• • •
TO THE BAY
READY TO LEAVE COCHRANE, ONTARIO, ON ITS RUN NORTH, THE POLAR BEAR
Express is headed by Ontario Northland Railway unit Number 1515.The
lack of contrast is regretted, but, after all, there is a limit to
what you can do at 0700 hours.
~ THE RAILWAY STATION IN COCHRANE, ONTARIO, SHOWING THE EXTRAORDINARY
sign that decorates it. In the right background, you can see the
Cochrane Railway and Museum Train .
• .1 YOU MIGHT CONTEND THAT THE PICTURE ON THIS MONTHS COVER WAS TAKEN AT
~Ithe wrong end of the winter season, inasmuch as it was a 6218 Special
descending the Niagara Escarpment to Hamilton, Ontario, in March of
1971. However, Robin Russell, the intrepid photographer, remarked
that snow is snow, whether it is November or March~
THE POLAR BEAR EXPRESS.
Robert F. Legget
Map and Photographs by the Author.
THE ILLUSTRATIVE SIDE-BOARD CARRIED BY ONR LEAD UNIT NUMBER 1515 IS
self-explanatory and, together with the title carried by the passen
ger cars, identifies the train clearly.
o most Canadians, members of the Canadian
Railroad Historical Association excepted,
travel by rail to the shores of Hudson Bay
inevitably connotes the Hudson Bay Rail-
way from The Pas to Churchill, Manitoba. Th
ere is, however, another rail line to the
northern shore of Canada, as ardent railway
students know well: the Moosonee line of the
Ontario Northland Railway. Both the ONR and
the CNs Hudson Bay Railway provide passen
ger services, for the territory served is a
part of Canada where no roads exist.
A trip to Churchill, one of the most fascinating rail journeys
in North America, necessarily involves the expenditure of about a week,
even for a fast return trip. Moosonee, on the other hand, can
be visited in a comfortabl~ days journey from Cochrane during the
summer months and with a single overnight stop during the remainder
of the year. The summer service is provided by the Polar Bear Ex-
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WTf: OF T~l: I POlAR.. f>€,AfL E.~pcu:.~.s I
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press and this article is a sharing of a thoroughly enjoyable ex-
perience on this appropriately named train.
The Ontario Northland Railway is the modern name for what used
to be the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. The present name was
adopted in 1945 to avoid confusion with the reporting marks of
the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. Old-timers and railway historians,
however, still speak, somewhat naturally, of the T&NO in northern
Ontario. It was conceived as a colonization line. Construction start
ed from North Bay in 1902. Excavation for the right-of-way in the
Cobalt area uncovered a spectacular find of silver ore that started
the great mining development of this part of northern Ontario. Rails
reached Cochrane on the National Transcontinental Railway in 1908.
Extension to the Bay hcid always been a dream of the promoters
of the T&NO, but it was not until 1922 that the first 44 miles of
the section north of Cochrane were built, necessary to bring in ma
terials for the construction of the Island Falls generating station
on the Abitibi River. Another extension of the line was built short
ly after, to assist in the construction of another hydroelectric pro-
ject in the Abitibi Canyon. Final extension of the line to a point
close to tidewater in the estuary of the Moose River was completed in
1932, to some extent as an unemployment relief measure during the
financial recession of the 1930s. This provided the T&NO with a
main line 440 miles long from North Bay.
The redoubtable Harry Maclean was head of the contracting com-
pany, Dominion Construction Company limited. As was his custom at
the end of all of his major contracts, he erected a concrete cairn
at the Moosonee terminus, mounting bronze plaques on eoch of its four
faces, with the full wording of Rudyard Kiplings fine poem The Sons
of Martha, in loving memory of those who worked and died here, but
with no mention of Kiplings name, nor his own!
The possibility of developing an ice-free port at or near Moos
onee .was now the dream, but every study that has been made of this
proposal, the latest completed in 1975, has been forced to the con
clusion that the shallow water in James Bay and the many shoals in
the mouth of the Moose River estuary prevent the proposal from being
economically sound. The Moosonee line has therefore been continued
as a service line for the tiny settlements along its route, for the
various hydroelectric generating stations, for the growing town of
Moosonee and the 300-year-old settlement of Moose Factory and the
Construction of the Otter Rapids hydroelectric development, also
on the Abitibi River, and of post-World War II defence installations
in this part of Canadas north, provided short periods of consider
able freight traffic. It is ironic that the railway cannot now be
used to assist in the construction of the great James Bay hydro
electric project in western Quebec.
Passenger service on the ONR is provided throughout the yeor by
mixed train, Train 421 northbound, leaving Cochrane at 0845 on
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, taking six hours for the 186-mile
journey. The mixed returns southbound on Tuesdays, Thursdays and
Saturdays. The Polar Bear Express operates daily except Fridays
from about 15 June to labour Day weekend. It hos no booked stops and
a running time of four hours thirty minutes northbound, is allowed.
