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Canadian Rail 490 2002

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Canadian Rail 490 2002

ISSN 0008-4875
Postal Permit No. 40066621
THE DESJARDINS CANAL DISASTER, MARCH 12, 1857 …………………………………………………. COMPILATION…………………………… 163
OF THE LOST LOCOMOTIVE ………………………………………………………………
… JAY UNDERWOOD…………………….. 175
THE STREET CAR THAT COULDNT MAKE UP ITS MIND ……………………………………. ; …. .. :.; ….. FRED ANGUS…………………………….. 191
THE ADVENTURES OF A C.P.R. STOCK CERTIFiCATE …………………………………………………… FRED ANGUS…………………………….. 192
THE C.B.C. 50TH ANNIVERSARY TRAIN ………………………………………………………………
………….. FRED ANGUS…………………………….. 194
50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE C.N.R. MULTIPLE UNIT CARS……………………………………………. …………………………………………………… 195
ESSEX TERMINAL RAILWAYS 100TH ANNiVERSARy ………………………………………………………. FRED ANGUS…………………………….. 196
… …………………………………………………… 197
AU RYTHME DU TRAIN 1859 -1970 ………………………………………………………………
…………………. ALEXANDER REFORD……………….. 198
THE BUSINESS CAR……………………………………………………………
…………………………………………. …………………………………………………… 199
FRONT COVER: In 1952, just fifty years ago, Canadian National Railways took delivery of 18 multiple-unit cars for service on the
Mount Royal tunnel line
in Montreal. Six cars were motor units, which were numbered M-1 to M-6 and twelve were trailers, numbers
T-1 to T-12. This photo, taken at Deux Montagnes on September 7 1968, shows a six-car train headed by M-5. Three of the cars are
in the 1955 paint scheme of green and black, while the others are in the black and white livery introduced in 1961. Most of the MUs
served until
1995. In 1969, M-5 was renumbered 6734, and is now at the Canadian Railway Museum.
In retirement, 6734, formerly M-5, is seen at the Canadian Railway Museum on September 21 2002, the 110th anniversa/)
of the introduction of electric traction in Montreal. Both photos by Fred Angus
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J5A 2G9
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if requested. Remember Knowledge
is of little value unless
it is shared with others. EDITOR:
Fred F. Angus
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N.W. Smith
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The Desjardins Canal Disaster, March 12, 1857
Compiled by Fred Angus
The Toronto railway train breaking through the trestle bridge over the Desjardins Callal,
falling sixty feet into the gUlf below. From a sketch by
Col. Frank Fostel; of Philadelphia.
Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper, April 4 1857.
4: I 0 PM. on the afternoon of March 12, 1857 the
afternoon accommodation train of the Great Western
Railway departed from Toronto bound for Hamilton, thirty­
eight mil
es away. This train consisted of a baggage car and
two coaches, hauled by 4-4-0 locomotive Oxford. On
board were
95 or 96 passengers, representing a good cross­
of the population of Canada West. Included were
Donald Stewart a merchant
of Hamilton, John Wilford a
miller from England, Rev, A Booker of Hamilton together
with seve
ral other clergymen returning from a conference at
Toronto, Only an hour or two before, Rev, Booker had
preached a discourse on the words What thou knowest not
now thou shalt know hereafter, Timothy Doyle a shoemaker
and his brother Patrick a labourer were aboard, as were several
women and
children, including some entire families
returning home from the big city. However the most
of the passengers was Samuel Zimmerman of
Niagara Falls, contractor, entrepreneur and banker, often
lled the Railway King, In fact he had been in Toronto
business and in his pocket carried the charter for the
proposed Canada Southern Railway.
Mr. Zimmerman was
the only rich person aboard, for 1. Russel, a contractor of
had several thousand dollars in cash on his person.
The train was
scheduled to reach Hamilton about 5:45
P,M., and as that time approached the passengers looked
forward eage
rly to arrival home again. Sometime on the trip
it is believed that Mr. Zimmerman wound his big gold watch
it was still running 23 hours later) and watched the lights
of Hamilton appear in the distance. Before l:eaching
the track rounded the extreme western end of Lake
Ontario and crossed the truss bridge over the Desjardins
Canal. Just as the Oxford approached the bridge, there
was a sudden jolt -a hidden crack had caused an axle on the
ading truck to break, derailing the locomotive. The
damaged and derailed engine continued on to the bridge
where the wheel flanges cut into the stringers under the track.
The result was that the locomotive fell through the bottom
of the bridge, and one by one, the three cars of the train
followed; a fall
of sixty feet into the ice-covered canal. About
sixty people died including
Mr, Zimmerman, It was the worst
train wreck in Canadian history up till that time; in fact, in
the 145 years since,
only one wreck (the one at Beloeil in
1864) has surpassed it in
number of fatalities.
Much has been written about the Desjardins Canal
disaster, more than the Beloeil wreck which claimed more
Ii ves. It is easy to see why, At Hamilton in 1857 the victims
were well known members of the community, whereas the
Beloeil victims were immigrants that had just anived from
Europe. The aftermath of the disaster is even credited with
being one of the Illany causes of the panic of 1857 which
caused such financial hardship in North America later that
In many of the numerous accounts of this wreck, it is
mentioned that photographs were taken,
both of the wrecked
train and of some of the victims. Certainly some of the
pub.lished drawings are said to be based on photographs,
However, until recently no such photos were known to have
urvived. In 200 I Doug Smith discovered, in the National
Archives in Ottawa, a photo showing the wrecked bridge
and the remains of one of the passenger cars, To the best of
our knowledge this photo, one of the oldest Canadian
railway photographs, has never been published before, and
represents an important historical find,
In addition to this
PllOtO we include a contemporary
account, in typical Victorian journalistic style, of the disaster.
This account is taken from fOLlr different publications and
combined together. These are: The
Hamilton Spectator, the Toronto
Globe, the Montreal Gazette and
Frank Leslies Illustrated News­
paper. The latter paper, a U.S,
publication, deserves a special note,
Little more than a year old (its first
ssue was in December 1855), Frank
Leslies produced illustrated articles
the manner of the Illustrated
London News in England, Its issue
April 4 1857 contained extens­
ive coverage of the Hamilton
disaster, as well as twelve woodcut
engravings, at least one of which is
on a photograph, the original
of which is presently unknown.
These engravings are also
reproduced here, as are
some notices
items from other contemporary
newspapers. Some of the accounts
were submitted by Ken Heard, others
from the National Library
of Canada
and the Ontario Provincial Archives. The Frank Leslies paper
was from the Hamilton Public Library.
The disaster at the Desjardins Canal was a milestone
in Canadian Railway history, It marked the beginning of the
of the laissez faire period of railway construction and
operation, One of the first results was the Accidents on
Railways Act, passed on May 28 1857, only two and a half
months later. This mandated better safety inspection and
full reports to the government of structures and equipment
on Canadian Railways, The first such report was the well
known Keefer Report which appeared early in 1859,
Although many more terrible accidents occulTed in the years
ahead, the
aftermath.of Desjardins Canal was an early step in
a process that
has made the railways of Canada among the
safest in the world,
ABOVE: View of the accident taken N. W. from Hamilton
Bay, Suspension bridge in the background. From a
by D.C. Beere, Esq.
Frank Leslies Illustrated
NewspapeJ~ April 4 1857.
OPPOSITE: A true historical find.
An actual photograph
of the wreck, taken from the bay side of the bridge. Note the
smashed coach in the canal,
as well as the damaged st1llcture
of the bridge. The sign on the bridge (enlargement below)
refers to This Bridge, Sun Rise, Sun Set and
Managing Director, but the remainder of the inscription
is not legible in the photo.
National Archives
of Canada, photo No. PA J35I 58.
Etc., Etc., Etc. 166
Hamilton, March 17, 1857.
It may be said surely a national calamity has befallen
us. Men who have ever stood in the foremost ranks -capitalists
the most shrewd, speculators the
most keen, merchants the
most far-sighted, clergymen the most earnest -have at one
ll swoop been taken from amongst us. The brain wanders
and the pen almost refuses to do its accustomed duty when
attempting to describe the heartrending scene we have
Yesterday being observed as a day
of humiliation.and
in accordance with the proclamation of His Worship
the Mayor, we issued no paper; but as the excitement
occasioned by the disaster still continues, and everyone
appears anxious to learn the latest particulars relative to it,
and the Investigation of the Coroners jury, we issue a
upplimental sheet, containing all the particulars of the
accident, including the funeral obsequies and the
Investigation so far as it has gone.
The railway train from Toronto (Canada West) was
due at Hamilton at a quarter past six
oclock P.M., Thursday,
March the 12th. It came on from
Toronto as usual, and was
proceeding at a moderate speed to
cross the trestl~ or swinging
brid-ge of the Des lardins canal.
The chasm, sixty feet deep, over
which this bridge was erected, was
made by cutting an outlet for the
canal through Burlington heights.
At the time of the accident the
water was covered with ice about
two feet thick.
The moment the tra
in reached
the bridge the immense weight
crushed through tbe timbers, and
the whole structure gave way, and,
with one frightful crash,
the engine,
tender, baggage car and two firs

class passenger cars broke
through the severed frame-work,
and leaped headlong into the
yawning abyss below. The engine
and tender crushed at once
through the ice. The baggage car,
striking the corner
of the tender in
the act of falling, was thrown to
side and fell some ten yards
from the engine. The first pass­
enger car rushed after, and turning
as it
descended, felt on its roof,
breaking partly through the ice,
and being crushed to atoms, while
the last car fell endways
on the ice,
strange to say, remained in
The cOl/ductor and two passengers jumping from the Last car as it was going over the
Five minutes before the
accident, the heaviest type of
freight engine known at that time,
over the bridge in safety.
Frank Leslies Illustrated
Newspapel~ April 4 1857.
Many persons were standing at
the s
tation, a mile and a half
distant, watching for the Toronto
in to come in, and saw it all
ppear. This caused a speedy
action to find out the cause. Mr.
Hardman, of the heavy freight
engine, went right back to the
of the accident and found
out the cause. Undoubtedly, the
engine must have been broken,
as the left wheel left the rail and
marked the sleepers, and so forth,
on the track for some fifteen yards
before it reached the bridg
e. The
of the accident will not he
fully ascertained until the engine
is raised.
We learn, however, that
the reason a
bove given (breaking
of the axle) is correct, as far as
can n
ow be ascertained. The German rescuing his friend from the car window.
The loss of life was of
Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper, April 4 1857.
course frightful. There were 95 or
passengers on the train, and the list of those who have
escaped only numbers
about twenty. As far as we can yet
everyone in the first car was killed; those who were not
rushed being drowned by the water which nearly filled the
car. About thirty were
in the last car, of whom ten were taken
dead, and most of the others were fealfully mutilated.
The conductor, Mr. BalTett; the deputy superintendent
of the line, Mr. Muir. and Mr. Jessop, one of the auditors, who
were on the hind
platform, jumped off and escaped. The
express messenger, Mr. –, Mr. Richardson, a conductor
on the road, and the ma
il conductor
were with the baggagemen. The latter
jumped over the baggage he had piled
up re
ady for delivery, and escaped
with but slight injury, while the three
went down, but miraculously
wore not much hurt. The
engineer and fireman went under the
ce with the locomotive, and their
bodies have not yet been recovered.
The mails, of course, have been
d. Half the bridge is destroyed,
and freight traffic must suffer
intenuption until It
is restored, before
which, we should imagine, some
weeks will elapse. Arrangements have
een made for the interchange of
and bodies of scores of the dead, wounded and dying, who
but a moment before were
in the heyday of happiness. Palsied
for a few moments, the bewildered survivors could only gaze
helplessly upon the horrors before them. A reaction ensued,
nd then each flew to the rescue, impelled by a common
instinct. Immediate assistance was had from the different
shops, and persons engaged on the works at the depot. All
night persevering efforts were made to extricate the bodies
from the wreck. Rafts were formed
on the ice, to enable the
men with
long poles and hooks to proceed with their moumful
From the splintered ruins of
those cars arose cries and shrieks,
and objurgations of unearthly
intensity; while through
their ruptured
sides and floors protruded the limbs
The rescue of the little girl from a cake of floating ice.
Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspape/~ April 4 1857.
task in safety. All night and all
ext day the wreckers perse­
vered in their humane efforts
until all the bodies were
removed, and the debris of the
bridge and the cars was cleared.
TORONTO, ~AfUaDA1, UllOa 14,. 1867.
At the railway depot,
when the sufferers
were brought
in, crowds assembled anxious to
hear who was dead, and to know
if any
of their friends were there.
The corpses were taken into one
of the large baggage-rooms,
where Coroners Bull and
Roseburgh proceeded to have
them examined, and, when
possible, identified. In an out
building, adjoining the Station
House, at Hamilton, were sixty
corpses laid out on the floor,
including men, women and
The excitement in the city
of Hamilton directly the news
spread was intense. Hundreds
swarmed toward the Great
Western Depot and streamed
along the line to the fatal spot.
There the scene presented was
such as to baffle description.
Large locomotive lamps were
speedily brought. Fires were
kindled and a lurid glare was
thrown over the shattered
remains. Special trains were
dispatched to the bridge to bring
home the wounded. It was no
easy task to descend the steep
slope to the canal. Ropes were
lowered and ladders attached to
them, on which the dead and
wounded from the car which
stood endways were first drawn
up. Then the bottom
of the car,
which had partly
sunk through
the ice was hewn away with
axes, and the unfortunate
passengers, some sad ly
mutilated and even
cut in pieces,
and all saturated with water,
were taken out. Many worked
ON ,.BlI
Great Western Railway!
A. Wholt TraIn Precipitated tnto the As soon as the intelli­
gence of the catastrophe reached
the city, Major Boker and Captain
acdonalds Companies of
Volunteers marched to the scene,
and every credit is due to them
for their conduct. The pressure
of the crowd had all but forced in
the strong doors of the depot
when the Artillery Company
arrived. They formed a cordon
around the room, which was
respected. The rifles marched on
to the bridge.
Cabal! !
A D.,loaa1 calldllt, mat alrJ, be nld to bn.
beralteD u& KeD who bu. _tood la tbe fort­
moet raDlt haVtI beea takea from amDDI at.
fbe braiD .,aod~rI, ucI tbe pen armo~n … ra..­
to do H. acca.tomed c1ott .• beD aLtellptlD, to
4ff011be ll. heari·reD4loc .ceDO .e b-.o wit
HoII Toronto received
the neils.
Every person in the first
passenger car, except Owen
with energy and vigor; but who was that noble fellow that
everyone must have seen, stripped to his shirtsleeves,
standing up to his middle in the freezing water, who, himself
a hos
t, did more than all the rest? We watched him long from
the height above as he hewed away the fragments and
extticated the bodies. If ever man deserved a reward, it is he.
soon as the dead were drawn up the slope they
were either
put in the cars for conveyance to Hamilton, or
were laid in a small house near the bridge. There were no less
than thirteen ministers on that train, who had been attending
a convention
in Toronto. It is said that one family were in the
cars consisting
of a father, mother and four children. Only
one of the children escaped. One of the little victims, a girl,
about four years of age, was brought into the house alluded
to when we were there.
The poor little creature was smiling
prettily as
if she had been sleeping and dreaming of sweet
things when the
accident occurred, and had been launched
into the long steep
of death before the dream had vanished
from her mind.
Among the d
ead was Samuel Zimmerman to whom
railways have at length proved fatal; and near him two children,
aged one and three respectively, and her who
seemed to be
their mother. Notwithstanding that Mr. Zimmerman was under
the water 23 hours,
his faithful watch was still going.
Doyle, James Barton, of
Stratford, and two children between eight and nine years of
age, perished. The escape of these seems perfectly
miraculous. One of the children was thrown out of a window
on to the ice,
it knows not how. The other was dragged out of
a window, having been up to its neck in water for some fifteen
minutes in almost a senseless state. They were a little boy
and a little girl, brother and siste
r. They can recollect nothing
after the fearful crash, and being thrown upon their heads.
Their mother, father and uncle perished, and Owen Doyle,
who saved himself, is their uncle. He saved himself by forcing
way out of a window as the water was rushing in. He
remembers swimming on to the ice; and then lost
consciousness. James Barton cannot tell how he got out of
the window. He recollects but a wild scream -being dashed
against the ceiling
of the car. Half senseless and half drowned,
he made a last spring for a window.
He was picked off of a
cake of ice a few minutes afterwards, senseless. The two
children, marvellous
to say, are but slightly injured; and Doyle
Barton are but comparatively little hurt. Doyle had his
brother, and sister-in-law, two cousins, and a
cousins wife,
and two nieces, all killed
or drowned. And what with his own
injuries, the fearful excitement of the scene he had passed
through, and the loss
of so many near and dear to him, the
poor fellow wandered about almost bereft
of his memory and
his senses. Bartons father was also lost; they were sitting
The conductors of the railway raising the ruins of the cars. From a sketch by
Mr. Lwn. Frank Leslie
s Illustrated Newspapel~ April 4 1857.
The people living in the vicinity of the broken bridge hunting among the ruins for
the dead and wounded. Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspapel; April 4 1857.
together when the car was turned upside down, and they
were dashed against
the top of it.
The escape of Richardson, Mr. Urquhart of the express,
the mail
conductor, and the baggage master, was equally
marvellous. When the locomotive and tender went into the
abyss literally, the baggage
car swung round apparently as it
going over, and broke loose from the tender. The
nce was, it struck on the ice to the left of where the
locomotive disappeared; and slid, so strong was the ice, a
short distance. It never overturned; and its three inmates,
though thrown among trunks and all
sorts of things, strange
and happy to say, escaped with but barely trifling bruises.
The conductor, hearing the smash
of the bridge, and standing
at the open door of the car, leaped out just at the brink of the
He escaped unhurt.
In the second car, the persons saved were the
Conductor, Mr. BatTett, the Deputy Superintendent,
Mr. Muir,
and Mr. Jessop, an auditor. They were on the platform
of the
last car, and jumped off when they
heard the concussion. Of those hurt
in this car, were Dr. Macklem and Mr.
T.c. Street, of the Falls. The former is
very much injured in the
head, and
had a contusion
in the side but it is
hoped not seriously. Mr. Streets
collar-bone was broken, his arm very
badly hurt, and he was otherwise
much bruised. Mr. Curtis, of Ingersoll,
was dreadfully injured in
the spine,
and was expected to die every
moment. Mr. Barton, junior, of
Woodstock, had his back broken, and
is otherwise featfully hurt.
W.R. Marshall, of Woodstock,
was one
of the few fortunate persons
who were not killed by the fearful
From his statement. which
in the Spectator, we make the
following extract:
There were no incidents of a
striking nature on the trip frol11
Toronto to the junction with the main
line near Hamilton. When within
sight of the Hamilton station, Mr.
Beally asked me what time it was . I
looked at my watch
and told him it
was a quarter
to six. About this time
the train began
to go slower. Nearly
half a minute afterwards I perceived
quite a consternation in the cars,
passengers running to and fro,
apparently much excited. At the same
J felt a strcm[?e sensation. as if
caused by something impeding the
motion of the train. It was not a
shock, but at the same time everyone
seemed to think that something was
As I was not aware of the
dangerous character
of the place we
were approaching, I retained
my seat,
and advised others
to do the same. A
slight pause ensued, myself and those
siffing with
me remaining still, but
anxiously waiting the result, when
with one
jerk we were precipitated
into the yawning abyss below. While
descending I retained jJelject
consciousness, and felt we were
going down some awful precipice;
aAlUIlDA,l, M.A.JlOIl 14.. 1861.
_._–…… -…… _-… -.-…. -.- I
rRtporl.d fo,. Tn MonalA.L GIoDTTI.]
HUULTOIl, 12tb Marcb, 1857.
Another of tbose frigbtful acciden18 wbieb
buman foretbougbt appears lnad~uate to tbe
talk. of
preventing, took. place tbis evening near
tbls cIty. Tbe train from Toronto, wbicb is due
at 5:45, bad Icarcely touched the swing-bridge
over tbe Desjardin8 Canal,wben it gaTe way, and
tbe whole train was precipiu.ted into tbe water,
falling i. distance of 40 ftet. Tbe engine, tender
and blggage car were all completely bnritd in
water. Tbe forward passenger car, io du­
cending, Wal lUrned upside down, leaTing a por­
tion of it only above tbe waur. The forward end
of tbe lut pusenger car rested upon eitber tbe
enl/int or baggage Cllr, and falllng back UPQIl tbe
aupportiog tbe brid ge, remained in nearly
an uprigbt position. Immedilll.o assiatance waa
bad from tbe different abopa and persons engaged
00 he worki. All tbat were in tile last car were
~ken out moatly wounded, and, we are 80rry to
I&Y, too many dead. A bole WII! cut in the bot·
tom of tbe car wblch lay acrOS8 tbe canal, and
the bodies taken from it as soon as possible; but
tbil could Dot be otberwise tban a alow opera­
tion, wben it ia considered bow cold tbe water is
at this nason of tbe year, and that tbe deptb we8
sufficient to bide
an englnt, tender and
!IIr. Muir, tbe Traffic Superinteodcnt, was on I
board, but fortunately jumped ofT as tbe cars took
tile leap.
~!r. Harrett, Conductor, escaped un­
hurt, as did 11.1.0 tbe Express :!es3enger, P08t­
Otfice ClorI.:
I1nd Tlllgg .. g~ Conductor.
Among tbe killed is Mrs. P. S HteTen80n, of
Hamilton. SeYeoteen bodies were takfn to tbe
roam, with tte neeption of two, wilo
Montreal received the news by telegraph late
on the night
of March 12.
experience the like again. In this
fealjul situation were placed 80 or
90 human beings, who, a few
moments before, rejoiced in excellent
health and spirits, theil; minds
occupied with worldly cares or
pleasure; little thinking they would
be so soon called into the presence
of their Eternal Judge. Some prayed,
others called upon the saints, others
fewfttl oaths. What an awful
lesson does this shocking event teach
those who habitually
put off making
their peace with God to some future
day, or to a death-bed?
Henry August, passenger from
Toronto, escaped
from the first car.
The escape of this person was most
wonderful. He
is a German; and he
and the last
named passenger were
sitting together on the rear of the first
passenger car. The moment they
heard the first concussion, th~y got
LIP and rushed together to the door,
the latter only reached the platform.
He jumped off just three feet from the
chasm. The other car rushed by him
and was gone. He stood for a moment
paralysed. He then ran
down the hill,
and was the
means of saving from
drowning his companion who was not
time to reach the platform. He
dragged him out of a window, and
comparatively unhUlt.
woman, who lives near the
scene of the disaster, and who was
the first to witness it, gives some
interesting particulars about the two
hildren -the Doyles -who so
miraculously escaped. She rushed
down the hill to the cars; indeed the
poor woman literally rolled down, for
it was so steep and slippery s
he could
not keep her feet; and the first object
met her attention was the poor
little girl, about eight years of age, on
a cake
of ice. The little thing said,
dont mind me, save my brother,
and the poor little fellow was at the
moment with his chin barely above
the water, at the top of one of the
not a voice was heard in the descent. On reaching the bottom
there was one general crash, after which I found
myself in
total darkness, hemmed in on evel), side; and crushed almost
to sujfication by human bodies and broken seats. The blood
oozed from nay mouth, and it seemed as if every breath J
drew would be the last. The next few minutes were the most
J ever witnessed: oh, that it may never be my lot to
windows, imploring some one to drag him out. The woman,
though the ice was broken for
some distance round the car,
managed to reach him; and
after rescuing him, rushed up the
hill with one child
in her arms, and got a passenger, who was
himself badly wounded, to carry the
girl on his back. She put
them to bed; and strange to say, they got up with
scarcely a
mark. Owen Doyle, the uncle
of the little girl, saved her by

Five more illustrations from Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper, April 4 1857. LEFT TOP: Grappling in the canal for the
dead. LEFT BOTTOM: Hoisting dead bodies by the aid of ladders upon the top of the abutment. RIGHT TOP: Passengers
crossing the canal on the rafts.
