Tramways Limited

Another Interurban Railway

You have probably heard of the Edmonton Interurban Railway, which operated from Edmonton to St. Albert for only a single year (granted, it began with much greater ambitions than that!).

This is not that railway. Tramways Limited was organized in 1913, and had a charter to go from Edmonton to such suburban locations as Namao, Bon Accord, and Fort Saskatchewan. There is no physical evidence remaining of this railway on our landscape, and I would have to guess that, although Tramways limited had shovels in the ground in October of 1914, this interurban railway was never completed.

Newspaper articles below were taken from the Peel Prairie Provinces website.

January 1913: The Beginning

19130129 - The Edmonton Bulletin, January 29, 1913 (Morning Edition), Page 6, Item Ad00602_22

Tramways Limited publishes notice of its intent to incorporate as a street railway company. – The Edmonton Bulletin, January 29, 1913 (Morning Edition), Page 6, Item Ad00602_22. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

February-March 1913: A Company is Created

Act to Incorporate Tramways, Limited (assented to in March 1913) provides many of the details we know about this interurban railway. As seen below, the railway could not use steam and was permitted to generate electric power. It is likely that this railway would have followed the same plan as the Edmonton Interurban Railway, using Gasoline powered interurban cars (with a mix of space for passengers and freight) initially and then eventually erecting overhead lines to utilize electric power. It was also possible that Tramways, Limited would have used gasoline power outside of Edmonton and then electric once their interurban streetcars entered the City and came under the control and operation of the City of Edmonton (as per the agreement later made with the City of Edmonton).

“7. The company may lay out, construct and operate a line of railway to be operated by any motive power other than steam with a gauge of four feet eight and one-half inches from a point as follows:

(a) From a point at or near the boundary of the City of Edmonton northerly to or near Bon Accord;

(b) From a point upon the last mentioned line easterly to a point in the Fort Saskatchewan Settlement;

(c) From a point at or at the boundary of the City of Edmonton or from a point on the firstly mentioned line northerly to a point in the Fort Saskatchewan Settlement;

(d) From a point on the boundary of the City of Edmonton easterly and northerly on the south bank of the Saskatchewan River to a point in the Fort Saskatchewan settlement;

together with such branches as may be convenient not extending more than six miles in length.”

“12. The company may generate or acquire electric or other power or energy and may transmit, sell and dispose of the same.”

One particularly curious part of the Act, for an interurban tramway at least, is the requirement that they accept and transport farmers’ grains, as outlined below:

“15. The company shall at all stations upon their railway always permit the loading of grain into cars from farmers’ vehicles or flat warehouses, subject to reasonable regulations to be made by the said company, and shall at all reasonable times afford roper facilities therefor.”

This makes me wonder if the interurban railway would have ended up being more like an electric railway, with electric locomotives pulling passenger and freight cars. The limited size (6 miles) and the name of this railway (Tramways, Limited) seem to indicate this is not the case though. Furthermore, the agreement later made between Tramways Limited and the City of Edmonton stipulated that the interurban streetcars operated by Tramways Limited be of the same general design as the City’s streetcars.

19130326 - The Edmonton Bulletin, March 26, 1913 (Morning Edition), Page 7, Item Ar00702

Tramways Limited is officially incorporated by Bill 51. – The Edmonton Bulletin, March 26, 1913 (Morning Edition), Page 7, Item Ar00702. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

 

March 1914

19140313 - The Edmonton Capital, March 13, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 4, Item Ar00406

Tramways Limited (of 14 Howard Street) proposes to build a tramway line from Edmonton to Bon Accord. – The Edmonton Capital, March 13, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 4, Item Ar00406. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

June 1914: Survey Map

On June 29, 1914, Tramways Limited submitted a survey map to the Government of Alberta This fascinating map — available via SPIN2 (Survey Map 6222AZ) — shows the interurban tramway traveling a different route than the one laid out in the legislation above. It runs north from Edmonton to (just east of ) Namao, then through Duagh, northeast (almost) to New Lunnen, and east to almost reach the North Saskatchewan River.

July 1914

Tramways Limited is looking for a way to enter Edmonton.

