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Canadian Rail 415 1990

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Canadian Rail 415 1990

Canadian Rail a
No. 415
=————————–ISSN 0008·.87S —–
EDITOR: Fred F. Angus For your membership in the CAHA which includes a
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Frederick F. Angus
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Robert CMlson
Charles De Jean
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J. Chnstopher Kyle
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The CRHA has a number of local d,vlslons across the cOuntfV. Many hold regular
meelmgs and Issue newslettels. Further informallon m
ay be oblained by writing 10 the
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Andrew W. Panko
Douglas N. W. Smith
Laurence M. Unwin
Richard Vi berg
A. Stephen Walbridge
John C. Weir
On January 15. 1990. as P/Jrt of the
discontinu/Jnces Ofdered by {he government.
VIA reduced the frequency on the Toronto
NiiJ98ra Falls line from threl1 to two Irll;ns per
dilY. On (I suitably bleak January 13th. Train
640 passes through BaYView Junction an·
F()Uta to Toronto on its neJi{ to last {dp.
Phmo: Doug/as N. w: Smith.
As pan ot liS Bctlvilles. the CRHA operates
Ihe Canadian Ra,lway Museum
/JI Oelson/S.
Constant. Quebec whICh IS 14 miles (23 Km.,
hom downtown Montrcal. It Is open daily
IIlle MilY 10 early OCtober. Members and
Iheir ImmedIate f
es a,e admitted free ot
The Railway Scandal that Toppled
a Governntent
by Ena Schneider
The Alberta and Great Waterways Railway was the most
colorful of the railways built in Alberta. Its building caused a
controversy that lead to the resignation of Albertas first
Alexander C. Rutherford, and several cabinet ministers,
a rift
in the Liberal party in Alberta and a disillusioned
The beginnings of this railway went back to 1905, the year
Alberta became a province. It began as another of James
Kennedy Cornwalls schemes to develop the northern Alberta. I
Along with several others, Cornwall obtained a charter from the
Dominion government to build a railway. The Athabasca
Railway Company was to run from Edmonton to near Fort
Cornwall was the only incorporator with any substantial
interest in the railway. He planned to link up rails with a new
steamboat transportation enterprise he was embarking on. A
railroad was needed to circumvent the boiling rapids between
Athabasca Landing and Fort McMurray. Cornwall had been
one of the first white men to shoot Grand Rapids, the most
dangerous of the rapids.
Jim Cornwall was in his mid-thirties when the railway
charter was acquired, along with provisions for a right-of-way. 3
He had already been a sailor, mail carrier, railway construction
worker, trapper, fur trader, and riverman, as well as an
entrepreneur in many fields that affected the northwest. Known
as Peace River Jim , few white men knew the north like he did.
man of action, Cornwall did nothing in half measures and
so it was with the railway. This silver tongued orator tried to
everyone he met in the project, from politicans 4 to news­
papermen. He was unsuccessful in obtaining financial support
from the federal and provincial governments. 5 His close
friendship with Charles W. Cross, the attorney general, and
lobbying of Alberta cabinet members was to no avail. 6
By October 1906, Cornwall despaired of obtaining guarantees
for his
railway. Hoping to salvage the charter, he gave an option
to Faulkner & Emerson of Winnipeg, 7 for $2,500. The option
was taken up by the formation of The Athabasca Syndicate. The
Canadian Annllal Revielv oj Public Affairs, 1910
Statutes oj Dominion oj Canada, 4-5 Edward VII, 1905; Chapter 58
3 Alberta Recreation and Parks, A History oj Lesser Slave Lake
Edmonton Bulletin, 15 April 1910
syndicate consisted of eight members holding 125 shares, of
which Cornwall received 25 fully paid up shares. Among the
syndicate members was J. Woodman, a civil engineer from
Winnipeg, and Alfred Hawes of Toronto, who was a member of
the London Stock Exchange. H
Cornwall was the only member of the syndicate who lived in
Alberta or had any intimate knowledge of the type of country to
traversed. Using information obtained from Cornwall, and
his own
experience as a Canadian Pacific Railway engineer,
Woodman prepared cost estimates. ~ He estimated it would cost
$13,700 per mile to build the railway line to Lac La Biche, and
$1,000 more per mile beyond there.
Towards the end of 1906, the members of the syndicate
commenced negotiations with the Government of Alberta. The
following year, the syndicate sent Alfred Hawes to England to
seek financing for the enterprise. On 18 October 1907 the
members of the syndicate informed the government they could
arrange financing for the road if the government would guarantee
its bonds for $13,000 a mile. William H. Cushing, minister of
Public Works, said the government was not interested.
At the beginning of 1908 Alfred D. Bowen entered the
picture. He was an agent for William Rockwell Clarke, and his
brother Bertrand Rockwell Clarke, bankers from Kansas City,
Missouri, U. S. A. 10 Bowen approached Cornwall with a view
to acquiring the railway
charter. Cornwall directed him to the
syndicates lawyer, George Minty, II of Tupper, Galt, Tupper,
Minty & McTavish in Winnipeg. Bowen obtained an option,
dated 5 June 1908, from the members of the syndicate for the
purchase of all their rights under the Athabasca Railway Co.
Soon after, William Clarke came to Edmonton to negotiate
with the government.
At the same time he made a separate
arrangement with Cornwall. Ifhis railway enterprise succeeded,
Clarke would pay $25,000 for a controlling interest in
Cornwalls new steamship enterprise, 12 and Cornwall would
release his interest in
the railway. (Cornwall received $14,500
of the amount).
John W. Chalmers et ai, The Land oj Peter Pond, Occasional Publication Number 12, (Edmonton: Boreal Institute for Northern Studies, 1974), P. 78
6 Cross and Cornwall had interests in the Edmonton Iron Works Ltd.
Edmonton Bulletin, 28 April 1910
Edmonton Bulletin. 9 May 1910
9 Edmonton Bulletin, 27 April 1910
10 Edmonton BIIlIetin, 30 September 1909
II Edmonton Bulletill, 15 April 1910
12 Edmonton Blllletin, 15 April 1910
As a precaution the government investigated the financial
of the Clarke brothers. 13 Since they were both vice
of The United States Trust Co. their credentials
seemed irreproachable.
14 The trust company had been estab­
in 1888 by their father William Bingham Clarke, a
Kansas City financier with an excellent reputation. Besides his
in a number of banks, the elder Clarkes interests
had included the salt industry, mining and railroad building.
Besides, William was a graduate
of Yale University and
Bertrand a graduate
of William College.
Once negotiations with the
Alberta government were
progressing satisfactorily William
Clarke looked for a chief
He approached a friend of the family, someone he
could trust.
Dr. John A. L. Waddell, a consulting engineer, who
was a partner
in Waddell&H1mington of Kansas City,
accepted Clarkes offer. Waddells services did not come at
bargain prices. The first year he operated on a per diem fee of
fifty dollars and expenses. From 1 October 1909, his salary was
$25,000 a year, plus a bonus of$75,000 for advisory services,
an exhorbitant amount for those times.
John Waddell was no stranger to
Canada. He was Canadian
by birth 15 and one of three borthers who were civil engineers. He
was also financially independent. He was an innovative engineer
and a prolific writer
of articles and books, who relished being in
the limelight. 16 He was a widely acclaimed expert in the U. S.
on bridge structures.
17 A good deal of his work had been done on
railway bridges,
1M and he had been chief engineer on several
railway projects.
1Y His overseas work occasionally brought him
decorations and he liked to wear the medals when posing for
formal photographs. Waddell came to the
A. & G. W. with
impeccable credentials, a
nd left with a blot on an otherwise
distinguished career.
William Clarke entrusted the Athabasca Syndicates engineer,
Woodman, with making arrangements for a reconnaissance
survey over the proposed route
of the railway. Shortly
afterwards Woodman hired Cecil
Goddard as assistant chief
engineer. Woodward knew
Goddard was an engineer of some
in the area of railway surveys and a man of integrity.
He had a total of twelve years experience as assistant engineer
on the Canadian Pacific and
Grand Trunk Pacific railways. 20
Goddard received detailed instructions from Dr. Waddell on
what was required
in the preliminary survey. Waddell stressed
Goddard was to keep a low profile and none of the
information secured was to reach the pages
of the press.
Goddard was left with no illusions as to
what was expected of
him when George Minty, who was now lawyer for the railway,
told him
of further instructions he had received by letter from
13 Edmonton BIII/etin, 26 February 1910
14 Records of The State Historical Society of Missouri
Clarke. Before Mr. Goddard starts I would like you and Mr.
Woodman to impress upon him the necessity of securing for us
an absolutely conservative report.
We want to know from the
beginning because it will be suicidal if we deceive ourselves, and
I do not want any suggestions he may receive later to change this
or to betray him into giving us too rosy a story. We want
plain, hard, unbiased facts. 21
By August 1908 Cecil Goddard was doing what he loved
best, travelling north in unknown territory by pack horse.
22 The
thrill of discovery bouyed his spirits as the survey crew
proceeded towards
Lac La Biche. On arrival at the lake he
headed for the Hudsons Bay fort at the southeast end of the
lake, then continued on towards
Fort McMurray. North of Lac
La Biche the terrain was uncleared, making the going tough even
for young men.
Meanwhile, Waddell had hired a second engineer to do an
independent reconnaissance survey.
He had known J. M.
Phillips for many years. He was about 45 years of age and also
came from
Kansas. Phillips went north via the east end of Lac
La Biche. He met Goddard, who was on his way back. Phillips
came back
by the west end of Lac La Biche via Plamondon.
Eventually plans were made for the railway to run
15 miles west
of Lac La Biche. 23
Goddard had a high regard for William Clarke and John
Waddell. Clarkes instructions were that it was to be a first class
road -a road that would bear the strictest investigation and
criticism. Soon after his return from his trip
Goddard came to
the conclusion that
Dr. Waddell was willing to settle for an
inferior road.
At that time Waddell drafted a report on the
information given to him by
Goddard and used his own figures in
certain places.
Goddard refused to sign it. When Waddell had
made several alterations he agreed to s
ign when assured it would
not commit him.
To Goddards surprise this report later
appeared on government files.
