All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Windsor, Ontario

Principal System

? (1852 - 1874?)
omnibus Omnibus operator (Canadian Coach 1973). Drouillard says omnibuses began in 1850.

Sandwich and Windsor Passenger Railway Company (20 July 1874 - 25 June 1887)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 02 March 1872 (Ont.) Operated from 03 March 1880 under foreclosure by Mr. A. J. Kennedy, who was incorporated 25 June 1887 as the SW&A.

Windsor SWA363 Twin Coach (William A. Luke) Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Railway Company (25 June 1887 - 31 October 1977)
street railway/light rail trolley bus (Dawes et al. 1972). The SW&A was owned by the Detroit United (main Detroit city system) from 31 August 1901 until it became a multiple municipality operation 31 March 1920. Also operated interurban lines beginning in 1903. System was operated by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario from 01 April 1920 to 22 September 1934, as the Hydro Electric Railways: Essex District. Introduced electric trolley buses 1922. Withdrew trolley buses and introduced motor buses 1926. Bus service between Windsor and Detroit, Michigan, was operated jointly by the SW&A/HERys and the Detroit Department of Street Railways from November 1929 to circa December 1930 using the corporate name Detroit-Windsor Coach Co. (CR&MW Apr. 1930, p. 244). Withdrew motor buses, again becoming an all-streetcar system, in 1931. Began conversion from streetcars to buses in 1938. SW&A became the sole property of the City of Windsor 1970. Lincoln-Trent Management Limited operated system 15 July 1970 to November 1973 (Drouillard, Canadian Coach 1972). (CUTA 1976-77, photos: William A. Luke, Peter Cox, postcard).

Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg 27 on Bedford St. (postcard) Windsor trolley bus on Lincoln Road 1922 SWA [Windsor] #10 Ford model 70 (Peter Cox)

Windsor Classic Transit Windsor (01 November 1977 - present)
From 1982 also operates transit service to Detroit, Michigan, through a subsidiary (see below). Also operated suburban transit service to La Salle 1986-1993. (Sotnyk 1981, CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992) (Photo Luke Olszewski).

Service area population196,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet105 buses (2000)
Employees260 (1991)
Ridership6,050,931 (2009)
Data sources:CUTA 1991/2
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)

Secondary Systems

Detroit and Windsor Ferry Company ticket (ca 1880s) Detroit Windsor ferry Promise (postcard) Detroit and Windsor Ferry Company (1877 - 19 July 1938)
ferry Formed in 1877 from the amalgamation of the Detroit Ferry Company and the Windsor Ferry Company (Wikipedia). Enterprise renamed in 1883 to Detroit, Belle Isle and Windsor Ferry Company (Wikipedia).

Walkerville and Detroit Ferry Company (1881 - 15 May 1942)
ferry Served a route from Detroit to Belle Isle to Walkerville, Ontario (Wikipedia). (Roach 1988).

Windsor Electric St Ry Opening day 1886 Windsor Electric Street Railway Company (06 June 1886 - 18 April 1893)
street railway/light rail Served a line from Windsor to Walkerville, Canada's first public transit electric street railway. Electric operation was discontinued April 1888, substituting steam dummy railway operation April 1888 - late 1888, and horse cars thereafter (RFC). Markovich calls this the Windsor-Walkerville Street Railway Company. Reorganized 1893 as the CRCo of W (RFC).

City Railway Company of Windsor (18 April 1893 - 04 June 1904)
street railway/light rail Company incorporated 18 April 1893 from the original electric railway line (WESRy). Leased to the SW&A 21 March 1894 - 04 June 1904 when it was absorbed outright (RFC, Canadian Coach 1973).

Detroit and Canada Tunnel [Windsor] Twin Coach buses Detroit & Canada Tunnel Co. (1930 - 31 January 1982)
Bus service between Windsor and Detroit. (Drouillard, photo University of Windsor).