19140701 - The Edmonton Bulletin, July 1, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00113

Tramways Limited proposes to operate an electric tramway from Edmonton to Namao and Fort Saskatchewan. – The Edmonton Bulletin, July 1, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00113. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140716 - The Edmonton Capital, July 16, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 7, Item Ar00720

Tramways Limited is attempting to have trackage all the way to the Edmonton City Market at 10707-101 Street. Interestingly, this article mentions Tramways Limited having a “present terminal point”. This could either be land the company had secured or an actual functioning terminal (though the former is more likely). – The Edmonton Capital, July 16, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 7, Item Ar00720. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140717 - The Edmonton Bulletin, July 17, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00205

Agreements for the Edmonton Interurban Railway and Tramways Limited to go before ratepayers. – The Edmonton Bulletin, July 17, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00205. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140724 - The Edmonton Capital, July 21, 1914, Page 1, Item Ar00108

Another article that seems to speak of Tramways Limited’s service in the present tense. This blurb suggests the idea that their streetcars could travel over Edmonton Radial Railway trackage to get to 101 street and 107 avenue. – The Edmonton Capital, July 21, 1914, Page 1, Item Ar00108. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection). Tramways Limited proposes having service all the way south to the City Market at 101st Street.

19140725 - The Edmonton Capital, July 25, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00114

The City of Edmonton’s agreement with Tramways Limited continues to take shape. – The Edmonton Capital, July 25, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00114. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140729 - The Edmonton Bulletin, July 29, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00209

More on the Tramways Limited agreement. – The Edmonton Bulletin, July 29, 1914 (Morning Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00209. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140729 - The Edmonton Capital, July 29, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 12, Item Ar01205

Yet more on the Tramways Limited agreement. – The Edmonton Capital, July 29, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 12, Item Ar01205. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

August 1914

19140806 - The Edmonton Capital, August 6, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 4, Item Ar00406

Another article on the Tramways Limited agreement. Interestingly, this one indicates that its suburban lines are still just proposed. – The Edmonton Capital, August 6, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 4, Item Ar00406. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140807 - The Edmonton Capital, August 7, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00109

Tramways Limited is eager to begin construction of its line to Namao (which could be operational by November 1st) and then further northeast. They also are considering a line northwest to the Pembina River (which may have been the Edmonton Northwestern Radial Railway Company). This article notes that the engineer connected to Tramways Limited (A.E. Farncombe) is also connected to the (nearly complete) Gull Lake line (Possibly the Lacombe and Blindman Valley Electric Railway). – The Edmonton Capital, August 7, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 1, Item Ar00109. . (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140822 - The Edmonton Capital, August 22, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00208

Work held up on Tramways Limited. – The Edmonton Capital, August 22, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 2, Item Ar00208. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

September 1914

19140909 - The Edmonton Bulletin, September 9, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 6, Item Ar00605

The agreement further evolves. Now, the City of Edmonton will permit Tramways Limited to build lines within the City to connect to Edmonton Radial Railway trackage, but the City will take over operation of Tramways, Limited streetcar upon their entry to the City. – The Edmonton Bulletin, September 9, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 6, Item Ar00605. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140917 - The Edmonton Bulletin, September 17, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 8, Item Ar00805

City Council officially approves the agreement with Tramways Limited. – The Edmonton Bulletin, September 17, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 8, Item Ar00805. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19140918 - The Edmonton Capital, September 18, 1914, Page 8, Item Ar00808

City Council officially approves the agreement with Tramways Limited. – The Edmonton Capital, September 18, 1914, Page 8, Item Ar00808. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

October 1914

19141017 - [Evidence of Construction] The Edmonton Capital, October 17, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 5, Item Ar00503

Tramways Limited has three gangs of men at work building its line from 101 street and 107 avenue to Namao. The Edmonton Northwestern Radial Railway Company may be using this trackage for their own service to enter the City in the future. – The Edmonton Capital, October 17, 1914 (Last Edition), Page 5, Item Ar00503. This is the only evidence found (so far) that any of this railway was ever constructed.. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

December 1914

19141211 - The Edmonton Bulletin, December 11, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 4, Item Ar00411

Tramways Limited cars will use “gasoline and electric power, but they may be fitted to use electricity from the city when within the city.” – The Edmonton Bulletin, December 11, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 4, Item Ar00411. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

