By Brian Henley The Spectator Feb. 27, 1993
(Sent in by member David)


"The Hamilton radial electric railway which has operated a car service to the Beach, for thirty-three years and four months, passed out of existence at midnight Saturday last and was replaced by a bus service.
To the present generation the stopping of the radials was only another modern advancement, but to the old-timers, it brought regret, and it was said that the buses can never replace the radials."
-Hamilton Herald, Jan. 7, 1929
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Beginning with great fanfare on Monday, Sept. 7, 1896, residents of the Beach Strip and Burlington had a direct connection with downtown Hamilton along an electric railway line.
A previous electric railway line to Grimsby and Beamsville had proved successful, leading the promoters of the Beach radial to predict a great future for their enterprise.
A third electric radial line would be built to Brantford via Ancaster, and the old Hamilton and Dundas railway would be converted to electricity. For several years in the early 20th century, Hamilton's Terminal Station on King Street East would be the hub of a radial electric transportation system which was the envy of cities across North America.
BY THE EARLY 1920s, the radials, owned by the Dominion Power and Transmission Company, were becoming less and less profitable: Better roads, the ever-increasing number of private automobiles, and competition from inter-urban bus lines lead to the ultimate dissolution of the radial electric railway network around the Ambitious City.
The electric line from Hamilton to Burlington had been extremely busy in its heyday. Hundreds of workers in the huge steel plants and other factories in Hamilton had decided to live on the Beach Strip or in Burlington and they depended on the radial service.
In the summer months, Hamiltonians who wanted to visit the sandstrip for a day's fun by the lake would take the radial cars down to the beach at various hours of the day. Unfortunately, the day visitors usually would want to come back to the city at about same time, leading to vastly overcrowded cars. Sometimes, cars which were already full would simply be driven past stops where people were waiting, stranding them at the beach overnight.
On April 3,1925, the Herald carried an interview with W.C. Hawkins, managing director of the Dominion Power and Transmission Company, concerning the serious operating deficits of the radial electric system.
For the year 1924, the radial line to the beach accounted for a $143,257 portion of the total deficit of $274,923 to operate the once-successful radial lines out of Hamilton. "It isn't so much the competition of the buses that is affecting the earnings of the radial line," Hawkins said. "It is the increased number of automobiles that is responsible for the deficits."
THE EDITOR Of THE Herald agreed, noting that "with the multiplication of motor cars, even local traffic has declined. Many of the beach residents own cars. It used to be that almost everybody visiting the beach in the summer used the radial cars; but now the large proportion of them that go there in automobiles is seen by the mass of cars parked along the beach on any fine summer day."
On Sunday, Jan. 6, 1929, at 8.10 a.m., a bus, not a radial electric railway car, pulled out of the Terminal Station to provide public transportation between Hamilton and Burlington. Despite the protests of residents along the beach, only the radial tracks, not removed completely until 1942, would remain as reminders of the once proud transportation service.

Article copied from a 2005 Stoney Creek Historical Society newsletter;
http://www.stoneycreekhistorical.ca/...Newsletter.pdf