RIGHT MIDDLE: Relations and friends searching among the dead bodies laid out in the
large room adjoining the station house.
RIGHT BOTTOM: The Doyle children carried up the hill by their preserver and a
clasping her to his breast when he felt the car overturning,
and throwing her
out of the window after the crash. The little
boy felt some one take him
in his arms and fall under him, but
he knew not whom.
It is difficult to conceive a more melancholy
spectacle, than these two children looking on the mangled
of their mother, father, and nearly all who were dear
to them.
Among the most harrowing scenes attending this
fearful catastrophe, are the witnessing the unhappy relatives
recognizing the mangled remains of husbands, fathers,
mothers, brothers and sisters. Yesterday morning the wife of
Mr. Morley arrived from St. Catharines, to pick out of the
dead his body. The scene was heartrending as she
passed from one dead body to another, all marking death
with greater horrors by being more or less mangled. At
one, even more distorted and mangled than the rest, was
come to; and a wild scream but too well told her tale
of woe.
And in a large
storehouse, strewed with dead bodies, and
with others
going the rounds to make similar heart-rending
discoveries, was she left to kneel down and bewail her
bereavement. Whilst on one side of the large building a row
of bodies were placed, as yet unrecognized, and questions
were asked of every new comer, if he or she knew anything of
them, a sob or a moan would be heard in another part,
indicating that some one had come from a distance and found
all her sad expectations realized. Nor was the circumstance
less harrowing,
of passing the stranger by, who, far from his
home, and far from those who were dreaming
of his return,
there lay, a mangled, uruecognized, unwept victim
of a railroad
Here was evidently a poor Irish laborer; his pipe
was still in his hand; and a smile played over his kindly
countenance. One passed, yet another, and still another, and
no one knew him. God only knew
the grief that some would feel who
did know him. Here again linger a
larger group. They are looking
the figure of a woman, once
beautiful, and though her hair lies
tangled and wet, and
her face is
distorted from the effects of
drowning, she still charms that idle
crowd with a melancholy interest.
She has a marriage ring on her
finger. Two lockets are on her
breast; and a brooch is suspended
by a yellow ribbon round her neck.
For whom did she wear them? Who
dear to her? To whom was
she dear? No one knew her. God
help her
she alone then required
to be but recognized by him! And
so passed the scene. Here a moan
and a tear marked the recognition
of the mangled remains of a friend
or a relation. There strangers, with
heavy hearts, gazed on those who
were unwept; and though of
perhaps a hundred feet higher
than the railload. The suspension
bridge is thrown over immediately
on the right, and is still
Then, about sixty feet below the
railroad is a narrow deep channel,
which looks like a sort
of chasm
between two high hills. Into this
abyss was hurled the ill-fated train.
It was just wide enough to let the
cars down without touching
anything to break their fall. They
literally leaped sixty feet into ice
water, one passenger car
follow ing the locomotive and
completely overturning, and
becoming almost submerged; and
other lighting endways upon
this. Great as has been the loss
life, considering the number of
passengers; yet, looking at the
place, it is absolutely wonderful
how anyone escaped.
T a lIeeling or Ulo Jolnl (;Qmmltl~o or Ihe Young
Mena SI. ratrlcl!: • .Anoelallon, and tho Qathollc
Tcmporallco Society, h.,ld In Ihe ReAdIng Room or tbo A&·
Boal~Uon, on !atnrdsy 14th In81.
John QDONOHOE XlIq., moved, seconded ~y JOlIN
SHKA EIIq., aocr
}faolroW, Ihlll on tM parI ortb.~. SoolellCft, Ihey deBlr!,
to exprefts their dedp Borrow 101 the Inmootable aooldenl
whlcb look: pille. 011 lb. Orolll Western nallroHt .. n lb.
12tb losl., and to oeonya . ., 10 tbeeulYororB and !rlends or
Ihe deo.uod, their 610c Moved by lIlr. E. OKEDK, aOd seconded by Yr. J
XURPIlY, and
HuoloW, tbal In .I~w or tne … ,) ooo.0rrono., tho Il001 ..
Ues maroll In SU.KNCK, with meme(I druma, and craped
bannen, during the PlOCOIalon, on I!I. ).A.T!UCJ(S day,
he 17th Inlll.
Toronto, Jl&roh 11, 18~7.
cnAnL~ .A.. r.tULDOON,
As a result of the disaster, St. Patricks Day
celebrations were greatly curtailed in Hamilton,
and other cities in Canada and OTHER NARROW ESCAPES
themselves, if ever such a lot neighbouring states.
should be theirs. There may be
of sorrow and ofhonor, but who can conceive aught
so utterly heartrending, as
when people go away in peace
and happiness, to return this evening, or to-morrow, and are
first heard
of as mangled by drowned by such disaster.
This was little less melancholy than the recognizing
their dead bodies. In the pocket of one would be found
letters from his wife and children, wishing him home, and
sorrowing for his absence. Another died with
daguerreotypes on his breast of those he loved most on earth.
A mothers letter was found in this
ones pocket, asking relief,
and saying she was ill. The money for relief was found side
by side with the letter. Anothers name was learned by the
of those who loved him. And yet another was hurrying
to console the sick or the dying. Such were some of the
A vast concourse of people gathered round the scene
of the disaster yesterday. All day men were engaged breaking
into pieces the first passenger car, which had been nearly
It was found impossible to raise it bodily. The
locomotive and tender are still under water. The second
passenger car was broken up, and carried away the first
evening of the disaster. The bridge has been allowed to
remain precisely
as it was broken; and will, we apprehend, be
allowed to continue so until after the inquest, and after
thorough inspection by competent engineers. It was a matter
of utter astonishment to everyone, how any person could
have escaped, after such a fearful fall. The walls on either
sides are of very solid masonry; the adjacent banks are The number
of narrow escapes
is very remarkable, and worthy
a passing reference. One gentleman paid a cabman
handsomely to gallop to the depot in Toronto, but arrived
just too late; another was on the cars, but got off for some
trifling purpose at the suggestion of a friend and was left;
another was detained by an invitation
to dine with a Cabinet
another procrastinated, he knows not why, till it
was too late;
though he desired to take that train. Others,
stayed over to see Miss Nickinson perform at the
theatre; another missed the cars by half a minute at Port Credit;
another, the same
at Waterdown; another got off and was left
behind at Wellington Square. A lady who was killed was
taken on in the morning on her way down, after the train had
started. Such are the trifling circurmstances by which lifes
tenor is held,
or forever snapped asunder.
There is but one small house, belonging to the poor
woman who behaved so nobly by the Doyle children near
the fallen bridge; and she was looking out of the window as
the train approached.
She says the catastrophe made little
The train seemed to sway to one side, and then all
disappeared. Probably the swaying was the first
car overturning. She says she saw a man leap from the
locomotive immediately before is disappeared. This was likely
the engineer, as he was found with his neck broken
on the
ice. At the
same time one of the workmen at the station
house -it is about a mile distant from the broken bridge -who
was watching the train coming
in saw the steam suddenly
stop, and a sort of dust arise. In a second there was no train
to be seen. The alarm was at once given; and we believe that
persons connected with the railroad have exerted
themselves most assiduously since, to render all the assistance
they could. Tbe crash was not heard at the depot.
mnll: bUllne … r thl3 D4nk will bt conduclOU U uau,,1,
.L .. nd II.a Notoe Tcl1temed In Gold at tbo CQunt.a:r LS
CllltOD, C. W., )larch. 1.7, 1867.
C&I1 nlor.
TOP! The. death oJSamue.l.Zimmerman caused great
·-constentation in· the COrpOrate :and jilla-ncial circles in
. Canada. Besides his railway connections, he was also the
founder of the Zimmerman Bailk in Elgin, later Clifton,
near Niagara Falls.
It was here that he owned the Clifton
House, a large hotel.
It is said that a company, in which
Zimmerman had an interest, built the bridge over the
Desjardins Canal and skimped on the construction. If this
is true, it is a great irony that Zimmerman was one of the
victims when the train fell through the same bridge. The
five dollar banknote showll above
was issued in 1856, less
than a year before the disaster. Ironically
it depicts a bridge!
Some notes
of this bank also showed the Clifton House.
ABOVE: Soon after the disaster the Zimmerman Bank
published a reassuring advertisement indicating that
business would go on as usual and the notes would still be
redeemable in gold. All was not well, however. The
Zimmerman heirs sold the bank, which had never been
sound anyway. It was rellamed the Bank of Clifton
and became a very shady operation. Soon
it failed, with
total loss
of funds to all depositors and note holders.
RIGHT: The funeral
of Samuel Zimmerman was a ve,y
elaborate affair, held with full Masonic ritual. The
announcement was published ill numerOllS newspapers, this
olle immediately followed the official notice
of moulIling
by the City Council of Toronto.
HE Kambon of tbe Oommon OoUlJotl 01 tho oly 01
. TvroJlW; deeply lIympt.tbllmg w)Lh. Lbo r~B1JV
ud 01111 01 the IinaJten br llie . j,&ie dtul
~ HIli
tnT aooIdan 1l0l.l H .. JlllS,ont ..nil r.Cr .. ln Iro.m llloollDI
OJ bua&aeu hIS .venlDr, In all10r m&nlleallDr a lui IIvld.noo oC re8pGCt to tbr
remain • .rIb. UJortlnMo vcllaa.
)lors omeo., TOT !arcb 10, 18(; 7 •
.• , , ._, 40. . •• , …. __ ,
Pnn&rlll of the Lnto Mr. 8. Zimmnman.
mrrx Breiliron of lbo Provtnolal OrIOnti r.odgo or A. F.
~ & J.. ){Uoll.ll oC C6I:IAda Wu. on tho l,&tcrnl1y
_neTP.lly, &70 rMpeo(llly IDTf1d I~ aUend tho YO! onr d~od Drolhor, tlAllUE Zlll~r.RMAft. 00 ),(00·
day nUl, U}i lOlh l!l.It_ b procee.slOo mU l4WITO Oil!
10.0 Lodg-l lilaillT-a. YIlJls. III 1 1.)(. Tho BnthfCu to
.. ppcr In rill ll&6o Ilia Glo t.bIIIf{ .
TDoo. O. RlDOU r,
D. r. O. Y.
The following two verses are from a poem, of six stanzas,
entitled On the Recent Calamity. It was written
by Harriet
Annie, and appeared
in the Hamilton Spectator on March 20,
The fire was on the hearth, the sun was set,
The evening meal was
When round the city rung the direful sound,
Thy loved are dead.
Tears for the dead -sad tears,
Yet doth the rainbow glimmer on the cloud,
And hues of Paradise doth brightly
On pall and shroud.
Tears for the dead -sad tears, Widows
and orphans weep
heartbroken now,
Why did the
storm beat down upon their heads?
In grief they bow.
Ah! humble be
our plea.
His love
to ask upon our hearts plowed sod,
Our answer to the mystery must be,
The will of God.
For the Year 1858.
ABOVE: The monument ill Hamilton Cemetery to the
victims of the disaster of 1857. it is surmounted by a model
of a 4-4-0 locomotive of the 1850s. This photograph was
taken on April
15 1927 by fohn Boyd (1865-1941).
National Archives
of Canada, fohn Boyd Collection, photo
No. PA87661.
of the results of the Desjardins Canal disaster
was the passage of the Accidents on Railways Act. This
occurred on May
27 1857, ollly 76 days after the wreck. As
a result of this act, a report was made by Samuel Keefer,
of Railways. The first such report covered the
year 1858, and was printed in Hamilton in 1859. The Keefer
is of VelY great illterest to railway historialls for it
lists practically every locomotive then on the railways
Canada, together with such informatioll as buildel~ date of
cOllstruction, basic dimensions and mileage rull. Most of
this ill formation is not found ill allY other source.