Below, you will find the most thorough overview of this railway that I have found. Begin at “Public Notice”

19141212 - The Edmonton Bulletin, December 12, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 15, Item Ad01502

The best known overview of Tramways Limited and their agreement with the City of Edmonton. – The Edmonton Bulletin, December 12, 1914 (MORNING EDITION), Page 15, Item Ad01502. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

January 1915

19150127 - The Edmonton Bulletin, January 27, 1915, Page 1, Item Ar00110 02

Tramways Limited fails to convince the necessary two-thirds of Edmonton’s electorate at the polls. – The Edmonton Bulletin, January 27, 1915, Page 1, Item Ar00110. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

19150127 - The Edmonton Bulletin, January 27, 1915, Page 1, Item Ar00111

Tramways Limited to try a new strategy for funding which does not require ratepayer approval. – The Edmonton Bulletin, January 27, 1915, Page 1, Item Ar00111. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

February 1915

19150203 - The Edmonton Bulletin, February 3, 1915, Page 5, Item Ar00516

Tramways Limited bylaw on hold. – The Edmonton Bulletin, February 3, 1915, Page 5, Item Ar00516. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

1917 - Peel 10969_ Edmonton (Alta.). City Council. By-laws of the City of Edmonton as revised and consolidated down to 30th November, 1917 [page 40]

As seen above, the bylaw authorizing the Tramways Limited agreement was passed on February 9, 1915, and remained in force until at least 1917. – Peel 10969: Edmonton (Alta.). City Council. (1917). By-laws of the City of Edmonton as revised and consolidated down to 30th November, 1917.

19150217 - The Edmonton Bulletin, February 17, 1915, Page 7, Item Ar00711

Tramways Limited passes a resolution, likely to align with the agreement passed by City Council – The Edmonton Bulletin, February 17, 1915, Page 7, Item Ar00711. (Courtesy of the Peel’s Prairie Provinces Collection).

And this is the last I have found in the news on Tramways Limited. It just seems to have faded away…

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Edmonton’s McKeen Motor Cars: Interurban Railway Service to Lac La Biche via the Alberta & Great Waterways Railway

 

McKeen Motor Cars and Edmonton Interurban Service to Lac La Biche

NA-3853-1 - McKeen Motor Car at Lac La Biche - 1910s

McKeen Motor Car at Lac La Biche – 1910s

Article on service to Lac La Biche - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 19, 1916, Page 26, Item Ar02603

Article on service to Lac La Biche – The Edmonton Bulletin, June 19, 1916, Page 26, Item Ar02603 (Peel Prairie Provinces Collection)

No Blank Slugs marred first bulletin picnic at lac la biche - The Edmonton Bulletin, July 3, 1916, Page 5, Item Ar00508

No Blank Slugs marred first bulletin picnic at lac la biche – The Edmonton Bulletin, July 3, 1916, Page 5, Item Ar00508 (Peel Prairie Provinces Collection)

Timetable - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 19, 1917, Page 11, Item Ad01102_9

Timetable – The Edmonton Bulletin, June 19, 1917, Page 11, Item Ad01102_9 (Peel Prairie Provinces Collection)

na-1846-1 - Inn at Lac La Biche, Alberta - 1916

Inn at Lac La Biche, Alberta – 1916

Near The End

Dunvegan Yards - old cars, Dunvegan, Alberta. - 1929

Dunvegan Yards – old cars, Dunvegan, Alberta. – 1929

The McKeen Motor Car Company

shiawasseehistory.com - McKeen Motor Car graphic

 McKeen Motor Car graphic (shiawasseehistory.com)

shiawasseehistory.com - McKeen Motor Car diagram

McKeen Motor Car diagram (shiawasseehistory.com)

shiawasseehistory.com - McKeen Motor Car interior

McKeen Motor Car interior (shiawasseehistory.com)

Dunvegan Rail Yard & Area

Overview

Dunvegan Yards and Area - 1920 Henderson

Peel Prairie Provinces

Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway Yard

Railway Station

nc-6-842 - Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway depot, Edmonton, Alberta - 1914nc-6-840 - Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway depot, Edmonton, Alberta - 1913nc-6-841 - Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway depot, Edmonton, Alberta - 1914na-1328-3067 - Homesteaders boarding the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway train, Edmonton, Alberta - 1914

