Tag Archives: Winnipeg Streetcar

Streetcar Rails

Streetcar Rails by buflyer200
Streetcar Rails, a photo by buflyer200 on Flickr.

At the corner of Osborne and Broadway, encased in concrete for the last 56 years..

Recent roadway construction on Osborne St. has uncovered them.

These must be the original rails with the cobblestone beside the steel.

A heritage item brought to the surface, and it must be preserved, and could potentially even be reused.

Winnipeg Free Press Article

A very nice article about the project in the Free Press on Nov 27th . You can also email any information to winnipegstreetcar@gmail.com about the restoration work, or if you have any questions.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/farm-fields-yield-city-history-75723077.html

Also visit the Millenium Library which has a streetcar display on the main floor until Dec 31st. The picture shows a Motorman’s coat, very heavy, weighs almost 50lbs! Thanks to the Winnipeg Electrical Museum for the loan of the coat and the Winnipeg Library staff who have done such a great job with the display.

Fall/Winter Update

My apologies for no news for awhile, however during the fall/winter, the Streetcar committee is focusing on grant and proposal writing.  WEC T-shirt sales are progressing very well, and many thanks to the Manitoba Heritage Transit Association for ordering shirts, and Winnipeg Transit employees for their support.

We are also working on research for the Streetcar in obtaining parts and resources for materials.  A valuable contact has been made with the Minneapolis Heritage streetcar group at www.trolleyride.org (Minnesota Streetcar Museum) and we hope to see some volunteers come up in the spring to offer advice and recommendations to 356.  Winnipeg did actually order 20 Streetcars from Minneapolis after a carbarn fire in 1920, and they were used in service until the early 1950’s.

There is a great local website of history information at www.manitobia.ca with many scans of press clippings from the late 1880’s to the 1950’s.  I’ve gone through the scans and found a few interesting articles on Streetcars.  Of course most of the clippings and pictures are of accidents, but there are a few which indicate the social aspect of life in Winnipeg.  I’ll post them from time to time, here’s the first one from the Winnipeg Evening Tribune. However, note the date is April 1st, 1942, true or not?

Do Women hold key to Tram Stampede?

53 years ago today, Streetcar service ended in Winnipeg.

An anniversary for today: Sept 19, 1955, was the last Streetcar run in the city.  An ad in the Winnipeg Free Press proclaimed “Winnipeg Runs on Rubber” by Goodyear of course.  With an aging Streetcar fleet, the decision was made to go with a modern bus fleet.  Trolley and Diesel buses were the choice, and Trolley Buses used the overhead electrical lines, lasting another 15 years to 1970.

I was informed of an obituary in the Free Press over the weekend, for Grace Cameron Chamberlain (nee McMurdy) and I quote from the FP “During the Second World War she drove a streetcar and was the first woman driver to achieve a one year safety record. She was proud of that accomplishment”.

Another reason to restore 356 ) I’m sure in those 2 sentences, there is a lifetime of stories, and more. The picture below is from the Winnipeg Tribune Archives, U of M Collection.  Looking West on Portage Ave, Trolley Buses on the right.

http://www.umanitoba.ca/libraries/archives/tribune/photographs/display_photo.php?id=3977

Thanks Grace.

Last streetcar in Winnipeg nearing Portage and Smith

NFB 1953 documentary, life of a Railway Switchman

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.

http://beta.nfb.ca/film/paul_tomkowicz_street_railway_switchman/