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Canadian Rail 200 1968

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Canadian Rail 200 1968

June 1968
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S. S. Worthen
~HENEVER A NIDN publication about Canadas early rail­
way appears, the railway historian lives in the hope
that this time, the author will demolish once and for
all, the many and proliferating myths that seem to
pervade all the histories which have been published hither­
to. But, alas~ This is seldom the case, for the errors
which began with Messrs. Trout in 1870 have been continued
to the present day.
THEREFORE, is written in the tradition of the
late Robert H. Brown, one of Canadas leading railway his­
torians, in an attempt to clarify the early history of
Canadas first railway, by a restatement of actual reports
from the period, and a consideration of general conditions
in Lower Canada, at that time,which had a great influence on
the day-to-day operation of this unique enterprise.
IN THE EARLY 1830s, the War of 1812 was beginning to fade
in the memory of Canadians, and the United States had re-es­
tablished the trading practices which were to build that
country into the foremost mercantile nation of the twentieth
century. The Hudson River -Lake Champlain -Richelieu River
trading artery again began to prosper and it was,with some
irritation that the merchants and traders of Montreal waited
while barge-loads of merchandise described the eastward
r.iver journey via the town of Sorel, and then variously went
down the St. Lawrence to Quebec or turned westward again to
Montreal. The lesson offered by the Mohawk and Hudson Rail­
road in the neighbouring state of New York, did not go ~n­
heeded, and thus, in 1832, the business men of Montreal
chartered a railroad.
BUT LET US stop a moment and consider the climate in which
this new venture was to be born. Distrust and unrest in
Great Britain had been partially responsible for the protec­
tive tariff which the United States had imposed on Canadian
goods. Ship fever had reached epidemic proportions in Mont­
real and Qu~bec twice in three years. A wet summer in 1835,
was succeeded by a crop failure in 1836 -the year the in-
fant railway was opened. In 1837 Old Hickory Andrew
Jacksons monetary policies in the United States resulted in
a panic that closed the banks in Lower Canada for two years.
There had been deaths in the election riots of 1832 and tra­
gedy rode on a wind of wild political words as the extremist
groups in both the Canadas organized themselves to obtain by
force what they failed to win by democratic means. And, in
this confused, uncertain time, Canadas first railway wasto
be opened.
THE PROJECTED RAILWAY from La Prairie, on the St. Lawrence
River to St. Johns on the Richelieu River has been variously
described as straight and level with no physical obstacles
whicb woUld, in any way, complicate the construction of the
railway and would provide a straight and level line of rails
for the transport of goods and passengers. It ,·as so des­
cribed probably in order to allay any apprehension which the
subscribers to the undertaking might have. In reality, it
had only two gradients of any consequence, and these were in
favour of the traffic towards Hontreal. But tbey did cause
some complications. As for curves, there were three. The
gentle curve to the eastward, on the outskirts of St. Johns,
did not delay the trains, but the S-curve in the woods near
LAcadie did.
THE ROADBED OF the Chamolain & St. Lawrence is still very
evident eVen in 1968. From the steamboat wharf at the edge
of the St. Lawrence, the right-of-way climbed about 30 feet
to attain the level of LaPrairie Common, from whence it ran
straight and level to the ridge of land some 2 miles north­
west of LAcadie Village. Tbis natural barrier could not be
overcome by direct assault, so the railway took advantage of
a small gulley to climb the ridge. A shelf was excavated on
the side of the gulley and the railway, after turning south­
ward along the hillside, made a second curve to the east,
which brought it to the summit of the ridge. From this point
it took a straight course to the outskirts of St. Johns,
where a very gentle curve to the east was required to align
the right-of-way with the wharf on the Ricbelieu River. The
vertical rise through the woods near LAcadie can be estima­
ted at about 35 feet. This ould mean a 1.3% gradient -not
much by todays standards, but a real killer for an 0-4-0
running on strap rails~
THE LOCOJviOTIVE ENGINE for the new raibay was ordered from
Robert Stephenson and Company, then of Newcastle-upon-Tyne,
England, and was booked by them on 26 October, 1835, the
127th locomotive which they had built. It was completed
about 1 t~rch, 1836, and was recorded as costing 1200 pounds
sterling. Its wheel arrangement was 0-4-0, one of the stan­
dard Samson type of this firm of builders. The wheels were
48 inches in diameter and of wood. The cylinders were 9×14
and the locomotive weighed 112 hundredweight, 0 quarters and
19 lbs. -12,563 lbs. in working order. It was about 13 feet
long but with a wheel-base of only 5 feet, and, as a result,
the engine was very unsteady and could only run at reduced
speeds -safely, that is~
C. & St. L. Dorchcstr·-Stephenson-lS36.
(FrVlll (l 111f1\ill;: h.1 11. H. Iln\ll.)
HIIHOUT A LEADING bogie, the Dorchester(for so it 11as sub­
sequently named) negotiated the rough and uneven track with
difficulty. When pulling loaded cars, there was a tendency
to derail. After the pur chase of tl/O Horr is 4-2-0 s for the
railv!ay in 1837 and 1839, the need for the addition of a
leading truck Has obvious, and the subsequent dato. indicates
that the Dorchester was rebu1lt about 1840 to a 4-2-0 type
with the installation of a new and larger boiler and a hay­
stack firebox.
SOHE Inm AFTER her arrival in Cc:nada the ne locomotive was
given a name. She Has named Dorchester in honour of the
town of that narJe, Hhich later became St. Johns, Quebec. The
tovm as named Dorchester about 1815, and from that year
to 1835, Has officially the namesake of Lord Dorchester, al­
though the choice Has not popular.
