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Canadian Rail 036 1953

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Canadian Rail 036 1953

Notice of Meeting
The June meeting of the Association will be held in
the Transportation Building, 159 Craig Street VTest, on
Wednesday, June 10th, 1953 at 8:00 PM. This
is the last meet·
ing before the summer recess. Entertainment will be provided
by a selection of slides on railway subjects taken by several
members. Members and guests are cordially invited to attend.
One of the subjects missed in the 14ay Nels Report was an
account of the Annual Banouet which took place in room 100,
Queens Hotel, on Thursday evening, April 9th. Forty five mem­bers and guests participated at the function, which was very
successful in every way. Invited guests seated at the head
table included r4r. Frederick Bramley, Secretary, Canadian Pac­
ific Railway, f·lr. A.L. Sauviat, Administrative Assistant to the
Director of Public Relations, C.N.R., and Mr. F.E. McDowall,
formerly public relations Representative at Toronto for the
National System, but well
-known in his ovm right as author of
The Champlain Road, a book vhich received the Governor-Generals
Gold Medal for Literature some years ago.
After a most enjoyable meal, our member Mr. R.C. Harries
gave an account, in his usual entertaining manner, of life in
Montreal during the nineteenth century; he touched on the build­
ing of a number of St.Lawrence River
bridges as well.
On Saturday, June 6th, members and friends will be affor­
ded an opportunity to see how a way freight spends its time.
Arrangements have been made with Canadian National R_ilways to
have a passenger car attached to the St.Hyacinthe wayfreight,
which will leave Turcot Yard at 8:45 AM. Opportunity will be
ha~ to secure lunch at St.Hyacinthe. Return to Montreal will be
about 5 PM. Fare $}.OO before the day of the trip, $}.50
on the day of the trip~ If pOSSible, please make your arrange­
ment with rlr. S.S. Iorthen, } Prospect Street, Westmount (WE.4}5$)
before ~~y 31st, to ensure that a sea~ is reserved for you.
——_. —.—.. –
FOUR WHISTLES TO 11000 UP ! by Frank N. Vla1ker
An entertainine account of the Northern Railway and its
personalities –the result of years of patient resea~ch
by the author on the history and development of Ontarlofs
first railway. Price — – -50¢ per copy.
Published by the Upper Canada Railway Society, Book
Cirfulation, Box 122, Terminal A, Toronto.
Note: Members residing in r40ntreal may desire to order thei~
copies of Four vhistles to Wood Up from the Editor
at the next meeting.
On l-lay 16th, 1953, I went to Aurora, Ontario. Exactly
one hundred years had passed since the running of the first
scheduled stearn passenger train in what was, at that time, th~
semi-province of Canada West, now Ontario. The Province of
Canada had been formed in 1841, by an act uniting the colonie9
of Upper and Lower Canada, and it was to remain as a separately­
administered British colony until 1867 when, with Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick, the infant Dominion of Canada would be formed.
Hailw~.ys had a good start in Lower Canada (Quebec) as
early as l( ,and by 1853; iron rails were laid from Montreal
to the province line at Rouses Point and Mooers and another line
was well on the way to completion toward Portland on the coast
of Maine.
But, this is about Ontarios first steam railway, which was
knOffi as the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Railway, but later,
and perhaps more familiarly, as the Northern Railway.
promotion and realization of a railway between Tor­
onto and Lake Huron was larrely the effort of Frederick Chase
Capreol, who has been called (by Mr. Robert R. Brown) a success­
ful auctioneer and amateur detective. Through his efforts, the
Provincial Legislature passed a bill incorporating the Toronto,
Simcoe & Lake Huron Union Railroad in 1849. In 1850, the char­
ter wa~ amended and ~he ~ame .cha~Ked to Ontario, Simcoe & Huron
Railway. After an unsuccessful attempt had been made to raise
the necessary capital by.1ottery, construction was started on
October 15, 1851 when the first sod was li£ted by Lady Elgin,
wife of the Governor General, .at an impressive ceremony held
in Toronto.
year later, Canada Wests first steam locomotive, app­
ropriately calledltLady Elginll was received from the Portland
Works, set up on a track .near the foot of Bathurst Street, and
placed under steam. Intended primarily for construction, and
later for . freight work., Lady Elgin was joined, in April 1853,
by the engine Toronto which had been built at the establishment
of Mr. James Good on Queen Street, near Yange, in Toronto. This
was the first railway. locomotive built in Canada. In February
1853, the railway had been completed from Toronto to Machells
Corners (now Aurora) and the official opening took place on
the 16th of May, 185).
. ,
Later the Same year, the line was extended from Aurora to
Bradford and Allandale, and in 1855 was completed to the lIHen
and Chickens Harbour, now Collingwood.
A very complete story of the Northern and the persolls
associated with it has been published by the Upper Canada H,~~ 1-
way SociE:ty, Inc. as Bulletin No. 37. Written by Dr. Frank N,
Walker, the 64-page book represents several years of patient
research, drawing on sources as far afield as the British MuseWt..
The centenary observance at Aurora was impressive. A
special train, consisting of two diesel-electric road locomot j.: 2:;
bage:age car, coach and business cars, was operated from Toroilt.c
to Aurora for the use of dignitaries attending the function.
The refular passenger train was provided, as well, with extr~
coaches for the convenience of the public. After these two
trains arrived at Aurora, a triumphal entry was made by the
Canadian Uational Railways I Museum Train beaded by engine 6?~.
The Train has been described in some detail in the News Reports
for April and May 1953. After appropriate ceremonies in
which the Premier of Ontario, civic and railt …. ay officials partic:­
ipated, a parade was staged in the town after lunch. The par­
ade ended at the Aurora fair ground, where a carnival was held
for the rest of the day. The Upper Canada Railway Society
participated at the parade and the carnival.
During the afternoon and evening of rJIay 16th, the !·1useum
Train was on display to the public, and later proceeded to
Allandale and other points.
The Lady
Elgin It and Toronto If were members of an illust­
rious series of Northern Railway engines, not the least of which
was the Josephine and its engineer, Cyrus Huckett. For the
interest of the motive power devotees, there is appended an
extract from the railways report to the Government in 1860
on the Locomotives and their condition, at that time.
Further interesting details can be obtained from UCRS
Bulletin No.
Number, descri~tion and condition
of Locomotive ngines, Dec.)1,1860.
l. LADY ELGIN I 4-4-0 14×20 60
Portland lIl52 Fair order.

