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 Final Fate of Radials and HSR Streetcars and Buses

Final Fate of Radials and HSR Streetcars and Buses

Not all of the transit vehicles in and around Hamilton were scrapped at the end of many years of service. Many had second lives as cabins or sheds, or were sold to other companies to work in additional service.

Hamilton & Dundas Steam Dummies

After the electrification of the H&D in 1898, H&D steam dummies #1-3 were sold to Charles Sturrock, the former H&D superintendent of motive power. #1 & 2 were scrapped in 1900, while #3 was sold to Beck Lumber of Penetanguishene, Ontario. The engine was rebuilt, and it worked until it was retired in 1924. It is currently on display at the Centennial Museum in Penetanguishene.

H&D #4 was sold in 1902 to assist with the construction of the Preston & Berlin radial line. It stayed with that railroad until around 1910, when it was sold to parties unknown. Eventually H&D #4 was bought by the William Milne & Sons Company. It was first used near North Bay at Trout Mills, and later on it went to their operation in Temagami in 1935. Its final fate is unknown.

Additional details on the H&D steam dummies can be found here

Brantford Freight Station

In 1921 the B&H built a Freight Station in Brantford near Alfred St. The freight station was actually constructed out of flat car HTC #148 and an old HRER boxcar.

Brantford & Hamilton #240

In 1923 the B&H built a new radial car, B&H #240 using bits and pieces out of pre-existing radial cars that had been retired or damaged. Cars known to have contributed parts are:

  • B&H #210 (trucks were salvaged after the car burned at Cainsville)
  • HRER #307 (roof)

Halton County Radial Railway

Several HSR streetcars and buses have become part of the HCRR's collection. These include:

  • HSR #403 - sold and turned into a cabin on Hwy 20 near Tapleytown Rd in Stoney Creek. Over the years, the cabin was added to and changed hands so that its origins were forgotten until it was being dismantled in 1982. It was donated to the Halton County Radial Railway, but continuing deterioration forced it to be finally scrapped in 1999.
  • HSR #521 - sold and became part of a farm shed near Beamsville, Ontario. It was donated to the Halton County Radial Railway on October 22, 1973, where it waits for restoration
  • HSR #517 - sold to Burlington Transit in 1975/76, then became Brampton Transit #5741 in Spring 1976 before arriving at the museum. It has been restored to its HSR colours
  • HSR #732
  • HSR #765
  • HSR #7801
  • HSR #7802

Radial Village

After the closure of the radials, several car bodies were purchased and converted into a campground called Radial Village at Hwy 8 & Durham Rd, on the border between Grimsby and Lincoln townships, just west of Beamsville. Seven radial cars were purchased, along with two diners that were built in the USA in the shape of old streetcars. Radial Village survived until the late 1960s, when most of the cars were demolished. Two radial cars remained, but were demolished around 1990.

Only two of the seven cars have been identified, primarily because few photos of Radial Village have come to light. These are:

  • B&H #240-demolished around 1990
  • HTC #604-demolished August 1965
Aerial photo of Radial Village, July 1934

Aerial photo of Radial Village, July 1934. Durham Rd is in the centre, Green Lane is in the lower right, Hwy 8 is on the left. The seven former Hamilton radial cars have been placed, but the two streetcar shaped diners are not present. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

A postcard of Radial Village

A postcard of Radial Village. HTC #604 is the second 'sleeper' from the left, while B&H #240 is the rear of the two cars in use as the gas station office. No postmark on the card, but judging by the cars and trucks it's from the late 1940s or early 1950s.

The inside of the Radial Village Diner

The inside of the Radial Village Diner, shortly before its demolition on June 30 1967. (Photo Courtesy of the Grimsby Historical Society Archives, used with permission.)

