The Montreal Streetcar and Trolley Bus Photo Gallery

Text by James Bow

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Through much of its history, Montreal remained the largest city in Canada, until Toronto passed it in the early 1980s. As befitting a major metropolis, Montreal operated an extensive network of streetcar lines both on the Island, and on interurban lines running to it. Streetcar service was established in 1861 and continued until August 30, 1959. The Montreal & Southern Counties interurban service operated electric trains from 1909 to 1956, making it one of the last interurbans to be abandoned in Canada.

A wide variety of equipment was used, including PCCs and articulated streetcars. Some of these units are preserved at rail museums across the country (M&SC car 107, for instance, operates at the Halton County Radial Railway museum).

A more modest trolley bus network consisting of four routes was introduced in 1937. These outlived the streetcars, but not by much. A city proposal to alter a number of arterial roads through the city to complimentary one-way operation promised to disrupt trolley bus operations, and the transit operator elected to abandon service in 1966.

Montreal has a rich history of electric transit operations and it was dutifully logged by railfans at the time. A selection of photographs have been presented below, but they are a small sample of what is available. Consult the resources linked above for further information.

Special thanks to Art Mayoff, Marc Dufour and Michael Di Mambro for identifying many of the locations of the photos shown here and providing interesting anecdotes. Some of what is written here is quoted verbatim from Art. Thanks also to Julian Bernard, for catching a few mistakes on these captions, and clarifying who took what photographs.


Montreal Streetcar and Trolley Bus Image Archive


References

  • Binns, Richard M., Montreal's Electric Streetcars: An Illustrated History of the Tramway Era: 1892 to 1959, Railfare Enterprises Limited, Montreal (Québec), 1973.

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