Waddell prepared an estimate for Clarke, dated 3 October
1908, in which he projected the cost of the road at $27,000 per
mile. On
13 November Phillips made a short report to Waddell,
in which he estimated the cost of the road, exclusive of
equipment and financing at $28,000 per mile for a line east of
Lac La Biche and $25,500 per mile for one west of Lac La
February 1909 William Clarke had abandoned the
charter in favor of one granted by the Province of
Alberta and changed the name of the railway to the Alberta and
Great Waterways Railway. 25 The principals were William and
Bertrand Clarke and William Bain. Bain, a Winnipeg accountant
and brother-in-law
of Minty, was a director in name only. 26
15 Men of Affairs in Greater Kansas City 1912, (Kansas City, Mo: Gate City Press, 1912), P. 116
16 Joint Collection. University of Missouri, Westem Historical Manuscript Collection
17 The State Historical Society of Missouri, Centennial History of Missouri, P. 280-285
1M ENR News of the Week, 10 March 1938
19 The State Historical Society of Missouri, Centennial History of Missouri, P. 280-285
20 Provincial Archiles of Alberta, Ace. 74.1, Evidence taken by Royal Commission on Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, P. 2934
21 Provincial A rchives of Alberta, Acc. No. 74.1/322. Evidence taken by Royal Commission re Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company
22 Edmonton Bul/etin, 15 April 1910
23 Edmonton Bul/etin, 22 and 25 February 1910
24 Provincial Archives of Alberta, Acc. 74.1/322, Testimony at Royal Commission 1910
25 Statutes of Alberta, 9 Edward Vll, 1909, Chapter 46
26 Edmonton Bul/etin, 28 April 1910
Albertas First Cabinet 1905:
G. H. V. Bulyea, Lieutenant-Governor, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, Premier of Alberta,
W. T. Findlay, Minister of Agriculture, Hon. W. H. Cushing, Minister of Public Works,
C. W. Cross, Attorney General, Hon. L. G. De Veber, Minister without Portfolio.
Photo: Provincial Archives
of Alberta, Ernest Brown Collection. B6666.
At the same time the government guaranteed the railways
bonds to the amount
of $ 20,000 per mile for an estimated
of 350 miles, plus $400,000 for the setting up of a
terminal at Edmonton.
27 This was music to the ears of Waddell
who believed the railway could be built for
$17,000 a mile
without a contractor.
The government retained an option to
purchase the entire undertaking at any time. The railway
legislation was pushed through on the last day
of the session,
along with an amendment to the Railway
Act transferring the
of railways to Premier Rutherford from the minister of
Public Works.
Clarke, a complete stranger and an American, must have
been a promotor with excellent powers
of persuasion. He had
succeeded where Cornwall and the
Athabasca Syndicate with its
large complement
of Canadians, had failed. He also obtained
concessions vastly
in excess of what had been asked for by the
Now Clarke set about selling the railway bonds and
forming a construction company. Meanwhile, office space recently vacated
by a branch of the
of Hamilton was leased at 21 Jasper Avenue West. n
set about staffing the office. Waddell had known Edwin
Alfred James for years and recommended him to Clarke. Clarke
persuaded J ames to come out
of retirement to take the position of
general manager in April 1909,29 at a salary of $ 12,000 a
year. 30 James had no misgivings about joining the railway
because he had gone to Kansas City
and found Clark was
of four banks and Vice President of the U. S. Trust
Company and everyone spoke highly of him . In later years this
period with the A.
& G. W. was one James preferred to forget. )1
James knew something about railroading alright. This
Englishman seemed a natural for the job. He had moved up
through the ranks. He had grown up with Attorney General
Charles Cross in Madoc, Ontario, and joined the Grand Trunk
there as a telegraph operator. 32 He was superintendent of
transportation in 1902 when the Canadian Northern enticed him
away to the post
of general superintendent. )) Three years later
27 Slatutes oj Alberta, 9 Edward VII. 1909, Chapter 16
28 The Northern News, Athabasca, 14 October 1909
29 Manitoba Legislature Scrapbook, 30 April 1909
30 Edmol1lon Bulletin, 20 April 1910
31 Whos Who, 1911 and 1912
32 Winnipeg Free Press, 27 October 1902
33 Winnipeg Free Press, 21 January 1904
J. K. Jim Cornwall on the banks oj the Athabasca River,
c. 1907-1914.
Photo: Provincial Archives
oj Alberta. A 1424.
he became general manager, but ill health prompted early
in 1907.
He was still middle-aged and the post with
A. & G. W. was a challenge he could not resist tackling.
In July 1909,
James introduced railway builder John Duncan
McArthur to William Clarke. After some discussion about the
railway, Clarke suggested to the Winnipeg businessman that the
road could
be built for $ 17,000 per mile, completely ready for
operation. Knowing
McArthur was a wealthy man, Clarke
attempted to persuade him to
put up $ I million of his own money
to start a construction company
in which he would get a half
interest and his money back later. Clarke intended to have a
interest in it and in this way reimburse himself the $450,000 he
had spent so far on expenses.
At their last meeting in October 1909 McArthur told Clarke,
No deal. McArthur was candid about his reasons, He
(Clarke) was not a railway builder and I did not want to be
connected with him and him have any say
in something he didnt
know anything about . 36 The rejection did not prevent Clarke
from borrowing $ 5
,000 from McArthur to get locating engineers
out on the line.
When he repaid the loan he included an extra
$500 for expenses. McArthur immediately returned the money
I feel that it is my business to stand my own
expenses when looking into a proposition.
In the meantime, plans and specifications were presented to
the cabinet by Waddell.
3H By October 1909 a location party of
34 Canadian Men and Women o/the Time, 1912
about 20 men was in the field. They had two wagon loads of
camp supplies and set up camp about4 miles north ofNamao. 39
Waddell went north to join the surveying party a few days
On 7 October 1909, the agreement between the province and
A. & G. W. railway was signed. A month later the railway
company was organized. The $ 50,000 of paid up capital stock
was subscribed for by an unusual method.
No actual money was
paid on this stock.
It was arranged by an overdraft, by which
Clarke drew the cheque for that amount and deposited it to the
of the company. No money was actually paid out of the
The Canada West Construction Company, formed under a
of Canada charter, was organized at the same time. 41
Its first incorporators were George Minty, Charles S. Tupper
H. W. Hollis, all from the same law office.
interests, which were only nominal, were subsequently trans­
ferred to Bertrand Clarke. This company made an agreement
with the
A. & G. W. whereby it agreed to build the railway. 43 In
return all the proceeds
of the bond issue, all of the capital stock,
and all the other assets
of the railway company were transferred
to it. Although Bertrand Clarke was the president
of the
construction company, his brother, William, firmly held the
of Control.
Both the railway and the construction company were run as
one, using the same staff. James A. McKinnon had been hired
as right
of way agent, on I November 1909. His previous
employment with the Liberal Club
in Edmonton and then as
election agent
in the north, had not given him any experience in
the purchase of land. 44 His contacts made during his previous
employment may have been useful. With sufficient agreements
in hand work was finally about to start on the railway.
On I November 1909, Clarke sold the bonds, amounting to
7,400,000, on the London market through J . Pierpont Morgan
& Co. allegedly at par and deposited the money in local banks to
the governments credit. Shortly afterwards it was learned
the bonds were sold at 110 instead of at par. 45 The $ 740,000
difference was never satisfactorily explained.
About this time the Hudsons Bay Company, realizing their
land grants would be worthless
if the railway was built through
Plamondon, missing them, approached the promoter with a
The Hudsons Bay would give the railway the
necessary land for their right
of way and yards at Lac La Biche,
and five lake front lots. In return the railway would build a hotel
$50,000 and both companies would share equally in the
profits from the sale
of townsite lots. 46 It was settled. The
railway would change its route. 47
35 Provincial Archives 0/ Alberta, Acc. 74.1, Evidence taken by Royal Commission on Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, P. 1950
36 Provincial Archives 0/ Alberta, Acc. 74.1. Evidence taken by Royal Commission on Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company. P. 1929
37 Provincial Archives 0/ Alberta, Acc. 74.1. Evidence taken by Royal Commission on Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, P. 1937
38 Edmonton Bulletin, 26 February 1910
39 Edmonton Bulletin, 4 October 1909
40 Edmonton Bulletin, 6 January 1912
41 Canadian Annual Review o/Public AjJairs, 1910
42 Edmonton Bulletin, 28 April 1910
43 Provincial Archives 0/ Alberta, Acc. 70.414. Agreement between the A. & G. W. R. and Canada West Construction Company
44 Edmonton Bulletin, 20 April 19IO
45 L. G. Thomas, The Liberal Party in Alberta, a History o/Politics in the Province o/Alberta 1905-1921, (Canada: University of Toronto Press. 1969), P. 70
46 Town of Lac La Biche Archives
47 Lac La Biche Post, 7 July 1986
Contractor Manders and his men break ground on the Alberta and Greal Waterways Railway in November 1909.
On 15 November 1909 the first sod was turned on the A. &
G. W. six teen miles north of Edmonton. 48 Contractor E.
Manders had signed a contract to grade seven miles of the line.
He had 40 men with 35 tearns on the ground brushing and
clearing the right
of way under the supervision of Engineer
By mid-
December, when work stopped because of the cold
weather, grading was done on a good portion
of the first seven
About two-thirds of the route from Edmonton to Fort
McMurray had been cleared, although the route had not yet
been approved
by the government. The route finally chosen did
not follow the routes previously surveyed, but permitted less
expensive construction.
During the winter months, discord in the Liberal ranks
heightened. There was criticism
of the railway contract and the
methods used to arrive at it.
When the Legislature met in
February 1910 Cushing resigned as minister of Public Works49
J. R. Boyle, member for Sturgeon, gave notice of a
to expropriate the A. & G. W. and set the wheels in
motion for an examination
of the governments actions in this
On 25 February the debate began. Cushing firmly maintained
that the guarantee
of the railway bonds had been made without
consent and failed to protect Albertans. 51 The other
ministers involved insisted he had been present
at the cabinet
52 What followed was the most sensational week long
Legislature debate
in the provinces history. The opposition,
ably led by the Hon. R. B. Bennett, hinted that the missing
48 Edmolllon Bulletin, 15 November 1909
49 Edmolllon Bulletin, 17 February 1910
50 Edmonton Bulletill, 26 February 1910
51 Edmolllon Bulletill, 17 and 26 February 1910
52 Edmollton Bulletin, 25 February 1910
53 Edmonton Bulletin, 17 and 23 February, 20 March 1910
Grand Rapids, Athabasca River.
Photo: Sutherland.
money was in Clarkes pocket. There were even whisperings
that some
of it had made its way into those of cabinet ministers.
There was also the disquietening puzzle
of the small number of
documents found on government files regarding negotiations for
such a major undertaking.
53 Some claimed documents had been
of quietly when the first rumblings of discontent
On the afternoon
of9 March Attorney General Cross and his
deputy Sydney
Woods resigned. The following morning W.A.
Buchanan, minister without portfolio, withdrew from the
54 Cross claimed his own resignation was because
Cushing had been invited to re-enter the cabinet.
55 Cushing did
54 Journals oJthe Legislarive Assembly oJthe Province oj Alberta, February 10 to May 26, 1910, P. 70
55 L. G. Thomas, The Liberal Party inAlberta, a History oJPolitics in the Province oJA Iberta 1905-1921, (Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1969), P. 82
Hon. A.L. Sijton, Premier of Alberta 1910-1917.
Photo: Provincial A rchives
of Alberta. A2685.
not return and three days later Cross was back in his seat. A vote
of confidence, which passed by twenty votes to seventeen,
revealed a split
in the Liberal ranks. 56
On 14 March, hoping to clear himself and his government,
Dr. Rutherford appointed a Royal Commission to investigate
A. & G.W. transactions. 57 The commission consisted of
Hon. D. L. Scott, Hon. Horace Harvey and Hon. N. D. Beck
of the Supreme Court and commenced on 29 March 1910.
Robson was the lawyer for the A. & G. W., but he withdrew
from the investigation when William Clarke failed to appear.
