The Story of Passenger, Freight,
Ski and Other Trains from Montreal
to the Laurentian Mountains.
M. Peter Murphy
Part II -Canadian National Railways
Editors Note: Part I of this three-part article was
presented in the February 1975 issue Number 277 of
Part III will be presented in a forth
coming issue of our magazine.
CN in the Laurentian Mountains.
While the Canadian Pacific Railway was preparing to extend its
line from St-Jerome to Labelle, Quebec, under the charter powers of
the Montreal and Western Railway Company, the Montfort Colonization
Railway Company was incorporated 6n 2 April 1890. The prime mover
in this enterprise was none other than Cure Fran90is-XavierAntoine
Labelle, who now turned his organizing abilities to the settlement
of the river valleys to the west of the Riviere du Nord, which would
not be accessible via the Montreal and Western.
The new railway was slightly different, in that it was planned
and built as a chemin de fer economique or narrow-gauge line, of
a gauge of 3 feet. Construction began at Montfort Junction, near
todays Vimy Siding on CP RAIL north of Shawbridge, Quebec, in the
autumn of 1893 and the standards to which this 36-inch-gauge line
was built could only be described as primitive. Apparently, the sur
veyed route was cleared of trees and the stumps and roots were used
IDENTIFIED AS THE STATION AT MONTFORT, QUEBEC, ABOUT 1905, THE PAS
senger train is hauled by an engine with a round number plate, sug
gesting that it is a Canadian Northern engine. The patriarch on the
left seems to be flagging the train, but he is obviously more in
terested in having his picture taken~ Photo collection F.F.Angus.
~THE BRIDGE ABUTMENT OF THE NARROW-GAUGE MONTFORT COLONIZATION RAILway
on the east side of the Riviere du Nord near Piedmont, Quebec,
as it looked in 1972. This part of the Montfort line was abandoned
in 1907 • Photo by the Author.
CANADIAN 264 R A I L
as fill for the low spots. Years later, when the stumps had rotted,
the result was a number of serious subsidences on the line.
From this first Montfort Junction, about two miles south of CP
RAILs present-day station of Piedmont and directly across the North
River from St-Sauveur s modern water-filtration plant, the narrow
gauge Montfort Colonization Railway curved to the west and crossed
the North River, climbing up the hillside to the St-Sauveur valley.
Traces of this right-of-way may be seen today in the bridge abut
ments on the banks of the Riviere du Nord, suspicious curves in
pasture fences and traces of the grade, visible from the road lead
ing to the ItS ki-Avila ski a rea.
The Montfort Colonization Railway was completed in stages, the
first being from (old) Montfort Junction to Morin Flats (today, the
village of Morin Heights), a distance of about 10 miles. The first
three-foot-gauge train made the trip over the new line in the spring
of 1894. The line was subsequently extended to the settlement on
the shores of Sixteen Island Lake and the first train over the
whole line of about 21 miles ran on 8 March 1895.
The extension from Morin Flats to Sixteen Island Lake was, to
say the very least, a difficult stretch of railway to operate. The
curves were tight and the grades were steep and, despite the al
leged suitability of the narrow-gauge motive power to this kind of
operation, the trains had their problems in overcoming the grades at
Lac Chevreuil and Orphanage Hill at Montfort. The former, a grade of
about 210 feet to the mile, remained unaltered after the Montfort
Colonization was standard-gauged in 1898 and the last train to Mont
fort and Lac Remi in 1962, albeit diesel-hauled, had to take a good
run to make the hill without doubling it.
The origin of the 36-inch-gauge equipment for the Montfort Col-
onization Railway is not certain, but it is believed to have been
acquired from the Lake Temiscamingue Colonization Railway Company
(incorporated 20 july 1886) of northwestern Qubec. Poors Manual
of Railroads for 1894-95 records the following motive power and
rolling stock on the Montfort Colonization Railway:
Steam locomotives 2
Coaches, first-class 1
Coaches, second-class 1
Baggage cars 1
Platform (flat) cars 19
In 1895, the year service was inaugurated to Sixteen Island
Lake, Father St-Pierre of the village of St-Sauveur-des-Monts wrote
a letter to Monsieur T. de Montigny, colonization agent for the
Government of Qubec:
The Parish of St-Sauveur-des-Monts gives me the impression
of a sick person who is slowly recovering. The decrease
in the population and revenues of some years ago suggests
to me that St-Sauveur has passed through a very bad period.
However, these days, the Parish seems to have regained its
former strength. What are the reasons for this? Probably
there are many advantages that favour it. Two railways are
crossing the Parish, agriculture is doing well here as
everywhere else and noticeable progress is being made every
R A I L
This year, five of my parishoners (Messieurs Elie
Desjardins, Casimir Latour, Lambert Belanger, Joseph Plouffe,
Adelard Forget and Jean-Baptiste Gohier) have received
certificates, two were honoured by agricultural societies,
whose members may be held up as examples by their work.
