Members of Sylvan Lake & District Archives Society have a question for old-time residents of the area.
They’ve found reference to an Edmonton Transit trolley car being used as a cottage near Sylvan Lake and are searching for more information.
The trolley car’s body was recovered in 1981 and restored by Edmonton Radial Railway Society volunteers at Fort Edmonton Park prior to re-entering service in 1984.
(Editor’s Note: Just before our deadline we received further information from Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s volunteer archivist, Colin Hatcher. It’s included at the bottom of this article.)
Here’s what the Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s website says about the car.
“Built in 1912 by the St. Louis Car Co., No. 42 represents a batch of 15 similar streetcars. Converted to a single end one man car in 1930, car 42 was used until the end of streetcar operations in 1951.
“It is powered by four 40 horsepower motors and, as all other cars, draws 600 volts direct current from the overhead line. The original seating for 36 passengers was later extended to 50 seats plus standing room.
“Upon abandonment, trucks and electrical equipment were sold for scrap, and the body saw further use as a cottage near Sylvan Lake.
“The car started its second life on trucks borrowed from another museum. They have since been replaced by new ones built from scratch in the ERRS workshops.
“For more than 20 years No. 42 has been the main workhorse in the ERRS fleet and operates in Fort Edmonton Park. During this time it has carried more than 2.5 million passengers and travelled over 70,000 miles.
“A major overhaul of motors, bearings and controller was carried out in winter 2008/2009.”
Chris Ashdown, president of the society, said car 42 started off as a two-ended streetcar in 1912 and was later converted to a single ended car. It has been restored to the condition it was in when it stopped operating as a streetcar in September 1951.
“Edmonton car 33 was part of the same order as car 42, from the St. Louis Car Company of St. Louis, Missouri. We restored it to its original 1912 configuration — double-ended (controls and trolley pole at both ends). It runs on the High Level Bridge line.”
ERRS Volunteer Archivist Colin Hatcher was motorman on Car 42 at Fort Edmonton Park. He wrote the following information for the society’s January 2000 issue of The Trip Sheet under the headline Passengers Reminisce.
Former Edmonton streetcar #42 was found on a farm on the north shore of Sylvan Lake and moved to Fort Edmonton Park in April 1981. In July 1999 a couple boarded car 42 at Fort Edmonton Park and asked about a car in our collection that had come from Sylvan Lake. Inside the car was a photo of the car body at Sylvan Lake. Al and Elaine Elliott immediately recognized it. Al said that his father had seen the car body languishing at Red Deer for some time and marvelled at its soundness. The price was initially very high but he watched it go down. About 1969 he finally bought it and had it hauled to Sylvan Lake. Once at Sylvan Lake the family used it as a play area, a place for sleeping out, a guest house and later as a general storage area.
If you’d like to provide any further information on the trolley car’s history in the Sylvan Lake area or have any other pictures, please contact Marion Thompson or Bunny Virtue at the archives (open Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m.) or send an email to email@example.com.