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The Original CNR "Jitney"
While we finish off our research and web pages from 1888 to 1903 (yes, we've got the period from 1903 to 1914 all researched), we're going to jump ahead to the 1920's when the Brockville & Westport became part of Canadian National Railways. 
One of the things that people along the route of the Brockville & Westport recall with fond memories is going to school in the "The Jitney" - a gasoline-powered railcar.  The first photo that I ever collected of the Jitney was from the National Archives.  However, when I showed this photo to the people that I talked to, they said that this was not the "Jitney" they knew. 


The Jitney was like this photo of CN railcar #15814 on the old Central Ontario Railway at Picton.  Photo courtesy Archives of Ontario C7 #13.  (CN #15814 did run on the Brockville & Westport but at a later date.)  This one was a real mystery that I had to solve.  Then, in the fall of 2000, I got a tip as to where I might find some information on the original Canadian National "Jitney".  What follows is the result of this tip and the solution to the mystery of the original "Jitney". 

The Mount Royal "Tunnel Car"
Let's go back to 1919 - 1920.  Canadian National Railways was in its infancy and trying to cope with making the Canadian Northern and the Grand Trunk into one cohesive system, while, at the same time, trying to provide service to the public at an affordable cost.  Not an easy task.  The folks at Ledoux Jennings, Montreal, Que, had come up with an idea that was to interest the people at Canadian National.  Ledoux Jennings were agents for Reo from 1921 - 1923.  (Reo was an automobile and truck manufacturer established by R.E. Olds of Oldsmobile fame before it became part of General Motors.)
Two years previously, Ledoux Jennings, at the request of the Canadian National Railway Tunnel Terminal at Montreal, had developed a "tower car" that would enable CN to work on the overhead wire through the Mount Royal tunnel.  The result was a Reo car chassis on standard Reo F axles with flanged rims that could travel along the tracks.  On this chassis was a three section tower with a swivel platform on the top.  The electric line immediately overhead could be served or the platform could be swung across to serve the other electric line. 
This vehicle was so satisfactory that, two years later, a second car was ordered for the Toronto, Niagara & St. Catharines Railway - a CN electric railway subsidiary.....but we digress.