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Canadian Rail 225 1970

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Canadian Rail 225 1970

an..adi :n.
ICBOSS Illtll!~S
18 I
he story of the first three bridges
across the Niagara Gorge,-between the
then Province of Upper Canada and the
State of New York (one of the United
States of America) is contained in the
Transactions of the American Society
of Civil Engineers,Volume XL,December,
1898,no. 636, in an ·article presented
by R.S.Buck,M.Am.Soc.C.E., on 18 May
1898,entitled liThe Niagara Railway
Arch Bridge. The following report is
based on that article and supplemented
by material from other sources.
The first plan for a suspension bridge over the Niagara Ri­
ver Gorge,near Queenston,Upper Canada,was suggested to the Honor­
able William Hamilton Merritt of the town of st. Catherines, by a
description of the Freiburg (Germany) SUspension Bridge, in a let­
ter from a friend,written in 1844. Two years later,due solely to
Mr. Merritts efforts,charters to build a bridge were obtained in
the State of New York and from the British Government in Canada,
for the construction of the first bridge across the Gorge. The
scope of the work,however,was not determined. At that time, there
was no railway from Niagara Falls to the west.The Great Western
Railway of Canada,-which was later to play an important part in
the crossing of the Gorge,was in the process of reorganization ,
the original charter of 1834 for the London and Gore Railroad Co­
mpany being revised in 1845. At that time,the corporate name of
the undertaking was changed to the Great Western Railway Company.
Subsequently, the appendix of Canada II was often added, to dis tin –
guish the Canadian line from its famous English counterpart.
In the-winter of 1847, the Niagara Gorge Bridge Company made ·a
contract with Mr. Charles Ellett, to construct a bridge on the
site later occupied by the steel arch bridge,in 1945. The purpose
was to build a railroad bridge,but the plans were delayed tempor­
arily,due to the unsettled political conditions,a conseqnent in­
ability to raise the necessary capital and the sheer magnitude of
the proposed work. Nevertheless,Mr. Ellett did finally throw a­
cross the Gorge a cable of thirty-six number 9 wires,on which a
light iron carriage was run,for about a year and which was used
for s~bsequent work and for passenger service. From this first
strand was developed the earliest bridge which Was completed in
Dramatic enough to decorate any cover,Canadian Nationals bullet-nosed
no. 6062 stomps out of Montrfial West,Qufi.,on the International Limited
Train 15,westbound for Toronto,on a March day 1n 1957.
Photo from E.A.Toohey Collection,C.R.H.A.
The accompanying photograph,courtesy of Canadian National Railways,shows
the first railway suspension bddge across Niagaras gorge in 1885. It
had two decks -tha railway running on the topmoat.
If Mr. Elletts cable-waY,with the light iron carriage, oan
be considered as the first suspension bridge across the Gor&e,its
successor,-or rather,its offspring was therefore the second.By
a process of adding additional wires,which were slung over wooden
post towers at each end,a road bridge was bUilt. It did not boast
any stiffening trusses and was soon superceded by a sturdier type.
Mr. Ellett,despite his extraordinary pioneering efforts,had
no connection with the construction of the next bridge,which took
place in the period 1853-1855. This was to be a railway suspen­
sion bridge,and the concept,development and execution of this re­
markable structure were entirely the work of Mr. John A. Roebling
M.Am.Soc.C.E. Mr. Roebling had previously built six road suspen­
sion bridges with unqualified success. The Niagara Suspension Br­
idge was the first and only suspension bridge built across the
Niagara Gorge for railway traffic. It has been described as qui­
te successful,-an understatement,indeed,if one considers the
date of construction and the state of the art of bridge engin –
eering,at that time. The original stone towers for the cables had
to be replaced by steel towers in 1886 and repairs to some of the
wires in the cables were undertaken in 1877.
The fourth bridge spanning the more-than-300 feet-deep chasm
was a steel arch bridge,the construction of which began on April 9
1896,with the excavations for the foun~ations for the stone piers.
