Back in the old days, travel between the city and the county, wasn’t always easy. Around 1906, The Hydro-Electric System (forerunners of Ontario Hydro) created several lines of interurban electric railroads. The Windsor, Essex and Lakeshore Rapid Railway operated until September, 1932.

A brief history of the line can be found by clicking here.

A route map of the line, from the Bernie Drouillard Collection. The line ran from Windsor through Essex and on to Kingsville and Leamington.

While the line ceased operations in 1932, and most of the tracks removed in 1935, the cars and engines sat unused in the car sheds on Chatham St. between Aylmer and Glengarry until they were sold in late 1939. A few of the engines were sold to Cornwall for use on their system, and the cars were all sent on to Montreal. From the Bernie Drouilliard Collection, via John Stefani, are the recent acquisition of vintage photos from December 1939, showing the cars being shipped out of Windsor to Montreal. The photo above shows Locomotive # 10 at the Car Barn property in 1939.

The same view today. Time hasn’t been to kind to the house in the foreground.

Car # 502 on Chatham St. waiting to be moved out, December 1939.

The same view on Chatham St. looking east today. Whatever was on the roof of the building has been removed.

Four cars were moved out and shipped to Montreal. From what we can tell they were moved along Chatham St. from the car barns, and south along Aylmer, through the horseshoe, and down Howard Ave. to Hanna to the Essex Terminal Railroad line. The cars moved down the old rails still in the road as far as Erie St. where the lines had been removed. At this point, the cars had to be pulled up onto temporary tracks laid on top of the road surface, and slowly moved from Erie St. to Hanna St., a distance of about 1.3 km.

The photo above shows the cars at the intersection of Erie and Howard, as they prepare to transition from the set rails to the temporary track. Photo above December 1939.

The same view today.

The four cars that were Montreal bound, loaded and secured on flatbed cars. This photo was taken on the Essex Terminal Railroad siding, just off the main line that crossed Howard Ave. at Hanna St.

The tracks are long gone, and the site is today a used car lot.

As always, a huge thank you to John and Bernie, for digitizing and sharing these photos.

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