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 HSR Snow Sweepers (HSR #1:2-4:2) and Work Cars

HSR Snow Sweepers (HSR #1:2-4:2)

It's hard to imagine today, but at the end of the 19th century the removal of snow from the streets was not appreciated by citizens of Hamilton, as it made the movement of private horse-drawn sleighs difficult. It would not be until years later, after the introduction of automobiles that the City of Hamilton would plow its streets.

In the horsecar days, when the snow got deep enough in winter, the HSR would switch from using horsecars to using horse drawn sleighs. With electrification and the replacement of horsecars with streetcars, the use of sleighs was no longer feasible. So in November 1893 the HSR received its first street sweeper to clear the snow from its tracks.

The HSR had a total of four track sweepers for snow removal. Each sweeper was unique, built by different companies at different times.(The ':2' means that this was the second HSR streetcar with this number). The sweepers lasted right to the end of streetcar service in 1951.

Specifications

Number 1:2 2:2 3:2 4:2
Manufacturer Ottawa Car Co. Lewis & Fowler Kuhlman McGuire-Cummings
Year Built 1892 1894 1908 1916
Length 27 ft, 5 in 26 ft, 2 in 28 ft, 7 in 30 ft, 10 in
Width 9 ft, 11 in 8 ft, 0 in 7 ft, 10 in 7 ft, 7 in
Height 11 ft, 0 in 11 ft, 4 in 11 ft, 8 in 11 ft, 3 in
Trucks Pedestal Pedestal Pedestal Pedestal
Motors GE 1000 GE 1000 WH 38B GE 1200
Weight 26 700 lbs 26 700 lbs 27 200 lbs 30 765 lbs

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 1:2 at Sanford Yard, September 1 1939.

HSR #1:2 at Sanford Yard, September 1 1939.

HSR 2:2 clearing snow by Gore Park circa 1910.

HSR #2:2 clearing snow by Gore Park circa 1910 (Photo courtesy of the Hamilton Public Library, Local History & Archives, used with permission)

HSR 2:2 being towed by a streetcar at King & John circa 1910

HSR #2:2 being towed by a streetcar at King & John. The earliest postmark found on this card is April 7 1911. Behind the cars is the Hamilton Terminal Station, built in 1907.

HSR 2:2 at Sanford yard, date unknown.

HSR #2:2 at Sanford yard, date unknown. The NSC 500 series streetcars in the background makes this photo late-1920s at the earliest.

HSR 2:2 at Sanford Yard, September 1 1939.

HSR #2:2 at Sanford Yard, September 1 1939.

HSR #3:2 and #4:2 at Sanford yard in 1948.

HSR #3:2 and #4:2 at Sanford yard in 1948. (From the Richard Vincent collection, used with permission)

HSR 4:2 at Sanford yard in 1949.

HSR #4:2 at Sanford yard in 1949. (Photo courtesy of the Richard Vincent collection, used with permission)

HSR Work Cars

A large transportaion network like a streetcar system requires maintenace. There's tracks, poles, and over head wires that need to be maintained, and every once in a while a streetcar need rerailing after an accident. So the HSR had a fleet of rail based work equipment.

Overhead line car (HSR #15:2)

Originally built by Patterson & Corbin of St. Catharines in 1896 as HRER #15, an unpowered trailer, it was motorized around 1900. It was converted into a freight car in 1904, rebuilt into a line car in 1915 for use by the Cataract company across their entire network for work on the overhead electrical lines. When the HRER closed down in 1929 it was transferred to the HSR, keeping its original number.

HSR #15:2 in storage at the south end of the Birch Ave Boneyard, May 19, 1951.

HSR #15:2 in storage at the south end of the Birch Ave Boneyard, May 19, 1951. (From the Richard Vincent collection, used with permission)

HRER #15 on the Birch St ROW near Wilson & Stinton

HSR #15 at the south end of the Birch Ave Boneyard near Wilson & Stinton after the end of streetcar service in 1951. (From Dave’s Electric Railroads, used with permission)

Work Motor (HSR #149)

Possibly built by Koppel around 1900 and bought second hand as a trailer in 1913 by the Hamilton Terminal Company, it was transferred to the HSR in 1931 with the closing of the radial lines. It was scrapped 1948

HTC/HSR 149 at Sanford yard, April 10, 1938.

HSR #149 at Sanford yard, April 10, 1938. (From the Richard Vincent collection, used with permission)

HTC 149 waits as a Laconia DEDT streetcar enters Sanford yard, date unknown.

HSR #149 waits as a Laconia DEDT streetcar enters Sanford yard, date unknown. (Photographer unknown)

Sprinkler Car (HSR #?)

Before the paving of roads, it was common to occasionally water the road surface to try and keep down the amount of dust kicked up by horses and carts. The power of electric motors and low friction of steel rails meant that an electric sprinkler car could carry a much larger volume of water than a horse drawn wagon. So in 1894 the HSR offered to provide street watering services on the roads that its tracks ran on for an annual fee. The City of Hamilton declined this offer, but a second offer made in January 1897 was accepted and HSR street watering began in early May 1897.

Few details exist about the car. Newspaper accounts say it was originally painted white, but by the end of May 1897 it had been painted brown. It's unknown who built it, if it even had a number, or when it was retired. There are no known photos of the sprinkler car.

It's possible that the car was built by the Brill company: Their records list a 1500 gallon single truck sprinkler car built for "Hamilton & Linde, ON" ordered on December 5, 1892. If that is a mistranscribed 'Hamilton Cty Lines', then perhaps there was an even earlier offer made for street watering that was cancelled after the car was delivered?