54 Good le53 do

17×20 72 Brandt

Wants repairs.


Rair orJer.
5 • OllTARIO I

Good order.
6. srr~COE 0


Iants repairs.

17×20 60 Brandt le54
. do
e. SEn.lOUR I

Good order.
9. HERCULES I 0-6-0 lex20 54
Good le55 In shop rprs.

Good order
ll. o 4-4-0 16×20 60

12. I
.. .. ..
In shdp rpl6 .
1ex20 66

Good oIder.
I 4-4-0 17×20




In shop rprs,
Wants repair~.
do Good
I-Inside connections
Blackburn and Brandt were located at
Paterson, NJ and built under the partner­
ship name of New Jersey Locomotive works.
The report is signed by J. Tillinghast, 3upt. ~1otive Power
Twenty five to thirty years ago, the Sydney-Glace Bay area
was served by an excellent electric railway service, but now has
what might easily be the worst bus service in North America.
Prior to 1900, Sydney was a sleepy little village with no
local industries and only had the loading piers of two antiqua­
ted colliery railways. At the turn of the century, a hu~e steel
millwas built by the Dominion Iron & Steel Company and the town
grew rapidly.
0n r4arch 30th, 1900, the Cape Breton Electric Tramway and
Power Co. was incorporated and a year later, the name was changed
to Cape Breton Electric Company. In 1901, two lines were built
in the city of Sydney; one from the shopping district loop to
the rapidly growing Vlhitney Pier section and the other to lhit­
ney Avenue serving the best residential district. On the other
side of the harbour
a line was built to connect the towns of
North Sydney and Sydney Mines. The Company was controlled by
Stone & Webster of Boston. On March 27th, 1902, the Sydney &
Glace Bay Railway was incorporated to build a line from a connec­
tion with Cape Breton Electric Co. at Prince and Sheriff streets,
then over the abandoned ri~ht-of -way of the old Glasgow & Cape
Breton Coal and Railway Co. to Reserve, and from there
build a
loop or belt line to serve Dominion, Bridgeport, New Aberdeen,
Glace Bay and Caledonia. This line was completed in October 1902
and the cars ran to the downtown loop in 3ydney. There was also
a local service in Glace Bay. The interurban line was bought by
the Cape Breton Electric Company in 1908.
In the early twenties
there was a disastrous strike among
the coal miners and steel workers and the result was a severe
depression which lasted for fifteen years. First to go was the
North Sydney-Sydney Mines ~inc which was abandoned in 1926. In
1929, Stone & Webster sold the Cape Breton Electric Company to a
newly-formed local Company, the Ea~tern Li~ht & Power Company,
which was not interested in operating the railway vhich had been
neglected and had become very dilapidated.
On September 8th, 1931, a ?roup of employees organized
the Cape Breton TramwaY5 Limited and on November 21st, cor.unenced
operating the interurban line to Glace Bay, and part of the city
loop. New cars were bought and much-needed repairs were made.
In 1945, the part of the loop from Reserve to Glace Bay via
Dominion was abandoned and buses used on that part of the loop
and for local services in and around Glace Bay.
Then, one
day in April, 1947, a young boy went out hunt­
ing with a .22 rifle and decided that the tramways power sub­
station would be a good target. There was a flash and a crash
and the three cars out on the line had to he towed in. The Com­
pany found that it would cost ~40,000 to replace the damaged
equipment; the track was old and in bad condition so it ,as dec­
ided to abandon the electric railway permanently and use buses.
one time, the company had a very profitable side line
in the Electric ~xpress, carrying parcels to various points
along the line. A frei~ht motor and trailer made two or three
trips daily. Originally, the cars were pa inted dark green but
in 1929 they were changed to traction orange with black diamonds
on the front and side panels. Local fares were 7~ cents, and
special tokens, the size of a nickel, were sold, 2 for 15 cents.
1 to 11
51, 52
to 61
62 to 64
104, 106,
101, 103, 105, 107.
09, 110,
Single truck, double end closed cars built 1901 by
the Ottawa Gar Co. Nos. I, 5 and 7 were used on the
North Sydney line and the others on Sydney local service.
Birneys built 1918 by St.Louis Car Co.
buil t for left hand rule of the road tI.
doors on opposite sides in 1923. Used
in Sydney and Glace Bay.
rebuilt with
on local lines
Birneys built by Brill. Probably second-hand. Used on
local lines in 3}dney and Glace Bay. 60 and 61
sold, 1942, to Uova 3cotia Light &. Power, Halifax.
Three others had been sold there in 1932.
Three of the old 1 to 11 class, rebuilt.
Double tr
uck, double end interurban cars.
1902 by Ottawa Car Co.
Built in
Double truck interurban trailers, built 1902 by Ottawa
Car Co. Not satisfactory so in 1903 were converted
into motor cars. Original open platforms closed in. They were about
)1 longer than the 102 class.
Single truck, double end closed cars bought 1907-10
for local service in Glace Bay. No. 1£0 may have
been double truck.
New Aberdeen
Sydney and Glace
<> Reserve Jet.
Grand Lake Airport
Double truck, double end interurban cars, built 1912
by Cincinnati Car Co. and bought in 1915, second-hand They were
extreme~y ugly and very noisy. Scrapped
in 1936, 1938 and 1940.
Double truck, double end cars, almost exactly the same
as the 3pringfield cars bought by the Montreal Tramways
Co. Built 1927-29 by Wason Mfg. Co. Bought 1934 from
Greenfield & Montague Transportation Area, formerly:
No.IO) Focll,tuck, No.105 Picomegan
No.I07 Mohawk, No.109, Mohegan.
These cars were very comfortable and gave good service,
far superior to any bus.
DT DE Freight Motor. Built 1907 -Rhodes ,Curry & Co.
Amherst, NS.
DT Freight Trailer. Built 1911 -Rhodes Curry & Co.
McGuire-Cu~mings sweeper. 1906.
n n n
51. DT DE snowplough. 1902 J. G.Brill Co.
.. ..
6959 De lEpee Avenue,
Montreal 15, Que.
1911 Osgoode-Bradley Co. lorcester, f-1ass
