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Hamilton Radial Electric Railway

Incorporated 1894 a line was built from downtown Hamilton at James Street going via Gore, Wilson and Sherman, then on private right-of-way to Hamilton Beach, and on highway right-of-way along the beach strip crossing on a shared swing bridge over a canal that led to Hamilton Harbour with service beginning July 1896. On to Burlington (13 miles) arriving there in 1897 and on to Port Nelson in 1898. The line was extended to Oakville on a 66 foot right-of-way and laid with 80 lb. rail opening on May 3, 1906 . Freight traffic was minimal except for a modest amount of carloads on industrial track in Hamilton and smaller yet in Burlington, all interchanged to GTR at those points. Express and package freight traffic on the other hand was heavy.

Toronto & Mimico Electric planned to extend their line from Port Credit to Oakville to connect a through route
between Hamilton and downtown Toronto with running rights over Toronto Ry. eastward from Sunnyside. It was never built and the 11 mile gap was part of the reason for low traffic that caused the extension from Port Nelson to Oakville to be closed August 3, 1925.

Operations continued for some years until declining traffic caused abandonment January 5, 1929. Buses replaced the cars for passenger service between Hamilton and Burlington while carload freight in Hamilton continued on three miles of track until July 13, 1931 when CNR and TH&B took it over. Some of the city trackage was used by the Hamilton Street Railway until it ended rail operations in April 1951.

Article 1896 details ownership matters

Open car crossing the swing bridge over Burlington Canal.
Royal Hamilton Yacht Club in center background.
Valentine & Sons Publishing Co. Ltd.
Burlington Historical Society/Ross Taylor Collection

S S Turbinia passing the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club

Radial swing bridge Burlington Beach c.1915

Postcard reverse cancelled August 28, 1917 Burlington Historical Society


New Bascule bridge opened 1922. Publisher F.H.Leslie Ltd. Niagara Falls. Printed Leipzig, Saxony.
Francis J. Petrie Collection/Niagara Falls Public Library

HRE 125 crossing a swing bridge over canal that led to Hamilton Harbour.
Note GTR swing bridge behind.
. Burlington Historical Society/Marion Chatfield Collection

View of Bascule bridge from opposite direction. Hamilton Beach Community Forum

Aerial view shows location of both bridges as well as lighthouse. Hamilton Beach Community Forum

Hamilton Radial Electric Ry. car 325 (One of six cars built 1907 by J.G.Brill)
at the end of the Burlington-Oakville extension opened May 3, 1906.

Combination station and transformer substation Randall & Thomas Streets, Oakville. c.1909
Disk on front of car reads OAKVILLE EXPRESS indicating it handled express shipments.
Toronto Public Library Fonds 1244, Item 1075

630 foot bridge 50 feet high over Sixteen Mile Creek in Oakville. Toronto Public Library

Demolition of former radial railway bridge long used as a pedestrian bridge.
Oakville March 1959

Town of Oakville Archives



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