Clarke claimed the controversy did not concern him directly,
but was stirred up by political enemies of the present
government. 5Y
Dr. Waddell was a key figure appearing before the
commission. R. B. Bennett, one
of the lawyers representing 16
members of the Legislature, questioned him closely about the
estimated figures on
file at the A. & G. W. office being lower
than those supplied to the government. Waddell insisted the
changes were made as a result
of his best judgement and not to
cheat the government. He said the railway was being built to
better specifications than those shown on the agreement with the
government. Built to the standard he intended the lowest
might be $17,000 a mile. The route map submitted to the
government and tabled
in the Legislature during the famous
debate could not be located.
When the House met on 26 May 1910, the Lieutenant­
Governor announced the resignation
of Premier Rutherford. 60 It
was a lethal political blow to a man who was widely respected for
his honesty and integrity.
He was succeeded by the Hon. Arthur
Lewis Sifton, formerly chief justice of Alberta.
The commission hearings concluded on 7 July 1910, after
by 46 witnesses. There were 3225 pages of
convoluted evidence and 255 exhibits. In November a majority
report signed
byHarvey and Scott was presented along with
Becks minority report.
61 Although the commission exonerated
the government ministers
of any person-a I implication, the
reports were inconclusive and the evidence did little to allay the
publics suspicions.
During this time the
A. & G. W. office staff dwindled as it
became obvious that the railway project was at a standstill.
Smaller quarters were rented
in the Alberta Block. 62 John S.
Seymour, who had come from
Washington, had only been
of the company since 25 February 1910. Allan R.
Buddo, who had been Dr. Waddells stenographer, remained on
as the
companys representative in Edmonton. 63
J.D. McArthur, Railway Builder and Lumberman,
from Winnipe
56 L.G. Thomas, The Liberal Parly ill A Iberia -A Hislory of Polilics in Ihe Province of A Iberia 1905-1921, (Canada: University of ToronlO Press, 1969)
57 John Blue, Alberla Pari and Preselll-Hislorical & Biographical, Vol. 1, (Chicago, III.: Pioneer Historical Publishing Co., 1924), P. 127
58 Edmonton Bullelin. 30 March 1910
59 Edmonlon Bullelin, 21 April 1910
60 Canadian Annual Review oj Public AjJairs, 1910
61 Legislalive Library. Edmonton, Alberta Royal Commission on the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway Company, Report 1910
62 Hendersons Direclory, 1910
63 Hendersons Directory, 1911
In July 1910 the A. & G. W. failed to pay the first instalment
of interest on its bonds and the province was obliged to do so. In
September Clarke made a futile attempt to save the A. & G. W.
by initiating negotiations with
Foley, Welsh and Stewart for its
64 Two months elapsed before Clarke resurfaced in
Winnipeg to condemn the commission and Siftons railway
The government, he said, declined to accept the
companys ofTer of 1.5 percent which, with the banks interest,
would have
made up the 5 percent interest.
In an odd quirkoffate the missing plan of the A. & G. W. was
stashed away on top of the Speakers cupboard the
following month.
It had no signature of approval by Dr.
Rutherford, indicating that the former government had not
endorsed the railways plans. 66
As the rift in the Liberal party narrowed, a new difficulty
Hoping to end the controversy, the Sifton government
decided to cancel the contract with the railway company and
an act by which the proceeds from the sale of the bonds
become part of the provincial revenues. The result was
costly lawsuits.
Early in January 1912 lawyers for the bondholders, the
Bank, the railway, Clarke and the Province of Alberta
attended hearings. Lower courts held government appropriation
67 Clarke took the case to England. In January 1913 the
Privy Council
of England declared the act ultra vires. The funds
could be used only for railway construction and
Premier Sifton
was obligated to
have the act repealed. 68
The $ 7,400,000 for railway construction must have been
eyed by a
number of people and certainly by J . D. McArthur,
who was already building the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British
Columbia Railway.
In the fall of 1913 McArthur publicly laid his
cards on the table.
He would take over the A. & G. W. subject to
certain conditions.
Premier Sifton presented McArthurs
proposed plan to the Legislature. After debate it was given
It provided for work to commence on or before 31
December 1913 and to be completed within two years of that
date. Dunvegan Yards would be used as the terminal. 70 A settle­
must have been made with the Clarkes. They dropped out
of the picture.
At the end of December 1913, the sod was once again turned
on the A.
& G. W. and McArthurs survey teams retraced the
of their predecessors along an overgrown route and staked
alternate lines. Early in 1914, the contract for ISO miles of the
was let to the D. F. McArthur Co. of Winnipeg, which
owned by McArthurs brother Duncan. 71 Although A. &
G. W. was finally being built, the stigma of the 1910 Royal
Commission would continue to haunt the provincial government
years to come.
Montreal, Que., 14 November 1910

TO: The Hon. Arthur L. Sifton,
Premier of Alberta
FROM: William R. Clarke,
President, Alberta & Great Waterways Ry.
There is rumour here you are planning announce to-day a
policy regarding
waterways railway. We request you defer any
announcement until our side fairly before you and which we
in consideration of our large expenditures of time and
in successfully promoting enterprise and in consideration
of damage have sustained from being forced to curtail construc­
tionjust after well started as result of un warren ted charges and in
consideration of report of royal comm iss ion just made pu blic. It
is only fair that we be permitted to put our side of the matter
before you and the people of Alberta as the other side was so
thoroughly placed before the people
of Alberta last year. If we
cannot show to you and to the people
of Alberta by voluntarily
addressing you that
our intentions were bona fide and those of
practical business men we will then be willing to step aside and
somebody else to build the railway, providing only that
we are fairly recompensed for our time and money spent in
getting the project started. lfyou will give us this opportunity to
be heard and to offer
our solution of the present problem which
we believe to be in the intere
st of those of us who have joined in
the money advanced to date we will hasten to place the matter
before you within the
coming fortnight if you will set a date
approximately a fortnight dis
tant upon which you will give us an
audience. Kindly
address me care Hotel Windsor, Montreal.
Edmonton, September 22, 1913
Honorable Arthur L. Sifton,
of Alberta,
Dear Sir:
On behalf of myself and associates I propose to take over The
Alberta and Great Waterways Railway on terms satisfactory to
of Bondholders, and the Royal Bank, and
propose to construct same between original terminals on route to
64 Letter rrom Wm. R. Clarke to the Hon. Arthur L. Sifton, 10 September 1910
65 EdmonlOn Bulletill. 28 November 1910
66 Edmonton Bulletin, 10 December 1910
67 Edmonton Bulletin, 23 January 1912
68 EdmonlOn Bulletin, 13 September 1922
69 Provincial Archives of Alber/a, Acc. 70.414; Grollard News, 4 October 1913
70 Edmon/on Bulle/in, I December J 913
71 The Northern News, 23 January J914
be approved by the Provincial Railway Department under the
contract entered into with the Railway
Company for this
purpose, the specifications, however, to be similar to terms to
those fixed for the Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia
In case mileage between terminals does not exhaust mileage
in guarantee, the balance to be devoted to branches on
similar terms. Location to be hereafter chartered by Legislature
and approved by your
The interest on the proceeds of bond issue earned up to the
time the necessary legislation becomes effective, to be received
by the Government, the Government to provide for the
of the interest on the bonds up to that time; and all sums properly
payable in respect
of claims filed with Government will be settled
by the Company. The Government will, of course, waive
any default
of the Railway Company to date, and will see that
the entire proceeds
of the bond issue and accrued interest is paid
into a chartered bank
or banks under the terms ofthe Guarantee
I would require an extension
of time for two years from 31s
December next for completion of work and would agree to
commence actual work before that date.
Yours truly,
J.D. McArthur
APPENDIX III to The Scandal that Toppled a Government
~h.>,. ~, •• ~ ~ Fort McMurray
-r waterways ———–
eNs Last Passenger Train Makes
Final Run
by Douglas N. W. Smith
On Friday, October 27, 1989 CN exited from the
passenger business when the mixed train from
pulled into the Edmonton, Alberta freight yards. The Muskeg
Mixed had made its final run. The mixed train, once a common
of most Canadian branch lines, now exists on only four
routes* .
The Edmonton-Waterways line was one of two rail lines
built in the area north
of Edmonton by Canadian railway
contractor J . D.
McArthur. In 1912, he began construction of
the Edmonton Dunvegan & British Columbia Railway (ED&BC)
which would open up the northwestern section of the province to
Two years later, McArthur began construction of
the Alberta & Great Waterways Railway. The northern most
terminal would be
Waterways. There inter-modal connections
would be made with barges which sailed along the
River to the mining and trapping settlements in the Arctic.
of the A&GW began from the junction with the
ED&BC at Carbondale, a point some 18 miles north of
Edmonton. When it reached the division point of Lac La Biche
in 1915, the A&GW inaugurated its first regularly scheduled
passenger service: a
modest once-weekly mixed train service
Lac La Biche and Edmonton.
In an effort to stimulate passenger traffic, McArthur decided
to build a resort hotel at
La Biche. Recognizing that few holiday
travellers would
put up with the long schedule and poor comfort
provided by the mixed train, it was decided to introduce a
dedicated passenger service.
As the number of passengers was
not expected to justify the
cost of a conventional train, the
A&GW went looking for some of the new-fangled railcars.
As fate would have it, the McKeen Company had repossessed
two gasoline cars from the
Woodstock & Sycamore Railroad in
Illinois. Snapped up by the
A&GW, the cars made test runs
over the 127 mile
Edmonton-Lac La Biche route in October
1915. When the hotel opened in June 1916, the cars were
scheduled to make four round trips
per week.
The hotel venture proved to be ill-fated. By 1918, the railcars
were providing a local
service over the ED&BC between
Edmonton and
Westlock and passenger service to Lac La Biche
was limited to twice weekly mixed trains. By the end
of the
1920s, the two McKeen cars had been placed in storage.
Subsequently, they were recycled as oil storage sheds.
While the gas cars were sputtering over the lower end
of the
A&GW, the construction crews continued their northward
• These are the Wabowden-Churchill and The Pas-Lynn Lake trains operated by
VIA, the
Cochrane-Moosonee train operated by the Ontario Northland and
Sept Isles-Labrador
City/Schefferville trains operated by the Quebec North
& Labrador Railway.
push. By 1919, the A&GW had reached a point 10 miles from
Waterways. Another two years would pass before the line
reached the
northern terminal and inaugurated regular service as
the builders encountered troubles stabilizing the roadbed.
well, McArthur was finding the A&GW and ED&BC to be
unremunerative. A financial crisis and public outcrys over
service afforded to settlers along the lines caused the provincial
government to take them over in 1920.
Backed by the resources of the provincial government, the
portion of the A &G W was rehabilitated and laid to a
point where connections could be made with the
River barges. Once weekly mixed train service began between
Lac La Biche and a point near Waterways on November 27,
1921. What raised this service a cut above the ordinary was the
of a through Edmonton-Waterways sleeper in the
trains consist. In 1925, the line was extended 3.5 miles to its
present terminus in
Waterways in order to serve s.alt mines.