Everything seems to be prosperous here. We have an
agricultural society which, although small at the begin-
ning, is growing day by day; three butter factories are
prospering; three merchants seem ta be doing well, to-
gether with many other small store-owners; two nice, well
kept hotels; two doctors who are earning their living quite
honorably; all trades can be found in the neighbourhood and
are well encouraged and patronized and, except for a tin
smith, we have everything.
From this optimistic communication, it is easy to imagine the
kind of life that the residents of a Laurentian community enjoyed
in the year of Our Lord 1895. The two railways referred to were,
of course, the Montreal & Western (CPR), which had helped to de-
velope the eastern side of the ~arish of St-Sauveur-des-Monts since
1892 and the more recent Montfort Colonization Railway of 1894,
which passed right through the centre of the Parish and the village
As built, the MCR was never extended beyond Sixteen Island
Lake but, on 13 June 1898, the company was reorganized and emerged
as the Montfort & Gatineau Colonization Railway, with powers to
build between the Riviere du Nord and the valley of the Gatineau
River, some miles to the west. With fresh plans for expansion in
mind and conscious of the interchange possibilities with the Can
adian Pacific, the old Montfort Colonization line was standard-gauged
in the summer of 1897. The brief, difficult, three-year life of the
Montfort narrow-gauge had come to an end.
What happened to the narrow-gauge equipment of the MCR has ne
ver been established precisely, but an unconfirmed report says that
it was sold to a lumberman by the name of Patenaude, who operated
a private logging railway between Lac-des-Iles, near Mont-Laurier , and
Nominingue, Quebec. It is further believed that the boiler of
one of the narrow-gauge engines was used in a steamboat on Lac-des
Iles, long after the logging railway had been abandoned. These
elusive reports continue to persist and, while still unconfirmed, are
being researched further.
7 December 1897 was a day of celebration, when the Montfort and
Gatineaus first train ran over the new standard-gauge line from Old
Montfort Junction to Huberdeau, Quebec, about ten miles beyond Six
teen Island Lake, the terminal point of the original narrow-gauge.
The Huberdeau extension had been built to standard-gauge branch-line
specifications and, just north of Sixteen Island Lake, an impressive
rock-cut had been blasted through the stony ridge to permit the
line to descend to the shores of Pine Lake and the village of Weir.
GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY OR CANADIAN NORTHERN QUEBEC? 4-4-0 NUMBER 43
switches boxcars in the stub-end yard at Huberdeau, Quebec, about
1905. Photo by J. Bienaime Freres.
NUMBER 43 OF THE GREAT NORTHERN/CANADIAN NORTHERN QUEBEC STANDS IN
the station at Huberdeau, Quebec, with the passenger train, about
1903. The 4-4-0 is said to have been built by the Grand Trunk Rail
way at Pointe-St-Charles, Montreal. Photo from the Montfortian
Fathers Archives, Ottawa, Canada.
COLONISATION DE MONTFORT
La Compagnie de Chemin de Fer
de Colonisation de Montfort.
A partir d. ceUe date les t … ln. des
P4Ss.gers clrauleront tau. res joul5
heur …… Ivante,:
JONCTION A A~UNDEL.
Partant de I. J()~CT!ON ~ 1.J7
MORIN •. 15
MO:-lTFORT 8.50 CI!A
ROU:-ID LAKE 10.00
Arriv80t A ARUNDl!:L 10.30
A~UNDEL A JONCTION.
3l Partant d. A RU:O
:u II R:~F):9 LA-~E 5.20
26 LVST RIVY.it 5.30 21
BRlNET 5.50 17
Il MONTFORT 7.no
7j MOIHN 7.20
2j ST·SH:VEFR 7.45
o ArrivBnt A Is. JlJ:CTION .. 8.00
Letraln de 5.30 P.M. du Paclrlque
Canadien, gate Oalhousie, S. rac
corde avec Ie train ci-haut de 7.37
P. M., et Ie train de retoul sa raccorde
avec eelui de 8.00 A.M … I. Jonetlan.
A. S. HAMELIN,
7 mcelIlbre 189;,
R A I L
The three years to the turn of the century were not good ones
for the Montfort and Gatineau. In 1902, the railway was declared to
be bankrupt and it was purchased by the Great Northern Railway Company
of Canada under a deed of sale dated 10 February 1903.
The Great Northern itself was a rickety organization, promoted
and built by Charles Newhouse Armstrong, who had achieved a ques
tionable reputation for railway promotion on the south shore of the
St. Lawrence River. The GNs main line from St. Andrews East on the
Ottawa River to the St-Maurice River valley in central Quebec was
to pass through St-Jerome from Joliette, about 40 miles to the east.
