The Golden Age Of Public Transit Was Electric — And Its Future Will Be Too

"As the world looks to reduce carbon pollution, cities like Winnipeg are coming full circle in a return to electric transit".

"Ask nearly any Winnipegger and they’ll tell you: the worst time to wait for public transit is a dark and frigid January night. This was just as much the case more than a century ago, when a crowd of eager transit riders gathered in “the bush of Fort Rouge” — an undeveloped plot of forest nestled south of the Assiniboine River — to await the result of an unprecedented experiment in Winnipeg’s still-early history.

Huddled against the cold on Jan. 27, 1891, the crowd gathered around the warm glow of oil lamps strung from a wooden streetcar perched on a stretch of rail that ran from Osborne Street to Main Street along River Avenue.

At precisely 7:30 p.m., Winnipeg’s acting mayor, T. W. Taylor, gingerly raised the trolley arm to connect with an overhead wire.

The streetcar beamed with life, its five dazzling electric lights eclipsing the flickering glow of the lamps. The crowd lingered until midnight, as each passenger waited in the cold for their chance to ride the little streetcar from one end of River Avenue to the other. The electric streetcar was a success — a new era in public transportation had arrived."

Julia-Simone Rutgers reports for The Narwhal January 2, 2024.

Source: The Narwhal, 01/04/2024