The bridge was tested for strength and resistance to loads on 29
July 1897,and was completed on August 27th.,1897. The new Steel
Arch Bridge was built around and enveloping the old Roebling Sus­
pension Bridge and,although it was hoped to preserve the latter , and
re.-erect it on another site,the expense connected wlth the
removal was so great that the idea was abandoned and all of the
material from the old bridge was scrapped.
Charles Elletts Ropeway across the Gorge might quite fairly be
reckoned as the first bridge to span the Niagara River, as it
carried passengers for about one year,-albeit in a rather prim­
itive iron carriage. Logically,it must have been Charles Ellett
and not John A. Roebling who,according to tradition,made the boy
to fly his kite across the Gorge, carrying a light cord which was
then used to carry across the first wire. Roebling would have had
the use of Elletts bridge and would therefore not have needed
the services of the youthful kite-flyer.
It is also unlikely that the first train passed over the
third (Roebling Railway Suspension) Bridge on March 8th.,1855, as
has been stated in some reports. On that day,the light engine ELK
of the Great Western Railway CompanY,driven by Engineer Harrison,
did mak~ the crossing.The bridge had yet to be tested,and only
after this process could the bridge be used for traffic.
The account of the testing of the railway sUspension bridge
is contained in a letter written by John A. Roebling of John A.
Roebling and Sons Company,of Trenton,New Jersey,U.S.A.,and dated
two days after the opening of the bridge:
Last Sunday I opened the bridge for regular traffic 01.
trains. The first one was the heaviest freight train
that will ever pass and was made up on purpose to test
the bridge. With an engine of 28 tons,we pushed over
from Canada to New York 20 double cars,each loaded with
10 tons,the cars weighing 7 tons,making a gross weight
of 368 ~ons;this train very nearly covered the whole
length 01. the 1.100r of the bridge between the towers.
Owing to the heavy ascent on the New York terminus and
the great roughness of the track just laid down, it
took two assistant engines in front to get up this gr­
The bridge settled under this large train 10 inches ,
with a uniform reduction of camber. The rollers under
the saddles at the tops of the towers moved one-half an
inch forward, but everything returned to its place after
the bridge was relieved.
Yesterday the first passenger train from the east,with
three crowded cars,inside and on top,went over in great
style; altogether we passed about 20 trains wi thin the
last 24 hours. Every train, after unloading,returned to
the opposite side; this makes about 20 trips necessary
every day. No one is afraid to cross and the passage
Qf the trains is a great sight and worth seeing.
Messrs. Roebling of New Jersey also said in their letter of Feb­
ruary 26,1932,that:
The bridge,when completed,consisted of two decks,the
upper of which had a single track railroad and the
lower deck,consisting of a highway and a sidewalk •
Evidently there was only a single railroad track ov­
er the bridge and this we know definitely was already
laid when the bridge was opened for traffic on March
the 18th. ,1855.
term double cars,used in the letter of John A. Roebling, is
interpreted to mean flatcars with a 4-wheeled truck at each end,
The magnificent Steel Arch Bridge was completed on August 27,18~~.
was a double-decker,but had a double-track railway lina on the top
a roadway and sidewalk below. The calamity of the automobile was about
to ensue.
similar to the modern flat car,as distinct from a car with two
axles,-one at each end,similar to the freight wagons used at the
time in England. Also from Mr. Roebling1s letter,we can conclude
that it was necessary for trains crossing the bridge from Canada
to the United States,to return immediatelY,since there were no
storage sidings available there for the broad-gauge (5 feet 6 in­
ches) rolling stock of the Great Western.
Mr. Roebling says in his letter that one engine,-a 28 ton­
ner,was used to move the test train from the Canadian side onto
the bridge and over it to New York State. However,to move the sarna
train back again, two assisting engines were required. It is th­
ought that the engineer on the first engine of the southbound test
train was a Mr. Thomas Horton. The first passenger train which cr­
ossed the bridge on March 18th. ,1855,is said to have had Mr. Pat­
terson Hall as engineer and Mr. Pheimster as fireman.