IN VARIOUS HIST01UES of Canadian railways, it is stated that
the ne. Has named Kitten. This nume ,,,as prob­
ably given the new locomotive because of its rather erratic
and kittenish behaviour -a reasonable situation when one
considers the inexperience of the supervising engineer and
the state of the ra11Hay. Contemporary accounts (27 June,
1836, 19 August 1836, 23 July 1836, 25 July 1836, and 30
July, 1836) do not mention the name Dorchester in conn8C­
tion ;lith the opening day celebrations of the railway, and
some later trips on it and so it is probable that the engine
l·laS not officially named until later -/hen other locomo­
tives came to run on the line.
THE COi1PANY OF Proprietors of the Champlain and St. LaHrence
Rail Road were anxiously aViaiting the arrival of their new
locomotive in the spring of 1836. At the meeting of the
stockholders on 9 Hay, the President, i1r. Peter :iJcGill re­
ported that it had not yet arrived but Has expected soon. A
careful search of Customs House records has failed to find
mention of the importation of a steam locomotive.Perhaps the
parts of the Dorchester wers included in the entries of
boilers and machinery, of which there Here several. Pre­
sumably these parts ,ere discharged at the Port of Quebec
and brought to iiontreal by river lighter.
142 R A I L
THE ARRIVAL OF the new engine at La Prairie is shrouded in
an air of mystery. Perhaps this cloudy aura was due to one
of two circumstances:
1. The parts of the engine were off-loaded at Montreal
and assembled at an iron foundry under the supervi­
sion of the locomotive engineer who accompanied the
engine from Newcastle;
2. Perhaps the Directors were apprehensive of the
public reaction to the use of such a dangerous ma­
THE ASSEMBLY OF the locomotive had to be carried out under
the supervision of the accompanying locomotive engineer
since there certainly was no one in Canada so qualified at
that time. In fact, tbe defection of this engineer was to
have serious consequences in about a months time~
TRIALS OF THE Dorchester are rumored to have been con­
ducted after dark, which lends even more spice to the early
history of the engine. One prosaically logical explanation
for this peculiarity was that since the presence of the
Directors was essential to these trials, they were carried
out after the Directors normal working day.
social club called the Gilchristiana visited La Prairie on 16
June, 1836 and reported in their minute-book:
Went and looked at the new locomotive carriage, compact and
elegant, and the fuel car and feeder, well built and
very neat.
It is therefore safe to say that the parts had been as­
sembled by that date.
WITH THE OPENING of the new line less than two weeks away~
disaster struck~ The Quebec GAZETTE of 13 July, 1836
chronicled tbe mishap:
An accident has happened to the locomotive for the
railroad. The fireman let the water out of the boiler
and kept the fire going until the flues were burnt. She
will need new ones before she can proceed.
ON THE DAY of the opening, Dorchester, with half her tubes
plugged, was very feeble indeed. The effects were reported
in the press:
Before starting, the locomotive engine made two short
trial trips with its tender and, as the accident, which
occurred lately to it had not been thoroughlY repaired,
it was deemed advisable to attach it to only two of the
covered passenger cars while the other cars with the
rest of the company were drawn each by two horses. The
locomotive with its complement soon shot far ahead of
the other cars •••• The locomotive in returning took four
cars with it, and the other twelve were dragged back, as
before, to LaPrairie by horses ••• The return trip of the
locomotive on Thursday, was completed in fifty-nine
minutes but we learn that yesterday, with four passenger
cars and two loaded freight cars it effected the journey
in 45 minutes and returned in 30, over a line l4t miles
in length. A few repairs have been made to the engine
and her regular trips commence on Monday next.
THE PRECISE OPENING day was Thursday 21 July, 1836. The
average speed (by calculation) was 14.5 miles per hour. On
Friday, the southbound trip, with a considerable load, was made
at an average of 19.3 m.p.h., while the return run, on
the same day showed an average speed of 29 m.p.h.This latter
figure is somewhat unbelievable and must be due to reportor­
ial misinformationt
ABOUT A WEEK later (30 July, 1836), the engine was again re­
moved from service, The locomotive engineer, who had been
sent out to Canada by Robert Stephenson and Company, sum­
marily departed from the employ of the railroad. Where he
went is not recorded but in any event, it was awayl Pos­
sibly his hasty departure was precipitated by the episode of
the burned boiler flues and the somewhat incandescent
tempers of the Company Directors~
BUT THE DISAPPEARANCE of the qualified locomotive engineer
placed the Directors squarely in the middle of a dilemma.
Where to obtain another locomotive engineer, – a courageous
and stalwart man, brave enough to cope with boiler pressures
of the order of bO pounds per square inch, And lol from the
engine-room of one of Mr. Molsons steamboats on the Mont­
real-Quebec runt appeared such a stalwart -Ziba Pangborn
by name, a Canadian by adoption and a Yankee of the Vermont
school by birth. As Chief Engineer of the Molson steamboat
line, he was accustomed to work
with low pressure marine engines,
and so it was, with surprise and
relief, that the directors heard
his noncommittal reply to the
crucial question: Can you make
it go? -Waal, its an n-gine
aint it?
The Associations intrepid Presi­
dent, Dr. R.V.V.Nicholls, also
the first editor of the Associat­
ions BULLETIN, industriously re~
furbishes the marker on the still
existing right of way of the Cham­
platn and st. Lawrence Railroad.
Erected where the track crossed
Highway 9-A, this association mark­ercommemorates
the celebration of
the one-hundredith anniversary of
the opening of the railway, on
July 21, 1836.