The legend of the Lost Locomotive
by Jay Underwood
The power of any local
egend is the irresistible force
of its longevity, and the allure
of its vague, often romantic
details. Such is the case with
the lost
locomotive of Grand
Lake, a legend that Jim
Camano, former member of the
NSUES (Nova Scotia Undersea
Exploration Society) is
determined to prove, or
disprove. The now-defunct
SUES was a volunteer group of
divers who took out Heritage
Research Permi ts and looked
for, and researched, underwater
heritage sites.
Local legend says there
is a train at the bottom of Nova
Scotias Shubenacadie Grand
Lake; that many years ago it
derailed, went into the lake and
was never recovered.
The line·
has a great deal of history
behind it, being the oldest
trackage in the province, built
. Grand
Grand LaKe
According to MacDon­
of Dartmouth, N.S., there
are no NSR engines un­
accounted for in the pre­
Confederation period, and all
the engines added between the
transfer to the Intercolonial in
1867 and mid-1874 are present
and hard at work
in mid-1874.
After that, MacDonald
admits, who knows?
Similarly, while the
provinces newspapers regular­
covered railway accidents,
and the Legislature was duly
informed of any mishap to
befall the provinces rolling
stock and motive power -no
such record appears to exist
involving Grand Lake. , ,
Don McQueen, co­
author of Constructed in
Kingston, notes: The IRC
records have several loco-
motives listed as wrecked,
by the Nova Scotia Railway in
1856 as part of Joseph Howes
Mapo! the area by Jay Underwood
many without other data that
has yet surfaced. The other
ambitious~ ptanto link Halifax -at some later date -with the
other British North American colonies. That dream came
true when the Intercolonial resumed construction from Truro
New Brunswick after Confederation in 1867.
Camano, a dealer in underwater metal detectors in
Sack ville,
N.S recently completed a heritage report on the
sunken Halifax Shipyard tug Erg. The Grand Lake
locomotive is his next project, but theres little written record
verify the legend, and hes hoping to provoke some
discussion to unearth any more information.
The story had been related to me as I displayed a
model of the Chignecto Ship Railway at various model
railway shows in the Maritimes, and I was inclined to dismiss
it as
urban myth, since I had heard similar stories about
lost aircraft in the same lake,
It was not until Camano confirmed that his group had
located a downed World War Two-era Harvard trainer
in the
lake that I began to give some credence to the lost locomotive
still, it is not without its credibility problems,
The first is the lack of any written record of an
accident that rendered an engine unrec
Neither Herb MacDonald,
who has been compiling a
detailed roster of the Nova Scotia Railways locomotives
(1856-1874), or
Don McQueen, who has been engaged in a
similar project for the Intercolonial Railway, have any record
of such an accident. known ones in
Nova Scotia were at Athol, Greenville, Folly
Mountain and
Thomson -but none that would intrigue the
press like a lost locomotive in deep water.
There were one
or two recorded as went swimming
but never were abandoned, McQueen also adds that this
doesnt mean the Grand Lake incident didnt happen.
It would have been a rare occurrence, however, for
the Nova Scotia press to have overlooked such an event as a
locomotive derailed and sunk
in a lake! The first spike had
barely been driven on the Nova Scotia Railway in 1854,
when the politically partisan press began to use mishaps on
railway as evidence to support their criticism of the
government in power.
Even the most minor derailment was used as the
standard by which to measure the governments disregard
for the safety of its workers, its niggardly spending on railway
equipment and the right
of way, or the evils of a patronage
system that
put unqualified workers in positions for which
they were not suited.
As a practical matter, the only way the press
have missed the loss
of a locomotive in a lake (in what was,
up until the 1950s, beside a the most highly traveled route
Halifax to Truro) would be if the mishap involved
something other than a regular freight or passenger train,
perhaps a work train
or a switcher hauling empties from
the industry that
once abounded on the line.
for engineers during the
construction of the Nova Scotia
Railway. The work was done by
Sutherland & Sons, on what was
then known
as Contract No.7, and
cost overruns for filion this
section resulted in the dismissal
of chief engineer James
Richardson Forman in 1858. In his
report to the Nova Scotia
Legislature in 1859, Formans
successor Charles Laurie said of
the area:
A eN gypsum train from Milford to Dartmouth passes Grand Lake, as viewed from
Laurie Park. The water ill this part of the lake is not deep enough to conceal a lost
locomotive. (Jay Underwood photo)
The most important claims are
for excess material beyond
the schedule quantities, where the
railway crosses a bay
or cove of
Grand Lake, near Shultzs and
runs through Gaspereaux Lake
and several bogs. The soundings
upon which the original
calculations were based were
taken by means of a chain with a
weight attached,
or with wooden
poles, which did not penetrate
through the mud to sustaining
hard bottom.
If the legend is true, there are five locations on that
portion of the railway (between Grand Lake Station and Sandy
Cove) that a derailment could have taken place, with
topography sufficient to make the locomotive unrecoverable.
These sites are located on the map, and all are between
Milepost 23.3 (Wellington) and 27.0 (Sandy Cove) on
Canadian Nationals Bedford subdivision:
I. Grand Lake Station (A) -The railway here has its
longest contact with the lake and
Highway 2, just south of
the Wilson Gas outlet, but the water here is not deep enough
to conceal a locomotive, and is in a well-used boating and
swimming area (Laurie Park), where the bottom
of the lake is
2. Grand Lake Station (B) I st Oakfield – A short
embankment Cllts across a bay of the lake, and according to
engineers description listed for Site 4 (below) contains
water deep enough to hide a locomotive, or make its recovery
3. Grand Lake Station (C) 2nd Oakfield -A second
embankment, with condition similar to Site 4, below.
Former CN employee Doug Courtney
of Truro, N.S. says he
was shown sites 2 and 3 when he worked for the railway, by
someone who was only repeating what he heard, so possibly
there is no truth to the story.
Courtney served for 381/2
years as a
ca.r inspector for Canadian National: It was only
once in all the time I worked for the railway that I heard the
story about the locomotive in the lake, and I took it with a
grain of salt. The person who told me about it did live
inWindsor Junction all his life.
4. Gasperaux Lake (D) –
Now known as Fish Lake,
this area has deep water, and caused the greatest difficulty
ShultzS was the name of a tavern used by Hiram
Hydes mail coaches as a rest stop on the route between
Dartmouth and Truro (todays Route 2), and is known today
as Grand Lake Station. This area required so much fill, that it
was considered impossible to estimate how much had been
used beyond the measurable quantities extracted from nearby
By the original survey and schedule of quantities
upon which the contractors based their tender, the greatest
of the lake to hard bottom was represellted at 58 8/10
feet, and the quantity
of the filling required, 54,109 cubic
yards. When the contractors
had been at work about six
weeks, they discovered that the depth and the quantity were
both greater than represented,
and commenced keeping a
. record
of the number of wagon, cart, sled, and boat loads
deposited in the embankment.
Between the months
of March and August 1857, the
contractors were allowed 14,000 cubic yards more material
in this embankment, and 36,000 more in other embankments
than the schedule quantity, which, howe
vel; was deducted
or kept off in September 1857.
It was not
until the winter of 1857-8 that proper
soundings were taken, which did not, howevel; embrace the
whole embankment, as
011 the outer or lake side no bottom
was found
for a distance of three chains at a depth of 109
feet, being the whole leng
th of the rods used. The soundings
made during the past win
tel; which were taken with great
care, gave a greatest depth
on the outside of 139 3/4 feet to
hard clay bottom, while on the inner side, the depth was
33 feet, showing that the base of the embankment rests
on a very steep sloping sUiface.
A portion of the bollom is an
irregular ledge
of rocks, and olher
portions are hard clay overlaid with
soft mud. This great irregularity
renders it impracticable now to
obtain an accurate measurement
the quantity by soundings.
Clearly any locomotive that
went off the tracks on the Grand Lake
of the embankment would be lost
in very deep water, and if it went off
on the
Gaspereau Lake side would
possibly be lost in the bottomless
mud below its surface.
5. Sandy Cove (E) -The only
passing siding still in use between
Milford and }(jnsac, the embankment
is steep, but where it skirts the lake,
too shallow to either hide a
locomotive, or prevent its recovery,
if it was only to scrap the engine.
If the legend is not true, it may
be that it is a COlTllption of two events
in which locomotives were lost at sea
while in transit for the
Nova Scotia
The first of two coves crossed by the eN mainline near Grand Lake Station. The water
011 the lake side (to the right of the picture) is more than 100 feet deep. (Andrew
In the first event, two engines built by the Nielsen
of Glasgow were lost off Islay in August of 1857
when the
ship Thomas sank. The event is recorded in the
engineer and accountants reports to the House
of Assembly.
The second loss involves the ship Equator, which
was cm,lght in a storm during its passage from PorUahd,
Maine to Halifax
in July of 1866, carrying a locomotive for
the Nova Scotia Railway, built in Kingston, Ont.
In this case, according to research by Harry Dodsworth
of Ottawa, the snip did not sink, but being caught in a storm,
the engine may have been cast overboard.
The journal of the
of Assembly for 1868 refers to the locomotive as
having been
lost from the Equator, and not that the ship
was lost.
Equator ran a regular route between Portland and
Halifax, and the
weather was frequently inclement, as the
Halifax Morning Chronicle noted on a number of occasions:
Monday, December 31, 1866 -The wooden screw
eamer EquatOl; arrived here on Saturday night from
Porlland, Maine, with a cargo of flow: She reports having
experienced very boisterous weather during the passage.
The steamer accidentally came
ill contact with Harts What!,
by which mishap some of the main limbers of the structure
were broken and several
of the piles disturbed,
As proof the ship did not sink in 1866, Dodsworth
points to the newspaper report of January 1, 1867:
The steamsh.ip EqualOl; which arrived here from
Portland, Maille, during Saturday night, brought 4900
barrels of flour, 1023 bags of wheat, 100 packages of buttel;
20 bundles of leathel; 40 rail car wheels, besides a quantity
of general merchandise.
The only other comparable event that might give rise
to a legend of lost locomotives, appears to be the sinking
VIAs Truro-boulld Ocean passes over the second of the
of Gralld Lake (seen ill the background) before
entering Oakfield and passing by Fish Lake. (Jay
Underwood photo)
Fish Lake, once known as Gaspereau Lake, has a muddy bottom of almost unfathomable
depth. A locomotive derailed here would not only be irretrievable,
but hidden for years,
and is perhaps well preserved in the mud. (lay Underwood photo)
of a barge carrying rails and
bridge iron for the Sackville
River bridge on the Nova Scotia
Railway in 1855, in the Bedford
It is also possible that the
legend refers to another Grand
Lake, this one in Cape Breton,
which was skirted by the Sydney
& Louisbourg Railway, a stretch
most recently operated by the
now defunct Cape Breton
Development Corp. (DEY CO)
S&L historian Glen Smith of
Sydney, Cape Breton says there
is a
similar legend locally, and
notes the railway does cross part
of the lake on a causeway, but as
with the
Halifax County Grand
Lake legend, details are scarce:
I have heard it spoken of, often
hushed tones on dark and
foggy nights.
Such is the grist
of legends.
CN train 136 heads into Halifax, seen here at Sandy Cove, where the water is not sufficiently deep enough to conceal a
derailed locomotive. (Jay Underwood photo)
A Quartet of Stories On Early Electric Railways
Recent research in libraries in Ontario has uncovered numerous items about early electric street railways in Canada. In
this issue
of Canadian Rail we include some of this material. Included are two of the earliest of Canadas electric railways, as well
as information on the
accelerator car, very few of which came to Canada, but one of which made history.
