All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Kitchener - Cambridge, Ontario

The adjacent cities of Kitchener [called Berlin prior to 01 October 1916] and Waterloo have always shared a transit system. From 01 January 2000 Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge have been served by a single system.

Principal System

Berlin & Waterloo Street Railway horsecar Berlin and Waterloo Street Railway Company (13 June 1889 - circa 1916)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 1886 (Ont.) Acquired by the Town of Berlin 01 May 1907. City management exercised by the “Light Commissioner” 1907 - 1909, then directly by Town council, eventually passing to the Public Utilities commission (Mills 1977). Berlin renamed Kitchener 01 October 1916. Company reported in the annual Dominion government statistical report Canada Year Book under Berlin & Waterloo through 1918. (Dorman, CYB 1905-1918)

Kitchener and Waterloo Street Railway (circa 1916 - circa 1927)
street railway/light rail Cited by Dorman as Kitchener Street Railways. (Dorman, CYB 1919-1927-28) (photo credit W.I. Miller/W.E. Miller)

Kitchener PUC ticket (front) Kitchener 28 GM old look (William A. Luke) Kitchener Public Utilities Commission (circa 1927 - 26 March 1973)
street railway/light rail trolley bus Or Kitchener Public Utilities: Street Railway Department. Referred to by Dorman as the Kitchener Street Railways. Acquired KBL bus operations 1939. Ended street railway operations at the end of 1946 and initiated trolley bus operations at the beginning of 1947. Also in 1947 KPUC purchased the Wellesley Bus Line including vehicles and charter licence. [Did Wellesley operate scheduled bus service between Wellesley and Kitchener? Did KPUC operate a Wellesley bus service after the purchase?] KPUC sold the Wellesley Bus Line, including vehicles and charter licence, in 1968. Cited by Dawes et al. 1972 as Kitchener Public Utilities Commission Transportation Department. Local service in Waterloo withdrawn 1960 - 1963 (Canadian Coach 1973). (photos W.E. Miller, William A. Luke)

Kitchener Transit (26 March 1973 - 31 December 1999)
Operated by the Kitchener Department of Transportation Services (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992). (Canadian Coach 1973, Sotnyk 1981, Chow 1998). Waterloo Regional council voted in June 1999 to merge KT with Cambridge Transit by 01 January 2000.

Kitchener Transit logo
KT logo
Service area population249,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet116 buses (1998)
Employees279 (1991)
Data source:CUTA1991/2
KT Website 1999 (logo)

GRT Flyer bus Grand River Transit (01 January 2000 - present) 
Merger of Kitchener and Cambridge transit services. Rapid bus service between Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo begun September 2005 under the iXpress brand. Transit service extended from Waterloo to Elmira via St. Jacobs 06 April 2009. Construction of a light rail line commenced August 2014, opening in 2019. One year pilot transit service connecting Waterloo with Wilmot Township (Petersburg, Baden and New Hamburg) begun 25 April 2016 (website 2016). The Wilmot pilot service is operated under contract by Voyageur Transportation Services. (website 2011).

Grand River Transit [Kitchener-Cambridge] logo
GRT logo (2000-present)
GRT iXpress logo
iXpress logo
Vehicle fleet:140 buses (2000)
Ridership16,599,974 (2009)
Data Sources:website 2011 (logos),
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)

Kitchener Secondary Systems

Berlin and Bridgeport Electric Street Railway Company (14 July 1902 - 1912)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 07 January 1901 (Ont.) Operated in cooperation with the associated Berlin and Waterloo from 1902 to 1907. Name changed to B&NRyCo 1912. (Dorman, CYB 1905-1906)

Berlin and Northern Railway Company (1912 - 1919)
street railway/light rail Reported in the CYB for the year 1918 as the Kitchener and Northern. Name changed to WWRyCo 1919. (McGraw 1918).

Waterloo Wellington Railway Company (1919 - 01 October 1923)
street railway/light rail Acquired by the City of Kitchener 1923. Mistakenly referred to as the Kitchener and Bridgeport.

Kitchener Bus Line (1933 - 1939)
Owner Sandford Fischer. Cross-town bus routes intersecting the main streetcar route. Operation purchased 1939 by the Kitchener PUC.

Cambridge System

The city of Cambridge was formed in 1973 by the amalgamation of the city of Galt, the towns of Preston and Hespeler, and the unincorporated community of Blair.

Grand River Railway Company
electric interurban Interurban electric railway service. See below. By 1926 CPT was supplementing interurban service by operating 3 buses on an hourly schedule between Galt and Preston, for a 10¢ fare (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263).

Galt, Preston City and Suburban Transit Co. (circa 1921 - circa March 1929)
Bus service within Galt and between Galt and Preston, operated in competition with GRRy/CPT (CR&MW March 1926 p. 147). Affiliated from late 1926 with Comet Bus Service alias Comet Bus and Transit Co. (CR&MW December 1926, p. 669 and January 1927, p. 47). (CR&MW June 1928, pp. 364-365).

Dominion Power and Transmission Company (circa March 1929 - ?)
Purchased Comet (local bus service in Galt and the Hamilton - Galt intercity route) and GPC&STCo (Galt - Preston suburban and Galt - Guelph intercity services). At the time of the take-over, the Galt east-west city route was 17 round trips/day, 5¢ fare, and the Galt - Preston service was 10 minute headway and 10¢ fare, or 10 tickets for 70¢.

