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We now know,as a result of recent research concluded by
Beswarick Thompson – a member of the Association resident
in ottawa -on documents relating to the Champlain and St. Lawrence
the Montreal and Lachine Rail Roads,presently preserved in the
National Archives of Canada, that the JOHN MOLSON was ordered dir
ectly by the Champlain and St. Lawrence.
This engine arrived in Montreal from Scotland in either
July or August,1849 -the month and date have not been established.
As previously supposed, the JAMES FERRIER and the MONTREAL were or
dered by the Montreal and Lachine Rail Road Company, possibly by the
President,James Ferrier,when he was in Dundee, Scotland in the summer
of 1847. These engines arrived in Montreal in June or July,1848.
Again,the precise date of their advent is not yet known.
One important question regarding the actual date
of construction of the JOHN MOLSON still remains
unanswered. While the locomotive was shipped to
Canada during the summer of 1849,was she built
in 1849,1848 -or earlier? The difficulty in an
swering this important question definitively st
ems from the possibility that she may have been
in stock at the Wallace Foundry of Messrs.Kin
monds,Hutton and Steel, when the order for her
purchase was received. In those days, locomotive
manufacturers were accustomed,on receipt of an
order,to build one or more locomotives in excess
of the number ordered, with the view to making
other advantageous sales at a later date.
This question of the date of construction is associated
with yet another puzzle. From the mid-1830rs -at least -there
was a company of textile machinery and steam locomotive manufactur
ers in Dundee, Scotland, doing business under the name of Kinmonds ,
Hutton and Steel,to which reference has been made above. In paren
thesis,it is noted that the name Kinmonds is sometimes spelled in
the singular,while the name Steel is spelled incorrectly with a
terminal lie 11 •
We know from the research of Mr. G. Maclennan Steel, a fr
iend 0f the Canadian Railroad Historical Association,resident in En-
gland and a direct descendant of one of the original partners of
Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel, that this partnership was dissolved in
July,1847. Partner Steel retained the Wallace Foundry. The Kinmonds
-l<1r. Kinmond, senior partner -had been joined by his nephews, Wil
liam and Peter,and had purchased -it is believed -the Lillybank
Foundry in Dundee and had continued to manufacture steam locomotives
under the name of Kinmond and Company. They continued to do so
until about 1853,when the nephews -h.aving made an exploratory vis
it to Canada earlier -this time travelled to Canada for good and
established in Montreal,Canadars second steam locomotive manufactory
under the name of Kinmond Brothers.
STARTING FROM SHEET AND MOLTEN METAL,THE VARIOUS PARTS OF THE LOCOMO
tive begin to take shape. The boiler is formed,the firebox welded,the
cylinders poured and the d~iving wheels turned.At a later stage, the
driving wheels are balanced,the boiler is assembled and the engine
frame prepared. All pictures were taken at the Kawasaki Heavy Indus
tries,Limited plant at Kobe,Japan and supplied by Mitsui & Company
R A I L
The second question which thus remains unanswer
ed relates to the actual workshop in which the
JOHN MOLSON was constructed, Was she built at the
Wallace Foundry of Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel, or
at the Lillybank Foundry of Messrs. Kinmonds and
course, these and similar questions
could easily be answered if the records of the
two Companies had been preserved and could be
found today, As far as can be determined, they
cannot be found and therefore it must be con
cluded that they were not preserved.
It cannot be said with certainty whether the newly-acquir
ed steam locomotive was named after the Honorable John Molson the
Elder (1763-1836),who came to Canada as a young man and was,in later
years, one of the incorporators of and a principal investor in the
Champlain and St. Lawrence Rail Road, or after his eldest son, John
Molson the Younger (1787-1860),president of the same Company in
The JOHN MOLSON, like other locomotives in North America at
that time, burned wood as fuel -not coke and later coal,as was the
usual sequence in Great Britain and Europe. It is not known whether
her grates and smokestack ~lere originally designed for burning wood
or were subsequently modified after ber arrival in Canada.
It can be said ,,,i tb certainty that she was modi
fied in other ways, after a year or t~lO of service
on the rail road. The principal changes which
made were the replacement of the leading,fi
xed pair of iheels by a four-wheeled, Sirr veIling
truck,to act as a guiding mechanism for the 10-
comotive,as she ran over the uneven track. This
installation of the leading truck in turn neces
sitated the inclining of the outside cylinders, to
afford the clearance necessary in negotiating the
curves, Finally, a headlight,c. and primitive
cab were also installed.
In 1927,the late Mr. John Loye,~.rst president of the
Association and dedicated railway historian,drew a sketch of the
JOHN NOLSON,after her modification in the manner described above,
He showed this sketch to the late Mr. H.A.Pangborn,wbo had,in his
youth, seen the locomotive many times. Mr. Pangborn affirmed that the
sketch represented the locomotive as he remembered her,
The late Mr. Robert R. Brown,an authority on Canadian rail
ways and long-time member of the Canadian Railroad Historical Asso
ciation,was of the opinion that the JOHN MOLSON, with her single pair
of 66-inch drivers, was a very fast locomotive; though, perhaps, not
very powerful and rather prone to slipping of her driving wheels,Be
tween 1852 and l857,the JOHN MOLSON was assigned to the fast mail
train from St. Lambert -on the south shore of the st. Lawrence Ri-
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ver,opposite Montreal -to Rouses POint,U.S.A.,just south of the
International Boundary. The distance was 42 miles and the scheduled
time was 75 minutes for the run, including three stops for wood and 1ater
In 1857,the Champlain and St. Lawrence Rail Road Company
the Montreal and New York Railroad Company -the latter having
.been formed in part from the Montreal and Lachine Rail Road -amal
gamated and took the new corporate title of the Montreal and Cham
plain Railroad. For a time, the JOHN MOLSON was assigned to the Stan
stead,Shefford and Chambly Railway – a 28-mile long line from St.
