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 (newdavesrailpix 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: NewDavesRailPix).

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. (1900 - 1942)
In 1900 the Canadian organized San Juan Light & Transit Co. purchased an existing steam tram line in San Juan, and opened its first electric streetcar line 01 January 1901. The enterprise was absorbed into the newly organized PRRysCo. in 1906, and subsidiary Porto Rico Railway, Light and Power Company created to operte the street railway and related utilities. A second subsidiary, Carguas Tramway Co. was incorporated in 1907 with plans to build an electric interurban to Carguas but the line operated with steam power 1908-1928 and the electric cars were transferred to the city line. Head office and all of the company officers located in Toronto (McGraw 1918). PRRysCo. and its subsidiaries were nationalized 20 July 1942. (Allen Morrison/


Monterrey, Nuevo León

Compania de Tranvias, Luzy Fuerza Motriz Monterrey, S.A. (1905 - 1930)
Monterrey Railway, Light and Power Company. Animal cars began operating in Monterrey in 1883. The MRyL&PCo. was incorporated in Toronto 16 May 1905 and acquired the animal car system the same year. Electric streetcars were introduced 25 July 1907. President (William Mackenzie), first vice-president (Donald Mann), second vice-president and general manager, secretary-treasurer, and comptroller all located in Toronto. (McGraw 1918). The system was acquired by a locally based cooperative in 1930. (Allen Morrison/

Mexico, Distrito Federal

Animal-drawn street railway service begun 01 January 1858.

Compania de Tranvias de Mexico, S.A. (1898 - 1952)
Mexico Tramways Company. Parent company of Compañía de Ferrocarriles del Distrito Federal de Mexico and Compania Mexico de Traccion. Mexico Electric Tramways Co. (known in Mexico as Tranvías Eléctricos de México) formed in London, UK, 13 April 1898 by a syndicate of Canadian and European investors. MET then purchased CFDF. Mexico Tramways Company (Spanish: Compañía de Tranvías de México) incorporated in Toronto by Canadian investors, which then acquired 75% of MET stock. After a period of state control following the Mexican revolution of 1911, MTC resumed control in 1917. Control of the enterprise was again seized by the state in 1945, which finally bought out the Canadians 25 January 1952. (Allen Morrison/ [Part 1], [Part 2], [Part 3], ([Part 4])

Puebla, Puebla

Compañía de Tranvías, Luz y Fuerza de Puebla (1906 - 03 April 1928)
Puebla Tramway, Light & Power Company. In 1906 this Canadian company purchased both animal car operators in Puebla. Petrol trams were introduced but electrification did not appear until 1924. Company sold the remaining tram routes to the Puebla state government in 1928. (Allen Morrison/



The Camaguey Company (1908 - 1926)
Parent company of the Camaguey Tramway Company as well as land development and electricity subsidiaries. Animal-drawn trams began service in 1894 and closed in 1900. The Canadian enterprise was organized in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1906 and commenced electric streetcar service in Camagüey 01 May 1908. The tram system was sold to the Havana Electric Railway in 1926. According to the McGraw List for 1918 the company's head office and secretary were located in Montréal, and the vice-president in Halifax. (Allen Morrison/

British West Indies

Georgetown, British Guiana

Demerara Electric (Georgetown) streetcar 15 (Allen Morrison coll.) Demerara Electric Company, Ltd (1899 - February 1930)
Company organized in Montreal. In 1899 purchased the Georgetown Tramway Company operating animal cars since 1880. First electric streetcar line opened 25 February 1901. (Allen Morrison/, photo: Allen Morrison coll.).

Kingston, Jamaica

The West India Electric Company, Ltd. (1897 - 1948)
President, vice-president and secretary all located in Montréal. Company head office in Kingston, Jamaica. (McGraw 1918). Locally owned animal car service began in 1876. The Canadian organized WIEC purchased the system 04 December 1897 and began electric service 31 March 1899. From 25 May 1923 ownership was absorbed by the Canadian organized utility Jamaica Public Service Co. JPSCo closed the street railway 10 May 1948 but protests re-opened one line, which closed for good circa August 1948. (Allen Morrison/

Port of Spain, Trinidad

Port-of-Spain streetcar The Trinidad Electric Company, Ltd. (1901 - 1937)
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). Animal car service in Port of Spain was begun by American interests in 1883. A second company commenced electric streetcar operation in 1895. TECo was organized in Nova Scotia in 1900 and purchased both the animal car and the electric tram companies in 1901. The system was expropriated by the local government in 1937. (Allen Morrison/, photo newdavesrailpix).


Aparecida – Guaratinguetá, São Paulo

Companhia Light e Power de São Paulo (1927 - 1951)
Animal car service in this area began in 1895, and electric streetcar service 08 December 1913. The single line system was acquired by the Canadian-owned São Paulo system in 1927. In March 1951 it was sold to a local bus operator. (Allen Morrison/

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.

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