1. The Windsor Electric Street Railway
A painting entitled A Gay Race ill Walkerville 1886 showing a contest between the first electric car and a horse-drawn
sleigh. Although the appearance
of the car is quite accurate, it is not certain that such a race actually took place, since winter
was soon abandoned and the horses retu11led to duty. Collection of Fred Angus
The first electric street railway in Canada began
operation in Windsor, Ontario on June 9, 1886. Although an
electric railway had been in use at the Toronto Exhibition
since 1884, it was only a small operation within the grounds
and it only ran during the short time each year that the
Exhibition was open.
Credit for the first electric street railway must go to
Tringham who visited England in 1885 and saw the
Yolks Railway, a small narrow-gauge line along the seaside
Brighton. This pioneer electric line was opened in 1883
and is still
in service today after 119 years, the oldest electric
railway in the world. Upon his return
to Canada, Mr. Tringham
became a strong advocate for an electric railway from his
home town of Windsor to Walkerville, and extending
throughout Essex county. Early in 1886, capital was raised
and a franchise was secured from the city. Work soon began
construction and, despite numerous difficulties inherent
in any new technology, the line began service on June 9.
Unfortunately, despite its initial success, dark days
were ahead for the little railway. Less than two months after
triumphant inauguration, Mr. Tringham died. With him
also died the ambitious plans to build electric railways
throughout Essex county and other parts of southern Ontario.
Then came the winter of 1886-87, one of the worst on record.
It was soon obvious that the little electric cars could not
cope with winter conditions and the horses came back on
duty, often
pulling sleighs over the frozen streets. It is not
entirely certain how much, if
at all, the electric cars ran during
the next four and a
half years, but most of the street railway
was operated by horses during that period. Finally, in 1891,
improved electric
railway technology permitted the Windsor
lines to be re
-electrified. This time it was fully successful,
and electric cars ran for 48 years until all street car service in
Windsor ceased in May, 1939.
The real reason for the initial failure of the pioneer
Windsor electric railway was simple; the technology had
not advanced far enough. By 1891 it was a different story,
and the street
car had begun its great advance to most major
cities in Canada. So it was that the title of Canadas first
electric line
thaI kepI going once il was started must go, not
to Windsor, but to St. Catharines. This will be the subject of
the second part of our compilation.
ABOVE: This photo depicts the first rUIl of the electric railway in Windsor on June 9, 1886. Note the large box (perhaps
containing resistors)
OIL the roof, abro the fact that the car has not yet been lettered.
BELOW: Some newspaper accounts.
All are from the Amherstburg Echo unless otherwise indicated.
Windsor T
OWIl Council has finally passed the by law
granting a franchise
to the Electric Railway from one end
of Sandwich Street to the othel: March 19, 1886.
The committees appointed by council have located
the electric line along the north side of Sandwich Street.
April 9, 1886.
Work on the electric railway is progressing rapidly.
April 23, 1886.
Walkerville citizens are in high glee over the pro:,pects
of a speedy completion of the electric street railway.
May 21, 1886.
Windsor Electric Railway Co. have commenced
laying the iron on the track. A station is being constructed
at the easte
rn end of the line. May 21, 1886.
Windsor deserves to be proud. Its citizens have a
manifest right to tilt their heads at several degrees further
back and to swell out their chests several inches forward.
We have an electric street milway. No other place in Canada
has such a· road. Detroit has been dreaming about such an
for some time, but the slow people of that place
hadn (. the nerve to tackle such a novel enteljJrise until they
had seen how Windsor
got along with it. The problem has
been solved. The railway
is a reality, as we can now scoot
up to Walkerville
011 a streak of lightning, and well soon
have the same motive power for our trip to Sandwich and
beyond. Bully
for Windsor! Hurrah for Tringham!
Windsor Reco
rd, June 10, 1886.
Walkerville electric railway station is receiving a
of red paint. June 11,1886.
The Windsor Electric Railway was formally opened
Wednesday afternoon
[June 9]. June II, 1886.
The electric light company are pUlling in a new
engine built expressly by Kane Bros. of Walkerville. This is
to meet the requirements of the electric railway so that
for the railway would not be wanting in case of the
breaking down
of the present engine. June 25, 1886.
On July 8 the Detroit and Windsor Electric Railway
will begin the extension of their line to Brighton
Beach when a
very spirited competition may be expected
with the Windsor
and Sandwich horse car line. A rumour
that negotiations are in progress looking to the purchase of
the horse car line by the electric company is denied by the
July 2, 1886.
The Windsor electric car has a large bell, the resonant
of which jar on the sensitive ear of the chief of police.
Other people in Windsor also complain when
the car rushes
down the grade
toward the British Queen [hotel] the bell
Up a clanging which discoullts a locomotive. The police
authorities here remonstrated with the manager
of the road.
Manager Tringham is in a quamlary regarding what course
to take
ill the mattel: The related act requires the use of a
bell, and inflicts a severe penalty
if the law is not strictly
complied with.
July 23, 1886.
Everybody and his pet dog was there. A fine example of artistic license by the illustrators of the magazine Electrical
World. The engraving at the top appeared ill that magazine Oil October 2 1886, while the illustration above is the photograph
from which the engraving
was made. The cars and the people standing in front are accurately depicted, even including the
dog. However the background is entirely different, the editor of Electrical World evidently preferring the riverfront to the
city street scene showll in the actual photograph. Note that the box is gone from the car roof, and the car has beell lettered.
is no doubt but that, ill the near future, electricity will take the place of steam on all our railways.
most interesting and prophetic letter by Mr. Tringham exactly as published ill the Amherstburg Echo, luly 9, 1886.
Unfortunately he died less than two months
latel; his ambitious plans unfulfilled.
J.W. Tringham, the originator of the Electric
Railway, in successful operation between Walkerville and
Windsor, has issued on behalf
of the Essex County Electric
Railway Company, the following circular which is worthy
of careful perusal and consideration of the people of South
Windsor, July 2nd, 1886.
GENTLEMEN, – The complete success
of the
Windsor Electric Railway, and the great convenience
is now to the residents and businessmen of the town,
induces me to draw your attention to the fact that a
of Electric Railway lines along the leading roads
throughout the county of Essex would
be a great boon
the people and would supply, at a small cost, rapid
and convenient means of communication which could
not otherwise
be obtained. The railways now in the
country serve only the people living
in the immediate
vicinity of the stations
on their lines, and the gravel
roads are
neither numerous enough, nor kept in
sufficient repair, to supply rapid and convenient means
of communication between the residences of the great
majority of the ratepayers and the markets for their
produce, or the sources from whence their supplies
all kinds not indigenous to the soil, are procured.
That the residents
in the country districts of this
county desire railways is well known
to all of you, and
I have
no doubt that the most of you have for some
time been desirous
of maturing some scheme by which
th~ wants .of the people; in this direction, could be­
at a cost commensurate with the means at
your disposal. The evidence for this desire
on your part
has been seen
in numerous applications for charters
for steam railways and bonuses to assist in
construction. The fact that the ratepayers are always
to grant large bonuses in addition to those granted
the government, shows that the people are no longer
content with such means of communication as the
ordinary county roads afford, but that they demand,
at very great cost, to be supplied with the means
by which they can travel rapidly in all directions.
No one now doubts that time is money, and
the introduction
of electricity as a motive power is most
opportune. That cars
can be rapidly and economically
driven by electricity has been practically demonstrated,
and it should be a source of gratification to all of the
residents of Essex that within the borders
of our county
the first electrical railway
of Canada, and of America,
has been constructed and put into operation as a
business enterprise, and that its success
is so great
no other known means of transportation could now
supply its place.
is no doubt but that, in the near future,
electricity will take the place
of steam on all our railways,
on account of its economy and greater adaptability
to the reqUirements of modern transportation. Let the County
of Essex, then, have the honour,
not only of being the first
in America in which there
was sufficient enterprise
to put electrical railways to a
practical test, but
be the first also to take advantage of
the great benefits to be derived from the introduction of
electrical railways throughout the county.
Steam railways are too costly to allow a sufficient
of lines to be built to serve the convenience or
of farmers living at a distance from and
of the direction of the general lines of through traffic,
but electric railways, which can
be built at small cost,
and the cars
on which are under such control that they
can stop almost instantly,
even when they have attained
a speed
of 25 miles an hour, and are admirably adapted
to the wants of the people. The trains can not only stop
at stations, but stop anywhere along the line and take
on passengers and produce, and save the people long
drives over bad roads
to railway stations.
I would therefore respectfully request you
to take
into your serious condition the following proposal:-
an electric railway be built from Windsor to
Amherstburg; Amherstburg to Harrow and Kingsville to
Ruthven and Leamington, and that a branch line be
built from Kingville to Essex Centre, and that, as the
peoples contribution
to the enterprise, the various
municipalities contribute at the rate of not less than
$1,000 per mile for the length
of line in their jurisdiction,
and that they grant the right of way along the roads,
allow the Electrical Railway
Co. to take such gravel for
ballasting as can -begot on these roads without
impairing them, and exempt the -lines from taxation for
20 years after their construction.
Should all, or a sufficient number of the
municipalities interested, grant these concessions, the
of the line would be commenced at once
and rapidly pushed
to completion. The railway would
only occupy the side of the road
as in Windsor, and
would not impede the public travel,
and care would be
taken to protect the crossings and prevent accidents
thereat. The rate
of speed would be 20 miles an hour if
desired, and as the line can be quickly built, a railway
such as suggested herein can be put
in practical
operation at once, if the
assistance asked for is
might say that if any two municipalities
connecting with each other, such as Kingsville and
Essex Centre, Kingsville and Leamington, or Windsor
and Amherstburg, granted these concessions, or
much as they might consent to, work could be
commenced irrespective
of the rest.
Hoping that the proposal may
be acceptable to
you, and that you may deem it in the interest of the
people that the assistance asked for
be granted.
I remain, gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
J.w. Tringham.
2. The St. Catharines Merritton and Thorold Street Railway
The earliest Canadian electric street railway that kept operating as an electric line was the one at St. Catharines. It was
electrified on
the Van Depole system in 1887 and was converted to standard trolley operation in 1893. The article below
appeared in the magazine The Electrical Engineer on October 18 1893, just before the conversion. It is interesting to see how
high tech marvel of 1887 was obsolete only six years later, much like computer technology today. The article was
provided by the
library at Woodstock Ontario which has an original copy of this publication in its holdings.
The Evolution of an Electric Road.
St. Catharines, Canada.
By T.e. Martin
The contrast between old
and new methods is not often so
strikingly presented as it can be
found in
electrical work, where
changes are rapid and extreme.
This fact was borne in upon me
when, visiting Niagara Falls to
inspect and descri be the
magnificent trolley road that
borders the Canadian shore for
twelve miles. J discovered that
at St. Catharines, near by, the
street railway was still being
operated with pioneer Van
Depoele apparatus, and had overrunning trolleys on double
overhead circuits, entirely independent of the track. Through
courtesy of Mr Frederic Nicholls, of the Canadian General
Electric Co., I was enabled to visit the old road and
to see it
just before the transition, with which he has been entrusted,
is made to modern plant and methods. I brought away with
me one of the antique trolleys as a relic, and have made it
seful, for the last time, in employing it as an initial for this
It occurred to me then that some notes on the evolution
of this road would prove of interest to the readers of this
journal, and with the help of Mr. H.D. Symmes, one of the
present proprietors, I
am now able to submit a few details. I
am also under obligations to Miss Annie Larkin, a charming
young amateur photographer, for a beautiful set of views of
the road and cars. Two of these photographs illustrate this
It was in the winter of 1886-7 that Mr. C. A. Smith, as
President and manager of the St. Catharioes, Merritton and
Thorold Street Railway, a horse road started in 1879, became
convinced that the merits
of electricity for traction, which a
of us were so insistent and enthusiastic about, must be
looked into. But when he invited manufacturers to equip
him for operating on the steep grades and short curves of ills
road, they did not
hanker after the contract, and Hobsons
choice was found in the Van Depoele Co., of Chicago. Those
A Cheerful Winter Scene
were days when Gen. Stiles and Mr. C.J. Van Depoele were
begging for a chance anywhere
to show what they could do,
and they soon filled up Mr. Smith with their own high faith
in electricity.
