Consulter nos archives / Consult our archives

La majorité des documents conservés par le Centre d'archives et de documentation de l'ACHF sont disponibles pour consultation.

Most of the documents kept by the ACHF Archives and Documentation Center are available for consultation.

Canadian Rail 430 1992

Lien vers le document

Canadian Rail 430 1992

Canadian Rail
Montreal 350
EDITOR: Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas N. W. Smith
PRODUCTION: A. Stephen Walbridge
am A. Germaniuk
LAYOUT: Fred F. Angus For your membership in the CAHA, which includ
es a
subscription to Canadian Rail, write 10:
CRHA, 120 Rue SI-Pierre, SI. Constant, Que. J5A 209
Rates: in Canada: $29 (Including GST).
outside Canada: $26. in U.S. funds.
PRINTING: Procel Printing
… FRED F. ANGUS …………………. 163
LAS N.W. SMITH ……….. 174
(CONTINUED) …………………………… THURSTAN TOPHAM …………. 178
……………………………………………………………………………. 179
Canadian Rail is continually in need 01 news, SIOries. historical data, photos, maps and other material. Please send all contributions to the
editor: Fred F. Angus. 302t Trafalgar Aye. Montreal, P.Q. H3Y 1 H3. No payment can be made for contributions. but tile contributer will
be giY6fl credit for material submi1ed. Material will be returned 10 the contributor if requested. Aemember Knowledge is of little Yalue unless
it is shared with others·,
Frederick F. Angus Hugues W. Bonin J. Christopher Kyle
A. Beatty Robert Ca-!son Wi,
3m Le Surf
Charles De Jear Bernard Martin
J. Bedbrool< Gerard
Frechette Roben V.V. Nicholls
C. Blackburn Dayid W. Johlson Andrew W, Panko
The CRHA has a numbel of local divislons across the country. Many hold regular meetings
and i
ssue newsleners. Further information may be obtained by writing to the division.
PO. 80>< 1162
ni John N.e. E2L ~07
P.O. 90>:22. SIaIIonV
-…P.O H383J5
Sm~hs Fan.. OnL K7A $AS
P.O. eo. 103. $/;Ilion ,
Kinga:ln. On!. 10M IW9
PO. Box Mol). T .. monat A
T … ,.Ont. M5WIP:l
St. ~ Ont. l2ft 6W8
60·15100 4t/I, …. N.E.
c~.~ T2A.SZ8
PO Brn<15102.SI9lonC
Edmor-.,.o.tJerta T58 2M)
PO.B<:l:o 39
fIoMIIsIoke. e.c. VIlE 2SO
P.O. Be.oo
Ctw1t.-ocI<. e.c. YIC 41-19
NooIIon,S.C. YIL2Y8
Prince~. e.c Y2N 2S6
Po. 90. 100&. SIadon ,.
V_. e,c, vee 2P1
Douglas NW. Snith
Lawrence M. Unwlr.
A. Stephen Walbridge
Joh1 C. Weir
FRONT COVER: All official phm(l, wkill
(If the YouiII~ Shops 0/ /lU MUlI/rMI
1rlJlmmysCo. iIl/914,showsM(}lIIreafs
}irst declr;c car. originally lIomtd -rile
Rocket, as it apl>eored whel/ it was rr­
tired/rom senice thai year. Built ill 1892.
t1l6 car S(lW (J lillie II/ore Iht/II /wo dec­
0/ senice be/un: it WO.~ Itploced by
more modern ((Illipmelli.
CRNA Archil(s, BinllS Col/utir)ll.
As pan of lis activities. the CRHA operates
the Canadian Railway Museum at [)elson I
81. Constant. OJe. which is about 14 miles
(23 Km.) from downtown Montreal. It is
open from lote May to early October (daily
Labour Day). Members. and their im·
mediate lamilics. are admitted !reeo! charge.

Tile Phoenix Foundry of Saint John N.B.
and George Flenling, Locomotive Builder
Part 1 (1832 -1868)
By Fritz Lehmann
Except for Kingstons Ontario foundry, the only pioneer
locomotive builder in Canada to remain in business more than a
few years was the Phoenix Foundry in
Saint John, New Brunswick.
The major figure in this enterprise was a journeyman machinist,
who was in every sense of the word a journeyman, for George
Fleming was a much-travelled man when he finally married and
down in Saint John, rather late in life, at 34 years of age.
Fleming must have sharpened his business as well as his technical
skills in his wandering years, for his firm prospered and survived.
Soon he was able to
buyout his partners and convert the Phoenix
Foundry into a Fleming family business.
Fleming was born in Kirkcaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland, in
1801 (but was called
a native of Dysart, a nearby place also on
the north shore
of the Firth of Forth). At about age 15 he was
apprenticed to a machinist
in Dunfernline, where he served for
eight years.
Then he set out to see the world in 1824. He spent two
years in Glasgow, three years in Cork, then crossed the Atlantic
and made brief stops in Bay Chaleur, New Brunswick and Pictou,
Nova Scotia, before reaching Saint John, New Brunswick. He was
31 when he first anived in Saint John in 1832, where he
found employment with Harris and Allen. They were the proprietors
of the first iron foundry in New Brunswick, and of an associated
blacksmith and hardware establishment. Although Fleming only
worked for them for
one year, this seems to have marked a change
in his life. For although he moved on to other
jobs in the U.S.A.
at Boston Massachusetts, Baltimore Maryland, and the Pembroke
Iron Works near Eastport, Maine,
he returned to Saint John. In the
of 1834-35 he was again in the New Brunswick city,
employed by Robert Foulis, the proprietor
of the provinces
second iron foundry.
Two big events transfOlmed Flemings life in 1835, either
of which might have been sufficient to induce this rolling stone
to retrace his steps and settle down.
On December 24th, 1835,
George Fleming married Barbara
Massie of Saint John, forming a
partnership that ended only with his death almost fifty-two years
2 A fellow Scot, she was a native of Edinburgh and a
newcomer to Saint John, aged 26.
But earlier that year Fleming
had put his skills and savings into a riskier partnership, and moved
of the ranks of mechanics (skilled workers in the vocabulary
of the day) and into proprietorship. On June 27th, 1835, the new
Phoenix Foundry announced it was ready for business. It was Saint
Johns third i.ron foundry and was operated by the new firm of
Thomas Barlow and Company.] The partners of this firm were
Thomas Barlow, John Stewart, and George Fleming. Flemings
business partnership did not last as long as his marriage, for both
original partners were out
of the firm by July 1849, only fourteen
years later.
Barlow was a prominent merchant and politician in Saint
John at that time, and probably put up most
of the capital, He and
Stewart had both been partners
in the firm of HalTis and Allen
which had opened the
New Brunswick Foundry on June 19th, 1830
(in Portland, then a suburb, now a part
of Saint John).4 That firm
seems to have succeeded rapidly, for it announced improvements
and expansion in June 1831, one year after its opening.
On June
29th, 1833, Harris and Allen bought out Barlow and Stewart,
dissolving the original firm and establishing a profitable
new co­
partnership that lasted until
Thomas Allens death at age 62 on
June 12, 1860.
Harris and Allens New Brunswick Foundry grew
and prospered despite the competition offered by Robert Foulis
Saint John Foundry, which was launched on July 19th, 1831, by a
of Foulis, William Ross, and David Hogg
foundries advertised a similar –and widely variegated –assortment
of products, from consumer goods like stoves and plows to
producers goods for shipbuilders, building contractors, and mill
The small but growing colonial economy offered an
expanding market for such producers, and Barlow and
correctly judged that there was enough demand to support a third
They obviously knew Fleming from his employment with
Harris and Allen in 1832, when they were still partners
in the firm.
They persuaded Fleming to leave Foulis and take his chances in a
new enterprise.
While the telTl1s of the original Phoenix Foundry partnership
not recorded, we can safely say that Stewart and Fleming were
the skilled tradesmen who contributed the expertise and actually
ran the new foundry.
Barlows role was different. He was then
nearing the peak
of his career in Saint John. He was a partner with
his father and
brother in E. Barlow and Sons, a prominent
importing, shipowning, and mercantile firm in the city; two weeks
after he helped establish the Phoenix Foundry, he participated in
another new firm, the commercial house
of Batlows and Ketchum.
He was already active in real estate, had frequently appeared as the
of estates, was a leader in most Saint John joint stock
of his era, and served as one of the citys representatives
in the New Brunswick House
of Assembly from the late 1820s
through the 1830s. He was one of the men who established the
Saint John
Board of Trade in 1819, and was elected to its executive
file;:;;, c Brv~ ~;;i:k1
~. . Il,lF 0;, iU/~ NDR Y ,; … ~ ,
I … , _., , •.. , ,
1 ,~.: fife sUBsciuBERS
1 1 A KE this method of informing their Friends and the
~ J,.,)~ub!ic, ,that they keep constantly on hand, at the.
I . nOcWl Establishment, Q large assortment of-f
. Cooking. Close, Coal; Parlour, and Air Tight Stoves,
l of the most improved put terns, 1
~ , –ALSO–
;1 PLOUG!~, 11AY $f STRA,W CUT·TE.J.lS,!
f: AGRICULT!~~;i·ori~i;IEAfENTS.·
[. :; ; and :~:~:~:::~~e1~~ES,
If H A., ~Ul~ wt~:! R E ,
~I Mill, Circular, Haod,anrl. Wel.! SAWS, LOCKS, HINGts,
Il. CHISELS, &c. _
Thcy arc also prepared to furnish STEAM ENGINES,
and MILL MACHINERY, of all descriptions. I
. ~ at tho shortest notice. I
And having their lil4,1{~ gg~~l;lSlf11lJ~~F I
in operation, will keep constantly on hand nn as-
$Crltnent of . ~
cui N·AIL S,
of thoBc~t quality,
. ( .
,ocr~Ho.r ,.vhicb, they offer for S1l.lo at tlm id*est
rates. . .
II, , HAR~IS_& A.~LE1N.
An advertisement,from Averys Almanack for 1846, describes a
wide range
of producls offered by Harris and Allen,) ames Flemings
old employeer, and now a competitor
of the Phoenix Foundry.
New Brunswick Museum.
annually from 1819 to 1826, and frequently thereafter. In 1825,
Barlow was a co-founder
of the Saint John Marine Insurance Co.
and served as a director
of it for most of the companys existence.
In the 1830s Barlow was one of the Tmstees of the Saint Jolm
Savings Bank, a Director
of the Bank of New Brunswick, the
of the Lancaster Mills Company, and a Commissioner of
the Bay of Fundy Light Houses. Thomas Barlow was a busy and
influential man, with his fingers
in many pies. Barlow purchased
from the Honourable Ward Chipman three lots
of land on which
the original Phoenix Foundry was built, and for years the finn
traded under his name.
In the same week that the Phoenix Foundry opened its
doors for business, the firm
of Barlows and Ketchum received a
of 50 tons of iron from London in the barque Barlow.
The business links among Barlows firms that this indicates
is no
In the early years of the foundry, Barlow no doubt
arranged for the import
of all its necessities: machines, coal, and
iron. More importantly, Barlows business connections were
probably crucial to the firms success by marketing its products,
directly through the Barlow wholesale houses, and indirectly
through his business and political contacts.
Stewart dropped out
of the film in 1847 or 1848, and not
amicably, as he later sued Barlow and Fleming in chancery in 1850
for a fairer share
of the assets
Barlow sold his share on July 24th,
1849, to the firms bookkeeper, Thomas C. Humbert. A new firm
then operated the Phoenix Foundry, known as
Fleming and
The Phoenix Foundry began its career by advertising that
they will cast Ship and Mill Work, Stoves, Grates, Frankiins,
Ploughs, &c. Potential customers were also assured
of Jack and
other Screws cut, Engine Work, Turning Lathes, &c. finished in a
superior manner. Orders could be left at the Foundry, then as
throughout its more than a century
of active existence, on Pond
Street at the foot
of Dorchester, or at tile store of E. Barlow &
Sons.11 In the following year the firm had its first big contract,
a contract to provide all the
castings and fittings for 24 saw mills
for a new water-driven factory being built by the Saint John Mills
and Canal Company. About the same time, the firm spawned its
first spin·off, as one
of its pattern-makers went into business for
himself as a millwright
in Germain Street, Saint John.12
In 1837, beginning its third year,. the Phoenix Foundry
emphasized consumer goods: a great variety
STOVES, of the latest and most approved patterns; Canada
STOVES, Franklins, Register Grates, PLOUGHS, Bark Mills, for
Tanners; BUCKETS, for Spiral Wheels, &c., but still offered to
make every description of Machinery, Ship and Mill
Work to
George Fleming began to emerge from the shadow of his
prominent partner Barlow about this time. In 1838 he was one
the founders of the Mechanics Institute of Saint John, and he was
elected one
of its twelve oliginal directors.
The decade of the 1840s was momentous for Fleming. His
sons James and William, later to join him as partners in the firm,
bom in the early years. His original partners left the firm,
which took a new shape with Fleming as the senior partner.
firm was a success: we note local business houses advertising T.
Barlow & Co. s Ploughs constantly on hand, which surely
indicates an established reputation for quality
of manufacture. IS
Even more significant for his later achievements in locomotive
Flemings firm began to make its name in the construction
of steamboat engines and of steam engines for mills and factories.
The Phoenix Foundry was committed to steam power from the
outset. James Harris New Brunswick Foundry had begun with
muscle power with men working
in relays to operate the bellows
for the blast in his cupola. Robert Foulis brought an imported 6
horsepower engine with him on the Isabella from the Clyde
1831, for the use of the foundry about to be established by him
as the St. John Foundry.
16 The Phoenix Foundry alone of the three
built its own steam engine, proudly claiming it
to be the first ever
built in New Brunswick.
The Phoenix Foundry soon
challenged the imported steamboat
as well. In 1841, Thomas
& Company manufactured
a 30 horsepower low pressure
engine for the new ferry, Lady
Colebrooke.!8 By
1847, they
oUI a 216 horsepower low
pressure engine for the new river
steamer St. John; the engine was
said then
to have cost about four
thousand pounds.
T. Barlow &
Company apparently took a share
in the boats ownership
in part
payment.!9 Although steamboat
in those years were usually
low pressure
–in fact very low by
modern standards, around 20
pounds per square inch (psi) –the
film was already manufacturing
high pressure stationary engines.
One was advertised nearly new
by a Sl. John firm in 1848.
was plenty of competition for the
local steam engine market:
in 1847-
alone, Saint John steamboats
were fitted with
an engine built at
Bangor, Maine (the Carleton)
and with an engine built by James
Smith at COllltenay Bay, Saint
John (the Transit), while a local
millowner offered
to sell a steam
cylinder made to his order at the
St. Rollox Foundry (Glasgow,
Scotland) in 1848, and at
Fredericton, Thomas Pickard
Benjamin Tibbits built a small
er steamer powered by a
compound engine (the
It is true that competition
and opportunity were two
sides of
the same coin of growing demand,
it appears that the Phoenix
Foundry did very well
in these
years. Looking back in
1867, the
firm claimed
to have built over
140 steam engines,
and in 1875
they claimed to have manufactured
nearly all the marine engines built
in this
city, and two-thirds of all
built in the
Province.>22 Without
up a wide range of other
products, Fleming and his partners
successfully staked out the steam
as a speciality in which the
firm dominated the New Brunswick
domestic market during the middle
decades of the nineteenth century.