In 1927, the Alberta government finished construction ofthe
Pembima Valley Railway to Barrhead, a point 66 miles from
Edmonton. Twice weekly mixed train service was inaugurated
Edmonton and Barrhead. The combine was handled by
Lac La Biche trains between the downtown Edmonton
station and Carbondale. At Carbondale, it was switched onto
the local freight which had originated in the ED&BC s freight
on the outskirts of Edmonton. This pattern of operation
survived until 1953 when the Barrhead mixed began to operate
through to Edmonton as a separate train.
January 1929, the provincial government sold the
A&G W, ED&BC and the other small connecting lines it owned
to the Northern Alberta Railways (NAR). The new company
was jointly owned by CN and CP.
When the N AR took over the lines, passenger carrying trains
ran twice weekly between
Edmonton and Lac La Biche. Once
per week the passenger equipment ran through to Waterways.
High speeds were not a hallmark of the NAR trains-more than
24 hours to cover the 300 miles between Edmonton and
Waterways. Friendly service and a willingness to stop wherever
a passenger or parcel had to be set down endeared the trains to
local residents.
The service operated at the 1929 frequency level until the mid
1940s when the service between
Edmonton and Lac La Biche
was increased to three round trips per week.
While this article
generally refers to the Edmonton-Waterways trains as passenger
trains up to 1967, it should be noted that these trains operated as
dedicated passenger
or mixed trains depending upon operating
First NAR Schedule
Effective January 29, 1929
Tues & Wed &
Tues Thurs
Fri Thurs
0930 Iv Edmonton ar 1435
1110 Carbondale 1300
ar Barrhead
Iv 0820
1900 ar Lac La Biche Iv 0500
2030 Iv Lac La Biche ar 0001*
1030 ar Waterways
Iv 1030
Note: * Arrival in Lac La Biche Friday morning.
On those days when the train operated to Waterways, the
NAR provided meal service for the benefit of sleeping car
Up to the post World War II years, this service was
lly provided by a buffet sleeper car. In December 1946, the
meal car
Fort St. John was placed on the weekly Edmonton­
Waterways train.
Of wooden construction, the car had been
as a coach when ED&BC purchased it from the
Boston & Albany Railroad during the 1920s. Rebuilt in the
NAR shops, the car contained a kitchen, 18 seat dining room
and four open sections for use by the crew.
First class amenities fell victim to new highways built during
1950s. In April 1955, the NARended meal service on all
its passenger trains. Two years later, the once weekly
Edmonton-Waterways sleeper was discontinued. [The
continued to operate a sleeping car on its Edmonton-Dawson
Creek service until 1961].
On April
28, 1957 the service was subject to major
restructuring. One
of the three weekly Edmonton-Lac La Biche
trips was discontinued while the frequency between Lac La
Biche and Waterways was doubled from one to two trips
NAR was one of the last North American railroads to
convert to diesel power. Steam made its last run on the
Waterways train in September 1960. Replacing the steam
engines was a specialized locomotive acquired from General
Motors Diesel for use on the branch. In deference to the light
weight rail on the Waterways line, the
GMDI road switchers
were mounted on three axle trucks to distribute their weight.
239,000 pound units packed 1,200 horsepower. CN was
the only other railroad to purchase this model.
Faced with declining passenger counts
as roads were pushed
farther into the north, the
NAR trimmed its passenger expenses.
In October 1965, it ceased to run into the downtown
CN depot.
Thereafter the train originated at a
new station built at the NAR
Dunvegan Yards in the northwest section of Edmonton.
For a six month period starting in October 1966, the NAR
replaced the conventional consist with an RDC-3 which it
leased from
CP. Use of an RDC permitted the running time to be
by 1 hour and 40 minutes. The experiment proved
in attracting new riders. The 8 hour and 50 minute
RDC schedule was based on an average speed of33 mph, hardly
fast enough to compete with the automobile. In April 1967 , the
RDC was withdrawn and the Edmonton­
Waterways service were downgraded to mixed train status.
schedule was lengthened to 14 hours and 25 minutes. The
following October, through service between Edmonton and
Waterways ended. Each trip thereafter was punctuated
by an
overnight layover at Lac La Biche.
When CN took over the NAR on January 1, 1981, it also
assumed responsibility
for the mixed train service. CN closed
down the
NARs Dunvegan Yard and began to originate the
mixed at its Calder Yard.
CN deadheaded the passenger
equipment to the
VIA-CN downtown passenger station where
the equipment was serviced and express shipments were loaded.
Passengers, however, could not ride the equipment between the
downtown station and Calder Yard.
In October 1983,
CN applied to the Canadian Transport
(CTC) for permission to discontinue the passenger
service. In its decision
of January 26, 1986, the CTC
determined that the service should be retained in order to serve
remote communities between Lac La Biche and
As part of its decision, the CTC required CN to operate the
service on the published schedule.
It had become common
practice for the crew to run through from Waterways to
in the same day rather than layover in Lac La Biche
as was shown
in the public timetable. Complying with the order,
CN made the southbound trip a through schedule while in
northbound direction the schedule continued to require a
layover at Lac La Biche.
As well, the CTC required CN to cease handling passengers
in the baggage car during periods of peak demand. In order to
comply with this order,
CN acquired a surplus cafe-bar-lounge
car from VIA and reconfigured it as a coach. This marked the
last change
in equipment used on this run.
Number Number
Type Builder Built Notes
1460 1460
Baggage Canadian
Car 1948
& Foundry
Coach Canadian
Car 1942 2
& Foundry
7857 1602 Baggage Pullman 1925 3
Coach Canadian
Car 1954-5 4
& Foundry
Notes: I -Only streamlined car ever owned by the NAR.
2 -Streamlined American Flyer type car built for CN as car 5209.
to VIA and subsequently reacquired by CN for use on the NAR.
3 -Originally built as Pullman Club-Baggage car Eagle Spring.
by the NAR in 1942, the car was rebuilt as a full baggage car
in CP Angus Shops in Montreal before entering NAR service.
4 -Originally b
uilt as a coach for CN. CN converted the car into a cafe­
car 2500 between 1964 and 1971. Sold to VIA and
subsequently re-acquired
by CN. Converted back to a coach by CN
prior to entering NAR service.
In this July 17, 1959 view, northbound NAR train 7 charges through Campbell, Alberta on a sunny morning. Behind Decapod 52
are two former
U. S. Army troop sleeper cars which the NAR acquired and converted to baggage cars after World War 11, a
wooden baggage car, a
com boose and a coach. Few railroads used 2-10-0 type steam locomotives on their passenger trains. This
one was built
by the Canadian Locomotive Company in 1927 for the Alberta Government Railways. Steam continued to haul the Edmonton-Waterwa
ys trains until September 1960.
Photo Credit:
Paterson George Collection.
Photo Source: Douglas
N. W. Smith.
On June 1, 1986, CN reduced the frequency of its freight
service from two to
one round trip a week due to reductions in the
of sulphur shipments. Thereafter, the second weekly trip
operated as a dedicated passenger train. This train was
informally dubbed the Muskeg
Flyer while its compatriot
bore the longstanding title the Muskeg
Mixed. The restora­
of full passenger train service proved to be fleeting. Due to
the construction
of an all-weather road to Conklin, the largest
community between Lac La Biche and Waterways, and
parallel reductions
in passenger handlings, the CTC allowed
CN to discontinue the passenger train in April 1987.
In 1988, roads were completed into all the major communities
along the line. Passenger demand
feel rapidly. In 1988, the service carried 871 passengers
or approximately 8 passengers
per trip while for the first three months of J 989, 70 passengers
were accommodated
or less than three per trip. Based upon the
of a road to all the communities along the line, the
low level
of patronage and an annual subsidy of$300,000, the
Transportation Agency, the successor to the CTC,
ordered the service discontinued on October 31, 1989.
The Muskeg Mixed did not pass away unremarked. At
Waterways, a short ceremony with CN, city and historical
society representatives marked the occasion. Afterwards
passengers boarded the two passenger coaches for the last
departure severing one of the few remaining links to the
pioneering era.
Locomotive 161 was the only Pacific type steam locomotive owned by the NAR. It was acquired from Canadian Pacific in 1947.
This early 1950s
view shows the southbound Train 8 from Waterways 10 Edmonton at Carbondale. At this time, Edmonton­
Waterways train offered patrons all the amenities necessUlY for the overnight trip. Trailing the
161 is a wooden baggage car, a
wooden mail-express
car, a steel baggage car (formerly a U. S. Army troop sleeper), a wooden coach, a steel-plated diner car
to be the car St. John, and a steel-plated sleeper.
Photo Credit: Collias Collection, National Museum
of Science and Technology.
Photo Source: Douglas
N. W. Smith.
Serving a vast area with a small population, the NAR
adopted a policy of supplementing its infrequent passenger trains
by operating a passenger
car on its way freight trains. With the
boom in freight and passenger traffic which
occurred during
War II, the NAR found itself short of passenger coaches
and cabooses.
To stretch its supply of equipment, NAR rebuilt a
of its passenger cars to include a passenger section and a
area for the train crew. In order to allow the train crew
forward visibility to inspect their train,
small bay windows were
on both sides of the car. These cars, which combined
coach and caboose features, came to known as combooses.
The first com boose came out of the shops in 1941 . The eighth
and last
such car was completed in 1952. The cars selected for
rebuilding were wooden
truss-rodded coaches which had been
acquired by the
ED&BC during the 1920s from CP and the
Boston &
Albany Railroad. Most of these cars were built last
of the nineteenth century.
The combooses remained in way freight service until 1954
when the practice
of carrying passengers on these trains was
The cars were then placed in the passenger pool and
became regular sights on the
Waterways service. While most
were painted box car red, two or three were repainted into the
NAR passenger livery of dark blue.
When CN took over the NAR in 1981, the sole pieces of
passenger carrying equipment remaining on the N AR roster
were three combooses. As one of its first moves, CN installed
electric generators
on the cars retiring the oil lamps and marker
lights which had been fixtures of the cars. Such tinkering was
only as an interim
measure for the cars were showing signs of
their age.
By 1983, a steel
passenger car had replaced the comboose.
As CN had no passenger equipment suitable for this service, it
had to obtain
the replacement car from VIA. Following CN
practice, the train crew was accommodated in a separate
caboose. The combooses were relegated to service during
of heavy travel.
CTC hearings in 1985, CN was directed to add a
second passenger
car to the Waterways equipment pool. As an
interim measure, a steel combine was borrowed from VIA.
Comboose 78966 (former N AR 303) was the last such car on
the roster. When the second steel coach entered service, the
comboose era
came to an end.
Fortunately, these unique cars have not disappeared. The
combooses, which outlived the NAR, are the last truss-rodded
passenger cars to be operated by a Class I North American
railroad. As shown in the following table, almost all of the
combooses have found safe havens.
The Boston & Albany and
Canadian Pacific probably never expected their surplus wooden
coaches to have so many years of life remaining!