In order to reach its new property, the Grand Nord, for the time
being, had to use the Canadian Pacifics rails over the 13-mile gap
between St-Jerome and (old) Montfort Jenction on the Montfort and
Another three years passed and the Great Northern, despite its
name, found itself in a precarious financial situation. Charles New
house Armstrong had run out of money, but not out of ideas. In that
year, Messrs. William Mackenzie and Donald Mann, lately of Manitoba
and Ontario, formed the Canadien Northern Quebec Railway Company by
purchasing the Great Northern Railway Company of Canada (Hawkesbury,
Ontario to Montcalm, Quebec and (old) Montfort Junction to Huberdeau,
Quebec) and amalgamating it with the Chateauguay and Northern Rail
way Company (Montreal to Joliette, Quebec) and the Quebec, New Brvns
wick and Nova Scotia Railway Company (Garneau to Limoilou, Quebec),
to create a line from the western shore of the Ottawa River to the
St. Lawrence at Quebec, bypassing the time-consuming freight yards
and the monopolistic Grand Trunk Railway at Montreal. It seemed
like a logical -and profitable -proposition. Messrs. H.H.Melville
and James McNaught, who held a controlling interest in the Great
Northern, were overjoyed~
~ THE VILLAGE OF MONTFORT, QUEBEC AND ITS SAWMILL, TYPICAL OF MANY VIL
~ loges along the railway, whose sawmills provided freight for the line
for years. Photo from a postcard from Mme. Jean Labelle, Montfort.
~ THE CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY STATION AT SIXTEEN ISLAND LAKE, QUEBEC,
~ in 1912. A year later, the station was demolished and a larger one
built. The siding to the sawmill is visible in the background, behind
the engine. Photo courtesy M. Jean Gagne.
The following year, Mackenzie and Mann set about building their
own line north from St-Jerome to (old) Montfort Junction, and south
to Montreal. From the Canadian Northern Quebec station in the south
ern part of St-Jerome, a new line was built north along the west
side of the Riviere du Nord, crossing to the east bank at Shawbridge
and re-crossing the river, to climb up the west side of the volley
past Lac Marois to a junction with the or~g~na.L M&G main line at
Until the CNorQs southern extension towards Montreal was
completed, passengers from Montreal to Sixteen Island Lake and Hu
berdeau took the CPR train from Place Viger Station, Montreal, to
the crossing at grade with the CNorQ south of St-Jerome, named (new)
Montfort Junction, changing there to the CNorQ Laurentian branch
train. The (old) Montfort Junction, near Piedmont, was abandoned and
the M&G s bridge ower the Riviere du Nord and the line up the side
of the valley to St-Sauveur, were lifted.
There were two minor extensions built later on the northern end
of the Montfort & Gatineau by the Canadian Northern Quebec, or taken
over by that company. On 23 November 1916, the CNorQ opened for
operation a 9.07-mile spur from Intervale, near Huberdeau, to China
Clay, later Kasil, where deposits of china clay had been discovered.
This spur was operated to the china clay deposits until 29 July 1926.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS NORTBOUND PASSENGER TRAIN, WITH 4-6-0 NUM
ber 1396 on the head-end, rumbles into the station at Montfort,Quebec
on a spring day in 1928. Photo courtesy Mme. Provencher, Montfort.
THE ORIGINAL ORPHANAGE OF THE MONTFORTIAN FATHERS AT LISBOURG, QUEBEC,
as it appeared in 1912. The railway ran along the bank at the bottom
of the picture. The station was named Orphanage in the 1915 Canadian
Northern public timetable and was 0.4 miles south of Montfort.
Photo courtesy Pere Durcharme, Montfortian Fathers, Montreal.
But in 1918, Mackenzie and Mann had decided to extend the Mont
fort & Gatineau westward towards the valley of the Gatineau River.
They secured a charter for the River Rouge Railway Company, to build
from a point in the Township of Amherst, County of Labelle, to a
point on the Ottawa River between Grenville and Montebello, Quebec.
A subs~dy for the construction of this railway was obtained from
the Government of Canada in 1919. The CNorO proposed to apply the
subsidy to the 9-mile section of the line, already built, between
Intervale and the Canadian China Clay Companys mines at China Clay
and onward to St-Remi-dAmherst in Labelle County, shown later in
CN operating timetables as Lac Remi.
The CNorO was surprised to discover that they could not obtain
the subsidy for the 2.33-mile extension to Lac Remi, for the govern
ment said that the standard of construction was not acceptable. The
directors of the Canadian China Clay Company, some of whom were also
directors of the River Rouge Railway Company, were not inclined to
pay for the improvements required to obtain the subsidy and the
CNorO was thus frustrated in collecting it.
CANADIAN 275 R A I L
In the second session of Canadas parliament in 1922, a time
extension for the subsidy was granted, so that the line could be
improved to the required standard. But, by that time, the Canadian
Northern Quebec had been amalgamated with other lines to form the
Canadian National Railway Company and, in the same year, the River
Rouge Railway Company offered to sell the extension to Lac Remi to
the newly-formed CNR. Not surprisingly, the offer was declined. The
CN felt that the extension was not justified and that the River
Rouge crowd had been unethical in their attempts to secure the sub
The CN subsequently obtained the authority to extend the rail
way from the mines at China Clay to Lac Remi in 1924. The affairs
of the moribund River Rouge Railway Company were settled by the Ex
chequer Court of Canada in 1924-25, by arbitration. Claims for the
use of the right-of-way from Intervale to China Clay, and onward
to Lac Remi, were paid to the individual claimants. On 29 July 1926,
Canadian National Railways reclassified the 9 miles from Intervale
to China Clay as main-line track and opened the extension to Lac
Remi under Board of Railway Commissioners Order 37922.
