Birth of An Idea - The "Jitney"
These two line cars worked out so satisfactorily that Ledoux Jennings was able to get CNR interested in a small passenger car for commercial service. This took the form of a standard Reo Model F extension chassis with a 20-passenger closed body. The front axle (which supported the motor) was replaced with a small four-wheeled truck. A drive-shaft provided power from the engine to a standard Reo F axle in the rear. The rear axle was fitted with chilled iron wheels. You might consider this to be a "4-2-0" locomotive. This is what this gasoline-powered car looked like.
And you thought we never had something like this in Canada? This is the first photo that I acquired of the "Jitney". At first I thought this photo was taken at the B&W Church St Station in Brockville but the station appears to be a brick one whereas the B&W station was wooden two-storey building (the station is a two storey building). Photo courtesy National Archives of Canada PA-141091.
Delivering the "Jitney" - Mishap at Hawkesbury
I discovered an interesting "first-person" story on the delivery of the "Jitney" to Brockville. I don't know who wrote it but if you can identify the author, please let me know. The "Jitney" was delivered from Montreal via Hawkesbury, Ottawa, Smiths Falls and Forfar where it switched onto the Westport sub. This route followed the old Canadian Northern line as Canadian National was still in the midst of taking over the Grand Trunk.
Leaving Montreal on Friday, September 30th, 1921, the trip went fine until they reached the bridge at Hawkesbury. The Jitney had to take to a temporary construction siding to allow an express passenger train to pass. As the Jitney went through the switch, the light four-wheeled truck climbed the frog, and derailed with less than 2 minutes before the passenger train was due. Fortunately the construction crew clambered over the Jitney and placed it back on the tracks and the passenger train went by without incident.
Replacing the Bent Axle
However, the derailment had bent one of the front axles so much that it wouldn't be wise to continue the run to Ottawa. Things were looking pretty bad. The construction crew straightened the axle with a bit of muscle power so that the Jitney was able to run the short distance to Hawkesbury and take to a siding for repairs.
Here, it was discovered that the axles on the front truck were the same size as those on the trailers used by the section-gang. So the Jitney crew borrowed an axle from the section-gang, and outchanged the bent axle. Within an hour, the Jitney went merrily on its way to Ottawa where the crew stayed overnight. In all, the 120-mile trip took about 4 hours from Montreal to Ottawa.