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Book Launch for Ontario's Grand River Valley Electric Railways

Railfare*DC Books is set to release a new book on Tuesday February 8th, 2011, with a launch party at 2:00 pm at the Waterloo Region Museum (10 Huron Road, Kitchener).

Ontario’s Grand River Valley Electric Railways is an attractive collection of great photographs, maps and scholarship. Author John Mills will be on hand at the launch, as will Ted Wickson, who helped compile many of the photographs. There will also be experts on Canadian railroad history and people who actually worked or rode on the lines.

The St. George Museum and the Paris Historical Society Museum were both able to help out in the project by sharing some of their photos.

For more information visit: http://www.railfare.net/OntariosGrandRiverValley.html

For information and directions to the Waterloo Region Museum, visit: http://waterlooregionmuseum.com/plan-your-visit.aspx

Here is the “blurb” on the book:

This book concentrates on the electric lines of the part of Southern Ontario adjacent to the Grand River (plus a corporate outpost at Woodstock). Naturally fertile and prosperous, this area attracted early settlement which coalesced around two points: the head of river navigation at Brantford, and the waterpower sites at and north of Galt. The latter gave rise to a densely-settled triangle bounded by Galt (which later, with Preston and Hespeler, was incorporated into today’s City of Cambridge), Waterloo, and Guelph, with outliers to the north at the Elmira and Fergus areas.

Such conditions were ideal for the development of local railway transportation which appeared as expected: horsecar lines were built at an early date in Brantford and Berlin/Waterloo, and the Galt Preston & Hespeler was one of the first electric interurban lines in Canada. The vitality of the lines, particularly those in the northerly triangle, was thus established, and it continued for many years. The transformation of the GP&H; into the Grand River Railway in the early 1920s was the most complete reconstruction in Canadian electric railway transit history.

The book tells the story of the area’s streetcars, trolley coaches, and interurban railways that provided both local and inter-city passenger, freight, and express delivery services to communities such as Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hespeler, Galt, Preston, Brantford, Woodstock, Ingersoll, Port Dover and many more. It explains how the individual railways began, the politics and economics that impacted their development, their rise and eventual decline. Profusely-illustrated with many rare photos, the book features over 200 images, about 50 of them in superb colour. About a dozen maps provide details on where the lines ran, and an equipment list delivers details on the various companies’ rolling stock.