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Canadian Rail 448 1995

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Canadian Rail 448 1995

ISSN 0008·4875
A TRIP ON THE WHITE PASS & YUKON ROUTE 1994 ……………………………….. PETER J. LACEy …………………….. 184
IN 1899 ………………………………………………………………
….. 196
MUSEUM NOTES …………………………………………………………………………………….
GODFREy …………………….. 203
………………… 206
ON A BANK NOTE …………………………………………………………………………………………..
………………. 207
FRONT COVER: VIA train No. 83, hauled by locomotive 6512 and boundfor London,
crossing the bridge at
St. Marys, Ontario.
Photo by Bill Thomson.
For your membership in the CRHA, which
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As part of its activities, the CRHA operates
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newsletters. Further
information may be obtained
by writing to the division.
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The Birney Safety Car
Eightieth Anniversary

By Richard M. Binns
The following article was written by the late Richard M. Binns in 1975 and was found among his papers following his death in 1988.
His collection
of photos, and other material concerning street cars, was kindly donated to the C.R.H.A. by his daughter. Evidently this history
was prepared for Canadian Rail but for some reason was never printed. In view
of this year being the 80th anniversary of the development
of the Birney Car, we are publishing it now. Some extra photos have been added, and a few chronological references have been brought up
to date, but otherwise the article is exactly as written by Mr. Binns.
During the electric street railway era
in North America
perhaps one
of the most important turning points in street car
design was the development
of the so-called Birney Safety Car. In
Canada these cars were to be found in several cities at one time
another, but it was in Halifax that they flourished in greatest
numbers. In fact for twenty-two years -1927
to 1949 -they
supplied the entire tramway service in Halifax, reaching a wartime
of eighty-two units, carrying over thirty-one million passengers
annually. Being so much a part
of the citys life in years past, the
cars are well remembered by those Haligonians who are in the
infamous over fifty age group.
The Birney Safety Car was born in the United States in
19 I
5, just eighty years ago. In keeping with the current fashion of
marking anniversaries of all kinds, it might be timely to examine
this development in street railway rolling stock and review briefly
the circumstances leading up to the Birney concept.
From the beginning
of urban electric traction in the 1890s
until World War
1, street railways had, generally speaking, enjoyed
continual expansion and prosperity. Indeed this cheap and rapid
of city travel was largely responsible for the creation of large
metropolitan centres. Aside from a brief flurry
of competition
from the bicycle around 1900, the electric street car reigned
supreme in North American cities for over twenty years. Around
the beginning
of the First World War, however, street railway
managements were starting to feel the effects
of some disturbing
trends. Not only were operating expenses rising steadily, especially
of motormen and conductors; but people were beginning to
desert the street cars for those exciting vehicles pouring off Henty
Fords assembly lines.
The most alarming manifestation of the
coming automobile age, however, was a particularly vicious type
of competition from so-called Jitneys, which first appeared on the
of Los Angeles in July 1914.
The Jitney technique was simple and ruthless: -enterprising
of almost any kind of motor vehicle, be it fender-flapping
flivver or shabby old limousine, would cruise along major street
car routes offering rides -at the customary five cent car fare -to people waJtlllg at the car stops. Rush hours offered the best
pickings. A flock
of these opportunists would shuttle back and
forth over the busiest section
of a route, stealing an appreciable
of street car revenue. Jitneys spread with astonishing
speed. By early 1915 some seven hundred infested Los Angeles
alone. Soon they were skimming the cream from car lines
in mid­
western and eastern United States cities and, to a much lesser
degree, to a few Canadian centres. Street car companies,
of course,
raised a howl
of protest, claiming Jitneys kept no schedules, met
no safety standards, and assumed no responsibility -as did the
railways -for service in off-hours
or in outlying districts. Sympathy
for the company was often hard to arouse, in part perhaps because
of the American love of free enterprise, but all too often there was
dissatisfaction with the street car service and long-standing disputes
over muniCipal franchise obligations.
Admittedly, street cars were slow, uncomfortable, and
overcrowded in rush hours, and often operated in
an arbitrary
manner typical
of a public utility without competition. Clearly, the
street railway industry needed a better
image and improved
operating methods.
Among those pondering the situation -particularly the
jitney menace -was Charles O. Birney, rolling stock engineer for
the Stone and Webster organization
of Boston, a firm of public
utility consultants which operated and managed a number
of street
railway properties in Texas, Washington and elsewhere
in the
United States. Obviously a way must be found to provide a more
rapid and frequent service without incurring too much additional
To this end Birney envisioned a small, agile, extremely
light-weight car that could be run at low cost with a one-man crew.
After some experimenting in collaboration with car builders and
equipment manufacturers, a design was developed, in 1915,
embodying these features. In all fairness,
other transit engineers,
notably J.M. Rosenbury
of the Illinois Traction System, and
certain car builders had been thinking along similar lines and a few
lightweight models had been produced. But it was the Birney
design that prevailed.
THE PROBLEM: With the development of the automobile, more and more riders deserted the street cars for this new means of transportal ion.
This was especially so after 1913, when He/ll} Fords assembly lines greatly increased the production, and lowered the cost, of Fordsfamous
T. These drawings,from Ford advertisements of 1914, show the advantages of the new Model Tover the oldfashioned street car.
The Birney car was the first successful attempt at
standardization of street railway rolling stock. Hitherto street cars
had been virtually custom built for each transit company.
was an almost universal conviction that each city had some
peculiar operating conditions and local policies which requires
specially designed equipment. Birney realized that here was an
opportunity to
come up with a car design acceptable almost
anywhere, -one that could be mass-produced at a substantial
saving in cost.
With this in mind his design was simple and basic.
The body was 28 feet long, 7 feet eight inches wide and nine feet
ten inches high (rail to roof) with a simple arch roof.
The car was
arranged for two-direction running, with controls and a single
folding door
at each end. There was no attempt at styling or
ornamentation -the sole aim being functional simplicity. As a
result the body lines were rather severe, giving the car a
Light weight was achieved by using the recently adopted
of constructing car bodies of pressed steel shapes and
plates whereby the entire side acted as a truss. With traditional wood construction the trend had been towards heavier cars in order
to achieve strength and durability. Skilfully designed steel body
framing now reversed that trend. Light weight meant less power
consumption and less wear on the track.
The Birney had a dead
of about 16,000 pounds compared to about 25,000 pounds
for a good quality wooden car
of the same size or, in other terms:
600 pounds
per foot of length as opposed to 900 or 1000 pounds per
foot then prevailing.
A return to the small four-wheel street
car was in itself
quite radical. Although many were i.n use, the trend since early in
the century had been towards larger, double-truck cars for all but
the lightest duties. Mounted on an
improved single truck and
equipped with two 25 horsepower motors
of advanced design,
which required less space under the body,
the Birney rode close to
the ground on small diameter wheels (24 to 26 inches). As a
consequence, passengers had only two steps from
pavement to car
The floor was level throughout with no inside steps. Seating
capacity varied from twenty-eight to thirty-two depending on seat
THE SOLUTION: A side elevation of a typical Birney Safety Car as originally developed. Since these new cars were considerably lower
than the larger ones formerly used, the trolley poles on the Birneys were often mounted on small towers
to raise the bases to the level of the
older cars.
11 was hoped that these modern lightweight one-man cars, offering frequent service, would woo passengers back to the street cars.
Drawing by Richard
M. Binns.
The big breaktiu-ough was, of course, one-man operation
for which the Birney
car was specifically designed. One-man cars
had been tried from time to time on very minor branch lines
in a
few places, but
in general the practice of having a two-man crew
was firmly entrenched. But Birney and other transit engineers
recognized the inefficient distribution
of labour on two-man cars.
With the Pay As You Enter method
of fare collection in general
use, the conductor had little
or nothing to do while the car was in
motion and the motorman,
of course, had notlling to do while the
car was stopped. Given a small capacity car, appropriately designed,
it seemed physically possible for one man to do both jobs.
Birney equipped his little car with air brakes, air operated
door, step, and sander -all innovations on single truck cars. Power
contml, brakes, and door were interlocked
in such a way that the
door could not be opened until the car was at rest with brakes set.
Conversely, the
car could not be started with the door open. Should
the operator -as he
came to be called -for any reason become
incapacitated while the car was running, and remove his hand from
the dead-man controller handle, four things would happen
automatically: power was shut off, brakes applied, rails sanded,
and the door opened. Fearful that the public might not accept the
one-man idea, railway managements emphasized these safety
features in their public relations material and the car was officially
designated the Birney Safety Car. As
it turned out, the public
could not have cared less about its safety aspects and the word
safety was later dropped.
The first Birney car built was placed in service in Seattle,
Washington, on July 27 1916. Generally speaking, the cars were
welcomed with open arms by street railway managements, and by
1918 orders were pouring in. Several car builders were involved,
but the great majority
of Birneys were turned out by the J.G. Brill
Co., American
Car Co., and St. Louis Car Co. In Canada a few were
built by Ottawa Car Manufacturing Co., and Canadian Brill
Car and Coach Co.) in the 1920s. A round-figure estimate
of the total number of Birney cars built is usually given as 6000.
A precise figure may not be possible but analysis
of comprehensive
data published by Harold E. Cox in 1966 reveals the following
listing by years:
1916 23 1924 128
1917 155 1925 65
1918 413 1926 102
1919 1231 1927 45
1920 1817 1928 23
1921 617 1929 0
1922 679 1930 11
1923 418
TOTAL 5727
About 170 of these were for export, mostly to South America. The
last built were for Mobile, Alabama and Monro, Louisiana in
Two examples of the outmoded rolling stock which was still in service in the 1920s. Although neither of these two systems used Bimeys, others
with similar outdated equipment did receive a reprieve from the new safety cars.
TOP: A single truck car
of the 1890s in use in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on October 12, 1927. Although in quite good condition, the car was
of a type which had been obsolescent since the 1910 era. National Archives of Canada, photo No. PA-87915.
BOTTOM: This early double-truck wooden car
of the Niagara Gorge line was photographed in the early 1930s, about the time the line closed.
car was a Brill semi-conver/able, a type which was built in large numbers ill the early 1900s, and llsed by many different systems. By
the 1920s, however, their day had passed, and car
20 certainly showed its age. National Archives of Canada, photo No. PA-166479.
.. -… /
. / …. -~-
,. -./
… ~ ..
. /.: •. …..=-.
~ .
. Q~ .
. -~
.: …..
Before and after the Birneys came: The larger companies also benefited from the use of Birneys on outlying lines, as we can see in these
two views on the Montreal Tramways system.
The top view, taken in 1912, shows car 640, one of Montreals earliest double-truck cars,
originally built
in 1900, as it looked after conversion to a double-enderfor use on low density lines. The bottom photo was taken at You ville
in 1924 and shows Bimey 202, newly arrived from Detroit. The Birneys would soon replace old wooden cars like 640 on routes such
as Cote des Neiges, which was then a short stub-end line. CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
Results of Safety Car Operation
By J.e. Thirlwall
From an article in the Electric Railway Journal, October 2, 1920
There are in service today more than 3000 safety cars, one-man operated; there are on order and in the course of construction about
900 more, and the writer believes this is only a good start. Theirvalue to the industry is only beginning to be appreciated, and eventually, we
believe, there can be
and will be some 18,000 to 20,000 in service in this country and Canada.
Some few roads
have criticised the maintenance, some have felt that changes to the doors or seating arrangements could be made
to advantage, some think the ends of the cars must be strengthened against collision. But no general criticism of the design or equipment has
been made, and the
volume of repeat orders coming in from all sections of the country is the best testimony of the general satisfaction which
the standard
car has given.
The progress of the safety car idea has been remarkable. Starting in 1916, or just four years ago, the Stone & Webster management
placed twelve or fifteen cars in service at Fort Worth, Bellingham and Everett. Within six months it was convinced that it had discovered a
big new principle of operation. A
number of car and equipment engineers agreed and proceeded to advertise the idea. But by the end of 1917
there were less than
100 safety cars in operation, the installations were small and the whole matter was still in the experimental stage.
