From its inception as a horsecar line in 1874, the Niagara, St. Catharines, & Toronto Railway is one of the foremost examples in Canada of an intensively developed and closely integrated transportation system. It operated local street railways, interurban lines, carload and less-than-carload freight, lake steamers, a large motor coach system, and even a circle trolley line around the Niagara Gorge. The NS&T and predecessors include the first electric railway in Canada to have operated without interruption, and the last interurban passenger service. Each aspect of the company’s operations was coordinated with others to form a transportation system which, while comparatively small in area, was very active in operation, and several distinct types of passenger service (local, commuter, inter-city and excursion) were developed. Author John Mills tells the story of all of them, with details on where the routes ran, maps of the line, stations, and connections with the many major railways that served the Niagara Peninsula. There are 256 pages of text, containing nine detailed system maps, a roster of the railway’s rolling stock, and over 300 fascinating photographs, fifty in full colour.
Niagara, St. Catharines, & Toronto Railway tells the story of one of the area’s primary people mover operations in the days before automobile travel became dominant. With electric interurban railway cars and city streetcars serving key towns along the line, and ship connections to Toronto, the thriving and growing communities of Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Welland, Port Dalhousie and others were well connected with other parts of Canada. They were also well connected with USA, thanks to frequent clean-running electric cars that travelled across the Canada-USA border on a regular through-fare basis.
With hundreds of photos, many in full colour, the spectacular scenery of the area comes alive. Equipment is described, the system’s operations chronicled, and the excitement of expanding ship and electric transit is captured for the reader.