The road was actually put in commercial
operation electrically in the Fall of 1887.
At first the road was very successful and paid good
dividends, but it fell on evil days, was allowed to run down,
and would
have passed out of existence, after a couple of
auction sales of the property, had not a happy turn in its
vicissitudinous career put it into the energetic hands of
Messrs. Dawson & Symmes, the contractors for the
Chignecto Ship Railway, who have since organized it anew
as the Port Dalhollsie, St. Catharines & Thorold Electtic Street
The present management impresses me as most
energetic and intelligent, and likely to make a very brilliant
of the renovated and extended system.
The prime energy
of the road has always been water,
and the power
house is situated at lock 12, on the original
Weiland Canal. A
SOO-volt generator of 100 h.p. with a 220-
volt exciter, was put in; and I may note that the cost for this
was $4,000.
Down almost to the present moment, the only
safety device was a switch so ananged that the exciter might
be short circuited
in case of a short circuit on the main line.
Such episodes were by no means infrequent, as
it was a source
of pleasure and instruction to the guileless local folk to drop
crowbars across the two overhead wires. Another fund
amusement was derived from putting wire across, when the
current was temporarily off, and watching the electrical
illumination of the Province of Ontario when the current
came on again.
The motors were fondly supposed by the builders to
of 20 and 25 h.p. respectively, but the difference, in actual
operation, literally
simmered down to a difference in the
of the field insulation. The speed of the motors
was controlled both by a rheostat and by commutatmg the
fields. Some
of these old motors are still in use there. In the
two fields on
each motor are 15,000 feet of No. II B.&S.
wire arranged to give eight steps of resistance; and in the
armature are 48 sections
of 75 feet each of the same size of
wire as the fields.
The brushes used are peculiar, consisting
of two pieces
of brass rivetted together, with a space left between the ends,
which are turned up to receive a piece of electric light carbon.
As the
copper was never scraped off the carbon, the noise
made by the grinding on the
commutator was anything but
a song
of the sirens.
The motors were placed on the front of the car, and
the wheels were put well forward, so that the weight
of the
car behind the front wheels would balance the weight
of the
motor. I remember once being induced by Mr.
Van Depoele
to jump up and down violently, with two or three other friends,
on the rear platform
of one of his cars of this type, to illustrate
his statement that they would not tip.
The motorman sat on
the commutator side
of his motor, in a neat little cab, and no
one was allowed
to speak to the man at the wheel unless that
man undertook also the duties
of conductor.
Turntables were provided at the ends
of the line, as
the cars then ran in one direction only .
.. Mr. Symmes very
neatly describes their motion, then running at
20 miles an
hour with a light load, as resembling that of a snipe which
haunts the Canadian frog ponds.
The power from the motor
to car axle was transmitted by a pinion driving a spur gear
having at each end a sprocket wheel
10 inches in diameter.
These sprockets were connected by chains with two 20-inch
sprockets on the front axle. Probably Mr. Van Depoele
experimented as much with improvements on the sprockets
and links as he did on trolleys .. When a section in the motor
armature burned out or an open-circuit occurred, the section
iii trouble was nonchalantly cut out and the commutator
bars were connected across with fine wire. Some of these
cripples would run thus and stand
up to their work for months,
with 6
or 7 sections cut out. Mr. Symmes informs me that the
first motor supplied was the best, and that
it was in constant
service until last March, when the car and ·its motor were
both destroyed by fire.
During its earlier history, the road had four box and
three open cars equipped with
Van Depoele motors. It still
has two
Van Depoele motors on open cars, in active use, but
the equipment has been increased by new rolling stock with
Thomson-Houston W.P.SO motors, and by a beautiful
Canadian General Electric-Edison 32 generator, with the
Van Depoele as a reserve.
The Van Depole generator in use at St. Catharines from
1887 to 1893.
Replacing a trolley
011 one of the cars built in 1893. These
were the last
to use the ·old system (md were soon converted
tQ ihe under-running h·olley,.
The old-fashioned line equipment is not less
interesting than the power apparatus, and the fact that it has
been kept in use down to this time in spite of the awful
difficulties of maintaining an overhead metallic circuit,
speaks well for the pluck and skill of the pioneers. The
trolley wire was drawn by the Roeblings, and must be good,
honest stuff, for after six years
of use it shows little loss from
original three-tenths inch diameter, and the chief
noticeable wear is at the sides, on the curves. Bracket and
cross-suspension methods were employed. Insulation was
not merely poor but primeval. Nothing but wood was used.
For cross-suspension insulation, a piece
of wood was turned
round, grooved on
one side, the wire placed in the groove,
and a shutter or plug
of wood to fit the groove placed on top
of it. The ends were then bound with wire and the hangers
were clamped around the wood.
It goes without saying that it was a hard task to get a
trolley that would run on the wire and stay on.
The early
forms were always
in a condition of uneasy and uncertain
equilibrium, and when they
came off and hit the top of the
car with a clap
of thunder, the passengers were ready to begin
suit with the help
of a wily lawyer, for heavy damages from
electric shock. I believe one or two
such suits were actually
begun at Jamaica,
L. I. The trolley shown at the beginning
of this article was an improvement on the Van Depoele
original and was invented by a local genius. It works well,
as I can testify, but still has a groggy inclination to tumble
over, and as it weighs
10 pounds, it can be readily imagined
that a blow from it
is selious. It is now installed in my office
as a curiosity, and 1 notice that the charwoman rarely moves
The weight is obviously a great drawback, and we ail
know how lively was the sense of relief and gain when the
of the underrunning trolley began.
The wires to the trolley hang loosely, and the trolley
trails along a few feet behind the
car to which it is delivering
Whenever the weary, wobbling device falls off, the
conductor restores it to the line by means
of an implement
like a refined hay fork, which might also be utilized as an
weapon in those mythical districts where people
are said to oppose the introduction of electricity. From the
peculiar nature
of the double overhead construction, and its
effect on switches and turn outs, these forks are very
frequently needed to handle the trolley.
understand, however, from Mr. Symmes, that the
change from the old order to the new,
is about to begin, and
that in adopting the underunning trolley with the single
overhead circuit, he will use the discarded side as part of his
eaJ1h return. Much of the detail apparatus must, however, be
thrown away, and my respectful advice to the museum
authorities in Canada is that they secure Mr. Symmes, scrap
heap before the last traces
of this early electric railway work
in the Dominion are lost forever. I have no doubt Mr.
will treat them as generously as he did me, when he allowed
me to walk
off with the trolley from a car on duty.
. IV ..
. I haveintimatedtharthe road has entered upon a .new
of life, and it was gratifying to note that it has not only
increased its
power plant and rolling stock, but has built a
very handsome new car barn and offices,
of the most modern
design, with a classic front and all possible conveniences for
officers and men. In the machine shop,
an old rewound Van
Depoele motor drives the lathe and drill press, as well as the
blower in the smithy. Three tracks run into the building,
connected to the main line by three parallel curves, and
under the tracks nearest the machine shop are two large pits
lined with brick laid
in hydraulic cement. The woodwork of
the car barn is a pretty combination of cedar, chestnut and
I should add that the barn
is electrically lighted from
home-made storage battery, and will probably be heated
electrically, as are the cars. The company has already 600
h.p. of water at command, and does not pay a kings ransom
for it.
The road is, I should say, the cheapest to run in all
America, except where culm
is available at about 25 cents a
ton. ; In view
of having so much cheap power, the company is
installing a 1,000 -lamp lighting plant this fall. Negotiations
are also
going on with the Dominion Government for the
purpose of securing the right of way over the Wel1and Canal
bridges, and when this
is secured, four miles will be added to
the existing five
or six, and eight more cars will be put in
In justice to the vanishing system, it should be stated,
in conclusion, that the view in which the motor, a team of
horses, several men and numerous small boys are busy trying
to get the
car through the snow, was taken on the only day
last winter when the road was blocked. It is pleasant to say
a good word for an old friend at parting, and well to remember
that but for the overrunning trolley, the underrunning
never have been.
3. Brownells Accelerator street car
an exit without bothering the
motorman. Since most trams at
this time were double-enders, the
other two doors were used on the
return trip.
: iIONlREAL.-TRAMWAY EI.RCTnIQin:, vue p: ise II lencoignure des rUfa St,Denis et Ontario. Pho.
During 1892 and 1893
Brownell undertook extensive
advertising in street railway
magazines and quite a number
of Accelerator cars were sold.
Only one is definitely known to
come to Canada, but this
became historic. In the
summer of 1892 an Accelerator
lettered The Royal Electric
Company of Montreal THE
ROCKET was delivered to the
company named. Royal
had the contract to electrify
Montreals street railway, and on
September 21 1892, The
Rocket became the first electric
to operate in regular serv ice
in Montreal.
In 1894 the car was
sold to the Montreal Street
Railway which numbered it 350,
A rare photo of The:RQcket after it had become Montreal Street Railway No. 350.
Le Mondel11ustre,
Ie 3 Novembre 1894.
On November 3, 1891 the Brownell Car Company of
St. Lo~is Mo. receiv~d a patent. for what ittetmed an

.Accelerator stteet car
, bespit~ its name, the invention had
nothing to do with the mechanical operation of the car; it
did not involve some special motor
or gearing with a higher
te oracceleration. It was simply a new arrangement of the
entrance and exit doors which accelerated the loading and
of passengers.
From the very beginning, most closed street cars were
in the form of a box body with a single sliding door in the
bulkhead at each end. This
door usually opened on to an
open platform, but on some
sm~ller cars, called bobtails,
there was merely a step between the door and the street. In
later days, especially in cooler climates, the platforms were
enclosed by vestibules which often had doors
of their own,
and after about 1910 the sliding bulkhead door, and
sometimes the bulkhead itself, disappeared. This bulkhead
door was a bottleneck for loading and unloading, since both
boarding and alighting passengers would have to pass
through the same narrow opening. The problem was worse
on systems that prohibited the use
of the front door, where
the motorman stood.
The usual arrangement was that one
could get off
by the front door but not board there.
Brownells solution was simple, and
it is surprising
that no one thought of it before; have two doors, side by
in each bulkhead. There was still a problem, of course;
since the doors slid, only one could be used at a time.
However the one on the right-hand side was the key; using
this would speed
up service and allow the front to be used as
equipped it with a shorter
wheelbase truck, and included it in their regular roster. It
served until 1914 when it was retired and preserved. Today
it is
in the Canadian Railway Museum. The. interiorstUr-has
the original decoration of 1892, including the builders name
and the a
ll important Nov. 3rd. 1891 patent date.
There were three reasons why Montreal never ordered
any more Accelerator cars: They were more expensive than
others, they were a bit to long for a single-truck car on
Montreals narrow streets, and they were more suited for
double-end use while most
of Montreals cars were single­
s. Many cities used cars of their own design and did
not want to pay royalties to Brownell, not to mention the
customs duty importing these cars into Canada.
The accelerator idea was soon used by other
companies, in various ways to avoid infringing Brownells
patent. On single-end cars one off-centre door would serve
the purpose. Montreals first Pay-As-You-Enter cars in
1905 had two doors, but one slid and one hinged, so both
could be used at the same time; this was practical on these
wide single-end cars. Brownells patent expired in 1908 and
it was clear for everyone
to use the idea, but by then many
other schemes were
in use.
While one or two Accelerator type cars have been
preserved in the United States,
The Rocket is the least
of the lot, retaining most of its original features except
the truck. As such it is doubly historic, not only is it
Montreals first electric car, but it is also a representative of
a design which helped to change the design of street cars
Jlll: ~TRI-:FT R.II.\.\ jut;lc,,;.L. I (J!)
PATENTED 3, 1691.
Twelll y ,~Ol 111111 Oil lJat(orl1l olll, six illches longer t.hall usual, ith lxiL fOl
lild tllloug-It (Ioonnty aud otl platform lIot obfitrud,lll.