The Great Western Railway -Time Card -Rules and Regula –
tions (These Rules are a part of the Time Card. Any employee con­
nected with the running of lrains ,not having them in his possess­
ion while on duty, will be guilty of an UNPARDONABLE OFFENSE) for
1873,has the following pertinent sections:
116. It is imperative that no Engine or Train be run
across the Suspension Bridge at a greater rate
of speed than 5 miles per hour,occupying two
minutes passing from tower to tower,and no En­
gine or Cars shall be brought to a stand on the
Bridge during the passage across. Only E1ght
Cars of Stock, Twelve of Freight or Thirty empty
Cars will be taken at one time.(See Rule No. 128)
126. Conductors and Trainmen of Through Express Trains
must join and leave their Trains at the N.Y.C.De­
pot,Suspension Bridge,and must assist in direct –
ing Passengers from one Train to the other,and at
starting see that they are comfortably seated.
127. Conductors of Thr6ugb Passenger Trains must notify
Train Despatcher on reaching London of all delays
up to that pOint,and of other delays at the end of
the trip,by telegraph.
128. The Bell rope must be attached to the Engine which
hauls Passenger Trains ACROSS the Suspension Bridge.
39. The CLOCK in the Passenger Depot at HAMILTON is the
STANDARD time,which is 31 minutes f-aster than Chi­
cago or Michigan Central T1me,and 24 minutes slower
than New York or N.Y.C. and Erie Railroads Time.The
correct time is telegraphed daily to the principal
StatiQlls,and the clocks at Windsor,London, Suspen­
sion Bridge and Harrisburgb are the standard for
those who cannot regulate by the Hamilton clock.
direction,have the absolute right to the road against
trains of the same or inferior class. Trains going in
for trains of same or superior class that may be be­
hind time,unless special orders are received from pr­
oper authorities to proceed; in like manner all trains
on AIR LINE,going towards ST. THOMAS in EITHER direct­
ion have the right to the Road Over Trains bound in
opposite direction; those on ALLANBURG & WELLAND RAIL-
WAY approaching WELLAND JUNCTION,have right to the
road over those going from WELLAND JUNCTION to AL­
TORONTO BRANCH approaching HAMILTON have the right
to the Road over those going from HAMILTON to TOR­
ONTO; those on WELLINGTON,GREY & BRUCE Branch ap­
proaching HARRISBURG have the right to the Road ov­
er those going from HARRISBURG; and those on the
SARNIA BRANCH approaching LONDON have the right to
the Road over those going from LONDON; those on
have right to the Road over those going from LON­
DON; but no train running under this right will
leave a station or passing place where it should
meet a train of the same class UNTIL FIVE MINUTES
AFTER the card time,unless the train it should have
met has arrived; and this five minutes must be ob­
served at every succeeding station,until it shall
have met the delayed train,unless distinct telegraph
train orders are given to the contrary,and Despatcher
will be careful about giving these. When one pas­
senger train overtakes another,they must be kept
a safe distance apart.
A Description of Two Private Railways in Quebec.
Sanborn S. Worthen.
Strange indeed, are the ways of chance.
Tradition has it that when the Tem­
iskaming and Northern Ontario Rail­
way,-todays Ontario Northland
was being constructed,an ordinary
blasting operation one day uncover­
ed a very rich vein of cobalt ore.
At this site, the city of Cobalt, Ontario, was afterwards construc­
ted. In the Eastern Townships of the Province of Quebec,about one
hundred miles east of Montreal,a forest fire and railway building
combined to uncover a valuable mineral find. It is said that,dur­
ing the construction of the Sherbrooke,Eastern Townships and Ken­
nebec Railway,an ancestor of todays Quebec Central, a routine
blasting operation laid bare a vein of fuzzy, frizzy rock, now
generally known as chrysotile asbestos.
