A History of the 32 Eglinton West Trolley Bus

(Never Opened)

An interesting trolley bus route operating on EGLINTON WEST was proposed in the 1950s but never materialized. When the 63 OSSINGTON replaced the Oakwood streetcar, for a while trolley buses plied Eglinton Avenue West between Oakwood Avenue and Gilbert Loop. Transit service along Eglinton Avenue was fractured between this route, and an Eglinton West bus, as travel patterns along Eglinton Avenue West appeared to favour channeling people south towards St. Clair instead of over towards the subway. In 1964, things had changed, as evidenced when the Ossington trolley bus was cut back to Oakwood and Eglinton, and the Eglinton West bus started through service.

There are photographs (one of which can be seen below) to prove that the TTC considered making this through operation a trolley bus operation. This would have been interesting, as it would have completed the missing link separating the Eglinton Division routes of 61 NORTOWN and 97 YONGE with the Lansdowne Division routes making up the rest of the system. Since this link was never built, the two divisions had no physical connection whatsoever, and operated independent of each other.

Until the 1970s, Eglinton Avenue effectively ended at Jane Street, and so a trolley bus route wouldn't have been in immediate danger of being made obsolete by development further west. So why was the route planned, but never built? The answer may lie in the affluent Village of Forest Hill, upon whose territory the proposed route would have run. They may have objected to 'unsightly overhead wires', and gained enough political clout to defeat the project. The proposal was probably dead by June 28, 1964, which was when the trolley wires were cut back on Eglinton Avenue from Gilbert Loop to Oakwood Avenue. Forest Hill as a village, on the other hand, wasn't dead until January 1, 1967.

In the energy-crisis days of the 1970s, other proposals came forward for conversion of diesel lines to trolley bus operation. These included 94 WELLESLEY, 75 SHERBOURNE, 6 BAY and 78 RUNNYMEDE SOUTH plus an extension of the 89 Weston bus north to Steeles Avenue. Of these proposals, only 6 BAY bore fruit, leaving the TTC without a comprehensive trolley bus system that would have been more worth keeping when the death-knell sounded in the early 1990s.


References

  • Corley, Ray F., Trolley Coach CC&F and Flyer Coaches, The Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), January 1987.
  • Filey, Mike, The TTC Story: The First Seventy-Five Years, Dundurn Press, Toronto (Ontario) 1996.

Eglinton West Trolley Bus Image Archive

trolleybus-9101-01.jpg

TTC Marmon Harrington trolley coach 9125 sits at Lansdowne Garage, circa 1955. Its rolling proves the TTC, at one point, considered installing a trolley coach service on 32 EGLINTON WEST between the subway and Oakwood Avenue. Photo donated by Jim Blair.

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