Well before the departure time of 0730 on the day of our trip,
the trim looking train was ready at the platform of Cochranes
Union station. This building still is a railway station,well main-
ONTARIO NORTHLAND COACH NUMBER 835 IS TYPICAL OF THE CONSIST OF
Polar Bear Express; the special lettering and the stencils of
polar bear in white identify this very special train.
tained in spic-and-span condition, with a typical, good railway res
taurant and attractive exterior decoration (photograph). At the east
end of the station is the Cochrane Railway and Pioneer Museum. The
train was headed by ONR diesel units Numbers 1515 and 1511, built by
General Motors Diesel Limited, London, Ontario, and outs hopped in
June 1952 (photograph 2).
The lead unit carried interesting Polar Bear side-boards, as
shown in photograph 3. The consist included six coaches and one res-
taurant car. The latter had been rebuilt with one long counter at
which excellent service was provided with a limited but quite ade-
quate bill-of .. fare. Several of the coaches had been specially paint
ed for service on the Polar Bear Express (photograph 4), one of
them obviously in experimental, but not at all attractive, colours.
All coaches were immaculate. No freight or baggage is carried, even
for one-way passengers. Express and luggage is handled by the tri
weekly mixed train.
Promptly at 0730, we pulled away from the station in Cochrane
and very soon were running through well cultivated fields which, sur
prisingly, continued until the Abitibi River was crossed -to its
east bank -at Mile 11. The line dropped some 100 feet in this dis
tance, from an elevation of 900 feet above sea level at Cochrane, but
grades on the railway do not exceed 0.7% and are all short. From
here to Fraserdale, Mile 69, the line was almost level. As the train
crossed the Abitibi River again, now from east to west bank, near
Mile 44, the upper parts of the headworks of the Island Falls hydro
electric plant could be seen, above the water in the reservoir creat
ed by the huge concrete dam.
, , .. , . . ,
6 . E
A L SA N Y—,,.—.
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It is an impressive experience to travel parallel to this great
river, now restrained by three hydroelectric power plants, its wild
rapids now a thing of the past. The very thought -from a comfort
able seat in a modern passenger coach rolling north at 45 miles per
hour -of the heroic journey of Chevalier de Troyes and his gallant
band on their way north in 1685, down the Abitibi River to capture
the English forts on the Bay, following the earlier winter journey
of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, is breathtaking.
After the first crossing of the river, farm lands gave way to
what became continuous forest, with trees which sometimes reached a
height of 100 feet, until the lowlands around the Bay were reached.
Vast wood-yards occurred occasionally, a reminder of the importance
of the forest crop that is now harvested here to feed the digesters
in the paper mills to the south. The disused spur line to Island
Falls was observed curving off to the east, just after the second
crossing of the river, but for the next twenty miles, the occasional
wood-yard provided the only break in the otherwise endless stretches
The running of our train was remarkably steady, despite the mul
titudinous curves and small bridges. Careful timing of successive mi
les showed an almost constant speed of 48 miles per hour. Special
tribute must be paid to the maintenance-of-way crews, who were re
sponsible for the excellent permanent way. A bit of a rough ride
might have been expected on such an isolated railway with such re
stricted traffic, especially in view of the so-called economies be
ing imposed on permanent-way maintenance on main railway lines in
Canada. But I have never experienced a smoother ride at such speeds
on any line in Canada, with the possible exception of the Montreal
Toronto main line of Canadian National Railways. This is tribute,
indeed, in view of the long stretches of railway built over muskeg
at the Moosonee end of the line.
The height of the adjacent trees decreased noticeably as the
famous Abitibi Canyon, now the site of a famous water power develop
ment of the same name, was approached at about Mile 69. A trailing
junction provides the link with the spur to the site of the power
plant. Electrical transmission lines crossing over the railway line
provide an indication of the location of the generating station.More
surprising was the sight of a road, crossing the railway at Mile 70.5.
This road had come up from Smooth Rock Falls, where it connects with
Ontario Highway 11. After providing an outlet for Fraserdale, the
town at the Abitibi Canyon power plant, the road goes on to the west
to serve Smoky Falls, another hydroelectric plant on the Mattagami
River, the main source of electricity for Kapuskasing. Highway tran
sit advocates would like to see this road extended north to Moosonee,
but this proposal is, as yet, just another visionary northern road
project that needs most careful study before any decision about it
Once past Fraserdale, the descent to the lowlands around James
Bay began, with a six-mile stretch of 1% grade, this being the ru
ling grade for the whole line. In the 23 miles to Otter Rapids, the
railway elevation falls from 770 to 430 feet and then down to 220
feet above sea level at Mile 112. Thereafter, the line follows a very
.. PASSENGERS ON THE POLAR BEAR EXPRESS ARRIVING AT MOOSONEE, ON JAMES
Bay, are reminded that, while this may be the terminus of the railway,
it is the starting point for other journeys further north.
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gradual descent to an elevation of 50 feet above sea level at Moosonee.