Johns to (West) Farnham and Granby (1859) and Waterloo(1861) -when
it was operated by the Montreal and Champlain,under lease,
The JOHN MOLSON – a truly historic steam engine –
is thOU~lt to have ended a life of useful ser-
vice in 1874 on the Lachine Division of the
Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada. This
Company had leased the Hontreal and Champlain
Railroad in 1863 and had purchased it ten years
Thus,the JOHN MOLSON operated on no fewer than
four early Canadian railways, including the
first -the Champlain and St. Lawrence as
well as the first line to ue built to and ter
minate in the City of Montreal: the Montreal
and Lachine Rail Road.
Only tIO locomotives which Iere built prior to 11:370 -the
approximate date when all major Canadian railways were standardized
to the Stephenson Gauge of 4 feet 8~ inches -and qhich operated
on a railway in Canada -have survived to the present day, These
are the SM4S0N of 1838 and the ALBION of 1854,both of which ran on
the coal railways of the General l-1ining Association in Nova Scotia.
Both are preserved today as static displays in Pictou County,Nova
It should be mentioned in paSSing that two,non-operable
replicas of Canadafs first steam locomotive for a public railway
the DORCHESTER of 1836 -are in existence, One is exhibited in the
Chateau de Ramezay,Montreal -being the work of the late Messrs,John
Loye,Robert R. Brown,William G. Cole,Thomas OfDowd and others,cllar
ter members of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association. The
other is on view at the Maison La Salle, City of Lachine,Quebec,
Soon after the establisr~ent of the Canadian Rail
way Museum-Mus6e Ferroviaire Canadien by the Can
adian Railroad Historical Association,much pro
found consideration was given to the creation of
a suitable exhibit or exhibits,to demonstrate the
development of the railways of Canada before the
1870-era,the period reflected by the oldest steam
locomotive then preserved at the Museum. During
R A I L
1962-63,proposals were progressively eliminated
and refined to fix finally upon the possibility
of constructing a full-scale, operable replica of
a steam locomotive of the 1840
s. Gradually, all
other proposals were eliminated and the steam
10colOOtive JOHN NOLSON began to emerge as the
choice. This selection was preferred because of
several important considerations.
First,the JOHN MOLSON was of the right IIvintage
late 1840 IS.
Second,the wheel arrangement -2-2-2 -was probably the
most popular type of the late 1830
s, 401S and early 50
perhaps eight European countries, rail transportation was inaugurated
with locomotives of this wheel arrangenent.
Third,the single-driver steam locomotive is of a particul
arly handsome design,to which any student of the former Great West
ern Railway of England will attest.
Fourth,the JOHN MOLSON ran on several important pioneer
Fifth, the JOHN MOLSON TaS practically identical to two o
ther famous locomotives, the JAMES FERRIER and the NONTREAL.
Finally,a potential source of financial aid to realize the
construction of a working replica of this 2-2-2 locomotive appeared
to be available.
THE LOCOMOTIVE REPLICA IS oFFLoADED FROM THE M!V MIKAGESAN MARU BY THE
crane of Sicotte Transport onto a low-bed trailer.Photo A.S.Walbridge.
The ne~t day,the engine was cautiously fired up at the Canadian Railway
Museum under the watchful eye of Dr. Nicholls. Photo 5.5 .Worth en.
On August 14,1971,Senator Hartland de Montarville Molson took the throt
tle of the JOHN MOLSON of 1971 for the inaugural run. Photo S.S.Worthen.
Tom Montgomerys photograph of the JOHN MOLSON of 1971,with Peter Layland
at the throttle,has received the widest publicity of any picture.
The JOHN MOLSON of 1971 steams forward at the Canadian Railway Museum on
August 14,1971 -Members Day at the Museum. Photo S.S.Worthen.
The builders plate –
is firmly affixed
to the frame of the tender.
Photo Tom Montgomery.
R A I L
As soon as the Directors of the Canadian Rail
road Historical AssOCiation took the decision
to proceed with further study of this exciting
proposal, they were immediately confronted ~dth
three major problems requiring resolution. The
first objective was to find a donor or group of
donors who would provide the essential finan
cial means, then estimated -in all naivete -to
be of the order of $ 10,000. Clearly, the con
struction of an exact replica of a steam loco
motive of the l840lS would be costly; the ma
chine,though primitive, being nevertheless com
The construction methods by which the original
had been built, are today extinct. It would be
impossible to secure any cost reduction through
the use of modern mass-production techniques •
Moreover,any person or oonsortium who agrees to
provide financial assistance to a project seldom
writes a blank cheque. He naturally wishes to
know how much money he lill be expected to give.
