All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

6.0 Canadian Transit Interests Outside Canada

When urban public transit was more commonly a private enterprise, Canadian investors and administrators became involved in transit ventures outside Canada. This involvement centred largely on Latin American, with a few interests just across the border in neighbouring U.S. states. Some of these companies were Canadian-owned, others were administered by Canadians on behalf of other shareholders.

United States of America

Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester Interurban

Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester Railway Company
Initially locally (NY State) promoted. After construction stalled the project was revived by the Woods-Nicholls syndicate of Toronto, associates of William Mackenzie. They completed and opened the line between Lockport and Rochester in 1909. Woods-Nicholls interest in using the line as part of a Rochester to Toronto through service (connecting with the W-N/Mackenzie controlled Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway Company) wained and the BL&R was sold to American interests in 1911.

Aroostock Valley Interurban

Aroostook Valley Railroad (davesrailpix photo) Aroostock Valley Railroad Company
Interurban electric railway in northern Maine, serving Presque Isle area. Came under the control of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company in 1931. Electric passenger service ended in 1946, and freight operations were dieselized shortly afterwards. (Photo: DavesRailPix).

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Trans-St. Mary's Traction Company
Subsidiary of the Lake Superior Corporation. General office, president, vice-president, treasurer, auditor and purchasing agent all located in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario where the street railway was corporately related. (McGraw 1918).

Puerto Rico

San Juan

Porto Rico Railways Company, Ltd.
Owner of the Porto Rico Railway, Light and Power Company. Head office and all of the company officers located in Toronto (McGraw 1918).

Mexico

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon

Compania de Tranvias, Luzy Fuerza Motriz Monterrey, S.A.
Monterrey Railway, Light and Power Company. President (William Mackenzie), first vice-president (Donald Mann), second vice-president and general manager, secretary-treasurer, and comptroller all located in Toronto. (McGraw 1918).

Mexico, Distrito Federal

Compania de Tranvias de Mexico, S.A.
Mexico Tramways Company. Parent company of Ferrocarriles del Distrito Federal de Mexico and Compania Mexico de Traccion. In Time of the Trolley (1967) William Middleton describes this company as American owned, then Belgian before being nationalized. In the 1918 McGraw directory the company's head office, president. secretary, and two of three vice-presidents are all located in Toronto.

Cuba

Camaguey

The Camaguey Company
Parent company of the Camaguey Tramway Company as well as land development and electricity subsidiaries. According to the McGraw List for 1918 the company's head office and secretary were located in Montréal, and the vice-president in Halifax.

British West Indies

Kingston, Jamaica

The West India Electric Company, Ltd.
President, vice-president and secretary all located in Montréal. Company head office in Kingston, Jamaica. (McGraw 1918).

Port of Spain, Trinidad

Port-of-Spain streetcar The Trinidad Electric Company, Ltd.
In addition to a head office in Port of Spain, the company maintained a Canadian office in Halifax. Company president, secretary-treasurer, auditor, and one of two vice-presidents all located in Halifax. (McGraw 1918). (photo davesrailpix).

Brazil

São Paulo

São Paulo Tramway, Light and Power Company, Ltd.
In 1896 William Mackenzie and some associates acquired the mule tram line in São Paulo and incorporated 1899 (Ont.) as the SPTL&P. In 1912 the group incorporated themselves as the Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Company, Ltd., known casually in Brazil as The Light. São Paulo tramways sold 1947.

Rio de Janiero

Rio de Janiero Tramway, Light and Power Company
Companhia de Carris, Luz e Força do Rio de Janiero. Established in 1904 by the same syndicate of investors as the São Paulo system, and becoming a subsidiary of the Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Company, Ltd. in 1912. By the 1950's The Light was providing about two thirds of Brazil's electrical power and 80 percent of its telephone service. Rio de Janiero tramways nationalized 1963.


Copyright ©1989-2006 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:

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This page last modified: Tuesday, 22-Aug-2006 15:50:38 CDT