The steep descent to the lowlands, with its winding alignment and nu
merous small bridges, provides a fascinating part of the trip, while
it requires rigid speed control.
A ride over this part of the line explains why the return trip
is made in 15 minutes less than the northbound trip in 4 hours and
15 minutes, at an overall average speed of 43 miles per hour.
At Mile 86 we passed the remains of what appeared to have been
a nasty wreck on the west side of the track. This surprising sight
was explained as the remains of a pile-up in January 1975, due to
an open switch. Fortunately, there was no loss of life. A reminder
of the safety requirements which have given the ONR such an enviable
operating record was the two-minute stop at Carol (Mile 97) to enable
the two brakemen to make the mandatory 100-mile wheel inspection.
Before this stop, the Otter Rapids power plant was passed at
Mile 92. This is the only one of the three generating stations which
can be seen really well from the train. It requires only a little
imagination to pict~re the rapids in the river as they used to be,
a real hazard to early travellers down the river, albeit it is so
well harnessed for the use and convenience of man by Ontario Hydro.
Once on the lowlands, with relatively straight track, our speed
increased to a steady 55 miles per hour, which was maintained for
most of the distance to Moosonee, except at the major river crossings
that distinguish this part of the line. Long bridges across the Moose
River and then the Kwataboahegan River provided splendid views of
these wide but sluggish streams. The difficulties that are presented
by muskeg can well be seen by observing the unusual supports which
are necessary to maintain the telegraph/telephone poles paralleling
the railway in a vertical position. Some day, radio transmission
will doubtless make such structures redundant. The widespread muskeg
makes the occasional stands of hardwood and spruce all the more sur
prising, even at such northern latitudes.
As the train pulls into Moosonee, the sight of the town is in
great contrast to the still-wild country through which the Polar
Bear Express has travelled. Arrival was five minutes early, at 1155.
It was surprising to see how quickly the train emptied. Most of the
day-return passengers lost no time in walking down to the waterfront
on the Moose River, where they boarded one of the grand Fort Rupert
freight canoes for the trip over to Factory Island. Alas; these
magnificent canoes are now kicker operated. Manpower, particularly
at Moose Factory, is expensive.
Moose Factory has an interesting church and (now) an excellent
historical museum. The towns simple roads have been hallowed by
their use for most of three hundred years by men of the Company of
Adventurers of England Trading into Hudsons Bay, to give The Bay
its full title. The sharp-eyed observer can occasionally catch a
glimpse of some of the real problems of Canadas northern territories,
but these are not normally associated with railway matters.
Excellent meals, and accommodations for those who wish to stay,
or who are going onward to places up the Bay, are available in Moos-
~THE ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAILWAYS YARD AT MOOSONEE, ONTARIO: ENGINE
house on the left, Polar Bear Express on the main line, station
building in the ri~ht-centre. The small park, recently developed,
in which the Maclean/Kipling plaques are presently displayed, are
under the wooden cover behind the station on the for right.
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onee at Moose lodge, operated by the Ontario Northland Commission.We
enjoyed a fil:st-class buffet supper, or early dinner, before re
turning to the station to examine the interesting signs (Photograph
5) and the station yard (Photograph 6).
The yard at Moosonee consisted of four well-maintained tracks,
with a two-track engine house and necessary ancillary services. Th
ere did not seem to be a wye, for the two diesel units ran around
the train and coupled up to what had been the rear passenger car. To
puzzle the unwary, the Polar Bear sideboards were transferred to
unit Number 1511, now in the lead (Photograph 7).
The cairn erected by contractor Harry Maclean was not easy to
find at first, but it was eventually located at the south end of the
yard. The concrete is in bad condition. The bronze plaques have been
removed. Vandalism is almost immediately thought to be the cause, un
til the plaques are discovered, mounted on very plain wooden supports,
in a small park that has been developed just across the tracks from
the station (see Photograph 6). It is hoped that this situation can
be remedied by the civil engineers association of Ontario.
The return trip of the Polar Bear Express was equally prompt
in departing from Moosonee at 1800 hours. The long, winding grade up
from the lowlands around the estuary of the Moose River was tackled
in splendid fashion and the arrival ot Cochrane, naturally in the
dark, was exactly on time at 2215.
The same train crew works both trips, but only three times a
week. A second crew shares the regular service with them; their good
service must be noted with appreciation.
Back again in Cochrane, it gives one a strange feeling to
back on the 186-mile journey from a normal part of Ontario to
shores of James Bay and so to Canadas Arctic waters and a visit
canoe to the first English settlement in Ontario, today one of
oldest troding posts of the Hudsons Bay Company.
There must be few if, indeed, any day-trips in the whole Dom
inion that combine so excellent and interesting a train journey with
such an unusual excursion into Canadian history. Every young Canadian,
in particular, should have the privilege of making the trip to Moos
onee and back on board the Polar Bear Express.