1. POND S [RE E1,:, r< .~
~ ~r.I ______ .. __ ~ _. ~ _:.~.~ _ ~
j . -.. ~~
f ll~
~.; ~
~ @
~ ~
~ ~
~ ~
~ . ®
! The Proprietors of the above Estab,ishment are na~v pre-,
i STEAM ~;~o ;1~i;Ui:NGINJlS, . f>
~ W]))~~~ JPlIll!lP~~ ~. -1
i p j T ~JNr PURCHAS ES, ~
~ HOISTI1~G VIIEEL GEAR, &c. &c. ~
@ THEY will endeavor to keep (.onstantly on hand, an assort-~
~l .ment of Ships CA;IBOOSES ; Cooking, Close, and ~rnnklin ~
51, SrovEs, Oven nnd Fu·rnnce Mouths, &c. SIDE HILL
~ Dou BLE JIOULD·IWAf.D, SOD D, IMPROVED D, and other ~
~ Pattern PLOUGHS. Fanning-Mill Wheels, Truck and ~
~ Burrow Wheels, Vngon and Curt Boxes, &c. &c. &c. ~
® o::T BRASS and I RO:-i CAST1~GS made to c..rdecr; BRASS 00
~ and [no:i TURNINr.. All kinds of MACHINER.Y Repaired. 1-
~ IF. & H. E
fi . ~~-~-~~-_~~
Fleming and Humberts advertisement in Ave/ys Almanack for 1852 featured the mythical
Phoenix bird from which the foundry took its name.
New Brun
swick Museum.
While the steamboat market was never a large one, the
stationary engine market was
by comparison huge. There were
only 8 steamboats registered
in Saint John in 1840, and 11 new
ones registered
in the next decade.
In 1841 the New Brunswick
government surveyed the
provinces manufacturing facilities, and
821 saw and grist mills (58 of them in Saint John
County)24 Many,
of course, were driven by water power, but even
these required machinelY as demonstrated by the Saint John Mills
and Canal
Companys large order with the Phoenix Foundry in
1836. The same 1841 government survey showed only four iron
in the province: one in Northumberland County and the
in Saint John. The real competition to supply engines and
came from overseas imports, and the Saint John
foundries were united in their attitude to this threat. Year after year
they joined hands
to petition the House of Assembly for protection.
These requests were usually referred to committee and no
further action noted, but they appear to have struck a responsive
chord among
the legislators. By 1859 the New Brunswick tariff
provided for duties
of 3.5% ad valorem on iron bolts, bars, sheets,
old and railroad iron (much
of which came in as raw material for
the foundries), but 15% on wrought and cast iron, and 17.5% on
iron castings.
When their new partnership took
over the Phoenix Foundry
in 1849, Fleming and Humbert immediately enlarged the works,
beginning a program of investment and expansion that continued
for several years. This
is surely evidence of growing business
volume and
of profits. On October 20th, 1849, the two proprietors
that their new Moulding Shop was complete. The film
was now prepared to manufacture a splendid list
of products:
Steam Boilers
Force Pumps
Mill Machinery
Tuming Lathes
Screw Presses
Bark Mills
Patent Purchases, and other Ship Castings
Hoisting Wheel Gear, &c. &c. &c.
In addition to this wide-ranging list of articles which the Phoenix
Foundry would make to order, Fleming and Humbert announced
On Hand, (and in all the later advertisements, as Constantly
on Hand), an equally irnpressivelistof products already manufactured
in stock:
CAMBOOSES [cast-iron cooking range & oven for ships]
COOKlNG, Close and Franklin STOVES
Oven and Fumace Mouths
Side Hill, Double Mould Board, Sod D, Improved D, E, and
other pattern PLOUGHS
Fanning Mill Wheels
Truck and Banow Wheels
Waggon and Cart Boxes, &c. &c. The film
of course advertised its readiness to make Brass and lJon
Castings to order, to undertake Brass and Iron Turning, and to
all kinds of Machinery. These lists of actual products on
hand and
of possible products which could be ordered from the
Phoenix Foundry remained virtually unchanged
in the firms
advertisements for the next decadeY The reference to fire engines
is a bit tantalizing, but with the firms own records missing it is
impossible to say whether or not they ever built any. Yet why
advertise fire engines from 1849 to 1859
if none were ever
ordered? There is a much later reference,
in 1888, to Flemings
low bid winning a $625 contract to repair the boiler of a city fire
engine for the
Saint John City CounciJ.28 But the repair job would
not necessarily have been on an engine that was built
by Fleming.
A notable feature
of this list of Phoenix Foundry products
as advertised
in the period 1849-1859 is the heavy emphasis on
producers goods for the lumber and shipbuilding indu
stries. This
is not remarkable, since these were then the leading industries
the New Brunswick economy. There is also a strong line in plows
and stove
s. All of this represents a development of the original
product lines offered by the Foundry
in 1835, with a greater
of products and more varieties, but still responding to
the same market opportunities.
The decade of the 1850s meant much more to the firm than
this analysis
of its advertised products might indicate. Fleming
nd Humbert continued to invest in their facilities after adding the
new Moulding Shop in 1849. A description
of the Foundry
published in 1875 states:
Between 1850 alld 1854, great
improvements and enlargements were made on the premises. The
casting shop was greatly enlarged, alld the olherprincipai woodell
buildings taken down and more ample and convenient erections
brick substituted. This was not all, for on FebrualY 26th, 1856,
Fleming and Humbert petitioned the New Brunswick Assembly
for a retum
of the import duties they had paid on machinery
imported from the United States, imported as they claimed
enable them to compete successfully with the Manufactories
other countries. In spiteof an unfavorable report by the Committee
on Trade, their request was
just barely turned down by the House
of Assembly, on a vote of 14 to 15, on April 1856
There was
clearly a considerable,
if not quite sufficient, sympathy in the
legislature for the needs
of a local manufacturer. Just what this
machinery was
is not specified, but later the same year Fleming
and Humbert announced that the Phoenix Foundry had recently
been enlarged, and Machinery and Tools
of the latest improved
kinds introduced.3l As a result, they were prepared with superior
facilities to manufacture:
High and Low Pressure
Steam Boat, Saw, and Grist
Turning Lathes
Screw Presses
Ship Builders Cramps
Cast Iron Pumps
Hawser Pipes
Warping Chocks
Shieves, Cleats, and Rollers, &c.
… [and the usual products advertised earlier]
The greater emphasis on products for the
shipbuilders market
is noticeable. Fleming and Humbert
continued to cultivate that market, for an 1859
adveltisement addressed to Ship-Builders, Ship-Owners,
and others announced that the film had acquired the
le right of manufacture for New Brunswick of Robbins
Patent Compound Rotary Lever Pump.32 An
accompanying testimonial praised the pump, claiming
three men will pump more water with less fatigue
than eig
ht men will with the ordinary wee gee. This
was clearly a manual, not a steam-driven, pump.
by this date the railway age had at last reached Saint
John, and Fleming had begun his interesting excursion
into the wholly new (to him) field
of locomotive
The New Brunswick government had decided
to build railway facilities, beginning with a trunk line
called the European and North American Railway
(E&NA), from Saint John to Shediac. Construction
was at first, in 1851, entrusted to a British firm
railway contractors, Messrs. Peto, Betts, Jackson, and
Brassey.J3 They had virtually world-wide experience
and perhaps more significantly, knew how to arrange
the financing through London banks.
But after a brave
start in 1853, the pace
of construction was glacial,
financing could not be arranged as promised
or planned,
and under heavy local criticism the British contractors
withdrew from the project in 1855.
While the main consideration was always the
of the railway line itself, a side issue was
the provision
of rolling stock. Peto, Betts, Jackson &
Brassey had ordered rolling stock from foreign suppliers,
including the first two locomotives.
These, named
s and Samson, were delivered by sea from
the Boston Locomotive Works, U.S.A., in 1854 for two
thousand six hundred pounds each
These locomotives
went to the construction works at the Shediac end. A
small construction locomotive was purchased for the
SainUohn end from the Portland Company of Portland,
Maine at a cost
of £1575.16.0.
Under provincial management, the E&NA
ordered four more locomotives from the Boston
Locomotive Works in 1857-58. At the same time, it
began a program of buying rolling stock at home.
Ballast, freight, and passen
ger cars were ordered from
a number
ofSaintJ ohn contractors, particularly Frederick
James and James Harris and Co. Locomotives were
ordered from Fleming and Humbert
of the Phoenix
Pond Street,
Saint J ~hn, N. B.
The above Establishment having recently bepn
enlarged, and M(lchinery and Toole of the latest
Improved kinds introduced, the Proprietorsrc.
spcctfully inform their :Patrons, nnd the Public
generJtlJy, that they are prepared with superior
tacilities to Manufacture High and LJw Pressure
Steamboat, Saw
and Grist -Mill
Turning Lothee, Screw Presses, Ship :Bujldcrs
Cramps, Windlass Gear, Cast Iron Pumplf, and
other Ship CastingB; Bark Mills, Oveu and Fur­
nace Mouths, PJoue-hs j Thrasher and Fanner
Wheels; Truck and-Barrow WheeJ~, &te.·· Iron
and Brass Castings, Blacksmith Work, &c., &c~
~Iron Slid Bruss Turning done; Gear Wheel!
cut, &c. Machil,lery repaired with despatch.
Steam Engines and Boilers; Steamboat, Saw, and Grist Mill Machil1elY; but
still no locomotives! A Phoenix Foundry advertisement from the Saint John
Business DirectOlY for 1857, the
year before the firm built its first locomotive.
New Brunswick Museum.
Foundry. None of these men had any previous experience of
building railway equipment, but most of the equipment proved
satisfactory and the railway was completed at very close to the cost
originally projected by Peto,.
Betts,] ackson & Brasse:y. His correspondence with the Chairman
of the Railway Commissioners,
Robert Jardine in Saint John, demonstrates a subsidiary interest in
Flemings locomotive adventure and tells us a lot about
it indirectly.
we note that Fleming was reluctant to take this
contract to manufacture a locomotive, and only decided
to do so in
early November 1857.
On November 5th, Reed was in Halifax,
about to embark on the steamer for Liverpool, when
he dashed off
a last-minute letter to Jardine. The commissioners apparently
wanted a locally-built locomotive, perhaps as much for political
During this period, 1857-58, when the provincial
commissioners were getting the railway under control, commissioner
Robert Reed went
to England to arrange for the financing, purchase,
and shipping
of the all-important railway iron (the rails, chairs,
fishplates, etc. that would physically compose the railway line).
Fleming and Humbertsfirstlocomotive was the LOOSTAUK, built for the European & North American Railway in 1858. It was the
& NAs eighth locomotive, and it served that railway, and its successor the 1ntercolonial,for many years.
New Brunswick Museum,
C. Warren Anderson Collection.
reasons as for any other, but seemed to expect the builder to take
all the risks:
… It is now 6 p.m. and no message from you about the
Iron for the locomotive. Well,
if Mr. Fleming is not
to meet the additional condition to refund any
amount advanced, in case the article should not prove
it shews that he lacks confidence in his own
to make a first rate article, and proves that we
were right in binding them to assume all risk and and
if the locomotive proved a failure, and
the Province lost a thousand pounds by the transaction,
it would be but a poor excuse for us to say that the thing
was done with a view
to encourage our own mechanics.
[emphasis added.]
It is hard to imagine a cautious railway management
in the
twentieth century approaching General Motors in this spirit! Even though
New Brunswick has been disappointed in arranging the
of this project, a very expensive one for a small and poor
colonial society, Fleming and Humbert were expected to take an
appaUing gamble. They were
to collect an expensive lot of
materials, put in months of work on them, and get stuck with aJlthe
costs if the Commissioners were not satisfied with the finished
If one of their customers wouldnt pay for a stove or a
ships pump, the Foundry could find other buyers. The provincial
railway, however, was the only customer
in sight for a locomotive.
In this same letter, Reed continued in a more positive tone,
revealing what was perhaps his major motive:
I hope however,for his own sake, as well as the credit
of the country, that Mr. Fleming will yet undertake the
job, and
tum out such an engine as must meet approval,
and so stop further orders
to the United States.
[emphasis added.]
On November 16th, Jardine replied to Reed,
writing that Fleming and Humbert had not had their
specifications ready
in time to telegraph them to Reed at
Halifax before he sailed;
in fact, that the firm only gave
afew minutes ago, barely time to catch the Mail.>37
Thus it appears that the Railway Commissioners initiated·
the proposal that Fleming build a locomotive, that they
discussed this proposal with him
in the summer or fall of
1857, and that Fleming and Humbert only committed
their firm to the project definitely in early November.
Two weeks later, on Dec. 1st, 1857, Jardine wrote
Fleming and Humbert, as I informed you by last
mail, have concluded to go into the Locomotive making,
and Fleming has gone on to the States to get information.
Unfortunately, we may never find out where
Fleming went. But going by sea from Saint John, the
direct services were
to Portland and Boston –both them
active centers
of locomotive manufacture. Whatever
locomotive shops Fleming visited, or engineers he talked
with, he returned with a sound gmsp
of the general
American practice
of the day. His first locomotive, a 25-
ton 4-4-0, was an instant success
when it went into
in 1858. Even with an additional payment of
£225 for extras arising from altered dimensions, his
contract price, £2100, was below the
cost of comparable
road locomotives from the Boston Locomotive Works.
Equally important, the contract was profitable to the
Phoenix Foundry at that price, because the firm was
to take another locomotive contract immediately
after completing this first one.
The Commissioners correspondence reveals a
few more details
of Flemings first locomotive contract.
Fleming asked the commissioners to order
some raw
materials in England (not specified in these letters, but
later they procured for him
10 tons of cold blast South
Wales pig iron) and also
Low Moor tyres suitable for
locomotive driving wheels,
66 inches in diameter. Very
curiously, .he asked for twelve such tires. His contract
was for one locomotive with four driving wheels, and
Robert Jardine, the Chairman of the Railway Commissioners of New
Brunswick. In
1868 his name was given to a locomotive built by the
Phoenix Foundry.
New Brunswick Museum.
came with an order for an extra set of driving wheels (presumably
an additional four) for £300. Fleming was either being especially
cautious, in case he botched his first attempt,
or he was already
thinking about a second locomotive.
The unnamed English
referred this order back as not sufficiently explicit. This
was obviously the
result of Flemings inexperience. The supplier
asked whether they were
to be welded and blocked, or bent only?