1914 Cape Breton Elec. Co.
O.S.A. Lavallee,Editor.
Subscription: $1.50 annually.
Canadian Railroad Historical Ass In, Inc.,
Bulletin No. 16,
July 15. 195).
_ THE II 0 A D .. · T 0 THE SEA
An account of the circunstances surrounding the
construction of the Saint Lawrence & Atlantic
Raih/ay and the Atlantic & Saint Lav,rrence !tail­
way, bet … een r.10lltreal, C.E., and Portland, 1·1e.
by Robert R. Brmtrl
.. he raili1ay from Portland, ~laincJ to :t-Iontreal, now 0. per-
. L ated by Canadian Uational Railways, and its subsidia~y, .
1 the Grand Trunk Railway, …. as perhaps the first great;.
. international railway origina;Lly planned as such. Its—
,-course lay across one province and three states J in ttlO
countries, and its construction required four charters.
Nonetheless, it was a sinEle, continuous railway line.
Despite the fact that a rival route was completed at an earl­
ier date J the Portland line l:laS of such great importance that
it seems desirable to examine, in some detail the various and
conflicting influences ,!hich brought it into being.
The principal factor influencing the construction of
this raih … ay la5 a desire to make Portland the principal Iiin­ port of Canada. Undoub:tedly, a nother port and an alter­
nativ(~ route ,ould have been found had it not been for the
influence of several stronU-iilled promoters.
uuring the first half of the nineteenth century, the
name nCanada It was re.stricted to a much smaller area than no· …..
The term embraced the valleys of the Saint Lmlrence, Ottawa
and Richelieu rivers, the north shore of Lake Ontario and the
peninsula lying between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The eastern
part, betltleen Hontreal and the Gulf had been settled by the
French, mostly between 1660 and 1745, folloled after 176) by
a considerable number of English and A.t:1.erican merchants whp
were interested in the fur trade. Follmling the American
Revolutionary Jar, some 60,000 United Empire T,oyalistc migr­
ated to the British North Am~rican Pro~rinces. The gre:;;.t m::>j­
ority of them had been wealthy and prominent farmers,. merch
arits ~nd professional men and their families from New England
and Nev York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. To these people,
the ancient traditions and loyalties were more impor~ant than
the confiscation of their p!operty and banishment, often to a
pioneer life in a northern ..,rilderness. Ho\ever, they re-est­
ablished thc.:.:eJ.ves ,-!uickly and th~y a:-:.d their descendants
proved to be Uncle greatest, thou!;h unintentional, con­
tribution to the deve! opUlent.. of Canada. Followine; the Napol-
————–_. ——
eonic Wars, large numbers of settlers emigrated from England and
Scotland and, a little later, from Ireland~ These six ethnic groups
form the backbone of Canadian civilization, The Itmelting pot idea
never found favour in Canada, and the descendants of these groups
still retain their diverse individualities and have great pride in
their origins. This has advantages, but it also hlS disadvantages.
The Ithabitants or French-speaking farmers of Lower Canada,
Jere to a great extent self-sufficient.. Practically everything they
needed in the Nay of food, clothing, equipment and furniture was
produced on their o~m farms or in their Qtffl villages. However,
they contributed very little to the general prosperity of the coun­
try. This economic and social isolation was self-imposed, princip­
ally because they were suffering from a sort of inferiority complex
as they felt that they had been deserted by France, and they were
not quite willing to be adopted by England. Actually, they were
treated exceptionally … ell by the British Government. The British
people J especially the Scots and the Irish have a1/ays been ready
and willing to establish friendly relations with people of other
races and other languages but in Lower Canada, they soon tired of
constant rebuffs from their French neighbours and the breach grad­
ually widened. Happily, in recent years, the Bonne Entente has
The English-speaking immigrants settled mostly in Upper Canada
and in the southwestern part of LOJer Canada, knOffi inaccurately as
the Eastern To … nships . From earliest times, they have been int­
erested in cash crops and consequently a very large proportion of
the import trade and a considerable part of the export trade of the
country depended on their pro~perity, and their prosperity, in turn
unfortunately depended on circumstances over which they had no con­
trol –a severe climate, difficult and very costly transportation,
and tariff barriers in other countries. Prior to the opening of
the canals, the cost of transportation between I,1ontreal and Lake
Ontario alone, usually exceeded the value of the merchandise.
The beginning of the fifth decade of the Nineteenth Century
mark:d the end of a period of political turmoil and commercial dep­
ress~on. Responsible democratic government was firmly established,
and an economy based on the products of the farms and forests, gave
a moderate if not spectacular prosperity. By 1847, an extensive
system of canals had been completed, ?ermitting steamboats of con­
siderable size to navigate from Lake Superior to the sea, giving
great impetus to trade. The construction of these artificial wat­
erways vJas only accomplished at tremendous cost; Clore thsr;l two hun­
drect:.million , doil:.l9-rs thad been invested, and amounted, in effect I to
a debt of more than ~lOO.OO for every man, woman and child in the
Province of Canada, which had a population of a little less than
2,000,000, in the year 1840. During the four or five months of win­
ter, the lakes and rivers -Jere sealed with ice and all navigation
ceased. For years, especially in Lo, … er Canada, this had not been
of much consequence but with a rapidly expanding commerce, the