The provision of this vital information was de
pendent upon the successful resolution of two
Given the money -in any amount -the construction of a
replica of a steam locomotive requires a set of working mechanical
drawings. Without these,all the money in the ~10rld could not buy
such a machine. Moreover,it was necessary to find or produce a set
of authentic mechanical drawings in order to obtain serious bids
from potential manufacturers. How could such drawings be created,ap-
proximately one hundred and twenty years after the company which
built the original locomotive had been dissolved?
By the sununer of 1964,following the failure of several
competent and energetic historians in Great Britain to locate any
of the records of the Kinmond companies, with very mixed feelings,
the conclusion was reached that a set of working drawings would
have to be produced starting Ii th sheets of blank paper. This was
truly a very dismaying prospect.
At this juncture -and as a result of
correspondance with Mr. G. MacLennan
of Er:gland on the Canadian activities
the Kinmond Brothers of Montreal -the
tention of the Directors of the ASSOCiation
happily dra,m to an engraving -actually
a montage of etchings -displayed at the Dun
dee Museum, Dundee, Scotland. This montage
Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel 2-2_2,
outside-cylinder steam locomotive of 1848.
Incredible but true, this etching was appar-
R A I L
ently used by the Compar.y to advertise its
current (1843) productl
Upon cornparisor.,the design was found to
agree dell ~ith information in trle Report
to the Board of Railway Commissioners (Can
ada) of I1r. Samuel Keefer, Inspector of Rail
lays -of 1859, a work which still exists in
a fe,l copie s. This report g1 ve s some de
tails respecting steam locomotives tllen op
erating in Canada. In addition, the etching
from the Dundee Museum resembled the loco
motive shown in a sketch of uncertain date
by a Ivlr. J. ITalker, captior.ed The First Tr
ain to Come into Montr.eal.
Early in 1965,ar. adequate core of information then being
at hand, an attempt was made to prepare a preliminary set of plans,
estimated to number between 100 and 150 separate dra~
ber-draughtsmen of the Association. Not surprisingly -in view of
the terrible complexity of the project -it proved abortive. A year
had passed and no progress had been made.
During this interval, the Curator of the Dundee l>iuseum sug
gested that the project might be discussed with Mr. Hilliam Gordon
Small, talented instructor of draugll.ting at Alloa Academy, Alloa, Scot
land. In addition to his skill as a draughtsman,Mr. Small was also
an expert on early Scottish railway locomotives and an ardent build
er of live-steam models. By this most extraordinary and fortuitous
turn of good fortune, the project was once again revived.
In March,1966,Mr. Small very generously volun
teered to prepare the numerous essential dra~
ings in his spare time and as a 1I1abor of love.
He worked with such enthusiasm and to such good
effect that the drawings were ready in November
of the same year.
The intervening weeks had generated a voluminous
correspondance between Scotland and Canada, as
innumerable decisions were taken respecting the
details of the design. Everyone concerned with
the project kept the original objective con
stantly in mind: to build in the 1960 s a ~ork
Lng replica of a steam locomotive,wfiich would
duplicate as closely as possible an orig~nal,
built in the 1840s.
Some deviations from the original design had to be accept
ed,chiefly in order that the replica, when complete, would be accep
table to the inspection authorities of the province of Quebec, who
are responsible for the safety of boilers and other pressure vessels.
This requirement was essential if the locomotive we:le ever to oper-
R A I L
ate at the Canadian Raihray Museum. l>foreover, the completed locomo
tive must also be acceptable to the insurance underwriting con~any
which would subsequently insure tile locomotive for operation, thus
assuming tlle burden of responsibility for the design and construct
ion. Hithout an acceptably constructed locomotive, subsequent uncon
ditional operation would be impossible.
Among the modifications necessitated may be mentioned
the provision of a welded-steel boiler with steel
tubes in place of a rivetted-copper boi-ler with
brass tubes. The antique safety valve -the prim
itive pop-valve to relieve the stearn pressure
in the boiler -gave way to two modern safety val
ves. The hoary Salter Valve -an early type of
steam-pressure gauge -was supplemented by a mod
ern dial gauge on the boiler backhead. Two modern
injectors lrere installed to provide a dependable
source of boiler feed-water. By ingenious design,
most of these variations were cleverly hidden from
view. Finally,to facilitate the rapid raiSing of
steam and to minimize a:l.r-pollution in compliance
with emergent provincial and municipal regul
ations,the specification of wood as the fuel
was amended to stipulate 0:1.1.
Now that the drawings had been created from which estima
tes of construction costs lould be prepared, it remained to find
somewhere in tIle world – a builder of steam locomotive s. And having
found SUCll a company or consortium of companies, to persuade them to
consider the construction of an authentic, operable replica of the
steam locomotive JOHN MOLSON of the forgotten 1840
After 1960,builders of steam locomotives throughout the
world flad begun to decline in Dumber. The search, initiated during
the summer of 1964, was -for reasons of sentiment -conducted most
fiercely in Great Britain. During the next two years, its scope was
necessarily broadened to include France,llest Germany,Canada and the
The results of each search l>lere generally the
same: lack of capability or lack of interest;
quotations of very high prices, which could be
considered equivalents to expressions of dis
interest. It seemed that most companies which
the capabilities did not have the inter
est. But jOust when the hope of completing the
project bad reached a very low ebb, fortune be
gan to smile and interest was awakened in a
very distant land.