Photo courtesy N. Nicholls
Commemorative monument erected at the former site of the
ferry dock at La Prairie,Que. and dedicated on July 21,
1936,during the celebration of the centenary of the Cham­
plain and St. Lawrence Railr.oad.MontreaJ. s modern sky­
line is visible in the background.
Photo S.S.Worthen.
AFTER EXAMINING THE MONSTER, Ziba opined that all she needed
was plenty of wood and water to make he~ go. Apparently, he was
right. About a week later the Montreal GAZETTE reported:
We are glad to learn that the locomotive engine is
in operation on the St. Johns Railroad. The new
engineer has given it an examination and made a
trial of its speed yesterday. With four cars
to itl it went to St. Johns in 48 minutes and re­
turned with five cars in 41. From Montr~al to St.
JOhns, a person may now be conveyed in an hour and a
quarter; a slight change from the old system of
travelling, when some four to six hours of most un­
comfortable joling were by no means unusual.
DURING ~[,HE HEJviAINDER OF THE SUM}lER OF 1836, the railroad operated
in a somewhat restricted fashion. On October 1, 1836, the embargo on
freight, which had been imposed on July 30, as a result of the
burned flues in the Dorchester, was lifted. Nevertheless, the
engines operation was not very well understood, despite the fact
that a large amount of freight was transported in October and No­vember,
just before the winter freeze-up. Dur the winter of
1836-37, from November to April, hen both shipping and railroad­
ing were suspended, the engine was taken to the machine shop of
the steamboat line. There the foreman, Ziba Pangborn, took her
to pieces, examined her thoroughly in all of her parts and
then completely repaired and reassembled her. The following
April, when navigation and operation of the railway were resumed,
the 10c0motive was in good running order, and George Pangborn
rapidly became more expert in engine-driving. It is worthwhile
noting that the little Dor<::hester
could and frequently did run
at a speed of over 30 miles per hour, which was some remarkable
achievement when one considers her small dimensions, her unsuit­
able, unstable wheel arrangement and the remarkably rough track
over which she was. obliged to make her way.
THE OPERATION OF the new railway continued in a very hap-hazard
manner -so haphazard that angry patrons gave vent to dis­
satisfaction in the local papers. There were regrettable episodes
of the train leaving LaPrairie before the ferry from Montreal ar­
rived or when the train left St. Johns before the advertised time
in order to make a totally unnecessary early connection with the
ferry to fiiontr eal. The folloving summer things were a little
better. Ziba Pangborn, -that stalwart hero of the opening days,
vas elevated to the post of Master Mechanic. George Pangborn,
formerly assistant-engineer on the steam ferryboat IIPrincess
Victoria was named locomotive engineer and thus became the first
regularly appointed person to hold that position. The stoker from
the same ferryboat was engaged as locomotive fireman. His name was Moise
Latulippe. Tom l1aguire and a french-speaking Canadian
named Coulombe, were the first conductors and Denis Maguire, an
Irish-speaking Canadian, was the first Roadmaster.
AT THE SElH-ANNUAL 11EETING of the Stockholders, on December 14th,
1835, Chief Engineer vJilliam R. Casey had noted that owing to the
inclemency of the weather, the staking out of the line was not
begun until May, 1835, and in June, the ground ,as broken on the
summit level near St. Johns on the only piece of Company property
fenced in. Nevertheless, ten miles of the grading (which repre­
sented 12.5% of the total cost) Vlere accomplished in the wet
spring weather, but the remaining 87.5% of the cost was due to
hauling the fill for the embankments, which had to be carted from
one-quarter to three-quarters of a mile over the worst kind of
clay in one of the worst seasons ever experienced and, but for
about four weeks of good weather in the months of September and
October, I should not now have the satisfaction of announcing the
completion of the fencing, graduation, masonry, bridges,the large
wharf at Laprairie and the frames of the station houses.
THE -/ORKS OF THE LINE consisted principally of the long and
slowly rising earth fill which began just east of the Riviere St­
Lambert and continued across Cote St-Raphael and Cote de la
Bataille to the escarpment, about two miles east of the Little
River (Riviere lAcadie) and the bridge over this same river. The
Latter was four hundred feet long and thirty feet above the
water. The channel was crossed by a lattice girder bridge of
sixty-seven feet span, -the railroad passing on the top of the
bridge.There were four other bridges over small rivers and brooks
varying from one hundred and seventy feet in length over the
Riviere St-Lambert, about three miles from Laprairie, to twenty
feet, over a small unnamed brook east of the station at Little
River (LAcadie).
THEHE HERE OTHER Al1ENIT IES , which were stipulated in the original
Charter of 1832 (II George IV Cap. 58). Very elaborate directions
were provided for the construction of overhead bridges and under­
pass subways wherever public roads crossed the line. As an after­
thought, it was stated that if such a horrible thing as a level
crossing vlas actually necessary, then the crossing would simply
have to be protected by double swing gates~ according to the de­
sign which afterwards became so popular in ~ngland. These gates
were to be placed so that they would be slJlUng across the raih.,ay
line at all times except when a train was actually passing.
Naturally, it turned out that all of the road crossing were level
crossings and even the provision of swinging gates, did not pre­
vent the occurrence of Canadas first level crossing accident.
The Montreal TRANSCRIPT reported, in the summer of 1837, that the
train had bumped into a team of oxen at the Cote St. Raphael
crossing. The newspaper did not relate the nature or extent of
the damage to the ox team, but the train ,as thrown off the
THE CHIEF ENGINEER, Mr. Casey, had provided for the construction
of two turn-outs or passing sidings on the line -one at Cote
de la Bataille, the other at Little River (LAcadie). More were
to be added, as experience shows where they will be most conven­
ient. However, the principal obstacle continued to be trouble­
some grade. and reverse curve just east of Cote de la Bataille.