Its hard to imagine that these two veterans oj the rails were still in active service during the 1980s. In this picture taken in the Jail
oj 1984, CN Comboose 78966, Jormerly NAR 303 originally built in 1899, and CN baggage car 1460, which bore the same
number when owned by the NAR, are shown parked at the downtown
CN/VIA station in EdmontonJor servicing. Photo Credit: Douglas
N. W. Smith.
NAR When Original
CN NAR Coach Converted Railroad
Number Number Number to Comboose & Number Disposition
300 1854 1941
B&A 628 Fort Edmonton Historical Association,
Edmonton 78965 301 1858 1941
B&A Believed scrapped by CN
302 1852 May 1942
B&A Retired December 1952, believed scrapped 78966 303 1855 July 1942
B&A 633 Heritage Park, Fort McMurray, Alberta 304 1857 Dec 1945
B&A Fort Edmonton Historical Association,
Edmonton 78967 305 1856 1947
B&A South Peace Historical Society,
Dawson Creek, BC 78968 306 1859 Oct 1949
B&A Lac La Biche, to be incorporated into new
cultural centre 78969 307 1900 Oct 1952
CP 1542 Believed retired in 1988
Notes: B&A = Boston & Albany Railroad
B&A coaches were built In 1899 and were acquired by the ED&BC in 1927 and 1928. They retained their original B&A numbers when operated as coaches
on the
The CP coach was built in 1912.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Earle Roberts ror providing this roster.
Star Citys Motnent In The Litnelight
by Peter J. Lacey
A small village, dying, like many others since the railway had
to compete with the highway passing a mile south
of the
community, Star City lies
64 miles S. E. of Prince Albert and
halfway between Melfort to the west and Tisdale to the
It began as a farming centre with the usual elevators, being
in 1903. A good source of gravel one mile to the west was
excavated by railway gangs, using a
steam shovel, in 1903 -04.
The railroad came through that winter from the east. Over the
years, the village has had six elevators -British National
Canada West, Northern National, Sask. Co-op, Albert~
Pacific, and Irvin North Star. Now only one -Sask. Pool –
remains. Passenger service ended
in 1970 and the station was
Now the only rail traffic is the infrequent grain train,
leavmg a few box cars, and picking up a few.
Even this elevator
is in peril, as fewer farmers, larger farms, and better highways
that many farmers truck to Melfort or Tisdale to enjoy the
better facil ities.
The village council, in an effort to promote the bedroom
c~mmunity concept in an attempt to revitalize the community,
will sell you a lot for $ I !
For a brief instant in 1936, Star City achieved notoriety. The
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix for March 10 of that year records that
Passenger train
No. 15 from Winnipeg was derailed two miles
east of town, engine No. 5094, the tender, and the leading
of the mail car leaving the tracks. Cause of the accident
was thought to be a broken rail. Although
it was early in the
year, railroaders were not inclined to attribute the accident to the
softening weather conditions, although why this should be
is not at all clear. A number of delegates from northern
commercial interests who were going to Regina to urge a survey
for a road north from Saskatoon and Prince
Albert to the mining
areas at Beaver Lake and
Flin Flon were unable to make
connections with the Melfort-Saskatoon train as a result
of the
It was expected that the line would be re-opened by noon.
Nothing further appears
in the official records, but older
of Star City remember skipping school to have a look at
the scene.
(All the research for this note was done
by my father, Cyril
Lacey, to whom I tender my thanks. Photos from the Western
Canada Pictorial Index , originally from a private collection).
Hard Luck Valley
R.R. Real
A sinking length of track on the CN main line in Manitoba
became a serious impediment to daily operations which officials
decided to cure
in 1951. The trouble was centered part way
down the descent from the plains plateau to the base
of the
Assiniboine Valley, approximately forty miles west of Rivers
During the
summer of 1951 a bridge and building gang
plus a survey team were stationed at
Uno Manitoba; a whistle
stop (photo
A) near a high trestle in the valley. An ongoing
nuisance to daily operations was a continuing slow order
5 mph. over this stretch of track. An extensive upper level
swamp seeped through sub surface layers
of semi impervious
clay beneath the banks on which the roadbed lay and finally into
the river bottom. Large numbers
of car loads of gravel had been
dumped daily for weeks
and tamped beneath a jacked up track
which was sinking at more than one footh each twenty-four
hours. Meanwhile, bulldozers were deployed to develop an
alternate drainage system for the swamp.
The effects of this operation over an extended period meant
all schedules were chronically late (photo B). One day a
dramatic effect was noticed: a lump appeared
in the valley floor
where there had been a level surface.
The truth finally dawned;
all this tonnage
of gravel had been sinking out of sight and slipped
invisibly along the sub clay layer to beneath the valley floor.
rate of daily sinking worsened to the point where even the
occasional passenger tra
in had a car of ballast attached to it to
keep th
e hole filled. It was finally decided to float the rails
on lightweight cinders which were
less likely to sink to the valley
floor due to their own weight.
Each train still pushed them down
however, necessitating the presence
of this crew and daily
repetitive jacking and tamping until the source
of the underground
lubrication was ended
by diverting the swamp drainage.
A number
of incidents occured that summer which caused the
crew to dub
it hard luck valley. Three follow from the writers
memory who was a
summer student acting as chainman on
the survey team.
We were downing a quick lunch in our outfit car one day as a
lengthy freight rumbled eastbound through Uno.
As was
practise we observed for signs
of a hot box when about two­
ofthe way down flames were licking out for a foot around a
wheel bearing on a loaded hopper.
We ran out making the hot
box sign as the caboose passed. Brakes were applied, but too
late. The axle gave way at low speed and derailed that end
of the
car (photo
C). A possible major tragedy was averted however;
the damaged
car failed just short of the high trestle east of
Another day a westbound freight headed by Texas type
#4317 threw its right hand rod east of Uno. After lengthy
deliberation (photos D and
E) it was decided to take a chance, as
the left hand rod was near maximum thrust position and the train
was on a descent to
Uno. The engineer took his position, then
crossing himself for good luck eased the throtle. It
Photo A.
worked! He was able to guide the limping locomotive and its
consist off the main into the siding at
Uno while another
locomotive was dispatched to the rescue.
More seriously, the overnight sinking of the soft spot was
reaching alarming proportions.
Exasperated, the foreman on a
hunch decided to camp overnight at the site, catching catnaps in
a culvert. On the second night his patience was rewarded when
he observed a freight pounding over the 5 mph. slow order at an
30 mph. After reporting, this crew was severely
disciplined as a message to others and thereafter the overnight
deterioration improved.
Photo C.
Photo B. Photo D.
Photo E.
Keith Pratt –
The Man and His Photos
by Allan Graham
The end of 1989 saw the end of railway service in Prince Edward Island. The photos by Keith Pratt are all the
more valuable
as a record of an era that is no more.
Photo: By Mary Graham.
Born May 25, 1910 in Bloomfield, P.E.I., Keith grew up
beside his beloved railway track.
When a young boy, he used to
sit and watch freight and passenger trains
at the station near his
house. When he was
five or six, Engineer Peter MacCarey lifted
him up into the narrow gauge steam engine and thus began a
fascination with these and subsequent engines.
Hed wait for
each fireman
or engineer to ask him up into the engine. Then, in
1922, he spent time going on the ballast trains on Saturdays and
after school hours
as the P.E.I.R. was changed to standard
He had lots of caboose rides too.
In 1925, Keith got
his first box camera from Simpsons for
99¢ and he began
to take pictures of the crews on passing trains,
engines, etc., Keith was working
as a clerk in his uncles store
near the Bloomfield Station.
During the 1920 s, the crew would
go back to the station for a
break and le
ave Keith in the engine to shovel coal, etc. In 1941, Keith worked as a trainman on the Prince Edward
Island Railway before going in the Armed Services. In 1967,
Keith began working as a ticket seller with the Massachusetts
Bay Transportation Authority and, after fifteen months,
became a guard.
Four months later he became a motorman
driving rapid transit trains -the closest Keith ever got to
In 1975, Keith retired from
M.B.T.A., and moved to
in 1979. He lives nine months in Port Richey, the
of each year in his beloved Bloomfield beside the
railway track.
Over the years Keith has taken approximately 1000 photos
railway activity in P.E.!., Mass., N.H., Maine, Vermont,
Florida, Quebec, plus some unique photos
of Cumberland Coal
Railway and Power
Co. (Springhill Jct. to Parrsboro) and
Maritime Railway, Coal and Power Co. (Maccan and Joggins).
Here are a
few of Keiths best photos of the railway ofP. E. I.
No. 212 at Tignish 1941. Train 54 coming into Bloomfield 1947.
Murray Harbour train crossing Hillsborough Bridge-early 1940s. Tignish roundhouse 1930s.
Thejitney at
—–.. —!~~ ……
First diesel engine on P. E. I. in Charlottetown yard. Train going by Royalty Jct. Station 1975.
Alberton Water Tank 1934.
Track masters car at Bloomfield -1930s.
One Hundred Years Ago
Commencing May ISt, I8go.
Trains will LEAV E :-[ontreal, Windsor Street
Station, as follows:-
FOR VAUDREUILand ST. ANNE·S-9.2o a.m.,
*12.30 p.m., *6.15 p.m. and 8.45 p.m., daily,
except SatUl days and Sundays.
9.70 am., *1.30 p.rc., *615 p.m., 8.45 pm. and
II 20 p.m.
Trains will A R R I V E Vindsor Street Scalian :-
745 a.m., *8.50 a.m., *2.25 p.m. and ,·55 p.m., daily,
except Saturdays and Sl1ndays.
7.45 am., *8.50 am., *603 pm., 7.55 pm. and
$:11.05 p.m
Commutation and season tickets issued at very low
Time tables and further information may be obtained
No. 266 St. James StreeC Montreal,
And at Stations.
Trains marked (*) stop at intermediale stations.
other trains StOP at Montreal June., St. Annes and
Vaudreuil only.
Montreal and Vaudreuil.
Commencing May ISt, I8go.
Trains will LEAVE Montreal, Vimlsor Street
Station. as foHows:-
1::!·30 p.m., *6.15 p.m. and 8,45 p.m., uaily.
except Saturdays and Sundays.
).20 a.m., *1.30 p.m., :;:6.15 p.m., 8.45 p.m. and
*II.7op.m. ______ _
Trains will ARRJE Vindsor Street Station:­
· *8·5oa.m., 2.25 p.m. and 7.55 p.m.,. daily,
except Saturdays and SlIl1da}s.
7·45 a.IIl., 88.~0 a.m., *6.03 pm., 755 P Ill. and
;:11.OSp m. ______ .
Commencing May 12th,
will leave Windsor Street Station at
5.15 p.m. on week days, stopping
at all intermediate stations to Win­
Returning. commencing May 13th,
lrrive Windsor Street Station at
;).45 a.m. ___ _
Commm3lioll and ~ea$on tickets issued very low
Timetables and fun her information m:l) heobt;tin<:d
No, 266 St. James Street, Montreal,
And at Stations.
Trains marked t*) stop at intermediate stations.
other trains stop at rtontreal June., Sl. Annes and
Vaudreuil only.