A young and extremely energetic member of the ASSOCiation,
reSident in Japan,expressed his willingness to try to find in that
country a competent and >lilling manufacturer of steam locomotives •
R A I L
Mr. William D. McKeown, formerly of ottawa, Canada and then
for the Young Mens Christian Association i.n Osaka, Japan,
began the search which was to last for four years. It was
with uncertainty and punctuated with disappointment. A full
standing of what was involved in this protracted search must
sarily await Bill HcKeowns return to Canada,else the entire
val would be consumed with the writing of this revelation.
Having apparently exhausted the possibilities
of steam locomotive construction in most other
countries of the world, all the remaining energies
of the project planners were now devoted to the
consummation of an arrangement with a Japanese
builder. Help was sought wherever it could be
found. It is probable that,at one critical jun
cture,the Japanese National Railways inter
vened to assist in the successful realization of
the Canadian Railroad Historical Associations
Finally,in the last days of 1968,a consortium of three
Japanese companies -Mitsui and Company; Kawasaki Rolling stock Man
ufacturing Company;Kyosan Industrial Company -submitted a bid for
the construction of a working replica of a locomotive of 1848,which,
when modified, was acceptable to the Canadian Railroad Historical As
sociation. And it was so accepted on December )0,1969.
It called for the completion of a working replica of the
steam locomotive JOHN MOLSON within sixteen (16) months of the final
approval of the working drawings and shipment thereafter to Montreal
for an all-inclusive price of $ 75,000.
Concurrently, the Association was remarkably for
tunate to find a generous donor who agreed to
underiri te the cost of the project.
The difficult and prolonged search for a builder for the
JOHN MOLSON of 1971 was not without its advantages. The period pro
vided an interval, from late 1966 to 1969,for Mr. Gordon Smalls dr
awings and specifications for the replica to be re-examined and sc
rutinized several times -on at least two occasions by independent
experts on the history of the steam locomotive and its construction,
resident in both Great Britain and Canada. In this connection, the
Canadian Railroad Historical Association is indebted to Mr. Jack
Hewitson and Mr. Eric Sprenger, both of Montreal,Canada.
DRIVER PETER LAYLAND AND STOKER IAN WEBB, DRESSED APPROPRIATELY IN MID
nineteenth century railwaymens costumes, parade the JOHN MOLSON of
1971 before the Association members on August 14,1971.Photo S.S.Worthen.
Senator Hartland de M. Molson -great-great-grandson of John Molson the
Elder (1763-1836) -poses for his portrait with the JOHN MOLSON of 1971.
Photo by Robert Nadon -LA PRESSE.
, 289 R A I L
To permit the entry of the completed replica
into Canada, exempt from customs import duties
and taxes, application was made to the Govern
ment of Canada for an exemption and it was,
in due course, granted.
In the weeks that followed the signing of the contract for
construction of the replica, late in 1969,Mr. S .Hirota, mechanical en
gineer of the Kawasaki Rolling Stock Manufacturing Company and his
associates, prepared a second set of engineering dralTings -much more
detailed than the original set -..,i th dimensions in the metric sys
tem,rather than in the English system, normally used by western en
gineering firms -and annotated in the Japanese language, so that
tlley could be readily understandable by the engineers and artisans
of the Kawasald firm and the Kyosan Industrial Company at Fukushima.
The creation of the second set of drawings initiated a
three-way correspondance between Canada, Japan and Scotland. The Jap
anese builders are to be complimented on the patience, understanding
and diligence ,Ti th which they consummated the transmutation of tile
design drawings into terms , … hich could be readily understood in
By February, 1970, it had become apparent that
a face-to-face meeting betueen Hr. S. Hirota
and Hr. Ttl. Gordon Small was essential, in
order to reach agreement on many of the re
maining details of the locomotives design.
According1y,the Canadian Railroad Historical
Association was able to bring Mr. Small from
Scotland to Canada and the Mitsui,Kawasaki
and Y~osan Companies sent Mr. Hirota from
Osaka. A two-day meeting in Hontrea1 be
tween designer and engineer ensued. At the
end of the discussions, the result was the
finalization of the working drawings for
the JOHN MOLSON of 1971.
Construction of the replica began soon thereafter. As the
building of the locomotive and tender proceeded during the summer
of 1970,so did the inspection of the components employed. This in
spection was essential as a prerequiSite to the granting of the cer
tificate from the insurance unden … riters and the boiler and pres
sure-vessel inspector of the Province of Quebec. The completed boi
ler and firebox were subjected to the same careful acrut1ny.
The replica of the JOHN HOLSON of 1848 was given an oper-
ating test on November 10,1970, in tl1e presence of Mr. Vi1liam D.
McKeol/n and Mr. R.H .Jones -the latter a mechanical engineer for
CP SHIPS, who had consented to act on behalf of the Association -re
presenting the Canadian Railroad Historical Association.