1111 Itll 110) IIH11 Oil llatforill with cClltnti (1001 I:ar Hlld sel how lIiflknlt it is
fOl a 11 01 0111<111 to ellter :tll(l IIan I,al,
J)o ~ou wallt to :;lrl), all the llllssellgcrs plaeti(,ahle 011 y01l1 .als !
,( Ito\ IIlarl), ll~n,} til( car body is I10twithstallllillg the lan.:e
IlalfollIl heail,v loa~lld at OIl(, elld, thc
fll))lt Ollll hci IIg empty.
C, \, HOllllllell, or :tI.ilwltU!C(!, ill a n,ccut lettcl say:
011 III t Foud h or .Jllly
Th .. , A e}(! 1<1 1 01
eHIIi(( Oil olle half irip, i. l., [lonl
Soldiers IJOllll~ lo Third Stl((~(, I:ar ItOlliW,
17 S passllIgIIS Iso n:gist cled hy ill e eOllllll..t:Ol),
SII(, carried Ihe 101ld with easc.
It, is tIll IiIlPst 1::11 I h;l,l.
ST. L0VIS. M0.
CO ..
ABOVE: A Brownell advertisement from the Street Railway joumal of August 1892. The car shown is The Rocket,
just before it was shipped to Montreal.
That car has 29 men on the nve-foot platform by actual count;
they weigh 4,55 I lbs. by the scales; and yet there is room for a wo-
man with a baby in her arms, to go in or out of the door without
touching one of them.
M. The door is at the corner.
I t is called
the Accelerator. I t accelerates getting there.
Passengers get on
and off in one-quarter of the usual time when
car is croweled-two-thirds when not crowded.
Saves perhaps five minutes a halrhours trip-two or three morc
trips a
day-say ten per cent. more money a day.
Costs nothing to
speak of.
Accelerates dividends, dont it?
two-page advertisement from the
Street Railway Journal, May 1894.
Woodstock Public Library
The Rocket as it appeared
1914, at the time it was taken out of
service and preserved. MTC photo
at the Canadian Railway Museum in
1965. Photo by Fred Angus
… ,,.;:—–.,,—–~
The Conductor stands at the edge of the platform next the step,
where he can see the whole inside of his car, where he can help his
passengers on and off, where he is not surrounded by standing passen­
gers, where he is free. H is work is there when not inside collect­
ing fares.
It is the handiest place to do his work; therefore he stands
there; therefore he does his duty more perfectly.
He occupies but little space, and leaves almost the whole platform
for passengers.
He is almost out of the way of passengers.
The corner of the platform between door and step is too small a
space for a
passenger; therefore nobody stands there; and the way
and out is kept clear automatically.
Platform passengers
stand behind the Conductor, together, sup­
ported by one
another when starting, stopping, turning curves, and
at other strains. That is the handiest place for passengers; there­
fore they
stand there. Everybody does what is handiest.
They sort themselves out, the get~outs-at-the-next-street outside.;
sho~ing; no stepping in the mud to let another passenger 01T.
The platform is so comfortable, the tendency is to have it as big
as it can
be-four feet long is a good size fot an electric car.
More passenger room, more passengers, more comfort, more satis­
faction, more
popular welcome, more reciprocal favors.
Adapted to roads where the traffic fluctuates, light sometimes, at
other times crowds. A large platform is never inconvenient; at times
is extremely important. But a large platform is comparatively of
little use without. this door
at the corl?~r.
), .
Our work is of thc very highest order.
, ….
, I .:~ j I ,; .. j;

Two photos taken inside Montreal Street Railway car 350,
The Rocket, at the Canadian Railway Museum on
September 21 2002, the 110th anniversary of the day the
same car inaugurated electric tramway service in Montreal.
The double door Accelerator feature,
and the original
110 year old decals are plainly visible. The lower decal in
the right hand photo reads Patented
Nov. 3rd 1891. The
iron fittings on the sliding doors bear the cast inscription
Brownell and Wight, the older name for the car-building
Both photos by Fred Angus
4. An 1891 poem~predi¢tingthe ·end·of steam·
The following poem was published in 1891. It compared the outdated steam locomotive of 1881 with the new electric
of 1891. and implied that electricity would soon conquer steam. This did indeed happen. but it took almost seventy years.
The Locomotive of 1881 -1891
Axles groaning, pistons hissing.
Tearing, wearing. bolts all missing,
Rushing hideous through the night air,
Always wanting some repair;
Boisterous, blustering, screaming, sooty
Thats the way he does his duty.
Silent, voiceless, quickly speeding,
Coal or water never needing.
As he rushes through the dark,
Showing but a single spark;
Like glow-worm or fire-fly,
Or star twinkling in the sky,
Soundless all his work will be,
Moved by electricity!
The Street Car That Couldnt Make Up its Mind
JlINE 3, 1948
— ————–.——-
A llam With jl10re Than Just a One-Track Nlind
This strCcl car had trouhle lith directioll~. II (;ime Lo a slop on Girouard ~venle iust south oC
J1onklann UCnuc nbOlJt tiA5 oclock last. nIght. and when it ~I;l.[ted Ult again UV~ lroutllQ develooeu.
The Jront whc(lls rolled nOrl.hwald on GirouArd aJ1d Ih.e back !lud< lUlnru ., ... h::lCk :~heel~ then iUn10ed the tracks, ancl lh~ car s.-unr,r alollnd into this p05;ition. in an easl-I,lSl
d,l!.CCI,wn O!l ) <1lsoblcct vchlcle away. No one was injured.
Ht·) .dd C(P),I it?ht ., Rvitu.ll)
, QUESTiON OF HOUTE-Apparently the fr ont find re-ar of this No. 83 tram got tired ~.f the
mtme ern.-ly J~6t mg-hl. In any case the front end of the street car went nOJlh on Cirouard ave.
hile ~he ,ear truck closed the switch and tried to go west on Monkland blvd. One l.ud{ wall
,,((~d olf tht; hacks and rhrough traffic was de Jayed fOJ. nearly .,·n hom, according to pu)j(·e.,
! ·nt: … .1)8 hOlt. Consts. Jean Paul Bragdon nd Betnfnd Lalonde inveslig ———–
While going through some old papers recently, your editor discovered these two newspaper articles that he had cut out back in
It seems that in the afternoon rush hour of June 2 1948, a Montreal 1200-class street car (possibly 1246, but the number
is very indistinct) was going north on Girouard at the corner of Monkland. At that time old cars like the 1200s were used only
in rush hours. The front truck of the car continued north as it should have, but the rear truck turned west on Monkland. The result
was that the tram ended up facing east on
Monkland, a place where street cars never ran I The top article is from the Montreal
Daily Star of June 3 1948, while the lower one is from the Herald of the same date.
The Advelltures of a CPR Stock Certificate
by Fred Angus
These days stocks are very much in the news as share prices fall and fortunes are lost (and some even won) by speculators.
most transactions are done by computer, and actual stock certificates are seldom issued. Before the days of instant
worldwide communication, the stock certificate was a vital part of almost every trade in securities. This is the story of one such
certificate, issued by the Canadian Pacific
Railway Company exactly one hundred years ago.
On Christmas Eve, December 24 1902, the Canadian
Pacific Railway Co. issued certificate Number B58409,
printed in black with a bright green border and ornament­
ation, for one share of stock. It was duly signed by the
Secretary and by E. Alexander representing President
Shaughnessy. It was also signed by the transfer agent in New
York and, two days later, was countersigned and registered
by tbe Registrar
in New York. It was issued to tbe financial
brokerage firm of C. Schlesinger-Trier and Co. in Berlin
Germany, and sent, with many other certificates, to Europe.
There it was stamped
in red with the German revenue stamp
and placed in the vaults
of the securities firm. At that time
share capital of the CPR was $84,500,000 divided into
845,000 shares with a par value
of $100 each. The majority
of this stock was held in Britain and Europe, so such
international transactions were a daily occurrence.
Soon thereafter the share represented by this certificate
were sold to one
of the brokers customers, and the certificate
was endorsed and delivered. However a transfer of stock, then as now, is required to be
entered in the books of the
company (in this case the CPR), the old certificate
in and destroyed, and a new one issued. If this was
done, any dividends would continue to be sent to the
broker instead
of the new owner. The problem was that to
return the
certificate to Montreal or New York, cancel it,
change the registration, issue a new certificate and return it
to Germany would be a lengthy process, taking about three
weeks including both transatlantic trips. The broker solved
this problem by leaving the certificate as
is and paying any
dividends on that
stock to the new owner.
So it was that each dividend on this share continued
to be sent by the CPR to
C. Schlesinger-Trier and Co. They
would advise the
owner who would bring in the certificate
receive the dividend. The certificate would then be
stamped on the back with the dividend and date to show
that it had indeed been paid. As far as the CPR was concerned,
the stock was still owned by CST&Co., and the same
certificate remained outstanding.
1903 TO 1914
42 Apr I 1903 3.00
Oct I 1903 3.00
Apr 2 1904 3.00
45 Oct I 1904 3.00
Apr 1 1905 3.00
Oct 2 1905 3.00
Apr 2 1906 3.00
Oct I 1906 3.00
Apr 2 1907 3.50
51 Sep 30 1907 3.50
Mar 31 1908 3.50
Sep 30 1908 3.50
Mar 31 1909 3.50
Sep 30 1909 3.50
Mar 31 1910 3.50
Sep 30 1910 3.50
Dec 31 1910 2.00
Apr 1 1911 2.50
60 Jun 30 191 J 2.50
61 Sep 30 1911 2.50
62 Jan 2 1912 2.50
Apr 1 1912 2.50
64 Jun 29 1912 2.50
Oct 1 1912 2.50
Jan 2 1913 2.50
Apr 1 1913 2.50
68 Jun
30 1913 2.50
Oct I 1913 2.50
70 Jan 2 1914 2.50
71 Apr 1 1914 2.50
Jun 30 1914 2.50
Duri ng the nex t twel ve years, 31
dividends were paid, totaling $88.50 on a share
with a par value
of $100. In addition, on seven
occasions between 1904 and 1914, the CPR
issued rights, which were options to purchase
new shares at a price lower than market value.
The reverse side of the certificate showing the record of the 3 J dividends
stamped in red. Note that it has been endorsed by CST & Co. making it
transferrable to bearer should the new owner decide to register
Each time this happened, certificate B58409 was duly
stamped on the front, so the notices of rights were on the
front, and the
record of dividend payments neatly on the
back. All these stamps were
in red ink. This certificate bears
the stamps for all
CPR djvidends from No. 42 ($2.50 paid on
Apri I 1 1903)
to No. 72 ($2.50 paid on June 30 1914).
The last dividend stamp is dated July 1914,
representing the dividend paid
on June 30. Early in August
the Great War broke out and all transactions between Canada
Germany ceased. There is no record as to where this
CPR certificate was during these grim years, but it probably
remained in a
vault in Berlin. Certainly the CPR did not
send any dividends to Germany during this time.
The next we hear of our certificate is in Inl when it
was stamped in black with a circular stamp reading Valeurs
Mobilieres Etrangeres, Contre Timbre Alsace et Lorraine
1921. Evidently this had to do with the French seizing
enemy securities in Alsace and Lorraine, which had been
returned to
France by the peace treaty of 1919. After that
is no further record, and the CPR wrote off certificate
B58409 and issued a new one to repre
sent this share.
Where tills certificate was for the next sixty-five years
is anyones guess.
It was never cancelled, it survived World
War II, and finally slllfaced
in 1986. If it had not been written
off it would now represent 40 shares, due to three splits of
CPR stock. Even with the recent downturn in share prices,
this would represent well over two thousands dollars. However
certificate B58409 is not redeemable since it has been written
off CPs books. It is, however, an interesting relic with a
fascinating story to tell.
Tile CBC 50th Anniversary Train
On September 6, 1952 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation inaugurated television broadcasting in Canada. This was
not the first Canadian telecast, for there had been experimental stations
as early as 1932. In addition, Canadians living near the
United States border could pick up American television broadcasts. However 1952 marked the start
of CBC television, and the
first broadcas
ts accessable to the majority of Canadians.
commemorate the 50th anniversary of this historic event the CBC ran a special train across Canada during 2002.