On May I, 1890 the Canadian Pacific Railway inaugurated suburban commuter trains between Montreal and
Vaudreuil. Eleven days later, on Monday May 12, 1890, the Winchester Local began service, departing from Windsor
station at
5: 15 P. M. This was the start of CPs lakeshore commuter service which was extended, less than three years
to Rigaud and Pointe Fortune. For a century commuters have taken the 5:15 and its sister trains as the
of Montreals West Island has grown. Now run by the Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission,
the service has been upgraded and modernized
in recent years. May it run for another century.

The Port Stanley Incline Railway
by Charles E. Benj amin
PORT STANLEY, ONTARIO, is best known to traction
as the lower terminus of a heavy interurban line which ran
passenger service up to 1957 between the city
of London and
this resort on Lake
Erie, 24 miles to the south. But there was
also an incline railway which climbed the escarpment from the
beach area.
Some fortuitous follow-up, has resulted in quite a stack
references and photos, plus the revelations that the line ran up
until 1966, and that both cars are preserved currently on public
First, the credits.
Fred Angus, editor of Canadian Rail, the
informative newsletter published
by the railroad/trolley museum
in Delson, Quebec (near Montreal), wrote and sent photos of
the Port Stanley incline taken when he and a friend rode it in
September 1964.
Then a call to the
Port Stanley chamber of commerce (a
corner in the village clerks office) led to a response of Of
course -the two cars are sitting over by Hal Sorrentis office on
Street! Hal, proprietor of Sorrenti Design, Inc., turned
to be most knowledgeable and cooperative, and sent on a
of excellent material, summarized below.
The Port Stanley incline railway in 1918 soon cifter it
was bought by the L&PS.
Incidentally, the incline was owned and operated by the
interurban for a while, and earned a one-page description
The London & Port Stanley Railway, 1915-1965, A Picture
History, by W. Glen Curnoe, published in 1976. A much
more detailed description and total background are in
Stanley: Musings and Memories, by Frank and Nancy
View taken by Fred Angus on September 6 1964.
The incline railway in 1973, shortly before the rails were removed.
. ….. -.
~ .
The incline had two parallel standard-gauge tracks, uniform
grade, approximately
175 feet long climbing a vertical difference
of approximately 85 feet (29-degree gradient), from a lower
station at the beach up the bluff to Picnic Hill.
The incline
in 1870, powered by a retired wood-burning steam
locomotive (the Gilson Holman) from the
Great West Railway
-its bell was rung prior to the start
of each trip, even in the years
after electrification, right up to the end in 1966. Major
of the incline occurred in 1894 and 1915.
Port Stanley had become a popular beach resort, with lake
steamers coming from various
U.S. ports; the steam railroad
from London via St. Thomas had opened
in 1856. A
meandering trolley line, the South-Western Traction
Co., also
connected these points after 1907, but this folded not long after
L&PS electrified in 1915. Peak traffic on the incline was
on July 1, 1926, with 10,111 riders that day. The
incline ran during the beach season only, and off-season both
cars stayed
at the bottom to reduce strain on the cable and
possible vandalism.
During the height of the resorts popularity, there was a
boardwalk along the beach with a roller coaster and other
attractions – a Coney Island-like atmosphere. And during those
years Prohibition on the other shore
of Lake Erie also created an
obvious appeal.
At the top there was a deluxe hotel and pavilion,
and even an observation tower stretching
200 feet above Lake
(a winter windstorm demolished it dramatically, and it was
never rebuilt). Considering that the villages population was
only around
600, and the L&PS, which owned many of the
concessions as well, often brought in 10,000 to
15,000 visitors,
Port Stanley was a classic trolley park in its heyday .
The original fare was 5 cents each way, collected at the top,
and never changed through the years, although when the
took over in 1915 discount 10-ride strip tickets for 25 cents were
also made available.
The popularity of the resort declined over
the years, and passenger service on the
L&PS ended in 1957,
with several
of the classic heavy cars going to active trolley
The final blow was a ruling by provincial authorities that the
incline was not a railroad, but an elevator, and therefore
required more elaborate safety features. Traffic could not justify
the investment, and after 96 years
of operation the line closed in
1966. The rails were finally removed in 1974, but the cars were
thoughtfully preserved by local citizens as memento
es of this
beach resorts
finest days.
Port Stanley in 1882 showing the incline railway as well as the
observation tower.
Picturesque Canada.
eN Locomotive 1521 Returns to
Nova Scotia
by Ronald V. Haight
Former Canadian National Railways Class H-6-b Ten
Wheeler # 1521 is now back in Canadian ownership after
having been
in Michigan since 1970.
The locomotive had been stored inside, unserviceable and
completely dismantled for re-building which was never com­
pleted. Acquired
in this state, it was transported on four flat bed
trucks to its present location at the new
Upper Clements Theme
in Annapolis Co., Nova Scotia, where reassembly is being
carried out at present.
The major components such as the grates, throttle dome, fire
box, whistle, gauges, are
in good condition. The boiler has new
tubes. The running gear was upgraded by
CN in 1957, shortly
before it was taken out
of regular service. Since I took the
enclosed photos on Jan.
11/89, the boiler front, pilot, stack,
domes, lights, whistle, bell, air pumps and tanks have been
An all new cab has been constructed. Still to do is the
boiler lagging and jacket and a complete restoration
of the
Historically, this locomotive was built by the Montreal
Locomotive Works
in 1905 for the Canadian Northern
CN oR numbers were 213 and 1274. After acquisition
CNR, it was operated as CN 1274 until 1957 when it was re­
numbered 1521.
It was retired in 1960, and on Aug. 18, 1961, sold to Andrew MacLean ofGravenhurst, Ontario. In 1965, the
of Ontario bought the locomotive for promotional
On Nov. 14, 1969, # 1521 again changed hands, this time to
R. Bennett, Croswell, Michigan, and
in March 1970, was
shipped south
of the border. This historical information was
in Canadian National Steam Power and follow up
Errata & Addenda sheets by Anthony Clegg and Ray Corley.
(Railfare 1969).
There are no immediate plans to operate this engine under
steam but there
is a possibility to do so in the future. This new 13
million-plus-dollar government backed park
is adjacent to the
Dominion Atlantic Railway, owned by
CP Rail.
Also on site are ex
CN caboose #78761 and four CN
boxcars. They are -#568934 (BIt 2-48), #568717 (Bit 5-48),
#562678 (BIt 5-51) and #575520 (Bit 2-48). All are forty
footers. These box cars will be renovated inside and used by the
of Tourism for displays and promotions.
The main entry to the park
is a replica of a large turn-of-the­
century railway station. There
is also under construction, a two
foot gauge miniature railway to run throughout the park.
I shall try to keep the
CRHA informed as work progresses on
restoring 1521 and any other railway matters as pertain to Upper
Clements Park.
CRHA Mentbership Survey –
Sonte Unanswered Questions
by Douglas N. W. Smith
On the comment section of the member survey form, a
of members posed specific questions. Practically all
those members who signed the form legibly have now received
responses. However, as the surveys were separated from the
1989 membership renewals, I had no way to respond to a
of questions from those who either did not sign the
surveyor whose signature was impossible to decipher.
In response to the member who asked about potential
additions to the equipment collection at the
Canadian Railway
Museum, the Collection Committee has identified those pieces
of equipment which will allow the visitor to follow the
of Canadian railway technology during the
postwar era.
As these items become surplus to operational
of their owners, it is hoped that a way may be
found to add them to our collection. Amongst the targeted units
are a
GMD FPA and one of the CN box cab units. There are no
plans to secure a
PA-I . These units operated largely on lines in
the United States.
It would be most appropriate for a group in
that country to preserve such a unit.
The guidebook for the equipment at the Museum in Delson­
St. Constant is currently out of print. An up-to-date listing of
the items in the collection, however, is contained in the annual
Trackside Guide. This valuable pUblication
includes the current locomotive, passenger car maintenance
way rosters for all railways in Canada. For the urban railway
follower, there
is included rosters of streetcar, light rail vehicles
and subway equipment. Copies
ofthe 1990 edition are available
for $14.95 including postage and handling. Orders should be
sent to the following address:
By town Railway Society
P.O. Box 141
Station A
Ottawa, Ontario KIN 8Y I
Several members asked about the feasibility
of starting a
Question and Answer section.
The matter was discussed at the
last Editorial Committee meeting. Starting with this issue, we
will be printing questions from members in the Communications
Answers to questions should be directed to Fred Angus
who will
co-ordinate the input to this column. We would
encourage members to take advantage
of this new feature. As
the answer to any question will depend upon the response from
the members, we can not guarantee that answers will be
provided for all questions.
A number
of members asked about making a submission to
Canadian Rail. With regard to photographs, submissions are
always welcome. Given that our budget limits us to black and
white printing, the best format
for submissions would be black &
white prints.
If you are having a print made from a negative, it is best to
request an 8 X
10 size print. Such prints should be done by a business specializing in making prints; those provided
by the
corner drugstore will lack the clarity and exposure which a
professional developer can provide.
Colour prints are much more difficult to use. When
transformed into a black and white image, certain colours can
come out all grey rendering them unfit for use.
Any photos of a current subject shou ld be in focus, not cut off
part of the main subject, be it a locomotive, car or building and
should have a caption.
For older historic views, especially if they are of little
photographed subjects, less rigourous standards apply.
With regard to articles, we are always pleased to receive
submissions. Authors should be aware that there is no guarantee
that the material will be used or how quickly an article will
in the magazine. At times, it may be necessary to shorten
the text to fit the available space. Should you be interested
writing on a specific topic, such as the individual who stated he
was would like to write an article
on the Thousand Islands
Railway, please contact the editors who can offer you
as to places to look for material and research
Back copies
of certain issues of Canadian Rail are
For a list of the issues available and prices please
address your query to:
St-Constant, Quebec J5A 2G2
As some are in short supply, I would recommend those
interested in acquiring back issues write soon!
The first invoice requesting your membership renewal,
mailed November I st., brought an 83
% response. Thank you
for your continuing interest
in C. R. H. A.
Our second invoice, mailed February 15th. is still bringing
It also brought to our notice that a sizeable number of
members renewed in November, but their cheques had not been
cashed. It appears that, although these members used our self­
addressed envelopes, they failed to
reach us. We have no ready
for this event. Please keep the Associations NEED
for more members in mind.
Early in 1989, we requested Canadian members to write to
their Member
of Parliament to point out the injustice of
increasing the postage on Canadian Rail from $.47 per issue to
I. 14. Many publications of a similar nature to ours received a
subsidized Second Class rate -for reasons which
Canada Post
would not explain. Invariably, our members who wrote to their
M. P. received Tough Luck answers. We thank each of
members who pursued the subject, even if to no avail. Recent
cuts in Federal Govt. mail subsidies probably leave Canadian
Rail is a no-win situation.
by Douglas N. W. Smith
On January 31, 1990, the Agency ruled that CN could not
abandon the Chapais Subdivision between
Franquet and
Chapais, Quebec, a distance
of 97.3 miles.
In 1954, the Dominion government authorized CN to
construct the Chapais Subdivision. The Quebec government
had requested the line be built
in order to transport natural
resource traffic between Chibougamau and
The line was completed between Barraute and Chibougamau, a
distance 0[200 miles, in 1957.