The southern extension from St-Jerome and (new) Montfort Jun
ction, through Fresniere, St-Eustache-sur-le-~ac (today, Deux-Mon
tagnes) to Montreal, was built by Canadian National Railways in
1925, thus providing a through service from its Tunnel Terminalon
Lagauchetiere Street in downtown Montreal to Lac Remi, 93 miles to
the northwest. The railway was opened for service on 22 May 1925.
It is interesting to note that, at that time, there was another
station called Deux Montagnes at Mile 29.2, between St-Augustin
and Papineau. Today, this operating point is called Tooke on the
CNRs Montfort Subdivision. Similarly, Tunnel Terminal has be-
come Central Station, Montreal, which is the focal point for all
Canadian National passenger services in Montreal.
Little is known about the early days of operation on the Mont
fort line, although several old-timers can extract numerous hair-
raising experiences from the recesses of their memories. Father
Ducharme, now approaching his ninetieth year, was one of several
Montfortian Fathers who spent some years at Montfort and Huberdeau,
where his order had established orphanages. While the larger was at
Montfort, both were founded in the latter years of the 1890s, per
suaded to locate in this area by the ubiquitous Cure F-X.A.Labelle.
Father Ducharme could not but admire the Cures business acumen,
since the land offered for the orphanages was so rocky that not
even a kitchen-garden could be cultivated •
LOOKING ACROSS THE VALLEY FROM THE MONTFORTIAN FATHERS ORPHANAGE AT
Lisbourg, Quebec in 1947, you could see the Lac Remi wayfreight of
Canadian National Railways working up the grade to the station at
Orphanage and on to Montfort. The lumber from the Montfortian Fa
thers sawmill was loaded on the siding where the hopper car was
standing. Photo from M.P~Murphy Collection.
AFTER THE OPENING OF THE CANADIAN NORTHERNS MOUNT ROYAL TUNNEL
October, 1918, electric locomotives hauled north and westbound
senger trains to Lazard, now Val ROyal, where steam locomotive
tion began. In the 1940s, doubleheaaed steam engines were the
on ski trains on the Montfort line. Photo courtesy A.A. Clegg.
A .• . .:; .. . .
VI. o.~. R). and Montrort .Jot.
While Montfort was a desert of rocks, Huberdeau was a desert
of sand. Father Ducharme recalls the hard winter of 1912-13, when
the Montfort railway was the sole link with the outside world. In
evitably, several severe snowstorms blocked the line for more than
a month, isolating the orphanage without food or other vital sup
plies. Learning from this hard lesson, the Montfortian Fathers th
ereafter stocked up every autumn, against the possibility that a
similar situation might occur.
George Colder, born in 1896, moved with his parents to Sixteen
Island Lake at the tender age of 6 months, to join his grandfather,
who was already established there. Grandfather Colder hod acquired
some timber rights and the narrow-gouge railway brought in the
machinery for his sawmill. The sawmill was wood-burning and steam
operated. The railway served mills of this type all the way down the
line and these mills were, without question, the main source of bus
iness for the railway in the early years.
George remembers the forests of pine trees so thick and so toll
that their depths never sow the sun. His parents told him of a jour
ney (when he was very young) during which the 3-foot-gauge passenger
coach derailed. As there were only four or five passengers on the
train, the derailed coach was uncoupled and the passengers completed
their journey in the cob of the diminutive wood-burning locomotive.
Some years later, a northbound train, doubleheaded by two 4-4-05,
was pulling out of Sixteen Island Lake, when the second engine began
IN THE WINTER OF 1945, CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS SUNDAY MORNING
northbound Train 99, doubleheaded with pacific Number 5557 in the
lead, swept up the valley toward St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec, on
the way to Montfort and Lac Remi. Photo courtesy CNR.
ON A CRISP WINTERS MORNING, A CANADIAN NATIONAL NORTHBOUND EIGHT
car passenger train, doubleheaded with engine Number 1386 on the
point, pulled into the station at St-Sauveur, Quebec.
Photo courtesy Canadian National Railways.
MID-MORNING SKIIERS AT MORIN HEIGHTS, QUEBEC, WATCH THE MORNING CN
northbound passenger train whirling through the snow on the meadow
just south of the station, on a winter day in the mid-1940s.
Photo courtesy Canadian National Railways.
ON A SUMMER DAY IN 1947, CANADIAN NATIONALS NORTHBOUND PASSENGER
train m~t the southbound wayfreight at Morin Heights, Qubec.
Photo CRHA, E.A.Toohey Collection.
to whistle frantically. As the train ground to a second halt, one
of the driving wheels of the leading engine wobbled eratically and
fell off the axle~ The engineer of the second engine, always alert,
had noticed the wobbling driver and had raised the alarm.