Since the 1870s, the Quebec Central Railway has become
part of Canadian pacific and today, of CP RAIL. The accident­
ally discovered asbestos deposits have been developed and expan­
ded and,prior to World War II, this locality produced 85% of the
worlds supply of the fireproof mineral. Elementary school geo­
graphy books record the names of Thetford Mines,Asbestos, Black
Lake and East Broughton. What they do not describe,however, is
the railway activity connected with these place-names and mining
After the founding of the Canadian Railroad Historical
Association in 1932 and when the subsequent celebrations marking
Canadas railway centenary in 1936 had been concluded, the mem­
bers of the Association began to look around for other interes­
ting things to do. Thus it vJaS that the members quite by chance
hit upon the idea of visiting the mine,mill and private railway
operations of the Canadian Johns-Manville Company,of Asbestos,
Que., for investigation. The necessary formalities having been
completed, the members set off one fine Sunday in July to explore
this Eastern Townships community. The late Mr. T.C.H.Smith, then
Secretary of the Association,recorded the great event in the fol­
lowing entry in the official Minute Book:
The IOOmbers of the C.R.H.A, and their friends made a very
interesting excursion on Sunday, July 9,1939,to visit the
private railway and asbe,stos mine of the Canadian Johns­
Manville Company at Asbestos,Que. The party went from Mon­
treal by the regular morning train of the Canadian Nat-
ional Railways to Richmond,Que. Here,the party changed to
a bus to travel the remaining 14 miles to Asbestos,Que.
After dinner at the Staff House,the party boarded a
flat car,pushed by (steam) engine no. 23 of the As­
bestos & Danville Railway,to enter the open-pit mi-
ne. This mine is an immense pit,about half-a mile
across and two hundred and fifty feet deep. The
standard-gauge track descends into the pit by sp­
iralling around the sides and,after a couple of
turns, reaches the low level where the ore is scoop-
ed out by an immense Marion electric shovel. After
leaving the pit, the Special train traversed the
six miles of private railway to Danville,the jun-
ction with the canadian National line from Rich-
mond to Charney,Que.,near Quebec.
On the return from Danville,the party examined the
engine house and a number of steam and electric
locomotives. The Company owns 14 steam and 3 elec­
tric locomotives. Afterwards,the mill viaS visited,
where the serpentine ore is crushed and the asbes­
tos fibre extracted. The party then returned by
bus to Richmond where they visited the 18-stall
roundhouse (of the C.N.R.),after which they board­
ed the late afternoon train for Montreal.
Thirty years later,in 1969,you too can make an accident­
al discovery if you are in this section of Quebec. Walking through
these rolling hills and dales, you may suddenly find yourse If walk­
ing along a railway right-of-way. The Asbestos & Danville is still
delivering carloads of bagged asbestos fibre to the CNs inter­
change at DanVille,Que.,but that lines steam and electric engines
have long since been replaced by six MLW diesel switchers. Mining
methods have also changed and,in most cases,the huge open-.pit min­
es are now served by mammoth diesel-engined electric-motored dump
trucks,some as powerful as the diesel switchers themselves. The
rails and with them the locomotives and dump-cars disappeared from
the pits in the late 1940s.
In other operations however,rail transportation is used
by two other asbestos-mining companies for hauling waste or barren
rock from the pits and mills to the waste dumps. Underground, two
other mines have subterranean railways to haul the asbestos-bear­
ing ore from the stopes to the hoists.
Interesting variations on the rail transport theme can
be seen at Lake Asbestos of Quebec Corporation,at Black Lake,Que.,
as well as at Bell Asbestos Mines at Thetford Mines and Carey-Can­
adian Mines at East Broughton,-all on Quebec Centrals main line
from Sherbrooke to Quebec City; Here,there are switching locomoti.:.
ves equipped with inte-rchangeable road-rail wheels,so that they
can move empty and loaded cars on Company-leased spur lines.
