IBITIII COLUMIII ~S
Bill WATII SIIIIGI8
(Photographs by the Author unless otherwise noted).
~ritish Columbia, Canadas most westerly Province, is
unusually blessed with many thousands of miles of coast line. Be
cause of this, and the many navigable lakes in tbe Province water
routes have been always a convenient and essential part of British
Columbias transportation system. The C.P.R. trans-Canada railway
came to Vancouver in 1887 and ever since, there have been rail links
throughout tbe Province carried across water by rail-ferries. It is
a happy thought that the importance of these links is growing, not
diminishing, as we approach 1987.
The history of rail-water services in British Columbia
is fascinating, but it is not the purpose of this article to deal
with it. The article attempts to describe the current scene in 1968.
Despite the fact that much of the water-borne traffic
on British Columbias waterways consists of private automobiles and
commercial trucks, in terms of actual tonnage, the lions share is
held by the railways. It has been estimated that 100,000 tons of
freight are moved every week in railway cars, across coastal and in
terior waters in Britisb Columbia.
Geographically and by category British Columbias
rail-barge services, like Gaul, can be divided Into three parts. Tbe
first and most important segment is the service in soutbwest B.C. in
a triangular area with Vancouver, Victoria and Powell River, at the
points. This region generates about 70% of freight car water move
ments. Second to this traffic pattern are the straits and ocean rail
services, south to the State of Washington, in the United States and
north to the State of Alaska, from the centres of Vancouver and Vic
toria. This category accounts for 20% of the freight car movements, by
water. The last grouping comprises the interior lake routes and
is concentrated in the southeastern part of the Province, literally
in the shadows of the mountain ranges. This region contributes
rather less than 10% of the freight car movements over water.
The total traffic flow by rail-water routes is con
siderable and is estimated to be about 2,000 rail-car movements per
week, in anyone direction. But of this total between one-third and
one-half are empty freight cars, being forwarded for loading. In
general, the traffic distribution reflects the general classes of
CANADIAN 128 R A I L
rail freight carried in or through British Columbia. Forest products
chemicals and petroleum products would logically be of greatest im
portance, followed by a whole range of other products listed in some
detail in Appendix I.
Five railways of importance operate within the bound
aries of the Province. C.P. Rail, (formerly Canadian Pacific Rail
way), heads the list with IJ967 miles operated, followed by Canadian
National Railways with 1,5j4 route miles. Pacific Great Eastern
Railway has 865 miles of line, while B.C. Hydro Railway lists 98
miles of operation. From the neighbouring State of Washington, the
Great Northern Railway has 33 miles of line within the Province. CP
Rail and CNR have marine departments and operate rail-barge services
but the tendency during the last two years has been to sUbcontract
many of these services to commercial barge companies. The PGE and
GNR work with other commercial barge companies to establish through
routes and competitive rates, but the railways, themselves
become directly involved in this water-borne traffic. The .!:l.C. Hydro
Railway has no water connections and thus neither requires nor pro
vides any rail-water services.
There are eight companies
vices within, into, through or out of the
below in alphabetical order and have been
dicate comparative activity.
Alaska Trainship Corporation
Canadian National Railways
Foss LalUlch & Tug Company
Gulf of Georgia Towing Company
Island Tug & Barge Limited
Kingcome Navigation Limited
F.M. Yorke & Son Limited
offering rail-water ser-
Province. They are listed
given rough makings to in-
Six of these eight carriers are Canadian companies. The other two –
Alaska Trainship Corporation and Foss LalUlch & Tug Company -are
United States companies, with headquarters in Seattle, WashIngton.
Excluding the two Canadian transcontinental railway companies, all
of the other Canadian firms have their head offices in Vancouver.
F.M. Yorke & Son Limited is the only one of the eight
carriers that specializes particularly in the movement of rai~
freight cars on barges. It has a contract to provide daily services
from the mainland to Vancouver Island for both CN and CPo It also
undertakes the movement of railway cars for three coastal pulp mills
several shingle mills and some petroleum refineries. Furthermore! it
specializes in the movement of heavy or outsized loads, carried on
railway cars. This Company, first formed in the 1920s, now hauls
about one-quarter of all the rail-Hater traffic in British Columbia.
Island Tug & Barge Limited is the largest tug-towing
and barge and scow-owning firm in British Columbia and the hauling
of rail-barges is only a small portion of its business. The princi-
o l> Z l> CJ l> Z
III I- N
III ;0 l> r
.. ..:–70 Vancouver I
._~N.-…… , )
, …. / /
/ __ c~_-
…………. , …. ….-
, I I
/ ) 8/
<...() : / I 1-) I
…. -….. )
__ _ __ ____ . _, __ c_~ __ 1_ _ (-__ :-_ _____ J __
_ I __ ~_~_———
/ u. S. A.
MAP NOTE: Routes having a daily to weekly service shown by heavy lines.
pal portion of its rail-barge work is a daily run from the Pacific
Great Eastern at North Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle
connection is made with three -(and thereby a 1) U.S. interstate
railroads. It also maintains a biweekly service between Victoria on Vancouver
Island and Seattle. Island Tug & Barge moves about one
sixth of all rail-water traffic in British Columbias coastal waters.
company The new-comer
to the rail-barge operation in the
of Georgia, is Kingcome Navigation Limited which is the
shipping subsidiary of MacMillan Bloedel LimIted. This ~tter
is the largest producer of wood products in Canada. Kingcome
CANADIAN 131 R A I L
Navigation placed in service a self-propelled barge at the end of
August, 1968. This vessel makes scheduled runs between Vancouver and
the large pulp mills at Powell River and Harmac. These runs account
for about one-fifth of the freight car and tank car movements on
water, in this general area.