The repair crew, probably summoned from the Angus Shops of the
Canadian Pacific Railway in Montral, took two days to make the re
pairs in the field» and thereby re-open the line to traffic. On
the day of the affair, the lead engine was uncoupled and the train
backed up to the station at Sixteen Island Lake, where the passen
gers could find accommodation and might find alternate means of
transportation to their destinations.
Locomotives used in the early days on the Montfort Subdivision
were of the lightweight variety, because of the uncertainty of the
roadbed. Initially, 4-4-0s were used, but soon tenwheelers replaced
them. Sharp curves, light bridges and spindly trestles, such as
those at Shawbridge, Morin Heights, Newyago, Intervale and Kasil,
limited the permitted weight-on-axle severely. After Canadian Na
tional acquired the branch, moguls and light tenwheelers appeared
and, in later years, 5000-series pacifies were most commonly used,
although several types appeared on the line at one time or another.
The early passenger and freight trains were not equipped with
air-brakes and the brakemen had their work cut out for them, espec
ially down the steep grades on the southbound runs. While the trains
were always operated in a safe manner, passengers frequently com
plained of the slow speeds on the northbound runs, the time wasted
in doubling the hill at Lac Chevreuil and Montfort and the lengthy
stop for water at Lac Chevreuil. The prolonged station stop at St
Jrome was another irritation. After detraining and entraining pas-
A DOUBLEHEADED NORTHBOUND CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS PASSENGER TRAIN
with 4-6-0 Number 1396 as the helper and a 5500-class pacific with
smoke deflectors as the train-engine, storts up the grade from Morin
Heights, Quebec, in the summer of 1947. Photo CRHA, E.A.Toohey Coll.
sengers, the troin would move ahead a short distance to load
unload express. Then there was another short advance to the
plug, to allow the locomotive(s) to take water. Half-an-hour
easily be spent in these activities.
At Montfort, however, the entire operation seemed to be carried
out with the utmost efficiency. It was never a question of when the
train from Montreal would arrive; it was a question of if it would
arrive~ When it di~ arrive, the helper engine was cut oTT the head
of the train promptly, some of the cars were also dropped on the
siding and the remainder were hurried on toward Lac Remi as though
the fate of the township depended on an on-time arrival at the
At most stations on the Montfort line, the exhaust of the loco
motive(s) was clearly audible, and generally quite visible, long
before the train came in sight. Doubleheading was the rule, rather
than the exception, particularly in winter, when the rails were
greasy and the journal-boxes stiff. The early-morning weekend de
partures from the Tunnel Terminal in the winter were pure bedlam.
The most enthusiastic passengers on the Montfort line were un
questionably the skiiers of the 1940s and 50s. Animated by the
thoughts of a days skiing on the snow-covered slopes or comforted
by the prospect of a warm bath and a soft bed at the end of their
homeward journey, they rode the distances to and from Shawbridge,
St-Sauveur, Morin Heights and Montfort in antique passenger cars,
crowded to the limit. Frequently, the overflow rode in the paggage
car. The return trip in the late afternoon or early evening in the
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS AFTERNOON PASSENGER TRAIN FROM LAC REMI
to Montreal approaches the highway crossing and the station at Morin
Heights, Quebec, in the summer of 1947. Photo CRHA, E.A.Toohey ColI.
same cars and under the same crowded conditions, worn out from the
days activities and partially paralysed by the local grade of
canned heat available at nearly all of the skiiers retreats in
every village, was an experience that had to be endured to be be
The summer-time trains, even on the weekends, were much less
hectic, even in stormy weather. There seemed to be less urgency in
the Friday-evening exodus than in its Sunday-morning counterpart.
With the advent of the motor car, the passengers slowly began
to disappear from the Montfort line. With the advent of the diesel
electric locomotive, the irritating delays inherent in steam-loco-
motive operated passenger trains also disappeared, but the time
thus saved could not shorten the schedule for the journey to Lac
Remi significantly. Then, with the advent of improved highways and
the Autoroute des Laurentides, the passengers disappeared. And
so did the railway~
But that, too, is another story.
(The following text was printed in the Canadian Colonizer of March
15, 1898, a Francophone publication and relates what took place in
1897. The copy of the newspaper was discovered by Mr. F.F.Angus and
was translated for presentation by Mr. D. Latour:)
R A , L
NECESSITY OF WIDENING THE TRACK
Nevertheless, experience has shown that the Montfort Rail
way cannot provide all anticipated services, as long as it
will remain narrow-gauge, as it presents for the settler
and the industrialist a serious source of disadvantages
that are growing as traffic increases.
The promoters of the enterprise were forced to build their
railway to a narrow gauge and we have seen before that in
spite of this, the~ had to go through a lot of sacrifices,
By the nature of the region crossed by the railway, it will
be understood that its main traffic cannot be other than
(pulp) wood and agricultural -and later mine -products.
Then, all this traffic had to reach Montreal, the logical
business outlet and the only possible one in this area, wh
ether the products mentioned above are for use in this
country or to be exported. To reach Montreal, traffic must
use the Montreal & Occidental Railway, of which the Mont
fort Railway is a tributary. There has to be a transfer of
all freight at Montfort Junction. Naturally, the freight
rate for all goods produced in the region served by the
railway is more expensive than on any other line, due to
this transfer, no use to mention the delays.