Ten miles southwest of Thetford Mines,the largest city
in the county and six miles north of the Quebec Centrals main
line at Coleraine ,Que., i.s the worlds largest independent asbestos
fibre producer,-Asbestos Corporation Limited. The Company has two
mines in this rugged district,the Vimy Ridge and Normandie. Back
in 1917,these mines were owned by the Bennett-Martin Asbestos and
Chrome Mines and were underdevelopment. A steeply-graded and shar­
ply-curved railway was built from Coleraine to ship in necessary
construction materials and machinery. Later,in 1926,the Company
re-incorporated as the Asbestos Corporation Limited and. from
then on until the early 1950s, steam power hauled the machinery in
and the asbestos fibre out over the private railway.
The Vimy Ridge Mine was phased out of production in the
early 1950s and development started on the adjacent Normandie open
pit mine and mill. Again,the railway was called upon to transport
the essential heavy machinery and equipment, together with all of
the other necessary supplies. The new mill came into production in
early 1955.
Nowadays,the Asbestos Corporations Normandie railway has
grown to a total length of eight miles, including sidings,with one
470 hp. diesel-electric switcher, -a twjn engined unit made by
General Electric Company. There is also an essential snow-plow,wh­
ich saw much service during the hard winter of 1968-69 and other
track maintenance equipment. The railway logically owns no freight
cars and illogically,ho caboose! The A.C.N. (for Asbestos Corpor­
ation-Normandie) employs a driver (otherwise,an engineer), a
brakeman,a track foreman and four trackmen. The track crew is en­
gaged in a year- round programme of tie replacement at the rate of
6,000 per year, an annual renewal rate of 16%. The old 60 lb.steel
is be ing replaced by 85 lb. rail at the rate of 125 lengths per
In the following sequence,Asbestos Corporation Limited Normandie no. 1
pulls out of the Normandie Mine yard,getting her teeth into the grade
on the eix-and-e-half mile,twenty-five minute run to the interchange
with the Quebec Central Railway at Coleraine,Que.
It is all that the 470-horsepower unit can do to lift the loads up the
hill,over the road that was built in 1917 to serve a now-defunct mine.
With its string of loaded cars,Number 1 approaches Coleraine and the
Quebec Central,where a cut of empties waits on the siding. They were
spotted there by the way-freight.
After delivering the loads to the Q.C. at Coleraine,Number 1 picks up
the cut of empties for the return trip to the Normandie Mine. Engineer
Gardher has to push the empties back,since theres no wye or passing
siding at the Mine.
Engineman Alberic Gardner approaches each of the four grade-crossings
on the line with bell ringing 2nd air-horn blasting. The train slows
to a walking pace as it crosses these crossings.

The six-and -a-half miles of main line from the mill to
the Quebec Central interchange are heavily graded southbound, with
a mile and a half of 5% grade against the current of traffic. In
addition, there are four grade crossings which have to be flagged,
which makes the daily operation more difficult. The 65-ton G.E.
diesel can handle seven loads up the hill to the Q.C.R.
The A.C.N. operates two services daily from the mill to
K Coleraine. The tonnage coming out is normally much greater than
that represented by the bulky or heavy equipment,moving in to the
mine, but in the last analysis,the rail facility is always there
to handle these important shipments. When the A.C.N.s no. I has a
full load, she can make about 15 mph. on the six-mile run. As there
is no wye at either end of the A.C.N. s main line, Number 1 pulls
the loads up the hill to the Coleraine interchange with the Q.C.R.
and pushes (if,indeed it can be so described) the empty box-cars
back down the 5% to the Normandie Mill.
It would require a good deal of money to construct a car­
loading facility at Coleraine and even more to upgrade the present
road from the mill,to carry the weight of semi-trailer trucks. Raw
asbestos fibre is bulky to ship and railway box cars are, at pre­
sent, the best way to transport this commodity. From these consider­
ations,it would seem likely that the Asbestos Corporations mine,
mill and railway will be working happily, hand in hand,for a number
of years to come.
CANADIAN RAILs Su~mer Issue-1970 – a whopping 48 pages -somewhat de-
pleted the magazines 1970 budget. .
As a result issues of our magazine in the last quarter of the year have
been a
little thin -in pages,perhaps,but not in quality.