The two Canadian railway companies, CP Rail and CNR., have
regular daily services between their mainland terminals in the
Vancouver area and their respective Vancouver Island connections, in
Nanaimo for CP Rail, and Victoria for Canadian National Railways. CP
Rail uses a mixture of company-operated and subcontracted sailings,
but CN farms out all of their requirements. On the lakes in the in
terior of the Province, CP Rail and CN run their own competetive
services on Okanagan Lake, but on Kootenay and Slocan Lakes, CP Rail
provides the only (albeit infrequent) service, which is subcontrac
Mention of Slocan Lake, brings to mind a unique prac
tice, formerly merely routine in this part of the PrOVince. This was
the use of a waterway as trackage for a railway route. Twice a
week, a way freight of CP Rail runs from South Slocan to Nakusp in
southeastern British Columbia – a distance of some 80 miles. RIght
in the middle of this route, in very mountainous country, lies Slo
can Lake, with precipitous rock faces for its shoreline. As a con
sequence, 20 miles of the Lake, between Slocan City and Rosebery,
are used to connect the two dry-land portions of the right-of-way.
The way-freight -engine, cars and all, is loaded on a 10-car capa
city barge and moved down the lake by a tug. It then resumes its
rail way to Nakusp.
largest towing company in the so-called Pacific
Northwest is the Foss Launch & Tug Company of Seattle, Washington.
It provides a companion service to that of the Island Tug & Barge
Company, between Seattle and North Vancouver and tows a 21-car
barge between these two points once every two days. Typical north
bound traffic is machinery, pipe and drilling mud for oil and gas
fields in the far northern portions of British Columbia, Alberta,
the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Southbound freight is
mainly forest products, such as finished lumber for the eastern
United States markets, and green veneer going to the State of Wash
ington for milling and conversion into plywood. This water route
provides Foss Launch with about two-thirds of its rail-barge traf
fic, which actually forms only a fraction of its total revenue. Foss
Launch also tows rail-barges between Puget Sound, in the State of
Washington and Alaska, calling at coastal points in British Columbia
The only true ocean-going train-ferry vessel to be
found in B. C.s coastal waters, is tbe M. V. ALASKA, owned by the
Alaska Steamship Company of Seattle. Thfu ship provides a fast
weekly service between New Westminster, B.C. (on the Fraser River 15
miles from the Straits of Georgia) and Whittier, Alaska, 1,160 miles
north. The ALASKA was built in Japan in 1959 and was first used in
seatrain service between Florida and Cuba. When the political situa
tion terminated this service, she became redundant. After being mr
dified to withstand the northeastern Pacific Ocean weather con
ditions, she inaugurated a neW rail-water service to Alaska in June~
1964. Her gross tonnage is 5 593 tons, her operating speed is l~
knots and she has a totally enclosed space holding 56 standard rail-
CANADIAN lJJ R A I L
way cars. Northbound, she leaves the B.C. terminal near New West
minster every Thursday, and takes three days to make the trip to
Whittier. The southern terminal is operated by the Great Northern
Railway, in partnership with the Milwaukee, the Northern Pacific and The Union
One of the shortest rail-barge runs in British Colum
bia is operated by the Gulf of Georgia Towing Company Limited in the
north arm of the Fraser River at Vancouver; it is about 7 miles from
the river mouth. With one 9-car capacity barge this Company provides
a daily shuttle service between two plywood mills, located on the
north side of the river and a Canadian National Railways slip on the
opposite bank. The total hauling distance cannot be mo~e than 1 to
Some of the distant coastal ports in British Columbia do have
rail-water transportation service, but on a greatly reduced
frequency. For example, the Canadian Nationals AQUATRAIN, from
Prince Rupert, B.C., to Whittier, Alaska, runs about once every 10
days. This service was introduced in May, 1962, and was the first
link between the Alaska Railroad and the transcontinental railway
services of North America. Canadian National has subcontracted the
service to Washington Tug and Barge Compan
of Seattle, Washington.
Northbound traffic consists mainly of stee pipe, wallboard and mo-
bile homes~ .
In a sweeping generalization of the rail-water traf
fic pattern in coastal Britisb Columbia one could say that Vancouver
is the rail-head, from which many rail-,ater routes radiate. These
routes lead to ports having small or insignificant trackage with the
exception of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. which has railway routes
south to Victoria and nortb to Courtenay and Port Alberni. The main
object in this arrangement, is to eliminate costly double-transship
ment at Vancouver and at the terminal port. Rail-barge movement out
ward-bound from Vancouver consist for the most part of empty freight
cars, raw materials, machinery and general merchandise. In-bound
freight is made up of exportable items in the main, such as forest
products, apples, newsprint or ore concentrates.
The bulk of this rail-barge traffic is ferried by tbe
time-honored method of barges towed by tugs. A rail-barge is essen
tially a rectangular box, usually of steel, having railway tracks
mounted on its upper side or deck. Barge capacities vary from 4 cars
through graduations of 6,8,10,12,15,18,19,21 to 22 cars. The deck
trackage usually consists of two or three parallel tracks but on the
largest barges there are four tracks with the two outer ones conver
ging towards the inner tracks at the bow of the barge. Buffing posts
are fitted to the tracks at the stern.
In coastal waters these barges are invariably towed,
and almost always singly. The towing speed averages 7-8 knots and
the tow-line in open waters has a length of 800 to 1,200 feet. Tugs
towing barges in salt waters, are engined with units of from 500 to
2,150 horsepower, but the average is in the 700 to 1,200 hp. range •.
On the Okanagan and Slocan Lakes, the tug is made fast to the side
of the barge and side by side, the two vessels plow their way down
the lake. Nowhere in British Columbia are rail-barges pushed from
behind by the tug.
Tbe supremacy of the towed rail-bar ge has been con-
R A I L
tested within the last four years by the introduction of self-pro
pelled rail-barges and four of them now operate in British Columbia
coastal waters on fast, regular runs. The first of these, the M. V.
GREG YORKE, went into service in January? 1965, being the first of
its kind in Canada and possibly in North America. Its construction
and operation was pioneered by F.M.Yorke & Son Limited of Vancouver.
The performance of this self-propelled rail-barge demonstrated its
seaworthiness, speed and docking manoeuvrability and the design has
since been copied by CP Rail and Kingcome Navigation who now own one
each. The CP Rail vessel, M. V. TRAILER PRINCESS, is equipped with
rail trackage, but devotes much of its capability to hauling road
semitrailers to a Vancouver Island terminal with no railroad facili
ties. F.M.Yorke & Son put its second self-propelled rail-barge M.
