Radial Railway Line
From Nov. 19, 1896 to Oct. 10, 1948, Thornhill's public transportation needs were served by an electrically powered railway commonly called the Radial, becasue it was one of many lines that radiated out of Toronto to Mimico, Guelph, Woodbridge, Scarborough, Schomberg, Sutton and Lake Simcoe.
Work on laying the northern line began on Mon. Oct. 26, 1896 under the auspices of the Metropolitan Street Railway Co. They contracted Carran and Hussey of Pittsburgh to build 16 kilometers of line to Richmond Hill, from the existing line south of Hoggs Hollow. This work was done by three separate crews, totalling over 300 workers, at Willowdale, Thornhill, and Richmond Hill. They completed their contract with three hours to spare.
On Nov. 19, the first radial car passed through Thornhill on its way to Richmond Hill. Actually, the first car, with dignitaries, was horsedrawn; as there were gaps in the overhead wiring.
The official opening was on Jan. 27, 1897 and regular service started 5 days later, with four round trips daily. A one way trip took 45 minutes, compared to the more than 3 hours on the earlier John Thompson stagecoach. The fare was 25c. to the city limits. The original coaches were dark green. Each car had a motorman and a conductor dressed in charcoal grey uniforms with their rank in brass letters on their cap. The car could be driven from either end by changing the trolley pole. Each car was divided into two compartments with one third of the car set aside for smokers.
The increased popularity of the automobile in the 1920's reduced the need for public transportation and it was decided to shut down the northern line. The TTC ran buses for a few months in March, 1930, and then North York, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Markham combined their efforts to form the North Yonge Railway which was run by the TTC until 1948. Car #416, currnetly at the Halton Railway Museum, is the only surviving car from this period.
The Waiting Room was originally located on the west side of Yonge at Royal Orchard. Sometime after 1930 it was moved to the Country Club golf course where it served as a refreshment stop and a rain shelter, until it was relocated, restored and moved to this location in
Nov. 2000, through the combined efforts of the Thornhill Lions Club
and the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill.
Erected by the Society for the Preservation of Historic Thornhill, Oct. 2001.