Windsor Chartabus Inc. (01 February 1982 - present)
Federally incorporated subsidiary of TW operating service between Windsor and Detroit. (Drouillard).


Omnibus1852 - 1874?
Animal railway20 July 1874 - Autumn 1877,
May 1878 - circa 1893,
late 1888 - 1890? (WESRy)
Steam dummy railwayAutumn 1877 - May 1878,
April 1888 - late 1888 (WESRy)
Electric railway06 June 1886* - April 1888 (WESRy),
15 August 1891 - 06 May 1939>
Motor bus10 January 1926 - 1931,
21 March 1938 - present,
1930 - present (tunnel service)
Trolley coach 04 May 1922 - November 1926
* Formal opening ceremonies held 09 June 1886. Public carried free 03 June - 05 June 1886 (Martin).

Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Interurban

Principal System

Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg interurban Sandwich, Windsor and Amherstburg Railway Company (04 July 1903 - 15 May 1938)
electric interurban Also operated street railway/transit service in Windsor. Acquired 31 March 1902 the charter and franchise of the South Essex Electric Railway Company (inc. 07 April 1896 (Ont)) to construct a line from Windsor to Amherstburg. Acquired by local municipalities 31 March 1920 and was operated from 01 April 1920 to 1934 by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario as the Hydro Electric Railways: Essex District (until circa 1931). Municipal owners were the cities of Windsor and East Windsor, the towns of La Salle, Riverside, Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Ojibway, Sandwich, and Walkerville, and the townships Sandwich East and Sandwich West (CR&MW September 1932). (Due reports start of interurban operation as 10 June 1903). Interurban service to Amherstburg discontinued 21 March 1938 (Schramm). The SW&A continued to operate the Amherstburg route by bus 1938 - 1958, when it was sold to an independent operator (Drouillard).

Sun Parlour Coach Lines (15 May 1958 - 1960)
Owner George Issell. Bus operator of the Windsor - Amherstberg route. SPCL was absorbed into Charterways in 1960. (Drouillard).

Secondary System

Windsor and Tecumseh interurban station in Tecumseh 1920 (uwindsor) Windsor and Tecumseh Electric Railway Company (01 May 1907 - 31 March 1920)
electric interurban Incorporated 1904 (Ont.) Windsor to Tecumseh. Acquired the charter, franchises and assets of the unbuilt Ontario Traction Company, Limited 25 May 1905. Purchased, completed and operated by the SW&A. The line was the last interurban line abandoned 15 May 1938. The SW&A continued to operate the route to Tecumseh with buses until 1956 (Drouillard). (photo: UWindsor).

Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Interurban

WE&LSR car Republic arrives in Essex (internationalmetropolis) Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Rapid Railway Company (19 September 1907 - 15 September 1932)
electric interurban Incorporated 1901. Controlling interest held by the Dominion Traction and Lighting Company, Ltd (McGraw 1918). Introduced coördinated bus service in 1925 under the name Highway Motor Coach Line (CR&MW June 1926 p. 321). Acquired by local municipalities, acting as the Windsor, Essex and Lake Shore Electric Railway Association, 08 September 1929. Association members were the City of Windsor, the towns of Kingsville, Leamington and Essex, and the townships Sandwich West, Sandwich East, Sandwich South, Gosfield North, and Gosfield South (CR&MW 1932). Municipal owners marketed services and lettered cars The Sunshine County Route. (photo internationalmetropolis).

Windsor Suburban System

LTW Transit (08 July 2019 - present)
Regional transit pilot connecting Windsor with Essex Centre, Kingsville, and Leamington. Name is an abbrevation of “Leamington To Windsor Transit”. Route parallels the WE&LS interurban railway route (see above) closed 87 years earlier. Operated under contract by Transit Windsor as TW route 42.

LTW Transit logo (2019)
LTW Transit logo (2019)
Data source: website (2019)


Copyright ©1989-2019 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
Return to All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:
This page last modified: Tuesday, 02-Jul-2019 20:07:07 CDT