The manufacturer also recommended an inside diameter of 61 3/
8 inches () (i.e., a tire thickness of 4 5/8) and dimensions at the
of 5 3/4 x 2 7/16. Fleming had not realized that he had so
many options that required specific instructions from him. Flemings
responses are not recorded, but such exchanges with suppliers
speciality parts no doubt helped to guide him into the best
contemporary practice.
Fleming had originally requested that the British materials
be sent to Portland by steamer, and transshipped there for Saint
In Liverpool Robert Reed, himself the owner of a line of
packet ships (which carried much of the railway iron across the
Atlantic for the commissioners), sent the materi
al to Boston
instead. It was too late in the season for Portland -Saint John ships,
which apparently did not operate in the winter months. Shipping
via Boston would add
a heavy percentage to the cost, Reed
admitted, but he believed it was better
for Fleming and Humbert
to bear it, then have a portion
of their men unemployed in the
40 This is an interesting glimpse of management attitudes
of the time, but of course we dont have Fleming and Humberts
The locomotive tires were not ready until spring, when
they were shipped direct to Saint John. On April 19th 1858, Jardine
wrote to his colleague
in England that Fleming and Humbert were
glad to hear that the tires were on their way.
They are getting velY
well on with the Locomolive, and will make
afirst rate job ofit.4J
Progress on this first locomotive seems to have been a
of general interest in Saint John. G. E. Fenetys Morning
News, a film supporter of the existing New Brunswick government
>-., ,………… CI.
~. tl,mi.~ ~ J5umbcrt. /l.-{.
htrvl,x FIIII.IflI!A#)I.
$t.r … M.
A drawing of Fleming and Humberts second locomotive, the OSSEKEAG as it.appeared when new, This drawing, done,in 1859, hung
in the home
of a descendant of James Fleming until the 1960s but its present location is not known,
New Brunswick Museum,
and its railway policy, could not resist using Fleming and Humbeft
to make a subtle feference to the poor performance of the previous
British contractors, On May 14th, 1858, an article in the paper
praised the passenger cars which Frederick James was building
(it is a satisfaction to know that our own Bluenose men are
no laggards, , ,)
and concluded with these wOfds:
As another instance of domestic punctuality we may remark
that Messrs, Fleming
& Humbert are also up to time with the
locomotive they have in hands,
[sic; emphasis theirs,)
Finally, the Morning News could announce
in August that the fifst
locomotive ever built
in New Brunswick had been launched-­
using the word so often seen in the Saint John papers
to mark the
of the shipbuilding industry ,43
This locomotive, named Loostauk, was the E&NAs
eighth locomotive, an ordinary 4-4-0 of that era, with outside
cylinders 14 diameter x 22 stroke, drive wheels 66 diameter,
weighing 51,560 pounds in working order,
of which 31,930 pounds
were on the drive wheels (thus about 8 tons on each driving
Of the seven locomotives alJeady in service, all Amelican-built,
only two cost the E&NA less, These two were the switching
engines, smaller and lighter than the locomotives intended for
over-the-road service: the SI. John (later #3) from the Portland Company, and the Kennebecasis (later #4) from the Boston
Locomotive Works, Over the following years, the Loostauk
consistently outperformed the five comparable American-built
rivals, and the later Fleming-built locomotives did even better.
Pleased with Loostauks success, the provincial
commissioners ordered two more locomotives from Fleming fOf
the next season.45 These, delivered in June and August 1859,
were the Ossekeag (latef
#9)46 and the Apohaqui (later #10).47
Both had 15 x 22 cylindefs, largef than Flemings earlief engine,
the Loostauk, and equal
to the last from the Boston Locomotive
WOfks, the Anagance (Iatef
#7), Flemings engines were
heavier, too, The Ossekeag had 66 diameter drive wheels and
weighed 56,030 pounds, The additional weight available for
tfaction may have contributed
to her pelformance, Ossekeag
was the
E&NAs top mileage locomotive when provincial
management ended in 1872, Apohaqui had 60 drivers and
weighed 55,400 pounds,
of which 32,900 pounds was on her drive
wheels, These locomotives each varied from-the others
in irnportant
particulars, indicating that neither the commissioners nor Fleming
saw any overriding advantage
in standardization,
On June 8th, 1859, the Ossekeag pulled the first revenue
train from Saint John
to Hampton (then known as Ossekeag), 23
In 1872,following the takeover of the E & NA by the Intercolonial Railway, the OSSEKEAG became ICR Number 32, and it continued
in service at least until the change
of gauge in 1877. This photo shows it in its later days and makes an interesting comparison with
the drawing opposite.
National Archives
of Canada, Merrilees Collection, Photo: PA-J85902.
miles: but being of great weight –28 tons, it is said –spread the
roadbed and derailed
.48 The Loostauk, which had pulled forty
invited dignitaries on a pre-opening special the day before, and the
Boston-built locomotives ilad to take over until the new track was
more firmly fastened. These first Fleming locomotives were large
machines for a virtually hand-crafted product, although in the
of Canadian railway history they seem almostludicrously
The little Canadian Pacific 4-4-0s that survived in service
on New Brunswick branch lines into the
1950s, and were used in
The National Dream, were about twice as heavy as the first
Flemings: 115,000 pounds, although they were built only twenty­
four years later.
The small size and the simplicity of design of these mid­
century 4-4-0
s made it possible for a small shop such as the
Phoenix Foundry to build one or two successfully. Components
and sub-assemblies, for example, would not be too heavy
or bulky
to move and lift with musc
le, levers, and block and tackle.
At this date, the technology was all in the public domain and a good
quality foundry and machine shop like Fleming and
would already be experienced in aJl the necessary operations.
Johns Morning News, boasting of the employment created
in New Brunswick by the then Liberal governments railway construction, claimed that the Phoenix Foundrys second contract,
for two locomotives,
will keep over twenty hands constantly
employed until mid-summer.
5o Twenty men! This seems to be the
most astonishing numeral fact
of all the surviving data on these
early locomotives.
Fleming turned out tllfee more 4-4-0 locomotives,
aJl with
15 x 22 cylinders
and66 drivers, virtually identical toOssekeag,
in 1860-61.
These were the Prince of Wales in July 1860, the
Norton in
November 1860, and the Prince Alfred in July 1861.
Then a few years later, Fleming produced the Robert Jardine in
June 1868 and
The Bear in August 1869, both heavy freight
engines with 16 1/2 x 24 cylinders and 60 drivers, weighing
66,000 pounds each —
40,000 pounds on the drive wheels (40,500
pounds for
The Bear), an axle load of ten tons. The roadbed had
obviously been improved since Ossekeag made her maiden
When the E&NA handed over its-Saint John to Shediac line
to the new Intercolonial Railway (lCR) on November 9th, 1872, it
included a locomotive roster
of fourteen engines: six from the
Boston Locomotive Works and eight produced
by the Phoenix
Two other locomotives had left the E&NA service. St.
John, built by the Portland Company, was so
ld in June 1866 to the
St. Stephens BranchRailway. TheSussex, another American­
built engine, was built by the
Car & Engine Company of
Springfield, Massachusetts, a firm active between 1848 and
1856. It had been acquired second-hand from Canada at a
bargain price. But it proved unreliable, spending more time
in the shops than on the road. It had been out of service for
more than a year when it was palmed
off on the Woodstock
Railway sometime after 1867.
So the E&NA had operated
of its traffic over the I 06-mile, single track line with the
engines from Boston and from Fleming.
Throughout their careers, the Fleming locomotives
consistently ran up more miles in service than those from
Boston. A spectacular year for such comparisons was 1866.
that year, the six Boston Locomotive Works products
made a combined total
of 39,585 miles, or an average of
6,597.5 miles per engine. The six Flemings then on the roster
made 110,136 miles, an average
of 18,356 per locomotive.
In the final year of E&NA operation, the Bostons averaged
8,058.2 miles each, the
Flemings 9,702.3. In the first
(partial) year under ICR management, from November
1872 to June 30, 1873, the six Bostons averaged 5,792 miles
and the eight Flemings 9,846.
For this same period the ICR
also repOlted the costs
of running individual locomotives.
The Bostons averaged $18.35 running expenses per 100
miles, the Flemings $17.16.
Thus the experiment of
procuring home-built locomotives which the New Brunswick
commissioners began in 1857 had paid off beyond all reasonable
expectations. The local boys had built an engine,
in a small
shop with no previous railway experience, which performed
better than the imported products from what was then the
largest locomotive manufacturer in New England.
The Boston Locomotive Works built approximately
1,811 locomotives over 58 years
of production from 1841 to
The Phoenix Foundry built approximately 50
locomotives over
30 years, 1858-1888. Steam locomotives
of that era were not mass produced, and the economies of
scale that big producers could realize were not much found
in the actual manufacturing process.
They were more likely
to be realized by quantity purchase and stockpiling
of inputs
like boiler plate or coal. The important advantage
of a big
plant like Boston over a small producer like
the Phoenix
Foundry was the larger number
of machines and men it could
put to work on a project at one time, a function
of a larger
capital investment. As long as the orders were for one
locomotive at a time, or
at most two, Fleming was competitive.
He had a well-equipped shop, able men, and he was himself
an excellent machinist and experienced supervisor.
man-hours and shop-hours to build a single thitty-ton locomotive
in the Phoenix Foundry were probably very close to the time
• D
Pond Street, Saint J611n, ·N. B.
. .
• , •. <
~lf[g~[R}J (g~@O[m[§~~
s~xp BCXLX>E:R.S oEAl.4PI!ffJ~
Robbins Patent compound Rotary Lever Pump Gear,
ark Mills, Oven and Furnace Mouths, Ploughs, Fanner Wheel.,
Jruck. and Darrow Wheels for Hailway purposee, &0.,
On and Brass Castings, BlacksmitH (Work.
Iron and Bra .. Turning and Planing; Gear Wh~lII oast.
tiOIDIB8 lotllBll!OTIULLY ~LICltETh.
ABOVE: By 1863, when this adverlisemen/ appeared in Averys
Almanack, LOCOMOTlVES were the fea/ured product
of the Phoenix
y, although steamboat machinery and slationary steam engines
received attention.
New Brunswick Museum.
OPPOSITE: This vel] detailed photograph shows European
& North American Railway locomotive No. 12, PRINCE OF WALES, built
& Humbert in 1860. The occasion for the photo was the visit of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VlI, to Saint John in
1860. The special car
is also numbered 12. The location was Saint John just easl of where the present VIA s/ation is now, and only afew
hundred feet from the Phoenix Foundl» where the locomotive was built. One of the foundry buildings appears behind the rear of the roof
of the passenger car. In the upper left corner of the photo, above the front of the locomotive, can be seen Saint Johns (Stone) church, built
1825 and s/ill standing today.
New Brunswick Museum, Gift
of the Hon. Justice R. C. Ritchie, 1969.
Pond Street, St. John, N. B.
The Proprietors of the above establishment manufacture
Steam Boilers, Steamboat and Mill Machinery,
Turning Lathes, Screw Presses, Ship Builders Cramps, Windlass Gear, Cast
Iron Pumps, and other Ship Castings,
Robbins Patent Compound Rotary Lever Pump Gear.
Bark Mills, Oven and Furnace Mouths, Ploughs, Fanner Wheels,
and Barrow Wheels for Railway purposes, &c. Iron and Brass Castings;
BLACKS.VllTH WORK; Iron and Brass Turning and
Planing; Gear Wheels cast; Machinery repaired with dispatch.
u::r Orders respectfully solicited.
In 1862, Hook and Greenoughs Business Directory carried this advertisement depicting flvo charming
woodcuts showing a train and a steamboat.
New Brunswick Museum.
in the bigger shop. But a producer like Boston could work
on big batch orders –for 10,12, 25 locomotives –simultaneously,
or could accept several different orders at once. The larger
had the facilities to work on six, or ten, or more sets of cylinders,
frames, and boilers at the same time. This was something Fleming
could not do.
Should Fleming have expanded the Phoenix Foundry so
that he could compete for orders for locomotives in large batches
too? This thought must have crossed the minds
of each of the
Canadian locomotive builders in one form or another, but in the
nineteenth century, only the works at Kingston, Ontario, tried
to do
–and at some peril. We have a hint Ul Flemings case that he
did consider expansion, and that he rejected the idea. Why?
When the Foundrys largest locomotive
to date, the Robert
Jardine, was completed Fleming told the press that
he had
rejected expansion:
Mr. F. could also have got orders for the building of
locomotives for the Nova Scotia Railroads, but had to refuse
them from not having the proper facilities at the present time for
carrying on such an extensive work. The Nova Scotia Railway order for which Fleming refused
to compete (or which he turned down, if it was offered to him) was
not really a large one. The origin and development
of the provincial
railways in Nova Scotia were almost contemporaneous with New
Brunswicks E&NA, and in the 1850s the early locomotives were
all acquired from foreign builders. Up to the date
of Flemings
interview in the Saint John press, the only additions to the Nova
Scotia fleet were five locomotives built by the Canadian Engine
and Machinery Company
of Kingston, Ontario, over a period of 29
months. These locomotives were built from November 1866 to
April 1869, and delivered
by schooner in Halifax from December
to May 1869.
This seems to indicate that these engines were
ordered one or two at a time, which would put them well within
Flemings capability.
Although we can only speculate now as to
motives, it is not hard to suggest reasons why expansion in the
locomotive field might have seemed undesirable
to him. He had
worked his way up from apprentice machinist
to journeyman to co­
partner, and was about
to become sole proprietor. Presumably
personal control was important
to him as to others in his position,
for example, his former employer, contemporary, and closest
competitor in Saint Jolm, James Harris. The amount
of new capital
Flemings Phoenix Foundry built a 150-horsepower marine engine, with 36 cylinders with 78 stroke,jorthe steamboat MAY QUEEN,
launched in 1869. This vessel had a vel) long career, being in service on the Saint John River until well into the twentieth century.
New Brunswick Museum.
his firm would have needed to become a specialist in locomotive
manufacture would
have required extensive borrowing or perhaps
a complete change to a
joint stock system of ownership. It is easy
to see why Fleming would not care for either approach. (In the
1850s, Daniel Gunn in Hamilton, an able businessman and locomotive
producer, could not persuade. local men to invest in a
joint stock
company to keep his works alive.
James Good of Toronto had
some 34 recorded mortgage transactions in keeping his foundry in
operation for over
40 years, and was judged a poor credit risk by
the financial community.)
