Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Retirement of the Tramways


Faced with the criticism of the MTC’s private monopoly, the City of Montreal created the Montreal Transportation Commission (MTC) in August 1950. The Commission appropriated the assets of the Montreal Tramways Company on June 16, 1951, including a large number of old tramways at the end of their useful life. The tramways needed to be replaced quickly, but with what type of vehicle? Although powered by electricity, tramways were no longer very popular in the early 1950s. They were not as flexible as buses and many motorists accused them of blocking downtown traffic. So the decision was made to replace them all with buses over a period of some ten years.


Mount Royal

In the end, it took eight years to retire the tramways, with the CTM purchasing some 1,300 buses to replace its 939 tramway cars. And that was how “the trams” gradually disappeared from the city’s streets, such as Sainte-Catherine Street, where a parade was organized in 1956 for the event. On August 30, 1959, another parade marked the retirement of the last tramways in Montreal, on Papineau Avenue and Rosemont Boulevard. It was the end of an era—nearly 100 years of tramways in Montreal.




courtesy – Archives of Montreal

©2017 Linda Sullivan – Simpson
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