James’ Brand New Blog

Archive for May 18th, 2012

More traction on the South-West Line

- May 18th, 2012

traction bridge abutment

The abutment of the old Traction Line bridge stands like a sentinel on the Thames bank, not far from Labatt’s. View is from Richmond St. bridge via my BlackBerry.

The LPL board’s historic sites committee has honoured the South-West Traction Line with a plaque … hooray.

Still trying to track down the Twitter photos of that event, but wanted to add some background to the earlier JBNBlog post.

Thanks to Jennifer Grainger and Stephen Harding & all who help out with coverage.

Here are more details from London history heroes, first class, Jennifer & Stephen:

Don’t forget our two-volume history of Westminster Township, Honouring Our Roots. It had a small section on the traction line.
Jennifer (Grainger)

Q: What’s the date (approx) of the beautiful shot of the train on the bridge? 1908, is that right? (Alice and Stephen may know this)

A: The picture comes from a 64 page booklet called: London Ontario, The Forest City: Resources and Advantages published by the City of London. It does not give a publication date! The book includes statistics from 1911. Therefore ca 1911 or 1912 would be an accurate publication date. Each page has; They all say London across the top. Arthur (McClelland) or Alice (Gibb) probably could tell you more about this book as it is a frequently used reference.

This book documented London’s many social and economic advantages. The picture of the Traction Line car on the bridge was but one of several illustrations highlighting London’s excellent railway connections. At this time London probably had the best rail service of any city in Canada. Passenger service was excellent. Connections could be made with steamships at Port Stanley, Sarnia and Windsor. The Traction Line contributed to the excellent rail service.

Q: What’s Old Boys reunion is the target of that smooth advertisement luring old boys and old girls?
A: They all say London is a slogan associated with the Old Boys reunions, and that made me assume the book with the picture was an old Boy’s program . . .

Q: What’s Old Boys reunion is the target of that smooth advertisement luring old boys and old girls?
A: The Traction Line advertisement featured on your blog (sans illustration) was from an Old Boys reunion program ca 1906 or 1908.

Q: What is the most surprising thing you discovered about Traction line?
A: The Traction Line was one of many inter-urban light rail lines that existed in SW Ontario.
When you tell people that 100 years ago Londoners could ride a train or a streetcar to Port Stanley they are totally incredulous. Well, that’s progress for you.

Q: Any famous riders? Anybody still looking for the track — or is it all gone now?

A: The concrete abutment for the bridge across the Thames still stands on the north side of the river near Richmond St.
I am not sure if any features are left outside of London.
Mike Baker has gone over the route and would know better than I.

When the line went bankrupt in 1918 they began pulling up the rails from Port Stanley to London.
The steel had considerable value while the war was on.
As they were de-commissioning the line peace was declared and suddenly the steel was no longer of value.
I assume that the company (which was in dire financial straits) probably left some of the tracks in situ.
I seem to recall some of the tracks were discovered in London when Wharncliffe Road was re-paved a few years ago.

Raymond Crinklaw published a Westminster Township book that includes the rise and fall of the Traction Line as documented from newspaper articles.
I believe Jennifer Grainger also included the Traction Line in her recently published book: Vanished Villages of Elgin.

Yours Sincerely, Stephen Harding

 

Mayors Joe & Mike step up for dragons, Elton

- May 18th, 2012

elton-john5454
Elton John, in an undated photograph, courtesy of topnews.in

JBNBlog better step up my game.

Two recent big event announcements (surprises to me) have arrived with words from mayors where the stars might be expected to speak.

On Friday (today), Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley was quoted as saying of Elton John’s Sept. 7 solo concert in its announcement:
“The music of Sir Elton John touches people on a very personal level. The songs that he and Bernie Taupin made famous resonate just as clearly today as they did when they first arrived on the airwaves decades ago. Sarnia and the Royal Bank Center are honoured to have an artist of such worldwide renown sharing his songs with us.”

Earlier in the month, London Mayor Joe Fontana was quoted about the Canadian debut of How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular, which opens its run at the John Labatt Centre on July 4:

“Our award winning John Labatt Centre will make a great first stop on the Canadian leg of the tour. What an amazing and magical show this is and who of us as a child did not wish for our very own dragon. Now the collaborative production of DreamWorks and Global Creations is bringing our imagination to life and enchantment to London, Ontario. I can’t wait to take my grandson. We’re going to love it.”

No complaints from JBNBlog . . . in fact it would be a shame if Mayor Mike and Mayor Joe weren’t on stage with Sir Elton and the dragons respectively. Just saying.

More seriously, a note to self to sharpen up. The mayors and their communications crews are way ahead of you . . . gotta do something about that, eh?