, it was during this
year that the Stone & Webster operators standardized on a car which was slightly different from Mr. Birneys
original design and which, with only slight modifications in equipment and dimensions, has since been accepted as a standard by
the industry
as a whole. By the end of 1918 there were between 500 and 600 of these cars in service, and their successful operation
in cities of considerable
size had given an
immense impetus to their general use. By the end of 1919 there were approximately 150 cities in which safety cars were
running, and about 1600 cars
were in service. Today the number of cars in service has nearly doubled, and the number of cities in which they
are used is well over 200.
When existing orders are completed, within a few months, approximately 250 cities will be using 4000 of these cars.
The writer has been absolutely convinced that the light-weight,
one-man operated safety car is the best vehicle yet developed with
which to meet the average
and normal passenger transportation conditions in every city; that it can be operated more economically per
passenger handled than any other type of car; that with it better and more generally satisfactory service can be offered to the public for any
given expenditure than with any other type; that it is extremely popular with the riding public, not only because of the improved service that
has usually accompanied its use but because of its design and riding qualities,
and that its general adoption and wider use hold out better
prospects of financial rehabilitation to the average road than does any
other physical change that can be made in the operation of the electric
Tabulations of figures submitted by electric railway companies
show that any urban electric railway can secure a reduction of almost
40 percent in its operating cost, or it can operate 80 percent more mileage with safety cars than with heavy two-man equipment, with no
increase in operating expense. It therefore follows that increases in service, or mileage, amounting to 30, 40, or 50 percent can be made and
still save materially in the operating accounts. The great majority of installations have been upon the latter basis. Of the 38 companies
reporting, only ten made car-for-car replacement. They are in general the smaller cities and own only 124 cars, or less than 10 percent of the
total. Three companies
owning 137 cars report 100 percent increase in service, or two safety cars operated for every two-man car displaced.
The remaining 25 companies, owning approximately 1000 safety cars, all show increases in service ranging from 20 to 80 percent, and
averaging 50 percent.
A point
of great interest to the public and to the operators alike is the relative safety of operation of one-man and two-man cars. W.H.
Burke has demonstrated conclusively that the safety car is well named, that it actually
does have fewer accidents than the older cars handled
by two men, and that personal injuries, both by the public and employees, are reduced by its use. Most companies report personal injuries
reduced, step accidents less etc., but a
number say in effect personal injuries less, but property damage more. In fact after reading all
the reports, the conviction is unescapable that collisions with other vehicles, especially automobiles, are more frequent with
safety cars than
with heavier types, and that
the damage done to the safety car is greater. This condition may and probably will be minimized by changes in
the platforms of the cars during the past year.
The car builders.have madea considerable improvement in these two details, largely as a result
of complaints of collision
There seems to be a general conclusion that there are
no limiting conditions for safety cars in cities up to 150,000 unless it be lines
crossing a great number of steam road crossings
or carrying an unusually large factory load. One or two managers believe that lines having
normal headways of less than four minutes are unsuitable forthe safety car. But
one managersees no reason why they could not be operated
on a thirty-second headway.
The conclusion is that to many railways the use of safety cars will be very rapidly extended until the bulk of the all-day runs, or basic
schedules, in every city will be handled with these cars. To many railways ils use to the maximum extent will spell all the difference between
prosperity and bankruptcy. To many others it will give the ability to pay a liberal return to the stockholders, and enhance the value of all their
securities. For thousands of platform men it will provide safer, better paid and more interesting work. And to millions of city dwellers, it will offer
a more comfortable, a more frequent and more satisfactory service. And
by all of these groups there will be voiced the sentiment, tersely
expressed by a good friend of the writers in Texas, one of the pioneers
in the safety car movement, Its good enough for us!.
Halifax, with 82 cars, was the largest user of Birneys in Canada. The top view shows the newest type of car in Halifax before the Birneys.
The bottom view is one
of the first Birneys. Only five years separate the building dates of these cars; 76 was built in 1915 and J 18 in 1920.
Both these photos were taken on May 30, 1949, after all service had ceased and just before the cars were scrapped.
CRHA Archives, Toohey Collection.
A broadside view of Montreal Birney car 216, photographed in 1931. This car had formerly been Detroit car 201, built in 1921, and it was
in 1939.
Archives, Binns Collection.
A variation on the traditional Birney design is exemplified by Quebec City car
82. Unlike most Birneys, this car had a rear exit with a treadle­
operated folding door. No.
82 was one of a group of 10 (80 -89) built by Ottawa Car Mfg. Co. in 1923 alld scrapped about 1938.
National Archives
of Canada, photo No. PA-166555.
Some companies operated cars which superficially resembled Birneys, but there the resemblance ended. An example of a Birney look-alike
is this car
of the New Brunswick Power Company in Saint John N.B. Built between 1925 and 1929 in the Companys own shops, the 130-
class were the same size and layout as Birneys, but had hand brakes, heavyweight wood frame construction, and none
of the safety devices
or other features that made a Birney a Birney. The NBPCo. also rebuilt some
of its older cars to the same one-man configuration that had
been introduced by the Birneys. This photo was taken in 1947, a year before the Saint John system was abandoned. Note the Union Station
on the left
of the photo. Photo by A. Clegg.
Attesting to their wide acceptance, Bimeys were to be
found in at least 358 cities and towns, in forty-three
of the then
forty-eight United States. In Canada, 22 cities, in seven
of the then
nine Canadian provinces, operated Birneys during the 1920s.
Spectacular increases in passenger traffic were rep0l1ed by
some companies after introducing a more frequent service with
Birney cars, especially where they replaced old decrepit rolling
stock. Taking a page from the jitneys book, some progressive
transit companies were now anxious to offer the public a service
it couldnt refuse -a rather viSionary doctrine expressed by the
Always a car in sight. Some of the large traction
enterprises that provided local service in several regional cities
invested heavily
in Birney cars. TheConnecticutCompany, serving
nine cities, had one hundred and sixty five Birneys. Eastern
Massachusetts Street Railway had two hundred and fifty. Public
Service Railways
of New Jersey had two hundred and the City of
Detroit also had two hundred.
The market for Birney cars was pretty well saturated by
1923 and production tapered offsharply thereafter. Notall applications
were an unqualified success from the passengers point
of view. An inherent defect
of four-wheel street cars was their poor riding
qualities unless given a near-perfect track. All too often small,
financially troubled systems, which benefitted most from the new
cars, had allowed their tracks
to deteriorate. Consequently the
lightweight single truck Birney,s sometimes acquired an unfair
reputation for rough riding and a proneness
to derailment. Then
again, several large city systems which attempted
to use them on
heavy traffic lines found them inadequate, and after two or three
years most were sold
to small city systems.
Just how much the Birney cars contributed
to the demise
of the jitneys is impossible to say -probably quite a bit in some
instances. But one is inclined
to think that municipal common
sense finally prevailed and outlawed their activities. At all events,
jitneys had virtually disappeared by 1920.
After the first flush
of success, Birneys gradually fell out
of favour. The prosperity of the Roaring Twenties was bringing
more passengers to the street railways and in some cases
it soon
became obvious that the Birneys did not have the reserve capacity
to absorb unexpected overloads or to meet rush hour requirements.
It was claimed by some that, with two 25-horsepower motors, they
ST JOHNS -Newfoundland Light and Power Company
New -Built by Ottawa Car Mfg. Co. -Scrapped 1948
8 no 10-17 1925
3 fl. 6ins. gauge trucks. but bodies full si3e -Doors on one side only
MONCTON N. B. -Monoton Tramways, Electrioity & GasCompanv
From U,S.A -Builder and origin unknown -Sold to Halifax 1932
6, 7 1923 POSSible existance of a Ihird car No,5
ST.STEPHEN N. B -C liSt a a s ree t R il a way PjTERNA110NAL OPERATION: CALAIS IoIAIHE ….. ST. STl:PH~N N.B.
no 9015,
From Boslon Elevated Ry. -same numbers -Built by J.G.BriIl1920
All sold to Blnghamplon N.Y. for Iruck~ and spare parts 1929
SYDNEY N S -C ape B reton E lectrio Company
51,52 1918
New -Built by American Car Co. St.Louis -Scrapped c 1944
Built for left-hand operation Changed 10 right -hand 1923
? From Cili3ens Traction Co. Oil City Pa. Nos. 92 -100 even -Built by J.G,Brili Co. 1923
DO 55—59 1928
5ydne!J numbers uncertain 3 cars sold to Halifax 1930.-Others scrap. cl944
2 no 60.61 1924
From Detroit no. 150 series -Built by J.G.Brili 1921. Sold to Halifax 1942
HALIFAX N S -Nova Scotia Tramways & PowerCo+-1928~N SLight & Power Co
nol00-123 1920
New-BuiJt by American Car Co.
Built for lefr·hand operation Changed to right· hand 1923
Do124-133 1926
} From United Railways 8r. Electric Co. Ballimore Md. no. 4001 series.
Built by J.G.Brill Co. 1920
no134-137 1926 New -Built by Ottawa Car Mfg. Co.
8 no138-145 1927
8 no159-J66 1940
} F,om To.,o T,,,p Comm. -no. 2216 -2264 , .. i
6 no167-172 1941
All built by J. G. Bri 1/ Co. 1920 for Toronto Civic Ry. 60-84 series-To TTC 1921
lIo156-1I~8 1930
} From Cape Breton Electric Co. S,:/dney. no.5559 ?and 60.61.
2 DO 173,174 1942
1 0.115 S H, by Am;,,, Coc Co. 92 fa<
From Quebec Sherbrooke Que. no. 22 -Sold to Que. Asbestos 1938
2 no 175,176
1942 Asbestos Co. no. 176 : Bllilt by Wasson Car (0. 1921 for Dover N.H. car C
East Broughton Que. Sold to Sherbrooke Que. 1926 no.29 -Sold to
Quebec Asbestos
{ no m, 1T8 , 9H by Am;,,n C Co. 1922 f ..
From Bakersfjeld
Union Traction Co Santa Cru3 Cal. no22. 24
5 no177-181 1943
6; Kern Elec. Ry Co.
Sold to Bakersfield 1927 no.I7.19
Bakersfield Calif.
00 179~IBO.181: Built by American Cal Co. 1921 for Santa arbara
&. Suburban Ry. no.4I-50 series Sold to
Bakersfield 1929 no. 20. 21. 23.
1932 From Moncton -no.6.7 Not operated in Halifax -used for spare parts
Note: 00.126 destroyed b:j fire in VE day riots Ma;l8194 5 -All others scrapped 1949
Although Halifax was by far the largest Canadian user of Birneys, other cities in eastern Canada had them as well, as we see
from the charts, prepared by Richard Binns, on these two pages.
IN HALIFAX 1920-1943
82– – —
77—– –
73 — – – – — – – – –
67 – – — — – —– –
r —Mr:—, __________ ~
N …!F
_ __ __ _ __ _ _ -6-173.174 r-~~~:J·~IIE1E7~1I~.~1~7~6~==========~
;~N.167-172 !
r–~L—.——~ __________ ~ a
; [iJ-NO.1IIO-166
S9 —- – – ——– -M.:::: _____ -:-__________ L-______________ -__________ -! 2
56 — — – – – — –r–….:….,!!;!…….:.:.-=-=..:….:……..:.:..:..:..————-
————I a
46— – – – – – – – -r-…L————————-… ——J ….
38 —
–__ –__ -I::L———————___ -I
N *
~~NO.124-133 ~
————-i ~
were underpowered. Others complained of their poor
perfonnance in snow storms. Many were sold after a
few years service. As a consequence
more and more of
the smaller cities could pick up second hand Birneys at
a price they could afford. Some cars changed hands two
or three times.
Whatever the merits and defects
of the Birney
concept, the cars did prolong street railway service in
many small
communities for a few additional years
before buses took over. More important, they proved
once and for all that one-man operation was safe and
acceptable. They introduced a whole series
of safety
devices and automatic air-operated equipment, as well
lightweight steel body constl1lction. All these features
were incorporated
in a variety of new medium sized
double truck one-man cars emerging
in the late 1920s,
covering most urban requirements, but without the
s virtue of standardization. Nevertheless, this
new trend did culminate in a standard model -the
PCC car in 1936.