Nevertheless,the prompt renewal of your present membership and the sub­
stantial increase in new members,which we confidently anticipate, will
soon replenish our funds and will permit a resumption of the size of
CANADIAN RAIL which you are accustomed to enjoy.
It should be emphasized that the more members we have,the more pages of
CANADIAN RAIL can be produced for you to read.
P With this in mind,it will be to your advantage, as well as the Associations,
to enlarge our present membership. Lets get some new members in 19711
Bob Linney and Ian Stronach,the summer editors,regret that the authors
name did not appear with the article THE C.P.R. MOTOR CAR OF 1906.
Mr. Fred. Angus was the author of this excellent story.
Members will be very pleased to learn that contributions
to the DOORS FUND for the Canad ian Railway Museum have
reached the GRAND TOTAL of $ 4,215.00 •
Museum Commission and the Associations Directors and
Officers are very grateful to those members who so gen­
erously supported this campaign.
Here is a supplementary list of contributors:
Archer E.H. Findlay R.G. Legget R.F.
Adams A.J. Foster M.
Fetterly M.C. Martyn M.P.
Bedwell H.V.,jr. Mickler S.C.
Gendron Dr.P. Meggeth Arthur
Charlewood C
.B. McConkey T.C.
Clinton DoN • Hearne J .G.,jr.
Codere J-F Hollins R. Popkins G.R.
T. Kemp
F.A. Riddington A.C.
King S.V. Roy Jos.E.
Desjardins J-P
B.R. Lambert J.J. Shelter J.J.
Dixon W.J. Levine Jack Shields
Springthorpe W. Miner Company L1mited Viau Chas.
Wethey H.D.W. Wheeler C.J. Hilson Jas.
A.E. Wilkinson B.C. Woodbury J.G.
MORE OBSERVATIONS with F.A.Kemp •• 0 •• 0
Derailments continued to plague Canadian railways during the
long,hot summer. Canadian Nationals Train 10 (Prince Rupert, B.C.­
Jasper,Alta.) consisting of a diesel unit, steam-generator car, bag­
gage car,domitory car, two coaches,a diner,s~eepers and a sleeper-ob­
servation was derailed on July 20 on a sharp curve beside the Skeena
River in British Columbia. There were no fatalities but some passen­
gers suffered injuries.
CP RAIL had two IIhappenings in the east and two in the west.
At vlindsor,Ont .,on July 10, switcher 6705 was working the car-ferry
slip that handles N. & W. interchange traffic from Detroit. A cut of
40 freight cars got loose dO,ln the mile-long grade through a cutting
to the ferry slip and smacked the cab-end of 6705,which was derail­
ed and heavily damaged. The last car of the cut being switched by
6705 was shoved over the bumper of the N. & W. car-barge into the
river. Damage was estimated at $ 100,000 and 6705 took the long trip
to the repair shops.
Out west, unit coal trains and grain trains decorated the land­
scape near Hope,B.C~ and elsewhere.
CNs events lere at Brockville and Port Hope,Ont. The scene
of the derailment at Port Hope was the high stone viaduct and the
date ,Ias August 7. Eleven cars from the centre portion of an east­
bound freight were derailed at the west end of the viaduct and fell
into the valley beside Port Hopes harbour, rupturing tank cars and
allowing chemicals to seep into the harbour. The CityS water supply
~Ias threatened, since the intake from Lake Ontario is nearby.
However,although the Iater was shut off for several hours, the
effluent from the cars was checked and confined and water intake and
distribut ion was resumed. Morning passenger trains from Montreal and
Toronto Iere delayed several hours, since parallel CP RAIL main line
was unavailable due to a wreck at Cobourg, which maintenance-of-way
crews were just cleaning up.
Canadian Transport Commission, highly incensed at these un­
I/arranted goings-on, announced that a thorough public inquiry would
conducted into the Cobourg, Port Hope and Brockville (RAPIDO hit
a track motor-car with 1 fatality) aCcidents. Statistics for the
first 6 months of 1970 show that 142 derailments had occurred on
Canadian tracks. This suggests 284 by year-end, compared to 224 in
1969, 217 in 1968 and 190 in 1967.