The Canada Coach Lines (1950 - 31 January 1962)
Private operator replaced by municipal operation (Canadian Coach Vol. IX, No. 1, January/February 1973)

Galt PUC 100 GM ol (WE Miller 1969 Apr 20) Galt Public Utilities Commission - Transportation Department (01 February 1962 - 01 January 1973)
(Dawes et al. 1972, Canadian Coach 1973, photo: W.E. Miller [Peter Cox coll.]).

Cambridge Transit 300 GM nl (WE Miller 1977 Sep 11).jpg Cambridge Transit (01 January 1973 - 31 December 1999)
Operated by Corporation of the City of Cambridge, Community Services Department (Transit Canada 1975). Waterloo Regional council voted in June 1999 to merge CT with Kitchener Transit by 01 January 2000. (CUTA 1976-77, Sotnyk 1981, CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992, Chow 1998, photo: W.E. Miller [Peter Cox coll.])

Service area population90,000
Vehicle fleet25 buses
Data source:CT Web page 1998

Elmira System

Elmira - Kitchener Bus Lines (circa 1922 - 10 March 1929)
Bus service between Elmira and Kitchener via Waterloo at least as early as 1922. From 1926 to 1929 service was owned by Philip King, who sold it to Arthur Lishman. (Roes and Gerber).

Lishman Coach Lines [Elmira] Gotfriedson bus (Marion Roes coll.) Lishman Coach Lines Ltd. (11 March 1929 - 07 January 1975)
Bus service between Elmira and Kitchener via Walterloo. Company expanded into additional routes, charters, airport limousines, and school buses. Bridgeport - Kitchener route opened 1949. Lishman and two other bus companies merged to form UT 1975. (Roes and Gerber, photo: Roes).

United Trails Inc. (07 January 1975 - August 1997)
Scheduled service between Elmira and Kitchener discontinued 1997 (Roes and Gerber). Elmira - Waterloo service re-instituted 2009 by Grand River Transit (see above).

Kiwanis Transit (04 September 2018 - 01 March 2019)
Pilot internal shuttle bus service in Elmira intended to provide connection to the GRT bus to Waterloo and facilitate local internal trips in Elmira. Initial service is fare-free. Some funding contributed by Woolwich Township and Waterloo Region. (The Observer 28 June 2018).


commuter rail Canadian National Railways branch line from Galt via Kitchener to Elimra received frequent service by electric battery car between 1924 and 1928. The schedule announced for March 1925 called for seven daily round trips between Elmira and Kitchener, with one additional daily return through trip to Galt (Roes and Gerber, p. 85). Steam train service covered the line less frequently before, and after, the battery car era.


Animal railway13 June 1889 - 1895
Electric railway18 May 1895 - 27 December 1946
Light rail transit19 June 2019 - present
Motor bus01 May 1939 - present (Kitchener)
Trolley coach01 January 1947 - 26 March 1973

Grand River Interurban

Principal System

Galt and Preston Street Railway Company (26 July 1894 - 1895)
electric interurban Incorporated 1890. (Mills 1977) Service established between namesake towns Galt and Preston.

Galt, Preston and Hespeler Street Railway Company (1895 - 01 January 1908)
electric interurban Service extended to neighbouring Hespeler. Acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company circa 1903.

Berlin, Waterloo, Wellesley and Lake Huron Railway Company (01 January 1908 - 1919)
electric interurban Owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Separate corporate identities for the GP&H and the P&B maintained until 1919. The CYB for 1919 (1918 data) lists the Kitchener, Waterloo, Wellesley and Lake Huron.

Grand River Railway Company (1919 - 23 April 1955)
electric interurban Incorporated 1914. Owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. Coördinated bus services introduced 14 September 1925, under the Canadian Pacific Transport Limited name (CR&MW 1932). Freight operation was dieselized 01 October 1961 (RFC, Roth & Clack). (Due erroneously records end of electric freight operation as 02 October 1962.) After 1931 the accounts of the Grand River Railway and the Lake Erie and Northern Railway were consolidated by the parent Canadian Pacific and occasionally reported under the single title Canadian Pacific Electric Lines. Bus service by CPT continued to Preston until sold to The Canada Coach Lines Limited 01 March 1957. CPT bus service between Galt and Kitchener continued until 19 June 1961. (Miller)

Preston & Berlin System

Preston and Berlin Street Railway Company (21 August 1903 - 01 January 1908)
electric interurban Incorporated 1894. Acquired by GP&HStRyCo interests in 1900 and held as a subsidiary of the Hamilton Radial Electric Railway Company from 1900 to April 1903. Service began under steam power 05 February 1903. Company leased by the GP&HStRyCo from 1903. Service from Preston (now Cambridge) to Berlin (now Kitchener). (photo W.E. Miller collection)

Lake Erie and Northern Interurban

Lake Erie and Northern Railway Company (07 February 1916 - 23 April 1955>)
electric interurban Incorporated 1911 (Dom.) Line from Galt (Cambridge) via Brantford to Port Dover on Lake Erie. Company acquired by Canadian Pacific 1911. Steam operation commenced in 1914. Freight operations dieselized in 30 September 1961 (RFC, Roth & Clack). After 1931 the accounts of the Grand River Railway and the Lake Erie and Northern Railway were consolidated by the parent Canadian Pacific Railway Company and occasionally reported under the single title Canadian Pacific Electric Lines.

LE&N logo
System logo
Data source:Roth & Clack (photograph detail)


Copyright ©1989-2019 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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This page last modified: Sunday, 12-May-2019 17:09:15 CDT