One of Halifaxs original Birneys, No. J 21 was built by American Car Co. in 1920.
alld lasted until the end of service in 1949. it is here seen in 1942.
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
Abandonments and bus substitutions, during
the economic depression
of the 1930s, eliminated many of the
Birney cars -a process that was temporarily halted during the
Second World War, but which continued unabated thereafter.
Even on lines which were not abandoned, the Birneys showed their age. Being of lightweight construction, and now more than 25
years old, they were worn out. By the late 1940s practically all had
The last Birneys to operate in regular passenger
in either the United States or Canada, were those of the
RIGHT: A sad end befell Halifax Birney No. 126 when
it was burned by rioters celebrating
V.E. Day on the
of May 7 -8 1945. This was one of the cars bought
second-handfrom Baltimore in
1926. The remaining 81
of Halifaxs Birneys remained in service until the entire
system was converted
to trolleybus operation in April of
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
LEFT: In the 1920s, a double-truck version of
the Birney was developed. These cars were
smoother riding and,
of course, had larger
Tn other respects the double-truck
Birneys were identical
to their smaller bretheren,
and they were the forerunners
of numerous
lightweight one-man cars with the new safety
devices. This car was built by
1. G. Brill in
1926fortheAlabama Power
Co. in Tuscaloosa,
Alabama, where
it operated as No. 202. In
1942 it was sold
to Montreal where it was
renumbered 2039, and remained in service
until 1958.
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
LEFT: One Birney remaining
in Canada is B.C. Electric
No. 400, displayed at Victoria, B. C. It is partly a
restoration and partly a replica, and its truck is not the
authentic type. Nevertheless, it is a fine example
of a
famous type
of car.
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
HIS HONORS GATHERED -HIS DUTY DONE! This sentimental cartoon appeared in a Halifax newspaper
in April
1949, as the street car system was abandoned in favour of trolleybusses. Despite what the rioters had
to 126 on VE Day, Haligonians had great affection for their Birneys, and remembered the incredible
sen1ice they had peiformed in the busy days of World War II. Thus the grieffelt at their passing, as exemplified
in this cartoon, was genuine. This was the last regular operation
of Birneys in passenger service in Canada,
although Montreals
No. 200 was used in occasional excursion service after that date.
CRHA Archives, Binns Collection.
Fort Collins (Colorado)
Municipal Railway
which ceased operation
on June 30, 1951.
[Editors note: A pOitioll
of this line has been
rebuilt and is operated,
as a tourist attraction,
using one
of the original
Birney cars].
South of
the Rio Grande, a few
Birneys remained in
service in Vera Cruz,
Mexico well into the
I 970s.
Consideri ng the
thousands ofBirney cars
built, surprisingly few
have been
preserved as
historical items
of rail
roJling stock. Scarcely
a dozen
might be found
the entire United
States. In Canada, for­
mer Montreal Tram­
ways Company No. 200
(ex Detroit No. 223) is
maintained in operating
condition at the
dian Railway Museum
near Montreal. A replica,
built on the partial frame
ofVictor1a B.C. No. 400,
is displayed in Heritage
Court, outside the
Provincial Museum in
that city.
In terms of total car­
miles operated within a
single community,
Halifax was probably
among the top users of
Birney cars in North
America. When its
tramway service ended
on April 30, 1949,
unhappily none of the
eighty-one remaining
cars was preserved.
Trolley Car Treas­
ury -Frank Rowsome.
The Birney Car –
Harold E. Cox.
The Time of the
Trolley -W.D. Middle­
A Trip on the White Pass & YUkOll Route -1994
By Peter J. Lacey
Whenever gold is discovered in large
quantities, men swarm to try and get it for
themselves. When many men and tons
goods have to be moved, transportation systems
are built
to do it. The most efficient form of
bulk land transfer -as much today as in 1899 –
is by railway. So it was that the White Pass and
Yukon Railway was built, with an urgency that
didnt compromise the quality
of the work, for
96 years later it is still running. And so it was
that I was able
to take the tourist trip up to the
of the hill and then back down again.
My parents and I went on a cruise
September, 1994, from Vancouver up the inside
as far as Glacier Bay, Alaska. We
enjoyed the trip; it was an interval
of elegance
and superb service which contrasted more and
more strikingly with the increasing harshness
ofthe land
as westeamed furthernorth. However,
even the most determined cossetting can pall,
so at all the three ports
of call a variety of side
trips was offered. The
jaunt on the WP&Y
(known to the cognoscenti as the Skagway
WP&Y locomotive 52 on display at Skagway. All photos by Ihe author.
fly-fly) came on the Tuesday of our trip, and was for me the high
of the cruise.
The WP&Y starts at Skagway, which these days is a hardy
of some 600 people, largely dependent on the tourist
trade. However, small and isolated
as it is, access is easy by road,
or air, and you can even arrive there by train -the last part of
a trip started on the bus at Whitehorse. We flew in from Juneau:
a hair-raising closeup
of the glaciers north-east of town, up and
over the icefall although we
werent able to view the icefields on
the plateau due
to clouds, was followed by a more serene flight
along the Lynn Canal, a long fjord that goes all the way up
Skagway. (It was named by George Vancouver after Kings Lynn
in Lincolnshire, a touch
of nostalgia for my mother who was raised
near there).
The mountains here are not tall but are most impressive,
being twisted, tortuous., and precipitous. In a small plane you get
a much more intimate and detailed view than from ground level,
and although the flight was bumpy at times I was mildly
when we settled gently out of the sky onto the tarmac at the tourist
Consideling how small Skagway is, and how long ago the
gold rush took place, theres really quite a lot
to see. Visit the Red
Onion cafe; it used
to be a house of ill repute, but now features a
terrific collection
of bedpans, waitresses in period dance-hall
costumes, a young fellow in a pork-pie hat at the piano playing
sprightly Scott Joplin numbers, and excellent, although expensive,
nachos and sandwiches. There are many tourist-trapestablishments,
but it must be said that the merchandise
is most acceptable. The
U.S. Parks Service has a small museum with
an auditorium which shows several films on the gold rush and other historical topics; we
found it easy
to fill in the two hours or so before the trip was to start.
If you go no further, theres still a lot for the railfan to see
in Skagway itself. The Parks service museum is housed in a former
WP& Y station. Stearn engine #52
is on display across the street
it hasnt been looked after and is rotting away). There
is the present station, small but attractive, with a gift shop and a
surprising amount
of office space; but then the WP&Y runs seven
more trains a day at the height
of the season, and has large part­
time right-of-way maintenance and shop crews, so administration
is a complex business. Tracks meander all over the waterfront; it
is brought home that this is a narrow-gauge operation -3 -as the
tracks at first sight seem much too close together.
There are docks
in the harbour for two ocean-going ships; today two
of the P & Os
Princesses were in, made to look tiny below Mt. Harding across
the Canal. A train had [ecently departed from one dock, and ours
was drawn up beside the other. Further into town is another
museum, with steamer
# 195 on display, in much better shape than
#52. And finally, there are the yards and shops
of the railway.
Some equipment
is on display here too, the most impressive piece
being stearn rotary plough #1, retired
in 1962. A dozen or so
passenger cars (all named Lake —-) were parked there today, all
of which are in regular use, although one is on the spare board as
its roof leaks. It rains a lot at Skagway. Behind the shops is diesel
engine #109;
its not obvious whether its on display or just parked
outside, as its paint
job is flawless and it celtainly doesnt look
neglected. Certainly one could spend a full day
just doing the
railway operations
in the town.
But we came here to take the trip up to
the Pass. so best
we get back to the station. Our
train was waiting by the ship, twelve cars with
three diesels to get us
up the mountain. They
were#91, #92. and #93, General Electric products
from 1953 and 1956
of 800, 890, and 890
horsepower respectively.
Their colour scheme
has varied, but now they are in a green and
yellow livery which
doesnt quite work. The
coaches are of all sorts of origins; ours, by
chance, was the
oldest of them all, dating from
It has a pOL-bellied stove, fine woodwork,
slender ornamental railings
on the vestibules to
prove its antiquity, but also has electric lights,
and thoroughly modern brakes and couplers!
The engineer strolled by, natty in a purple
waistcoat and a tall cap, and fired up the train.
The engines made a rather weary grinding
noise rather than the uSllal diesel rumble, but
they were soon to
prove that they are more than
to the work. Normally, steamer #73 takes
the train to the
edge of town, but as this was the
last day
of the season, she had been put away.
Engines 91 and 92. Last trip of the season.
With a great shrieking of wheels on the tight curves, we
were away. From the very beginning
of the line, the railway is built
hard against the mountainside (always on the right as you leave
town), as the valley bottoms are very rough and uneven, traversed
by the straggling mountain rivers whose levels and courses are
constantly changing; it was certainly better to carve the line out
the mountain despite the greater initial expense and thereby save
forever the unending maintenance problems that the valley route
would have entailed.
The train crept at a dismayingly slow pace
pasL the museum, the yards, and the graveyard where lie Frank
Reid and the villain
Soapy Smith. Somewhere on the train was
a young lady commentator; after welcoming us aboard, her first
comment was on
our speed; dont worry, she said, we are only Something that strikes the modern traveller is the existence
of named points where stations used to exist; today theres nothing
there and no sign that there
ever was anything. One wonders what
on earth the stations were there for: surely nobody actually lived
there! Nowadays,
Denver (mile 5.8) is one of two flag stops where
hikers can get
on or off: genuine, if slight, passenger service. At
Clifton (mile 8.6), where there once was a section
gang headquarters,
there is a siding and a passing track; and at Glacier (mile 14) there
is a caboose
(off the track) which has been refitted as a rest stop and
shelter for hikers. Apart from these, Heney (mile 12.3),
commemorating the construction contractor, marks the spot where
sllpplies were lifted
on an aerial tramway from White Pass City
on the Brackett wagon road.
creeping to
make sure we stay ten minutes
behind the other train, as required by law, and
we can go much faster. However, she said, we
wont be going much faster than l5 or 20 mph
the whole trip. Fair enough. Once out
of town,
we did pick up speed.
For a while, the line goes
the river -a mass of boulders aL this
season -already beginning to climb through
of poplars and pines. The grade averages
2% to the top
of the pass, increasing to 3.9% in
places: clearly the motive power
must be resolute
Once the line lifts above the valley floor,
the highway on the other side is visible. This
highway was
an important factor in the closing
of the railway in 1982; in spite of its steep
grades and twisted route, it provided a
transportation alternative with which the railway
couldnt compete when its main business, hauling
ore from the mines in the Yukon, ceased in the
early 1980s.
The highway looks like an exciting
drive in itself; but for us, today,
it was just one
more thing to comment on.
Some of the rolling stock: Lake Nonvatka and Lake Spirit.
The White Pass & Yukon station at Skagway.
As the train climbs, the view widens out and becomes
grander. At mile 6.9, there
is a fine view down the valley past
Skagway to Mt. Harding and the Harding Glacier across the canal.
The train had indeed speeded up and it was now clicking confidently
at about the promised 20 mph. We were in the third coach,
and from there the steadfast roaring
of the three diesels was quite
audible. Even by this time the line has climbed quite a distance
above the valley, the trees on the left rather reassuringly blotting
out the prospect from time
to time. More and more the line is
perched on embankments of boulders piled against the mountainside,
and the gaps in the trees reveal bigger and bigger drops into the
valley. The river has become a proper mountain torrent, and at one
point it seethes through a ferocious cauldron
of green water which,
our guide says, no-one has ever kayaked through –
an observation
we found easy to understand. There are some more points
interest; Black Cross Rock, where a blasting accident caused a
100-ton boulder to bury two workers,
is now marked by a wooden
cross; and a sign across the canyon reads On
to Alaska with
Buchanan, commemorating the Buchanan
Boys tour in 1930.
At mile 11.5, across the valley, are the Bridal Veil Falls.
