This month’s Canadian Corner post features the Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Railway (W.E. & L.S.); details come from the book, Kingsville 1790-2000: A Stroll Through Time.
Charter obtained in 1901.
Construction begun in 1905 – reached Cottam in 1906, Kingsville in 1907 and Leamington in 1908.
The rail line carried people and freight.
About 25% of the company’s revenue came from freight, including farm produce, tobacco, brick and tile.
There was a special siding at the Cottam canning factory to pick up their products
There were two streetcar lines running through the town.
The main route followed Division Road North to the Four Corner and turned east on Main Street East. The coaches would stop at the passenger station before going on to Leamington.
The second line went continued on Division Road past the Four Corner. The streetcar turned at Mill Street, followed Mill to Lansdowne, down Lansdowne Avenue to Park Street. The streetcar continued along Park Street to the streetcar barns and power house. Passengers on this route were taken to the Kingsville harbour, to the Mettawas Inn or they could walk to nearby Lakeside Park.
By 1923, the number of passengers was beginning to decrease due to the number of private autos. The streetcars were also in need of updating. The company continued to use power generated in Kingsville even though it was cheaper if obtained from Ontario Hydro.
By 1927, the company was operating in the red and the Dominion government decided to abandon the company.
In September 1929, municipalities along the route began operating the line. New streetcars were purchased and labelled “The Sunshine County Route.” They were first used in 1930.
Operating losses continued to increase and in September 1932, the service terminated.
The same month that the railway terminated, Greyhound bus began service from Windsor to Leamington. They maintained a ticket office on Main Street East until 1961.
It took until 1959 for the municipalities to pay off the debentures for the railway line.
Windsor, Essex & Lakeshore Railway Map
Car #507 – Howard Ave. at Hanna St. – Windsor, Ont. 1939 (Credit: Bernie Drouillard)
Locomotive #10 at car shed on Chatham St. – Windsor, Ont. 1939 (Credit: Bernie Drouillard)
Car #502 on Chatham St. – Windsor, Ont. 1939 (Credit: Bernie Drouillard)
Cars transitioning to a temporary track at Erie and Howard Ave. – Windsor, Ont. 1939 (Credit: Bernie Drouillard)
Four cars bound for Montreal on the Essex Terminal at Howard Ave. and Hanna St. – Windsor, Ont. 1939 (Credit: Bernie Drouillard)
Today’s featured L&N depots are Greenback, TN (1978) and Englewood, TN (1934); featured GTW depot is Walled Lake, MI (1979); C&O depot is Fowlerville, MI (1979); Pere Marquette depot is Leamington, Ontario (1976); finally, CNR depot is Windsor, Ontario (1950s).
The L&N depot in Greenback, TN has been closed and the tracks removed many years ago; the last I heard, the building was for sale. The L&N depot in Englewood, TN was razed in the early 70s. The GTW depot in Walled Lake, MI operated in conjunction with the Michigan Star Clipper dinner train for 24 years until December 31, 2008, when train service was discontinued; as far as I know, the depot still exists. The C&O depot in Fowlerville, MI still exists, however it is unknown whether or not the CSX railroad still uses it. The PM depot in Leamington, Ontario was destroyed by fire on August 16, 1998. The CNR depot in Windsor, Ontario was razed in 1961; a new depot to replace it was built in Walkerville, Ontario.
L&N Railway Depot – Greenback, TN (Credit: Tom Rock)