Locomotive 6403 was specially painted for the occasion, and it hauled a train
of stainless steel cars which included a baggage
car fitted up as a museum display relating to CBC history. In central Canada the train also included a display of the new
Renaissance cars recently pJaced in service.
These two photos show the CBC train on September 27, 2002, during its visit to Montreal. It was exhibited in the Old
Port area, and the
dome of Bonsecours Market is visible behind the train.
Photos by Fred Angus
50th Anniversary of the CNR Multiple Unit Cars
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the introduction, by the CNR, of its multiple-unit cars to the Mount Royal tunnel
line. The eighteen cars (motors M-I to M-6, and trailers T-I to T-18) were ordered in 1950 to replace conventional
trains as well as the few older MU cars then in service. Originally the motor cars had been planned to be numbered 15905 to
15910, while the trailers were to have been 15975 to 15986. How.ever before they were completed the numbers were changed
as above. On June 9, 1952 the first of the series, M-I, was delivered and underwent tests. The other 17 cars followed during the
summer, and on
September 23 all were placed in service.
Although the cars had b
een tested, these tests were run in the summer. As winter approached, there were problems with
blowing snow getting into the motor
s. As a result, during the winter of 1952-53 the new cars were operated as trailers hauled by
electric locomotives until the trouble was correcte
d. (A similar problem occurred in 1995 with the cars that replaced the MUs.
History repeats
The MUs had a long career in COnuTIuter service, most surviving until 1995, a total of 43 years. Of the original 18, at least
14 have been preserved in locations as far distant as Alberta and South Carolina. This is a survival rate of more than 77%.
The following article appeared
in CRHA News Report (predecessor of Canadian Rail) No. 28, September-October 1952,
exactly fifty years ago.
On September 23rd, Canadian National Railways
multiple-unit cars
M-1 to M-6 and T-1 to T-12 (latter are trailing
units) were placed in
regular service in the Montreal
Terminals electrified zone. These cars were built
by Canadian
& Foundry in Montreal and they were received in June,
though introduction to regular service was delayed due to
the fact that pantograph power collectors were not available
until recently. Commencing with the change of timetable
September 28th the cars will take over 20 daily weekday
round trips between Montreal and Ste. Eustache, Cartierville
and Montreal Nord, on which regular equipment has hitherto
been utilized. Cars are operated
in electrical units of three,
one motor and two trailers.
In practice, three trains of six
cars (two such units) will be used, though
in the first week of
operation, one train was increased to nine cars, at the
expense of another during the lighter traffic period which
used three cars only. The cars are tastefully finished
in light
green pastel interiors with maroon upholstry. While seats
are closely spaced for the suburban service, the cars have
aisles. The motor cars seat 88, in 22 seats
corresponding to 22 windows on each side. Toilet and
drinking water facilities are provided only
in the trailing cars
which seat 84 passengers. Car interiors are separated from
the vestibules
by sliding doors. Platform controls are installed
at one end of each car in the motors and trailers and there is
a door arrangement which can be closed over the controls
or opened to provide a separating partition between the
engineman and the pest of the platform. The cars are quick
accelerating and the exterior is painted
in standard C[IR
like all CNR unit cars, control ends are painted orange
with red corridor doors. Pantagraphs are painted red. When
the air horn
is sounded, horn units on all motor cars in the
train are operated in either direction, with a consequent
in volume and carrying ability of whistle signals.
These cars can
be heard for several miles and they are
noticeably louder than the electric locomotive whistles.
building and purchasing these multiple-unit cars, the
National system has taken a laudable and progressive step
in a field which many railroads consider Excess
baggage to
be done away with, where possible.
Essex Terminal Railways tOOth Anniversary
902 2. 0 0 2.
mVI/IG WItlOSOR. [SSI ~ LOtHIlY fOR I no YllIRr.,
The Essex Terminal Railway runs due south
from Windsor, Ontario to
Amherstburg. It serves a
of industries in the area and carries a great
of freight. It has never had passenger service
but was intended from the first as a freight hauler
in this very industrialized part of Ontario.
The ETR was incorporated in 1902 by Act
of the Dominion Parliament, 2 Edward VII, Cap.
62. its purpose was To build from Walkerville via
Windsor and Sandwich to Amherstburg. The main
line was completed in 1907. The ETR was
controlled by the United States Steel Corporation
until 1937 when
it was sold to Dominion Steel and
The first week of September 2002, the ETR
celebrated 100 years of existence by running a
of short steam excursions, using former ETR
steam locomotive No.9, and giving a very rare
opportunity to ride this short line. No.9 was built
in 1923 and
is today in the railway museum at St.
Thomas. On August
31 it was brought to Windsor.
The week of celebrations culminated on
September 7 with a round-trip steam trip over the
entire line from
Windsor to Amherstburg. These
photos were taken by your editor on that day.
Number 9 then returned to St.
Thomas where it is
used in tourist train service.
News From the Canadian Railway Museum
On September 28 2002 the Canadian Railway
Museum unveiled its latest publication. Entitled Portrait of
the Collection, the book is available in either English or
French editions.
Written by
Jean-Paul Viaud, with input from other
CRHA members, this book is more than a guide to the
collection. It is a capsule history of Canadian railways as
illustrated by items in the collection. The research is
ex.cellent as is the artwork.
Some of the latter is quite striking,
especially the
cover that looks as if the rotary snow plough
is about to chomp up street car 1959!
On the right we see the
cover of the English version
of the book, while below is a photo taken beside car
Malahat at the time of the ceremony.
Work has now resumed on the new Ex.porail
building and it is ex.pected to be completed in time for
opening nex.t year. The bottom photo shows the entranceway
of the building as it appeared on September 21, 2002.
Au Rythme du Train 1859 -1970
by Alexander Reford
This book, by Alexander Reford and published by
Quebec government, is a picture book of rare photos
relating to railways in the province
of Quebec, covering the
period from 1859 to 1970.
Included are 156 high quality
of which 45 are from before 1900. The earliest in the
is of locomotive Trevithick of the Grand Trunk
pictured when new
in 1859. Latest in the series is an interior
of one of CP Rails double-decker commuter cars in
The book is divided into eight sections, including
locomotives, construction, accidents, stations, freight trains
etc. Electric railways are not forgotten; for instance there is
a photo
of the first electric car to run in Quebec City (1897)
as well as
no less than four views of the interior of the Montreal
Street Railways power house
in 1894. Of interest to members
of the CRHA is the photo on page 39 (see below). It is no less
than an extremely rare side view of CPR official car
Saskatchewan at Windsor station in 1897. This is before
car was rebuilt in 1901. Even porter Jimmy French
appears, as well as a figure who is very likely Sir William
Van Horne, to whom this car was assigned.
The introductory text and captions are in French,
however a full English translation
of all the captions is
given at the back
wh.ich will be of great help to those who
are not fluent
in the language of Moliere!
The only serious criticism your editor could find
is that a few
of the dates given are quite inaccurate. For
example the 1897 Quebec street car mentioned above is
shown as circa 1910. While thirteen years
is not much
in some histories, in electric railway history it is
considerable. Another example is the Vice Regal train
shown on page 32. It is labeled circa 1915, yet the
locomotive and cars show that it is clearly
of the 1870s.
Also the above-mentioned view of car Saskatchewan
(lettered Canadian Pacific) is described as a Pullman
car. In fairness
to the author, most of the errors are due
inaccurate cataloguing by the archives where the
photos are held; often those who catalogued them
took educated guesses.
These errors do not detract from the basic
importance of the book; that of being a collection of
rare and highly desirable photos of Quebec railways
covering a period
of one hundred and eleven years. It
should be in the library of anyone who is truly
interested in the history of Canadian railways.
The Business Car
Washington, DC, October 15, 2002 -Bombardier
Transportation today unveiled at Union Station in
Washington DC, the first
ISO-mile per hour (240 km/h) non­
electric high-speed rail locomotive designed for the North
American market.
The state-of-the-art Bombardier JetTrain
locomotive is
powered by a jet engine derived from a Pratt
& Whitney PW 150, which replaces the traditional diesel
engine found in most current rail equipment.
technology was designed to offer the speed
and acceleration of electric trains without the cost of
building electrified rail lines. It meets all North American
standards for high-speed rail. The initiative was launched in
1998 as a
public-private development partnership between
Bombardier Transportation and the Federal Railroad
Administration (FRA).
Bombardier has moved the goal posts, said Pierre
Lortie, President and Chief Operating Officer of Bombardier
Transportation. JetTrain high-speed rail is game-changing
technology that breaks open the high-speed market
throughout North
Among its many performance features, the
locomotive is 20 per cent lighter than a conventional diesel
unit with
twice the acceleration. It has already undergone
extensive low and high-speed dynamic testing as part of the
Bombardier/FRA Research & Development program.
JetTrain is significantly more environmentally
friendly than other forms of mass transportation. Under
operating conditions, JetTrain greenhouse gas emissions will
be at least 30 per
cent lower than from a conventional diesel.
As well, the JetTrain locomotive is quieter than FRA noise
standards at all
operating speeds.
JetTrain is the only non-electric high-speed rail
technology designed to meet Tier 1I Passenger Equipment
Safety Standards established by the FRA. Tier 1I standards
specify minimum safety requirements related
to crash energy
management, rollover strength, and the ability to withstand
compressive forces at speeds greater than
125 mph (200 kml
Market experience in Europe and now in the Northeast
Corridor has consistently demonstrated that high-speed rail
is an
attractive and competitive alternative to both air and
automobile travel
for trips of 150 to 400 miles (240 to 640
Bombardier Transportation manufactures 20 different
intercity and high-speed
products, including seven different
high-speed locomotives.
Bombardier has participated in the
development of many of the worlds leading high-speed rail
systems, including
fom different TGVs, the ICE trains used
Germany and the Netherlands, Italys ETR 500, Chinas
Spains Talgo and Americas Acela.
Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in
the rail equipment manufacturing and s
ervicing industry. Its
wide range
of products includes passenger rail cars and total
transit systems. It also manufactures locomotives, freight
cars, propulsion & controls and provides rail control
Bombardier Inc., a diversified manufacturing and
services company, is a world-leading manufacturer of
business jets, regional aircraft, rail transportation equipment
and motorized recreational products. It also provides
financial services and asset management in business areas
aligned with its
core expertise. Headquartered in Montreal,
Canada, the Corporation has a workforce of some 80,000
people in 24 countries throughout the Americas, Europe and
Asia-Pacific. Its revenues for the fiscal
year ended Jan. 31,
2002 stood at $21.6 billion Cdn. Bombardier trades on the
Toronto, Brussels and Frankfurt stock exchanges (BBD,
and BBDd.F). For more information see Bombardiers web
In 1902, by act of the Dominion Parliament (2 Edw.
VIII Cap. 9) the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway
was incorporated. A project
of the Ontario government, the
&NO was planned and built to open up regions of Northern
Ontario, and
in this it has served admirably well for a centmy.
Such events as the great mining boom at Cobalt in 1910 or
the Porcupine gold strikes would not have happened without
T&NO. By 1930 the railway had reached from North
Bay to Moosonee, its present terminus. In 1946 its name was
changed to Ontario Northland, and it adopted the slogan
Ontarios Development Road. We hope to have a feature
article on the
ONR early next year.
BACK COVER TOP: C;V:~ Cabot flvm Montreal to Sydney N.S. via the former National Transcontinental lille, stops at Truro
N.S. all October 5, 1968. On the rear is a Skyview car acquired from the Milwaukee Road.
of the CPRs Park dome observation cars brings up the rear of CPs Montreal-QlIebec City
train at TlVis Rivieres on April
9, 1967. Both photos by Fred Angus
This issue of Canadian Rail was delivered 10 Ihe prilller on Oelober 28, 2002.

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