THE POLAR BEAR EXPRESS IN THE YARD AT MOOSONEE, READY TO DRAW FORward
into the station, for its return trip south to Cochrane. The
two units have run around the train and the Polar Bear side-boards
have been transferred from unit Number 1515 to unit Number 1511. The
two-track engine shed is on the extreme left.
Photographs by the Author.
when you run out of things to do,
it is diverting to pick up the system
timetable of either of Canadas two
major railways just to see what short,
non-intercity, non-transcontinental runs
there still are, across Canada.
This past-time led me to a consideration of Canadian National
Railways shorter runs and I must confess that there was one passen
ger-carrying train that caught my fancy. Ever since I first discover
ed it in CNs public timetable -on the last page – I have wanted to
ride on it. Surely, if the train was a mixed and had a destination
like Manitouwadge, there must be something interesting about it, its
route and its terminus!
Hornepayne is a railway town on the Canadian Nationals main
line in northwestern Ontario. Some distance to the southwest, there
is another spot on the map labelled Manitouwadge, very remote and
apparently unimportant. But the careful observer will also remark
that CP RAIL also has a branch into Manitouwadge and this immediate
ly raises the question as to what is so important at Manitouwadge as
to require branches of both of Canadas major railways. The answer,
of course, is easy. Manitouwadge has an ore mining operation and
it is the ore traffic that attracts both CN and CP RAIL.
The opportunity to make a rapid visit to Manitouwadge occurred
on 21 February 1976, while I was returning from Winnipeg via Canadian
National. Although it necessitated an overnight stop in Hornepayne,
CNs Manitouwadge Mixed, Train M269/M270 was certainly worth the
stop. The combine, or mixed portion of the mixed, was right out of
the 1920s or 30s, with colonist-car seats, a baggage area and (not
one but) three oil stoves, no water in the toilets plus, if you did
not know how to light an oil-stove, you would have no heat, and that
was no laughing matter in February.
My two friends and I arrived at the station at Hornepayne at
0730, being on the early side just in case the crew of the mixed de
cided to hasten the departure time a little. Of course, in the end
they decided to stick with the advertised time of departure. We had
been told that the mixed would back up to the station platform to
entrain passengers -all three of us! When this did not seem about to.
happen, we hurriedly walked across the yard tracks and climbed aboard
the combine. Having made all the arrangements to ride this train, we
were not about to be left behind.
As you might have guessed, at 0930 we were still sitting in the
combine at the station in Hornepayne, waiting for the switcher to
add the revenue portion of the train. In the interval, we could see
that the train crew just could not understand why three men who were
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not company employees wanted to ride to Manitouwadge and back on the
twenty-first of February. The brakemen did not seem to be really con
vinced that we were rail fans and it seemed as though we were suspect
ed of being foreign spies, government (DOT) employees, or just three
slightly crazy citizens. Maybe they thought we were three inspectors
from the Railway Transport Committee come to study this important
passenger train service, prior to ruling on the petition to abandon
it. However, I doubt that we looked like CTC inspectors.
Fifteen minutes later, we were rumbling along westbound on the
main line, 42 miles to Hillsport, which is where the Manitouwadge br
anch leaves the main stem. But our first stop occurred about 14 miles
or so west of Hornepayne, where we had to pick up a snowmobile and
snowplow set which had been located beside the track. A man who runs
a camp in the bush had to bring these essential items to the railway
to take them into Hornepayne to have them repaired.
Did I say we had to pick them up ? It was quite true, literal
ly. There were four of us on the ground and three of us in the bag
gage car to hoist and lift the snowmobile and snowplow, and after
much lifting, hoisting, grunting and groaning, we did manage to get
the contraption on board. Thus, we made our small contribution to
the perpetuation of the usual way of life in northern Ontario. We
were assured that the snowmobile is essential to survival in this
part of the province in winter. Nothing could be learned regarding
the necessity for a snowplow in this remote area.
As we recovared our breath, our train slowed down and the head
end brakeman threw the switch for us to enter the siding at Hills
port, which led to a second turn-out, which was the beginning of the
All along the branch, the back-tracks were plugged with bulk
end flats, for the strike of pulpwood cutters in the woods had been
settled only a day or two before. This was the reason why the car
foreman from Hornepayne was riding with uSi he got off at Geco to
inspect some 40 or so flats to see if the brasses were still in the
journals and if the cars were fit for service after some three months
of standing idle on sidings.
Out of Hillsport, our train had 35 boxcars assigned to wood-chip
service out of Manitouwadge. Hillsport -what there was of it, that
is -was the first sign of civilization we had seen since leaving
Hornepaynei if you call four houses for the section-men and one
radio tower civilization. But it is wrong to make fun of this kind
of small settlement in this region, because this size of settlement
is just about all you can expect to see in such a remote part of
Between Hillsport and Geco on the Manitouwadge Sub., we rumbled
through a dense forest of towering pines, a winter landscape complete
with deep snow-drifts and a brilliant blue sky, an apparently un-
inhabited land, certainly unspoiled and beautiful. While the distance
between these two settlements is but 23 miles, it took us about 50
minutes to make the run. By this time, the three railway enthusiasts
were riding in style in the steel caboose which brought up the rear
of the mixed. The oil-stoves in the combine were going full blast,too . .