A postcard of Radial Village

A postcard of a Radial Village cabin. This is either a former B&H Brill-built, or a HRER/HTC Preston-built radial car. The sign next to the dog reads "Cabins with Running Water Twin Beds Moderate Prices"

Canada Crushed Stone Company

The Canada Crushed Stone Company hauled gravel from a quarry in Flamborough to a rock crusher overlooking Dundas. Here the gravel was crushed and loaded into railway cars for transport. Due to the short distance between the quarry and the crusher, the CCS used electric equipment for its operations. When the radial lines shut down, the CCS purchased several cars for spare parts. However, the former radial self-propelled dump cars were also purchased, and set to work hauling gravel, a role they played until operations shut down in the 1970s. Cars purchased by the CCS are as follows:

Cabins along Cootes Dr

A number of old streetcars were turned into cabins, many of them near Cootes Drive in Dundas. These were virtually all wrecked by a severe rainstorm that caused Spencer Creek to burst its banks and flood the area in the early 1950s. Known cars in this area were:

Reused by HSR

Some streetcars and radial cars were turned into sheds by the HSR in their Sanford Yard. When the cars were scrapped is currently unknown.

  • HG&B #152 (used for a ticket office and lost & found)
  • HG&B #173:2 (used for storage)
  • HG&B #174:2 (used for storage)
  • HSR #404 (used for salt storage)
  • HSR #408 (used for salt storage)

Also, at least two of the HSR's Yellow Coach Model X buses were converted into maintenance vehicles after they were retired from regular service, working until at least 1950.


Several streetcars and buses were purchased individually and spent many years in isolated locations. All are considered scrapped unless otherwise stated. These include:

  • HSR #95 - placed behind the Arkell Foods plant in Winona, off of Highway 8.
  • HSR #530 - trucks and electrical equipment stripped by scrapper, body sold and placed near Port Colborne. In addition to HSR 521 and 530, 6 more streetcar bodies of this type were sold off to places unknown.
  • HTC #602 - sold and placed in an orchard east of Grimsby, demolished in May 1986.
  • HSR #716 - sold to unknown owner for use as storage building, known to still exist as of August 1986.
  • HSR #739 - sold to private owner and placed in field along Hwy 2 approximately 2 km west of Cardinal in Eastern Ontario, scrapped in July 1995.
  • HSR #775 - front end was salvaged and now adorns the Quarters Bar & Grill at McMaster University.
  • HSR #2204 - sold in 2001, now sitting behind Hamilton Metals on Aberdeen next to CP Rail bridge.
  • HSR #7707 - sold to Hamilton Fire Department, now used to train firefighters at facility on Stone Church Rd.
  • HSR #8251 - sold to Hamilton Airport, now used to train firefighters.
  • HSR #518203 - donated to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine in 2009

Hints, Rumours and Mistaken Identities

I've heard of a few 'old streetcars' that used to be in places around Hamilton, now long gone. These may have been HSR or Radial cars, they may have been from other electric railways, old passenger cars, or even just sheds that were unusually long & narrow. But I'm putting them up here anyway in the hope that someone can clear up these mysteries. There's also at least one case that is confirmed not to be a streetcar, even though it really looks like one.

  • On January 18, 2010 the Hamilton Spectator mentioned in an article on Cherry Beach that there used to be an old streetcar along the waterfront near Millen Rd, and that it was hauled away in 2009. I phoned some local residents, but was unable to get any useful information.
  • Supposedly there was a former interurban/streetcar near Queenston Rd and Clapham Rd in Stoney Creek.
  • On the SW corner of Hughson and Jackson in Hamilton there used to be a diner that many folks thought was an old streetcar or railway passenger car. Instead, it was a diner built to resemble an old streetcar or railway passenger car. The Worcester Lunch Car Company of Worcester, Massachusetts built hundreds of these small diners in the early part of the 20th century. In addition to the one at Hughson & Jackson, two were at Radial Village near Beamsville.
Fake streetcar at Hughson and Jackson, March 20, 1954

Fake streetcar at Hughson and Jackson, March 20, 1954. Opened about 1945 by Russell Williams as part of his Bright Spot restaurant chain, It was sold in June of 1970 to Hugh Walker who re-named it the Hamilton Dining Car. It was torn down in 1971 in order to expand the YMCA. (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)