The TTC's Surface Rail Work Car Fleet

Text by James Bow.

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The TTC used to have an extensive fleet of work cars that rode the rails, performing the maintenance duties of the system. Gradually, they've been replaced, so that only the Rail Grinders remained, and then these two were retired and removed from the network. However, in this small but growing page, we hope to give you a rogues gallery of the other cars that were the grunt-workers of the system.

Work Cars Image Archive

Crane Car

C-1 - TTC Crane Car (1911-1967)

TTC Crane Car C1 poses outside of one of the carhouses at the Halton County Railway museum. The HCRR has preserved and made good use of this vehicle, originally built in 1911 by the Toronto Railway Company for use (usually at night) on trackwork jobs and occasionally delivering and placing salt and sand boxes. It served the TTC until 1967 and was donated to the museum in 1968. This crane boasts a 5-ton hoist, and the car was one of two built by the TRC. C1's brother, C2, can now be found at the Ohio Railway Museum.


C-2 - TTC Crane Car (1921-1971)

TTC's second surface crane car, C-2, was built by the commission in 1921 and is seen here in this July 1966 shot dismantling Park loop at Bloor and High Park while TTC A7 PCC #4467 passes. Crane car C-2 was declared inactive in 1971 and donated to the Halton County Radial Railway museum in 1972, where it was intended to be used for parts. It was later given to the Ohio Railway Museum. This photo is from the John Knight collection.

Snow Sweeper

S-30 - TTC Snow Sweeper (1947-196?)

This picture of sweeper S-30 at Danforth Carhouse in 1966 was donated by Curt Frey. The TTC employed a wide variety of snow removal equipment to keep its tracks clear in the winter, and these monsters were part of a set purchased in 1947 from New York City's Third Avenue Railway System. Note the wire brushes up front to drive the snow off the tracks; a plow at the side helped to clear the street adjacent to the tracks. Note the air-electric PCC stored behind sweeper S-30 in this picture, indicating the age of this shot. By 1970, the TTC had given up on its snow-removal equipment, leaving the surface trackage to be cleaned by the City of Toronto.

Snow Sweeper

S-33 - TTC Snow Sweeper (1947-196?)

S-33 was another of the set purchased in 1947 from New York City, sharing most of the same features as sweeper S-30. This picture was donated by Curt Frey (taken by P. Lambert) and shows sweeper S-33 at Danforth Carhouse in 1966.

Snow Sweeper

S-36 - TTC Snow Sweeper (1948-1973)

S-36 was built in 1920 by the Russell Car Company for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway as their #607. In 1935 it and a few others of similar type were sold to the Third Avenue railway in New York City and became #89. In 1948 as the Third Avenue railway was substituting buses for streetcars in New York City it and others were sold to Toronto Transportation Commission and ran there until 1973. It was then sold to the Shoreline Trolley Museum in 1973. In 1977 the car was semi-restored and repainted. Photo by Jerry Appleman

Snow Sweeper

S36 - TTC Snow Sweeper at Seashore Trolley Museum (photo by Steve Loitsch)

Snow Sweeper

S36 - TTC Snow Sweeper blowing snow (photo by Steve Loitsch)

Snow Sweeper

S-37 - TTC Snow Sweeper (1948-1973)

The brother of S-36, S-37 was also built in 1920 by the Russell Car Company for the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway. In 1935 it was sold to the Third Avenue railway in New York City. It was sold to the Toronto Transportation Commission in 1948 when the Third Avenue railway substituted buses for streetcars. It ran in Toronto until 1973 after which it was picked up by the Halton County Railway Museum. In this photograph, you see it entering the east carhouse ladder track, with nary a snowflake in sight.


S-39 - TTC Snow Sweeper (1948-1973)

TTC Snow Sweeper S-39 was acquired from Third Avenue Transit (#82) in 1948. It was originally Trenton Transit #31, built in 1921. It swept TTC streetcar tracks until 1971 before being stored. It was officially retired in 1973. This shot was taken in the late 1950s. The photographer is unknown, and the photograph comes our way thanks to Mike Filey.


W-5 - TTC Snowplow Car (?-?)

Curt Frey donated this picture by Julian Bernard of snowplow car W-5 sitting at Wychwood Carhouse in 1958. A virtual twin of snowplow car W-3, this double-trucked wooden vehicle ploughed snow off the streetcar tracks during the middle part of this century. Note the flatbed component in the back. Sweeper S-24 can be seen just in behind.


W-6 - TTC Snow Scraper Car (1922-197?)

The TTC built snow-scraper car W-6 in 1922 and converted it to a full plow in 1942. It's seen here at Danforth carhouse in front of its plow cousin TP-11 in this 1963 shot. The photographer is unknown.


W-14 - TTC Dump Car (1922-1967)

TTC dump car W-14 (built new by the TTC in 1922) awaits the scrap heap at St. Clair carhouse on April 4, 1964. It would be sold for scrap in 1967. Photo by John F. Bromley, from the John Knight collection.