 

Karl Clark’s Oil Sands Separation Plant (1924-1925)

A11227 - Experimental Bituminous Sand Separation Plant, Dunvegan Yards, Edmonton - 1925A3525 - Bitumount Sand Separation Plant, Edmonton - 1925PAA A3526 - Karl Clark_s model oil sands separation plant constructed at Dunvegan Yards of Edmonton in 1924 - 1924A11230 - Experimental Bituminous Sand Separation Plant, Dunvegan Yards, Edmonton - Looking NW - 1924-1925

North West Lumber Company Limited Mill

Looking Southeast

nc-6-1347B - Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway lumber yard, Edmonton, Alberta - 1914

Looking South

nc-6-1347A - Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway lumber yard, Edmonton, Alberta - 1914

Looking East

nc-6-6441 - Railway track, Northern Lumber Company building on left - Actually North West Lumber near Dunvegan Yard - 1921

Looking Southeast

nc-6-11721b - Railway crossing, Edmonton, Alberta - North West Lumber Co Ltd - 1925-07

Surrounding Subdivisions

EIR Route Map - The Edmonton Bulletin, October 18, 1912 (Morning Edition), Page 10, Item Ad01002_1

Courtesy of Peel Prairie Provinces Collection: The Dunvegan Yard was in the space identified on this map as “J.D. MacArthur”. Brown Estate and Sunset Park can be seen to the southwest of the Dunvegan Yard.

Brown Estate

Advertising: June 1912

Brown Estate Ad - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 11, 1912 (MORNING EDITION), Page 9, Item Ad00901_1Brown Estate Ad - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 17, 1912 (MORNING EDITION), Page 8, Item Ad00801_3Brown Estate and EIR - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 19, 1912 (MORNING EDITION), Page 9, Item Ad00901_2

Failing: October 1919

Brown Estate Abandonment - The Edmonton Bulletin, October 28, 1919 (City Edition), Page 3, Item Ar00302

Sunset Park

Sunset Park AdvertisementSunset Park ad - The Edmonton Bulletin, June 15, 1912 (MORNING EDITION), Page 16, Item Ad01601_11

 

Canadian Northern Western Railway Station (Southside – 80th Avenue)

Overview

Edmonton once boasted many beautiful railway stations–the last preserved one is the Canadian Pacific Railway Station near Whyte Ave, and there were three large stations downtown. But did you know that there was once another station in Edmonton’s core, only a block away from the preserved Canadian Pacific Railway station?

This station was operated under the Canadian Northern Western Railway charter by the Canadian Northern Railway (which built stations near 104 avenue and 101 street downtown).

Have a look on this 1917 map hosted by the University of Alberta and see images of the station below.

1914 (Looking North)

nc-6-698 - Canadian Northern Railway depot and locomotive #324, south side, Edmonton, Alberta - 1913nc-6-699 - Canadian Northern Railway depot and locomotive #324, south side, Edmonton, Alberta - 1913

EdHGIS: 1914 & 2016 Imagery

As of the 2010s, a strip mall stands in the space once occupied by the railway station.

nc-6-698 - Canadian Northern Railway depot, south side, Edmonton, Alberta - 2016-10-01

Fire Alarm & Police Call Box Systems in Edmonton

Introduction

Gamewell Fire Box at 97th and Jasper

Gamewell Fire Alarm Box at 97th Street & Jasper Avenue

Fire Alarm Boxes and Police Call Boxes were once common throughout cities and towns in the developed world. Police Call Boxes may be familiar to many readers through Doctor Who’s T.A.R.D.I.S., which takes The Doctor on his adventures through space and time. Fire Alarm boxes may be less familiar, since they have disappeared from many municipalities and have not been recycled as a pop-culture icon.

Edmonton installed its first Fire Alarm Boxes in 1907, and followed these with Police Boxes (though much different from the British style seen in Doctor Who) in 1910. The articles and images in this post sum up the best online references to the City of Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm System and Gamewell Police Alarm System as well as Strathcona’s Northern Electric Fire Alarm System. This article will be updated if and when new material surfaces.

