B. Ledoux Carriage Co. - 1852-1920 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
A. Gravel, (born, Montreal, Quebec) draftsman for Herman Brunn, Buffalo, New York, was born in Montreal, Canada, where he learned coach building. He came to the United States in 1887, and found employment in the shops of Holcomb Bros., New Haven, Connecticut. He was also employed in the same city by B. Manville & Co. for two years, and by the New Haven Carriage Co. one year. He went to New York and secured employment with Brewster & Co., where he remained one year and six months. Returning to Canada, he became foreman and draftsman for B. Ledoux, Montreal. Later he returned to Brooklyn, and served two years in the carriage shops of J. Curley: then back to New Haven, serving two years in the shops of Henry I Hooker & Co., and still later attending the Technical School for a short period. During the past three years Mr. Gravel has been employed by H. Brunn, Buffalo, New York.
This company were agents in Montreal for Reo motor cars, trucks and buses, and interested themselves in supplying the needs of Canadian railways for gasoline motor rail car equipment in the years 1921 to 1923.
Its first product was Canadian National 501 (later 15811) which was used for some time on the Brockville to Westport branch in Ontario. This was a self-propelled car very much resembling a motor bus of that day, but equipped with railway wheels. The driving force was provided by a standard Reo bus engine.
In 1922 three somewhat improved cars were furnished to the Canadian National, and one car each to the Canadian Pacific and Quebec Central.
In 1923 a group of three more or less similar cars were furnished to the Quebec, Montreal & Southern. After this road was taken over by the Canadian National in 1929, these cars were sold to the Temiscouata Railway.
On the whole, these primitive self-propelled passenger cars did not have long or successful lives. They were an early effort on the part of our railways to cut expenses on branch line services without completely eliminating these services. As we have now seen, these efforts were neither very successful in the main, nor were the agencies through which it was hoped to achieve this objective too reliable. They did however, represent the first inroads of the internal combustion engine into the field of revenue train operation.
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