History of Streetcar 356
Car 356 is one of a unique group of four 'Standard 10 window Winnipeg Cars', 356 to 362, built in the Fort Rouge Shops of the WERC on Osborne Street. They were unique in the construction that incorporated narrow front vestibules, similar in design to the earlier '9 window cars'.
In October 1909, Car 356 was released from the Osborne Street Fort Rouge Shop in the standard car configuration of that time:
- a two-man operation with enclosed front vestibules for the motorman (no public access)
- no doors on the rear vestibules
- bulkheads enclosed the car body at both ends for weather protection
- passengers boarded and exited at rear while the conductor roamed the interior of the car collecting fares with a handheld fare box.
The car body was sheathed with narrow matched strips of cherry wood filled with oil, rubbed down and varnished in its neutral colour. Above the belt rail (located below the windows), the exterior woodwork was painted cream, with the window sashes finished in a natural finish.
Between 1914 and 1915, Car 356 was rebuilt into a 'pay as you enter' (PAYE) car with the installation of doors and conductor's station on the rear vestibule. The conductor stayed at his station manning a permanent fare box mounted in the rear vestibule.
On January 24th, 1920, after rebuilding into a 'low floor car' Car 356 was released for service. The configuration was achieved through the installation of smaller GE 258 motors in place of the original GE 80s. The wheels were changed from 33 inches in diameter to 26" diameter. The wheel and motor changes necessitated a modification of the doors to incorporate a folding step mechanism. A front exit for passengers was installed; the bulkheads were changed from the original Sleeman type to a HB Lifeguard type. As cherry wood was no longer available for required repairs modifications were made utilizing basswood. The car body colour was changed to a dark Tuscan red, as were the window sashes.