Streetcar History - Edmonton Passenger Cars
Builder: Ottawa Car Company
The first six cars on the Edmonton Radial Railway were built by the Ottawa Car Company in 1908. Each car had two motor trucks (two four-wheel carriages pivotally mounted under two ends of the car and carrying a motor on each axle) built by the J. G. Brill Co. of Philadelphia PA. Hand brakes, rather than the air brakes that were fitted later, were used to stop the cars. The 36' 6 1/2" long, wood steel reinforced frame bodies, with monitor deck roofs were built in Ottawa and held 40 seats. These double ended cars could receive and disembark passenger from either end and be operated by the motorman from either end. Edmonton 1 at Fort Edmonton Park is the only remaining original car from the beginning of electric transit in Edmonton but was converted by the Edmonton Radial Railway to operate as a single ended car in 1912 when one man operation was introduced.
Car #7, built in 1908 was the only single truck car (one four-wheel, non-rotating, two motor carriage centrally located under the car body) used in Edmonton (only for a short time as a passenger car). The truck was built by J. G. Brill Co., and the 31' 10" long, double ended, steel reinforced body with 32 seats was built in Ottawa. Toronto Suburban 24, which operates at Fort Edmonton Park is a similar car.
Cars #15, 17, 18 - 21 built in 1910 had a monitor roof with ends that sloped smoothly down to the lower roof line (bullnose ends). These 41' 2 1/2" long double ended, wood steel reinforced frame cars with 32 seats were built in Ottawa and used two J. G. Brill Co. trucks.
Cars #8, 9, 11, 13, 22, 23 built 1911 were duplicates of the 1910 order except that they were constructed as single ended cars with 37 seats.
The last streetcars ever built for Edmonton (#80 - 84) were constructed in 1930. An arched roof that has a continuous symmetrical curve from one side of the car to the other was used on these all steel, double truck cars which used trucks from the Canadian Car & Foundry. They were single ended, 45' 11 7/8" long cars with 51 seats. Car #80 in the ERRS collection at Fort Edmonton Park is the sole survivor of the most modern streetcars ever to operate on the Edmonton system.
Ottawa Car Company built a total of 28 (32%) of the streetcars used on the Edmonton Radial Railway System.
Builder: Preston Car Company
The first order of four cars (#10, 12, 14, 16) from the Preston Car Company of Preston, Ontario (now part of Cambridge, Ontario) arrived in 1909. The cars were 42' long, double ended and contained 44 seats. The frame was steel reinforced wood and the monitor roof curved smoothly down to the top of the sidewalls in what is called a bullnose end. Two Bemis 45 trucks were placed under the cars in Edmonton. Car 14 was rebuilt into the library car in 1941.
The Preston Car Company received a second order for cars #28 - 31 in 1911. These wood steel reinforced framed, single ended cars arrived ready for service with monitor roofs with bullnose ends, Brill 27 G-1 trucks and 41 seats. The body of car 31 awaits restoration at Fort Edmonton Park.
The largest order ever by the Edmonton Radial Railway (#47 - 74) was placed in 1913. These single ended, steel framed, double truck cars used Standard 50 trucks and contained 44 seats. An additional order for similar cars (#75 - 81) was placed in 1914. The bodies of cars #53, 65 and 73 have been rescued for eventual restoration.
The Preston Car Company built a total of 44 (50%) of the cars used on the Edmonton Radial Railway System.
Builder: St. Louis Car Company
The only "non-Canadian built" cars on the Edmonton Radial Railway came from the St. Louis Car Company of St. Louis MO in 1912. Cars #32-46 had an arch roof, wood steel reinforced frame and carried 36 seats in their "as delivered" double ended configuration. Two St. Louis 47-B trucks were added in Edmonton beneath the 43' 10 1/2" body.
Three of these streetcars have been recovered by the ERRS. Edmonton 42 was rescued from the Sylvan Lake area and after restoration it became the main passenger carrier on our Fort Edmonton Park streetcar route. Restoration on Edmonton 33 was completed in 2010 and it began service on our High Level Bridge route in 2011. The body of Edmonton 38 awaits restoration.
St. Louis Car Company built a total of 15 (17%) of the cars used on the Edmonton Radial Railway System.