City's Oldest Tram Goes Up In Smoke. Published 15 July 1954The cremation of Ottawa's oldest street car took place today out the Richmond Road. On a siding along the Britannia line, street car morticians made a pyre out of old No. 520.
No. 520 in later years masqueraded as No. 650. But truth to tell, No. 630 wore falsies. Those steel plates were just that. For No. 520 was originally built of wood, and of all those wooden-framed, double-truck cars built by the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company before the First World War, only 520 survived. She was the first of a string of 20. She also pioneered the way for the double-length, two-truck style of pay as you enter car.
She survived two disastrous car barn fires at Rockcliffe and survived only to be burned deliberately today.
Gill Couldn't Bear It
Dave Gill, old friend of 520 could not stand it and held on, dry-eyed at his OTC office, 56 Sparks Street.
The 520 turned 650 might have been destroyed long before this, had war not intervened. But she ran as No. 650 with her false front of steel sheets through the Second World War and after. Then when her usefulness was over, she was dragged to the Richmond Road siding. There she was left, with old No. 88. In due course. No. 88 was sold to the B'nai B'rith for a summer camp adjunct .
"We had old 650 sold several times," confessed General Manager Gill of the OTC, "but these people could never manage to take delivery of her.
"Finally." he said, with what sounded like a catch in his voice, "we decided to burn her."
No. 520 was about 45 years of age at the time of her cremation.