Operating History: Sightseeing cars were operated in a number of cities in the United States and Canada, and came in a variety of shapes and sizes. Montreal Tramways No. 2, however, is a rare type of sightseeing car. Montreal developed its tiered “Golden Chariots” from a smaller car used to transport the company band. The first of these cars was constructed in the company shops in 1905, and this car was added during the following spring. The observation cars were so successful that two more such cars were eventually constructed 1924. In 1954, a three-window front windshield was installed on each observation car. All four operated sightseeing tours around Montreal until 1957, and were available for charter for another year. The sightseeing cars were considered too iconic to scrap. All four are now preserved, two (nos. 1 and 3) at a museum near Montreal, one (No. 4) at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT, and No. 2 at Seashore.
No. 2 differs from conventional open cars in that it has no roof and its seats are arranged theater-fashion at progressively higher levels on either side of a center aisle. It is a uni-directional car with controls only at one end. The car features fine iron grillwork on the sides and ends and two brass arches topped with light bulbs and cast metal beavers. There were about a dozen similar cars in a few cities in Canada and the United States.
Museum Ownership: The acquisition of No. 2 was sponsored by the Carling Brewing Co., and included a tour of several New England cities and towns. In the 1980s, the museum restored No. 2 under a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum Services. Complete repainting, along with some mechanical and electrical work was undertaken in 2014, under the primary sponsorship of a generous member.
Current Condition: No. 2 operates in restricted service. The museum is raising funds to complete a mechanical restoration on No. 2. Read more about the fundraising campaign and donate HERE.