Sunday, August 31, 2008

Montreal's Last Streetcar Rolled Down The Tracks 49 Years Ago

From The Gazette:

Montrealers in their thousands turned out yesterday to cheer the streetcars they had jeered at for years as the trams made their last trip through the city.

- Gazette, Monday, Aug. 31, 1959

The sentimental journey began at Notre Dame St. and worked its dignified way north along Papineau Blvd. It was the old 54-Papineau route, and there was no rush, nor much clatter and screeching. The dozen streetcars moved along at just 15 kilometres an hour.

Starting the following day, the Montreal Transportation Commission would rely on buses exclusively. Trams, whether horse-drawn or electric-driven, had been part of the street scene for more than a century, but now their day was done.

Some of the streetcars that final day were relatively new, some much older. The oldest was the Rocket, Montreal's first electric tram which made its debut in 1892. In deference to its age, it made the journey aboard a flatbed truck, not on its own like the others.

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