In the circumstances
of those days, specialization in one
foundry-machine shop product calTied other risk
s. The locomotive
works at Kingston, Ontario, were closed for
some months almost
every year. We
dont think of railway locomotives as a seasonal
tlY, but in effect they were for Kingston. Stove manufacturers,
of agricultural implements, and many other Canadian
manufacturing industries were
seasonal ir: the nineteenth century
leaving men unemployed and capital goods idle for part
of every
The Phoenix Foundry had developed a mixed product line
that kept its skilled employees and expensive capital investment working
on a year-round basis. And finally, Fleming did conceive
of his business as a family enterprise, eventually taking two of his
sons into partnership and passing the business on to them.
if we assume that locomotives might have been a very profitable
in which to specialize, it is clear that Fleming had other
priorities ahead
of profit for its own sake.
At this same time, the Phoenix Foundry seems to have
enjoyed a busy period. Employment was up to 60 to 80 men in
1867, and had recently been higher:
as many as 120 … under an
extraordinary pressure
of work.59 The buildings then included
fourshops (moulding & casting; blacksmithing; turning & finishing;
boilermaking) as well as
spacious brick ware-rooms and large
for storing pattell1s, but the Foundry claimed that all of this
comprised facilities for manufacturing to a much larger extent
than has yet been required
60 [emphasis mine.) Fleming &
Humbert may have been cautious of more complex organizational
or major indebtedness, but they had considerably increased
plant and its capacity. Most likely much of this would have
been done by re-investing profits instead of taking out more
personal income for the proprietors.
In the winter of 1866-67, the Foundry produced a new
locomotive, the SI. James, for the St. Stephen Branch Railway.
In 1866, Fleming and Humbert had manufactured a 250 horsepower
engine for the new river steamer David Weston,
by far thefinesl
in every respect of any on the river, capable of carrying 500
passengers between Fredericton and Saint John in five hours at
average speed of 18 miles per hour. In 1867 they turned out another
large marine engine, a beam engine with 42 diameter cylinder x
11 foot stroke for the Rothesay, which also was capable of 18
miles per hour in service on the Saint John River under a working
boiler pressure
of 35 p.s.i.
These river steamers matched the
E&NA railway schedule
of the day for overall speed, incidentally.63
In these projects the Phoenix Foundry collaborated with
other local firms and shipbuilders.
D. McLauchlan & Sons, York
Point Slip, Saint John, built the boilers for the David Weston,
while Henry Graham
of Southwark Street (off Pond Street, Saint
John) built the boiler for the locomotive St. James
.>64 Since the
Phoenix Foundry was perfectly capable
of making such boilers
itself, this can indicate that the firm was working
to capacity at the
time, or that
it sub-contracted parts of big contracts to spread the
risks and speed up completion
of the work. Local patriotism
probably puffed up the Saint John Morning News account of
Fleming & Humberts Phoenix Foundry in the October
14, 1867
This firm has acquired a celebrity far beyond the
of our Province for the superiority in strength and
of their locomotives, boat and factory engines.
Locomotives usually attracted the attention of the press
when they were completed, and usually the larger steamboat
engines were noticed (though the engine makers were not always
identified), but we have no public notice
of factory engines. Most
likely the bulk
of the over 140 engines built by the firm to 1867
would have been in this category.65
In June 1868, Thomas
C. Humbert retired from the firm,
the partnership was dissolved and the firm became George Fleming
But within eighteen months, Fleming took two of his sons,
William and James, into partnership and advertised a new firm,
George Fleming and Sons. The popular but unofficial name,Phoenix
Foundry, had been expanded
by 1862 to Phoenix Foundry and
Locomotive Works, a name that was still being used by Flemings
in the early 20th century.67 The firms bread-and-butter
products were the more numerous but anonymous factory engines,
castings and smaller items generally, but the prestigious locomotives
were a source
of pride.
Special thanks to Mary Allen for typing this
1 James Hannay, SaintJohn and its Business (Saint John, 1875), p. 126; New Brunswick Mus.eum: .. Wards Historical.Scrapbook No.
4, Locomotive and Engine: the Interesting Story of the Phoenix Foundry, dated Aug. 16, 1889; Saint John Daily Sun, Death of George
Fleming, July 27, 1887.
2 New Brunswick Museum: Marriage Register B, 1828-1839, p. 330,
Shelfl03; St. John Daily Sun, Death of Mrs. Fleming, April
5, 1889.
3 Saint John New Brunswick Courier (hereafter cited N.B. Courier), June 27, 1835.
4 Saint John N.B. Courier, June 19, 1830; June 4,
1831; August 13, 1833; and D. Rik Whittaker, James Stanley Harris, Dictionary
of Canadian Biography, XI, pp. 385-386.
5 Saint John Morning Freeman, Death of a Good Citizen, June 14, 1860.
6 Saint John N.B. Courier, July 23,1831; Charles
S. MacKinnon, Robert Foulis, Dictionary of Canadian Biography, IX, p. 277 (must
be used with caution due to a number
of inaccuracies).
7 Saint John N.B. Courier, June
4,1831; July 23,1831; Jan. 5,1833; Jan 4,1834; Oct. 11,1834; Dec. 27,1834.
8 For Barlow see: New Brunswick, Journal of the House of Assembly, 1833, 1834, 1837-8, 1839; St. John N.B. Courier, April
9, Nov.
12,1825; June
2, 9, & 23,1827; Sept. 20, Dec. 27,1828; Oct. 10, 1829; Aug. 13, 1833; Nov. 22 & 29, 1834; Jan. 17, May 30, June 27, July
4 &
II, Sept. 12, Dec. 6, all 1835; May 21, 1836; Sept. 9 & 30,1837; Apr. 14, May 12 & 19, 1838; Oct. 2,1841; and July 28, 1849; Saint
John Daily Sun, Apr. 3, 1889.
9 Saint John N.B. Courier, Aug. 13, 1833 & June 27,1835; Public Archives
of New Brunswick, In Chancery, John Stewart vs. Daniel
W. Goldrick, WiUiam Oram, George Oram, Thomas Barlow, George Fleming, James BarIeu, dated 29 June 1850; New Brunswick, Journal
of the House of Assembly, 1854:2, p. 118, where John Stewart appears as an independent Iron Founder in Saint John (17 Feb. 1855).
10 Saint John N.B. Courier, July 28, 1849.
11 Saint John N.B. Courier, June 27, 1835.
12 Saint John N.B. Courier, IntemalImprovements
in New Brunswick, Aug. 13, 1836; advertisement: JOHN BELL, MILLWRIGHT,
Oct. I, 1836: Having been employed for the past three years
as Pattern maker in the New Brunswick and Phoenix Foundries ….
13 Saint John N.B. Courier, Nov.
11, 1837.
14 Saint John N.B. Courier, Dec. 8, 1838 (one of the other Directors was Thomas AUen).
15 e.g., Armstrong & Christys advertisement, Saint John N.B. Courier, Oct. 23, 1841.
16 Saint Jolm N.B. Courier, May 7, 1831; Foulis also brought two other engines, 50 H.P. and 60 H.P., for installation in steam boats.
17 James
Hannay (1875), loc.cit. [see footnote Il.
18 Saint John MOl11ing News, Oct. 4, 1841.
19 Saint John N.B. Courier, Apr. 24, 1847; the St. John was almost immediately lengthened, i.e., the engines were powerful enough
for a bigger boat, ibid., July 31, 1847; and it was valued at £6500 two years later, when a group attempted to interest others in taking, or
sending, her to Califol11ia, ibid., Dec. 15, 1849.
20 Saint John N.B. Courier, Aug. 12 through Dec. 30, 1848; earlier, Robert Rankin offered the Portland Rope-Walk for sale, with all
machinery including
an 8 to 10 H.P. engine made by T. Barlow & Co., ibid., advert. dated Oct. 1846 and still running in July 1847.
21 Saint
John N.B. Courier, Sept. 25,1847 (the Carleton); Sept. 16,1848 (the Transit); Apr. 13,1849 (St. Rollox Foundry); Oct.
& 25, 1845 (the Reindeer, sold at a low price of £500, was £3000 new, Oct. 21, 1848). Tibbets, like Foulis, was able to fob off on a naive
and incredulous
New Brunswick public preposterous claims for originality, in this case the compound engine, with a small diameter high
cylinder exhausting into a large diam.low pressure cylinder. This had been patented by Jonathan Carter Hornblower in 1781, used
COl11wall mines early in the nineteenth century and in small marine engines (like the one Tibbets built) on the Clyde from the 1820s. See
J. A.
Ewing, Steam Engines, Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. XXV, p. 822, and M. S. Moss and J. R. Hume, Workshop of the British
Empire: Engineering
and Shipbuilding in the West of Scotland (London, 1977), p. 37. Tibbets claims were taken seriously in New
Brunswick, repeated and enlarged upon in William T. Baird, Seventy Years of New Brunswick Life (Saint John, 1890), pp. 49-52, and Rev.
Wm. O. Raymond, The River St. John (Saint John, 1910), p. 23.
22 Saint John Morning Telegraph, The Workshops of Saint John, Jan. 26, 1867; and James Hannay (1875) op.cit. [see footnote I].
23 For new registrations: New Brunswick, Joul11al of the House of Assembly, 1841, appendix pp. cclxxx-ccxci; 1842, appendix p.
cclxviii; 1843, appendix pp. cxxiv-cxxvciii; 1846, appendix p. cclx; 1847, appendix p. cccxli; 1848, appendix p. ccxxxviii.
24 Ibid., 1842, appendix p. ccx 1 ii.
25 Ibid., 1844, p. 88; 1848, p. 116; 1850, pp. 90, 133; 1851, p. Ill; 1854:2, p. 118.
26 Saint John N.B. Courier, Oct. 20 tlu·ough Nov. 29, 1849.
27 e.g. William L. Avery, Averys Almanack for 1855; Averys Almanack for 1858 (Saint John), full page Phoenix Foundry
advertisements following paginated text. The 1862 and 1863 editions have a different advertisement for the Phoenix Foundry and
Locomotive Works, listing LOCOMOTIVES ahead of the usual products.
28 Saint John Daily Sun, July 12, 1888.
29 James Hannay (1875), op.cit., pp. 126-127 [see footnote I].
30 New Brunswick, Journal of the House of Assembly, 1856 vol., pp. 43 (petition received Feb. 1856), 168 (reported by committee 26
Mar. 1856),304 (rejected on recorded vote 25 Apr. 1856). Only three of the six Saint John city and county members voted, all of them in
favor; conspicuous among those not voting was Samuel L. Tilley, later an architect of the National Policy intended to encourage domestic
Two steamboat proprietors, who later bought engines from Fleming, voted. Enoch Lunt (Sunbury County) was in favor and
George L. Hatheway (York County) against the petition. On the same day the House rejected a similar request from another Saint John
manufacturer without a recorded vote.
31 Saint John N.B. Courier, Oct. 15, 1856.
32 Saint John Morning News, May 2, 1859 and through the year.
33 Grand News! The European and North American Railway to be Built was the headline in the Saint John Morning Freeman, Sept.
23,1851. The Halifax, N.S., British Colonist and NOith American Railway Journal, (quoting the Saint JOlul Courier), notices Petos British
beginning work at the Shediac end and obviously expected great things of them, Railway Operations at the Bend, Oct. 8, 1853.
The single-track, 106-mile line from Saint John to Shediac was not completed and opened untiJ the summer of 1860, with the Prince of Wales
present for the opening. Saint Jolm celebrated the royal visit elaborately, including a parade of workers representing 35 trades (Thomas
Humbert, representing the Founders, was a member of the organizing committee). Saint John Morning News, July 18 & Aug. 6, 1860.
34 New Brunswick, Journal of the House of Assembly, 1859, appendix p. cccl xxxi, for prices, specifications, and delivery dates of the
& N.As first eight locomotives, including these two.
3S Richard F. Dole, The Portland Company, Railroad History, No. 139, Autunm 1978, pp. 5-38, esp. p. 12. Canadian sales accounted
41 % of the companys total output.
36 New Brunswick, Journal of the House of Assembly, 1858, appendix p. ccxxxvii.
37 Ibid., p. ccxxi.
38 Ibid.
39 Ibid
., pp. ccxxxiv, ccxxxix.
40 Ibid
., p. ccxxxix.
41 Ibid.k p. ccxxxiv.
42 Saint John Morning News, Railway Cars, May
14, 1858.
43 Saint John Morning News, New Locomotive, Aug. 27, 1858.
44 New Brunswick, Journal
of the House of Assembly, 1862, Appendix No.6, p. 26. This gives detailed weights of rolling stock for
the first time, because the
E. & N.A. installed a track scale during 186l.
45 Ibid., 1859, appendix
p. cccxxxvi. In the nineteenth century, Canadian railways frequently ordered new locomotives and cars for
the seasonal traffic peak following the grain harvest.
46 Saint John Morning News, June 3, 1859.
47 Saint John Morning News, Aug. 17, 1859.
48 Saint John Morning Freeman, June 9, 1859.
49 Walter
A. Lucas, Pocket Guide to American Locomotives (N.Y., 1953), p. 76; Orner S. A. Lavallee & RobertR. Brown, Locomotives
of the Canadian Pacific Ry. Co., Bulletin No. 83, Railway and Locomotive Historical Society (July, 1951), pp. 23, 31-2,46-7,63-5 for
CPR locomotives #29, 136, & 144 in 1950.
SO Saint John Morning News, Dec. 10, 1858.
51 Saint John Morning News, Nov. 23, 1860 & June 29, 1868; Saint John Morning Telegraph, Aug. 13, & Nov. 19,1868 (casting doubt
on the ICRs recorded delivery date for The Bear); New Brunswick, Journal
of the House of Assembly, 1861, Appendix No.6, p. 27; 1862,
No.6, p. 26; Parliament of Canada, Sessional Papers, 1874, no. 2 -Public Works, appendix, p. 86.
52 New Brunswick, Journal
of the House of Assembly, 1867, appendix, pp. 8, 13,27.
53 Ibid., p. 27.
54 Parliament
of Canada, Sessional Papers, 1874, no. 2 -Public Works, appendix pp. 86, 114-116.
55 Alexander
L. Light, Chief Engineer of the E. & N.A., reported on 2 Feb. 1859: The experiment of building the locomotives in this
city [Saint John1, has been entirely successfu
l. He had no doubts that Fleming & Humbert can make Engines equal to those imported from
Boston. New Brunswick, Journal
of the House of Assembly, 1859, appendix, p. cccli.
56 John H. White, Holmes Hinkley and the Boston Locomotive Works, Railroad History, No. 142, Spring 1980, pp. 27-52. This article
is the source for my further
remarks about the Boston firm later in this chapter.
57 Saint John Morning New
s, The New Iron Horse, June 29, 1868.
58 Kingston, Ont., Daily News, Nov. 14, 1866; Apr.
II, 1867; & Aug. II, 1868; Halifax Evening Express & Commercial Record, May
28, 1868; Parliament
of Canada, Sessional Papers, 1874, no. 2 -Public Works, appendix, p. 57 (several typographical errors).
59 Saint John Morning Telegrapll, The WorksllOps
of St. John, Jan. 26, 1867.