Mr. George Washington Johnson of Clarenceville, Que., in his mem­
oirs, My Part in the Defense of the Frontier District During the
Papineau Rebellion of 1837, has the following comment:
raih.ray, which then ran between St. Johns and
Laprairie, and by which I travelled, was the first
in Canada and a very primitive affair. When we
came to a steep grade, all the passengers had to
get out, and those of us, who were men, had to put
our shoulders to the cars and help them up the
The February, 1837, issue of the Cowansville, Que., OBSERVER,
ran an advertisement as follows:
A stage coach will operate from St .Johns to Stan­
bridge, Frelighsburg, Richford, Sutton and Potton,
Canada East, to Troy] Vermont, three times weekly,
departing from St. ohns on the arrival of the
train on the Champlain and St. Lawrence Railway.
In the winter, passengers will take the St. Johns
and Montreal stage.
DESPITE THE UNPLEASANTNESS caused in 1837, by the Honorable
Louis Joseph Papineau, (who had been one of the prominent
figures on opening day) and others, operation in this year
proved to be moderately successful. During this year, the
first movement of military personnel over a Canadian rail­
way was recorded, as the militia entrained at Laprairie to
confront the Patriots south of St~ Johns. Mason Wade says
that by way of retaliation, the Patriots tore up one or two
miles of the line, between St. Johns and LAcadie. Notwith­
standing these transient, but heart-breaking interruptions,
the railway did turn in a good balance sheet in 1838-39, as
The crossing of the Ruisseau des Barbots, near Cote St-Raphael. The
embankment, about four feet higher than the normal ground level at
this point. now began to rise slowly to gain the plateau between
Cote de la Bataille and Little River (LAcadie). S.S.Worthen photo.
the following table will show:
Traffic Net Dividends Rate.
Year ReceiDts {sterling~ Profit Der share
1836 6042 1986 1837 10177 2665
6-09-00 13.5% 1838 9799 2522

9 15496 8188
12-10-00 25.0%
18 0
339 5107 ~-1O-00
15.0% 1841 1 000 5242
-00-00 16.0%
THE EXTRAORDINARY INCREASE in receipts (and dividends) of
1839, was probably not due to improved conditions in the
country, since there was still a general condition of econ­
omic depression. More likely, it was the result of the
purchase of two new Norris engines, -the Laprairie and
the Jason C. Pierce, built in 1837 and 1839 respectively.
The railroad was consequently able to handle a much larger
volume of traffic.
THE LOWER CANADA Almanac and Montreal Commercial Directory
for 1840 contained a complete set of passenger and freight
rates, and the rules and regulations regarding the sale of
tickets and the conduct of passengers. All seats in the pas­
senger cars were reserved. One hundred and thirty-five items
were listed in the freight tarriff, and the rate for the 14t
miles for all articles not enumerated was about 17 cents per
ton mile -not bad for 1840! The passenger rates were:
FIRST CLASS (with not more than 30 pounds of baggage)
Railroad & Ferry – 5 shillings Halifax currency
Railroad only – 4 shillings Halifax currency
Ferry only -7t pence . Same Day
over and back – 7 shillings 6 pence
Railroad & Ferry – 2 shillings 6 pence
Railroad only – 2 shillings
Children under twelve years of age -half price.
PASSENGERS HAD TO purchase their tickets on the steam ferry­
boat, and to occupy the place in the car indicated by the
ticket. Tbey had to state their return intentions on the
ferry and -if desired -take a return ticket at the reduced
rate. Otherwise they would be charged full fare both ways -a
very reasonable and enduring procedure. No one was allowed
to ride on the engine, except the engineer and fireman, un­
less they were willing to pay 10 shillings the fine for
each offense. Likewise, smoking in the First Class cars was
forbidden a further 10 shillings ($1.96) being required
for infractions. It was more expensive to ride on top of the
cars at the rate of 25 s. ($4.89) per apprehension. Dogs
were excluded from the first-class cars at the rate of 20 s.
($3.912) per time.
IHERE ARE, OF course, some momentos of Canadas first rail­
road still on exhibition. In 110ntreals_Chateau de Ramesay,
(to be precise, in the cellar of this historic building) is
a very accurate wooden representation of the Dorchester.
It can be examined ~lhenever the Cha teau is open to the
public. Probably less well-known is the lOoden model in the
Hanoir Lachine, Lachine, Que., which is also of wood
dilapidated, and less accurate, inasmuch as it lacks cranks,
side rods and other details. However, it has the distinction
of being the model used in the celebrations of the 100th
Anniversary of Canadas Railways which unfolded on the week­
end of 21, July, 1936. It was drawn behind Canadian National
Raihrays 4-8-4 No. 6400, to St. Lambert, and thence, to St.
Johns, part of the way over the same historic right-of-~,ay
which had borne its ancestor for 14t miles a century before.
IN FACT THE right-of-way itself is still plainly visible to­
day, and may be seen (and photographed) about a quarter of a
mile south of High.l8Y No.7 (La Prairie to St. Johns) on (a)
Highway No. 9A, where the Association has a commemorative
marker, (b) Cote St. Raphael, where the original railroad
bridged the little Riviere des Barbots and continued east on a
high embankment and (c) Cote de la Bataille (south) ·,here
the railroad came across the flat plain on a four m six foot
emban~nent, preparatory to climbing the hill to Little River
(LAcadie River or Petite Riviere Montreal) bridge and the
town of Little River -now LAcadie. Then, if you dont mind a
short hike walk along the derelict right-of-way from High­
way No. 9A to the crossing of the Riviere St-Lambert and you
wont have any difficulty in identifying the place where
the bridge used to be. If you are not so athletically in­
clined, then you can always try to discover the three com-

memorative plaques (one of which has the wrong dates on it)
at St. Lambert-La Prairie and St. Jean d Iberv1l1e. Canadas
first railway has by no means entirely disappeared, although
the history text books in todays elementary schools would
certainly give one that impression~
THE AUTHOR is particularly indebted to the late Robp.rt R.
