December 15, 1895, Vol. 5, No. 12 The Street Railway Journal (New York) Page 763

The Galt, Preston & Hespeler Street Railway and its freight service.

W. H. Lutz, Secretary and Treasurer.

The above electric road as its name implies connects the three towns of Galt, Preston and Hespeler, and as the road does a combination service of passenger, freight and parcel express, and as it is, I believe, the pioneer in this class of work, a description of the service may be of some interest to your readers.

The three towns named are noted throughout Canada for their large manufacturing industries, Galt having long been known as the Manchester of Canada, while the large industries of Preston and Hespeler are exceedingly close to them in the race for popularity. These towns are all situated in the county of Waterloo. Galt is supplied with good steam railway facilities, being on the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway and also having two branches of the Grand Trunk Railway. The town of Preston is about three miles from Galt and Hespeler is about 3 miles from Preston, and while the Grand Trunk Railway runs through both these towns they have no connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway. There has always been a large amount of business intercourse between the three towns and in consequence of this and the fact that the facilities for traveling between the towns were very poor, the idea of connecting them by means of a trolley line was introduced a couple of years ago. A company was accordingly formed and the affair took definite shape. It was decided to first build the road between Galt and Preston. Franchises were procured from the various municipalities, arrangements were made with the Canadian Pacific Railway to carry freight and passengers for them, and in the spring of 1894 contracts were let to build this portion of the road. The track was laid with 56 pound T rails; ties of cedar and tamarack spaced 2 feet between centers, and everything done in a most substantial manner. At the Canadian Pacific Railway station in Galt our tracks were connected by switches with the tracks of that railway, and in addition to this sidings were put into every factory yard in Preston, thus enabling the manufacturers to load and unload their freight at their own doors. The switches used are ordinary railway switches with signals, etc. The road was then equipped with ordinary trolley cars as well as cars with a compartment for baggage and express goods. The company also purchased a light Baldwin locomotive, for heavy freight service. For freight work the company purchased a small ordinary freight car of about 20 feet inside length to be used as a trailer for carrying broken carloads, while for carload lots we use entirely the ordinary Canadian Pacific Railway freight cars. When carloads for Preston or Hespeler arrive at the station here they are shunted on to our tracks, and any carloads we bring down we shunt over onto the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks. This freight work was done at night after the passenger traffic had ceased, the Baldwin locomotive being used as the motive power. This portion of the road was opened for traffic in July, 1894, and proved so successful that early in the spring of 1895 it was decided to push on the work and extend the road to Hespeler. In building this part of the road the company decided to buy its right of way instead of occupying the highway. It accordingly owns this part of the right of way and has the track between Preston & Hespeler fenced in. The roadbed is of the same general construction as the part between Galt and Preston except that the bed is built above the level of the ground and is ballasted to the tops of the ties only, in order to save trouble from snow in winter.

Combination motor and baggage car with its trailers.

In building this portion of the road the company bought a fine park about midway between Preston and Hespeler. This park is so situated, owing to the track not being on a highway that it can only be reached by the cars, there being no highway within nearly a mile of it. It is lighted with electric lights, has a fine river running through the centre of it; has plenty of shade, has grounds for games, dancing pavilions, refreshment booth, hot and cold water for picnic parties, etc. Immense numbers from all three towns avail themselves of the opportunity of spending days and evenings at this park which the company named Idylwild.

This portion of the road was opened for traffic about August 1, 1895, and so increased the freight business that the company decided to buy an electric freight motor car. This car is fitted up with two G.E. 1,200 motors with type K2 controllers and is 32 feet inside length. It is strongly built and weighs with its iron floor about 13 tons. This car has proven extremely satisfactory, as it is not only capable of carrying from 14 to 15 tons within itself, but will haul without trouble two loaded Canadian Pacific freight cars at a time from Galt to Hespeler. Since procuring this freight car we have practically discarded the light locomotive, and now do all our freight traffic in the daytime. In addition to carrying freight in connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway we also carry its passengers to and from Preston and Hespeler, that railway issuing coupon tickets from all its stations to these two towns, our conductors detaching the coupons and returning them to the office as cash. We have thus placed these two towns practically on the Canadian Pacific Railway. Our cars make trips every 30 minutes and connect with all trains on that railway.

The system we have in use in connection with handling fares of different amounts is as follows, and is probably open to improvement: First we have four classes of passengers. Local are between Galt and Preston, between Galt and Hespeler, and between Preston and Hespeler. For local passengers we only issue tickets in sheets of six at 25 cents per sheet—otherwise they pay 5 cents cash fare into conductor's cash box. One way passengers between the different towns pay entirely by cash fares, to Preston from Galt 10 cents, to Hespeler 15 cents, and between Preston and Hespeler 5 cents. For all passengers who intend returning we issue return tickets, and deal with them as follows: A passenger gets in the car at Galt and wants to go to Preston and return. The conductor takes a return ticket from his pocket, punches it, and gives it to the passenger; the fact of the ticket being punched indicates that it has been used one way. On the return trip the ticket is taken up. A passenger to Hespeler and return is treated in a similar manner, but when the car leaves Preston on its way to Hespeler the conductor again passes through the car and every passenger must produce his ticket or pay cash fare. Those passengers who are from Galt and also those from Preston who hold return tickets have their tickets punched. This makes 2 punches in the Galt to Hespeler ticket, and indicates that it has been traveled on one way. On the return trip this ticket is again punched between Hespeler and Preston and between Preston and Galt the ticket is taken up. Our prices for these return tickets are: Galt and Preston, 15 cents; Galt and Hespeler, 25 cents; Preston and Hespeler, 10 cents. In summer we issue return tickets to the Park at 20 cents each, or a sheet of 8 tickets for $1.20 This is the system we have in force. Accompanying are samples of our various tickets.

Style of tickets.

The power house is situated in Preston and is a stone building about 70 by 130 feet. It is equipped with two tandem compound condensing engines of 125 horsepower, and two generators, one Westinghouse and one General Electric. Adjoining the power house is a car barn 70 by 125 feet, with iron sides roofed with gravel. We use Taylor trucks throughout with wheels 33 inches in diameter, 3 1/2-inch tread, and 1 1/8 flange. The axle on the freight motor is 4-inch.

We have also 5 private telephones distributed along the line, the entire length of which is about 9 miles. These telephones are contained in boxes with door and keys, so that the power house and office can be communicated with from almost anywhere along the line.

We carry an average of about 20,000 passengers per month, the fares from whom run from 5 cents to 25 cents, while the freight business averages 600 tons per month. In addition to this we do a large parcel business. The freight carried in carloads consists of iron, lumber, wheat, wool, oil, bricks, etc., inward. The manufactured goods are carried outward. We have found the freight department highly satisfactory ever since the road first opened.

Railways: G.P. & H.St.Ry.