Saturday, 29 April 2017

Brandon's Street Railway System, 1913 - 1932

Top: Opening ceremony, June 2, 1913. (McKee Archives)
Bottom: May 31, 1913, Brandon Sun

My column in Sunday's Winnipeg Free Press is about the history of the short-lived Brandon Street Railway.

The system was approved in 1910 and intended to be a privately-run affair. A combination of slow negotiating on the city's part and bad timing on the province's caused the investor to walk away before the first car even ran.

Undaunted, the city decided to take on the high-risk investment itself. After all, a street railway was a sign of prosperity and the path to future progress. At the June 2, 1913 inauguration, Brandon mayor John W. Fleming, said:

“Today we ought to feel proud because this is the dawn of a new era in Brandon; an era of prosperity as we have not enjoyed before and one in which every citizen will partake."

Top: Streetcar being scrapped, October 1937 (McKee Archives)
Bottom: April 20, 1932, Brandon Sun

Things did not work out as Fleming and his colleagues had hoped.

The huge population growth the city experienced before the war became a trickle. The street railway system was racking up $40,000 in debt per year and helped push the city into a decade long period of provincially-appointed third party administration.

For more of my Brandon-related posts and columns.

1 comment:

Labour History said...

Good to see you are keeping up on new material.
I am doing my 1919 strike tour this weekend.