annual winter tieup created a serious bottleneck. Canada las ripe
for a change in its transportation setup and by 1845 it had become
apparent that a Ilinter port served by a trunk railt … ay las an imper­
c:tive necessity.
The first Ar.terican lJraack Act in 1645 allmed goods dest ined
for Canada to cross the United States free of duty, and the second
Act in 1847 permitted Canadian produce to be exported in bond thro-
ugh the United States. This was helpful to the farmers of Upper
Canada but as most of the freieht would be routed by the Erie Canal
and American railroads, it was thought, not … lithout reason, that it
lOuld be ruinous to the shippine; in Montreal and Quebec.
Natters were further complicated by the repeal of the British
Corn Laws in 18h.6. Wheat and flour ere always among the most imp­
ortant exports from Canada. The Corn La1s of 1815 imposed high
duties on such imports, nominally to protect the British farmers
but really to raise funds to pay for the recent wars with France
and the United States. The imposition of these statutory restric­
Lionsvirtually closed the British market to Canadian exports until
1825 when the duty on Canadian wheat as reduced to five shillings
a <.tuarter; in 1$42, it \as further 1mlered to a nominal duty of one
Shilling. These tariff concessions and the later reduced cost of
inland navigation were of great benefit to the Canadian farmers but
they were offset by the high trans-Atlantic freight rates. Until
1847, the Navigation Act permitted only British ships to engage in
the Canadian trade and since most of the ships trading betvleen
Canada and Great Britain and most of the steamboats on the Saint
Lawrence ,ere owned in ?v10ntreal and Quebec, the resulting tight
little transportation monopoly was not so popular amonr the farmers
of Upper Canada as it was amonC the merchants of Lower Canada.
Navigation of the 10
er .::ioint Lasrence River was then very
difficult. and dangerous for sailing vessels and usually they had to
be tOHed up the river .fror1 a point off the mouth of the Saguenay
River to Nontreal, a distance of about )00 miles. A large number
of paddle-vlheel tovlhoats were engaged in this service and their
charges were fantastic. As an example, a sailing vessel 23 feet
breadth of beam and dra,;ing 15 feet, .las charged £69/6ta upward to
Hontreal and half rate downward, or a total of about l?500 for the
round trip. 30me of the larger ship owners had their om tues on
the river but most of the ships were at the mercy of the to,lboat
The spending of large sums of public money on the canals came
to an end in 1848, and combined with other circQ~stances brought
about a severe c0~mercial depression in 1849. So much so that a
small group of prominent Nontrealers –and it is perhaps signi:fic­
ant that all of them were connected lith shipping and forvlarding -­
sign.3d a manifE:.sto suggesting political union with the United Stat­
es of Ameri:a. The idea vias 50 unpopular and aroused such a storm
of protest that they speedily recanted. Fortunately, the depress­
ion was of short duration and undoubtedly the beginning of railway
construction was a contributing factor. The mere threat of this new
competition brought about a reduct. ion in freight rates by later and
thus, ,.,..ith lowered transportation costs, the Canadian wheat grm·rers
.;ere able to retain their forMer position in the British market in
spite of the loss of the tariff concessions. Thus it will be seen
that the various factors influencing Canadian trade were fluctuat­
ing continuously beti.,..een good and bad and only a cheap, reliable
and uninterrupted form of transportation Iould permit the country
to develop. That form was the railt-lay.
Turning now to the south of the border, we learn about the sad
state of New Ehg).and. Its overseas shipping had greatly diminished
and its people, by the thousands, were leaving its hilly and stony
farms and seeking new homes in the lest. Its cities had not yet
begun to enjoy the great prosperity due to the tremendous develop­
ment of manufacturing .,…hich took place in the years following.
New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore were building railroads to tap
the resources of the great west and were benefitting greatly there­
by; as a consequence, Boston and other New England cities began to
dream about busy railroads which would bring to them all the trade
of the Great Lakes, the Ohio valley and beyond –a delusion that
was to continue for many a day.
lJown east, in Bangor, r,1aine, there was a young la1<1Yer named
John Alfred Poor, a big man, mentally and physically, who dearly
loved his Pine Tree State. He had journeyed to Boston to .,..itness, t,
he opening of the Boston and Horcester Railroad and the sight of a
locomotive, on that occasion made such an impression on his mind
that he was a railway enthusiast for the rest of his life. The
idea of a line from the Jolaine coast to Canada was not new. The Be­
lfast &. Quebec Rail Road was chartered as early as 1$36, but the
Panic of 1837 put a stop to the project and there was little or no s
upport for it in Canada. Other routes were planned, or, like
Topsy —just g-rowed —and much to Poors chagrin, the first
international throueh train operated over a rival route, from Bos­
ton to Io10ntreal. The opening dates of the various components of
this route are as follows:
Boston &. Lowell RR
Nashua &. Lowell RR
Concord RR
Northern RR
Vermont Central RR
Champlain &. St. Law.
lhite River Jct.
Rouses Point
St. Johns
Jest Lebanon
Rouses Point
St. Johns
Sep.7, 1$42
Nov .29,1$47
Jan.l ,1$51
Aug. 26,1$51
Jul. 21,1$)6
It is not certain when Poor first conceiv(,~d the idea of a railway
from the r·bine coast to the Saint Lanrence river, but it must have
been as early as 1840. For several yea~s he explored the back
country, mostly on foot, and, although not a surveyor, he carefully
examined the various routes. By 1843, he ., ready to act and he
publicly announced his plans. .lith the then little city of Port-l
and as a centre, he proposed, first, to build a railway from Port­
land to fI~ontreal, and later, an extension westward from fl10ntreal to
Chicago and another ea~tward from Portland through Bangor and New
Brunswick to Halifax, in Nova Scotia, and a branch still further
e>astmrd to the Strait of Canso. The fact that all the lines he
proposed Here built eventually, is evidence of his breadth of vis­
ion. Poor next engaged an engineer, James Hall, to survey the pro­
posed line from Portland to ~Iontreal and Hall estimated that it
ctlould cost ;J2,225,OOO to build to the Canadian border. Hm·rever,
all this activity in Portland caused Bostonians to sit up and take
j:::>tice and soon the two cities -lere embroiled in a very acrimonious
cispute. Boston hastily organized a rival project –the Boston,
(olcord and ~iontreal Railroad
chartered in 1844, and set about
~e~suading the supposedly nalve Canadians that Boston ~rould be a
h-:tter winter port than Portland, even roing to the extent of pre­ dire consequences if Boston was not chosen. Actually, Can­
:,jians did not care very much which city won, provided the port las
s ):;venient and ice-free and vould be available soon. It seemed for
~ ~ime that Boston would be selected principally because the rail­
·r:ly to that city was already partly built.
In Canada, Poor had an enthusiastic collaborator in Alexander
Tilloch Galt, the young Scottish commissioner of the British Amer­
ican Land Company. This Company, organized in 1833 to colonize the
Eastern Townships of the Province of Quebec, acquired 251,)36
acres of Crown land in Sherbrooke, Stanstead and Sherford counties;
also an unsurveyed tract known as the St. Francis Territory, supp­
osed to contain 596,325 acres. By subsequent purchases of Clergy Rese
rves and land from individuals, nearly 400,000 acres more were
addeCl to its domain. The area lras served by the Craig Road, from
Qt:.ebec to Richmond, and the Company built another road from Sher­
brooke to Port St. Francis on the ~aiht Lawrence river nearly oppo­
site Trois Rivieres. In spite of thiS, transportation was very un­
satisfactory and settlement .,ras slow. Galt had his headquarters in
Sh~rbrooke, now a very busy and prosperous city but then a little
viJ.lage, and he soon realized that a railway was necessary if the
land company was to prosper. He knew also that Poorts project