This operating test was generally satisfactory, but it was
considered advisable to strengthen the firebox somewhat, so that
290 R A I L
it would meet the most stringent requirements of both the insurance
underwriters and the boiler inspection services of the Province of
Quebec. The necessary improvements were made and a final certifica
tion was approved on June 18,1971.
Eleven days later, the JOHN MOLSON of 1971 was
loaded on the deck of the freighter
Mikagesan l1aru of Mitsui O.S .K. Lines,
Limited and left the Port of Yokahama ,
for Montrea1,via the Panama Canal.
The ship was expected to dock at the
Port of Montreal during the morning of
Monday,August 2,1971,but as the morning
passed, the news was received that the
ship had been delayed by fog and would
arrive about twenty-four hours later.
The 1I1Ilikagesan Maru
arrived in the Port of Montreal early
on the morning of Tuesday, August 3 and by that afternoon, the JOHN
MOLSON of 1971 had been unloaded and moved by highway low-bed trans
port trailer to Saint-Constant, Quebec and the Canadian Railway Mus
During the long voyage from Japan,on1y the exterior paint
and bright-work had been dulled somewhat by the salt ocean spray,de
spite the protective coating of grease which had been applied prior
to her departure.
The intervening days between the arrival of the locorrotive
at the Museum and ter first operation in Canada were occupied with
cleaning the boiler and tender and installing the smokestack and
copper steam-dome cover. On Saturday,August 7,1971,preparations were
made to steam up the JOHN MOLSON of 1971 for the first time in Can
ada,for final inspection and ratification for operation by the in
surance underwriters and the Inspector of Boi1ers,Province of Que-
Accordingly,in the presence of ~~. T.S.
Leighton,Senior Principal Surveyor for
Canada and ~~. T. Ross -both of L1oyd
Register of Shipping -and ~. F.E.Bourque,
Director,Pressure Vessel Department,Depart
ment of Labor,Province of Quebec, at 3.12
p.m. on August 7,1971 -steam having been
raised in a somewhat leisurely and compli
cated fashion -the regulator (throttle )
of the locorrotive was cautiously moved
from the position IIsh.utll towards the pos
ition lIopen jOintly by ~. William Gordon
Small and the Author and the JOHN MOLSON
of 1971 moved forward, smartly and smooth-
1y,for her first trip on the rails of a
railway in Canada, just as her predecessor
had done, one h.undred and twenty-two years
R A I L
This final episode in the last act of the seven-year drama
took place before the eyes of many admiring members and a few mysti
fied visitors to the Museum.
Probably no one present at this informal but historiC cer
emony had the sense of satisfaction that was the particular feeling
of Mr. H.Gordon Small, instructor in draughting at Alloa Academy,Al
loa,Scotland,who had come to Canada only two days before to parti
cipate in this memorable event. An exception to this exclusive pl
easure might be granted in behalf of the Author of this articleJ
The operating replica of the JOHN MOLSON of 1848 of the
Cha~lain and. st. Lawrence Rail Road -Canada 1 s first public rail
way -was thereafter placed in her permanent home in Bay 3 of Buil
ding 1 at the Canadian Railway Museum -Musee Ferroviaire Canadien,
there to await her formal acceptance, exposition and placement in
service one week later, on the occasion of a Members 1 Day,organized
to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the foundation of the can
adian Railway Museum -Musee Ferroviaire Canadien and the advent of
the JOHN MOLSON of 1971.
The impossible dream of 1964 had become the
incredible reality of 1971.
.: .. ~:.+
HE CANADIAN RAILROAD HISTORICAL ASSO
Ciation wishes to acknowledge the uni-
que contribution made by the follOwing
persons in the realization of the pro
ject to construct a working replica of
a steam locomotive of the l840ls in
the 19601 s:
1:4r. William D. McKeown, Association Representative,
I,iI. H .Gordon Small, Head, Ind ustrial Arts Department,
Alloa Academy, Alloa, Scotland.
l.fr. Shoichiro Hirota, Chief Designer, Kawasald Heavy
Industries, Osaka, Japan.
l.fr. Robert H. Jones,Superintendent Engineer,CP SHIPS,
Canadian Pacific Limited,Tokyo,Japan.
Mr. T.S.Leighton,Senior Principal Surveyor for Canada,
Lloyd1s Register of Shipping,Montreal.
IIiI. T.N .Ross, Principal Engineer Surveyor for Canada (ret.)
Lloyd1s Register of Shipping, Montreal.
M. F .E .Bo ur que ,Director, Department of Labour and Manpower
Mr. H. Nakayasu,Manager,l-1achinery Department,
Mitsui & Company (Canada) Ltd.,Montreal.
Mr. John Doyle
ISNT THAT NICE,I SAID TO MY
wife one day in June,
1965. John Robertson
has written to us from
The letter, with its Canadian stamp, was post
marked Montreal,but it was not from my
friend,John Robertson. Instead,it was a com
munication from the Canadian Railroad His
torical Association,requesting information on
three steam locomotives that had been built
by the firm of Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel of
Dundee,Scotland in 1846.
These tbree steam locomotives were said to have been sh
ipped in parts to Montreal,Lower Canada,in 1848-49,for operation on
the Montreal and Lachine Rail Road -the first railway on the Is
land of Montreal.