In spite of the bright sunshine, it was cold outside.
~ THE MIXED PART OF CANADIAN NATIONAL I STRAIN M269, SITTING ON THE
I~ main line at Manitouwadge, Ontario. The melting snow on the roof at
tests to the tropical temperatures inside the combine.
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Our arrival at Geco was at 1230 and here we dropped the car-
foreman in the snow, which was waist-deep. Then we clattered down
CP RAILs trackage to Manitouwadge, about five miles to the south.
The train crew told us that CP RAILs ore train operated on the days
that CNs mixed train did not; this effectively avoided any conflict
in operations, particularly collisions. We stopped about a mile north
of the station to switch out the 35 wood-chip cars. After that, we
pulled ahead to the station to deliver the waybills.
We stopped at the station for only about two minutes, but this
was long enough for photographs to be taken of the CN and CP RAIL
signs, indicating that the station is jointly operated. It should be
pointed out that the station at Manitouwadge is located about five
miles from the town, which has about 5,000 inhabitants. On our re-
turn to Geco, we picked up the car-foreman, who was very happy to be
back on board in the warm caboose and combination car. With the temp
erature at about _3
C outside, we were happy for him, too.
The track layout at Geco can best be described as a very large
wye, with the north end leading to Hillsport, the east leg to Man
itouwadge and the west extension to Falconbridge Mines and Will roy
Mine. The Willroy Mine spur is more interesting from an operational
point of view, because it is very steep and, in fact, the grade can
be plainly seen. The crew backed up our train on this spur so that
AN INTERIOR VIEW OF COMBINATION CAR NUMBER 7197, COMPLETE WITH COLON
ist-car seats and baggage section, the latter containing one snowmo
bile and accessories. The accommodations for passengers were spartan
R A I L
ROUTE OF THE HORNEPAYNE -MANITOUWADGE MIXED
f———————.. ~———————-~ .. ~——.. TO CAPREOL
CN MANITOUWADGE SUB.
KENNETH A. W. GANSEL
NOT TO SCALE
I , ,
. . .
CP MANITOUWADGE SUB.
our engine could work the Falconbridge Mines sidings.
The only reason we used the Will roy Mine spur was to set out our
train; we did not go down to the mine sidings. Switching started at
Falconbridge Mines, which produces a copper-zinc ore. The whole area
around Geco is taken up with piles of tailings and pipes which pump
the tailings in a slurry to settling ponds.
Our two GP 9s disappeared momentarily into the buildings around
the concentrator houses and soon returned with six gondolas full of ~
ore cqncentrates being shipped to the smelters. By 1545, we were
making preparations to depart on the return run to Hornepayne. The (
train was now made up and when the engineman released the brakes,the
train began to roll rapidly and began to pick up speed on the down
grade, only to be brought to a halt at the main-line switch to pick
up the train crew and three passengers: us:
Having no more stops to make, we rumbled briskly up the branch
to Hillsport, where we hit the main line east to Hornepayne. We had
CANADIAN NATIONALS MANITOUWADGE MIXED STOPPED AT THE SEMAPHORE
signal which controls the spur to Willroy Mine. This is joint CN-CP
RAIL trackage and the signal control has both AN and CP RAIL locks.
340 R A I L
a meet with a freight, Train 303, at Leigh, 25 miles west of the di
vision point. We rolled into Hornepayne at 1745 and proceeded into
the yard, as there were no other passengers on the train and the crew
considered that we could find our way to the station by ourselves.
Of course, if there had been other passengers, the train would
have stopped at the station to detrain them. According to the crew,
the only passengers that ride the Manitouwadge Mixed are section
men and their families, going to and from Hornepayne. In summer
there is the odd visitor going to one of the isolated camps in th~
bush, along the line.
All in all, we concluded that it had been a very interesting
trip and very worthwhile. When the mines are in full production and
the pulpwood cutters are back on the job, the Manitouwadge freight
operates daily except Sunday. It only becomes the Manitouwadge Mixed,
Train M269/M270, complete with combine, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and
It was very gratifying to see that, in the April 1976 CN public
timetable, this service was still offered by Canadian National Rail
ways. You had better take advantage of this offer and make the trip
before this most interesting service is no longer operating.
CN GP 9 units Numbers 4510 & 4512 switch gondola cars of ore concen
trate at Falconbridge Mines, Manitouwadge, Ontario, while making up
Train M270 for the return trip to Hillsport and Hornepayne.
TRUNK RAILWAY COMPANY
Lorne C. Perry
A few years ago, Mr. Lorne C. Perry,
our member in Montreal West, Que
bec, made available to CANADIAN
RAIL some prints of pictures of
steam locomotives of the Grand Trunk
Railway Company of Canada. These pr
ints were made from glass-plate neg
atives in Mr. Perrys collection.