This is also the cause of serious inconveniences to shippers
and especially to farmers who are in the impossible position
of selling their products at a good price and whose profits
are, in a large part, absorbed by the freight rates.
To avoid this transfer and for a better usefulness of the
railway, its gauge would have to be the same as the other
But, the Montfort Railway had exhausted its resources and
made all the sacrifices possible; already, its contribution
to the enterprise is $ 169,000 or more than $ 5,000 per mile
and many companies cannot claim to have done as much~ The
Company is unable to undertoke the widening of its track
without an additional subsidy from the government. The re
vision of many curves and fills, the cost of new ties, spikes,
bolts, etc ••• will cost more than $ 82, 500 or $ 2,500 per
This is why, taking into account all sacrifices already made,
the Company is asking the government for an additional sub
sidy of $ 66,000 or $ 2,000 per mile.
The success achieved by the Montreal & Occidental Railway
operating in the same conditions, the colonization move
which has already been done along the Montfort Railway,
in spite of the disadvantages mentioned earlier, the
future that lies ahead for this rich territory that the
Montfort Railway has to serve, everything leads one to
believe that the additional subsidy will be largely com
pensated by the benefits the whole country will derive
Montreal, March 1897.
lWlf 11 J D 1f 1f If .
II A J JPJ)JLhbO
THE EDITOR REGRETS THE ERRORS WHICH OCCURRED ON PAGES 175 (PARA 1 ) and
181 (para 9) of the June 1975 issue Number 281 of
CANADIAN RAIL. The reference to Gorham should in every
case have been to Groveton. Thanks to our readers who pointed out
BECAUSE OF LACK OF SPACE, THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ON DIESEL MOTIVE POWER
sent in by Pierre Patenaude have had to be held over to
-Ontario Northland Railways order with Diesel Division, General
Motors of Canada Limited for four 2000 hp. GP 38-2s was C-373,
BIN A-3109 through A-3112, road numbers 1800 through 1803.These
units were delivered to the ONR at North Bay, Ontario, on 7 November
-Canadian National Railways has confirmed order C-376 with DD
GMCL for one hyndred and one GP 40-2Ls, with safety cabs. The
road numbers will be 9351 through 9362, SiN A-3166 through A-3267.
-An additional order from CN for 21 SD 40-2s with safety cabs is
C-378, BIN A-3268 through A-3288. These units will have road num
bers 5241 through 5261.
-CN has also confirmed order C-378 with DD GMCL for 17 SD 40-2s
with safety cabs, siN A-3289 through A-3305, with corresponding
road numbers 5262 through 5278.
ON 26 MARCH 1975, IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE BRITISH COLUMBIA RAILWAY
had completed North Americas newest freight car building
plant at Squamish, British Columbia. The plant, built to
complete four cars per day on a single shift, cost $ 8 million. It is
expected that the capacity in excess of BCOLs needs will be used to
solicit contract orders from southeast Asian railways.
THE CANADA AND GULF TERMINAL RAILWAY, 38.8 MILES LONG, BETWEEN MONT
Joli on Canadian Nationals main line east to the Mari
times, and Matane, Quebec, on the south shore of the St.
Lawrence River, was sold to CN on February 17, 1975. The C> is a
very important part of CNs proposed car-ferry operation from paper
mills on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. It is understood that
all 33 C> employees will become CN staff.
CANADAS TRANSPORT MINISTER JEAN MARCHAND, BESET ON ALL SIDES BY WO
rsening rail transport problems, said in April 1975 that
he hoped that a rail line would be built soon to bypass
British Columbias hazardous Frazer River Canyon. The Department of
CANADIAN 287 R A I L
YESTERDAY AND TODAY: IN FEBRUARY 1957, JIM SHAUGHNESSY RECORDED THE
passage of Canadian National Railways Train 17: Toronto,
London, Sarnia and Chicago, the Intercity, passing Bayview
Junction on its way up the hill past Dundas, in a cloud of steam.
On 1 March 1975, H.L.Holland caught CN TEMPO Train 143 at Bayview
Junction, on its speedy way to Brantford, Woodstock, London and Wind
Transports solution was to build a connection between CN-CP RAIL at
Ashcroft and the British Columbia Railway in the vicinity of Clinton.
Anyone familiar with the topography of this region and the lo
cation of BCOl s main line from Clinton to North Vancouver can spec
ulate as to whether or not such a connection would be, in Mr. Mar
chands own words, urgent and essential to the development of the
normal circulation of goods in the direction of the B.C. coast.
THE TORONTO GLOBE & MAIL OF 14 JUNE 1975 REPORTED THAT SIEMENS
Canada Limited of Pointe Claire, Quebec and the West Ger
man firm of DUWAG have been awarded a joint contract for
S 7.715 million for 14 rapid transit cars by the transport commiss
ioners of the City of Edmonton, Alberta. The cars will have a min
imum of 25% Canadian content.