60 Ibid.
61 Saint John Morning News, Jan. 14, 1867; Morning Telegraph, Jan. 12, 1867.
62 Saint John Morning New
s, Aug. , 1866; June 14, 1867; Morning Telegraph, Jan. 15, 1867.
63 The June, 1868, edition
of Travellers Official Railway Guide of the United States and Canada shows the E.& N.A. Accommodation
train scheduled
to make the Saint John -Shediac run at an average speed of 14.6 M.P.H., while the Express was booked at 19.98 M.P.H.
The steamboats were probably more comfortable
in that era, but of course could not run in winter when the rivers were frozen, nor above
Fredericton for more than about four months each year because
of lower water over the bars.
64 Saint John Morning News, Aug. 3, 1866; Morning Telegraph, Jan. 26, 1867.
65 Morning Telegraph, Jan. 26, 1867.
66 Humbert, as partner for
17 years, was thereafter listed in the city directories as accountant; McAlpines Saint John City Directory
for 1883/4 may be the last
to list him. Already a director of the Mechanics Institute in 1867, he was elected Recording Secretary briefly
and then Curator
of its collections after retiring. Saint John Morning News, Apr. 10,1867; Apr. 13 & 27,1869.
67 see footnote 27; and The Book
of St. John (n.d., The Telegraph Publishing Co., c.1903), p. 95.
From the Collection
Montreal Street Railway Cars 274 and 350
and the Introduction of Electric Street Car Service in Montreal, September 1892
By Fred F. Angus
Montreal Street Railway car 350 as it appeared on May 14,1949. The occasion was a visit to the Mount Royal car barn during a CRHA
excursion. /n this view 350, the first electric car
to run in Montreal, appears as it did when retired in /914.
CRHA Archives, Toohey Collection 49-241-B.
Montreal Street Railway cars 350 and 274, both of which
celebrate their centennial this year, are among the most historic in
the collection. both from the point
of view of the development of
urban transit. as well as in the history of the CRHA. Car 350. also
known as the Rocket was the first electric car to operate in
Montreal, while 274 was the first piece
of fuU-size rolling stock
by the Association, and hence the start of the Canactian
Railway Museum collection.
In addition, both cars show important
features in the story
of the development of street railways; one is
typical of the early 1890s while the other has features which point
to the developments which came about
in the twentieth century. By 1890 the technology
of electric traction had been
proved feasible. and street car lines worldwide. but especially in
North America. were contemplating converting from horse to
electric power. The pioneer Sprague installation
in Richmond
Virginia in 1888 had proved that electrification was practical and
the rush to eleCtrify was on. Many systems had already converted
and many more were poised
to do so. Within ten years few horse
car lines were left in North America, and even cable cars. only
recently seen as the best means
of mechanical city transit. were
in favour of the all-conquering trolley car. At first
there was doubt about the reliability
of electric cars in cities, such
SEprfMtI£R 21ST. 692
1710< Dame
This map, drawn by the late Richard M. Binns, shows the lines of the Montreal Street Railway as they appeared in 1895, the year after
the completion
of the electrification. The original Belt Line, on which electric service began in 1892, is clearly shown.
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
as Montreal, which had heavy winter snowfall, but the success of
Ahearn and Sopers Ottawa Electric Railway, inaugurated in 1891,
convinced all but the real die-hard skeptics. There was, to be sure,
some opposition. Even the President
of the MSR was convinced
that the proposed electrification would be the ruin
of the company,
he resigned when it became apparent that the directors
intended to press on regardless. There was opposition also from the
of sleighs who were apprehensive about the companys
intention to clear the streets of snow and operate electric cars year­
round. However all these objections were small compared to the
obvious advantages
of electrification and so the decision was made
to go ahead.
In 1891, the largest
by far of the street railway systems in
Canada were those
of Montreal and Toronto and, during that year,
both made the momentous decision to electrify their entire systems.
In both cases the plans called for the work of conversion to be
started in l892 and completed
in 1894. While Toronto had an exact
deadline (the end
of August 31,1894), Montreal did not; however
it completed the conversion
in October 1894. Thus both systems
were fully electrified in a little more than two years after the first
electric car ran.
The date September 21, 1892
is famous among Montreal
transit enthusiasts as the day electric street car service began. What
is not
so well known, is that this date achieved fame by chance, and
was more than a week later than the date originally plrumed. Even
on the morning
of the 21 st no one was really sure that all would be
ready; the story
of the electIification had its frustrations as well as
its successes. This is a summary
of that story. The Montreal Street Railway (MSR) awarded the contract
for the electrification to the Royal Electric company, which had its
plant and yard on Wellington street
in downtown Montreal. Work
in the spring of 1892 as new tracks were laid using heavier
rails in order to accommodate the much heavier electric cars. On
more lightly travelled routes the old horse car rails were left in
place and electrically bonded, but the running
of electric cars on
horse car rails was not very satisfactory and these rails also were
replaced within a few years. Car barns had to be altered and
extended to house the new rolling stock and,
in addition, a power
house and substations had to be built and feeder wires and
electrical grounds needed
to be installed. TI1en, of course, the
trolley wires had to
be put up over the tracks and, as this began, the
first crys
of protest from the public were heard.
SYSTEM? screamed a headline
in the Montreal Daily Star on
August 29, 1892. Then followed a lengthy discussion, by Professor
of Harvard University, about the superior benefits of
the storage battery system. Other accounts related all the potential
dangers inherent
in ThatTrolley System and cited the unwillingness
of New York to allow it. A description was given of the safer, but
very expensive, conduit system then being installed in New York
and the question was asked (Star, August 20, 1892)
If the [trolley 1
system is so distasteful to New York, why is it to be introduced into
? A Star editorial of August 24, 1892 was even more
blunt, saying
in part In many quarters there is a disposition to
force the street railway 10 change the horse car method, irrespective
of consequences. This indecent haste is not in the interest of the city
nor of the street railway. If carried to extreme,
it will result in such disfigurement of the
streets and multiplication
of dangerous wires
as will make even the most impatient citizen
sorry that the Company was not given a little
breathing time …..
It may take a quarter of a
to undo a mischievous error. If the
company gets all its cars supplied with trolley
if it gets its poles planted in the middle
of all the double tracked streets, it will cost
more to make the change than to buy up the city
council, a process no company will yearn to
oftener than once in a quarter of a century …..
A foolish statement
is made that 500 volts only
is required for the Trolley propulsion; this
may be true for a car or train
of cars, but the
lines being joined the entire voltage on the
whole system may be concentrated upon one
victim. Give the Street Railway a chance.
this argument, coming when the first run
of an
electric car was less than a month away, was
somewhat bizarre but, needless to say, work
continued and, despite hopes
of an improved
efficient storage battery, the trolley was here
to stay for the next 67 years.
The annual Provincial exhibition was
to open, on Fletchers Field in
Montreal, on September 15, and it was hoped
that electric cars would be
in use in time to
carry people to the opening. As September
advanced, however, it became obvious that
this deadline would not be met. Two days
before the exhibition opened Mr. Cunningham,
the Managing Director
of the MSR, in an
interview for the Montreal Herald, stated bluntly
cars will not run by the 15th. You see we
have done our best, but
we could not go
against impossibilities.
However, in an attempt
to cope with the expected crowds, the company
beefed up the horse car service and inaugurated
a one minute car headway on St. Lawrence
Then, in the evening of Monday,
September 19,1892, the first electric car ran in
Montreal. Royal ElectricS demonstrator car
The Rocket emerged from the companys
yard and made eight round trips back and forth
500 yards of Wellington street. Many
enthusiastic spectators were on hand, and
of the local press wrote glowing
T\CHt~· I~O) IIHII 011 J-Iatforlll only ~lx filches IOllgcr thllll lI)olIUI, with (xit (01
(II lid through domway and un platform Itot olud.rlu,t,·(1.
Put 1(11 (iO) 11(11 Oil platform with central our (ar and ~el huw dltll(:nlt it ifi
for II mun or wmnall tu enter ntut l;;lp (~<;~.
00 ~Oll wallt to «arry nil the l.assellger~ prllcti(nhlc Oil yotlr (~ar~ ,.
S … e how nearly level t,lIp car hoth is llutwlthstallding the Inr:.{6
pliltfolna henvIly loa,h- at one end; the
frHnt oue heiug e.1l1.ty.
\, HOlilmell, or illlwankec, III a recent letter say~:
q-I tho Fourt.h of JnlJ
Tlw AcceJ~rll(or
•• carlhd 011 olle half trill. 1. c., from
SohlicrMt 1I00IIe tn Thlrel Street car hou8e,
H 17R IUlfol!otcngcrH (lOO r~gI8(ercd by the con(hwtor).
U She carried th,e loud with calic.
U It Is the tllIClOt car I have,
This advertisement for Brownells Accelerator car appeared in the Street Railway
lournalfor August, 1892.ltfeatures an actual photo ofMontrealsfirst electric car. The
on the side of the car reads THE ROYAL ELECTRIC COMPANY OF
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
accounts of the great improvements soon to be seen. Disappointment
followed, however. It had been promised that September
20 would
see service
on the Belt Line with four electric cars, however last­
minute problems cropped up and the premised. service-Jailed
materialize. Quickly the news reports grew more cynical. The
Herald, in
an article titled WRETCHED SERVICE, stated
Many Montrealers woke up yesterday morning [September 20J
with the idea that for the first time they would see electric cars
gliding through the streets
of Montreal and materially relieving the already overstrained resources
of the Street Railway company.
Alas! they were doomed to disappointment.
The account deplored
the cruelty
of allowing horses to haul the grossly overloaded cars
en route to the· exhibition, and the doubt was expressed whether the
electric cars would be running that week at all.
It is said that the night is often darkest just before the dawn,
and on the morning of the very day the Herald article appeared,
Wednesday, September 21, 1892, the electric cars often promised,
oft delayed finally began service. The Rocket, which had been
hauled by horses to the track the night
before, made its inaugural run around
the Belt Lin
e. The route started at
MSRs Cote Street yard, went
west on Craig to Bleury, north on
Bleury and Park A
venue to Mount
Royal A venue, east on Mount Royal
to St. Lawrence Main, south on
Lawrence Main to Rachel, east on
Rachel to Amherst, south on Amherst
to Craig and west on Craig back to
Cote Street yard. Even then, some
newsmen were stiU doubtful if this
was really the start
of service. The
Herald (once bitten, twice shy) called
A TRIAL TRIP, while the Gazette,
in a somew
hat similar vein, said
Montreal selectric cars ran yesterday.
They die/nt run
very far or very fast,
but th
ey established the fact that
is in the procession and on
the move. By far the most detailed,
and the most optimistic, report was
that of La Presse which described
many of the incidents of the trip as
well as some
of the features of the
cars. Despite the lin
gering doubts,
September 21, 1892 turned out to be
THE day for the start of electric
in Montreal. Apart from some
derailments caus.ed in part by the
Rockets long wheelbase, as well as
The interior of MSR 350 as seen on May 14, 1949. The interior of the car still has its original
hundred year old paint finish and is little changed
from the day in 1892 when it inaugurated
Montreals electric service. The double doors, which are the main feature
of the Accelerator
design, are clearly seen. Although the door
(all the right in the photo) away from the platform
steps was seldom used
in Montreal service, loading and unloading was still faster hecause the
entrance door was closer to the steps. Abo
ve the doors is an oval in which is inscribed the date,
3, 1891, of Brownells patent. Note the coal slove used to provide heat in winter.
CRHA Archives, Toohey Collection. Photo 49-236-13.
dirt on the tracks, the trip had been a success and the promised four
cars began service to the public on
the following day. The
Provincial exhibition was still running, so the visitors in the last
few days did indeed arrive by electric car, much
to the relief of the
company, the city -and the horses.
By the time the service began, a number
of cars were on
hand, and more were arriving every few days. Soon after the work
of electrification had begun, the Royal Electric had ordered one car
from the Brownell Car Co. of St. Louis Missouri, while the MSR
had ordered a large numb
er of cars from several builders in both
Canada and
the United States.
Royal Electr
ics car was something special; of the latest
it was a very interesting type and the only one like it that
ever ran
in Montreal. It was longer than the average early-1890s
single-truck car, having eight windows per side instead of the usual
Most importantly, however, it featured Brownells patented
Accelerator design.
The significant element of this design was
that it had double doors in each of the end bulkheads. Most street
of the 1890s had single sliding doors in the centre of the
bulkheads; often these doors were quite narrow because of the
curved sides, and
the cars were slow to load and unload. In the
Accelerator, the
door nearest the platform step would be used for
ce and exit, speeding up, or accelerating, loading and
unloading and hence minimiz
ing time spent at stops. With small
cars the narrow central door was
not a major problem, but the
double-truck cars
of the twentieth century more and more employed
the two door feature. While the idea of two doors sounds simple, it is a fact that
it had not been thought of before and was of such
novelty that the Browne
ll company was granted a patent on the
design on November 3, 1891. Although
Brownells Accelerator
patent did not expire until 1908, many
of the two-door cars built
after 1900 were sufficiently different to avoid patent infring
Montreals 1905 Pay As You Enter cars carried the concept to its
next logical step
in that the two doors could be used simultaneously,
so overcoming the one major defect
of the Accelerator design.
Nevertheless, the idea of the double door appears to have originated
with Brownell in 1891, a
nd the car in our coJJection is one of the
earliest, if not the ea
rliest, surviving example of this feature.
Royal Electrics Accelerator car was delivered some
in the summer of 1892 and was named The Rocket. This
name had been determined at
the time of ordering, for the car was
so lettered at
the factory as can be seen from a builders photo
in the Street Railway Journal for August, 1892. It does
not appear to have had a number at that time, and
it is likely that
the number 350 was assigned by the MSR at a later date, probably
in 1893 but possibly as late as 1894 after the contract with Royal
ectric was terminated.
the work of electrification well under way, the MSR
awaited the an·ival
of the rolling stock which would be required
once the electric operation began. In order to understand
of MSR rolling stock acquisitions at that time it is helpful
to know something about
the car numbers assigned between 1892
and 1894. While official r
ecords of the period do not appear to have
survived, and contemporary accounts vary in the
numbers stated,
This very rare photo appeared in the illustrated magazine nLe Monde Illustre on November 3, 1894. By what appears to have been
mere c/wnce, the photographer, taking a picture
of a street car on St. Denis Street, happened to photograph No. 350
By this time the
long-wheelbase truck had been replaced, the name The Rocket
had vanished, and the car was painted in MSRs standard livery of the
period. The car was destined
to remain in passenger service twenty more years after this photo was taken.
National Library
of Canada, Photo NL-IB034.
we do know that the early closed electric cars received even
numbers starting from 184, thus continuing from the highest horse
car number 182. Electric cars 2 to 22 even numbers also date from
this period; undoubtedly these us
ed the numbers vacated by the
earliest horse cars which were retired
by 1892. (As a point of
interest, almost all the remaining horse car numbers 24 to 182,
were re-used by 1900, but this took place after the pioneer period
we are considering.) From contemporary newspaper accounts we
know that more than 30 electric cars were in service (and a
considerable additional number delivered but not yet in service) by
late 1892, and we also know that car numbers
as high as 418 were
in use
in the spring of 1894, which indicates 129 closed electric
cars in service within a year and a half
of the start of electrification.