At this season, they were diminished from their springtime glory,
at which time as many as 22 cataracts have been counted, but they
were still powerful and impressive torrents. About here I had to
give up taking photos; we were passing gradually into low-lying
clouds, and with the coach windows cutting down the light further,
I was attempting
1115 second exposures -not practical from a
moving train! And that was a great pity, because here the ride goes
from the interesting to the incredible: adjectives start
to get out of
hand and finally only the sadly-misused awesome can be
The line swings
to the right, approaching Glacier, and
begins the long horseshoe loop that eventually attains the pass. Up
to this point the route had been in front and otherwise hidden by the
trees, but half way along the canyon the trees open
up to reveal the
railway over the other side
of the valley. Imagine, if you will, an
enormous wall of granite, thousands of feet
high, miles long, almost vertical, always sheer.
Scratched and pecked along its flank
is an
insignificant line, climbing relentlessly from
right to left until
it disappears around a shoulder
of the mountain. Perched about halfway along
this line, several hundred feet above us, was the
other train, tiny against the cliff; from its
windows a perfect barrage
of flashbulbs went
off as its passengers noticed
us. Suddenly the
of the mountains which this railway
dares to cross becomes adamantly clear, and
there was a short but meaningful silence
in the
coach before people began to exclaim in their
The line swings back on itself at the head
of the valley, over a trestle which seems higher
and flimsier than it really is, as
our apprehensions
had been a little awakened by the sight
of the
oncoming climb. At first, as
if to reassure, the
train crawls through heavy cuts while the
commentator talks
of the amount of blasting
that had been necessary
to drive the line through, but quickly
enough the line comes into the open again and the vastness
of the
view becomes evident. Up and up, the climb continues, over side­
hill embankments dropping fm1her and further down, through cuts
blasted out
of the mountain, which are so narrow that the left-hand
of the coach is actually outside the cut; the commentator
of the advantages of a narrow-gauge line under these
conditions. Indeed! One side
of the coach slides over thin air, the
other barely clearing the cliffside, while the drops below the line
get higher and higher. The train slows to a walk -definitely
of the grade, certainly to give the passengers a better view,
and probably to allow some chance
of stopping if a derailment
should occur
I The line on the other side of the valley retreats
further and further below us, eventually disappearing below the
clouds, and all the time the climb continues, twisting and turning
around the shoulders
of the cliff, and the valley spreads out and the
gulf to the left yawns wider and wider. Now and then, a ledge
spreads out a little, and flowers and trees grow insouciantly at the
of the precipice, but always the cliffside returns and the train
clings to it again. It is impossible, even for the most sanguine,
avoid the feelings of exposure and precal10usness which become
stronger as the train creeps further
up the wall and above the valley
floor. Nothing continues forever: at last the climax comes; the
train shoots out into space over a trestle with a drop
of fully a
thousand feet on the
left-again with the side of the coach
suspended over nothing -and then dives into a tunnel the total
of which is something of a relief as it completely
sUITounds you and abolishes the stupendous gulf just past. I defy
anyone to look down here and not feel at least a twinge -even the
most accomplished mountaineer! (The trestle itself
is only about
100 high, but its feet are
in a very steep gully which falls off
practically vertically below it. The commentator says that theres
to worry about, as no train has ever fallen off the trestle –
but she
cant forbear to add, yet. That may be true, but I did see
down the mountainside what appeared to be twisted sheets
metal, which must have been part of a train!)
Not that the mountain had done with us
yet, though. Shortly after the tunnel is another
spectacular view back down
to the sea -or it
would have been if the clouds hadnt blotted it
out. There are two views
of the original trail
where it was carved into the villainous terrain,
making one wonder at the species
of madness
that would drive men
to crawl over it again and
again until they had hauled their ton
of supplies
to the summit. And today there was a final
sUlTeaListic touch as the train passed the abandoned
bridge over Dead Horse Gulch -a fragile triangle
of steel girders vanishing tracelessly into the
clouds, leaping over unknown depths. Fellow
passengers looked at each other and said, They
went over
THATT Curiously, if it hadnt been
cloudy, the sight would have been less impressive;
the bridge
is really quite substantial and the
isnt all that deep; but today imagination
turned it into a wonder. (The bridge was built
1901 to replace a series of switchbacks, and
in use until 1976 when it was decided that
the steadily increasing loads
of ore were straining
Skagway Junction, on the WP&Y main line, heading inland.
the structure.. The line was extended to go
around the
gul~h through another tunnel).
Finally the summit was
in view. After the thrills of the
climb, all that is left to see is the ruggedness
of the terrain, still
notable as the line approaches Summit Lake. There is nothing to
mark the U.S./Canada border except two sets
of flags; nothing
of the station at the summit except one decaying building.
Summit Lake is remarkable only for the change
of scenery it
provides; as lakes go it is barely a puddle. But on a summer day
it surely softens the rugged landscape and is a pleasant rest stop.
The other train was waiting on the passing track, and as
soon as we cleared the switch it was
off down the hill again. We
stopped here for ten minutes or so
as the diesels were detached and
run past to the other end
of the train; however, we were strictly
enjoined not
to get off as otherwise wed have to put up with
Customs. This seemed doubtful as there wasnt a soul about –
Customs and the effective border are eight miles further up the
line; where the bus trip from Whitehorse stops. The WP&Y
operates these days as far as mile 40,
to Bennett, at the head of the
of the same name where in 1897 some 30,000 stampeders
spent the winter. More likely than Customs was the prospect
getting left behind; there was another engine and some maintenance
equipment up the line a little way, but it seemed wiser not to count
on their benevolence. Our commentator instructed
us on how to
flip the chair-backs over so that we would be facing forward again,
and asked everyone
to trade sides so that the people who had been
sitting on the right on the way up would get the thrill
of the view
on the way down. I must say that I was pleased
to comply. And so we started down. It was only slightly less exciting
than coming up had been, since it was only our second view
of the
scenery. As well, there was the piquant thought
of the train brakes
and the three diesels in dynamic braking mode
to consider. A
of brave souls congregated on the vestibules, perhaps to
get better photos, as by this time the windows were pretty well
up. The various points of interest on the way down of
course had a different perspective; for instance, the trestle over
lOOO-foot drop now impressed in a different way: the piles
rubble to the left, at eye level perhaps 40 feet away, emphasized the
terrific steepness
of the drop to the right. The train gradually came
of the clouds and down into the ordinary terrain at the bottom
of the horseshoe loop, with the passengers on the other train
us still halfway up the wall, and blasting us again with
their flashbulbs, until at last we were down past the trestle and the
caboose in red, feeling that slight letdown that comes after a spell
of tension and adventure. The guide came to life again and spoke
of the crumbling telegraph line beside the track and the brush­
clearing that had recently taken place, but these werejust background
noises as we enjoyed the final easy ride back into Skagway.
We got
off at the station and were taken back to the airfield
to be flown back to Juneau in the increasingly gloomy rain, but
theres no point
in writing of that. This day was a great thrill from
to finish, exceedingly worth the getting there, however its
done. As I stood at the ships rail, very late that night, watching
the mooring lines being cast
off in the pouring rain, I was retracing
the trip in as much detail as I could, trying
to fix it in my memory
for the pleasure
of remembering and the pleasure of telling the tale.
Go see it for yourself: youll be glad you did.
NEXT TWO PAGES: A montage o/views along the White Pass & Yukon Route, taken during the· construction of the line. These views first
in Locomotive Engineering magazine, and were reprinted in The Railway and Shipping World in May, 1899.
Up TIle White Pass in 1899
The following articles appeared in the magazine The Railway and Shipping World (the original name for what became the Canadian
Railway and Marine World) during the year 1899. They descIibe the problems encountered
in the construction of one of the engineering
of the time: The White Pass & Yukon Route.
The articles discuss the White Pass
& Yukon from the Canadian, American, and British points of view. It is instructive to compare
the three. Interestingly, only the Canadian accounts mention Heney, while only the American one mentions Reid or Soapy Smith.
Note that the name Skagway was often spelled Skaguay at that time. The spelling is sometimes inconsistant in the accounts, and
we have followed the spelling
of the original accounts.
(Ry. & S. World, January 1899)
The first ordinary general statutory meeting
of this Co. was
held in London, England on December 5 [1898]. After preliminary
rt:lmarks by the Chairman, Mr. S.H. Graves,
of Close Bros. & Co.,
London and Chicago, spoke at length.
The following is from his
Having just
3JTived from the Pacific coast I am glad to
comply with the suggestion that I should give you the latest news
as to the prospects
of our railway and of the Yukon country …..
Having secured the services
of E.C. Hawkins, whom I had known
for a number
of years, and who was then chief engineer for a large
in which my firm was associated with a number of
leading men in New York, we reached Skagway on April 10 last.
After a rapid preliminary reconnaissance, he reported that the line
was entirely feasible, but that certain conditions were different
from what he had been led
to suppose in connection with the
of the town site and of the wharf at Skagway, and that
in consequence we should be obliged to materially modify our
programme. The necessary
mangements have been made, Mr.
Hawkins and his staff
of engineers returned to Skagway about the
of May, and proceeded to run alternative lines of survey in
order to secure the best possible line to the summit
of the pass. For
this purpose
no less than five different and complete lines to the
summit were fully surveyed and worked out before the line was
finally located.
Of course, too much care cannot be taken in
deciding the best line before beginning to spend money on
construction itself. All this unavoidably took up much valuable
time, especially
as the difficulties of surveying in that country are
almost beyond description. The result was that it was well along in
June before Mr. Hawkins and I were finally satisfied that we had
exhausted all the possibilities, and had reached the best possible
of all the problems involved in locating the line.
Construction commenced in June, at first on a small scale,
with only about 200 men, who were available at Skagway. These
were supplemented
as fast as possible by men obtained from the
States and Canada, until in July we were working over 1500 men,
and had every prospect
of increasing to 2500 as soon as the harvest
on the Pacific coast was over. In August the news
of the Atlin gold
discoveries reached our camps, and a stampede ensued, which
reduced our force in one day from about 1700 to a little over 600
It remained at about that figure during August and September,
gradually increasing
to about 1000 in October and, in spite of all
our efforts since, we have been unable to increase it above that figure.
The men who did remain were all green hands and
unskilled, and quite unable to attemptthe very difficult rock work
then in progress.
The result was that instead of reaching the summit
of the Pass by the end of September, as we should easily have done
had we been able
to maintain the same rate of progress as in July,
we are only now about reaching the summit, when we had hoped
to have long since reached the lakes. However disappointing this
may be for the moment, it is a small price
to pay for the discovery
of the Atlin gold fields within a few miles of our line.
From salt water
to the lakes the work done is substantially
all rock work, and the line has had
to be blasted out of the solid
rock. The. difficulty and cost varied according
to the accessibility
of the work, and the amount of rock to be blasted. Sometimes over
100,000 tons
of solid granite were dislodged by a single battery
blast, and this reached a maximum on Rocky Point and Tunnel
mountain. To reach the latter from the camp, some 1500 feet
below, over 10 miles
of trail hadto be made, and 4d, [about 8 cents]
a pound had
to be paid to get our dynamite and powder cmied up
to the grade, from which one could have almost dropped a stone
into the camp below.
Of course, no horses could be used un this
work, and everything had to be done by hand. The work on the U.S.
of the summit was all practically completed by. the end of
November, with the exception of the tunnel, some three hundred
feet long, on tunnel mountain, and a bridge beyond over a deep
to which we could not convey the heavy bridge material till
the tunnel was finished.