Brown, who personally researched much of this material but
who, in addition, first discovered to the author the true
joys of historical research on Canadas railways, par-­
ticularly in the region of Montreal.
The Champlain & St. Lawrence Railroad –
Cowansville OBSERVER
The French Canadians
1837 Mason
Robert R. Brown
Bulletin No. 39, Railway
& Locomotive Historical
Society, Boston, 1936
Macmillan 1955.
INSIDE FRONT COVER I The wooden replica of the DORCHESTER,
constructed by Messrs. Cole, ODowd, Renaud and others, from plans
prepared by Messrs. John Loye and Robert R.Brown, at the Chateau
de Ramesay, Montreal, in the months before the Railway Centennial
Celebration in July, 1936. Photo W.G.Cole Collection.
OUR COVER THIS MONTH is artist J.D.Kellys impression of the open­
ing day celebrations at some point on Canadas first public railway The
Champlain & st. Lawrence Railroad. Although some liberties have
been taken with the locale, the portrayl of the Dorchester and
the two first-class passenger cars is quite accurate. This colour
reproduction is made available through the courtesy of the Confeder­
ation Life Assurance Company, and the Southam Printing Company.
SO READ THE HEADINGS of the first issue of the
C.R.H.A.s News Report one day in October,1949. This small
4-page report was the first in a series which,in the ensuing
two decades,has changed and grown into CANADIAN RAIL, which
this month publishes its two-hundredth issue.
OUR ASSOCIATION,IN 1949, differed greatly from
what it is today. Although 17 years old, its membership had
declined to suoh an extent during the war years, that only a
few dedioated persons prevented its oomplete disappearance.
However, its basic aims were the same,and the turning point
came in 1947,when the centennial celebrations of the Mon­
treal and Lachine Railway reawakened more general interest
in railway history in Montreal. Two years later, the Assoc –
iations First ohartered tramway and railway excursions at­
tracted new members and further spread the interest.
THE C.R.H.A.S FIRST EFFORTS in the publication
field had begun in 1936,when the Association was only four
years old. At this time,Bulletins were produced on Canadian
railway history and development,with our present President ,
Dr. R.V.V.Nicholls,as Editor. These bulletins foreshadowed a
challanging future and the genesis of CANADIAN RAIL. After
fifteen issues, the series came to a temporary pause,in 1940,
in the second year of World War II,and today,surviving is­
sues are rare and eagerly sought.
BY 1949,the revitalized C.R.H.A. was once more
in need of a means of regular communication with the member­
shlp,and the News Report was firs~ produced in October 1949,
under Editor E.Allan Toohey and publisher R.J.Joedicke. The
early issued were mimeographed sheets,printed on one side , and
were written,printed,assembled and mailed by about four
vomunteers.The Association found it difficult to pay the in­
voice for the postage! The 1968 successors of this first en­
thusiastic group still prepare and mail our magazine,althou­
gh printing and collating is now done commercially. Circul­
ation in those days was less than lOO,but nevertheless the
news items and historical articles were of great interest
and are still read and referred to today.
THE NEWS REPORT was published monthly until Aug­
ust,1951,and was then suspended till January,1952.Reorganiz­
ed under the editorship of O.S.Lavallee,who held the post of
editor for eleven years,it resumed publication of eleven is­
sues per year,and has continued ever since to be produced by
members of the Association on a completely voluntary basis.
ation increased,and the quality of reproduction was impro –
ved. An important milestone was passed in JulY,1957, when
issue number 80 became the first to carry a photograph. On
the cover was Montreal street car number 274,the Associa­
tions first piece of rolling stock and the inception of
its present-day museum collection. Soon,photo covers were a
semi-regular feature,supplemented from time to time by in –
terior pages of photographs. In May 1959,the one-hundredth
issue was published. It reported,among other items, the re­
cent demise of street cars in Ottawa,and issue 115 of Oc­
tober,1960,had pages printed on both sides for the first
UNTIL THE END OF 1960,the News Report had been
printed on large-size pages,but in January 1961,report no.
118 was a completely new departure. Under the direction of
D.R.Henderson,the format of the magazine was changed to the
present size,while the number of pages increased, resulting
in a more compact magazine. In July 1962,the name of our~­
designed pUblication was changed to CANADIAN RAIL and ab­
out this time, the circulation passed the 1000 mark. This
figure has continued to climb,and as we reach our 200th.
milestone,about 1500 members now receive CANADIAN RAIL,-ll
times a yearl
During the past 18 years, the pUblication has
chronicled many historical events,as well as happenings that
were then contemporary,but are now history also.In 1949, the
steam engine was King on Canadas railways and electric st­
reet railways still dominated the transit scene in several
cities across Canada. The news items of the period reflected
the great change in railway operation in the post-war years
as dieselization progressed at an ever-increasing tempo. When
one considers that 1949 was the year in which the first die­
sel locomotive pulled a train into Montreals Windsor Sta­
tion,the year before Canadian National placed the first Can­
adian-built diesel A unit in service,and the year in which
construction began on Canadas first subway in Toronto, one
realizes the effect of less than twenty years,on Canadian
rail transportation.