ould serve Sherbrooke and most of the Companys best land but that
the Boston, Concord and l<10ntreal project would pass far to the
west. Galt organized a meeting in Sherbrooke in 1843 and a provis­
ional committee was appointed to promote the Portland railway. A ge
neral election vas to be held the following year, so Galt jour­ne
yed to Kingston, then the capital of Canada, and there he was
told –vre support those who support us. He returned home, con­
ducted a successful campairn, and in the ensuing election, the E.aste
rn To;mships elected a solid bloc of Conservatives, which pra­
ctically fuaranteed the support of the Government in the selection
of Portland as the terminus of Canadas road to the sea.
In February 1845, representatives of the Boston, Concord and
Montreal R.R. went to jl10ntreal to confer with the Board of Trade,
;lay to the Atlantic coast. The Boston people, hoped, if possible,
to close an agreement vlith a Canadian group vlhich ,;{ould build from
the terminus of the Champlain & St. Lawrence Rail Road at St.Johns,
to a connection at the boundary. Poor was 300 miles away, in Port-
~and, ,!hen he heard of this but he set out on February 5th, 1845,
1n one of the ,orst blizzards on record, and arrived in Nontreal
early in the morning of the 10th, in time to attend a crucial meet­
ing of the BoC.rd of Trade. The Board had almost_decided on Boston
but Poor presented his argur:1ents and succeeded in persuading the
Board to postpone its decision. The discussions continued for days
without result but finally, on the 15th, Judge William Pitt Prebl,€!
of Portland I .;alked into the meeting carrying the charter of the
Atlantic & Saint Lawrence Hailroad, granted on February 10th by the
legislature of f-Iaine. This evidence of good faith convinced the
Montreal groupj they voted for Portland and Nent ahead and secured
a charter for their ONn end of the road, with the name reversed -­
the Saint Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad.
At the same time, tVlO westvTard extensions were planned from
l–10ntreal to the navigable waters of Lake Ontario. One to be built
by the Montreal & BytOVTl }i.ailway and the Brockville & Ottawa Rail­
way, was to make a wide detour via Ottawa and Carleton Place, and
the other, the t40ntreal & Kingston Railway, was to follow the Saint
Lawrence river4 Later, the Kingston & Toronto Raihlay would extend
the line to Toronto. Thus, Poor and his Canadian allies envisaged
the early construction of a continu~)Us line of raihl/ay from Port­
land to Toronto, a distance of approximately 6)0 miles.
As a final test, a race was suggested and it was arranged that
the next mail steamer from Eneland would leave half of its mail for
Canada at Portland, and carry the other half to Boston. Boston
would receive its share a day later but, as the railway .. !as comple­
ted from there to Concord, it las felt that the Boston mail ,fould
reach ?4ontreal first. The Portland mail had to travel all the I/ay
by horse and Sleigh, but Poor viaS determined to win. He knew the
road and he had fresh horses stationed at frequent intervals, and
men to keep the road open. The great day came and the Portland
mail arrived in Montreal fifteen hours ahead of that from Boston,
so there wes no more argument –Portland was to be the winter port
of the Canadas. It was blessed with an excellent harbour, easily
approached even in the Torst weather, and for about seventy years
it was practically a Canadian City, handling all of Canadas over­
seas trade during five or six months of the year.
The American company was incorporated in the State of r1aine on
February 10, 1845; the Canadian company received its charter on St.
Fatricks day of the same year, and, as it was found that parts of
the United States line would have to be built in New Hampshi re and
Verm:mt, the company was incorporated in l.,hose statce on July 30th,
1847 and October 27th; 1848, respectively. Construction on the
Portland section comm.enced on .,July 4th, 1846 at Portland, and the
Canadian section was begun about the same time.
Early explorations by the S. & St.L. indicated that there v.lere
three feasible routes approaching the boundary, and at first it was
thought that the best would be that adopted a few years later by
the Connecticut & Passumpsic Rivers Railroad, that is to say, up
the Connecticut River, then by the Nalhegan and Clyde river valleys
to Derby Line and Stanstr::ad, a.nd along the shore of Lake Massawippi
to Sherbrooke, but subsequently, a route through Island Pond, Nort­
on Ihlls and Coaticook, /,Tas adopted.
capital stock of the Canadian company -laS set at £600,000
Halifax currency, or ;;;2,400,000 and it was expected that the whole
amount would bL! raised from private sources, partly in l-Iontreal and
the To-mships, but mainly in England. Local subscriptions amounted
to but £100,000 so Galt ias sent to England to raise the remainder. E
nt=land was then in the grip of the Hudson railway mania but the
c;.isclosure of Hudson t 5 fraud in the Eestern railway project occur~d
Nhile Galt was in London; consequently, all he llas able to raise
was £35,000. On his return to Canada, he round the Committee un­
df:::cided but after some discussion, decided to proceed ·/ith the dark.
The Company was forr.Ially organized in April 1846 with George 1-10ff­
att, member of Parliament for Montreal, as President. The ,director.s
included A. N. Morin, John Torrance, Thomas Stayner, Peter· McGill,
Samuel Brooks and A.T.Galt. A.C.~1orton, formerly of the Erie Rail­
road, was appointed engineer of both companies.
By wide canvassing) the Canadian subscriptions lt/ere increased
to £200,000 but this was barely sufficient to build the line from
Longueuil (on the St.Lawrence river opposite Montreal) to the Rich­
elieu River. This section was completed in November 1847. f.lontreal
subscribers were hard hit by the cO~ilercial depression, but in time
most of them paid up in full. The subscribers in the Townships had
even less ready money and they were allowed to make payments in
kind, delivering provisions to the construction gangs along the
line. One Sherbrooke shareholder, a director at that, tried to
turn in a farm as payment on his subscription and …. hen this was re­
fused, he indignantly resigned.
Still shor·t of money, Galt made another trip to England, late
in December 1846, to sell a £500,000 issue of bonds but with the
Oregon difficulty threatening llar in America, the trip ·las fruit­
less. Finally, in desperation, the directors turned to the gover­
nment for assistance and were joined by a group from Canada Vest, h
eaded by Sir Allan ~~cNabj e~ually anxious to secure government
backing for the Great lestern Railvlay. This was the first of many r
equests by Canadian railways for financial assistante from the
govern.llent and while it is now realized that it was a necessary and
unavoidable evil, it was carried to such extremes during the early
years of the present century, that it almost caused the
ruin of the country.
After two years of lobbying, Francis Hincks, Inspector-General
in the Baldvlin-Lafontaine ministry) brought do … m a measure based on
,:;u,fF;;02stions made by the directors of the St.Lawrence &. Atlantic RR, ·
…. l.r::>reby any railllay over 75 miles long, hich had built half of its
line from private resources, //ould be given a government guarantee
