knows his job maybe coming to an end, as the bus trolleys are being used now for transit service.
I’m trying to figure out some of the background locales, too, and they must be long gone too. The names sound familiar, Ritz, Grand Theater, probably all along Portage Ave.
Before Winnipeg Transit, there was the “Winnipeg Electric Company” which provided Streetcar and Trolly Bus Transportation until 1955. The last remaining Streetcar is “356” and it is currently stored in the Winnipeg Railway Museum. The generation that rode the streetcars is now passing away, and we must act now to preserve and showcase the history of “Streetcar 356”, the first “LRT”
There is now a plan being put in place to restore the Streetcar to its place in Winnipeg transportation history by 2009. We need to raise 100k to complete the project. You can help by donating to Heritage Winnipeg, (yes, you can get a tax receipt) or purchasing a T-Shirt at www.cafepress.com/streetcar356. The 100th anniversary of Streetcar 356 is coming up for 2009!
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