IN 1949,A RAIL ENTHUSIAST in the Montreal area
could ride trains from Bonaventure and Place Viger Stations,
as well as Central and Windsor. Most trains were steam-haul­
ed and suburban commuter services on both railways used gas­
lit,wooden cars that dated back to the early years of the
century. One could travel,in a days outing, over branch lin­
es which now have no passenger service,if indeed they exist
at all. Those interested in electrio lines could ride the
Montr~al and Southern Counties Railway to Granby,and tour
Montreals streetcar system which then operated more than
200 miles of track with 1000 cars,more than 400 of which pre­
dated World War I. Stainless steel eqUipment and the Budd Co. RDCs
had not yet appeared in Canada. Montreals subway was
Assembly Session-old methodl Messrs.Peter Murphy,Tony Clegg
and Paul McGee collate and staple manually an issue of the
NEWS REPORT in John Saunders dining room.
Photograph courtesy F.F.Angus.
a much-discussed but far-distant fact and innovations, like
the TURBO-TRAIN,were not even in the dream-state. The CRHA
had not yet begun its collection of museum exhibits and al­
though the vision of a museum was just forming,no one could
forsee that by 1968,the still-growing collection would num­
ber nearly 100 items.
the coming of the new and the passing of the old, down thr­
ough the years,and have alsO produced,in a permanent form, a
spectrum of historical accounts of the earlier days of rail­
roading in Canada and elsewhere. It is the aim of the Assoc­
iation and the producers of CANADIAN RAIL to continue this
so the next 200 issues will be as varied and interesting as
the last have been. The members can help realize this hope
since their contributions of historical and news items has
been and will continue to be a great factor in the success
of the pUblication. The next twenty years will likely see as
much change in the railways of Canada as the last twenty and
it is hoped that CANADIAN RAIL will be on hand to record all
these developments as it has in the past,so that the members
who will produce the 400th. issue will be able to look back
on an equally good 200 issues of progress

: ………………………………………………………………
…. ~.
~. ~.
·t ~l..T~OI .:.
y ~
.:. THE STAFF OF IICANADIAN RAIL II are proud to pre-.: • •
:. sent to the Membership this 200th. number of our magazine. .i.
·t Despite some temporary episodes of difficulty and delay,its .: • •
:. production has been steadfastly continued. .:.
+t THE NUMEROUS CONTRIBliTIONS to its pages by our :.
~+ members and friends are gratefully acknowledged. It has been ~.
said,and should be now reiterated,that without these contri-+t
~. butions,the excellent variety which has characterized this ~.
+.. publication could not be maintained. +:.
·i· SUSTAINED BY THE GOOD WISHES and encouragement +:+
~+ of our many friends and well-wishers and tempered by the nec-~.
+:+ essary constructive criticism of our mentors, we look forward ·t
~+ with confidence and enthusiasm to a still more useful and pr-~+
.:+ osperous career for IICANADIAN RAIL in the months ahead. .: • •
:. The Edi tor & Staff. + ••
• :+ .+ •
• ~ ………………………………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………. %.
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ,T.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .~.~.
This month we present a cross-section of Canadian Diesel Locomotives.
CP 70)1, an S-2, is shown on CN rails at Hawthorne, Ontario, backing
into the Piggyback terminal. 21/02/68. (W.R. Linley photo).
, .
eN 7937 is an NW2. It is shown in Edmonton, Alberta on 13/05/67.
(Photo by B.A. Loat -negative collection of W.B. Linley).
CP 8401 was caught at North Troy at 09:30 on 13/04/68 on the Newport
to Riohford way freight. It is an RS-2. (G.D. Southwood photo).
CN 4114 appeared on an extra eastbound express train on 21/10/67
about 14:10. The unit is a GP9 and is shown at Beaurepa1re, P.Q.
(G.D. Southwood photo).
The famous Tra1nmaster man1fests 1tself 1n CP 8907 shown here at
Reg1na on 01/08/66. (Photo by R.A. Loat -negat1ve collect1on of
Bruce Chapman).
FP9A CN 6537 headed Tra1n 34, the By towner, on 15/10/67 at
Beaurepa1re, P.~. (G.D. Southwood photo).
O.M. sD4os are here at Yoho, B.C. on 03/09/67. The tra1n 1s
CP 902 and the un1ts are 5505:5509:5508. (Photo by B.A. Loat –
negat1ve collect10n of W.B. L1nley).
CN 3224:3212 are C-424s on Tra1n 19, the Cabot, Just leav1ng
Drummondv1lle, P.Q.~ on 04/07/67. (W.E. L1nley photo).
-x-hings these days seem to come
in packages of various sha­
pes and sizes. The most rec­
ent member of the container­
ized crew has been produced
for a very speoialized pur­
IN APRIL,1968,CANADAS FIRST 40-foot refrigerated container units were placed
in service by Canadian National Railways. Designed for service between Port
aux Basques and St. Johns,Newfoundland,the units were primarily experimental
and if proposed tests were satisfactory, subsequent extensive changes in traf­
fic handling were proposed. The purpose of these containers is to transport a
veriety of dairy products and frozen foods,and other commodities requiring
special temperatures during shipment. CNs present container fleet numbers
1,100 units,-20 feet long and non-refrigerated. The new units,-40 x 8 x 8
feet~are refrigerated and can maintain interior temperatures between -10 and
+ 60 F. They are completely self-sufficient for power,being equipped with a
diesel generator,eutomatic controls and large fuel tanks. Three of the new
units were for use in captive service, replacing refrigerator cars between
the two termini of CNs ieland operation. The fourth unit was put in through
service between Newfoundland,Montreal and Toronto. The four new units were
built to ride on specially-designed flet cers,rebuilt in CNs Moncton Shops
general service flets. The new cars and containers permit semi-sutomatic
transfer between rail and road vehicles,or may be handled by cranes.
its stockholders, has announced that its name will be changed to MLW-Worth­
ington Limited,if the recommended change is approved at the Companys next
annual meeting. MLW is presently one of three companies building diesel-
electric locomotives in Canada, but this companys business has been developing
increasingly in areas other than rail transportation. MLuJ was founded as the
Locomotive and Machine Company of Montreal, in 1905,as a subsidiary of the Am­
erican Locomotive Company,-the name being chenged to the Montreal Locomotive
Works several years later. Originally, it was a wholly-owned subsidiery of A.