V. DORIS YORKE, into service in April, 1968, with the added refIne
ment of an upper (or top) deck, to ca:rry hi~hway trucks. Access to
this top deck is by elevator from the main lrail1.ay car) deck.
These powered vessels are basically elongated rail
but with the underwater hull shaped for speed and stability.
The br dge is placed amidships, over the trackage. The rails on the
main deck are flush with the deck, so that the vessel can carry road
vehicles, if required. The capacity of these vessels is 20 to 26
standard railway freight cars and operating speeds are about 11 to
14 knots. This type of vessel has great manoeuvrability, since it is
equipped with twin screws and bow thrusters. Without doubt, this
type of vessel will be seen increasingly along the British Columbia
coast and elsewhere in Canadian waters.
Apart from the standard rectangular barge, towed by a
tug-boat and the self-propelled barge, there remain one or two other
variants. The first and most important of these is the 5,554-ton M.
V. PRINCESS OF VANCOUVER, owned and operated by CP RAIL. This ship
makes 3 round tripsl every twenty-four hours! between Vancouver and Nanaimo, Vancouver
lsland. Her main deck 1s fitted with railroad
trackage and she is capable of carrying 28 standard railway freight
cars or 32 road semitrailers. She often carries a mixture of freight
cars and semitrailers, but semitrailers predominate. Mentioned pre
viously was the 5,593-ton Trainship, M. V. ALASKA. Finally, there
are some large conventionally-shaped barges with pointed bows raised
focsles and high freeboards, used for runs in potentially rough
waters. Kingcome Navigation has four of these, CNR two and CP RAIL,
A note of caution, -if comparisons of gross tonnages
of these vessels are made. Gross tonnage is a theoretical weight,
defined as the total permanently enclosed space in a vessel, calcu
lated at the rate of one ton per 100 cubic feet. Because the load
carrying decks of some ferrying ships are not fully enclosed, they
are therefore not included in the calculation of the gross tonnage.
Incidentally, should water enter the car carrying deck of the ship,
it, in no way, affects the vessels stability, as it simply runs off
through the scuppers, back into the sea. In the same manner, rail
way cars are considered not as cargo, but as accessories temporarily
attached to the deck, in the same sense as life-boats.
Distances over which railway cars are towed or car
ried vary from 1 mile, (across the Fraser River), to 1,160 miles, as
covered by the Trainship M.V. ALASKA. The average trip is between
40 and 75 miles and lies principally in the Straits of Georgia area,
radiating from Vancouver. Although this area could be called open
CANADIAN 1.36 R A I L
coastal water, it is, nevertheless, somewhat sheltered by Vancouver
Island and is thus protected from the full violence of Pacific
storms. Only the larger vessels operating in coastal waters, not
protected by Vancouver Island or the Queen Charlotte Islands are ex
posed to the full fury of northern storms. However, this is not to
say that weather conditions in the Straits cannot be hazardous since
spells of bad weather, including fog, gales and strong tides, con
spire with the multitude of small islands and rocky reefs to make
The methods employed to load, operate and unload
these vessels vary very litte. At the pier-head is a moveable ramp
of one or two sections, -the landward end of which is hinged to the
rail-head. while the water end is sUPPorted by cables or chains from two
towers, inside which ramp counterweights are suspended. The
height of the ramp can thus be adjusted to compensate for changes in
the water level, due to tides at coastal loading points and seasonal
water level cbanges on interior fresh-water lakes. The rail-vessel
is guided (in most cases bow first) into the slip and secured to the
dock and the ramp height is then adjusted, until its tracks coincide
with those on the vessels deck. Securing pins are then inserted to
fasten together the ramp and the vessels tracks.
Curiously enough, an agreed standard for the arrange
ment of railway trackage between shore and vessel, at a slip, has
never been published in Canada by either the Provincial or the
Federal Government. As a consequence, not all barges fit all barge
docks in British Columbia, thus permitting a universal connection.
Historically, this curious circumstance probably originated quite by
accident, and possibly through sheer oversight, but perhaps it has
been intentionally perpetuated in order to prevent competition from
rival companies. Track arrangements at a barge slip can be simply
classified in three sorts: There is the arrangement of double, para
llel approach lines, which connect with two tracks on the deck of a
vessel, or which connect with the two inboard tracks of a 4-track
ship. In this event, the two inboard tracks lead to switches on the
vessels deck, thus providing access to the two outboard tracks. The second
pattern has three parallel tracks on the shore, which corres
pond to three tracks on the deck of the ship. The third type has a
single-line approach track, which divides into three branches, not
fully separated (by the usual three to four feet) at the point of
connection to the barge. Corresponding tracks on the barge are ar
ranged in paralle1
with the two outboard tracks converging towards
the centre track at the point of ramp connection. Further complica
tions are often added by differences of from 2 to 3 inches in the
centre lines of deck tracks and differences in slip shapes for secur
ing ramps to vessels. There is no suggestion at the present time
that these differences will be reconciled. The most modern self-pro
pelled barges have a complicated system of switches at their bows to
permit docking at some slips which may have either two or three
tracks on the landward end.
To illustrate graphically the complexity of the prob
lem the reader is invited to carry out the following exercise in de
sign: take one of tbese ships which has four tracks and number them from 1
to 4; take a dock, having two landward tracks and call them A and
B; take another dock, having three landward tracks and call them X. Y. and Z. Viewed from
the cab of the diesel dock-switcher, the
following possibilities are presented: X leads to 1; A may lead to
CANADIAN R A I L
either lor 2, Y may lead to 2 or 3
B leads to 3 or 4; Z leads to 4.
Doubtless there are other illogica possibilities~
Railway cars are moved on and off these vessels in a
variety of ways. At all of the coastal railway company terminals, a
sdtching locomotive is available. This engine always uses a reach
of flat cars in front of it so that it seldom runs on the ramp and
never runs on the vessel. ~ome of the larger pulp mills and wharves
also have small yard switches. At the smaller terminal points, and
this is particularly true of the way stations on the interior lakes
of the Province, there may be only 50 to 200 yards of trackage. Here
the motive power may consist of a farm tractor or a power-operated
winch, mounted on the barge or on the wharf. When a railway car has
to be moved away from the winch, the cable is run around a bollard
or pulley, situated beyond the point where the car is to be spotted.
