Historical Photo of Windsor Tr

The Birth of Electric (Trackless) Trolley Service

In 1922, Ontario Hydro embarked on a plan to bring service into developing residential areas of the city by means of trolley bus feeder routes. Due to the initial high cost of street railway lines, three feeder routes were identified as being suitable for trolley bus operation. It was a bold step, for the development of trackless trolley was still in the primitive stage. There were barely more than a handful of trackless installations in the United States, and none in Canada.


  1. The first route extended for 1.6 miles along Lincoln Road from the streetcar connection at Wyandotte Street, to an outer terminus (and another streetcar connection) at Tecumseh Road.

  2. Overhead construction then shifted to the second route, Erie Street, and this opened on September 22 of the same year, the nation's first.

  3. Four trolley buses were sufficient to provide all service on the two lines, presumably with two on each route.

  4. Seating 29 passengers, the trolleys were powered by a pair of 25-horsepower, 600-volt Westinghouse motors. Mahogany was used for the interior woodwork, and polished, lacquered bronze for the window and door fittings. Like many electric vehicles and locomotives of that era, they cruised at one of two pre-set speeds.

  5. From the start, the Lincoln and Erie street routes were never intended as permanent installations. It was expected that they would eventually be dismantled and the rolling stock and overhead transplanted to other growing suburbs of Windsor.

  6. Because of rapid growth in this part of the City, the trolleybus service soon became inadequate and was suspended in the latter part of 1923 to make way for a double-track extension of streetcar service.
  7. Within one year, revenues on this line from trolley buses (approximately $740 a month), increased to $9,500 a month on the streetcars.