Previously,Dr. Robert Nicholls,President of the Associa
tion had written to Mr. A.Browning,Curator of the Glasgow Museum &
Art Galleries for this information. Remembering that I was then
constructing a 1/12-scale model of the locomotive WALLACE -the
first steam locomotive on tbe Dundee and Arbroath Railway -Mr. BrOiming
referred Dr. Nicholls to me. Since the vlALLACE was built
by the firm of Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel -as was the JOHN MOLSON
for the Champlain and st. Lawrence Rail Road -Dr. Nicholls ini
tiated my involvement in the search for the design of the JOHN
Initially,all that was asked for was information. But as
the correspondance developed,I was asked to do a few drawings to
illustrate what the locomotive might have looked like. This was
to enable interested companies to have an idea of what they might
be requested to quote on. However,it soon became apparent that the
companies which were approached would not quote prices without wor
king dra/ings. These nOiq needed to be produced. Having never tack
led a job of this magnltude,the proposal required a good bit of
thinking on, but at last I decided to chance my neck and have a bash
R A I L
Fortunately,the bulk of the research on the steam loco
motives manufactured by Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel had been done
when the HALLACE of the Dundee and Arbroath Railway was started.
Now it was a question of hO~1 the JOHN MOLSON differed from the
other locomotives which had been built for the Dundee and Arbroath,
as well as those constructed for the Glasgow, Paisley, Kllmarnock and
Ayr -another early Scottish railway -some ten engines in all.
The obvious differences were in the type of funnel, the
siting of the steam-dome, the pressure gauge and the safety valves.
The valve gear had been improved upon to the Gooch gear, replacing
the gab gear used on the earlier locomotives.
As the locomotive was to be a working replica,considera
tior. had to be given to various existing governmental regulations
relating to steam boiler design.
These regulations also made the tender-drm.,bar attachment
to the boiler backhead -used in the original locomotive -quite
unacceptable. The wheel-tyre sections on the original ~rere much
too thin and these had to be increased to modern sections.Above all,
these and all other modifications had to be incorporated in the re
plica in such a lay that they -lOuld not alter the exterior appear
ance of the finislled machine.
The only record of steam locomotives of tJle JOHN MOLSON
type, in dra~1ing form, vias an old engraving. This included drawings
of an elevation, sectional elevation and four sections,done to ~
incll to 1 foot scale. ~1hen sizes from one vim-I 1-lere lifted and
compared VTith tlle same size on another vie/,it was discovered tJlat
tlle engravins: was quite wrong. Apparently, the engraver tlad exer
cised conSiderable artistic licence in 11is interpretation. Never
theless, this vIas a good general guide for the general arrangement
In order to begin a project of this nature,not only must
all pOSsible information regarding the machine be collected, but
th.e designer must tmagine t).at he is lIorll.ing vlith the people 1>lho
originally constructed tl1e machine. He must keep in nLlnd the me
thods and materials avallable at tile time. He must knmi about tIle
machine tools then available and the acEuracy and tolerances to
,~hich tt)ese builders could ~10rk.
The construction techniques then used for building steam
el~gines differed greatly from those of the second half of tile twen
tieth century • Obviously, a greater proportion of the iron-work ~ras
forged, wl)ile today, cast steel or welded fabrication i.s the rule .Tne
A TYPICAL 2-2-2 LOCOMOTIVE OF THE 1848 PERIOD,IN THIS CASE CONSTRUCTED
by the Glasgow,Paisley,Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway of Scotland.Photo CNR.
The montage of drawings of a 2-2-2 locomotive,designed by Kinmonds,
Hutton & Steel,Enqineers,Dundee,Scotland.Courtesy R.V.V.Nicholls.
,) .. ::
R A I L
1heels of the first JOHN MOLSON were forged and bammer-lelded, which
is a technique now long lost. To form a wheel, a block of iron las
used for the hub and from it spokes Jere drawn out for about one
third of their total length. The remainderof the spoke and the
inner rim of the wheel were U-shaped sections, hammer-welded to-
gether and then hannner-welded to the centre section.Around this
was hammer-welded the wheel rim. When complete,the unit was mach
ined and then tyred.
By studying these pOints carefully,it is possible to
assess the type of finish which could be expected from the build
ers of the period. It is quite obvious that if the finish on the
10COIrotive laS too modern, then the impression of a period machine
would be completely lost.
Once all of the information and construction detail had
been collected, the drawing proper could be started by drawing a
full elevation, plan and end-views. These determined all the major
dimensions: lengths, heights, wheel-centres, etc. These major dimen
sions were then used as the basis for the breakdown drawings of the
various components. Frames,cylinders,valve-gear,boiler,etc. were
drawn. The components,in turn, were then broken down into indiVidual
parts, each being detailed with dimensions,finishes,clearances and
so forth. All the drawing sheets had an index list, giving the Part
Number,No. off ••••• ,material,British Specification NL~ber and over
all sizes of raw materials required.
The drawings were all done on tracing paper of l20-gram
weight,in order that prints could be taken off. This part of the
job was the most time-consuming and,as reference had to be made all
the time to previous sheets to check sizes, it laS necessary to con
vert our spare bedroom into a temporary drawing office for the 10
months required to complete the bulk of the drawings. The bed was
ideal place to spread out the large sheets.