Once the railway car has been placed on the vessels
deck its air brakes are set and car shoes may be fitted to the rails
to prevent any movement when the vessel pitches and rolls. On ex
posed runs deck shackles and jacks are fitted~ hold cars rigidly to
the deck. Despite the rough weather than can be encountered on B.C.
coastal waters and lakes, losses of railway cars, due to bad weather
have been negligible.
Most of the time, every railway car propelled onto a
barge will have to be switched at its destination, but in a few lo
cations, this does not happen. Materials handling equipment will
empty and load the freight cars or tank car contents will be pumped
in or out through flexible hose connections as they sit on the barge.
These procedures eliminate the requirement for all of the accessory
installations, including switching engines.
It is perhaps superfluous to mention that no railway
passenger cars (offering public passenger service, that is) are car
ried on British Columbias waterways. Obviously there will be times
when CP Rails DAYLINER vehicles will have to come over to the main
land, from Vancouver Island, for repairs but the last known ferrying
operation of a regular passenger train, (to the vTriters knOlvledge),
was the transfer of the 13-car Centennial Train, to and from Van
couver Island, in January, 1967. The Centennial Train, made the
crossing on C.P. Rails 11.V. PRINCESS OF VANCOUVER on the Vancouver
Nanaimo route. And even this famous train could not be classified as
a public passenger service although some of Hs cars were built to
provide acconunodation for members of the train staff, accompanying
this colourful Centennial exhibit.
Additional details of rail-barge equipment used in
this Province of Canada Bre given in Appendix II. While this list
ing is not claimed to be exhaustive it can be regarded as reasonably
comprehensive as of October, 1968. In conclusion, the writer would
like to thank all the Companies mentioned in the article, ,ho fur
nished all kinds of information most obligingly. Without their ex
cellent co-operation, this report simply could not have been pre
R A I L
transported by rail-barge.
(as determined while preparing this article)
Automobilea Beer Caustic
Cement Drilling Mud Explosives
Forest products Grain GlueCliquid) Groceries Lumber
Limestone Machinery Mobile Homes Newsprint Pipe(steel)
Pumice Poles(wood) Plywood Ore concentrates 011
Plastic products Salt Saltcake Shingles Soyabesn 011
Wallboard Steel(fabricated) Sulphur(liquid) Vegetebles Veneer(green)
Wire Wood Chips
Rail Ferrying Equipment in British Columbia
as of October, 1968
(coastal only unless otherwise noted)
1. Coastal EQuipment,
M.V. PRINCESS OF VANCOUVER,
5,554 tons large passenger ferry steamer, built 1955;
Capacity 28 railway freight cars or 32 road semitrailers
on main deck, 35 automob11es on upper deck and 900 pas
3 round trips daily, Vancouver to Nana1mo, Vancouver Is
land. Road traffic, pr1marily.
(B) M. V. lRAILER PR INCESS :
2,689 tons; self-propelled road-rail barge, built 1944,
as Landing Ship-Tank for U. S. Navy; converted in 1966;
Capacity 20 railway cars or 30 road semitrailers.
2 round trips daily on week days, Vancouver-Swartz Bay,
3 to 5 round trips per week, Vancouver-Nanaimo, with
railway freight cars.
(C) TRANSFER NO.4:
1,593 tons; towed barge, converted 1952 from U. S. Navy
22 freight cars or 26 road semitrailers·
Used to augment services described in (A) and (B) above
as required and to act as stand-by.
2. Interior Lakes:
(A) OKANAGAN LAKE:
I. Tug OAKANAGAN (diesel):
204 tonsi built Seattle, Wash., U.S.A. in 1947 and
assembled at Oakaoagan Landing, B.C.
II. Tug NARAMATA (steam):
150 tons; built Port Arthur, Ont., in 1913 last used
in regular service in August, 1967.
III. Barge No.4 & Barge No.8:
2 towed rail-barges of 10-car capacity;
Oakanagan Lake service is offered between Ke10wna
and Penticton, B.C., a distance of 35 miles, with
way-points at Westbank, Summerland and Naramata.
6 round trips weekly· traffic is very varied and
includes fresh fruit, lumber, groceries, silica
rock and oil.
CA NAD I AN
R A I L
(B) Slocan Lake s
I. Tug IRIS G:
Handles towed Route
rail-barge No.6; capacity 10 cars;
Slocan City to Rosebery, B.C.
twice weekly service; operation is
(C) ~tenay Lake:
I. Tug MELINDA JANE:
Handles two towed rail-barges, Nos. 1 & 2, of 15-
car capacity each. Trips made
as required, from
Procter to Riondel, Kaslo and Lardeau, B.C.;
about 35-40 cars handled weekly mainly lumber and
ore concentrates. Operation subcontracted.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
1. Coastal Equipment
(A) Barge No. 107
& Barge No. 108:
2 towed barges, capacity 15 cars each;
about 2 trips weekly from Tilbuty, B.C. (on south
arm of Fraser River, about 5 miles from Straits of
Georgia) to Victoria Harbour, Vancouver Island; oc
casionally call at Cowichan Bay and James Island
(explosives), all on southern tip of Vancouver Is
(8) CN AQUATRAIN:
On charter, Tug MOGUL and towed barge GRIFFSON (30
cars); Pr1nce Rupert, B,C. to ~ihittier, Alaska;
trip about once every ten days.
(A) Oakanagan Lake,:
I. Tug No. 6~
600 hp., 90 ft. long; built Victoria and assemb
led on lake in 1948.
II. Tug PENTOWNA:
Stand-by tug; buJlt 1927, as lake passenger
steamer and converted at a later date to tug.
III. 3 to4ed bargesi
8, 10, and 10-car capacity; route is Kelowna to
Penticton with way points at Westbank, Peachland,
CANADIAN 145 R A I L
Summerland and Naramata; 6 round-trips weekly and
7 in fruit harvesting season; traffic mainly
fruit, lumber and general merchandise.