We are pleased to be able to provide a second selection of th
ese unique pictures, beginning with 0-6-0 Number 60, built by the
Company at its shops at Pointe-St-Charles, Montreal, Quebec, in 1903,
SiN 1430; cylinders 20x26i drivers 56; b.p., 190 psig. Built as
GTR second Number 60, she retained the same number in 1904, series,
class F; renumbered GTR Number 1650, class F, in 1910 series, be
coming Canadian National Railways Number 7124, class 0-9-a.
GTR Number 553, a sprightly 4-4-0, was built in the Companys
Pointe-St-Charles Shops, Montreal, in 1893, SiN 1274. She had 18×24
cylinders, 74 5/8 drivers and a boiler pressure of 180 psig. 8uilt
as GTR second Number 82, she became Number 553 in the 1898 series ;
renumbered GTR 424, class H-5 in 1904; renumbered GTR 2214, closs
H-5 in 1910 series, becoming Canadian National Railways Number 286,
Grand Trunk Pacific RaiJIay s 4-4-0 Number 110 was built in 1909
(SiN 46087) by the ~lontreai[hcomotive Works, Montreal. She had 18×24
cylinders, 69 drivers and 200 psig boiler pressure. Built as GTP
class H-l, she became Canadian National Railways Number 384, class
8-26-a. She was one of the last 4-4-0s built in Canada.
Number 1359 of the Grand Trunk was a 4-6-0 Vauclain compound, an
1898 product (SiN 15919) of the Boldwin Locomotive Works, Eddystone,
Pa., U.S.A. Her cylinders were 14×24 and 14×26, her drivers 56,
and her boiler pressure 180 psig. She was built as the Ottawa, Arn
prior and Parry Sound Railway Number 636, becoming Canada Atlantic
Railway Number 636, when the OA&PS was absorbed by the CAR. She be
came GTR Number 1359, class A-2, in 1905; was renumbered GTR 1646 in
the 1910 series and was converted to simple expansion with 19×26
cylinders between 1910 and 1913. After 1913, her cylinders were con
verted to 21×26 and she was superheated with a boiler pressure of
170 psig; later she was fitted with 57 drivers. She became Can
adian National Railways Number 1174, class G-20-a •
Tenwheeler Number 320 of the Grand Trunk was built in the Pointe-
St-Charles Shops of the Company in Montreal in 1901, SiN 1355. Her
cylinders were 20×26, her drivers 72, her boiler pressure 200 psig.
Built as GTR 984, she retained the same number in the 1904 series,
class A, was renumbered GTR 320 class A in the 1910 series and be
came first Number 1564, class I-6-b on Canadian National Railways.
One of the first of the piston-valve engines on the Grand Trunk,
Number 976 was built in the Companys Pointe-St-Charles Shops in 1902,
SiN 1364. She had 20×26 cylinders, 73 drivers and a b.p. of 200
psig. Built as GTR Number 976, she retained this number, class A, in
1 904 s e r i e s , be i n g r e n urn b ere d 329, cia s sA, in the 1 91 0 s e r i e s • She
became Canadian National Railways Number 1570, class I-6-b.
R A I L
This frisky GTR consolidation, Number 646, was a Vauclain compound
built in 1899 (SiN 171914) by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of
Eddystone (Philadelphia) Pa., U.S.A. Her cylinders were 15tx28 and
26×28, her drivers 56 (third driver blind) and her boiler pressure
200 psig. Built as GTR Number 955, she was renumbered GTR second 790
in July 1904; renumbered GTR Number 646 into 1904 series. She was
sold to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and renumbered GTP 500 in
December 1907. She was converted to simple expansion with 20×28 cyl
inders by the GTP; she was renumbered GTP 800 about 1910. She became Number 1971,
class M-7-a, Canadian National Railways.
Mikado Number 513 of the Grand Trunk was built in 1913 by the
American Locomotive Company of Schenectady, NY, U.S .A. (SiN 52801).
She was built as GTR Number 513, class M. She became Canadian Na-
tional Railways Number 3418, class S-l-f.
The Editor is grateful to Mr. R.F. Corley of Scarborough, On-
tario, for verifying this information.
THE INVITATION TO TENDER WHICH WAS PUBLISHED IN THE MONTI?EAL STAR
and other Canadian newspapers about July 1, 1976, recal
led to the mind of the observer all of the articles and
press reports which have appeared to date on United Aircraft of Can
adas TURBO and the now well known LRC, the two-component prototype,
that is. The aforementioned tender, issued by Canadian National Rail
ways and CP RAIL, acting as agents for transport Canada, invited bids
for the acquisition of up to ten (10) trainsets of roilway passenger
motive power equipment and/or rolling stock in various configurations
to be used for the demonstration of improved rail passenger services
in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor.
Not so long ago, trade and technical journals and some of
the daily newspapers in eastern Canada carried reports on the new
train which had already appeared sporadically on Canadian National
and CP RAIL main line~ from Quebec to Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.