When no details of a part could be found, old books on
engineering were consulted. An example is Mr. D.J.Clarks Railway
Machineri, which has excellent illustrations of various parts. By
finding the necessary part of the same decade,it was possible to
incorporate it into the drawings for the replica,as there is -in
general -very little difference between one firms parts and those
of another at any given period.
Stress calculations did not figure prominently in the de
sign,as modern materials to be used have a much greater ultimate
tensile strength than those used originally. In fact, when the
drawings were discussed with Mr. Shoichiro Hirota of the Kawasaki
Rolling Stock Manufacturing Company,he recommended reduction of
some of the sections of some parts,as they rere obviously very un
derstressed. However, this could not be agreed to, since it would
have altered and spoiled the appearance of the finished machine.
Printing copies of the finished drawings would likely
cost the I-Ieavens,so a local company with a drawing office was
contacted and an arrangement was effected whereby their printing
R A I L
equipment would be used, with printing paper obtained at a reductlon
from 6 shillings to 6 pence per print -providing that I did the
actual printingJ In all,32 ten-yard rolls of 30-inch paper were
used to obtain 3 sets of the prints.
Once the copies were made, they were despatched to Dr.
Nicholls in Canada and it then appeared that my part in the project
But this was by no means the casel Early in 1970,my pre
sence in Nontreal was requested,to meet !..fr. S. Hirota,chief design
er for Kawasaki. He checked the drawings that !..fr. Hirota had had
prepared against those that I had done and clarified many pOints
which had hitherto been unresolved. I was very much impressed by
their grasp of the project and the rapidity with which our mutual
inquiries were explained.
In the completion of this difficult and complicated task,
invaluable assistance had been provided by Mr. John D. Boyd,Direc
tor of the Dundee Museum and Art Galleries, who worked miracles in
finding information for me. Equally helpful was Hr. Walter Murray,
Librarian of the Alloa Libraries.who tolerated my incessant chasing
for books from other libraries allover the country. To these two
gentlemen I am deeply grateful.
vri tings about the history of the city and citizens of
Dundee.Scotland.provide very limited detail on the history 6f the
firm gf Kinmonds,Hutton and Steel. It is known that Kinmond. who
owned bleach-fields outSide Dundee.was the financial backer. while
Hutton and steel were the engineers. The firm was organized in the
late 1700s and llent out of business about 1900-05. Their main ac
tivity was in the production of textile machinery for the flax and
jute industry and several notable improvements are known to have
been made by them.
llhen railways were being built all around in Scotland
Kinmonds.Hutton and Steel went into the business of steam locomo
tive building and are known to have made seven locomotives for the
Glasgow.Paisley.Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway, two or three for the
Dundee and Arbroath Railway, three for the Montreal and Lachine
Rail Road and one is recorded as being thereafter offered for sale.
There is the possibility that others were made.
After all the labour of perfecting the design of the
JOHN NOLSON of 1971; after the mountains of correspondance; after
the exciting and unexpected trip to Canada to meet !..fr. Hirota from
distant Japan; the final hi@11ight of this undertaking was. for me.
ON THE FOOT PLATE OF THE JOHN MOLSON OF 1971,MR. GORDON SMALL TRIES THE
reversing lever. Photo Tom Montgomery.
At the celebrations on August 14,1971, Mr. Stephen T. Molson is accompan
ie~ by Masters Bryan and Thomas McFarlane on a trip with the 1848 replica.
Photo Robert Nadon-LA PRESSE.
the recelving of an invitation from the Canadian Ka1lroad Histori
cal Association through its President,Dr. Robert Nicholl~, to at
tend the Members Day Celebration at the Canadian Railway Museum,
to see the locomotive being landed and to drive her on her first
run under steam on Canadian soil. Having designed it, seen it in
finished form and driven it,I am most impressed by the quality of
workmanship that the Japanese builders have put into the engine and
have a profound feeling of satisfaction that the work which I had
the privilege of beginning has been completed in the best possible
One ~an never tell what may result from a
letter which the postman brings to ones
door, especially when it is postmarked
Canadian Railroad Historical Association,
IIIIHIIIIIIIIE IIIIE IIIIHIlIl
( I~IE IIIIE ~I~ ~II~ 11111
the day of the celebration
of the Tenth Anniversary of
the Canadian Railway Museum.
occasion was doubly important, for not only was the
Museum beginning its second decade, but this day also saw the first
official operation of a steam locomotive at the Museum. The loco
motive was,of course, the full-size replica of the JOHN MOLSON and
happy cOincidence, it was ready for service just in time for
the Museums Tenth Anniversary.
A special train consisting of two CP RAIL DAYLINER
rail diesel cars -numbers 9116 and 9114 -left
Jl10ntreals Windsor Station and, carrying more than
eighty guests, pulled up to the platform of Barring·
ton Station at the Canadian Railway Museum -Mus6e
Ferroviaire Canadien. At the same time, other mem
bers and friends arrived by alternate means of tr
ansportation so that,as noon hour approached, about
150 persons were assembled. Prominent among the
guests were Senator Hartland de M. Molson,other
members of the Molson family,Mr. Adolph Monsaroff,
President of DOMTAR Limited and representatives of
the Mitsui and Kawasaki (Canada) Companies. Also
in attendance was Mr. W. Gordon Small of Alloa,
Scotland,who had dra~m the original designs for the
Everyone assembled near the Hays Memorial Archives/
Library Building and the President of the Canadian
Railroad Historical Association,Dr. R.V.V.Nicholls,
opened the festivities with a speech of welcome,fol
lowed by a recitation of the history of the Canadian
Railway Museum and the JOHN MOLSON project.