Dump Car

W-16 - TTC Dump Car (1922-1967)

Curt Frey donated this picture by P. Lambert of Dump Car W16 (with flat car W-9(?) in the background) at Hillcrest Shops (date is unknown). Dump cars, as the name implies, carried load of gravel and sand that could be dumped where needed. They were generally used for ballast work, and removal of construction waste, but they also ferried heating coal delivered to Hillcrest Yard to the various carhouses, as well as taking the resulting ashes to dump tracks off of Keele, Jane and Avon Loops. Dump cars fell into disuse when trucks were bought that could handle the load as easily and more flexibly. One dump car remains, though, on the subway. RT-3, converted from dump car W-18, features components dating back from 1922.


W-23 TTC Welding Car (1924-1951)

TTC Welding Car W-23 was converted from 1912-built TRC car #1710 in 1924, and used to haul track welding supplies to work sites. It is seen here serving workers on Oakwood Avenue on October 11, 1924, building the OAKWOOD streetcar. This image is from the City of Toronto Archives.


W-25 - TTC Rail Grinder (1925-1962)

TTC Rail Grinder W-25 was converted from Toronto Railway Car #1704 in 1925 and served the commission until 1962. The car is seen here at Hillcrest, giving visitors a ride on September 1, 1958. The photographer is unknown, and the photo was donated by Mike Filey.

Sand Car

W-26 - The TTC Sand Car (1950-1967)

Colin Barrett was kind enough to donate this picture of W-26, the TTC's Sand Car, saying that he knew nothing about this vehicle. Well, according to Larry Partridge's Mind the Doors, Please, this vehicle was built in 1950 out of the remains of dump car W-12, meaning that parts of this car dated back all the way to 1921. This car's job was to travel to each of the carhouses and refill the sandboxes. The sand from the sandboxes were used by streetcar drivers to improve traction on slippery days. When the job became easier to handle by truck, this car's usefulness ceased, and it was scrapped in 1967.

Sand Car

Another view of Sandcar W26 at Wychwood Carhouse in 1958. Photo by Peter Lambert, donated from the Curt Frey collection.


W-27 - TTC Rail Grinder (1955-1967)

TTC's rail grinder W-27 started life as Toronto Civic Railway car #53 in 1915 before being converted into snow scraper 2204 in 1926 before being converted again into the rail grinder above in 1955. In this shot, W-27 heads north on Bathurst Street at King on September 15, 1965. Two years later, the car would be converted again, into subway rail grinder RT-7, before being finally retired in 1970, and acquired by the Halton County Railway Museum in 1976. The photographer is unknown; from the John Knight collection.


W-28 - TTC Farebox Car (1921-1951)

Originally built by the Toronto Railway Company in 1911, the TTC acquired TRC #28 in 1921 and converted it to a special work car called a farebox car. This car would go around the system, visiting the various carhouses at the end of the day, and collect fareboxes, carrying these to a spur track off of Wellington Street just east of Yonge Street near the TTC's headquarters where the accounting department could receive the fareboxes, collect and sort the fares, and establish the earnings of the day. The use of armoured trucks eliminated the need for the farebox car and it was put into reserve status in 1938, and then used as a storeroom from 1946 to 1951. It was sold for scrap in 1951. This TTC photo is courtesy the John Knight collection.


TTC farebox car #W-28 sits at Hillcrest Shops on April 15, 1944. The photographer is unknown and the photo is from the Dave Shaw collection.

Rail Grinder

W-28 - TTC Rail Grinder (1955-1975)

Restored Toronto Civic Railway car #55 poses at the Halton County Radial Railway's East Carhouse beside its sister, Toronto Civic Railway car #57. Built in 1915, #57 was converted first to a snow scraper in 1931, then to a surface rail grinding car in 1955 (when it received the W-28 number). When PCCs 4631 and 4668 were converted into rail grinders W-30 and W-31 in April 1976, W-28 became surplus and was sold to the HCRR, where it today awaits restoration. At the time of its departure, W-28 was the last Toronto Civic Railway car to operate on the streets of Toronto. Photo by James Bow.


Y-4, Y-10 and Y-12 - TTC Yard Shunters (1922-1954)

For the first half of the 20th century, the Toronto Railway Company and the Toronto Transportation Commission responded to heavy ridership on certain lines by attaching a trailer to large streetcars, creating two-car trains that plied routes like KINGSTON ROAD and, especially, YONGE. As these trailers were unpowered, there needed to be a way to move these trailers through a carhouse and couple them to streetcars. These powered yard shunters were the answer. Y-4 was built by the TTC in 1922, while Y-10 and Y-12 were built in 1923, to pull trailers through the carhouse and assemble trailer-trains. As trailer use diminished in the early 1950s, and ended outright in 1954, these shunters were no longer needed. This shot by James Victor Salmon, courtesy the Toronto Public Library, shows shunters Y-4, Y-10 and Y-12 being scrapped at George Street yard on March 10, 1953.


  • Bromley, John F., and Jack May Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, Electric Railroaders' Association, New York (New York), 1978.
  • Hood, J. William, The Toronto Civic Railways: An Illustrated History, The Upper Canada Railway Society, Toronto (Ontario), 1986.
  • Partridge, Larry, Mind the Doors, Please, The Boston Mills Press, Erin (Ontario), 1983.

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