The new shape soon became familiar to residents in some areas of
This new train was not the UAC/CNR TURBO, which,
are frequently reminded, has been running off and on since 1968.
While it may be new, train it is not, except by Uniform
Code definition. Presently, the LRC-JVl consists of one power unit
and one passenger car, the latter half-equipped with swivel seats
and half with electronic measuring and monitoring equipment.
To rehearse the initials which constitute its technical
name, LRC stands for Light, Rapid and Comfortable, or Leger,Rapide
et Confortable, if you prefer.-JV1 translates to Joint-Venture 1,
since the project is a joint venture of Bombardier-MLW Limited, ALCAN
Canada Products and DOFASCO (Dominion Foundries & Steel). The proj~ct
has been heavily backed by Transport Canada and Industry, Trade and
Commerce, the latter ministry firmly believing that the LRC design
concept represents exportable technology.
LRC looks modern, but is it? It does not have gas turbines
to drive it, it has no hydraulic transmissions, guided single axles
and, to quote the United States publication TRAINS, a speedometer
reading up to 160 mph.
But LRC has more reliable components, such as a
ALCO-patent 251F-series V-12 prime mover, rated at 2900 hp.
deducting engine auxiliary and head-end power requirements,
is said to be available at the rail. This is not the way a
electric locomotive is usually rated, but it seems to be a
realistic description of unit power.
The LRC concept originated in 1967, the brain-child of
Mr. William Bailey of ALCAN Aluminum Limited. When the designs were
complete, Mr. Bailey described LRC as the most imaginative innova
tion in railroad passenger train design since the Nineteen Thirties.
Collaborating with Messrs. R.N. Dobson of DOFASCO and John Byrne of
then MLW Industries, the LRC project rapidly became part of Canadas
federal government Program for the Advancement of Industrial Tech
nology. The project was announced in January 1970, the Canadian Tr-
R A I L
THIS BUILDERS PHOTOGRAPH OF THE PROTOTYPE LRC POWER UNIT WAS PROVI
ded through the courtesy of MLW Industries Division, Bombordier-MLW.
ansport Commission completed a study in the following September wh-
ich defined LRCs role in the Montral-Toronto-Windsor/Sarnia cor-
ridor and construction of the prototype passenger coach began that
While the locomotive or power car contains a standard
power plant and is supported on conventional trucks, slightly modi
fied, it has a low profile and a low weight, compared to standard
diesel-electric units. The electrical systems for both locomotive and
passenger car were manufactured by Canadian General Electric of Pe
The LRC car, on the other hand, is different. It incorpor
ates DOFA5COs hydraulic banking system, which can tilt the body of
the car as much os 14 degrees, thus enabling maintenance of train
speed on curves without passenger discomfort. This implies that ex
pensive rebuilding of crooked right-of-way will not be absolutely
Another important feature of the LRC design is that loco
motives and cars can be coupled and uncoupled in about 10-15 min
utes, like regular railway passenger motive power and rolling stock.
On July 22, 1971, the prototype LRC coach made its first
test runs from CNs Research and Development Centre at Montral Yard
to Glen Robertson, Ontario, on the main line to Ottawa. The prototype
coach was previewed to government and industry on October 5, 1971,
when a trial run was made from Ottawa to Glen Robertson, with Jack
Pickersgill, then Chairman of the CTC -among others -in attendance.
The LRC car was hauled by CN unit Number 6774 and the train included
a CN baggage car between the diesel and the LRC car, as a buffer.
By December 1972, the LRC locomotive had been completed
and painted. The box-section frame had a dropped centre section to
achieve a low profile and centre-of-gravity and the welded aluminum
body was aerodynamically styled and dimensioned to conform to the
coach contours. The two DOFASCO trucks, with a 9-foot 6-inch wheel
base, were non-tilting and METALASTIC laminated-rubber chevrons were
used as the primary suspension medium. The wheels were 40-inch, rol-
R A I L
THE LRC COACH HAS A CONSIDERABLY LOWER PROFILE THAN PASSENGER EQUIP
ment normally used in service. Here, the prototype coach appears to
gether with some standard equipment at the Ottawa station.
led steel and the trucks were equipped with standard locomotive
tread-brakes. The GE No. 752 de traction motors are axle-hung and
their noses are resiliently supported on the bogie-frame transom.
What makes LRC different and desirable? Locomotive weight,
for one thing: 215,000 pounds vs. 300,000 plus pounds for a standard
E unit. It was calculated that in a 1-10-1 conformation (power car,
ten coaches, power car) with 75% supplies, the LRC train could reach
120 mph in seven minutes and, in the 1-6-1 formation, in four min
utes. LRCs silhouette is two feet less than standard. More than
that, LRC is flexible. The 251F prime mover runs at a constant speed,
thus reducing strains by levelling out power requirements during
The LRC passenger car, seating 84 people in its 85-foot
body, has a maximum width of 10 feet 5 inches and rides on two four
wheeled DOFASCO trucks, equipped with the hydraulic banking system.