Thanks go to the Peel Prairie Provinces Newspaper Collection for the newspaper clippings below. There are more relevant articles on the Peel website, but most dealt with questions of system cost and financing.

1895

The Edmonton Bulletin, May 27, 1895, p.1

Rumblings about a Fire Alarm System go back to the 1800s, as this article shows.

1895-05-27 The Edmonton Bulletin, May 27, 1895, Page 1, Item Ar00105 (Town Council)

1903

The Edmonton Bulletin, June 10, 1903, p.2

And rumblings continue in the early 1900s…

1903-06-10 The Edmonton Bulletin, June 10, 1903, Page 2, Item Ar00204 (Fire Alarm System)

1906

The Edmonton Bulletin, November 21, 1906, p.2

Finally, we see action and a Gamewell Fire Alarm system has been ordered for the young City of Edmonton.

1906-11-21 The Edmonton Bulletin, November 21, 1906, Page 2, Item Ar00207 (Fire Alarm System Ordered)

1907

The Edmonton Bulletin, January 31, 1907, p.2

Not to be outdone, the City of Strathcona looks into a fire alarm system.

1907-01-31 The Edmonton Bulletin, January 31, 1907, Page 2, Item Ar00217 (Outline of Fire Alarm System Which May Shortly Be Installed In Strathcona)

The Edmonton Bulletin, April 1, 1907, p.4

1907-04-01 The Edmonton Bulletin, April 1, 1907, Page 4, Item Ar00403 (Fire Alarm System Shipped)

The Edmonton Bulletin, May 17, 1907, p.7

1907-05-17 The Edmonton Bulletin, May 17, 1907, Page 7, Item Ar00706 (Fire Alarm System Coming)

The Edmonton Bulletin, May 28, 1907, p.5

1907-05-28 The Edmonton Bulletin, May 28, 1907, Page 5, Item Ar00511 (Fire Alarm System Here)

The Edmonton Bulletin, June 4, 1907, p.1

1907-06-04 The Edmonton Bulletin, June 4, 1907, Page 1, Item Ar00132 (Fire Alarm Being Installed)

The Edmonton Bulletin, September 30, 1907, p.8

Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm System is installed!

1907-09-30 The Edmonton Bulletin, September 30, 1907, Page 8, Item Ar00816 (Alarm System Finished)

The Edmonton Bulletin, October 3, 1907, p.8

Where might I find a Fire Alarm Box in Edmonton in 1907? Glad you asked…

1907-10-03 The Edmonton Bulletin, October 3, 1907, Page 8, Item Ar00808 (Where The Fire Alarm Boxes Are)

The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1907, p.2

And, just behind Edmonton, Strathcona installs its Northern Electric Fire Alarm System.

1907-11-13 The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1907, Page 2, Item Ar00203 (Strathcona News-Fire Alarm System)

1910

The Edmonton Bulletin, May 10, 1910, p.1

Police Boxes for Edmonton?

1910-05-10 The Edmonton Bulletin, May 10, 1910, Page 1, Item Ar00112 (Police Boxes Will Be Ready By August)

The Edmonton Bulletin, November 17, 1910, p.8

Twenty-five Gamewell Police Call Boxes installed in Edmonton in late November 1910. This article includes a detailed description of Edmonton’s Gamewell Police Call Boxes.

1910-11-17 The Edmonton Bulletin, November 17, 1910, Page 8, Item Ar00809 (Install Police Alarms)

1911

The Edmonton Capital, January 7, 1911, p.6

Gamewell Fire Alarm System equipment in an Edmonton fire hall.

1911-01-07 The Edmonton Capital, January 7, 1911, Page 6, Item Ar00603 (Department Has 4 Equipped Halls)

1918

The Edmonton Bulletin, February 7, 1918, p.2

1918-02-07 The Edmonton Bulletin, February 7, 1918, Page 2, Item Ad00206_3 (Reward Advertisement)

1920

The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1920 (City Edition), p.9

A detailed description of Edmonton’s Gamewell Fire Alarm Boxes.

1920-11-13 The Edmonton Bulletin, November 13, 1920 (City Edition), Page 9, Item Ar00903 (History of the City's Fire Fighters)