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Canadian Rail 263 1973

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Canadian Rail 263 1973

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The Line
Little Current
~J.A.ItDalelt Wilson
t its greatest extent, the Algoma Eastern
~ Railway penetrated northeasterly eighty­
seven miles into the northern Ontario por­
tion of the Canadian Shield. Its eastern
terminus was Sudbury, Ontario -centre of
the worlds largest nickel-mining region
located on the main line of the Canadian Pa­
cific Railway 440 miles west of Montreal, at
the point where the Sault Ste. Marie Branch
leaves the main line. The town of Little Cur-
rent on Manitoulin Island -just off the
north shore of Lake Superior -was the AER s
western terminus.
As actually constructed, the AER s purpose was threefold: to
serve a part of the nickel-mining and refiring industry near Sud-
bury; to provide a rail connection to Manic)ulin Islond; to open
the intervening area to developments of various kinds. Service to
the nickel industry was to involve a great variety of traffic: ore
from the mines to the smelters, finished and semi-finished products
to interchange points from smelters or roast-beds and miscellaneous
raw materials and supplies -chiefly coal -to the mines and smel­
ters. It is not surprising to find that the charter of the AER ex­
pressed much more ambitious aims. Most Canadian railway charters of
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were noted for
being anything but modest and that of the Algoma Eastern Railway was no
The AER story had its beginnings just before the turn of the
century in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on the Canadian side of the
St. Marys River, the outflow of Lake Superior into Lake Huron. The
American-born financier and dreamer, Francis Hector Clergue, about
whom much has been and will be written, had in 1894 begun to create
an industrial empire under the general title and control of the
Lake Superior Corporation.
The Corporations achievements over the years were magnificent.
They included a steel-mill complex and a pulp and paper mill in the
adian Pacific Railways engine Number 3954, class N4b, originally
Number 54 of the Algoma Eastern Railway. She was photographed by
Dick George at North Bay, Ontario, about 1947.
3954, stepped along briskly with her van at Temiskaming, Ontario.
Dick George of Oakville, Ontario, took the picture.
Sault -pronounced then and now as Soo; hydroelectric generating
and distributing companies in both the Ontario and Michigan Soos;
ferry service between the sister cities and electric transit sys-
tems in both; iron mines to the north, near Wawa, Ontario; coal
mines in West Virginia, U.S.A.; limestone quarries in the State
of Michigan and, last but by no means least, 400 miles of railway.
And these accomplishments did not satisfy Francis Hector Clergues
It all started in 1894, when Clergue was on his way to Fort
William, Ontario, to investigate the possibility of hydroelectric
power development for a group of New York and Philadelphia investors.
He interrupted his journey at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, on hearing
that the towns attempt to harness the power potential of the St.
Marys River had ended in failure. Clergue arranged to toke over
the project and place it in operation. He did just that. Then, fail-
ing to interest any company in the use of the power generated, he
promoted the construction of a pulp and paper mill under his own
management. What he could not do in Fort William, he could do at
Sault Ste. Marie. The Lake Superior Corporation was on its way.
To obtain the sulphurous acid essential to paper-making, Cler­
gue proposed to use the sulphur which was a by-product from the
nickel-mining and smelting operations in the Sudbury area. The Can­
adian Copper Company, one of the predecessors of the International
Nickel Com?ony of Canada of today, refused to deal with him.Clergue
was not a man to be thwarted. Thus it was that in 1899 the Lake
Superior Corporation became involved in the affairs of Sudbury, by
buying two nickel properties west of the town. The mines-to-be were
named Gertrude and Elsie, after Clergue s sisters.
The nickel obtained from these mines was initially just a by­
product, since the sulphur was of importance to Clergue. But it
quickly assumed greater importance and before it knew it, the Lake
Superior Corporation was in the nickel business. Experiments con­
ducted in Sault Ste. Marie suggested that it was economically feas­
ible to use Gertrude and Elsie nickel as an alloy in steel-making.
A Lake Superior Corporation subsidiary, later known as the Algoma
Steel Corporation, negotiated a contract to supply nickel-steel to
Krupp, the German weapons-maker.
Rail transportation had to be provided for the Gertrude and El­
sie Mines. Clergue took over the existing charter of the Manitoulin
and North Shore Railway Company of 1888. This line had been planned
originally to connect Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron with the main­
land. Extensions of the charter up to 1894 authorized a connection
with the Canadian Pacific Railways line between Sudbury and Sault
Ste. Marie. Although subsidies had been granted, it is probable that
none were actually paid, since no construction took place on the an­
cestral M&NS.
Clergues new Dominion of Canada charter for the M&NS in 1900
legalized the construction of a railway from Sudbury to Little Cur­
rent, from Little Current southeasterly across Manitoulin Island,
across Georgian Bay (by ferry) to Tobermory on the eastern shore of
Lake Huron and thence to Meaford, Wiarton and Owen Sound, with a
potential connection with railways to Toronto. The possibility of
a new railway from Toronto to Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie was very
encouraging. But since this proposed route involved a train-ferry
operation across Georgian Bay, there was some speculation as to how
operations would fare during the winter months. However, it was in
planning, not in operation, that Clergues talents lay.