Couplers are standard type H tightlock, which makes power unit and
car compatible with same-level standard rolling stock.
Critics may say that LRC should be compared to Britains
APT (Advance Passenger Train) and HST (High Speed Train) prototypes
and Frances regular production units of the TGS and ETG designs and
prototypes of the RTG and TGV, already flying across the French
countryside -and the midwest United States -at speeds of 100-200
mph and more.
But critics are misled, unless they take into considera
tion as an essential factor the rights-of-way over which these high
speed trains are scheduled to operate, together with the very con
siderable modifications in track layout and signalling systems which
are essential before speeds of this order can be postulated or ac
complished. LRC has shown its ability to operate reliably at speeds
about the 100 mph mark on conventional track, coritrolled by conven
tional signalling systems.
Meanwhile, in LRCs history, the two elements went to the
Uni ted States Department of Transportations test track at Pueblo,
R A I L
H.L.HOWARD PHOTOGRAPHED TEMPO TRAIN 651 AT BAYVIEW JUNCTION ON MARCH
3, 1976. It is understood that no passengers were carried in the LRC
coach while it was in TEMPO service.
Colorado, late in 1973, to take its certificate in reliability. It
completed 1094.76 miles of continuous operation -120 laps on the
test track -at an average speed ·of 96.8 mph, with but two ten-minute
LRCs return to Canada generated an additional spate of
press coverage, as did its demonstration run from Toronto to Hamil
ton and WeIland, Ontario, on February 17, 1975 and a second run from
Toronto to London and return on February 24. These runs were the
harbingers of entry into regular service.
LRC entered revenue service on March 3, 1975, as part of
Canadian Nationals TEMPO Train 651, departing Toronto for Sarnia at
0830. Ten days later, Mr. H.L.Howard of Hamilton, Ontario intercep
ted Train 651 at Bayview Junction, just east of Hamilton, and the
result is presented herewith.
Canadas DOT and DITC continued to press CN for statements
affirming LRCs capabilities, in order to generate interest in other
countries, notably the United States (AMTRAK), Brazil, Argentina and
Tanzania/Zambia, where MLW Industries products are already well known.
CN continued to hesitate, being reluctant to say very much about the
performance of a train consisting of a 1-1 conformation. Of course,
it would be great to have a prototype train to test, in either the
1-5, 1-6-1 or 1-10-1 configurations, but the problem of who would
underwrite the expense of construction has not yet been discussed
publicly, let alone resolved.
More recently, LRC established a new Canadian speed record
for railway passenger trains, when it touched 129 mph on a test run
on CP RAIL between Montreal and Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.
AN ARTISTS SKETCH OF DD GM/HAWKER SIDDELEYS FUTURA, DEPICTED IN a
push-pull configuration. Photo courtesy Diesel Division, GM of Canad,
Meanwhile, the competition has not been inactive. UACs
TURBO continues to slither back and forth from Montreal to Toronto,
often hitting some remarkable speeds in the process. In late April,
1976, CN announced its new rail passenger train logo VIA and TURBO
emerged from Central Station, Montreal, in a new, highly visible
ensemble, featuring the VIA logo. Simultaneously, CN announced six
new train services in the Quebec-Windsor Corridor, but this had no
effect on TURBO timings or LRC.
It might have been expected that the other major diesel-
electric locomotive producer in Canada, Diesel Division, General
Motors of Canada, Limited, would respond to the emergence of the
LRC. It did, on February 25, 1975. Jointly with Hawker Siddeley of
Canada, DD GMCL announced FUTURA – A Modern Concept in Passanger
Railroading. Preliminary design information showed that FUTURA would
not have a hydraulic banking system and that the train was contempla
ted to operate in a 1-6, 2-15 or 1-15-1 conventional configuration.
Coaches, to be built by Hawker Siddeley, will carry 76
passengers in a 2-2 seat configuration, 42 passengers in a club-
galley coach (14 club-style seats, 28 coach seats), a cafe-bar-lounge
seating 22 cafe-style and 26 lounge-style, separated by -of all
things – a bar.
Motive power was announced as a completely redesigned and
streamlined GM 645 locomotive, available in either 2000 or 3000 hp
version. Much stress was placed, in the press announcement, on engine
crew protection, optimum visibility and excellent working environment
in the locomotive cab, with massive collision posts and heavy-gauge
steel construction. FUTURA was described as being capable of 120 mph
according to projected performance data.
Providing that the present economic uncertainty does not
last too long and assuming that developing countries continue to show
interest in these new types of passenger trains, the test results, as
they become ovailable, should be most interesting.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS TURBO TRAINSET, PAINTED IN YELLOW AND
dark blue and sporting the new monogram VIA, is ready to depart
Montreals Central Station. Photo courtesy Canadian National Railways.
ISSN 0008 -4875
is published monthly by the
Canadian Railroad Historical Association
p.o. Box 22. Station B, Montreal,Quebec,Canada/H38 3J5
Editor; 5.5.Worthen Production; P. Murphy
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