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 The Western Branch

The Western Branch

Start of service: May 18 1874
End of service: May 26 1877
Route: From Great Western Railway station at Stuart & Caroline to King & James via Stuart and James. Later extended to Crystal palace at Locke & King via King St West.

The Western Branch was one of the first routes operated by the HSR, starting on May 18, 1874. The Western Branch ran from the Great Western Railway station at Stuart & Caroline to King & James via Stuart and James. The cars on the western branch were painted red, with the route described on the side of the horsecar, above the windows.

In June of 1874, track construction began next to the Crystal Palace at Locke & King, running eastwards along King St West. On July 1 the Western Branch was extended west along King to Locke.

The Western Branch had few alterations during its lifespan. The route was cut back on Stuart from Caroline to Bay at some point around 1875, as it was found that the hill on Stuart was too steep for fully loaded horsecars. On May 26 1877, the Western Branch was renamed the Red route, to match the colour of the cars.

HSR 1, on King St West between MacNab & Park in 1875

HSR 1 on King St West between MacNab & Park in 1875 (now the site of the Ellen Fairclough Building). The text above the windows reads ‘G.W.RY STA. (Great Western Railway Station) & KING ST. WEST' identifying this as a red car on the Western Branch. (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)

Sources

Hamilton Spectator

"Street Railway - Special arrangements for Dominion Day and the Races" June 29, 1874, pg 3
“Street Railway Time Table” July 23, 1874, pg 3
“Hamilton Street Railway Time Table” May 26, 1877, pg 3

Mills, John M. Cataract Traction; The Railways of Hamilton. Toronto: Upper Canada Railway Society/Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association, 1971