The work on the tunnel, when I left, was
being pushed from both ends, but was delayed by the necessity
moving all the debris by hand. It was expected that the tunnel
be finished by the end of November, and that within a week
of its completion trains would cross the international boundary
line at the summit. Meanwhile work has been pushed ahead as
as our force of men would permit on the Canadian side, and
as fast as work is finished up on the U.S. side the men and camps
are being moved
to the Canadian side. A letter received to-day
advises that about a thousand men are now at work beyond the
Several miles
of comparatively easy work are now ready
for the track-layers on the Canadian side; but there is some heavy
rock work just beyond the summit that must be done before any
track can actually be laid. We hope
to be able to push work all
through the winter; but in any case there should be no difficulty in
reaching Lake Bennett long before navigation opens in the spring,
and meantime it will be easy to be able
to forward goods and
passengers by sleigh downhill over the snow from railhead
to Lake

The line we have built has nearly a uniform gradient
of under 4 ft. in 100 ft., and has no curve exceeding 16
degrees. These figures excite universal surprise and admiration
amongst men familiar with American mountain work. I will
give you only one more illustration
of what I mean by saying
that we have preferred economy and safety
of operation to
of construction. The line from Skagway to the
is an uphill pull of 20 miles long, with only a single
If a train that had started from the bottom had to be
allowed to reach the top before another train could start down,
is obvious that the capacity of the line would be much
reduced. This could be obviated on a level line by sidings; but
sidings on an incline are a source
of great danger. By
considerably increasing the cost
of construction, we have
in making several large level sidings, and thus
have in effect cut our hill up into a number
of smaller hills,
by level places where trains can pass. These are
only instances
of what is apparent from the whole line, viz.,
that it was located and constructed to make a profit for the
company operating the line, instead
of for the contractors.
It is now certain that the capacity
of the line will be
taxed to the utmost in order to keep pace with the development
of the Yukon country, and that the rates of freight will be so
remunerative that the cheapest line in the long run is the best
possible line that money can build….. The White Pass
Yukon Ry. [sic] is the key that is about to unlock the door to
this rich country, and the key
is now on the point of being
turned in the lock. To-day we have the difficult part
of our
work done, our railway organized for business, and the
of Canada, B.C. and the U.S. all most friendly.
Having the trunk line between salt water and the river, we
put in branch lines as feeders as fast as they are
warranted by the condition
of particular districts. Meanwhile
the wonderful net-work
of rivers and lakes take the place of
branch lines, and all act as our natural feeders.
CRy. & S. World, January, 1899)
It makes very little difference what other routes shall
be provided for reaching the Yukon, that by way
of the White
Pass will always be a great favorite.
It is likely to be a great
scenic route. Hitherto the tide of pleasure travel has turned
back after visiting such pleasure points as could be reached by
steamer. Hereafter it will be regarded as the correct thing to
ascend the Pass by rail and probably take a ruo down the
Yukon waters, visiting the Atlin
district at least.
(Ry. & S. World, March, 1899)
In response to a request we have been furnished with
the following interesting official infOimation about this line,
under date
of feb. 24.
Active operations on construction work were begun
about June 1, 1898, and have
been continued, without a break,
since then.
The summit of White Pass was reached with the
rails on Feb. IS, 1899, and the Company is now operating 2
The route of the White Pass and Yukon Railway as originally planned.
The Railway and Shipping World, March 1899.
miles beyond White Pass, making a total distance of rail opened for
of 22 miles from the Companys wharf at Skaguay. From
Log Cabin to the summit, about 7 miles, will be completed by the
end of February, ready for the steel. For 3 miles out of Skaguay to
summit of the pass has been continuous rockwork, upon which
has been consumed nearly 350 tons
of dynamite. One familiar with
this class
of work and the use of explosives can form a very fair idea
of the magnitude of this class of construction.
The deepest open cut is 16 feet at Porcupine Hill, some
seven miles from Skaguay by rail. The balance of the rock-work
has mainly been side-hill work with the exception
of one tunnel
about 500 feet in length, which is about
16 miles from Skaguay by
rail and was bored through a
spur to avoid a sharp curve. The
maximum grade of the road is 3 91l0ths %, which holds almost
continuously for about
l3 miles. Ballasting material, up to the
present, has been obtained from the bed
of the Skaguay River, near
Skaguay, but now that the line is beyond the summit, vast
of the finest kind of gravel for ballasting will be hauled
down grade and distributed from the summit to Skaguay to put the
bed in first class condition.
The major pOition of the ties is sawed ties of fir from the
of Puget Sound. Only a small portion of the timber adjacent
to the line
of the road was suitable for ties. The rails are 56 lb. T
steel, which is an unusually
heavy rail for a narrow gauge (3 ft.)
railway, and thus will enable a first-class alignment and grade to
be maintained throughout the year. Suffici
ent rails are on hand to
complete the line almost to Caribou Crossing ….. .
In an effort
to expedite the work the Company purchased
3 second-hand narrow gauge locomotives in Seattle, which were
formerly used on the Oregon Improvement
Companys road from
Seattle to its mines. These
locomotives were thoroughly repaired
and forwarded to Skaguay and have done excellent service in
handling construction material. In July the
Company purchased 2
more second-hand locomotives, which were in first-class repair,
making 5 in service until February I when a 50-ton
geared locomotive (that was second-hand, although but six months
old) was purchased and is now
just about in service. In December
order was placed with the Baldwin Locomotive Works, of
Philadelphia, for the construction of two, 45-ton, compound
locomotives, equipped with the
most modern appliances and of a
consolidation type. The Baldwin works turned these locomotives
out in less than 28 days from the time the order was received.
are now in transit between Seattle and Skaguay and will probably
be in service by March I.
The Company has also in service 6 passenger coaches and
1 baggage car,
30 box cars and 40 flat cars. The box and flat cars
were framed
in Seattle and sent to Skaguay in a knocked-down
condition and there set up
on trucks which had been purchased
complete and ready for the car body. All the rolling stock is
equipped with the Westinghouse air brake service, with all the
latest improvements, also with automatic couplers.
The Company
will thus have in service by March I, eight locomotives and the
above enumerated rolling stock, which will be ample equipment to
handle the vast amount of freight now offering and also enable it
to forward its construction supplies. The Company has also a snow
plow, which it constructed at Skaguay, and with which it has been
enabled thus far to keep the entire line
of track open. Next year it
will probably be found expedient to provide a rotary snow plow,
as also to construct
at various points snow fences and a few snow
The major portion of the road, however, is so located as to
be but little troubled by
snow slides.
The Company has at Skaguay a large machine shop,
equipped with the most modern and up-to-date machine tools,
as a 36 inch X 8 foot bed planer, a 42 inch swing engine lathe,
another 22 inch swing
engine lathe, a mortising and post-boring
machine, a wheel press, a 38 inch drill press, emery wheels, band
saws, a 25 horse
power boiler and engine to run the machinery of
the shops; blowers and blacksmiths forges, and a generally
thoroughly equipped machine shop incidental to the requirements
of a railway of this size. A large 2 story station has just been
completed near the water front in Skaguay, the lower portion
of the
building being
provided with a ticket office, baggage room,
waiting rooms, telegraph
operators office etc., while the upper
story has been desi
gned for and is now occupied by the heads of
departments and their assistants for the operating department of
the road at Skaguay.
On the
Companys wharf atSkaguay ithas a large galvanized,
conugated iron warehouse and is now constructing a second one.
Having a bonded privilege with the U.S. Treasury Department, the
Company is thus thoroughly provided for the handling
of bonded
freight through Alaska for British Columbia and NorthwestTerritory
points, and a vast amount
of this freight is now being handled. The
Company is also providing for the erection of 2 large corrugated
iron warehouses at
Lake Bennett for freight purposes.
The Company has constructed and has now completed and
in operation a telegraph and long distance telephone line from
Skaguay through to
Lake Bennett, with instruments located at
various points along that distance.
The preliminary survey for the road from Lake Bennett
onward to Fott Selkirk was completed early last fall. A survey has
also been completed for a branch line from Log Cabin to Atlin.
The road is already handling a vast amount of freight, there
at present over 600 tons in the warehouses at Skaguay
awaiting transportation to the
summit, where it is transferred from
the end
of the rail to 2-horse sleds, and by that means transpOIted
to Lake Bennett or to Atlin.
The present general tariff, which is a
special tariff for general merchandise etc., in car-load lots, is $2.50
per 100 Ibs., from Skaguay to summit
of White Pass, or the end of
the railway. From the end of the rail to Lake Bennett, the rate is $2
per 100 Ibs. The Company has appointed and located at Skaguay
a customs agent who attends to the preparation
of the customs
papers incidental to the passage
of bonded freight through Alaska
territory, for which service a charge
of $1 is made for all papers for
a shipment
of I ton or less, or $1.50 for a shipment of over I ton.
By this means no delay is occasioned in the handling
of bonded
goods through the U.S. Customs Department at Skaguay.
The Alaska portion of the road has been constructed under
the incorporated rights
of the Pacific & Arctic Ry. & Navigation
of West Virginia, while the British Columbia portion is being
under the
chatter rights of the British Columbia -Yukon Ry.
Co., and the road is operated under the general title to the public
of the White Pass & Yukon Route.


Profile of White
Profiles of the White Pass and Yukon Railway, as well as that of the Dyea Trail & Aerial Tramway. These profiles were prepared by Frank
Reid who was killed
in the famous shOOlout with Soapy Smith on July 8, 1898, in which Smith also died.
The Railway and Shipping World, October 1899.
CRy. & S. World, October, 1899)
I 1/2 miles of snow sheds are being built on the line
between Skagway and Lake Bennett. A rotary snow plough has
been purchased, and the management expresses the hope that it
be possible to operate the line throughout the winter. This
Companys present line extends from Skagway to Lake Bennett,
41 miles. In the extension of the line towards Fort Selkirk, the
water stretches are evidently to be used, at first at least, as much
as possible.
The route along the east side of Lake Bennett, some 27
mites, is very. heavy,. and not likely to be gone on with for
time, until Dominion or Provincial aid is secured. A contract has
been let to Mr. Heney,
of Ottawa, Ont., for the construction of the
line from Cariboo Crossing [now Carcross), at the nOltheast end
Lake Bennett, and between Lake Bennett and Lake Nares, by way
of the Watson Valley to the Lewes River below the White Horse
some 40 miles. Grading has been started, rails have been
shipped from Vancouver, and
as the work is comparatively easy,
there not being much rock or heavy cuttings, it
is hoped to have this
section built by the opening
of navigation next spring. It will do
away with the necessity
of making portages and transferring from
steamer to steamer at the rapids. Pending tl1e completion of the line
along the
east side of Lake Bennett, transfer barges are likely to be
used to convey cars across the lake.
The Chilkoot aerial tramway, owned by the W. P. & Y. R.
Co., has been put in good repair recently; 2 towers have been
replaced, the wire cable, where worn, has been repaired, and snow
sheds have been constructed at several points. The engineers have
been retained at the
power station, and it is expected the tramway
will be used during the winter should the steam railway become
blocked by snow.
By Harrington Emerson
& S. World, October, 1899)
[Note: Only those portions
of the article of interest to the
of the White Pass & Yukon Route have been included here.
(The following article, which was written
in March last
[1899], deals with matters from a United States standpoint, which
makes all the more forcible the remarks about the difference
between the Canadian and U.S. governments
in regard to aids to
navigation and in attention to frontier matters. The admission that
the White Pass
& Yukon Ry. will dive11 the trade of the Yukon
from U.S. to Canadian channels
is significant. … Since the article
was written the W.P.
& Y. Ry. has been completed to Lake
Bennett, 41 miles from Skagway, and is now in operation, giving
connection at Bennett with the river steamer
service to Dawson.
of Ry. & S. World).
He who leaves what is generally termed the Pacific Coast
for the Klondike and the Alaska gold fields, enters another world
when he boards the north-bound steamer…..
Owing to the absence
of parasites, industrial, criminal and governmental, it was cheaper
and safer to go to the Yukon ten years ago then it was when the great
work was on, and were it not for the works
of the engineer, the
down or up the Yukon would to-day be lined with as many
robber roosts, levying blackmail, euphemiously called toll, on all
the travel and traffic, as was the Rhine in the
middle ages. But the
engineer, with his ocean steamers, wharves, railroads, aerial
cableways, river boats, etc., came and converted
what was once an
expedition of extreme physical danger and hardship, and what next
became a
journey of extreme pecuniary danger and expense, into
a rapid, safe, convenient and also cheap trip to the Arctic Circle …..