MR. DAVID CASS-BEGGS, CHAIRMAN OF THE BRITISH COLUMBIA HYDRO
mission, said in April 1975 that electrification of
adas 5,000 miles of mainline railways would cost
S 1 billion, but would save more than 56% in operating costs
existing diesel traction.
TATOA (TORONTO AREA TRANSIT OPERATING AUTHORITY) HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED
(19 June 1975) to development an agreement with CP RAIL to
provide GO Transit services to and from Milton, Ontario.
CANADIAN 288 R A I L
It will toke at least three years to provide the necessary connect
ions to Union Station and to provide the roil passenger cars, ex
pected to be redundant from the Oakville service when the new dou
ble-decker cars are available in 1977-78.
SHOULD YOU HAPPEN TO BE TRAIN-WATCHING ON THE ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAILway
along the 25-mile stretch from Fraserdale to Otter
Rapids, Ontario, please dont be surprised if you see a
Volkswagen Beetle hauling a four-wheeled track-cor house-trailer
come clattering down the track~
. The vehicle, referred to as a roil-speeder by its owner, On
tario Hydro, is the only one of its kind, as for as Hydro knows, and
wos placed in service in 1965. Its purpose is to transport Hydro per-
sonnel from Fraserdale to the Otter Rapids Generating Station, to
maintain this latter facility.
The RaiIBUG, like other lepidopterae, is seasonal, but con
trariwise, appears only during the winter months, since in summer On
tario Hydro uses a power boat on the Abitibi River between the two
facilities. There is no road between Fraserdale and Otter Rapids.
The four-wheeled track-car house-trailer is an emergency ambulan
ce vehicle, occasionally used to transport sick or injured employees,
the limited head-room making it unsuitable for the regular transport
of passengers, except in a horizontal position.
re-Ontario Hydro feels that the RailBUG does not meet its
~uirements too well and, for this reason, a replacement is being
sought. In the meantime, although it is a source of curiosity
strangers, the RaiIBUG keeps on doing what it is supposed to
at a cost considerably lower than other, more sophisticated
Kaln naues Caravan.Gaspann, aonden eln Sd1Jenankllfer,
dar Tag filr T~ In dar kanadladten Provlnz Ontario Db8f dla
GleiM klappart. Das saltsame Fshrzaug haben slclt die Mlnnar
gabastal!, die In dleser unwagseman Lancladteft fOr alne
En8fglegftelladtaft dla 5tromlallungan IIngl d8f BaMUnie
konlroilleren. 51e mllssenJetzt kelnezeltreuhenden Umwege
me/v Ober die 51raBen machen. Foto: ,utop, …
ABITIBI PAPER COMPANYS 70-TON THREE-TRUCK SHAY-GEARED STEAM LOCOMO
tive Number 70, built by the Lima Locomotive Works, Lima,
Ohio, U.S.A. in February 1926 (SiN 3298) for the Talla
ssee Power Company of Colderwood, Tennessee, U.S.A., has not oper-
CANADIAN 289 R A I L
ated recently, according to Mr. A.G.Mackie, Manager of Public Rel
ations and Corporate Advertising for Abitibi Paper.
Number 70 may yet be the focus of attraction on a tourist rail
way operation at Iroquois Falls, Ontario, or it may be simply a
static display in that town. The project, says Mr. Mackie, has not
developed sufficiently to comment further.
CN TOWER, THE lARGEST FREE-STANDING STRUCTURE IN THE WORLD, WfS DE
clared officially complete on Wednesday 2 April 1974,when
the Canadian flag was unfurled 1,815 feet above Union Sta
tion, Toronto. The occasion was graced by the Honourable Donald Mac
donald, federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and marked
the end of 26 months of work, thousands of tons of steel and con-
crete -and one successful parachute jump.
THE CAPE BRETON POST OF SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, PRINTED AN ITEM ON
3 May 1975 that might have resulted in some serious dis
turbances among the population of the Island. The news
i tern, sent in by Barry Macleod, suggested that Hugh Heffner of PLAY
BOY MAGAZINE, complete with a bevy of bunnies, had planned to come
to Cape Breton soon for the purpose of photographing a fashion lay
out, a descriptive phrase amenable to many interpretations. The
proposed back~round was the Cape Breton Steam Railways ex-Great Wes
tern Railway ~England) first and second-class brake composite passen
What the newspaper account did not mention was the possibility
that boiler-pressure gauges from the two locomotives would probably
necessarily be remounted on the engine crews, while the train crews
would logically be fitted with Westinghouse airbrakes, under the
control of the producer.
CANADIAN 290 R A I L
THE FORMER CP RAIL SHIP PRINCESS OF ACADIA, FINANCIALLY TROUBLED AND
sold to Canadas Department of Transport in December 1974,
was the subject of sharp criticism by southwestern Nova
Scotia Member of Parliament Coline Campbell late in March 75. She
said that, not only were ferry fares under CP RAIL ownership the
highest in the Maritimes, but concerned Fundy shore residents could
obtain no information from CP RAIL on the future operati~n of this
important service from Saint John, N.B. to Digby, N.S.