L.Co.,which later retained a controlling interest,until recent years. When
production of railway locomotives changed from steam to diesel in the 1950s,
other contracts were obtained for the fabrication of pressure vessels end
heat exchangers,which started the diversification that has continued to the
present time, A similar change in the psrent companys activity was reflected
in ths change of name to ALCO Products Inc.,and its acquisition by the Worth­
ington Corporation. This latter company also obtained control of MLW and~ in
1967,the subsidiary Wortheington Canada Limited was merged with MLW. The
Worthington Csnada plant,in Brantford,Ont.,makes a variety of pumps,feedwater
heaters and heat exchangers, as well as sllied equipment. Some readers may re-
member that Worthington equipment was used on steam locomotives,built fer the
Canadian Pacific Railway,in the 1940s. The Worthington Corporation OWIIS 52%
of the MLW stock.
sued 5 April 1968,effective 28 April,shows all schedules in local time, merk­
ing the first occasion on which this has been done on a summer schedule, ex­
cept during war-time. Trains 417-418 will operate between Sudbury and White
River,Ont.,axcapt Monday,and Trains 236 (Ottawa-Montreal:Sunday) and 295-298
(Montreal-Vaudreuil) will return this summer, apparently to serve Mayor Drap­
eaus Man and His World.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS has announced that the paaaen­
ger train service between Deux Mont agnes and Pointe Calumet,Que., will be
discontinued. This service, operated in the summer season only as an extension
of the Montreal-Deux Montagnes suburban service, provided transportation to &
from the cottage colonies of Pine Beach and Roger Beach,in addition to Pointe
Calumet. The 4.3-mile branch line is known as the Oka Subdivision of CN, al­
though it did not reach the village of Oka. Freight business on the line has
been negligible recently, being limited to traffic from a couple of sand pits
and a warehouse. Passenger service has usually consisted of three or four tr­
ains Monday to Friday,five on Saturday and three on Sunday. Most of these are
shuttles,connecting at Deux Mont agnes with normal trains, but through trains
have been run on Satur~ays and Sundays,and often at least one on other days.
Diesel-electric engines have been used on the line since their introduction
to suburban ssrvice,but oil-electric cars and X-iDa class 4-6-4 steam engines
were also used during the 1950s. The writer can remember seeing all three
forms of power in service on the same day,when the steam engine was temporar­
ily relieved by a 7900-class diesel-electric switcher. The period of summer
operation has been shortened in recent years. It formerly extended from May
24 (Victoria Day) to mid-October (Thanksgiving Day),but more recently it has
been revised to coincide with the public school vacation period from the th­
ird week in June,to Labour Day. Paseenger service patronage has been affected
by the opening of a connection to the Autoroute des LaurentidBS and by the de­
clining popularity of the area as a summer resort,as well as all-year occup­
ancy of cottages,with local residents taking the train at Deux Montagnes(for­
merly called St. Eustache-sur-le-Lac).
66 SNOW 99
On Saturday, March 2, a bright, sunny Winter
morning which followed two days of mild weather, a group of
Association members, gathered in the Canadian Paciflc Rail­
ways Windsor Station, at the end of a track on which two
RDC units, 9105 and 9065, waited to receive them. The A 11
Aboard was called and the train left on time at 8 :45 A.M.
After brief stops for passengers at Westmount-Montreal West
and LaSalle, the train rumbled over the chilly St. Lawrence
River and the frozen Seaway canal, then sped over the snowy
field to St. Johns. Another pause to take up more excur­
sionists then on to Farnham, where we stopped several min­
utes to obtain a clearance and orders for our passage over
the Ne.port Subdivision from Brookport to Newport, Vermont.
The first photo stop of the day was made at
this diminutive train-order office which stands between the
Sherbrooke and Newport Subdivisions, from which its name is
derived. The flagman was let off about one mile West of the
junction point; the passengers at the station, where they
staked out their positions while the train backed up, re­
trieved the flagman, then advanced, at medium speed through
the junction and swept past the waiting cameras and micro­
phones with clattering wheels and swirling snow.
The Newport
Subdivision is a winding track
that follofs the valleys of rivers and streams between rol­
ling hills which soon become high enough to be called moun­
tains, -although Westerners would not so call them. The towns and
villages are some,.hat like those of adjacent Ver­
mont. We passed through Cowansville at speed, its red-brick
station enveloped in wind-blown snow. The station is one of
the last vestiges of the South Eastern Railways ownership
of the line.
Mileage 9, the site of the former Sweetsburg
station, was the location of our next photo run, around a
curve and over the crossing of Highway 13.The track at this
point is on the opposite side of the valley from Sweetsburg
village. Some of the few motorists on the snowy road, see­
ing the people along the track, stopped to ask what was go­
ing on.
The site,of another former station, that of
Enlaugra -(originally Sutton Junction) -provided our next
stop. Only the abandoned one-stall enginehouse remains
where the Drummondville Subdivision once connected, but a
tiny village is still clustered around the road crossing.
The same road, .hich leads to Brome provided a good vantage
point for the photographers.