The profiles here given, showing the two lowest passes
from ocean to river, were drawn from his own surveys by Frank
Reid, the engineer, who, at Skagway in 1898, in the cause of
decency, order and law, shot and killed Soapy Smith, the leader
of all the crooks and thugs with which the place was infested, and
was in turn killed by him.
Of all the many dead claimed by the
dangers and diseased and the murderous trails, Reid alone rests
under an imposing monument, erected in the forlorn little cemetery
to show the gratitude
of the citizens and as a permanent warning
to evil-doers.
The man was honored who had saved the town from
a reign
of terror, but the engineer began a greater work in his
surveys, which were the beginning
of a development, that in 18
months replaced the Indian hunters foot-path with aerial cableways
and a
steam railway.
The profiles are worth studying. Lynn Canal is an inlet or
fjord of the Pacific Ocean, and the lakes over the summits are the
head lakes
of the Yukon River. Although these summits are but 14
miles from the ocean, the distance down the Yukon to Bering Sea
2000 miles. Nowhere else in the world are the navigable head
of a great river so near the same ocean into which it finally
It is as if the headwaters of the Ohio River were but 14
miles from New York Bay …..
Between the final triumph
of modern engineering, the
railroad, and the natural highway
of the Indian, there were many
of improvement which were more toilsome, dangerous and
expensive than the conditions they were supposed to better.
However there was no longer easy and sympathetic acquiescence
natures whims when the great gold rush to the Yukon began in
August 1897…..
Over 12,000 people landed at Skagway in the first
year after the rush, or between August 1897 and July 1898. Most
of those unfortunates crossed the pass dozens of times carrying
goods in relays, a man load at a time, a slow way of
transporting a ton or two of supplies a distance of 30 miles over
almost impassable trails …..
In August, 1897, work was started on the Chilkoot R.R.
Transportation Co., on the Alaska R.R. & Transportation Co, and
on the
Dyea Klondike Transportation Co.; ali three of them aerial
cable trams. These three were ultimately consolidated into the
Chilkoot Pass route, and but one line finished in April, 1898. A
large force
of men was kept busy all winter, but very little beyond
shovelling snow was accomplished from December 10, 1897 to
March 15, 1898.
The tram begins 9 miles from Dyea at Canyon
City, to which place a wagon road is almost without grade. There
are 2 loops, 1 from Canyon City to Sheep Camp, 4 miles, and the
other from
Sheep Camp over the summit and 1/4 mile down the
other side. This loop is 4 1/4 miles long. The trolley automatically
switches from one loop to the other, and the load is limited to
Ibs., generally carried in boxes 40 X 20 X 24 inches. With its level
road and these trams in operation, the
Dyea trail should and could
have beaten its rival
Skagway as to rates, but it could not handle
the freight offered …
During the summer of 1898 pack trains were in full
operation over the White Pass, and the trams
over the Chilcoot, and
the healthy rivalry between them prevented too great extortion …..
But a new competitor now appeared in the field that was for all time
to settle the supremacy
of Skagway. The newcomer was the
international railroad, whose survey ran 20 miles through U.S.
territory from tide water
at Skagway to the summit of the pass and
the international boundary, and thence 325 miles to Fort Selkirk,
on the Yukon River, below White Horse Rapids and other dangers,
and but 174 miles beyond Dawson. [EditorS note.
The extension
to Fort Selkirk was never built, but the line was completed to
in 1900.] …..
The railway is a great example
of engineering and constructive
skill. It would have been a great feat to grade
40 miles and build
twenty over a simi lar rocky pass under the most favorable conditions,
but this work was
done in seven months, in a region without
laborers, 1000 miles from supplies,
3000 to 4000 miles from
rolling mills and car shops, and against fearful climatic conditions.
Day after day fresh snow drifted over the road-bed and day after
day it had
to be shovelled off, sometimes to a depth of 6 to 8 feet.
Supplies, bridge timbers, fire-wood even, for the enormous camps
had to be carried
over almost impassable snow trails. There were
days when men could not work on account
of the storms or the
intense cold, but they had to be fed and warmed.
The road begins on deep water, a mile from Skagway. A
shelf is blasted along the face of the cliff, and this beginning is
of the 20 miles to the summit. High above the valley, on a
maximum grade almost
the whole distance, the road sweeps
around two different forks
of the Skagway River, adding 6 miles
to its length, but making it possible to reach the summit of 2885
feet without switch back …..
The road is narrow gauge, but the road
bed and construction are adapted for standard gauge. It is one
of the
most solid and substantial road beds in America …..
A serious result
of the completion of this railway to the
summit is the inevitable diversion
of a trade, thus far almost
exclusively in U.S. hands, to Canadian points and houses …..
The Klondike madness is past. In two short years the
savage trail with a dozen Indian packers has been replaced with
facilities with a capacity exceeding the requirements
of the Yukon basin for years to come. This excess will stimulate
further developments.
The country offers the widest field, for it is
inexhaustibly rich.
Nowhere else as on tlus gold trail has the genius
of engineers wrought such beneficent and rapid change in so short
a time.
The evolution from hunters path to railroad, through the
intermediate steps
of pilgrim path, mule trail, wagon road, was
2000 years in making in the St. Gotthard Pass, the great high road
between the most civilized portion of the ancient world and of the
mediaeval world, the road that led from the gloomy north to the
rich south, rich in treasures, in food,
in spiritual tradition and
Two short years as against 2000 have evolved the same
of improvements on the highway over the White Pass
to a north, hideous in climate, without history, without
sentiment, without food, but abounding in gold.
(Ry. & S. World, December, 1899)
The following official information about the section between
the north end
of Lake Bennett and White Horse Rapids, was
us under date of Nov. 14,
The route from Bennett lies along the east shore of Lake
Bennett; the first 12 miles being very heavy rock work -precipitous
mountain peaks running directly into the deep water
of the lake.
The other 15 miles of the 27 are along ordinary mountainside, and
of more easy or average construction. At the north end of Lake
Bennett, at what is known as Caribou Crossing, a bridge about 500
ft. long will be put
in with a draw span so as not to interfere with
the navigation
of the lakes and river. From Caribou Crossing to a
point on the river below White Horse Rapids, at the new townsite
of Closeleigh [today Whitehorse, Ed.], a further distance of 44
miles, the conditions are as follows: The first
13 miles cross a
rolling sand-hill country with occasional marshes, being remains
of old glacier lakes. Wherever the ground is covered with moss and
timber the glacial ice is still encountered in the gravel at a depth
of 2 feet under the moss. Fifteen miles from Caribou Crossing 2
high bridges cross the canyon at the lower end
of Lewis Lake. This
lake was drained by an earth cut and lowered 75 feet. The road then
passes along the east shore
of Lewis Lake, crossing former islands
and peninsulas, and is
of quite remarkable location. At the upper
of Lewis Lake we again get out into the Waterson River valley
by a series
of deep gravel cuts. From Lewis Lake on there are
several miles
of nearly level grade and light work along the valley.
The line then passes along the shores
of Ruth Lake. and Cougar
Lake and approaches the banks
of the Lewes River, in the vicinity
of Miles Canyon. The road is here in very heavy cuts and fills,
passing through a series
of knolls and deep depressions left by the
former glaciers. Just beyond the White Horse Rapids the road is
placed on a bridge under a steep sand bluff for about
114 mile, and
then emerges on a broad level bench at Closeleigh,
in the vicinity
of the enOlmous copper mines which lie at a distance of about 2 11
2 or 3 miles, in almost semicircular form. The gradients on the line
between Bennett and Caribou will
bea maximum of 1 1/2%,
although the line as first established will have a very few sections
of2% grade, to be taken out in the near future. Maximum curvature
10 degrees. MJ. Heney, of Bennett, B.C. is the contractor.
At this writing about 30 miles of the work have been
graded between Caribou and Closeleigh. Work will be continued
all winter. Construction along the lake-side will be commenced by
November 20. One engine and work train are now on the track at
Caribou. Track-laying will be commenced about November 20,
and continued for a distance
of 17 miles this fall. The balance of
the track will be laid when navigation opens in the spring. The
work between Caribou and White Horse is expected to be finished
and in operation by June
I. The section along the lake-shore will
be put in operation some time in July next. In the meantime goods
will be transferred by steamers between the ends
of track, Lake
Bennett being considered a long ferry.
[Editors note: The two tracks came together at Carcross on July
29, 1900, completing the railway from Skagway
to Whitehorse.
This was as far as it ever got].
The White Pass & Yukon Route as built.
Railway and Shipping World, December, 1899.
The End of the Old eN Electrics
By William J. Radford
WeIJ,lastJune2nd, 1995 came
and went. It was the Montreal -Deux
Montagnes commuter trains Grand
Finale under the 3 K
v. D.C. line. I,
along with my dad, invited Steve
Walbridge to come with us to witness
great event. So the three of us
watched the last three commuter trains.
First we went to Roxboro to see the
last Roxboro -Montreal departing at
1832 (6:32 P.M.). This train consisted
of six CN Multiple Unit cars (6747,
6741,6733,6739,6742,6730). Then
it was on to
Val Royal to see the final
Val Royal -Montreal local service,
train 918, which departed six minutes
late at 1906, again
CN M.U. cars
(6744, 6745, 6735). Then train 95 I
arrived from Montreal, hauled by tbe
oldest locomotives in service,
6710 and 6711. As it passed 918 they
whistled at
each other for the last
It was the last day for Val Royal
station which closed
just after the last
train passed.
The three of us then
went to the station at Laval Sill Ie Lac
and arrived just in time to see the train depart in reverse to the Des
Prairies siding. This move was necessary since trackwork prevented
the train from continuing on to Deux Montagnes. At
Des Prairies,
the 6710 and 6711 ran around the train and proceeded back. After
a brief stop at Ste. Dorothee, the train headed back towards
For the last few weeks before the
last run, railway enthusiasts and others
had been photographing and riding the
old trains. This activity increased in
the last week, and especially the last
The morning of June 2 was bright
and sunny, and those
who rode the line
had great opportunities for excellent
photos. Unfortunately the weather was
not as good in the afternoon, and most
of the runs took place in the rain.
However the turnout was even greater
than in the morning as all appreciated
the hist0I1cai imp0I1anceofthe occasion.
When the last train arrived back at
Central station, there was a great deal
of picture taking (and even a presentation
of a bilthday cake to the engineer!).
Then it was time
to leave, and tbose
present slowly departed, with many a
backward glance. After
76 years, 7
montbs and
12 days the venerable
equipment bad reached a well-earned
Societe de Transport de la COIDJDUDaute Urbaine de Montreal
Tribute to the Montreal -Deux-Montagnes Commuter Train Line
June 2, 1995 saw last Vintage Equipment
Morning Rush Hour Vintage Equipment Finals -June 2, 1995
(William 1. (Willie) Radford)
Last Roxboro -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 930,
Elect Eng CN 6716,
Elect Eng CN 6723,
VIA Snack-bar Coach 3232,
VIA Coach 5580,
VIA Coach 5486,
VIA Coach 5485,
VIA Coach 5518,
VIA Coach 5503 ..
(2 Elect Engs, 6 Cars)
Departed Roxboro stn. at
0712 EDT, on
CN at mile
5.1 Montfort Subdivision. Last Laval -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 932,
Elect Eng CN 6714,
Elect Eng CN 6712,
VIA Snack-bar Coach 3215,
VIA Coach 5533,
VIA Coach 5455,
VIA Coach 5443,
VIA Coach 5482,
VIA Coach 5439,
VIA Coach 5501 ..
(2 Elect Engs, 7 cars)
Departed Laval stn. at
0754 EDT, on CN at mile
9.2 Montfort Subdivision. Last Val Royal -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 910,
Multiple Unit Cars
CN 6747 (trailer),
CN 6741 (trailer),
CN 6733 (motor),
CN 6739 (trailer),
CN 6742 (trailer),
CN 6730 (motor) ..
(6 MU Cars in total)
Departed Val Royal stn. at
0857 EDT, on CN at mile
7.1 Mont-Royal Subdivision.
Also the final Morning rush
hour train into Montreal.