Prior to June 1987, CN operated a round trip over the
Chapais Subdivision each weekday between Senneterre and
Pursuant to efforts ofCN to prune its network of
marginal branch lines, the company initiated plans in 1986 to re­
route the traffic handled over the line
or move it on an
intermodal basis.
In 1987, CN closed the Chapais Subdivision
between Mileages
72 and 170 and re-routed the Chibougamau­
Noranda traffic to an alternate route via Chambord and Hervey
Junction. This increased the rail haul by
450 miles.
The CTC objected to the closu re and ordered CN not to close
the line without its approval.
CN ignored this directive and
stated at the hearings that it viewed the closure to be only
of a
temporary nature.
After extensive public hearings, the Agency adopted the
of its Members who had conducted the
These recommendations could have a significant
impact upon future branch line decisions as they considerably
expand the scope
of items to be considered in reaching a final
on an application.
On the basis of the recommendations, the Agency will
require the railways to submit a statement showing not only the
traffic originating or terminating upon the branch line but also
overhead traffic moving over the line.
Up to the present this
traffic has been excluded.
The Agency will also examine the
of adjusting costs and revenues for lines under
consideration to include the costs and revenues
of bridge traffic.
Members also requested that the Agency review the
of permitting the railways to abandon lines that connect
different regions by diverting traffic to more circuitous routes.
While the line was found to be uneconomic on the basis of
originating and terminating traffic, the Agency found that there
was strong evidence that if bridge traffic were included that the line could become economic.
As well, it found that there was
reason to believe that new traffic could be forthcoming from new
mining activity expected
in the area.
The Agency also found that the continued operation of the
Chapais Subdivision was in the public interest as its abandon­
ment could lead to an increase
in rates for mineral traffic moving
over the current circuitous route via Chambord; highway
transport was not a viable alternative due to the heavy volume
mineral traffic; and finally the Quebec government had
indicated it was seriously considering amendments to the
regulations governing truck vehicle weights which could reduce
the attractiveness
of trucking in comparison to rail.
Consequently, the Agency ordered
CN to reopen the closed
of the Chapais Subdivision by July 31,1990 and file an
annual report on marketing initiatives undertaken to develop
traffic over the entire length
of the Chapais Subdivision between
Chibougamau and Barraute.
On January 29, 1990, the Agency authorized CN to
abandon its freight operations on Vancouver Island.
At the time
of the decision, CN operations were confined to but 3.5 miles of
track in Victoria consisting of 1.9 miles of the Cowichan
Subdivision and 1.6 miles
of the Saanich Spur.
The final shipper on the CN line, Borden Mercantile
Company, had switched to alternate transportation. These costs
were funded by
Transport Canada. Upon notice from the
of Transport of this situation, the Agency deemed the
trackage redundant and authorized
CN to cease operations
thirty days from the date
of its order.
A full history
of the CN lines on Vancouver Island was
carried in the
May-June 1988 issue of Canadian Rail.
Sometimes material gets overlooked. On March 30, 1989,
the Agency authorized CP to abandon the portion of the
Temiscaming Subdivision from Temiscaming to
Quebec, a distance of 7.4 miles. The line had been constructed
by the Interprovincial and James Bay Railway in 1912-1913, a
company controlled
by CP. Traffic over the line totalled 34
carloads in 1987 and the operating loss was $148,978.
The trackage of the former Montreal & Southern Counties
(M&SC) continues to make the news. Last months column
noted that the City of Granby had successfully petitioned the
Agency to amend its decision and permit the abandonment
most of the CN trackage within its corporate limits. On January
24, 1990, the Agency approved an application by Innotermodal
for a certificate of fitness to operate the line. It is understood
that the Innotermodal
will seek a charter from the federal
government to incorporate
MOQ Rail which would permit it to
take over the portion
of the M&SC line between Granby and
On February 27, 1990, the Agency ruled that
CP could
advance the date
for the abandonment of the Kentville­
Yarmouth line from July
13 to March 27, 1990. CP had sought permission to bring the abandonment date forward to January
16, 1990, the day after the operation
of final VIA Yarmouth­
Halifax train.
CP operated its last freight train between
Middleton and Yarmouth on
December 19,1989.
Contrary to the item in the January-February issue, thl1
Saskatchewan Rail Co-operative has not yet acquired the CP
line between Rockglen and Killdeer. Blame the misinformation
on the new media which had reported the sale. Negotiations
between the parties are on-going.
CRHA Communications
In response to requests from members, a question and answer
section will appear
in the Communications column. Members
either questions or responses should direct their
correspondence to Fred Angus whose address appears on the
inside front cover page.
Ray McKnight asks if any member supply positive informa­
as to the history of locomotives Nos 1 through 4 of the
Pontiac & Pacific Junction Railway?
Mr. Lon Marsh of 8731 67th Ave., Edmonton, Alberta
T6E OM9 writes: A few years ago I came upon a CNR steam
loco number plate.
The funny thing is its a cast iron one instead
of the standard brass issue. Ive been told its because of war
of brass material, and yet 6060 (1944) has a brass
one. Would anyone have the answer to this bit
of trivia? This
6067, was involved in an accident during its career,
having slid into a ditch. Because
of this mishap, there is a small
piece missing along the edge
of the plate near the bottom of
the 7.
Another strange thing is why the Northern Alberta Railways
never had the name on its locomotive number plates from 1929
to 1960. Engines
101 and 102 had the name CN style*, but
others, like 53 shown here, did not.
If anyone could help me out
with these little mysteries I would
be very grateful indeed.
• Editors Note: So did 52; see photo on page 49.

Mr. Ray McKnight sends these
two photos taken
in May, 1937.
Canadian National locomotive 5704
heads train 15, the
out of CPR Windsor station in
Montreal on May 31 1937. CP
locomotive 2592, a 4-6-2 built in
1910 and scrapped in 1958, was
pictured at the
Glen yard.
This photo, of an embarrassing
moment on a street car line,
proving to be somewhat of a puzzle.
The editor would very much like
know where it was taken. Evidently
the motonnan took the sign too
literally and came
in to see the new
Buicks! The date appears to have
been 1922, but the location
unknown. Any help would be much
Mr. Dyson Thomas of Saint John sends these two historic
Top, we see the last Budd R. D. car to operate to Saint
John; it
is number6138, and the day was January 141990, the
day before the
VIA cutbacks took effect. Bottom, a view of the
CPR grain elevator, long a landmark in West Saint John, in the
of demolition on March 15 1990.
Many of paid us for this 80 page book last November, and
following; and you are wondering why you have not received it.
Desk-top Computer-Publisher specialist was supposed to do
wonders for us
in setting up the book, and producing it by lazer
printer in record time at a minimum
of cost. Unfortunately, none
of the above took place. So March 20th., witnessed the delivery
of the contents to our long-term and very reliable printer. Your
copy was mailed on May 19.
Thank you for your patience.
Canadas answer to the Orient Express will not get on the
rails until 1991.
The Royal Canadian, a luxury rail service to be operated by
Toronto-based Blyth & Company will not make its first run until
March 27, 1991, the company announced. The first departure
was originally scheduled for April, 1990 but was postponed a
of times, most recently until this fall.
Lome Barclay, president of the Trans-Canadian Railroad
Company blamed the delay on holdups in the manufacturing
specialty parts needed for the trains refurbishment. The Royal
Canadian will use former Pullman cars which are being rebuilt to
luxury standards in Denver, Colo.
The Trans-Canadian
Railroad Company
is a new subsidiary ofBlyth & Company set
up to operate the rail service.
Mr. Barclay says anyone with a booking for 1990 will be
given guaranteed reservations next year at this
years rates.
Those who made deposits will be given a further discount
of 10
per cent.
& Company, which operates lUXury tours around the
world, began organizing the rail service last year at a time when
Via Rail was preparing to make drastic cutbacks in service.
Mr. Barclay says there has been tremendous interest
in the
in the United States, Germany, Britain and Japan. Only 10
to 15 per cent of passengers are expected to be from
The train will make its first trip from Vancouver to Banff on
March 27 with return
on March 31. The first Vancouver-to­
Toronto trip
will depart April I , with the return journey on April
5. After that there will be four one-way trans-continental trips
each month plus
16 one-way mountain trips. New reservations
will be accepted beginning May 1 .
Prices for
1991 are still to be set. The price will include meals
prepared under supervision
of a three-star Michelin restaurant
from France, plus complimentary wine and champagne. This
years tariff showed rates for the Toronto-to-Vancouver trip
which ranged from
$ 1,695 to $ 3,495.
The first three cars will arrive in Vancouver this December
for testing and promotional tours.
The others will be delivered in
early 1991.
Source: The Globe and Mail, April
7, 1990.
By Douglas McArthur.
Susiness ca~·1IIID~
On December 22, 1989, CN operated its final train from
Borden to Charlottetown.
Norman Gardner, a crane operator of
Maritime Recycling in Charlottetown greeted the final train with
a special sign as it picked up a final carload
of scrap metal. The
following day the train made its final run from the capital.
In the early morning hours
of December 28, 1989, CN
engineer Sheldon McKinnon loaded the last train onto the
Marine Atlantic ferry at Borden for the
short run over to Cape
Tormentine, New Brunswick. When the ferry cast off shortly at
0300, carrying the final revenue freight cars from the island, 115
years of railway service came to an end.
A history
of the CN lines on the island was carried in the
September-October 1989 issue.
Abandoned rail lines and what it sees as a broken federal
promise have made Prince
Edward Island the latest province to
question why it joined
PEl would never have signed the document that made it part
of Canada in 1873 and turned its debt-ridden railway overto this
country if anyone had known the federal government would
some day close the railway, provincial lawyer William Lea told
Federal Court of Appeal.
It would have been considered crazy for us to turn over our
only public work without any responsibility by
Canada to
operate the
railway, said Mr. Lea, who is representing the
Department of Transportation and Public Works.
The court reserved judgment on the case.
The more than 300 kilometres of rail lines on PEl were
abandoned by Canadian
National in January, a few months
after the National
Transportation Agency ruled there was not
enough freight on the lines to keep trains operating.
PEl is
appealing the decision of the federal agency.
The province, which received no compensation for the loss of
the railways and has seen its roads reduced to potholes by heavy
truck traffic,
is insisting in court that the original terms of the
union with
Canada make Ottawa responsible for operating a
Lea argued that the Canadian governments offer to take
over the railway, and the
$3.25-million debt that the province
had incurred building
it in the early 1870 s, was the main reason
for PEl agreeing to join Canada.
Railways were the foundation of this country … no one had
any idea that the railway would
not be operated in perpetuity,
he said. But
Mr. Lea faced tough questioning on that point from the
three judges hearing the
case, because the terms of union with
PEl stipulate only that the federal government take responsibility
for the railroad, and do not mention anything about operating it.
The federal government, CN and the NTA all took the
position that the railway had the right to close the lines and
of assets the same way any other Crown corporation
CN lawyer Terrance Hall gave a very unflattering history of
the railway on the island and blamed the province for its demise.
The main reason the island joined Canada was to keep itself
of financial insolvency, he said.
