Hamilton’s HSR celebrating 150 years with festivities starting next week

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HSR first converted diesel buses to compressed natural gas in 1985 and nearly 90 per cent of buses will be powered by the fuel source by the end of 2024.. Photo credit: Twitter/HSR

The Hamilton Street Railway (HSR), Hamilton’s transit service, is celebrating its 150th anniversary, with festivities starting on both Monday and Tuesday.

The HSR began in May 1874, with horse-drawn streetcars that ran on rails, before moving to electric streetcars in 1892 and then buses.

To celebrate the 150 years, Tourism Hamilton will be hosting a free exhibit at their Visitor Experience Centre that “honours HSR’s long standing service to the community.”

The Visitor Experience Centre is located at 28 James Street North near Jackson Square.

The free exhibit will run from Tuesday, May 21 until Saturday, December 21, 2024 every Tuesday to Saturday from 10AM until 4PM.

The City of Hamilton website says that the “curated exhibit looks back through the years and towards the future of transit in Hamilton.”

In another special event, HSR is introducing “$1.50 Fare Days” where all fares will be set to $1.50 on select dates instead of the normal $3.50 cash or $2.70 with a PRESTO card.

The first $1.50 fare day is Monday, May 20.

Additionally, HSR will be holding “Customer Appreciation Week” from Sunday, May 19 until Saturday, May 25, 2024 which will feature “retro-wrapped” yellow buses on various routes.

During the week, rides on the special yellow buses will be free.

Additionally, HSR Customer Experience staff will reportedly be out and about during the week meeting customers and handing out HSR 150 merchandise.

HSR says that locations for merch giveaways will be shared via their social media accounts.

Starting May 21, Hamiltonians will also be able to get limited edition HSR 150 PRESTO cards at HSR Customer Service at 36 Hunter Street East.

The cards can be purchased for $4 while supplies last and feature “the iconic horse and buggy.”

The city is also asking Hamiltonians to share their HSR stories and photos with them.

HSR is reportedly seeking “stories and high-resolution photos” from the community to be used for promotional and marketing purposes.

Those can be shared via www.engage.hamilton.ca/HSR150.

While they will be collecting submissions throughout the year, those who share their story or photo before May 31, 2024 may have it included in a visual history book that is being made to commemorate HSR 150.

In addition to being one of the longest-running transit agencies in Canada, HSR is also known for being the first transit system in North America to use compressed natural gas as a fuel source.

HSR first converted diesel buses to compressed natural gas in 1985 and nearly 90 per cent of buses will be powered by the fuel source by the end of 2024.

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