Evening Rush Hour and the Vintage Equipment Finale-Finals -June
2, 1995
(Robert W. (Bob) Radford, William J. (Willie) Radford, A. Stephen (Steve) Walbridge)
Last Roxboro -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 950,
Multiple Unit Cars
CN 6747 (trailer),
CN 6741 (trailer),
CN 6733 (motor),
CN 6739 (trailer),
CN 6742 (trailer),
CN 6730 (motor) ..
(6 MU Cars in total)
Departed Roxboro stn. at
1832 EDT,
on CN at mile
5.1 Montfort Subdivision.
List made by William 1. (Willie) Radford
Last Val Royal -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 918,
Multiple Unit Cars
CN 6744 (trailer),
CN 6745 (trailer),
CN 6735 (motor) ..
(3 MU Cars in total)
Departed Val Royal stn. at
1906 EDT,
on CN at mile
7.1 Mont-RoyaISubdivision.
Val Royal stn. is located in
Ville de
(City of) St-Laurent, ac
Member: Canadian Railroad Historical Assoc.-2057
-Toronto & York Divn. -312 Kingston Divn. -35
Last Laval -Montreal
Commuter Train consist
STCUM, Train 952,
Elect Eng CN 6710,
Elect Eng CN 6711,
eN Coach 5070,
CN Coach 5065,
CN Coach 5063,
CN Coach 5062,
CN Coach 5064 ..
(2 Elect Engs, 5 Cars)
Final Deux-Montagnes –
Montreal line Vintage
Commuter train that
departed Ste-Dorothee stn.
at 1955 EDT, on
CN at mile
7.9 Montfort Subdivision.
OPPOSITE, TOP: A vanished scene! Hooping up the orders to the engineer of car 6746 at Val Royal on May 2, 1995.
is the rear car of a three-car train heading west, departing from Monkland on May 3, 1995. Both cars
6746 and
6730 are destined for the South Carolina Railroad Museum, located near Winnsboro, S.c.
Both photos by Fred Angus.
Societe de Transport de la Communaute Urbaine de Montreal
Montreal-Deux-Montagnes (CN) Commuter Line Equipment Roster 1982-1995
Roster as of June 1995 include Class and Numbers in BOLD
HP: 1100
William J. (Willie) Radford
Member: Canadian Railroad .
Historical Assoc.-2057
-Toronto & York Divn.-312
-Kingston Divn.-35
1. Electric Locomotives
General Electric Box-Cab model 0440-E-166-4-GE-228-A
Weight 174,000 Ibs Wheel Arrgmt B+B
Cont. Tractive Effort: 19,600 Ibs Max. Safe Speed: 55 MPH (88km/h)
Class: Z-1-a
CN (1919-); CNoR (New-1919)
Number: Serial No: Date
BIt: Retired: Historical Notes:
eN 6710· 46D~ 1914 100 (1949-1969); 9100 (1919-1949); CNoR 600 (New-1919)
eN 6711 4609 1914 101 (1949-1969); 9101 (1919-1949); CNoR 601 (New-1919)
eN 6712 4610 1914 102 (1949-1969); 9102 (1919-1949); CNoR 602 (New-1919)
eN 6714
eN 6715
4611 1914 CN 6713(1993) 6713 (1969-1993); 103 (1949-1969); 9103 (1919-1949); CNoR 603 (New-1919)
25326 1917
1916 104 (1949-1969); 9104 (1919-1949); CNoR 604 (New-1919)
105 (1949-1969); 9105
(1919-1949); CNoR 605 (New-1919)
Notes: -CN 6715 was built at Canadian General Electric (now General Electric Canada) Plant
in Peterborough, Ont.
-All Box-Cab model 0440-E-166-4-GE-228-As were delivered to the
-CANADIAN NORTHERN RAILWAY No. 601 was the first Electric Locomotive to haul the first revenue train through the
Mont-Royal (Mount Royal) Tunnel on October
21. 1918.
-Current class Z-1-a numbers 6710-6715 were applied
in 1969 being renumbered from 100-105.
-CN 6713 retired
in 1993 and has been cannibalized for spare parts to supply remaining class Z-1-a locomotives.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS English ElectricJBeyer Peacock Box-Cab models
.: 1100 Weight: 202,000 Ibs Wheel Arrgmt: B+B
Cont. Tractive Effort: 21,400 Ibs
Z-4-a (eN 19437-)
Number: Serial No: Date
BIt: Retired:
6716 582/6234 1924
CN 6722
eN 6723
eN 6724
Retired pre STCUM service:
CN 6717(1993) Max. Safe Speed: 50 MPH (80km/h)
Historical Notes:
180 (1949-1969); 9180 (1943-1949); NHB
101 (New-1943)
eN 6717 (1969-1993); 181 (1949-1969); 9181 (1943-1949); NHB 102 (New-1943)
186 (1949-1969); 9186 (1943-1949); NHB 107 (New-1943)
187 (1949-1969); 9187
(1943-1949); NHB 108 (New-1943)
188 (1949-1969); 9188 (1943-1949); NHB 109 (New-1943)
584/6236 1924 CN 6718 (1971) CN 6718 (1969-1971); 182 (1949-1969); 9182 (1943-1949); NHB 103 (New-I943)
58516237 1924 CN 6719 (1971) CN 6719 (J969-1971); 183 (1949-1969); 9183 (1943-1949); NHB 104 (New-I943)
696/6328 1925 CN 6720 (1971) CN 6720 (1969-1971); 184 (1949-1969); 9184 (1943-1949); NHB 105 (New-1943)
69716329 1926 CN 6721 (1971) CN 6721 (1969-1971); 185 (1949-1969); 9185 (1943-1949); NHB 106 (New-1943)
Notes: -CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS received these nine (9) British built Box-Cab Electric Locomotives in trade for ten
(10) Steam Switchers with the
NATIONAL HARBOURS BOARD (now PORTS CANADA) in approximately. 1943 for the
.purpose hauling Passenger trains
inand out of Montreal (Central station) and later began hauling Commuter trains.
-Four (4)8ox-Cabs were retired
in 1971, long before STCUMservice began, they were used as. spare parts for
remaining units. No. 6717 retired in 1993 and cannibalized for spare parts for four (4) remaining units.
-Current class Z-4-a numbers 6716-6724 were applied
in 1969 being renumbered from 180-188.
in 1983, the Box-Cabs were restricted to a maximum of 35 MPH (56km/h) in service.
THESE TWO PAGES: Some data on the history of the electric locomotives and multiple unit cars used on the Montreal electric line.
Where the term New
is used, it refers to the date the unit was built. For example. the entry for 6730 shows M-l (New-1969). This means
that the car was numbered
M-l from when it was new (1952) until 1969.
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS General Electric 86 Ton Center-Cab Electric
HP: 1200 Weight: 172,000 Ibs Wheel Arrgmt: B-B
Cant. Tractive Effort: 17,900 Ibs Max. Safe Speed:
60 MPH (96km/h)
Class: Z-5-a
Number Serial No: Date
BIt: Retired:
eN 6725 30357 1950
CN 6726 30358
eN 6727 30359 1950 1950
Historical Notes:
200 (New-1969)
201 (New-1969)
202 (New-1969)
Notes: -Current class Z-5-a numbers 6725-6727 were applied in 1969 being renumbered from 200-202
2. Multiple Unit Cars
P. 1050 Weight: 157,000 Ibs
Cont. Tractive Effort: 15,200 Ibs
EP-59a Date Built: 1952
eN 6730
eN 6731
eN 6733
Retired: Historical Notes:
M-1 (New-1969)
M-2 (New-1969)
M-4 (New-1969)
Notes: -Motor cars with a Control Cab at the front end Multiple Unit Cars-Motors
Wheel Arrngt: B-B
Max. Safe Speed: 65 MPH
Number: Retired: Historical Notes:
eN 6734 M-5 (New-1969)
CN 6735 M-6 (New-1969)
pre STCUM service:
CN 6732 (cI980) CN M-3 (New-1969)
-Current class EP-59a numbers were applied in 1969 being renumbered from M-1 -M-6
-MU Car 6732 was retired sometime
in 1980-1982 before STCUM service began in July 1982.
-The five (5) remaining cars were overhauled including Rib supports added in 1989-1990
-MU Cars were leased by Quebec Ministre des Transports beginning in July 1982 for STCUM service.
Canadian Car& Foundry
Weight: 92,000 Ibs
Cant. Tractive Effort: –
ET -59a Date Bui It: 1952
CN 6739
eN 6740
eN 6741
eN 6742
eN 6743
CN 6744
Retired: Historical Notes:
T-12 (New-1969)
T-1 (New-1969)
T-2 (New-1969)
T-3 (New-1969)
-4 (New-1969)
T-5 (New-1969) Multiple Unit Cars-Trailers
Wheel Arrngt: 2-2
Max. Safe Speed: –
Number: Retired: Historical Notes:
eN 6745 T -6 (New-l 969)
eN 6746 T-7 (New-1969)
eN 6747 T-9 (New-1969)
CN 6748 (1993) T-10 (New-1969)
eN 6749 T-11 (New-1969)
Retired pre
STCUM service:
CN T-B (1960) eN T-B (New-1960)
Notes: -Trailer cars with a Control Cab at the front end, powered by Motor Cars in class EP-59a
-Current class ET-59a numbers were applied in 1969 being renumbered from
T-1 -T-12 except T-8 that was
retired and scrapped in 1960 after a head on collision with a Freight train in Pierrefonds, Que. at A-Ma-Baie
station (Mile 3.5 Montfort Subdivision), in April 1960 long before STCUM service began in July 1982
-Ten (10) cars were overhauled including Rib supports added in 1989-1990, Car 6748 never underwent overhaul.
-MU Car 6748 was retired in 1993 after taken out of service in 1989, various parts were used to supply the 1988-
89 overhauled cars, therefore the Car itself was never overhauled.
-MU Cars were leased by Quebec Ministre des Transports beginning in July 1982 for STCUM service.
NEXT TWO PAGES: Four excellent photos of the last days of the CN commuter operation.
PAGE 200, TOP: Centre cab units
6727 and 6726 on the point of a westbound commuter train at Val Royal on Friday, May 25, 1995.
PAGE 200, BOTTOM: 1n the last year of operation of the commuter trains, CN assigned some GP9u diesels to assist during peak hours.
Here we see 7072 on a westbound commuter train at Val Royal on Friday, May
25, 1995.
PAGE 201, TOP: The last westbound trip for the CN electric service. Train 951, hauled by 6711 and 6710, at Monkland on June 2, 1995.
Note the special logo, in the style of the old Canadian Northern herald, commemorating the first and last days of operation, 1918 -1995.
PAGE 201, BOTTOM: In the pouring rain, the last eastbound (train 952) passing Jle Bigras station en route to Montreal, and retirement.
All four photos by Pierre Ozordk.
A sad end! The demolition of Val Royal station on June 5, 1995, less than three days after the end of service of the old eN
electrics. Such was the end of a site beloved by raiLfans for many years.
Photo by Frank Hermann.
of the old locomotives at Montreals Taschereau Yard on September 12, 1995. 6712 is destined for display at the
of Mount Royal. The fate of the others is uncertain.
Photo by Fred
Museum Notes
By John Godfrey
September 9th, 1995
Over w hat has been a rather
steamy summer in the Montreal
area, life has gone on at the Canadian
Railway Museum.
of Montreal 1002 went
back to work at the beginning
July after completion of the cylinder
work mentioned previously. Earlier
in June, MTC 1959 spent some
unexpected time in the shop with
more compressor woes. Its place
was taken on dry days by
MTC 3,
in service after repairs to its
current collection system.
The shop itself has been a
rather empty place most
of the
season; the only permanent
residents being CP reefer 284845
(still uncompleted) and a second­
hand front end loader / back hoe
recently acquired from the City
St. Constant (Its starter was
mysteriously inoperative upon
TheCN I 5824, expected
to enter the shop over the summer,
is still
in its spot in building 2.