F .M. YORKE & SON LIMIlED, VANCOUVER. B .C.:
1. M.V. GREG YORKEI
2,433 tons; self-propelled rail-barge; built 1964.L
25 cars on main (flush) deck; now chartered to CNH for
7 days week round-trip service Tilbury on Fraser
River to Point Ellice and Ogden POint, Victoria, Vancou
ver Is land.
2. M.V. DORIS YORKE:
2,611 tons; self-propelled rail-barge; built 1968.
25 cars on main (flush) deck, 28 road semitrailers on
upper deck; presently chartered to CP Rail for nightly
round-trip Vancouver-Nanaimo, Vancouver Island.
Provides daily service, Vancouver-Port l1ellon or Crof
ton pulp mills.
3. Three other tugs and 9 towed rail-barges of 4,6 (four)
12 and 18 (three)-car capacities.
4. F.I1. Yorke & Son Limited also has unique installation
in Vancouver Harbour for loading cars. Consists of
wooden grid placed on bottom of dock onto which rail
barge is manoeuvered at high tide. As the tide recedes
rail-barge settles on grid at required height
barge and land. rails correspond. Cars carry ng heavy
loads of up to 250 tons can be switched onto bar ge with
out risk of overturning barge. If such a procedure were
attempted ona small floating barge it would jack-knife,
under this weight.
ISLAND lUG AND BARGE LIMn-ED, VANCOUVER, B.C.:
General tug and barge company; 27 tugs 110 barges/scows
rail-ferry services only a small part of total busi
ness specialized equipment as follows:
1. Four large pointed-bow barges:
ISLAND FIR -22 cars
ISLAND HEMLOCK -22 cars
ISLAND SPRUCE -21 cars plus below-deck tanks
for bulk caustic
ISLAND LOGGER -19 cars
Three rectangular bar ges:
No. 103 -12 cars No. 106 -15 cars
No. 109 -18 cars
Principal Services offered I
I. Scheduled daily service:
CA NAD I AN 146 R A I L
North Vancouver, B.C. (connection with PGE)
to Seattle Wash., and connection with MILW
NP and UP Railroads. Major southbound com
modity is lumber in box cars, carried on 21
or 22-car barges.
II. Scheduled twice-weekly service:
Companys own trackage at Victoria to Seat
tle, Wash. 15-car barge usually used; Com
modities vary, -Soya bean oil in tank cars,
fresh fruit and vegetables in refrigerator
cars, lumber in box cars.
III. Non-scheduled service:
To all B,C. ports, as required. Includes
frequent deliveries of chlorine in tank
cars to Port Alice (N.W. Vancouver Island)
pulp mill from North Vancouver or Squamish
KINGCOME NAVIGAlION COl1PANY LIMITED, VANCOUVER.L.B ,C,:
1. MeVe HAIDA TRANSPORTER:
2,553 tons; self-propelled rail-barge; built
freight cars; runs week-days from Vancouver
to Powell River, outbound with empties and
chemicals and inbound ·11 th newsprint and other
Runs three times weekly to Harmac pulp mill.
2. One 9-car bar ge :
CANADIAN 148 R A I L
On charter to move cars between chemical plant
at Squamish and pulp mills at Woodfibre and
3. One rail-barge:
Tows 1 CNR rail-barge from Tilbury -(Fraser
River) to Chemainus pulp mill, Vancouver Is
FOSS LAUNCH AND TUG COHPANY, SEATTLE, WASH., U.S A.:
Large company owning 70 tugs and 250 barges;
rail-barge traffic is only a part;principal ser
vices touching British Columbia are:
1. Scbeduled every-other-day service:
Seattle to P.G.E. at North Vancouver;rail
barge 21 cars; travelling time 14 hours, each
2. Regular every 1-3 week service:
Bellingham, Wash., to Ward Cove, Alaska, for
Ketchikan Pulp Company, via chemical plant~
Squamish, B.C.; 20-car capacity barge.
3. On demand service:
For movement of zinc ore concentrate from
Britannia Beach, Howe Soundl B.C. to Seattle,
Wash. for forwarding to sme ting and refining
in Montana, U.S.A.
ALASKA TRAINSHIP CORPORATION, SEA1TLE, WASH.:
Runs weekly service with one ship from Delta,
Alaska Terminal (near New Westminster, B.C.), to
Whittier, Alaska.Connects GNR in B.C. with Alaska
1. M. V JM.SKA:
5,593 tons ocean trainship; 17t knots, built
1959 for Florida-Cuba trainferry service;con
verted in 1963-64 for Pacific coast service;
fully enclosed rail-deck; 56 railway cars; no
accownodation for passengers.
GULF OF GEORGIA TOWING gOMPANY LIMITED, VANCOUVER, B.C.:
Company has a sizeable fleet of tugs, barges and
scows; rail-barge work is eXception to normal ac
1. Contract Towing CNR Barges Nos. 107 & 109:
Once weekly or oftener from Tilbury on Fraser
River to Victoria and/or Covlichan Bay or James
Island, Vancouver Island.
2. One 9-car capacity rail-barge:
Operates in North Arm of Fraser River, Vancou
Once/twice daily service between 2 plywood
mills on north bank of Fraser and CNR slip on Lulu
Island, Fraser estuary.
PACIFIC GREAT EASTERN & GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAYS:
These Companies possess no vessels and oper
ate no ferry services. G.N.R. has a rail
barge slip on south side of Vancouver Harbour
near Centennial Pier.
BY F.A. KEMP
UNION PACIFIC -CENTRAL PACIFIC –
May 10,1969,was the day chosen for the observance of the dri
ving of the Golden Spike,joining the Union Pacific and Central Pacific
Railroads at Promontory,Utah,in 1869,on a section of line superceded by
the Lucin Cut-off,which was built aCnDas the Great Salt Lake in 1906.The
original line,through Promontory,was taken up as a war-effort measure in
1942 and the rails used for other purposes.