In addition there were at least 46 open cars as well as an undetermined
of former horse cars used as trailers.
Ln order to fill the demand for this relatively large number
of cars in a fairly short period of time, the MSR placed orders with
no less than seven car builders
as follows: N&AC Lariviere of
Montreal, 15 cars; Newburyport Car Co of Newburyport Mass., 10
cars; Briggs Carriage Co.
of Amesbury Mass., 5 cars; SI. Charles
Car Co. of Belleville Ontario, 27 cars; Crossen Car Co. of Cobourg
Ontario, 38 cars; Ottawa Car Co
of Ottawa Ontario, 20 cars;
Toronto Railway Co.
of Toronto Ontario, 13 cars. The car numbers
are quite scattered, indicating that they were assigned in small
blocks as completed by the various builders. Only the Newburyport,
Briggs and Ottawa groups occupy a single range. The cars were not
in service in numerical sequence as some builders completed
and delivered their orders faster than others. Deliveries appear to
have peaked early
in 1893, then slowed greatly as the electrification
neared completion. It
is significant that, in the two years following
May 1894, only
19 new closed cars were acquired. The total of cars
supplied, between September 1892 and May 1894, by these seven
builders, adds
up to 128, the 129th being, of course, the Rocket
which was placed
on MSRs roster during this time and was
assigned number 350 which fitted neatly between a group
of St.
Charles cars and another group
of Crossen-built vehicles. When
350 officially joined the MSR fleet
is not known; it could have
been as late
as 1894 but, given the numerical evidence, it is more
likely to have been
in the first half of 1893 by which time the
numbers had reached that point.
Among the earliest of the electric
cars to be delivered to Montreal was a
of ten units, built by the Newburyport Car
Company in Newburyport Massachusetts.
These were assigned even numbers 274 to
292 and are known to have been in selvice
before the end
of 1892. Whether any or all of
them were among the first electric cars to run
is not
known; one news account states that 25
cars were on hand by
September 20. The
Newburyports were very likely among them;
however the papers do not mention any car
numbers so we can not be sure. The
Newburyport company had just completed
an order
of large cars for Boston and was well
equipped, so it is not surprising that their
products were
among the first electric cars to
come to MontreaL The first of the group, No.
274, is the one which has been preserved
the CRHA. Like all these early electric cars,
except the
Rocket the 10 Newbulyports
were typical North American closed cars of
the early 1890s. They had 18-foot bodies
open platform, six windows per side,
seats and single sliding doors in
Another rare photo, taken by sheer chance, is this winter view of274 on Ste Catherine Street,
in regular passenger service, about 1905. The picture appeared on a post card printed in
Germany during the first decade of the century; long before 274 became a salt car.
each bulkhead. There was little to distinguish them from the
of street cars going into service all over North America
at the time. Therein lies the significance of 274 to the collection,
and toelectricrailwaypreselvation
in general; it is a true representative
of a critical era in the development of the industry.
of horse car lines to electric operation proceeded
throughout 1893 and
much of 1894. Finally, some time during
October 1894, the job was complete and the last of the horses went
to a well earned rest. Montreals entire transit system was now run
by electric cars, a situation which continued until 1919 when the
first bus began to run on Bridge street. From then on the u
se of
busses increased, at first in addition to street car lines, but then they
gradually began to replace them. After the City took
over the
company in 1951, bus substitution was greatly increased, and the
last electric
car ran on August 30, 1959, sixty-seven years after the
Rockets famous run.
The cars of 1892 to 1894 were the latest development in
their time but; with the rapidly changing technology, they quickly
out of date. After 1895, improved designs appeared, and
the successful introduction
of double-tl1lck cars in 1900, and large
steel PA
YE cars in 1907 soon rendered the street cars of the early
nineties obsolete. Massive new
car orders between 1911 and 1914
caused widespread retirements and the few remaining
electric cars were seen only in rush hours. Finally, in 1916, the last
pre-1896 Montreal street
car was retired and the era ended. Both
274 and 350
were in regular service for more than twenty years. In
1912, No. 274, along with some other cars of that era was taken out
of passenger service and converted to a sail car which was used in
winter to place salt
on the rails to melt ice. No. 350, the former
Rocket, continued to carry passengers for two more years until
it reached the
end of its career in 1914. At this point a mysterious,
but very fortunate, event took place.
Some person in authority in
the Montreal
Tramways Company (the successor to the MSR)
realized that this car was the historic Rocket of 1892 and ordered
it to be saved from scrapping.
For more than forty years it remained
cover in the car barns and shops, seldom seeing the light of
day. In this way it sUlvived intact (minus motors) still bearing its
original interior paint finish, including the inscription
Patent, November 3, 1891 and some of the brown-tinted clerestory
glass showing the builders name. In 1956, with a big parade
scheduled to mark the end
of street car service on Ste. Catherine
Street, the
car was re-motored, the vestibules (added about 1895)
were removed and the exterior was given a
somewhat fanciful
job, quite unlike that ever used on the car, once again
incorporating the name Rocket. Fortunately, the interior paint
scheme, now one hundred years old, was left intact. By contrast,
No. 274 continued to work as a salt
car after 1912. Painted grey,
it was seen on the streets in winter for 38
more years (almost double
its passenger career) until replaced by
newer equipment in 1950.
In 1951, No. 274 was presented by the Montreal
Company to the CRHA and later restored to its passenger car
appearance. In 1963, Montreals historic street car colJection,
No. 350, was presented by the Montreal Transportation
Commission to the CRHA and all the cars, as well as No. 274, were
moved to the Canadian Railway
Museum at Delson -St. Constant.
both these historic cars
have reached the venerable
of one hundred years, a lifespan many times what their builders
ever expected. It is reported that only 23 pre-1893 electric cars
survive anywhere
in the world and only six, built as electric cars
before 1892, remain
in America. Of these six, three are in Canada:
MSR 274 and 350, as well as Toronto Railway 306. All three were
in 1892 and it is impossible to say which is the oldest, all three
must be considered
of equal age. It is an interesting coincidence
Montreals historic first electric car bears number 350, a
number which
has added significance this year, the 350th anniversary
of the founding of Montreal and the 100th of its inauguration of
electric street car service.
Montreal streel cars 274 and 350 as they appear after restoration. In the top view we see 274 on a CRHA excursion (the only one ever held
using this car) on June 23, 1957. The bottom view shows 350, with its restored paint scheme, at St. Denis car barn in 1956.
Both photos were taken by Mr. Omer Lavallee, and are from the Binns Collection.
Some Contemporary Newspaper Accounts
of the
Start of Electric Street Car Service in Montreal in 1892
Note; Original language, spelling and punctuation have been retained throughout.
The words street and avenue in the names of thoroughfares are not capitalized in these accounts.
Accordingly this convention has been followed to keep the feel
of these old news items.
Electric Cars Will Not be Running When the Exhibition Opens
The street railway will take you to the Exhibition grounds on the
15th September. So said the enthusiastic aldermanic representatives
who voted for the company to have the contract. In order to find out
whether or not the company would carry out the promises
of their
backers, a Herald man called upon Mr. Cunningham, the engineer­
in-chief, to ascertain exactly the position
in which the company
Will you have the electric cars running on the opening day up Park
The cars will not run by the 15th. You see we have done our best,
but we could not go against impossibilities.
The cars and motors
with the trails [sic.
The reference is to trailer cars. Ed.) are daily
arriving, and
of course, we shall not take any risks, but I think you
might say that we hope
to have the belt line completed by Monday
morning and you will see electric cars funning up Bleury street and
Park avenue to the exhibition.
We shall also have the electric cars
running up Amherst street, to the same destination.
We have been
working for all
we are worth, but we shall not allow the public to
in the cars until everything is in a fit condition. You must not
think because I have said this that we shall not have proper
facilities for the public on the first two days
to convey them to the
exhibition. I would be glad for you
to say that every arrangements
[sic) have been made
to give the public the best service that lies in
our power. Many new switches have been and will be laid down
before Thursday morning and every available car will be put on the
several routes to enable us to carry the thousands
of visitors to the
exhibition with ease and comfort.
The activity spoken of by Mr. Cunningham was fully borne out by
a later visit paid to the several streets on which new lines are being
put down.
The one on Park avenue is almost completed so far as
the rails are concerned, but they require ballasting to complete the
That on Amherst street is in a veIY forward condition and the
double track on SI. Lawrence Main street
is right up to the avenue.
Mr. Everett, the managing director,
is expected to be in town on
MONTREAL HERALD, Tuesday, September 13 1892.
A one-minute service was inaugurated on SI. Lawrence Main
street yesterday morning [This service was provided
by horse cars.
Ed.], and there are already in the city twenty-five trolley cars ready
to go on the road.
The public must understand said the managing director yesterday,
that after 12 oclock midnight
it is ten cents straight and two
tickets will not
be accepted.
The electric cars will be first put on Amherst and Rachel streets,
Park avenue, BlelllY and Craig streets.
The company is much
in not getting the electric service running before now.
It was expected that last Friday would see everything all right, but
it was found necessary
at the last moment to change the direction
of the belt line, owing to trouble about the double tracking of St.
Lawrence Main street. Then again there has been serious deJay
by the non-arrival of iron insulators.
MONTREAL GAZETTE, Tuesday, September 20 1892.
Wellington street was crowded last night to see the first trial of an
electric motor car in the city of Montreal. The car was started from
the yard
of the Royal Electric company on the regular track,
running four blocks west and four blocks east, a total distance
five hundred yards. The tlip was made without a hitch, and was
repeated eight times, to the great delight
of the spectators. There
were on board the car Managing Director H.A. Everett,
of the
Montreal Street Railway, and his secretary,
Mr. F.G. McNally;
Mr. Charles W. Hagar, manager and secretary
of the Royal Electric
Mr. H.H. Henshaw, treasurer; Messrs. Thomson, Starr
and Badger, and about fifty other prominent citizens. Messrs.
Thomson and Starr acted as motor and brakesman, while Mr.
Badger took care
of the rear platform in charge of the trolley arm.
The trial was very successful, and there
is no doubt that this week
will see an electric service in full swing
in Montreal.
MONTREAL GAZETTE, Tuesday, September
20 1892.
A Herald Representative Rides on an Electric Car
Running To-day
The electric railway is what our French copatriots would call un
fait accompli. Last night about 8:45, the first electric car
to be run
in the city
of Montreal went for its trial trip and the first passenger
was a Herald representative.
During the last week or two, Royal Electric and M.S.R. employees
have been busy binding [sic] the rails, putting up posts and
stretching wires on the Wellington street track between McGill
and Nazareth streets, the object being
to have a section of track
handy on which
to test both the efficiency of the cars, and the
electric generator. Yesterday morning the trolley wire was put up,
and when the Herald representative called on Mr. Chas. W. Hagar,
of the Royal Electric, he was informed that the first car
would go for a trial trip on the measured mile about 8 p.m. About
that time quite a crowd collected around the gate
of the yard
opposite the Royal Electric works, where the cars are being fitted
with the electrical apparatus. It was not, however, till nearly nine
oclock that the gate opened and the car, appropriately named the
Rocket, which
had been bought by the M.S.R. from the Royal
Electric, was pushed out by willing hands into the centre track, and
in a few moments the car was boiling [sic] merrily along on her first
journey. Everything worked well. There were,
of course, some
complications with passing horse cars at the switches, but nothing
more than happens daily at these inconvenient substitutes for a
double line.
Of course, in such a short space it was impossible to
get up any amount of speed, but even so a faster rate than that
obtained from horses was obtained.
This morning four electric cars, each with one or more trailers, will
run on the belt line including Park avenue, Mount Royal avenue,
Amherst and St. Catherine streets, and Montreal will at last have
an electric service.
MONTREAL HERALD, Tuesday, September 20 1892.
Overcrowded Horse Cars and Shocking Cruelty to Animals
Many Montrealers woke
up yesterday morning with the idea that
for the first time they would see electric cars gliding through the
of Montreal and materially relieving the already-overstrained
of the Street Railway company. Alas! they were doomed
to disappointment. The electric cars often promised, oft delayed
did not run yesterday, and it
is very problematical whether they
will run today or even this week. Meanwhile the horse-car service
is totally inadequate
to the strain put upon it. There can be little
doubt but that the M.S.R. did its level best to meet the emergency,
but that best was a very
poor one. It is safe to say that never before
were cars so crowded as they were yesterday. Sixty-eight passengers
were counted on a single car, and this was no solitary example. It
was the rule rather than the exception. With such a load, what must
have been the suffering endured by the poor struggling horses. It
was sheer cruelty
to animals, and made ones blood boil to watch
them. Only at one or two
of the steepest grades could any assistance
be offered
to them, and on the level, especially on stone pavements,
it was with the greatest difficulty and suffering that the poor
panting, struggling beasts were able
to proceed. Under such
circumstances it
is not to be wondered at that very bad time was
made. In one instance a car which was timed by an onlooker took
fifty-one minutes
to go from the corner of Craig and St. Lawrence
to the Exhibition, and at the same time was closely followed
by six or seven other cars, which were equally dilatory
in making
the journey.
MONTREAL HERALD, Wednesday, September
21 1892.
Le premier char electrique fait Ie tour de la ville aujourdhui
Les incidents du voyage etc.
Cest aujourdhui que la compagnie du tramway a fait lessai de
son premier char electrique sur la ligne de ceinture passant par les
rues Bleury, avenue du Parc, avenue Mont-Royal, Rachel, Amherst
et Craig.
Le char modele Rocket a inaugure
Ie service en partant a 10.10
hrs. a.m. de la cour de la compagnie Royal Electric, rue Wellington.
Son moteur, a ete mis en activite par deux puissants dynamos qui
lui donnaient une force de 25 chevaux.
Les personnes sur
Ie char etaient MM. L.J. Forget, Everett,
Mackenzie president du tramway electrique de Toronto, Lusher,
Cunningham, Ihon. M.J.R. Thibodeau, Brainer, electricien de la
Ie Dr. Desaulniers, H. Berthelet de La Presse et Ie
representant du Herald.
Le char Rocket a fait sans anicroche
Ie trajet entre la rue
Wellington et
la rue Bleury. Au coin de la rue Craig il a subi un
deraillement, occasionne car la courbe etait trop accentuee pour la
distance entre les deux trucks du wagon, 7 pieds et 6 pouces. Les
memes accidents
ne se produiront plus avec les autres chars qui
n ont qu un espace de
septpieds seulement entre leurs trucks. Pour
la meme raison,
i! y a eu dautres deraillements aux autres garages,
cest-a-dire au coin de avenues du Parc et des Pins, en face du
terrain de IExposition, sur la rue Amherst a !encoignure des rues
Craig et Amherst. Les aiguilles des voies de garage, netant pas
encore huilees, ont aussi ete une des causes
du deraillement.
