Ottawa Transportation Commission B-2

Cornwall Street Railway sweeper B-2 Cornwall, Ont. May, 1964; Jim Parker Old Time Trains

Operating History: The Ottawa Electric Railway Company took delivery of two snow sweepers – B-1 and B-2 – in 1926.  They were both single truck, double ended sweepers manufactured by the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company.  Both Ottawa Electric Railway and Ottawa Car Manufacturing were controlled by Ahearn & Soper. The two snow sweepers were unique in that their brooms were gear driven, as opposed to the popular chain driven brooms of the day.  Each broom was powered by a Westinghouse 510A electric motor. They were of a single truck design, whereas most of the sweepers of the day were double truck sweeper units.


On August 5th, 1958, the Ottawa City Council voted to phase out the city’s streetcars and trolley buses. The last streetcar run was made over Ottawa’s last operating streetcar line, the Britannia Line, on May 1st, 1959. B-1 and B-2 were sold to Cornwall Street Railway Light & Power Company that same year.  After purchasing the sweepers, Cornwall scrapped their two sweepers, No. 1 and No. 3, and made B-1 the primary sweeper, with B-2 as backup.  By the time of their arrival, Cornwall Street Railway was strictly a freight operation, with passenger service having ended on July 27th, 1949. Then on April 1st, 1971, Canadian National purchased all the rail operation, equipment, and right-of-ways of the Cornwall Street Railway. Almost immediately, CN decided to convert to diesel-electric locomotives, and on August 7th, 1971, CN ended electrically powered freight operations in Cornwall.


In 1972, Canadian National donated B-2 to the Seashore Trolley Museum; B-1 had already been donated to the Canadian Science & Technology Museum.


Museum Ownership: Number B-2 was shipped by rail to Kennebunk Station and transferred to truck, arriving at the museum on June 28th, 1972.  In the first year at STM, a new roof was milled, the exterior paint was stripped and all the sash was removed for re-glazing during the winter.


In 1973 No. B-2 had its roof completely rebuilt with new roof boards and carlines as required. A new sliding door was installed, and the window sash renewed.  The trolley pole was reinstalled and the exterior primed.  The sweeper was operated for the first time on STM iron in October of the same year.


New matchboard was milled and placed at both ends in 1974.  Rebuilt headlights from a Philadelphia sweeper were mounted on B-2, and one coupler was re-welded.


B-2 was ready to be put on static display in 1975 after the sash was removed, painted cream and re-installed. The trucks were prepped and painted, and the lettering finished. The four wheels needed to be pressed off and replaced and it was suspected that one of the axles was bent.


Current Condition: Due to its small size, B-2 rotates in and out of the display carhouses for the general public to view. B-2 can move under its own power, but moves are restricted due to a bent axle.


B-2 before restoration, date unknown; STM collection.


B-2 following restoration at Seashore; STM collection.