of the interest, not to exceed 6%, on an issue of bonds equal to
h.:l.lf the cost of the road. The l!overnment lOuld be protected by a
first lien on the whole undertaking.
The Canadian road was completE:d only as far as St .Byacinth€!
and it ,,:ould have to find the funds to complete 33 miles to the St·,
Francis river before it v/ould qualify for the fovernment guarantzF;, A.N. t.
iorin, the President, 3.S too busy with politics to devote
much time to the management of the railway, so, late in 1$49, he
resigned and was replaced by Alexander T. Calt, olhose superivr
energy and business ability quickly injected ne·f life into the p:.~,) ..
ject. Galt was ably assisted by John Young, a prominent merchant
of !-Iontreal and through the latters influence, the city invested
£100,000 (~hOO, 000) in preference stock, and the British American
Land (,ompany and the Seminary of St. Sulpice of r.1ontreal, each took
bonds to the amount of £25,000.
contract las made Hith lood Black &. Co. of Pennsylvania, who
had built part of the Canadian line and were building all the Maine
portion, under which they agreed to complete the rail1tJay at a price
of £6,550 (~26,200) per mile. This was rather high but the contra­
ctors agreed to accept part of their pay in stock, which was at a
discount of bet, … een 15% and 20%, and the rest in government bonds,
when issued. This arrangement did not work very well; the contract
with 1tlood Black & Co. was soon cancelled, and the rail … ay continued
the construction with its own organization under a new chicf engin­
eer, Casimir S. Gzowski, a brilliant Polish exile. Three generat­
tions of this remarkable fa.nily served the St. Lawrence & Atlantic
and its successors, the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Nat-
ional Railways. Under the new regime, construction , … as fairly
rapid j the second section fro In St .Hyacinthe to Richmond was compl­
eted in October 1$51, and the third section, from Richmond to Sher­
brooke, in September of 1852. The opEning of the line to Richmond
was celebrated by a grand procession, flinner and ball. Triumphal
arches …. ere erected at various parts of the city, the finest being
that placed at the corner of St. James and ~IcGill streets, which
las brilliantly illuminated during the evening. There was a big
celebration in Sherbrooke to welcome the first train to that City,
with the Governor-General and nearly all of the members of the pro­
vincial Parliament in attendance.
Ivlean~hile, the United States company had been having its trou­
bles, too. The city of Portland had taken ;;pl,500~OOO of bonds and
an equal amount had been sold to individuals and a few thousand
shares of stock had been sold, but the State of I-laine, unlike the
Province of Canada, , … a5 barred by its constitution from giving any
aid to railways or other private enterprises, so the A.& St.L.RR
reached the end of its resources sooner than the Canadian. It as
arranged,accordingly, in 1851 that the Canadian company would build
16 miles south·of the border to Island Pond, Vermont, and a special
iSSUe of 7% bonels amounting to ~4J$,OOO was sold in London to cove:­
its cost.
The goal was in Sight. On July 16th, 1$53, the railway lines
from Portland and Longueuil , … ere joined at Island Pond, and through
service inaugurated. It was a great day for the St.Lawrence &. Atl­a
ntic and its Yankee counterpart, but in a sense, it was perhaps
a greater day £or the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, which had suc-
/ .
J/IAJ1/ ~ i
the St.L.
& A. but six
days before,
—L __ .LI ____ •
havinE been organized on July 11th,
1853. On AUFust 5th, 1853, the Atl­
antic & St. Lawrence VIas leased to
the G.T.R. for 999 years.
Before the St • Lavlrence e::. Atl­
antic Railroad vias completed, a la­
rger project la5 ·started vthich soon
dwarfed it in importance. Canadian
interests closely connected with
the Government succeeded in making
arraneements with the lell-knmm
.E.nglish railway building firm of
-;— Be r j1 in
feta, Brassey, Betts & Jackson, not only to build, but to arrange
85 vell for the financing of the Grand Trunk Railvlay of Canada, to
extend from the Great Lakes to the sea. The line to Portland was
aco.uired as an important link in the chain of transportation and
……. ould be connected with the rest of the system by a bridge at lJion­
treal. As part of the Grand Trunk Rail1Jlay, traffic on the Portland
line increased enormously and through service had to be established
before· the road Vias even ballasted.
Neanwhilc, the people of Quebec city began to realize that if
the pTeatcr part of Ca:1ada I s trade passed throul!!1 Portland dUYin~~
the winter months, it niEht also continue to do so during the sum­
mer, Thich /ould be a major disaster to the ancient capital. Th?
river steamboats, !:lostly ONTIcd there, ,QuId be idle, but vmrse tha
that, the [reat SUr.1ffii:!! [lort activity v:ould be rreatly reduced, and.
the extensive s,ipbuilclinr im!u.:;jtry ruined. Accordinely, the Quebec
& Haib!ay i,aS oq;:anizclI in lS50 to build from Point Levis,
opposi::.e (Nebec, to a connec:,ion ;lith the St.Lavlrence &. Atlantic RR
:elt Rici1:no:1d. c.onst:-uct ion started in 1852 J and vias completed on
:lovember 27th, 1854 after it had become part of the Grand Trunk Ry.
The Portland line !as ahlays primarily a road j passen­g
er trains operated at freight train speed and very often the e: (:S5 traiu …. ould ,fait in a siding fhile five or six sections of a
through freight train lent by. In 1.$66, it took 17~ hours for the
express to run throuch from Portland to 1,1ontreal, a trip which can
nO1 be made in about ten hours and still at a relatively low speed.
The northern terfilinus was a long vlharf near the village of
Longueuil on the south shore of the Saint La/rcnce river opposite
the city of I~1ontreal and a ferry boat named the Transit served as
a connecting link. ~lhen the Grand Trunk Raill-tay took over, t,vo
large paddle wheel to! boats, the ItBeaver and the Huskrat II, Here
built in 185lr to carry passengers and tow car barres betvieen Long­
ueuil asd Pointe St. Charles and in the follo·rin[ year,, t.hree largo
passenGer ferry boats, Nos. l, 2 and 3, tore built. No. J IaS des­
tr9yed by a boiler explosion after it had been running only a month
and the many claims, arisinG fron the heavy loss of life, were a
serious burden to the co:npany.
Following co~pletion of the Victoria Bridge in 1$59, the ferry
boa ts were sold; No.1, renamed the Clyde II >las used as a transport
by the United States Navy bctvleen 1862 and 1865, then it returned
to Canada and ran on the Saguenay River for many years. The old
Longueuil Nharf can still be seen behind the Longueuil water works
pumping house, and at low water, the remains of the Pointe St.Char­
les rharf can be seen about 100 feet dOffistream from the Victoria
The raih/ay created its mm port facilities at Portland and
regular lines of steamships ran to Boston, Saint John and to Hali­
fax. In 1854, the Allan Steamship line began using Portland as a
…. inter port v:hich it continued to do until it \las absorbed by the
Canadian Pacific Ocean 3ervices in 1915. In time, the Canadians
became more conscious of their national destiny and it became the
policy of the gO crnment to pro;,lote the linter ports of Saint John
and halifax, so Portland rapidly dimin.tshed in importance. The