Lorsque Ie Rocket eut descendu la cote de la rue Amherst il fut
anete et
ilia remonte avec autant de facilite que sil avait ete sur
rue parfaitement de niveau.
La foule sur tout Ie parcours de la voie de ceinture etait aussi
compacte que lors dune grande procession. Sa curiosite etait
piquee au vif, A chaque arret du Rocket il fallait voir des groupes
badauds 11 quatre pieds pres de la voie, essayant de voir les
de la machine locomotrice. Malheuresenent pour eux il
nont pu voir que la borte contenant Ie dynamo. Un electricien
perche sur limperiale du char veillait au bon fonctionnement de
la perche pompant Ie fluide electrique du fil central du trolley.
Les directeurs de la compagnie du tramway et les electriciens ont
ete unanimes II declarer que Ie nouveau systeme allait fonctionner
II merveille. Les travaux du trolley ont ete accomplis dans Ie court
espace de 60 jours sur une etendue de six milles.
Le Rocket est arrive au coin de la cote de la place d Armes et de
la rue
Craig II onze heures trois quarts.
Lorsquil est passe devant Ie magasin de Iechevin Villeneuve
celui-ci enthousiasme par Ie succes de loperation a invite les
II sabler du champagne mais malheuresement chaque
instant etait precieux, vu que I arret du char aUlait cause un retard
11 tous les wagons faisant Ie service de lExposition. II a failu par
consequent decliner I offre du populaire representant du quartier
Demain, Ie public pouna voir cinq chars electriques faisant Ie
service de lExposition.
Un mot maintenant sur les nouveaux chars electriques. Rien n a ete
neglige par les directeurs pour donner tout Ie confort possible aux
passagers. Les bancs sont moelleusement
capitonnes avec du tapis
en gros $4 la verge, et tous les sieges sont II ressorts.
Cinq lumieres incandescentes fournissent
Ieclairage dechaque
A chaque extremite exterieure du wagon on lit I inscription
II est
dangereux de
se tenir sur la platefonne.
Les passagers entrent par deux portes it la meme extremite du char.
Lune deces portes est tenue fermee pourempecher I emcombrement
dune foule qui se precipiterait II linterieur.
cote de la platefOime est muni dune barriere en acier a
clai revoie pour empecher les pas sagers de descendre sur l entrevoie
et d
etre frappes par un autre char venant en sens inverse.
Les deraillements arriveront rarement a cause de la pesanteur des
chars et des chasse-pierres fixes a chaque extremite.
Des stores
dun dessin elegant sont fixes a chaque carreau pour
proteger les passagers contre les rayons du solei.
LA PRESSE, Mercredi Ie 21 Septembre, 1892.
The First Electric Cars Run Over the Belt Line
Montreals electric cars ran yesterday. They didnt run very far or
very fast; but they established the fact that Montreal is in the
procession and on the move.
morning the model [sic] electric motor car Rocket was
over the belt line route. The trip was not as successful as was
expected inasmuch as the
car went off the tracks at each of the
curves, although it ran fairly well on the straight streets. It is said
that the curves are too
sharp for the Rockets trucks [sic J which are
7 1/2 feet apart.
At all events five electric cars will be on the route
today. Contrary to general expectation the horses
seemed but little
disturbed by it, and doubtless will soon become accustomed to the
of electric cars. Each of the cars is beautifully upholstered
and lit by five
incandescent lamps, and, when they are once
running, will be a great improvement upon the companys present
rolling stock.
MONTREAL GAZETTE, Thursday September 22, 1892.
M.S.Ry. Electric Cars Viewed by Many Montrealers
Yesterday the new electric cars were out on show, and the company
was doubtless pleased at the enthusiasm displayed by the gaping
onlookers, who raised a series
of cheers as they came in sight. But
it would appear that a regular service is yet afar off. It was in order
to te
st the new line that yesterday morning about half past nine
Rocket which the night before had been hauled by horsepower
from the Royal Electric works on Wellington street over to Cote
t, started on its journey from the latter place, filled with
Aldermen, Royal Electric and M.S.R. magnates and others.
car proceeded, heralded by its gong, along the belt route.including
Craig str
eet to Bleury, up Bleury to Park Avenue and Mount Royal
Avenue, and passed the exhibition, where its advent excited cheers
from a good sized crowd.
Thence the Rocket rumbled down St.
Lawrence to Rachel street, along which it made its way to Amherst
by which thoroughfare it reached Craig, and so on to Cote
street again. As an experiment the run seemed quite satisfactory.
There were one or two hitches as was only to be expected on a first
but none of them were [sic] serious. One was a difficulty in
turning the Bleury and Craig street comer, owing to the rails not
having been properly bound. On Park
Avenue some stones got on
the rails, and the
car very promptly went off, but she was quickly
got on again and no harm was done.
A Street railway attache is authority for the statement that four
electric cars will start running a ten-minute service on the belt line
this morning.
MONTREAL HERALD, Thursday, September 22, 1892.
Hier et aujourdhui
Nos chars electriques, etc.
Le tramway, avec
Ie systeme chevalin, disparaissant aujourdhui
pour prendre place dans
Ie musee des enterprises surannees, nous
croyons interesser les lecteurs de La Presse en leur donnant
quelques notes historiques sur lorigine de nos chars urbains.
Le reglement civique autorisant
la construction dun tramway, a
Montreal a ete adopte par Ie conseil municipal 11 sa seance du 12
septembre 1860.
Les premiers chars ont commence
a circuler Ie 26 novembre 1861
en donnant
un service dune heure.
Le premier bureau de direction etait compose de MM. William
Molson, John Ostell, William Dow, John Thompson et William
Le premier president a ete
M. Ostel!. II a etc elu Ie 29 aout 1861.
Pas un seul des anciens directeurs ne
survit pour assister a
jinauguration du systeme electrique.
La compagnie a debute dans ses operations avec
un capital de
Les travaux de construction ont ete commences Ie 18 septembre
1861, a lancienne barriere se la rue Ste-Marie, (aujourdhui rue
Notre Dame)
au coin de la rue Frontenac et se sont di.riges velS
[ouest jusqul1 la barriere des Tanneries des RoJJand, en face des
ateliers de
M. Cantin.
Six chars seulement faisaient alors
Ie service.
Des cochers de places qui voyaient
dun moyen de locomotion les
privant d une large partie de leurs b
enefices organiserent alors une
espece de croisade contre
Je tramway.
Pendant les premieres semaines
il ne se passait guere une journee
sans que des obstacles fusent places sur les rails pour gener la
circulation des chars urbains. Ces embarras furent de courte duree
grace a la vigilance et aux mesures rigoureuses
de la police.
En 1861 la compagnie ne possedait que 12 chevaux, aujourdhui
ce chiffIe a atteint
Ce matin la compagnie avait trois chars electriques sur la voie de
ceinture de lExposition. Ce soir, dit
M. Everett, it est tres probable
que deux autres seront lances dans la circulation.
La semaine prochaine, dix chars moteurs seront places sur toutes
la longeur de la rue Sainte-Catherine, avec dix autres traines a leur
au lieu du service de 12 chars que nous avons aujourd hui.
Hier soir vers huit heures une foule dau moins mille personnes
etait groupee sur differents points de la rue Amherst pour voir
passer les nouveaux chars.
LA PRESSE, Jeudi, Ie 22 Septembre 1892.
Ce que dit lingenieur
M. Cunningham, lingenieur du tramway elect rique, all cour dune
entrevue avec
Ie representant de La Presse fournitles renseignements
suivants au public.
Nous avons termine ce matin la pose des fils trolley sur toute la
longeur de la rue Ste-Catherine; cet apres-midi nous lancerons un
char sur
la ligne pour en faire Iessai. Nous commencerons Ie
service regulier de cette voie samedi ou dimanche prochain.
Nous navons eu aucun accident
it enregistrer depuis la mise en
operation de notre systeme electrique malgre que nos chars ne
soient pas encore pourvus de chasse-pierres: cette amelioration ne
se fera pas longtemps attendre.
Les dangers
pOllr la vie des passants sont-ils allssi nombreux avec
votre systeme qu
avec celui des funiculaires, comme it New-York
11 Chicago?
la systeme du cable soutelTain les accidents peuvent etre
nombreux parce que sou vent
Ie crochet peut manquer de cassel les
mailles. Avec
Ie systeme electrique un char peut etre arrete dans
une distance moindre que sa propre longeur, pendant quil a une
velocite de 6 milJes
it lheure.
Comment expliquez-vous Ie fait que nos chars electriques
nont pu
monter les cotes en trainant
un autre char it la remorque?
lJ m est facile de vous en donner la raison. Un jour nous avons
compte 206 personnes
sur deux chars, ce qui donnait une moyenne
15 tonneaux pour les deux chars, tandis quil ny avait de sieges
que pour 36 passagers.
Comment ferez-vous votre service
dhiver avec les chars traines
par des chevaux, sur la rue Notre-Dame, par example?
Nous esperons tenir la voie de la rue Notre-Dame deblayee de
neige, sur toute sa longeur, pendant lhiver prochain. Nous y
laisserons essez de neige cependant, pour ne pas en traver
Ie trafie.
Nos chars dhiver,
je parle de ceux qui sont sur des roues, seront
chauffes avec des poSIes
11 charbon. Je vous ai dit que les autres
chars auront
Ie carolique produit par I electricite.
Pour deblayer la voie de
la rue Notre-Dame en hiver nous aurons
11 des chaITues mecaniques au des balais rotatifs ayant un
diametre de 30 pouces.
Le serviee de la voie de ceinture va se continuer jusqua nouvel
Apres linauguration de la Iigne electrique de
la rue Ste-Catherine
nous adopterons
Ie systeme electrique sur la ligne des rues Craig,
St-Denis. et Wellington. Vers noel nous esperons avoir 30 chars
electriques en operation.
Demain matin,
II de ces chars seront en circulation.
LA PRESSE, Vendredi,
Ie 30 Septembre 1892.
The Grand Valley Railway
By Douglas N.W. Smith
In the papers of the Board of Railway Transport
Commissioners for Canada at the National Archives in Ottawa is
a series of files dealing with complaints about high rates, poor
and other alleged failures of the railways to meet the needs
of the public. One such file contained a complaint by a passenger
of the ill-starred Grand Valley Railway which lead the Board to
dispatch one
of its engineers to investigate the situation. This is
in the fascinating (to the present-day reader) correspondance
reproduced below.
Brantford 29 August 08
The Secy
Railway Commission
Ottawa The Grand
River flows through the heartland of southwestern
passing the cities of Berlin (now Kitchener), Galt (now
part of Cambridge), and Brantford. At the turn of the century, there
was no direct
rail connections between these thriving manufacturing
cities. Being located along a
major river, it seemed appropriate to
link these cities with an electrified railway line.
The Grand
Valley Railway traced it origins to 1900 when
the Port Dover,
Brantford, Berlin & Goderich Railway (PDBB&G)
I wish to call the attention of the Commission to the dangerous condition of the Grand Valley Electric Railway between here
and Galt, also
to the disgraceful manner in which it is conducted, the state of the rolling stock and the manner in which the public is
For example.
On Thursday evening the 27th inst I, with other passengers were at Paris, desirous of reaching here. I went
to the station at7.30 pm & on making enquiry of the lady agent could get absolutely no information as to the probable time of the next
car for this point, but ascertained there had been no car since aboutS
845 a car came from here for Galt & the conductor told me there would be a car in 20 minutes. I waited till nearly 9 pm &
no sign of a car nor any information.
am informed that no car came until far into the night & that there had been some trouble up at Galt. But surely that did not
prevent some action being taken
to accomodate the passengers amongst whom were two little girls of tender age & several ladies.
The road bed is absolutely neglected
& in a dangerous condition as also are the cars.
am credibly informed that the Coy can hardly pay their men, let alone do anything towards the betterment of the road.
I can get many responsible gentlemen
to substantiate my statements & I beg that the Commissioners will take steps to
immediately investigate this matter.
There have been more than one narrow escapes from serious accidents on this road through its rotten condition
& in fairness
to the public the Company should be compelled to repair & equip & run road in a proper manner or lose their charter.
If it be necessary for me to get other sources in order to get the Honorable Commissioners to act, I will be pleased to do so.
Awaiting your kind reply.
I am Sir
Yours faithfully
E. Tobias
I omitted
to say that I was compelled unwillingly to remain over in Paris all Thursday night which was most in-convenient to me.
OPPOSITE: The Grand Valley was very much a hard-luck railway. In this view, which is perhaps more typical than one would like to
contemplate, one of the interuban cars has left the rails while making a Paris-Brantford trip circa 1912. The GV followed the unusual policy
of naming its interurban cars. The names were displayed on circular plaques as shown in the centre of the car below the windows.
National Archives
of Canada photo PA-185941.
Page 176
OTTAWA Sept 18th 1908
A. D. Cartwright Esq.,
Secretary Railway Commission,
In accordance with the instructions of the Board I went to Brantford to make an inspection of the Grand Valley Railway
on a complaint of
F. E. Tobias. I arrived there on September 11 tho I was accompanied by Mr. Kellet, Assistant Manager and
Chief Engineer, and given a special car to make the inspection of the entire line.
I first examined the power house at Brantford and found
it in good shape. It had evidently been allowed to run down,
but at present they are renovating it. I then examined the track carefully at different places from Brantford to Galt, a distance
of 22 miles. This line
was built between four and five years ago and, therefore, is not in my opinion in any condition that could
be described as rotten. The ties are small,
in fairly good order, but not enough of them, in a great many places only ten to
a rail, and in my opinion there should be fifteen.
The location of the Grand Valley Railway makes
it very difficult to handle any great volume of business over it. It
parallels the highway and goes over some very steep grades. The present Company contemplate in the immediate future to
change the location of this line to a more level ground
in orderto get better hauling capacity for freight business, and this seems
to me to be a good move. Should they
do this before commencing another season then I do not think it would be necessary
to make very many improvements
in present roadbed, except that the track might be lined a little better, as it is badly out of line.
The structures are sound except that the two bridges between Brantford and Blue Lake should have long ties and
proper guard rails on them, and the one close to Blue Lake should have proper batter posts 10 x 10 put
atthe end of two bents
inside the planking that is there now. This matter I called the attention of the Chief Engineer to on the ground, and he said he
would fix
it inside of forty-eight hours.
There were no cattle guards or highway crossing signs on this road. These ought to be put
in at once. One ortwo open
culverts on the line, which were blocked, ought to be properly fixed up with stringers. All of these things I called the attention
of the Chief Engineer to at the time, at each particular place. I examined their car barns which had been allowed to run down,
and also their cars. They are painting and cleaning their cars
in a proper manner, and they are also building and have nearly
completed a very nice machine shop at Brantford, which will no doubt keep the repairs up.