Bankrupt Penn Central dropped a big bombshell (big corpora­
tion = big bombshell) into the puzzling passenger picture by apply­
ing to discontinue all passenger service west of Harrisburg,Pa. and
Buffalo,N.Y., 34 trains in all. The only exceptions would be the
two Chicago-Valparaiso, Ind. commuter trains. In Nel England, the
money-troubled corporation has also applied for tl/o round-trip runs
from Horcester,Mass. to New London,Conn. The I.C.C. will have a fun
thing dth this submissionl

Bob Tennant Jr.
GOLD RUSH NARROW GAUGE Cy Martin 1969 US $ 6.95
Trans-Anglo Books,P.O.Box 1771,Costa Mesa,Calif. 96 pp.Illus. 8xll
Pleasing it indeed is to see that another Canadian railway
has become the subject of a book. At last,North Americas only
modern narrow-gauge railway has been accorded this treatment. Cy
Martin unfolds some of the saga of the White Pass & Yukon Route in
an engaging 25,000-word text entitled GOLD RUSH NARROvl GAUGE. A
fine selection of photographs, some maps and a few other illustra­
tions of a miscellaneous nature complement the text in an attract­
ive layout.
In the discovery of gold in the Klondike area of the Yukon
Territory in 1896 lay the need for the building of a railroad.Over
a tortuous and scenic route through Alaska,British Columbia and
the Yukon Territory,engineers and labourers wrought a narrow-gauge
railway for 111 miles from Skagway,Alaska,U.S.A. to Whitehorse,Yu­
kon Territory,Canada. The Companys little trains were to face the
challenge of 3.9% grades, heavy snowfalls, very sub-zero tempera­
tures and rights-of-way which appeared to be painted on the moun­
tain walls.
Read about how the infamous Soapy Smith, the chief of Skag-
ways crime syndicate, earned the wrath of the railroaders,who were
instrumental in his eventual downfall.
To detail the problems of building the White Pass & Yukon Rou­
te over the mountains and to describe its operations are the books
two objectives. Towards these ends, it relat~s the difficulties of
construction, the inestimable importance of World War II and the
building of the Al-Can Highway and the arrival of containerization.
Particularly noteworthy about the vlP&YR is the fact that it pion­
eered the container method of intermodal transportation in the era
of the 1950s. The prominence and discussion of that development,
(containerized cargo and its handling required a reorgani~ation of
the Companys marine, rail and trucking divisions) is not to be
Since its incorporation, the vhite Pass Company has run the to­
tal gamut of transportation media: pack-trains, dog-teams, stage­
coaches,inland water and ocean steamers,buses,trucks,aeroplanes,as
well as railways and pipelines. vhile the marine and rail media re­
ceive considerable attention,the others do not. Consequently, one
forms an incomplete picture of the Companys operations.
At times, one is left with the impression that the WP&YR is
basically a United States company, which is,of course, untrue, but
after stepping off the Ship at Skagways wharf, it is easy to under­
stand why this misconception is possible. Skagway, Alaska, has the
distinction of being the only United states community llholly de­
pendent upon a viable Canadian enterprise.
Despite its shortcomings, the handsomely lithographed GOLD RUSH
NARROW GAUGE makes for an interesting,albeit brief,arm-chair trip
to the storied Yukon.
(The following editorial appeared recently in the editorial pages
of the Ottawa, Ontario JOURNAL. It is presented in these pages by
kind permission of the Editor,THE OTTAWA JOURNAL.)
This is an editorial in favour of trains. And
in criticism of the very successful and de­
liberate efforts of the Canadian National and
the Canad ian Pac if ic to make t ra ins so shoddy
and inefficient that the Canadian public is
being forced to drive bumper to bumper on
highways or commit itself to the ef­
ficient pace of air travel.
