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 The York Street route

The York Street route

Start of service: June 17, 1878
End of service: 1922
Route: Dundurn & York to James & York, later extended to Cemetery gates on York St

Surveys for a single track line began on May 14, 1878. On May 17 construction began at James St. The tracks had reached Queen St by May 24, and Dundurn by the end of May.

June 17, 1878
The York Street begins running from Dundurn & York St to James & York. Like the GWR Station & King Street West route (and its descendants), the horsecars on York Street were painted red. As the two routes did not cross or share tracks at any point, there was no risk of HSR riders confusing the two routes while the horsecars were in service.

Summer 1892
The HSR electrified most of its system in 1892. Due to the replacement of a sewer pipe underneath York St the start of trackwork on York St was delayed until June 20, 1892. One of the first track projects was the installation of a crossover at York & MacNab to allow for single track operation on days when the Farmers market next to the city hall spread onto York St. Double tracking of the single track York St line begins at James & York on July 6, and reaches Dundurn by July 15.

July 15, 1892
The York St route is the fourth and last horsecar route to be converted to electric operations. Streetcars begin running between James and Dundurn, with a horsecar shuttle running from Dundurn to the cemetery.

July 19, 1892
Double tracking of the York St line is complete, and full streetcar service begins.

September 13, 1894
Construction begins on a single-track extension along York to the gates of the Hamilton cemetery next to Harvey Park, and was completed in a few weeks.

April 15, 1895
Double tracking of the single-track extension begins.

May 10, 1895
Double tracking is completed.

The York Street route would see no further changes until 1922, when the opening of streetcar service to Westdale would result in the merging of service on York St with the Herkimer-Locke-King-James loop, forming the York & King West route.

HSR 48 on York St, circa 1915.

HSR #48 on York St, circa 1915. (The cemetary office is on the left side of the photo) (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)

HSR #406 on York St at James St, next to City Hall.

HSR #406 on York St at James St, next to City Hall. Date unknown, but behind the streetcar is the south end of the Market Hall that burned in 1917, so within a couple of years on either side of 1915.

HSR 400, probably at Hamilton Cemetary, date unknown.

HSR #400, probably at Hamilton Cemetary, date unknown (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives, used with permission)


Hamilton Spectator
“Local Items” May 14 1878, pg 4
“Local Items” May 18 1878, pg 4
“Minor Local Notes” May 24 1878, pg 4
“Local Items” Jun 18 1878, pg 4
"Traveller's Guide" Nov 18, 1879, pg 3
“Brief Local Items” Jun 20 1892, pg 1
“More Trolley Power - The Second Engine at the Power House Is Now Going” July 6 1892, pg 8
“Brief Local Items” July 15 1892, pg 1
“Brief Local Items” July 19 1892, pg 1
“Brief Local Items” Sept 13 1894, pg 1
“Brief Local Items” Apr 15 1895, pg 1
“Brief Local Items” May 10 1895, pg 1

"The Dominion Power and Transmission Co.'s Railway System" Canadian Railway and Marine World June 1913: pg 281-284

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