The next two important towns, Sutton, Quebec and
Richfort, Vermont were passed without stopping althougb
the man in the Canada Customs office at the former station,
took a second look~ At Richford we followed the Mississquoi
River Valley which takes little heed of man-made boundaries
as the river finds the easiest course between the Sutton
Mountains of Quebec and the Green Mountains of Vermont, and
the railway follows, crossing the U.S. -Canada line three
times in a few miles. The climb up to the height-of-land
between the Mississquoi and Mempbremagog valleys brought
memories to some of us of double and triple-headed freight
trains, with towering columns of smoke riSing to proclaim
their conquest of Newport Hill. Even the 1200 horsepower of
our four underslung Diesels were fully required to urge the
two cars up to tbe top where the white expanse of Lake Mem­
phremagog was spread before us -the only level surface in
this hilly country. A steep descent soon brought us liter­
ally down to lake level, for the last half-mile is laid on a
rock fill in the lake.
We were rather surprised to see that the
station bad been demolished, in fact
the only remaining
section of platform is on the Clyde River trestle on the
QCR line. To reach this, a reverse move was necessary,
crossing the main street twice. United States Customs and
Immigration officers then boarded the train and performed
their inspection before anyone was allowed to detrain.
Tbe restaurants of Newport were the next ob­
jective of most of the passengers during the remaining 50
minutes of our stop but the majority were back on the train
in good time. A Quebec Central Railway crew took charge of
the train for the run to Sherbrooke, and we were pleased to
see that they still had their Q.C.R. caps although all pas­
senger service on the railway ended in 1967.
The Beebe Subdivision of the Quebec Central
Railway, from Newport to Lennoxville, was built by the Con­
necticut & Passumpsic Rivers Railroad. The Canadian part
was chartered as the Massawippi Valley Railway and opened
in 1870. It passed to the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1887
and to the Quebec Central in 1926. Passenger train service
was discontinued in 1952. The line leaves Newport on a
short, steep grade, passes two long sheds, designated Can­
adian Pacific Flour Sheds Nos. 1 & 2, then keeps to a
fairly straight course veering away from Lake Memphremagog,
througb rising brushland to the International Boundary, the
wheels clattering almost. immediately over the switches of
Beebe Junction, where the Stanstead Subdivision diverges to
the border straddling freight shed of Rock Island and Derby
Beebe Junction station houses a Canada Cus­
toms office and the train received a brief inspection be­
fore continuin~ through the snowdrifts which give a pecu­
liar floating motion to RDC units when bitting them. The
way freight, which had made a round trip that morning, had
been delayed two hours on the way, but our passage would have
been impossible had it not gone through.
The Associations SNOW Train -Canadian Pacifics RDC 2
no. 9105 and RDC l,no. 9065,pictured at the site of the
former station at Sweetsburg,Que. Photo by W. Bedbrook.
MR. REGINALD HATCH,of Tomifobia,Que.,-retired QCR section
man, standing in the cleared space in front of the monument
whioh he had shovelled out for the Associations SNOW Trjp.
From Beebe Junction, the line follows the
Tomifobia River on its winding course to Lake Massawippi,
which gives its name to the original railway. A short dis­
tance north of the tiny village of Tomifobia, stands a uni­
que trackside monument, which is formed partially from a
boulder which fell from a nearby rock ledge and derailed B.
& M. Engine 427 in 1895. The engineer and fireman were
taken to hospital in Newport by the hastily-commandeered
Stanstead branch train, but died of their injuries, and the
monument was later erected about 500 feet south of the ac­
tual derailment site by the two Brotherhoods of Locomotive Firemen and
of Locomotive Engineers. The stones were dug
out for us by Mr. Reginald Hatch, retired QCR sectionman,
who now lives in Tomifobia. This was a still photo stop,
as was the one at Ayers Cliff station. The first photo
run Was made at the gate of the estate called Fern Cliff
near the site of Massawippi Station. Others were made over
the trestle at the outflow of Lake Massawippi in North Hat­
ley; over the bighway crossing at the site of Eustis Sta­
tion, where the background included a covered road bridge,
and around the bend of the river at Adams siding in Lennox­
ville.Another still stop was made at the CN station in Len­
noxville, which has lost its Agent and also displayed noti­
ces of a proposed service reduction to take effect at the
end of April. The C.P.R. and B. & M. used CN (G.T.R.) track
to Sherbrooke, but the Q.C.R. uses it for only 0.3 mile to
the mechanical interlocking tower which controls the C.N.R.
C.P.R. connection, where our train switched to C.P.R. track
for the run to Sherbrooke.
Half-an-hour was allowed for servicing the
train at Sherbrooke, while some of the passengers adjourned
to nearby restaurants. A light snow was falling as we left
Sherbrooke in the fading light of late afternoon. About 15
minutes were spent in meeting freight train No. 908 at Rock
Forest, then we made a fast run to Magog, around the end of
Lake Memphremagog, whose frozen expanse we were seeing for
the second time, then up the hill to Mount Orford Station,
which lies beneath the rocky cliffs of the mountain itself.
The fill and viaduct at Eastray which passes above the
village of Eastman, provided the site for our last stop and
photo run, which some people facetiously called a night­
past, due to the lack of available light. Howeveri several
of the parti~ipants took the trouble to get we 1 bogged
down in the snow in order to take advantage of wbat light
After this, there were stops at Farnham, St.
Johns, LaSalle, Montreal West and Westmount to detrain pas­
sengers, and we arrived at Montreal Windsor Station on time
at 7.30 P.M •• after a very enjoyable day.
••• it8 not 50c a ride, madam .•. and its the PGE, not the PNE.

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