Diesel, electric and steam locomotives of the CNR appear in this photo taken at the Canadian Railway
in June, 1995. The latest arrival is, of course, the venerable electric unit No. 67 J J, which
occupies centre stage.
Photo by Walter Bedbrook.
During the month of May, the quality of descriptive signs
was improved
in both the display buildings, and building 1 itself
was spruced up with
some paint and the installation of asphalt
walkways. Elsewhere on the property, portable toilets were located
behind building
1, and there were more places for the visitor to sit
and rest, which
is beneficial to the Museums older visitors.
in May, sequences were shot for the NBC TV movie
Zoya which was aired on that network September
17. The
CRHAs CP 38 and 51, SNCF St. Malo, CN 5702 and GT 713
made appearances. All scenes were shot inside building
By the middle of June, the concreting of the turntable walls
had been completed. As was expected, operation
of this impOitant
of trackage has been rendered much easier as a result.
However, the proposed restoration
job to Barrington Station has
yet to begin. The turntables grand unveiling came on June 5th, at
a grand opening staged for various political officials and others
of influence in the community as a means to make them aware of
the Museums present and future needs.
Perhaps the
most significant was held on June 10th, when
eN transfelTed title to five pieces of equipment from the Two
Mountains line to the CRHA. CN, Montrain, Museum and CRHA
officials presided at a short ceremony on the Hays platform, after which the equipment was switched into the yards. Now on site are
MU cars 6734 and 6742 (Oliginally M-5 and T-3), coaches 5062
and 5064, and box cab locomotive 6711 (originally 601, later 910
and still later 101). The final selection of equipment came about
after a
joint inspection of the entire fleet of locomotives, MUs and
cars in Central Station last March. This was done by representatives
of Montrain and the Museum during the time when all the
equipment was in the station due
to the national railroad strike. The
day after the equipment was transferred to the Museum, 5064
became the regular coach on the passenger train.
Over the course
of the summer, an evening streetcar night,
a model train show, and a diesel weekend were held at the site and
were well received by the few that found
out about them and
During the summer, operation carried on more
or less as
usual. The work on the John Molson was put off until August so
to permit operation of the locomotive over the peak tourist
season. As
of this writing, work is completed and the engine is
expected to operate the Sunday
of Thanksgiving weekend (October
8). Daily streetcar service was also provided despite two very
minor derailments. Passenger service also never missed a day,
though at times trains short turned at Ouellete Street due to a tie
replacement program further east on the line to Des Bouleaux.
In July, Supervisor of Train Operations, Roger Desautels
resigned for personal reasons. Roger, who has spent
over 30 years
at the
Museum, will continue to serve as a volunteer. A great
Thank You goes out to him for his many contributions to the
of equipment and his ability to serve as a go between
with the various media who come to the Museum.
During the month
of August, the Museum was inspected
by Transport
Quebec, under whose jurisdiction the operation of
equipment falls. Association members may be happy to learn that
the Museum passed with flying colours.
The inspector noted that
the overall quality of operation, as well as the state of Museum
trackage, exceeds provincial norms.
During the last days
of summer, scenes for a Radio Canada
TV show were also shot on site making use of GT 713, CP 1554,
CP 51 and CP Neville. Air dates are not known at this time.
October 15th marks the closing
of the site to the public.
However, that does not mean that nothing will go on until next
year. There are locomotives to maintain, pieces in the collection to
restore, etc.
If you live in the greater Montreal area, why not come
and lend a hand?
A Steam Locomotive Model
To the Canadian Railway Museum
By Walter Bedbrook
THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: Three views of the one-eighth size model ofGTR 2195,
showing all the fine detail.
The Association is indeed f0l1unate that many members
correspond with theexecuti ve and other members, seekinginfOlmation
some cases, and also passing along railway news or historical
activities from wherever they live.
One such letter addressed to the Association stated in pal1:
Dear Sir, 1 have a one and one half scale model of an old
Grand Trunk Railway, American Standard locomotive which 1
built over a period
of years. It is presently in my workshop at home
and I have been thinking lately that it really should be somewhere
it could be properly displayed as a historical exhibit. As a C.R.H.A. member I feel that the Railway Museum
would be the logical place.
If a donation is made to the Museum,
is the usual procedure that takes place, such as; whether the
Museum wishes
to accept the engine or not, and if so what kind of
arrangement would be made for getting it there safely, and would
it be properly looked after from then on? Ive enclosed some
to give you a general idea of what it looks like.
Let me know
if the Association is at all interested.
ly, Edward Farley.
Interested? -Overjoyed, to put it
Arrangements were immediately
made with Ed to see the model
and make
anangements to move it to the Canadian
Railway Museum. When all was in order,
it was moved by truck from Burlington,
Ontario directly to the Museum, and it
arrived there on August 5, 1995.
It was then unloaded and reset on
its display stand inside baggage
car 3987
in Building No. I. 3987 has been fitted out
as a model train display car, and is constantly
supervised when the
Museum is open to
the public. It now rests there as the prime
in the car.
Ed Farley, now retired, was a
locomotive engineer who worked
out of
Hamilton for 20 years, and another 14
in Toronto at Spadina. He ran on
every type
of steam locomotive owned by
CN, save the large
41 OOs (they worked east
of Toronto and Eds runs were always to the west).
The model locomotive was built over a number of years
Eds workshop with a model steamboat being built at the
same time. 2195 has been faithfully built from original drawings
is complete to the minutest detail. One interesting item is the
of suspension used on the tender trucks, which have 3-point
suspension as used on horse buggies
in the 1880s. The only know
existing tender
in Canada with this type of suspension is that of 4-
4-0 locomotive number
40 at the National Museum of Science and
Technology in Ottawa.
is now working on another I 1/2 inch to the foot model,
a CN pacific. The Association
is very grateful to Ed Farley for
donating this fine exhibit to the model collection
of the Canadian
Railway Museum.
of the locomotive follow:
This is a model of a steam locomotive built in 1888 by the
Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston, Ontario, and
is a
classic example
of how most of the smaller and older Grand Trunk
Railway motive power looked when it was taken over
by the
Canadian National Railways in 1923.
2195 was re-numbered 132, class A-12-a, by CN, and was
retired from service and scrapped in 1925.
Type: American Standard (4-4-0).
Cylinders: 17
by 24 inches.
Drivers: 63 inches.
Boiler Pressure: 150 Ibs. per square inch.
Tractive Effort: 14,000Ibs.
The model was built,
by Ed Farley, to a scale of one and a
half inches to a foot (one eighth
of actual size), and was completed
in November, 1989.
The 150th Anniversary of Scientific American
:-lEW-YORK. THURSDAY. _UI}UST 28. 1845.
There is, pcrmps, no mechanical subject. ill which improvement hus udvanc:ed so rapidly, within the last ten years, as that of railroad pas­
senger enr~. Let any person contrast the aw~\ar<.l and unc(>llth cars of 35 with the superbly splendid long cars now running on severul of the
eastelll rands, And he will find it difficult to cunvey to a rlmd pal·t.v, 11 correct idea of the vast extent of improvement. Some of the most ele­
g>lnt cars of Ihis dass. and which Urc of a capacity to accommodUle frolll ~ixty to eighty passcnger~, and run with a steadiness hardly equalled
by a steAmboat in ~till water, arc munufactured by Da,cnport &. Bridges, a. their es,ablishment in Cambridgeport, !fass. The manufacturers
hnve recently introduced a varielV 0[ excdlent illlprolemellts ill the clln~trllction of trucks, springs, alld connections, which are calculnted to
ntmospheric :eSlsrance, securc ,nfety and cOllvcnicnce, and contribute ~asc and comlort to passengers, while tlying at the rate of 30 or 40
miles per hour.. Ve purpose 10 give a particular Jescrirtion or these improvcmems, accompanied wilh suitable engravings, in our next number,
that our reu The first illustrated article ever to appear in Scientific American was about Improved Rail-Road Cars. It appeared on the front page of
the first issue, August 28, 1845.
August 28, 1995 marked the 150th anniversary of the
of the first issue of Scientific American, a magazine
which has provided the latest information
of scientific progress for
a century and a half. Many
of the developments of the science of
railways first appeared in the pages of Scientific American, and
over the years it has described inventions
of immense benefit to
the railway industry. Along with these milestones of invention,
have appeared many
of questionable utility, and others that were
downright farfetched, but all were the product
of sincere inventors,
and at the time
no one could be sure which would succeed and
which would fall
by the wayside (or, perhaps, the trackside).
In 1845 the railway mania was sweeping England and
the United States, and it is
no coincidence that the very first
illustration in the very first issue
of Scientific American, August
28, 1845. was a design for Improved Rail-Road Cars.
tradition continues, for the 150th anniversary issue, September,
1995, contains an extremely interesting 6-page article entitled
High-Speed Rail: Another Golden Age?. This article is
to all members.
In the intervening century and a half have appeared many
of railway articles. Many of these appeared before
1900, and a very few
of these, covering the period from 1845 to
1899 are listed here:
A Smoke Filter for Locomotives (Aug 28 1845).
Coal in Locomotive Engines (Mar 9 1850).
American Railroad Iron (Feb 8 1851).
Railroads in Europe (Nov 1 1851).
American and European Railroads (May 8 1858).
Engine with Walbridges Cut-Off [invented by the Grandfather
of Steve Walbridge] (Mar 15 1862).
The Proposed Arcade and Avenue under Broadway [a proposal
for a subway] (Feb 9 1867).
Winter Railroad Building in Minnesota (Jan 23 1869).
The Pneumatic Tunnel Under Broadway [New Yorks first, but
snort lived, subway] (Mar 5 1870).
Railway Tunnel Under the British Channel [forelUnner
of the
Chunnel] (Feb
17 1872).
Iron and Steel in Railway Car Construction (Aug
II 1877).
The New YorkElevated Railway (Jan
12 (878).
Mr. Eads Ship Railway for the American Isthmus [Panama]
13 1880).
An Industrial City, Pullman
111. (May 3 1884).
The Van Depole Electric Railway (Jan 2 1886).
Railways in China (Apr
17 1886).
Electric Street Cars in Philadelphia (Jun
12 1886).
wfhe Hamburg Electric Tramway (Oct 2 1886).
The Meeting of the Great Shields of the St. Clair River Railway
Tunnel [reproduced at right)
(Sep 13 1890).
The Gorge Road at Niagara Falls [the Great Gorge electric
1 (Mar 28 1896).
Railroads and Bridges (Iul 25 1896).
The American Locomotive (Jul 25 1896).
Ancient Locomotive Engines [Puffing Billy, Invicta and
Locomotion) (Mar
18 1899).
of the Wh.ite Pass and Yukon Railway (Apr 15 1899).
The Trans Siberian Railroad
(Aug 26 1899).
Some of these proposals were far ahead of their time, like
the New York subway in 1867
or the Channel Tunnel in 1872, and
others, like the ship railway across Panama, never made it at all.
However many others did succeed and became features
of the
railways that we take for granted today.
We sincerely hope that Scientific American will prosper
for its next 150 years, and that in the
summer of 2145 its 300th
anniversary issue will be reporting the latest developments
of a
still-vital railway industry.
Another Train On A Bank Note
In our July-August 1994 issue we reported that the last
Canadian bank note to bear a railway subject was the $10 note
the 1937 issue which was discontinued in September, 1954.
Recently, however, a new million dollar bill has appeared
showing a beautiful engraving
of a 4-6-2 steam locomotive and
train. A reproduction
of this bill appears below. We hasten to say,
however, that this note
is non-negotiable, and is, in fact, what is
referred to as a fantasy note.
It is all in fun, and may even make
one feel a bit richer!
The engraving is excellent, and the note is well
worth having, even though it
can never be cashed.
BACK COVER: On the way to Sherbrooke with a CRHA excursion on October 13 1962, CNR No. 5107 displays a fine plume of smoke as
it performs a runpast for waiting railfans. 5107, built in 1919, was one of the first locomotives built new for Canadian National. It is now
preserved at Kapuskasing, Ontario.
lry Peter Murphy.

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