Wednesday, January 4, 2017
McGill Street Station Railway
MCGILL STREET 1909 – 1955
M. Peter Murphy
Albert Corriveau was the secretary and principal promoter of the Montreal Park & Island Railway which by 1897 was operating surburban trolley line~ to virtually all the Montreal surburbs located on the island. Expansion to the South Shore was impossible because of the natural obstruction created by the mighty St. Lawrence River even though the original charter of the MPIR permitted it to do so. As plans were being prepared for the replacement of the original Victoria Tubular Bridge, Albert Carriveau and associates were busy applying for a Federal Charter to construct an electric railwar from Montreal to the "South Shore" and Huntingdon.
On June 25, 1897 the charter for the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway was granted but no actual work was done for several years even though the new Victoria Jubilee Bridge was opened late in 1898. In 1901 Corriveau retired from active railway promotion and the MPIR came under control of the Montreal Street Railway.
It was ten years after the charter had been granted that construction actually began on the M & S C. The Grand Trunk Railway granted permission to use the downstream lane of the Victoria Bridge for the electric railway and by a generous infusion of money to get construction started the Grand Trunk took a controlling interest in the new railway.
The Montreal Street Railway vigorously opposed the granting of running rights through any of the streets of Montreal to the M & S C and by the time the rights were obtained the M & SC had
attended no less than 145 regular and special meetings of the City Council of Montreal to plead its case.
By Spring 1909 the M & S C had laid tracks along Riverside, Mill, Common, Grey Nun and Youville Streets, the actual brick station being constructed at the south west corner of McGill and Youville Streets. Originally cars were wyed at the corner of Grey Nun and Youville Streets but as train lengths increased another means of turning the cars had to be found. By 1913 the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway had negotiated an agreement with the Montreal Tramways Company whereby M & S C trains could share a one block long length of common southbound track on McGill Street between Youville and Common Streets.
While the M S Rand M & S C were originally viewed as rivals they indeed turned out to be complementary to one another. Rapidly the McGill Street terminal of the M & S C became the
transfer point for street car passengers travelling to the south shore. Operation of electric cars on the common track consisted of southbound Montreal Tramways Cars operating on Outremont
route 29. It was on route 29 that the MTCo operated its fleet of PCC cars almost exclusively, and so it was not unusual to see trains of CNR green interurbans interspursed with a cream coloured PCC car or two during rush hours on Mc Gill Street.
While the tracks were shared the trolley overhead was not.
Two separate wires hung about 18 inches apart assured independent power supply for each railway. At the foot of McGill Street trolley contacts were installed which fed the first electric switch to be installed in Montreal. An M & S C trolley making contact threw the switch to head west along Common Street, while a MTC trolley threw the switch to head east to the "Youville Loop" and the end of route 29.
M & S C suburban cars in rush hours looped around Grey Nun, Youville & McGill Streets stopping to load in front of the M & SC station. The interurban trains looped around McGill Street and
were backed into the yard where after the express had been loaded and passengers boarded they headed out curving directly onto Common Street, Black Bridge, Mill Street and the Victoria
courtesy - M. Peter Murphy
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