fl.rst blm. Vo..lS struck in 1915 vThen the Allan Line lIas taken over by
the Canadian Pacific and the ships diverted to Saint John. ~inally
the port. traffic ceased ~ltogether when the Grand Trunk Raihlay be­
C~.Il1e part of Canadian Hatjonal Railways, in 1923. Today the local
traffic is moderately heavy over the Canadian section of the line, a
.l.ld the whole line forms part of a very busy fast freight route
bet!een the New England states and the middle ,;est J by-passing the
congested terminals of United States rnilroads.
The .itlantin
& St. Lawrence
RR adopted
the then unusual gc::.urf:
of 5 6, Hoich subsequently
beca~e thE:! standard
gaur:e for most. cf
the railways in I:laine, IJevl I3runs/ick, Nova Scotia and Cana…ia. J
.hy it ias aC:opted
in the first place is not entirely
clE!ar. A.C.
Yiorton, the chief engint:er
I had come from the l::rie nailroad
a5 Lnpressed
by the supposed
of a wide gaure~
i-lowE>ver I it is more likely that Poor himself las responsible.
the first Freight Traffic tJIanager of the Grand Trunk
::aillay and 1::110 las in a position
t,o know, stated On visiting Por­
tland in 1853,
I was curious
to enquire
into the history of the
gauge, and was informed that it had been adopted
in order to
,nake Portland
the terminus
of the Canadian
roads and prevent the
t.rade from gain£. past Portland
to Boston.
In 1851, the Railway Committee
of the Canadian
to investigate
the Gauge Question
and to decide upon a
gauge for future Canadian railways.
Many experts
consulted and it is sirnificant that practical
railway men favoured
the Stephenson
gauge of 4 8~1t. The government
and the re­
of the St. Lavlrence
& Atlantic
RR supported
the wide
gauge of 56, the principal
reasons being:
(I) The Montreal
and Portland
line had already adopted the broad
gauge and it was thought
that all the trade of the Canadas
1ould pass over this line.
(2) Due to the influence of Hr.Poor, the then separate
of New Brunsuick
and Nova Scotia had adopted the Portland
gauge and r:1any of the railroads
in Jl.1aine had done likewise
(.3) That trade …. ith the United States
should be restricted
much as possible
and that the trade or Canada be forced to
flow east and …. est I by artificia
l means if necessary.
(l~) That a break in gauge at or near the border would prevent or
impede military
il historians
south of the border are inclined
to scoff at the
last tV/O reasons I but Canadians
will never forget the several occ­
asions when the United States tried unsuccessfully to conquer
by military
force. It is now fashionable
to speak of the
lO,ng undefended
border and 140 years of peace, but our neirhbours
to the south are astonished
and bewildered
when occasionally
learn hON recently
ceased to fear the pes 5ibility
of an frof.1 the south. Fortunate
ly, relations
and the people of the New Enp;land states Nere always on a friendly
basis and as time …. ent on these dislikes and fears were allayed.
The broad gauge of 56 was officially
adopted as the Standard
Gauee for the Province
of Canada on
July 31st, 1851 and
by 1860,
most of the lines in the Province
were built to t.his gauge.
The need .for [-auge uniformity with other North American rajl·
tiay5 becam(! apparent in the late Sixties. The Great Western nai}.­
vlay laij a third rail to i.S! width in lS67, thus creatinr a dou­
ble .sauge and a general conversion vIaS made froJil the Provinci[,)
E3.uEe to Standard [:2.uge bet.:een 1$73 and 1875, following the repe.c-d
the 1$51 Broad Gauge Act. SOi:le of the s[:1a11er roads delaY~l~
conversion until l$tn: Canadas last Provincial eaufe raihlay i2~
the Carillon & Grenville Railway, a portage line in the Ottawa Riv­
a-r n2vigation ,route, whose 5 6 gauge track -;as dismantled durin,?
;lorid ~jar I I follOving the line t s abandon!Tlent.
The first three locomotives on the 3t.Lawrence & Atlantic RR,
shrouded in mystery.
Jout the Longueuilll, 1e know very lit tIe. The Annual Reports
of 1849 and 1851 pefer to it by name, and describe it as a second­
hand American enfine, but by 1852, it was gone. Since we have been
unable to determine where, in 1847, a second-hand American engine
of 56
gauge could have been obtained, it must be presumed to have
b~en rebuilt from some other gauge.
and the Princess, acquired in 1$l .. 7-48, ,-!ere
long thought to have been new Kinmonds, like the Montreal and
the James G. Ferrier of the Nontreal &. Lachine RR, andthe ftJohn
i,jolson of the Champlain & St. Lavrence RH. However, records no.!
reveal that they were taken out of service in 1852, and scrapped in
1854, and it is therefore obvious that they were old and second­
and. Their appearance is quite lell knoi11. In the Chateau de
Ramezay r~iuseum in r.liontreal, and elsewhere, there exists a contemp-:
orary drawing of one of them at the Longueuil wharf station. The
drat/ing is accurately proportioned, and although poorly detailed,
clearly shows a 2-2-2 type. Also in the Chateau de Ramezay there
is a forking model of one of them, made in 1850 by one P. Rodier of
St. Hyacinthe, showing it as a 4-2-2 type, to mich these engines
fere presumably rebuilt. The model was well made, and the mechan­
cal details are apparently accurate, but the proportions and salle
dimensions are distorted.
the Nontreal & Lachine Rail Road 18S under construction
in lS47, two nev engines were ordered from K1.nmdna. Hutton &. Steele
of Dundee I Scotland, and …. hen they were shipped to Canada they /ere
accom!anied by -1.L. Kinmond, nephew of the senior partner of the
i:lundee firm and Alexander Millar,formerly Locomotive Superintendent
of the Dundee & Arbroath RailHay, who became l .. tanager of the Lachine
ail t>lay. Kin80nd was a slevor engineer but he was also a competent
sa1es:1lo.n and he soon discovercd that the :]t ~ Lav/rence &. Atlantic RR
ur[ently needed locomotives but did not have the money to buy nevi
OIles. In C.F. Dendy r>larshal1
IITvlO Bssays in ~~rly Locomotive His­
tory, pa[e 51, there is a clue:
tl ___ roo furt.her engines .. lith this cylinder arrangem{;:!nt -Jere
built for Great Britain until 183$, vlhen Sterling & Co.,
of lJundee, made th:r:-ee six-wheeled ,singles, for the Arbroath
&. Farrar Hailway then of the 56 gauge) named Victoria,
Britannia and Caledonia, illustrated by Hhisha ….. , plate 4,
and Ahl~ons, fig. 41 .
In 1846 and 1847, many of the small ralliays in Scotland were amal­
gamated into tNO 1aree companies I the Uorth British Hailway llnd th~
C,aleuonian Railway –and those ;hich /crc oJd fnugc Here convertc<
to st<:!.ndard. Kinmond certainly kneh that the t,;orth British stili
~ad the three Sterling sinf:lcs i!hich, thoufh ten years old, were
still serviceable and available for sale, and it is reasonable to
.5uppose that they were the same engines. They lere also of tht!
same gauge as the dt. La,,rrence ~ Atlantic. It 1s circumstantial
evidence, but men have been hanged for less.
All the other locomotives on the St. L. &:. A. Iere scrapped by
1874, except the St. Francis, V-Jhich VIas converted to standarc. and sold to the Hichelieu, Drum;nond & Arthabaska Raih!ay in
1$71. A year later is was aC-.fuired by the South Eastern Raill:lay
and for many years it Ias the switch engine at Richford, Vermont~
It vIas scrappeu in 1895.
. Bt.La..,rrence &. Atlantic Railroad
f…IJ .J·lorin
St. La1renCe
Yam Queen
~Jm. P • Pre ble
Fe It0n
RailNay Kine
Forest City
Daniel viebster

