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Chapter 10
Rails through Richmond Hill
Table of Contents

Title Page
Author's Preface
1 The Road through Richmond Hill
2 First Peoples on the Land
3 The European Settlers Arrive
4 From Miles' Hill to Richmond Hill: The Birth of a Community
5 Tories and Reformers
6 Stagecoach Lines and Railway Tracks
7 The Neighbours at Mid-Century
8 Fire Brigades and Fence Viewers
9 Picture Post Card Village of the 1880s and 1890s
10 Rails through Richmond Hill
The Radial Railway Arrives
A Ride on the Big Green Cars
Stops along the Line
Bond Lake Park
Through the Highlands of York to Bond Lake Park
Radial Days in Richmond Hill
Summer Romance at Bond Lake Park
Electrical News at the Turn of the Century
Electric Lights for the Village
Heritage sites in New Gormley
" Gormley Gleanings"
The Belated Arrival of the Age of Steam
11 The Flowering of Richmond Hill
12 The Village Transformed
Table of Illustrations

A Ride on the Big Green Cars

The coaches [of the Metropolitan Railway] were painted a dark green, and looked very much like a standard railway coach. They were the same width, but a trifle shorter. Passengers could enter from either side, and from front or rear. Long hickory poles were placed on each side of the entrance for passengers to grasp as they mounted the steps of the car.

Each coach had a complement of two men, a motorman and a conductor, dressed in charcoal grey uniforms with their rank in brass letters on their caps. The car could be driven from either end by changing the trolley pole. The motorman operated the car by turning a large horizontally mounted crank on the top of a large oil-immersed rheostat. An air compressor and pressure tank suspended below each car provided the pressure to operate the air brakes and the shrill air whistle at every crossing.

Each coach was divided into two compartments; about one-third for smokers and the larger two-thirds for non-smokers. A swing door separated the two sections. Bright red fire axes were mounted in glass covered cases above each side of the swinging door with instructions for emergency use.

For those who wished a drink, a tin cup hung from a chain near a small tap and basin. The water was gravity fed from a metal tank above a small booth that provided emergency services for men and women. However, these were not flush toilets, but only a seat mounted above a long pipe through which you could see the railway ties rushing past below you.

A row of seats on each side of the coach was the sofa-type, similar to the seats in a standard railway coach, covered with tightly woven cane, which stood up under all types of abuse and outlasted the lifetime of the system. Brass hand grips on the back of each seat were used to swing the seat over to face the direction of travel, as well as providing a hand grip for passengers moving along the aisle.

Small wire parcel baskets were located above the windows, however most passengers piled their parcels on their seat in front of them unless a passenger wanted the seat.

Elman Campbell,Newmarket: Some Early Memories(Newmarket:Newmarket Museum Board,1987),p. 34


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Copyright Richmond Hill Public Library Board, 1991