A train trip used to be a joy; Trains ran on schedules that met the
publics desire; one could make connections without waiting half a
day; the seats and bunks were clean,the porters and conductors were
agreeable and helpful,meals were served, not hurled and the waiters
didnt start closing the place an hour before arrival so they could
wash their dishes and be first off and the clerks in the offices did
not regard an effort to purchase tickets as an intrusion.
But thats nostalgia. Theres more than nostalgia to our wish for a
return of a decent train service. The country is going to tie itself
into channels of hurtling confusion, ill temper and economic unreason
if we let the trains go.
In France to widen their highways theYre having to cut down those
lovely avenues of trees that for centuries have given character to
the French countryside. Their airways too are in some areas appro­
aching danger densities. But in France they are re-discovering tr­
ains. In an article in France in the latest Manchester GUARDIAN
Nesta Roberts mentions a train trip this way:
In the Good Old Summer Time,a Canadian Pacific Railway passenger traih
wends its way through the lower levels of the Laurentian Mountains with
a csrgo of happv holidavmakers. Photo courtesy Csnadian Pacific.

It was easier to think beautiful thoughts like
that, because the train in which I was scudd ing
towards Lyon,smooth and level as if over ice,
was one of our cracks, the Lyonnais,sister to
the Mistral which goes on farther south.France
has realized that, with bigger and bigger air­
craft,taking more and more people faster and
faster to airports farther and farther away
from anywhere they may possibly want to be,
it is the railways which are going to supply
the luxury travel of the near future. The
Lyonnais gets one from city to city in three
hours and 45 minutes flat and in superb com­
fort,with air cond itioning and seats shaped
to the human frame and Perspex doors in the
corridors that open at your approach, so that
you do not risk dislocating a shoulder hea-
v ing at them.
If you are a bus inessman or woman working to
a tight schedule,you can dictate your letters
on board or get your hair done. The restau­
rant car offers relatively lush and very ample
meals, but there is provision also for the more
frugal. A buffet serves decent cold cuts,with
salads and fresh fruit,quickly and pleasantly.
You can buy books and tobacco and presents for
those you have left behind or are gOing to meet.
True,they do play music at you while waiting in
stations -at the moment of writing,on the re­
turn journey, it is Londonderry Air -but at
least there is in every compartment a button
which enables you to tone it down,which is
more than can be said for any aircraft in which
I have yet travelled.
All right, the computer men with their hard eyes will now rise and
say train travel has been proven unpopular for people dont use it.
Statistics of the last decade do prove that use of trains fell off.
But the novelty of air travel is going to wear off when we all have
to pile into flying hotels and when the drive from town to airport
will be the longest part of the journey. And the automobiles now
breeding like rabbits are very soon going to make highway travel
like trying to out-run a conveyor belt Charlie Chaplin style,seeing
nothing, enjoying nothing and going like a bat IN hell.
Dont tear up those tracks,bh ye wise fools; dont sellout those
right-of-ways to make room for more highways; dont run this lovely
land of ours as though we were all idiots in too much of a hurry to
FRO M ,……….:…;===-_=.=…=..=-;;:;;
published by the
Assooiate MembershIp inoluding 11 issues of
Canadian Rail B.OO annually.
Canadian Railway Museum V )1usce Ferroviaire Canadien
DIRECTOR OF BRANCHES, 74 South~rn Drive, ottawa 1. GanfOno
Mro J.A.Beatty, 4982 Queen 11ary Road, Montreal 248, Quebec, Canada.
OTTAWA Mr. M. J:veson , seoty., P.O.Box 352, Terminal A ottawa Onto
ROCKY MOUNTAIN Mr~ Donald t~.Scafe 12407 Lansdowne Drive. Apt. 101, Edmonton Altso
K.F.Chlvers, Apt. 3~ 67 Somerset st …….. , ottawa. Ontario.
J .S.Nlcholoson, 2306 Arnold St Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Peter Cox. 609 Cottonwood Ave., Coqultlam, Dritish Columbia.
W.D.~lcKeown. 6-7. 4-chome, :inmate-cho,Sults City, osaka, Japan.
J.H.Sanders, 67 Wlllow Way, Ampthill. Beds., England.
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