4-4-0 15×22 60
II H 66





It 16×20
II 16×24 60
47000 46800
47400 46500 48200 48400



1838 Sterling & Co.fie GT 5?
II II 6?
1848 Portland (3) 1
le50 (15) 2
1851 (17) 3

(25) 4

(26) 9

(27) 139
1852 (34) 140
Boston (380) 7
(384) 8

Amoskeag (62) 11
(63) 12

(67) 13

Portland (35) 137
Atlantic & St. Lawrence Railroad
4-4-0 15×22 60 47000
If II If It

If It
1$x20 66


45500 49400 44700


40000 45200
1848 Portland



n n
( 2 )
( 5 )
(6 )
(14 ) (
19) (20 ) (28)
(29 )
lleGT 101
II lOh
n 107
II 110
n 111
If 112
11 113
C:.unberland h-l~-O 16×22 60 48400 1853 Portland (40) re GT1l4

( 41)


14×22 66 42900

(1,2 )


15×22 60 47000

(43 )


66 46800



60 1,8000



( 46)

– — –

—- –
The Lditorial Co,nmittee iould like to thank ~ir. Robert R. Brovm fer
his contribution, which is the result of a considerable amount of
research. In dealing IIOt only with the construction of the Port­
land rail;,ay, but in his description of the underlying economic and
political forces lihich have played such an important part in under-··
takings of this kind, fir. Bro1n I 5 story is one tthich ;,ill be of con­
siderable interest to the student of Canadian affairs. It is an
epic of one of the many ambitious enterprises for lhich Canadians
are noted, and ihich have made a great nation of our country.
fhe appearance of Bulletin 16, ~arks a resu~ption of the series of
Bulletins started in 1937 and continued until 1940 when Bulletin
15 was published. It is hoped to publish bulletins from time to
time devoted entirely to topical subjects. At a later date, the
d.ocumentary evidence contained in Bulletins 1-15 lr/ill be reprinted
and offered for sale to the members. In the meantime, there is a
very limited nuober of copies of certain issues of the former Bull­
etin, and for those members and associates who
Duld like to have
copies for inclusion in their personal files, they are being offer­
ed at tilenty cents a copy, postpaid. Copies available are:
3 -November

7 -December

9 -May 1939

13 -Hay 1940

15 -lJecember
Features accounts of the C&StL RR
RRs and Locos. of Gen.~lining Assn.
Story of the N&SC Ry. and Loco
list of the QCRy.
Steam tJavigation on the Ottava
Part II of the story of the Inter­
colonial Railtiay of Canada.
nquiries and remittances for back copies, should be made to the
Association I s Editorial Office, 6959 De lBpee Avenue, r..10ntreal 15.
Orner S.A. Lavallee, Editor.
Additional copies of Bulletin 16 -.35¢ postpaid.
uon I t forget the October 3rd-4th Open House lr!eekend. in Nontrea1.
Programme includes: S: turdoy morning: Visit to CNR Pointe St.

Fare: :,p7. 50 from
Irip Committee, Sunday
J Prospect St., -Jestmount.
Charles Shops.
afternoon: Visit to Youville Shop
of ,. MTC.
even ing: Hoving pictures.
(all day): Fall Folia[e trip to
Labelle, via Can.Pac.fiy.

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