The re-enactment ceremony was staged on a section of new line
re-laid on the original roadbed at Promontory, intended to become part of
a railway museum at that location. The historic locomotives,which have
played the part~ of the two original one~,in numerous pageante from 1893
to the present day,were moved to th~ site and a special rich mans ex
cursion was to run from New York to Ogden,Utah and return at the unpre
cedented price of $ 995 for the two-week return tripl Scheduled motive
power was restored NICKLE PLATE Berkshire no. 759 from New York to
Kansas City, a new 6600 hp. Centennial GM diesel locomotive from Kan
sas City to Salt Lake City and UP. laet steamer no. 8444 from Salt Lake
City to Ogden. .
It is noteworthy that UNION PACIFIC seems to be doing all the
commemorating. Its Overland Route partner,Southern Pacific,doesnt se
em very interested, although the contribution of predecessor Central Pac
ific was al important as that of UP in forming the first continuous rail
line across North America.
UPs decision to order even larger diesel units is sigpificant
for a railroad noted in the days of steam for Challangers,Big Boysand
latterly 10,000 hp. gas-turbines,with diesel units of 5000 and 5500 hp.
already on the roster and a physical plant to match. The new 690os will
have full-width, low-profile noses ahead of the cab,but a conventional or
standard hood,with running boards,behind. They will ride on specially-de
signed four-axle trucks,similar to those under the 5500 hp. units.
METRoLINERS and TURBoTRAINS –
Part of the much-discussed Northeast Corridor project,using
PENN CENTRALs electrified New York-Washington line, finally became a
reality on January 16th.,last,with the first run of the METRoLINER on a
hour-59 minute schedule. It has since taken the travelling public by
storm,running with virtually every seat taken -at an extra fare of S 1
to $ 2 for a cosch seat,and was joined by a second train in March. The
train consists of six multiple-unit electric cars of almost cylindrical
cross-section, with flat ends,which implies thet two or more train-sets
may be opersted in multiple, if requitred. Th.e curved sides and roof,shea
thed in stainless steel,indicate their Budd Company origin. All cars
have Faively pantagraphs,but only three of these are used at a time. In
the meantime, TURBO train sets, following their January 6th. withdrawal,ha
ve been undergoing modifications and tests to rid the(n of their cold-wea
ther troubles. Tests were reported to have included avisit by one train-
R A I L
set to the Northern Ontario area (Hornepayne),home of Natures eastern
ice-box. In March,UAC reported that TURBO trains would not be ready for
re-introduction for four or five months,making the possible effective
d~te somewhere between mid-July and early August.
MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT –
State of Vermont has a reasonable share of interesting sh
ort-line railroads and now some of these lines may be toured on a Rent
a-Train service. Rail Associates Incorporated of Bellows Falls,Vt.,will
offer charter-train service for one-day tours,to local attractions,main
lyon lines of the Green Mountain Railroad and the Vermont Railway, both
formerly part of the Rutland Railway. Local attractions suggffSted in
clude tke Bennington Monument and Museum,the Shelburne Museum and the
Lake Champlain Ferry trip,across Lake Champlain from Burlington. There
are several more tourist attractions on the lines concerned. The service
complete with snack service and a chicken barbeque will be available fr
om July 1 through Labor Day.
Another scenic Vermont short-line,the St. Johnsbury and La
moille County Railroad,has acquired an observation-lounge sleeper, which
formerly bore the proud label of NEW YORK CENTRALs Twentieth Century
Limited.Named the Maumee River on the NYC,the new acquisition is said
to be reserved strictly as a business car,possibly for hunting and
fishing trips. Its rpund-end,stainless-steel exterior is a decided con
trast to the wooden combination cers which once carried the rear-end mar
kers on the St.J.s mixed trains!
RUTLAND RELIC –
New York State portion of the former Rutland,whose hard
luck history lasted 118 years,finally came to an end last August 19,1958,
with the demise of the 25-mile Ogdensburg and Norwood Railroad.This rem
nant was left in place after the scrapping of the Norwood-Rouses Point
Burlington line. The intent was to provide service to the east side of
Ogdensburg Harbour and the grain elevator,built by the Rutland in the
days when the Railroad operated ships on the Great Lakes. Traffic on the
o & N did not develop as expected;perhaps because both terminals are ser
ved by present-day Penn Central,although the river mouth separates the
two lines at Ogdensburg. This now somewhat-static city was the goal of
many projected railroads,in addition to those actually built. The dreams
of lucrative lake traffic were crushed in 1915,with the passage of the
Panama Canal Act,under which Interstate Commerce law prohibited railroads
from owning or controlling an interstate water carrier that competed ag
ainst its railroad owner.
Curiously enough,this line was owned by seven corporations,in
succession. Opened as the Northern Railroad of New York,in 185o,it be
came the Ogdensburg Railroad in 1858,the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain,
in 1B54,was leased by the Central Vermont from 1870 to 1895,merged with
the Rutland Railroad in 1901,the latter becoming the Rutland Railway
Corporation in 1950 and was subsequently abandoned in 1963. The track
between Rouses Point and Norwood was removed in 1955-66.
WAY OUT WEST –
Is the PACIFIC GREAT EASTERN heading for Alaska? The B. C.
Government-owned railway is now building a 250-mile extension from Fort
St. John to Fort Nelson,B.C. A contract has been awarded for the first
73-mile segment of the line,northward from Fort St. John. At the same
time,another extension of 80 miles is being pushed westward from Fort St.
James to Takla Lake,prolonging the 78-mile line completed last year. The
Takla Lake extension will be completed at the end of 1970 and the first
part of the main-line extension earlier in that same year,bringing the
R A I L
total mileage of the PGE to 1,043. Presently,the railway operates 890
miles,using 57 diesel locomotives and six Budd RDC units. Four more die
sel units are on order.