It was a very poorly built railway. It was so bad that the
federal government wanted to give
it back to PEl and the island
didnt want it back, he said.
Mr. Hall added that the NT A agreed with CN that the
company was losing money on the
PEl railway.
He said those losses were made worse by provincial
of the trucking industry, which allowed an
increased number
of heavier trucks on PEl roads.

It ill behooves the province to complain that it has lost its
railway when its own trucking policy caused that …
even if the
railway were put back
in place, there would be no freight on it.
PEl Transportation Minister Gordon McInnis said in an
interview that if the railway
is not viable on PEl then the
province has the right to demand federal assistance to upgrade
the highway system.
When railway service was ended in Newfoundland in 1988,
the province received about $800-million for road upgrading,
Mr. McInnis said the federal government refused to
negotiate a similar deal with
He said the court case was the provinces last option after
NTA allowed the railway to be closed last year.
The Globe and Mail, May 3, 1990.
By Kevin Cox.
Parts of Newfoundland history disappear daily as Canadian
National proceeds with the dismantling and selling of the
of the Newfoundland Railway.
50 and 60 people are at work now removing tracks
across the province while weather permits.
Everard, manager of Newfoundland operations for CN,
said 57 per
cent of the track has been removed. As well, CN
railway cars and equipment in Newfoundland are still being
shipped to Chile.
The South American country began shipping the cargo in
December 1988, two months after the Newfoundland railway
was shut down. Mr.
Everard said two shipments of equipment
left St.
Johns for Chile shortly before Christmas. Another is to
They couldnt load the remainder of their order on these two
ships so therell be another
shipment, he said.
Chilean engineers plan to convert Newfoundlands
rail system to fit their 39-inch railway.
Mr. Everard also confirmed that negotiations are taking
place with other countries interested in buying railway equip­
ment but would not identify the countries.
Cars and equipment it cannot sell will be scrapped.
Approximately 60 people are scrapping the equipment at
various locations. across the province. Mr. Everard said most
the scrap metal is being sold in the province and then resold to
mainland companies.
It has not yet been decided what will happen to CN land and
in the province. Mr. Everard said the land and
buildings are required to pass through several hands before
is established.
The property
is first returned to the federal government.
CN has to indicate to the government what land and
it requires to continue its operations in the province ,
he said.
Other Crown corporations can then indicate whether they
need any
of the property. After they have been satisfied, the
remaining land reverts to the province.
A committee made up
of federal and provincial repre­
sentatives and
CN personnel will meet to decide the future of the
property. But Mr. Everard, who
is a CN representative on the
committee, admits there has been no agreement yet about what
to do with it.
Well continue to talk and hopefully well reach an
agreement, he said.
Because of the magnitude of the issue,
the process take a long
time .
CN property includes land and buildings in St. Johns,
Corner Brook, Grand Fails, Bishops Falls, Clarenville and
other areas
in the province.
He was not able to estimate the value
of the land and
buildings, however.
A large amount of the land is in the
wilderness and it
is hard to determine its value, he said.
Source: The Evening Telegram, Friday, February
9, 1990,
By Janice Clancey.
Bishops Falls -The town council here has plans to
construct a railway train museum
in the town, which they feel
would be a good tourist attraction.
Mayor George Saunders says council contacted the prov­
incial government seeking permission to obtain a section
railway track as part of the museum. Mayor Saunders says
council has received correspondence from the province going
along with the towns request.
He said the matter has now been turned over to councils
civic affairs committee for further work. The committee has
recommended that a railway-heritage museum board be established comprised
of civic affairs committee members as
well as retired railroaders in the town. This museum board
would be responsible to establish a display on the railway track
for people to visit.
The Evening Telegram, February 10, 1990.
By George Saunders.
When the cuts to VIA service were announced on October 4,
1989 there was much speculation as to how the remaining trains
would be scheduled. Many feared the worst; that connections
would be inconvenient and that long trips would
not be possible
without lengthy layovers. The new timetable has now been
released and, considering the magnitude
of the cutbacks, it is
rather a pleasant surprise. Evidently considerable thought has
gone into devising the schedules to make it possible for the
would -be passenger to make the best use
of the limited number
of trains that are now available.
The first thing one notices, of course, is the absence of so
many trains, which have been discontinued entirely. Most
notable is the transcontinental Canadian on the CP line
Montreal/Toronto and Vancouver. The three regional
trains in the Maritimes are gone,
as is the train between
Montreal and Quebec City via Trois Rivieres. In the west, the
Vancouver Island service has disappeared, although this may
have a temporary reprieve. Any runs which could be considered
commuter trains are also gone; this ends the
service. It is obvious that CP lines have lost most of their
passenger trains, although
CN has its share of discontinuances
as well. VIAs large fleet of Budd R.D. cars will be almost
wiped out, since only one run
in the new timetable, Sudbury­
White River, still uses that kind of equipment.
Service reductions are frequent, many trains going from daily
to tri-weekly, and other runs having some trains cut. Persons
from Toronto having business in Montreal
(and vice-versa) will
miss the overnight
Cavalier which was such a time-saver.
Southern Ontario will also lose service
as frequency is reduced,
while most remaining long-distance trains will be only three
days a week.
The overnight Northland to Kapuskasing is also
But all
is not bad. One bright spot is the retention for the time
being at least,
of the Atlantic , through Maine and Saint John,
which will,
in conjunction with the Ocean , provide six -day­
a-week (except Tuesday) service between Montreal and
Halifax. Since the
Gaspe train will run on the same days as the
Atlantic it means that there will also be six-day-a-week
service between Montreal and Mont Joli. Since the trans­
continental train will depart Torontojust before midnight, it will
enable passengers from the Maritimes to connect at Montreal
with a train for Toronto in ample time to make the connection for
the west. This was a tight connection before, and was frequently
missed, so there
is an improvement here. The schedule will be
such that two days a week the connection will be with the
Ocean and one day with the Atlantic. Service on the
sparsely-populated Capreol-Winnipeg run will be upgraded
since the transcontinental train will replace former trains 7 and 8
(sometimes nicknamed
the Superette). Connections will also
be possible, on certain days, with the
Hudson Bay to
There are a few anomalies. Although the Ontario Northland
service is still shawn in the timetable and map. there is 00
mention ofltle train to Moosonce. This is &lIthe more puzzling
since the similar Algoma Cenlral scrvice is shown. Another
interestina point Is that Amtrak$ lntemat;onaJ now operales
by way of Kitchener instead of Btamford. Finally we come 10
the name of the transcontinental train. II has been fe+named the
Canadian and given numbers I and 2, even though it follows
the same roule as the ·SuperContinental. One wonders if this
is so it can be ssid thaI the·· CIlI18dian was not discontinued but
rerouted! Unfortunately, without disc
ussing the merits of the
two lIaios. calling the .. Super the Canadian does DOt make it
1M ··Canadian. As Gilbert and SuUivan so aptly said in
H. M. S. Pinafore back in 1878, Gild the farthing if you will,
it is a (Ilrthing still.
All in all, though, the new VIA. timetable is still that of a
unified system. One sinc~rely hopes it will stay that way.
One of the first electric railways in the world ran between
ortrush and the Giants CausewBY in County Antrim,
Northern Ireland, and was opened in 1883. This pioneer line
has been commemorated on a 5 pound note recently issued by
tlte Northern Bank. Ltd. in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The note,
ated August 1988, bears tl picture of William Atcheson Trail!
(1844-1933) as well as twO pictures of the electric line. One
view shows a steam dummy hauling a trailer in the town of
PortlUsh, while the other is An elrcellenl side view of one of thc
st electrie cars. Steam dummies were used to augment the
electric urvice in times of peak traffic. The back of the note
depicts present-day electronics
in the fonn of a radio telescope
and a computer.
The Giants Causeway line waS the first hydro-electric
powered rllilway
in the World. and was opened only two years
aIler the first pc
nnanent electric railway anywhere (Bertin
Gennany 1881). William A. Trail! was a member of the
Geological Survey of Ireland and had been promoting mineral
development and transportation in County
Antrim. At a
meeting on
October 27 1879 he had proposed a narrow-gauge
railway connecting Po
nrush with thc distillery at Bushmills, as
well as a further extension to Ihe Giants Causeway, a famous
geok>gK:al rormatK>n and tourist attraction. It was evidently due
Mr. Traill that the revolutionary idea was originated of
operating the line by elec(ric power.
on belan on September 21 1881. and the line was
as far as Bushmills(7 miles) on January 291883. Steam
powcr was u
sed while the electric equipment was being
installed. Although
rull electric operation did not begin until
September, trial runs were made before this: in one case, on
April 16. 3 disabled steam locomothe was towed back to the
shops by
an electric car, surely the first time in the world thaI this
Then on September 18 1883 the big day arrived as
the electric service was opcllcd omcially, Mr. Traill driving Ihe
car. This event received worldwide attention: an account of
t was on the front page of the Montreal Star on October 13
1883. In 1884, Mr. TraiJI was in Montreal. at the meeting of the
British Associa
tion for the Advancement of Science. where he
spoke of the advantages of electric tramway operation.
The Iin.e was extended to the Giants Causeway (two more
miles) in 1887, and it remainw in operation unli11950. Sadly, it
was then abaodon~ as the government did not see tit to provide
a granlto
olTset the operatin.g deficit despite the obvious tourist
(doesnl this sound familiar?). From time to time there
has been talk
of rebuilding the line since most oflhe right-of-way
is stilltherc. Now this pione£f electric railway. and ilS chief
promoter, has been honoured on the circulating currency of
Northern Ireland, one of the few times an electric railway has
been the feature
of allY COUntrys money. Maybe someday the
lway will run again.
The QueMc government approved a new train service for
commuters from off Ihe east end of the Island of Montreal. But
the service
wi)) only operate temporarily. to compensate for the
al closing this summer of the Metropolitan Blvd. for
The train service won·t begin until May 15 and is scheduled
end Oct. 15. Two trains will operate from the Repenugny area
to Mo
ntreal during morning rush hour. Similarly, twO will go
from Montreal to the east in the evening.
Six temporary train
stations will be set up on an exisung rail
rk Ihutlinks the town of Lc Gardeur, ncar Repentigny.
and SI.
Laurent. Those stations will be neaT Repentigny, Pointe
aux Trembles, Riviere des Prai
ries, two points in the city of
Montreal north of the Metropolitan, and the du College Metro
station in SI.
ce: The Gazelle, April 1)1 1990.
A lIolhl, ((/sUDlly D/ Iht J:fI!tO/UU.fI1 nlfl With
Its.< 11t!l a ml)lI/1t a/slrice I?t/IQm/l!, ill Decem~ 1989 (l mQleh~d pair 0/ FP9A IIl1itl/tod Train I thmugl! IVe.I,emit.
Omario e,,Qllle to S/ldhllry.
Pho/a: Doug/os N. W. Smith.
Canadian Rail
Box / Boite Postal 148, St. Constant, Que.
Canada J5A 2G2
Postmaster: jf undelivered within
10 days return to sender, postage guaranteed.
c.. …… _ -0 …. ..-… _
….. –….
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