Early HSR Streetcars
Very little is known about the early streetcars of the HSR, due to the poor record keeping of the Cataract Company. Based on some records, photographs and newspaper references, there were two batches of open horsecars converted to electric operation using Brill trucks and Westinghouse motors: #20-24 (1893?) and #30-34 (1892). There were also two batches of closed horsecars converted to electric operation: #25-29 (1893?) and #35-44 (1892). Streetcars in the #45-59 series were built by the J. M. Jones company of Troy, NY and delivered in June 1892.
Some of the dates for these photos are unknown, and the locations are often just a guess. If you know either date or location, email me!
(All photos © Tom Luton, except where noted)
HSR streetcars at James and York. The earliest postmark found for this card is December 11, 1913.
An HSR open streetcar by old city hall. The Unique Theatre on the left opened in 1908, and there are adverts dated 'Wed Jun 3', making this postcard late May/early June 1908.
3 HSR streetcars at King and James. The earliest postmark found for this card is October 29, 1908.
Three streetcars on King St West at James circa 1895
HSR #33 at James & King. Based on the storefront signs on James St North and on the ads on the streetcar fenders, this photo is most likely the August civic holiday, August 6, 1906. From an old uncirculated postcard.
HSR #34 at James & King, Based on the storefront signs on James St North and on the ads on the streetcar fenders, this photo is most likely early June 1906. From an old uncirculated postcard
HSR #39 at Stuart St & Caroline circa 1900. (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)
HSR #41 at Gore park in August 1892. This is one of the earliest photos of an electric streetcar in Hamilton, taken as part of an avertising pamphlet about the City of Hamilton for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair (Photo courtesy of the Toronto Public Library, Digital Collections)
HSR #45 on November 25th, 1906, the morning after the Great Riot of 1906. Another version of this photo has the caption 'Street Car en route to Car Sheds after encounter with mob during Strike'(sic) (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)
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 #50, probably inside the Inspection barn at the East Barn. The caption reads ‘13276 Hamilton St Ry. Single Truck Motor Pas. Car. #37-50. July 1920’
HSR #59, probably on the scrap track at the storage yard next to the East Barn. The caption reads ‘13282 Hamilton St Ry. Single Truck closed Trailer cars #46-_-52-58-59. July 192_’
This unused postcard shows HSR #60 at the Hamilton and Barton Incline Railway's lower station. This streetcar was built in 1893, by the J. M. Jones company. While there is no date, the poster on the front of the streetcar is advertising the play "The Boss", which was first performed on Broadway in New York on Jan 30 1911.
HSR #62 at Stuart St & Caroline, circa 1900. (The building on the right is the west end of the second Stuart St station). (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives)
During WWI a HSR streetcar was converted into an Army recruiting station and put at the southwest corner of Gore Park, next to the statue of Queen Victoria. It's hard to identify it due to all the posters and bunting, but it looks like one of either the converted horsecars (HSR #35-44) or 1892 Jones streetcars (HSR #45-59). The earliest known postmark for this card is August 1915. Because the Lusitania is mentioned on a poster, this photo must be from early or mid summer of 1915.
“New Street Cars - Fifteen of Them Ordered From a Firm in Troy N.Y.” April 4, 1892, pg 1
Mills, John M. Cataract Traction; The Railways of Hamilton. Toronto: Upper Canada Railway Society/Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association, 1971