Halton County Radial Railway Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.



By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: My grandchildren will be busy with holiday celebrations at their schools. Their parents take them to other organizations where they are members for festive parties. Everyone will be coming over to our place for Christmas but I'd like to take my grandsons, (eight and 10 years old) on a Christmas outing somewhere. I don't want to spend millions but I would like to treat them to something different. Anything you can suggest?

A: Outside Guelph in Milton, there is a group of volunteers who will let your grandsons ride the historic electric railcars of yesteryear. Known as our earliest Red Rockets, these shining cars were once operated by the TTC. A fascinating museum on wheels, the Halton County Radial Railway Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Operated by the Ontario Electric Railway Association, Canada's first and Ontario's only electric railway museum, the collection includes a rare wooden railway car used from 1912 until 1955. Considered the jewel of the fleet, it ran for 40 years between Port Stanley and London and has been restored to its splendor with pivoted seats, brass compartment shelves, stained glass and a smoking room for the cigar smokers.

Another beauty is the Toronto PCC Streamliner, the first TTC streetcar unveiled to a huge crowd back in 1938. Early reports say the electric cars were mobbed like celebrities. The PCC was different from the other TTC streetcars of the day. It was a new design, streamlined with a fingertip control and foot controls. Everyone loved it. So will your grandkids. Not only will the grandkids learn about our city's past but they will have a chance to hop aboard the Holly Trolley Rides that are scheduled Saturday December 4 and 11 from 6:30pm to 10pm.

Ride a variety of restored streetcars through a winter wonderland decorated with colorful Christmas lights. There's even cider heated on a "pot bellied stove" in the station. On December 5 from 11:00am -4:30pm, the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus, will make a special appearance at the streetcar museum where the kids can ride the streetcar with him. Afterwards, there's a warm bowl of "streetcar chili" for lunch.

Admission is $8 includes rides and is about 1 hour drive from Toronto. The Halton County Radial Railway Museum's address is 13629 Guelph Line, Milton, Ontario. For directions travel 15 km north of 401 Exit 312 or 5 km south of Highway 7 on Wellington Rd 44.

For more information, phone them at 519-856-9802.


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