Calgary's Electric Transit is the story of electric street railway, trolleybus and light rail vehicle transit in Canada's western city of Calgary, Alberta.Calgary was founded in 1875, when the North West Mounted Police established a new fort — Fort Calgary. A big boost for Calgary came eight years later, when the Canadian Pacific Railway — building westward to the Pacific — reached the Bow River in 1883. Calgary became an important centre for Canadian Pacific operations and has since become the railway's headquarters location. By 1909, Calgary boasted a population of 30, 000 people. In July of that year the Calgary Electric Railway began operations with two cars, sixteen employees and three miles of track. The system quickly grew and the following year became known as the Calgary Municipal Railway. Through its forty years of street railway service, Calgary acquired passenger cars from such well-known Canadian builders as Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company, Preston Car & Coach Company and the Canadian Car & Foundry. In addition, the system's roster included used cars from several sources in the United States. Totalling 113 cars in all — plus a scenic car — it has been a daunting task to secure photos for this book. Many superb images have been discovered, illustrating the operation of streetcars in different sections of the city. There are over 150 streetcar photos. Finding trolleybus photographs has been a challenge as well, but the authors have succeeded in gathering a fine selection representing all classes of 'trackless trolley' coaches purchased new and acquired used from other US systems. You—ll see streetcars and trolleybuses operating in the city centre, in the rural suburbs, and in residential neighbourhoods. Coverage of today's modern rail transit cars is outstanding. Now called 'light rail vehicles', all classes of these LRVs are represented, operating in all seasons, and over most portions of the system, illustrating the many varied and unique Calgary urban environments. Rich, carefully composed black and white photos are rounded out with a fine showing of subjects in colour. There's a variety of photos to interest everyone with an interest in the development of Calgary as a city: the construction of 'The Bay', early scenes in Bowness Park, and some views of the streetcars serving seemingly unpopulated fields that today are thriving subdivisions. Whether you—re a railway enthusiast or simply interested in Calgary's history, you—ll find Colin Hatcher and Tom Schwarzkopf's 200-page account of Calgary's Electric Transit a fascinating, informative and enjoyable reading experience.
Colin Hatcher spent the early years of his life in Montreal. Streetcars and commuter trains were the principal means of local transportation. His family moved to Sudbury, Ontario while the streetcars were still operating and there were lots of trains nearby. Colin returned to Montreal to attend Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) where, as well as attaining his Batchelor of Arts degree, he became interested in the activities of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association. When he moved to Regina to take up a position with the Regina YMCA, his CRHA friends encouraged and supported him in a quest to research the Regina streetcar system, resulting in the book Saskatchewan's Pioneer Streetcars -- the Story of the Regina Municipal Railway (Railfare: 1971).Calgary Transit expressed an interest in a similar publication as their contribution to the City of Calgary's 75th Anniversary celebration, resulting in the 1975 release of Stampede City Streetcars -- the Story of the Calgary Municipal Railway (Railfare). Following a move further north, Colin tackled the Edmonton streetcar story, meeting up with Tom Schwarzkopf who had an interest in trolley coaches. Railfare published their joint work Edmonton's Electric Transit in 1983. Colin continues to be actively involved in railway preservation and operation efforts, first with Alberta Pioneer Railway Association, now with Edmonton Radial Railway Society, as a volunteer archivist and one of fifty volunteer motormen operating streetcars on both the High Level Bridge and Fort Edmonton Park Divisions. Colin helped Geoff Lester, a retired cartographer at the University of Alberta, prepare an on-line Atlas of Alberta Railways. He has written two volumes on the Northern Alberta Railways (BRMNA, Calgary), a booklet on the first 25 years of the LRT system in Edmonton for Edmonton Transit, and the story of the first 100 years of the YMCA in Edmonton. He writes regularly for the Trip Sheet, a historical journal of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society and occasionally for Canadian Rail of the Canadian Railroad Historical Society.