I had a long talk with Mr. Tobias at Galt, and his principal complaint
was that the service was bad, and this occurred
some two weeks ago. Mr. Kellet for the Grand Valley Electric Ry admitted that this had occurred at that time. The
day I was
there the cars ran to the minute, and we made each crossing satisfactorily up to three oclock in the afternoon, when a very
serious accident occurred at Brantford, by the explosion of gas, blocking the main track and demoralizing the service for part
of that day. I explained fully to Mr. Tobias what I had found in my inspection and he concurred in this, but particularly requested
that the service be improved, and I think in that particular his compalint (sic) is entitled to consideration. I
WOUld, therefore,
recommend that
if they continue to operate this line on the present location they be required to place additional ties in the track
making them not less than two foot centres, that they re-line the track, and put a lift of ballast
of at least four inches under the
ties for its entire length.
If they decide next season to change the location I would think that the ballasting and increasing of
ties might be left over, but that the lining of the track be done this Fall.
The Grand Valley Ry have a telephone line the whole length of their line, which was not in service when I was there,
and this would probably be the cause of delays at sidings where cars made crossings. I
WOUld, therefore, recommend that the
telephone line be put in repair, and line telephones be put up at each of these crossing sidings so that in case of delay the
crossings at other points could be made. I think if this was done
it would fully satisfy everybody, and covers all that I think was
called for
in the complaint.
Yours truly,
A. Mountain
Chief Engineer.
BRANTFORD November 13th, 1908.
Mr. G. A. Mountain, Chief Engineer,
of Ry. Commissioners for Canada,
Ottawa, Onto
Dear Sir.-
We have fixed up all of the bridges along the Grand Valley Railway from Brantford to Galt. This work has been done
in accordance with Blue Print showing bridge details sent you personally some time ago. The only change being that the ties
used were 7 x 10 placed on an edge 16 centres with 8 x 8 Guard Rail.
Our men
are working on the Telephone Line and overhead work, and have same completed as far as Glen Morris.
We expect to
have the line completed all the way to Galt within the next ten days.
The Railway Crossing signs, we have just received from the painters. We
will have these put up sometime within
the next ten
days also.
With reference to the
lining up of the track, would state, that we are waiting for ties, which have been ordered from
Port Dover. We intend to place additional ties
in the curves and have the track lined up before winter sets in.
Our men are also at work at present time putting up snow fences as such points along the line where the drifts are
Yours very truly,
William P. Kellett
Chief Engineer.
·was chartered to build between its
namesake communities. As its
first concrete act, the
PDBB&G acquired the Brantford Street
Railway in 1902. That year, the PDBB&G was renamed the Grand
Valley Railway (GV).
from Brantford, the
GV extended its line to Paris
in 1903.
The following year, the tracks reached the outskirts of
Galt. Through service to the centre of Galt began the next year,
after arrangements were completed with the Galt Preston &
Hespeler Street Railway to use its tracks. Further construction
came to a grinding halt, however, as the principal businessman
behind the
GV disappeared leaving unpaid bills.
While new owners
were found, the GV proved to be not a
financial success.
The lack of strong financial backing had
resulted in a poorly built line. A major deficiency was the sharp
grades which prevented
it from handling carload freight traffic.
Less than ten years after construction began, the
GV went into
receivership in
1912 and was taken over by the City of Brantford
1914. In
1911, CP decided to extend its system into the Grand
River Valley. At this time, the only city CP served was Galt which
lay on its
Toronto-Windsor main line. In order to tap the industries
lying in the Grand
River Valley, CP acquired a controlling interest
in the electric rail lines running between Galt and
Waterloo and
bought up the charter of the Lake Erie & Northern Railway
(LE&N) which empowered it to build a electric line southwards
from Galt to Port Dover via Paris and Brantford.
When the LE&N opened in 1916, the City of Brantford
abandoned the GV between Galt and Paris. Service between
Brantford and Paris continued to 1929 when the GV interurbans
replaced by buses.
While the company should have been successful in the
years before widespread ownership
of the automobile reduced the
demand for short haul rail transport, the GV staggered from one
minor disaster to another due to the effects of chronic underfunding.
Indicative of this situation is the above series of letters revealing
the shortcomings of public transit in those long ago Edwardian
The Railway and tIle War
By Thurstan Topham
brought th.e development of several new .
types of Railway c~rs.THE.HosPITAL CAR (at Ri.qht)~
w~s designed by D~ John MCCombe,Chief
MEDICAL OFFICER of th.~CanadianNation~1
Railw~ys. It .serves as the Med ical Centre
in trains carrying casualties. The KITCHE.N
COMMISSARY CAR (below) was developed bl)
Caiennq experb of tl?-e C·N-R· These cars
In service on the National System were
converled in the Comp~ny5 Shops –
.~~~~~ ~EA~;:~~+[~
~ I ), I ,. <. J, A;:~~:~;::::~~::: ::~:;;n(e
Me5S Orderlies obtai 11 food in (ommlmYIj ~r(~11tftJ th.e S13lt of -the war chefs on (NRtroop troins
-and seroe io /en ihrouqh. irQin. hao~ seruedG8000 ~Rf£-POUNP lDAVfS Of J3R[~ll 0
74~ONS OF ~f£F);:;t 13TONS OF BA(ON~
( 1
!1 ClO lie ®(O)~® cl c II R· 5 lao 0 I £ 1<1 [ .1<1 B r ~ I 65 TO fl 5 or POTA-Of:; a 2. 2. TON:; or
:. ~ :; (,,: ONIONSc::t 2.61ONsorMARMAl-ADflJ.JAI 8
;0:: 2S A -~9 6.000 Eq<; S 0 2.~ TONS Of COffIT <0
A. Service Counter. (I~T~ veO 13 -Sink!> C -5ie/).m~ fl.-R~<~ E-Kerri~<:r .. 1or.
/ –..
I 1:(— 1~5HERRIDON
~artlme n:teta1, ~~
IS now bemg ~~-~~.,
produced in c,~,~
great quantity
from areas which
were wilderness
before the ral1-
ways came. lines
of lhe National
System that were
built into the
sections of the
cottntty have
proved to be
of tremendous
value in ,
lind 311 other
centre~ i.n
The F! .. tN .. FL.ON
devG!lopmen.t ..
made pos5lble by t h.e
building of CN-R
branch lines i.n.
northern MANITOI3A
bone of tl1€ greate!>t
COP PER producers
c1evelofed since constructioll
LINE. In 1915, wh.ere 27 Mines
produc.ed GOLD,COPPER,and
other metalsJo1he vdlue of
$ 55,000,000, in 1941
/ r.-,
rf-~ (/~ 1- v~
ft~.. LJ
n ~.:~ I
.l; . , _.Io~!/~ …..
r:r-I~~ ~ !fl ..
. ~ I.. I ~.
-::–:…::::::..~~ .
~~~~·….rv-=vvVVv . ~
In this issu~ we cOnlinue wilh the series of drawings
showing the part plaYl-d by Canadas railways i.n world War U.
this time an: the hospital Clirs and the commissary (food
scrvice) cars, so vital in the movement of troops. Also featured arc
the railway lines. orten in remote nonhcm 3IXas. used to transport
copper and «her metals. stnllcgic to the waf effon. fmnl the mille
lU the factories.
The dralVings. ffl.)r11 a series commissioned by Canadian
National Railways, are by Thurstan Topham :tHO appeared in more
than 900 newspapers in Canada and the United Slales about 1942.
They have been made available to Canadian Rail by
the Duehcr
Library of Canadian National. We are privileged (0 1Jfin! them in
of the tremendous contribution of the milways to
the war effon fifty yean-a~w-
Century Old Railway News Items
September, 1892
Yeslen.lay was
rrnrosfcr day with the SI~1 Railway Company. They have
had aU ..
d:s of transfer before. bul always mild cases ,,hid n::ooily Yielded
to simple rcmedit… Yeslcroay rhe $Cizurc began early and lasled all day. TIlt:
fo.mer lrans(er 88c,5 who used 10 ~Iand on ccnain Mrecl comers SJlcdy
the: ~p, stood Ye5lcrday in an ornamenlal .. Uilude: on the !:Ulle
places and grinll·ed • al1he conductors. ~ taner pr:tCliM:d profanity from I!,
ri$ingoflhe ~un IOlhe goin& down of1te-same.They ..-ere expec,ed 10 Issue
transfer tickets 10 all passoengtrs …. hoaskcd fQf1hem.llIId. in addition. 10 look
il.fter their OIherduties of staning and stopping the Car. turning lhe swilch or
point. collecting Ihe f:lrtS. selling licke!s. answering questions artd looking
(hiJ. Where tile coodoctor was a driver lIS well he also had a horse Oil his
so to speak. his life …. asooe 1000g torment. I·le groaned \i1h despcur.
and tnc rnullered imprt(a,iorl-~ that came frum lhe frunt plalform WC~ not
good 10 hear. Yet what could the poor men do1 They were being a,l.:ed 10
ilion: lhan lhe human system as 31 preSCnt uiKlersuxxl and wOIlnd
up rould manage. When 6
o clock in lhoe evening callie chaos rode: on e ery
ClIf and made itself fclt. ClllffiOrOUs passengers demanded transfers. which
the official wa~ too busy to furnish. The point of Irl1erseclioll arrived long
before lhe
til:k~ Wa.!< ready. and shoals of !letemlined men broke away from
no tackle another. t.ic.telless il i~ true. but with an expression of resolve
to finish their ride horne that boded ill II) any ofrlCi~1 ,,·ho woold stand on
ny or ft Ticket. Car nlO!:n measured lhe museular fOJCe of ~uch
passengers. and Jctlhem pass without 3 murmur. in facl lhe firsl d~y·s Irial
of tnc ne …. Irull5fer ticket iJIustr.lIed their perfect ad .. ptabiliTy 10 Duffin·s
Creek. from whjch metropolis Ihey 1IC,·er should hav~ been transplanted.
lbc compallY will do well 10 Iry again.
Toronlo Emplte. Friday. Scplemlxr 2. 1892.
rIltis Idcqto the flrst use of street car IransfeN in Toronto. TIle fir.;ttypc.
imnxloced CHI September I. 1892, proved III be too complicated.. requuing
too many pIl/lChes. and was discontinued ;Iftct I few da)s.1
During thetllhibiTion 24 electric motorcars will nlfl on K ins Streel. each wilh
a traile
r. This will give a Iwo-millute service. A crussing will be
made at Killg and Yongc. 3$ the switche$eannot oc gOl ready in time.
Toronto Em
pire. Frid.1y. September 2. 1891.
Clever cilizcn. to fanner· Fruit is ,cry plelltiful aboul the St~IS just now.
Farmer. Is Ihal 5101 What kindo( fruil?
Clevel c
iul£n. Ei«lric Cll.TTlUl1J.
lO Empire, Saturday. SePClllbcr 17. 1892.
Near SleUarlon Stillion This M.orning
illraculous J-Mlipc of Ihe Enl:incer and fireman
New Glasgow. Sepl. 9 _ Ectgine No. 193 lof tbe IntcrrolOlT;al RailwayJ
lodcdthis morning at 8 oclock lICarthe Slelll1non [N.5.lslation.lbe
driver. David. Duncan. atKl ftrenllifl. E. CUHQn. werc in The van allhc lime of
but mi.r3Culoosly escaped uninjured. 1lte boiler i~ H complelc
Teek. but the
van and tender remain WIthout much damage. The engi,no: is
CHIC Qf those made in 188 [ for lhe Ea~em fulcnsion. and at that time Wlt!l No.
9. She was nUldc by the Kingston Locomu;vc works. and is oneQflhe smne
lnakeas lhe one which uploded in 51(lIaI100. killing four men. I wo yellT Isic J
3gl.l. The 1oconlOl;e as Imlf3Il-hour OUI of the round house before lhe
e~plosion happt.lIed and was going to Pictou Landing with a coal trllin.
wa.~ conductor. Some of Ihe pio:ces of lhe hundred yards: 0l1Il: pic:ce hundred yards illto Mr. Charlcs Dicksons yard. another in Willi3m
Mclnt~h·s and a heavy piece l:mded on lite roof of Mr. John Mooroeys
house. making a WlKllc hic]through llIe roof. SQme of the wires of Ihe
W .. ~tem Unioo Telegraph company were inlerrupted also. 1bc engine is
ciured away. The accident will nO! interfere with traffic.
fax Morning Chronicle. Smurdy. &plember 10, usn.
IEdilors note: This ICCOUni conlaill5 a serious elTOl. The: locolnotive was 111.11
No. 193. bul was No. was buill by F1emingand5ons inSainlJobn
in 1&86. A pOoIoofil. after theexplusion, will appear in tlte neM i$Suc
of Canadian Rail as part oflhe flCCOunt ofReming·s foundry.1bce.lplosion
occum:od un September 8. 1892. not the 91h all might be inferred from this
account. No. 173
was not repaired ~ftcr the 311Xidenl. bul Wa:) retired and
presumably $(Iped soon thereafter).
A oorriblcoc<,.itlenllook place Olllh<; railwylmck belween PointeClain:and
fkaclNI~fieltl sometime 00 Moudlly nighl [Seplember 19, 1892]. It appears
that a farmer nant«! ll.iIc Boileau. fonnerlyufSI. Annes. bul1TlCHe recenlly
of St. Gene,·ieve.
came:: 10 Monlrea.i 011 S;llIrday 11.1 transact some: buSIIlCS.S.
H~ .«aned IQ I1.IU01 on Mond~) night and it is bclitwt-.:I gOt on the Chicago
()(pIl.SS. Qn ,,·hich he ro tr,:k
and noThing more was heMl of him unlil his frighlfulJ~· mutilated body
was foond
Iyin!; on Ih<; Il:lCk with tit!: head. IIfTIlS andl(~ ~Irecd along lhe
The r~lIIains WCT!: gathered up and pl,oc,1 in a 1l0llf bam:llo Mwaillhe
actiOll of Coroner M:IlIQ~.
Montreal G:U.elte. Tuesday. So::ptembcT 20. 1892.
BACK COVER: MOil/real 1rcmrwaYJ OIlC-IIUI/I s/ree/ ((II No. 1992 was fJ/IQ/Qgraphlt/ ill 1929, IW! long lifter ils COlIs/melion. II) ,he
anadian Car {I/ld Foundry Co. earlin Ihal yea/. ThiJ W(lS lire la,It/YIH. a/slfUI faT /0 filii in regll({// ~(ni(( il/ MoniT(of. AliSI/51 30. 1959.
tlldil/8 (In era which had begun …. il11 Ihe firsl fUll of Tile Rod:(f ill 1892. CRHA AlchiwJ. 8il/lls Colln/i(m.

Demande en ligne