Streetcar History - Edmonton Work Cars

There is much more to a street railway than just passenger cars. The Edmonton Radial Railway was no exception and had a great variety of work cars on their roster.

Overhead Line Cars

Car #7

Before streetcar operation could even start, overhead wires had to be put in place. In 1913 the tracks were expanded very rapidly and car #7 was fitted with a roof mounted platform to supplement line car L-1. The four wheel track car in front holds the spool of copper overhead wire. Safety standards were obviously not quite as high in those days: The cable going onto the drum is "hot" as car #7 is powered from the overhead line as it is being installed. The horse-drawn tower wagon provides assistance.
H. Gilbert Sorenson, ERRS Collection

Line car L-1

The crew of line car L-1 pauses briefly for a photograph as they install the wire over the east track on the High Level Bridge. The C.P.R. track is in the immediate foreground. Fort Edmonton can be seen in the bottom right hand corner. The Alberta Legislature building is under construction to the left of the car.
H. Gilbert Sorenson, ERRS Collection

Sprinkler Cars

Sprinkler car S-1

Before most of Edmonton's roads were paved sprinkler cars were employed to keep the dust under control. Edmonton Radial Railway Sprinkler S-1 gives a fine display of its sprinkling prowess on Jasper Avenue at 21 (121) Street in 1909. Glenbow Archives NA-2651-2

Sprinkler car S-2

Sprinkler Car S-2 with its three man crew sprays water onto Jasper Avenue as it approaches 100 Avenue in this circa 1915 scene. Both sprinklers were retired from service about 1921.
Glenbow Archives NA-1328-66607

Wrecker-Tool Car

Wrecker-Tool Car #6

Wrecker-tool car #6 was built in 1925 in the workshops of the Edmonton Radial Railway from Sprinkler car S-2. The car carried re-railing and towing equipment and remained in service until the abandonment of the streetcar system. The photo was taken in January 1951.
Anthony Clegg, ERRS Collection

Snow Sweeper Cars

Sweeper #1

Snow Sweepers were obviously in heavy demand during rough prairie winters. Sweeper #1 (which also served as a freight hauling locomotive) clears a path through the snow on 124 Street south of 118 Avenue. This view was taken in later years during the severe winter conditions of 1942.
Les Corness, ERRS Collection

Sweeper #2

Edmonton's home built sweeper #2 is stored on the east track at the Cromdale shop during the summer of 1944.
Bob Walker, ERRS Collection

Sweeper #3

In the summer of 1944 sweeper #3 stands with brushes poised ready to take on the season's first snow fall.
Bob Walker, ERRS Collection

Wing plough #5

The Edmonton Radial Railway's home built wing plough #5 rests on the storage track at Cromdale yard.
Eric M. Smith, ERRS Collection

Freight Hauling Equipment

Motor flat car #4

Motor flat car #4 stands on the extension of the north ladder track along 117 Avenue at the Cromdale shop. In addition to carrying street railway supplies this car switched box cars from the steam railways to points on the street railway system in the early years. The photo was taken in 1941. The car remained on the property until streetcar abandonment in 1951.
Bob Walker, ERRS Collection

Differential Dump Car S-5

Differential Dump Car S-5 (the only product of the Canadian Car and Foundry Company on the E.R.R. Roster) takes a load of brick from the Alsip Brick and Supply Company in 1913. This spur was located at the corner of Pine (112) Avenue and Kinnaird (82) Street. Pallets and fork lifts are still in the future as eight men work to load the car.
Glenbow Archives NC-6-286

Motor Flat Car #4

In this 1912 scene motor flat car #4 switches railway box cars to and from the spur at the C.F. Taylor Lumber Company on Alberta (118) Avenue between Lorne (92) Street and Kennedy (93) Street. The ERR switched box cars over streetcar tracks from the steam railways to several industrial locations in Edmonton to provide additional revenue.
Glenbow Archives NA-1328-64468

Rail Grinder

Rail Grinder #7

Rail Grinder 7 was built in 1938 on the frame and truck of single-truck passenger car Edmonton 7, which had also been used as a line car. It remained on the Cromdale storage tracks until the end of streetcar service in September 1951.
Eric M. Smith, ERRS Collection

Unfortunately, none of the above work cars have survived streetcar abandonment. Nevertheless, to show the amazing technique of a snow sweeper in action, members of the society currently are restoring Saskatoon Sweeper 200 for winter service.