MIND THE DOORS PLEASE: THE STORY OF TORONTO .AND ITS STREETCARS
Volume 12 Number 1
The phrase, "Red Rocket," has a very special meaning for me. I know I am home when I see one. As a child I rode Peter Wilts; then I graduated to PCCs, and now I climb on a CLRV at the foot of my street. And here they all are in Mind the Doors Please for me to pore over.
This is Larry Partridge's second book on Toronto streetcars. The first, The Witts: An Affectionate Look at Toronto's Original Red Rockets,* was an award winner. Here he begins circa 1868, when horse cars made their way through Muddy York, and proceeds company by company, line by line, model by model to recreate the history of Toronto's street railway system. The Peter Witts were designed by an Ohio traction commissioner of the same name. They went into service in the 1920s. The PCCs were named after a conference of electric railway presidents who were charged with the task of designing a new, experimental vehicle. At one point Toronto had the largest fleet in the world, and sold the surplus to cities such as Alexandria in Egypt and Tampico in Mexico. CLRV stands for Canadian Light Railway Vehicle, designed by Ontario's Urban Transportation Development Corporation.
Their story is told in hundreds of black-and-white photos that show such wonders as cars with plush cushions and decorated coal stoves and two-cent fares. The text is not overly technical, but it is marred by sloppy copy editing. (The subtitle on the title page has a major grammatical error.) At the end, there are sections on special vehicles, such as dump cars, snow plows, rail grinders, and the like; reminiscences from TTC veterans; and reproductions of some car plans.
Mind the Doors Please will probably appeal only to a special interest group, but its members will welcome its appearance.
*Reviewed vol. X/4 November 1982 p.265.
Adèle Ashby, Toronto, ON.
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