Then came the long-awaited moment. Dr. Nicholls gave the signal and
the JOHN MOLSON -operated by r-1essrs. Ian Webb and Peter Layland ,
suitably dressed in mid-nineteenth century railwaymens costumes –
started forward and slowly carne up to the platform of the Hays Mem
orial Building. A few moments later,Senator Molson himself mounted
to the footplate and took the regulator for the round-trip down
the line to Barrington Station. During the remainder of the after-
Dr. Nicholls introduces the distinguished gU8st~ to the members of th~
Association on Members Day,August 14,1971. Photo S.S.Worthen.
noon, the JOHN MOLSON made several additional trips and hundreds of
photographs were taken by those present.
The guests then proceeded to a specially arranged area
near Barrington Station and there partook -not of the tradition
al cold collation -but of a steaming chicken barbeque. Later,the
participants lere treated to a ride in ex-Canadian Pacific caboose
number 435288,hauled by ex-Canadian National diesel electric loco
motive number 77. After this exciting experience, the remainder of
the afternoon was free,so that the members and friends could in
spect the many exhibits at the l-1useum.
All too soon, the all aboard call was sounded
and the guests and members once more boarded the
Museum Special for tbe return trip to Montreal.
At 4.30 p.m.,IlExtra 9116 west
Station for the return trip. Soon all the guests,
members and friends had departed and the JOB~
MOLSON was thereafter put safely away and the
Tenth Anniversary celebrations were over.
The first ten years in the history of our Museum are complete and
we now look forward with pleasant anticipation to the events of
the next decade.
of the victims of a tragic highway accident
which occurred in Spain on September 17,1971,
was Charles Viau,Vice-president of the Can
adian Rai 1road Historical Association. ~1r.
Viau was in his sixty-ninth year.
The duty of recording the passing from this
life of a true friend and valued associate
is ever a difficult and sorrowful duty,more
particularly for those who were proud to
number such a person among their most re
spected friends. It is the more difficult
when death claims the victim so unexpected-
1y,so swiftly -and so needlessly.
Mr. Viau took part in the Association as a
as Vice-President, Secretary and
Director for more than three decades. Of a
quiet,happy and gentle disposition,~e was
distinguished particularly for his enthusiasm,
his generosity -his financial benefactions
to the Association constitute an impressive
record -and his equanimity. His deportment
could be perfectly described as that of a
diplomat. During his close involvement with
the Association as a Director,he invariably
demor.strated a rare abiHty to remair. aloof
from divisiveness and contention.
The Officers,Directors and r-1cmbers of the
Association express their sincere condolen
ces to his wife -who was seriously injured
in the same accident -and to h.is family.
These will be added to ttle many Expressions
of s~nnpathy and undeistanding from the vast
multitude of his friends.
Heureux 1es doux,car i1s recevront 1a terre
en l)eri tage .•••••
ASSOCIATION S ARCHIVES
published by t.he
CANADIAN RAILROAD HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION ~~~,~!1:2Qu!~On B
Assooia.te Membership inoluding 11 issues of
Canadian Rail 8,00 annually,
EDITOR S,S. VlTort.hen PRODUCTION P.Murphy
EDITORIAL ASSOCIATE F A Kemp
DISTRIBUTION J.A.Beat.ty & F.F.Angus
VISITEZ L E
Canadian Railway Museum Musce Fe,.,.ovini,.c Ca,ulien
OPEN MAY SEPT. OUVERT MAl· SEPT.
Our 10th. Anniversary Notre 10em. Annlversaire.
DIRECTOR OF BRANCHES
C.i,~.K.Heard. 74 Southern Drive, Ottawa 1, Canada
DIRECTOR OF MEMBERSHIP SERVICES J.A.BEATTY
OTTAWA W.R.L1nley. SectyO! P.O.Box 141. Terzr,inal A, Ottawa.
ROCKY KOUNTAIN Mr.Donald W,Scare 12407 lansdowne Drive, Apto 101 Edmonton.
PACIFIC COAST Hr.Barrle Sanford,Secty.,P.O.Box 1006 Stn. A, Vancouver.
K.F.Chlvers, Apt. ),67 Somerset St. ~ .. Ottowa, Ontario.
J .S.Nlcholoson. 2)06 Arnold St., Saskatoon. Saskatchc·lan.
Peter Cox. 609 Cottonwood Ave., CoqultlalIl, British Columbia.
o:.D.f>:cKeown. 6-7. 4-chome. Yamate-cho,Sulta City, Osaka, Japan.
J.H.Sonders, 67 Willow Way, Ampthill, Beds., England.
K.G.Younger, 267 Vernon Road, Winnipeg. C;llnltoba.
Hr. Donald W.Scafe.12407 Lansdowne Drive, Apt. lOl,Edmonton Alta.
Copyright 1971 Printed in Canada on Canadian Paper