In 1967,PGE transported 83,764 carloads of freight,for a gross
revenue of $ 25.6 million and a net profit of $ 595,322. The new lines
being built will open up new territory to mining,logging,agriculture and
other industries,increasing freight traffic potential and making PGE the
third largest railway in Canado. It certainly has come a long way since
1952,when it wae only 374 miles long,with connections to other Canadian
railways only via rail-barge from its terminal at Squamish,B.C. Today,
its North Vancouver-Prince George main line is a scenic delight, well
wotth the time taken to ride it by anyone visiting Canadas West Coast.
and its chief promoter,Mayor Jean Drapeau,were the recipients
of both tribute and tribulation latterly. The Mayor was presented with
the 1969 Transportation Award at the fourth International Conference on
Transportation,held in Pittsburgh,Pa.,on March 12. The Award, in
recognition of Mayor Drapeaus work in developing the 16.5-mile subway,
known as METRO,includes the privilege of designating the recipient of a
$ 7,000 fellowship for a graduate student in the field of Urban Transpor
tation Planning and Administration,at the University of Pittsburgh. The
fellowship covers a two-year study period and the students environment
will provide plenty of examples of how not to resolve the urban-transpor
tation problem I
Meanwhile,earlier in the month,an illuminated stained-glass
mural was unveiled above the Line 1 track at the east end of the other
wise austere Berri-de Montigny main transfer station. And,on the same
that His Honor the Mayors award was announced,March 7,a short-cir
cuit on a train resulted in an explosion and fire on southbound Line 2,
at Jarry Street station. Dense,acrid smoke filled the station,as hun
dreds of passengers scrambled up the stairs and escalator to the surface.
12 persons were taken to hospital,-one with a broken nose and most oth
ers suffering from smoke inhalation. Fireman arrived almost immediately,
and evacuated passengers from a northbound train,stalled in the tunnel
when the power was cut off. Stalled or inoperative escalators,at other
locations,have plagued the METRO at various times since its opening and
have often remained out of service for several months,but only during
March was it revealed that thes~ and many other METRO components are
still under the contractors warranty and replacement parts are not kept
on hand,but must be ordered from Englandl
Finally and inevitably,on March 29th.,after a weeks notice
and three days before April 1 (for the passengers),the fares on METRO,as
well as the Citys bus system were raised by 5 cents to 35 cents cash, 3
tickets for 90 cents or 17 for $ 5 .The reason for the hike was given as
operating defecits and the desire to finance the bus replacement pro
gramme out of current revenue,rather than by borrowing at the current in
flated interest rate.
CP RAIL -MOTIVE POWER AND ROLLING STOCK –
new color scheme is being applied to passenger equipment
for use on the Canadian as quickly as possible and most of it will be
finished by the end of June.
The business car Laurentian was outshopped March 21st., in
the new colours,following e major overhaul and conversion of its elec
t~ical and air-conditioning systems to more modern equipment. This is
p~obably the first business car to be repainted in the new colour scheme.
It is generally used by CP RAIL Chairman,Mr. N.R.Crump.
Provision of reversible seats in two Skyline dome cars has
enabled CP RAIL to reduce the number of Montreal-Quebec train sets from
R A I L
three to two. This permits equipment arriving at 1650 hrs. on Train 153
to leave at 1800 hrs. on Train 154,even when 153 arrives late. The dome
cars have had their individually-cushioned dome cars seats replaced by
bench-type flip-over seats,salvaged from scrapped ooaches and parlor ch
airs were installed in the former downstairs coach section,so that sep
arete parlor cars are run only at leak traffic periods.
It now appears that CP RAILs order from MLlJJ-Illorthington will
be for both C-630s and C-636s.21 new units will be six-axle 3,000 hp.
road-freight units,said to be for Natal-Roberts Bank coal unit-trains.
29 others will be 3,600 hp. jobs,for Montreal/Toronto-Calgary freights.
The 51st.unit is a hush-hush odd-ball, like a C-636,but rated et 4000 hp.
Recently,CP RAIL announced a new SHIP for its coastal and in
land fleet,traditionally operated by the RAIL component of the corpora –
tion. The new ship for the Bey of Fundy service between Saint John,N.B.,
and Digby,N.S. will feature bow-and-stern loading and unloading, with
a hydraucally-operated bow section and stern door. A two-and-a-half hour
crossing time with 90-minute turnaround, will permit three trips a day.
Specially constructed ramps are to be built by the Federal Governments
Department of Transport,including compensating eprons for the 27-foot Bay
of Fundy tides. The ship is to be built by the Saint John Shipbuilding &
Drydock Company Limited. A name for the new vessel has not yet been ch
ELIMINATION OF LEVEL CROSSINGS –
Increasing speeds of trains on CNs Montreal-Toronto main line
have focussed attention on many level crossings which intersect this line
some of them being heaVily-travelled roads. Westward from Montreal, both
CN and CP RAIL double-track main lines are laid parallel from LachiRe to
Vaudreuil(Dorion). For most of this 15-mile route,a major high~ay runs
next to the CN ri ght-of-way, mak ing grade-separat iorr-work more compl ica
ted and much more costly. However,work has-~t last begun on an underpass
for Montee St-Ctlarles in suburban, BeaEonsfield. Plans have been prepared
for an overpass at Chemin~esSources (Strathmore Station on CP RAIL),the
most heavily-travelled suburban crossing, but finanCing seems to be a real
problem,up to now. At Dorion,the CN and CP RAIL lines diverge, so that
the two crossings on the main street are some 200 yerds apart. A 35 mph.
speed restriction for this crossing has been in effect since 20 persons
were killed on October 7,1966,when a CN freight struck a school bus.Now,
plans for a double underpass have been drawn up and are awaiting final
approval from the Provincial roads minister,F.J.Lafontaine. This action
is essential,since Quebec will pay most of the cost,although the location
which qualifies as two separate crossings will get $ 1 million subsidy
from tho Federal Grade Crossing fund. The project was announced by Jean
Charles Vallee,Mayor of Dorion.
SPEAKING OF ELIMINATIONS –
Readers should eliminate some miles from PENN CENTRAL and NEW
H8VEN,as given in the March CANADIAN RAIL. PC was 19,300 and NH 1,569,
(approx.) for a total of 20,869. There are two subsidiaries of 210 and
miles to push the system to over 21,000 miles. The former 1245 hrs.