Department of Transport Minister Jeon Marchand, beset on all
sides by transport troubles, said thot, in this case, the Government
had three options: (1) to ask CP RAIL to continue the service and to
collect the resulting federal subsidy; (2) to persuade the Government
of Nova Scotia to purchase the ship, continue the service and there
after collect the federal subsidy or (3) hand over the operation to
Canadian Notional Railways and pay them the subsidy for operating
this essential passenger train service.
While Mr. Marchand made no mention of federal Government think
ing at that time, it was rumored that Canadian National would soon
assume complete control of this Fundy ferry.
Meanwhile, on Canadas west coast, Canadian National Railways
cruise liner the S.S.Prince George was withdrawn from service in
mid-April 1975, six months ahead of schedule, after a disasterous
fire on 4 April destroyed 20 of the ships cabins. Total damage, es
timated at $ 400,000, was caused by an electric heater in one of the
Later in the year, offers of sale by CN appeared in Vancouver
and Montreal papers.
IN THE EARLY PART OF APRIL 1975, THE ADIRONDACK passenger ser
vice on the Delaware & Hudson from Albany/Rensselaer, NY
ta Montreal, took on another new look, when refurbished
dining-lounge cars Adirondack Lodge and Saratoga Inn were placed
in service, enabling the return of the two dome-buffet-coach cars to
CP RAIL on April 10. Re-engined D&H PA 4 Number 16 was returned to
service, along with the first of a total of eight completely reno
vated coaches and two refurbished baggage cars.
NY DOT Commissioner Schuyler said that the dome coaches would be
replaced soon and speculation had it that dome-coach-lounge cars
originally built for the B&O and recently used on the Yampa Valley
Mail might be used.
Effective April 27, the Adirondack service was accelerated by 20
minutes in both directions with an additional speed-up of 15 min
utes due June 29.
Section 403-b in the legislation establishing AMTRAK provides
that new passenger trains can be added to the system when requested
by a responsible state agency and providing that this agency agrees
to absorb two-thirds of any deficit. As of 1 January 1975, the fol
lowing trains consequently became AMTRAK operations:
Adirondack New York/Albany/Montreal
(Connection at Minneapolis with
the North Coast Hiawatha for
WITH THE ADVENT OF DAYLIGHT-SAVING TIME IN APRIL 1975, CP RAIL REVER
sed the schedule of Trains 1 & 2, RDC Dayliner service
between Victoria and Courtenay on Vancouver Island, so
that this same-day service originated and terminated at Courtenay.
This report from John Hoffmeister.
291 R A I L
LA COMPAGNIE DE CHEMIN DE FER CARTIER took delivery of five -636
units frolll HLW Industries on 21, 27 and 31 Horch 1975.The
BIN were M_6085_01 through H-6085-05 and the road nv.bers
were 81 through 85. Pierre Patenaude, who lent thilJ infOrltotion,ol:so
sent the accompanying picture of Nu.ber 82 on National Harbours Bo_ o
rd trackage on 22 Horch 1975, waiting ship.ent to Port Cortier,Que.
DULUTH, WINNIPEG AND PACIFIC RAILROAD ALSO RS 11 NUMBER 3609 CAME TO
Canodian National, Pointe_St-Charlea Shops, Montreal, at
the beginning of 1975 for an overhaul and a point job.
Pierre Patenoude photographed 8609 at Montreal Yard on 2 April
1975, on its way back to its ho~e roils at Fort Froncis, Ontario.The
unit is in CN. new paint .che.e.
I…. THE RIDING CHARACTERISTICS or THE PASSENGER CARS USEO ON
…. Notional I ~Tepo troins hove been loid by lo.e
Montrol rough. Well, on Thundoy, 10 October 1974, the
ReseoIch & DevelopMent Cor NUMber 15015 wal the 10 It cor on
Troin 149/144 from Toronto to Windlor, Onto rio ond return. In
of 15015 wos regulor EM Coach Nu.ber 5621 and in front of thot
TEMPO Cooch 371; neither of the pOlenger carl were in service.
Cor Nu~ber 371 wos fitted with a special oxle sprocket and
was this device which iMproved the riding qualities of the TEMPO
Barry Biglow took the aCCOMpanying picture of the reor end
Troin 144 ot Windsor (Walkerville), Ontorio on 10 October 1974.
Is montt-/y by the
Canadian R<*oad Historical Association
FlO. eo. 22,StelIon8,~,OuIbec.Can11davtf38 3J5
CALCARY & SOUTH WESTERN
L.II.Unin. Sec •• tory 1727 23 … , Avenu. 14.101. Cl~ary. AltG.T2I1 lV6
II,R,Linley,Secretary P.O,8 .. hl,Stotion A Otto ….. Cando KIN eol
It.H.lleyn, Socretory P.O.8 … lOO6,Stotion Voncou
J. H.,iU., Secuto. y, P.O. 80. 6102,5 tat ion C. Ed,onton. AUo. T58 ~I( 5
TORONTO & VORK OlVISIOH