TURBOs were numbered 62 and 63 and their RAPIDo successors have kept
these numbers. The afternoon RAPIDos leaving at 1640 hrs. are numbered
64 and 65; these are the trains which carried Bkyview cars. In the case
of the Markham Local,it was numbered 990 at its demise. It was formerly
numbered 900. The explanation of CP RAILs choice of unit 1432 (nee 4041)
for regearing is that it is actually newer than most of the other units
of its class. It was rebuilt by GMDL,following a level-crossing accident
in which it struck a gasoline truck near Brandon,Man.,while hauling the
CANADIAN. CP RAIL 1801 was on Train 154,not 134 and Mr. L.B.Chapman of
Ottawa says second 4016 was the car body of 4014 and 4016 was rebuilt to
DELTA ALASKA TERMINAL,B.C. The aerial view on this months cover is the
berthing-point for the Trainship ALASKA of the Alaska Steamship Company.
It is located a few miles downstream from New Westminster,B.S., on the
Fraser River. Photo courtesy Alaska Steamship Company.
Georgia Towing Company Limiteds GULF RAILROADER is shown on page 126. A
9-car barge,she is used in shuttle service in the north arm of the Fraser
River between plywood mills in Vancouver and Burnaby and CNs barge slip
on Lulu Island,Richmond,B.C. Photo courtesy David Davies.
The 18 freight cars on Island Tug & Barge Companys rail-barge,illustra
ted on page 132,are towad by a tug between Vancouver Island and mainland
ports. Photo courtesy Island Tug & Sarge Ulmited.
A class freight cars,loaded with papar made at Harmac Millon Vancouver
Island,are offloaded from an 18-car rail-barge,on page 134. The scene is
one of CP RAILs barge slips at VancouverrB.C.Photo by David L. Davies.
Pictured on page 135 is the CP RAIL rail-barge slip at Vancouver,B.C.that
is always used by the PRINCESS OF VANCOUVER. The wooden ramp at the right
is for automobiles which are stowed one deck above the railway deck. The
switcher is about to unload a string of cars. Photo by David L. Davies.
The beautiful and immortal PRINCESS OF-VANCOUVER, CP RAILs once m~jor
railway car carrier between Vancouver and Nanaimo,Vancouver Island. Now
no longer Queen of the Straits,she is principally popular with pas
sengers and rubber-tyred semi-trailer trucks. Photo courtesy CP RAIL.
antique-looking structure on page 139 is Canadian National Railways
barge slip on the Inner Harbour,Victoria,Vancouver Island. Despite its
appearance,it is believed to have been built in 1921. Still in use, it
sports a stub switch instead of the conventional kind.Photo by D.L.Davies
Yorke Sarge No.6,with three tracks of tank cars is tug-towed through the
shore reaches of the Straits of Georgia,near Vancouver,S.C.,top of page
143. Photo courtesy F.M.Yorke & Son,Ltd.
The picture at the bottom of the same page shows one of F.M.Yorke & Sons
tugs towing a rail-barge load of logging locomotives from Englewood, in
the northern part of Vancouver Island to Vancouver,on 30 April 1959. The
geared engines came from Canadian Forest Products Limiteds logging rail
way and were destined for scrapping at Vancouver. Photo by F.M.Ybrke & Son
CP RAILs Tug OKANAGAN at Kelowna,S.C. on Okanagan Lake is shown on page
141. The tank car on the barge supplies fuel to the tug.Photo rr.L.Davies
Gulf of Georgia Towing Companys 9-car barge GULF RAILROADER is shown on
page 144.Docked at CNs slip on Lulu Island,Richmond,S.C.,it is use~ on
the North Arm of the Fraser River in shuttle service.The middle car is a
flat fitted with high stanchions. Photo by David L. Davies.
Located at the end of a peninsula in the Fraser River,a few miles down
stream from,and on the opposite shore to New Westminster,B.C.,the aerial
view on page 146 shows Delta Alaska Terminal,B.C. and M.V.ALASKA, ready
to load cars for her trip north. Photo courtesy Alaska Steamship Company.
Canadian Nationals barge on Okanagan Lake,S.C.,approaches the slip at
Penticton,on page 147,with CN Tug No.6. One of the 10 cars on the barge
on this trip held explosives and had been landed at one of the stops en
route,consigned to a mining company. Photo by David L. Davies.
F.M.Yorke & Sons rail-barge slip with Barge No. 19,moored to the apron,
is shown on page 149,top. Track 1 is loaded with a flat car carrying a
bridge beam. The photo at the bottom is CNs Lulu Island Slip,North Arm,
Fraser River,nearly opposite Fairview Golf Course,Both photos D.L.Davieff.
Served jointly by CN and CP RAIL,the barge slip at Naramata on Okanagan
Lake is shown on page 150. The trackage at this port is about 250 yards
longl Photo by David L. Davies.
published monthly exoept July & August oombined )
CANADIAN RAILRO.lI.D HISTORlCAl ASSOCI1I.TION :;;~i~:, ~2 4u:~on D
Assooiate Membership inoluding 11 issues of
Canadian Rail 6.00 annually.
EDITOR S. -W-orthen PRODUCTION P.Murphy
DISTRIBUTION J.A.Beatty & F.F.Angus
DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP AND BRANCHES
Mr. J.A.Beatty. 4982 Queen Mary Road, Montreal 248, Quebec, Canada •.
Mr.M.lv9son I Secty •• P,O.Box 352, Terminal A Ottawa. Onto
Rocn MOUNTAIN Mr. Donald W.Scafe 12407 Lansdowne Drive, Apt. 101. Edmonton Alta.
K.F.Chlvers. Apt. J. 67 Somerset st. W •• ottawa, Ontario.
J .SoNlcholson, 2306 Arnold st., Saskatoon, Saskatohewan.
Peter Cox, 2936 West 28th. Aveo, Vancouver, Brl tlsh Columbia.
W.D.NcKeoWll, 6-7. 4-chome. Yamate-cho,Sulta City, Osaka, Japan.
J .M.Sanders, 67 Willow Way. AlIlpthl11. Beds .. England.
K.G.l:ounger, 267 Vernon Road, Wlrmlpes, Manitoba.
11.r .. Donald W.Scafe, 12407 I…ansdowne Drive, Apt. 101, Edmonton Alta
Copyright 1969 pr1nted in CanadA
on CanAd 1an paper