361 R A I L
A now-defunct newspaper, the Sudbury JOURNAL, reported in May
1900 that construction on the Manitoulin & North Shore had just be­
gun in Sudbury without any kind of ceremony. The contractors were
Fauquier Brothers. The JOURNAL predicted that the M&NS would do for
the Sudbury area ••• what the Crow s Nest Line is doing for Rossland
••• There were also predictions for ••• a fine new Union Station •••
for Sudbury.
A small railway yard was laid out in Sudbury, having two or
three tracks, a coal towe~, a water tank and a small engine house.
These facilities were located in the northwest corner of the town,
just west of the point where the M&NS branched away from the Can­
adian Pacifics main line to western Canada. M&NS engines were tur­
ned about half-a-mile southeastward, on the wye formed by the jun­
ction of the CPRs main line and the Sault Ste. Marie branch.
1901 was an exciting year for the M&NS. In the spring, the 60-
pound rail reached Gertrude, 14 miles west of Sudbury, well beyond
the spur-connection to the Elsie Mine at mile 5. The arrival of
track at mile 12 had allowed the Canadian Copper Companys new
Creighton Mine to begin shipping ore to the Copper Cliff smelters
via Clara Belle Junction at mile 4.8. Seventy years later,Creighton
ore still follows this route.
The line avoided cutting through the ever-present rock ridges
as far as w6s possible arid resorted to the twisted course dictated
by side-hill construction. The track was carried over muskeg and
swamps either on timber trestles or large gravel fills, resting on
massive platforms of timber corduroy. Where shallow cuts through
clay ridges were necessary, an absolute minimum of ballast was used.
This had one inevitable result. Train movement through such cuts,
during or after wet weather, caused a pumpi g action in the road-
bed and resulted in the disappearance of rails and ties under a
thick layer of mud.
Also in 1901, the Spanish River Pulp and Paper Company was be-
ginning construction of a paper mill and power plant at was to be
the town of Espanola, about 50 miles west of Sudbury. A spur was
built a distance of about 1.5 miles, to connect the site with the
CPRs Sault Branch at Stanley Junction, today known as McKerrow.This
spur was a part of the M&NS system, probably as a result of the
powers granted by the original and revised M&NS charter. The obvious
lack of a physical connection with the rest of the railway resulted
in the lease of the Stanley Junction spur to the Canadian Pacific.
It is probable that the M&NS planned to push construction ahead ra­
pidly and thus arrive in the Espanola area within the year. Due to
circumstances beyond the Companys control, this did not happen un­
til the year 1912.
Information on the history of the Manitoulin and North Shore,
in this period of its history, is scanty, but it may be said that
the enterprise was successful. The Lake Superior Corporations smel­
ter at the Gertrude Mine was opened in 1902. The next year, a new
mine, the North Star, opened near mile 10 and was served by a mile­
long spur. This mine was owned by the Mond Nickel Company and ore­
concentrates were shipped east to Sudbury on the M&NS and then west
21 miles over the Canadian Pacifics Sault Branch to Victoria Mines,
at that time the site of the Mond Nickel Companys smelter.
In the same year, 1903, disaster overtook the Lake Superior Cor­
poration. Largely because of Clergues overextension of the company,
a financial crisis ensued which obliged reduction of the operations
of the subsidiaries, either partially or totally. In the Sudbury area,
the immediate result was the closing of the Corporations two mines
and smelter. They were never to re-open. The construction plans of
the M&NS were brought to a halt, with only the original 14 miles of
track completed. A further 10 miles to the Crean Hill Mine and the
right-of-way between Espanola and Little Current had been surveyed,
but nothing more was to be done before the period 1908-1910.
At the Sault Ste. Marie headquarters, Francis H. Clergue was
eased out of control of the company which had been his personal crea­
tion and dream. He remained on the Board of Directors for some time,
but apparently was expressly prevented from having any voice in the
formulation of company policy.
The possibility that a railway line would be built from the
M,~NS to the Corporations other railway subsidiary, the Algoma Cen­
tral and Hudson Bay Railway, is mentioned frequently in historical
research material. Certainly the head offices of both railways were
in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and the two railways shared staff at
the upper management level. Company employees, with the obvious ex­
ception of train crews, were frequently transferred back and forth
between the Sault and Sudbury. Yet the proposal to construct a phy-
sical link never appeared in any legal charter. Such a link would
have meant a partial duplication of the existing Canadian Pacific
service to the Sault and this would have been unproductive from
both an economic and political point of view.
However, the Official Guide 1905 contains a map of the Algoma
Central system, shOWTng all routes mentioned in both the AC&HB and
M&NS charters as being in operation or under construction, as well
as the proposed connecting line between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Ma­
rie. Since Clergue and his dreams were no longer dominant in the
Corporation in 1905, it may be assumed that the new, practical mon­
agement saw some merit in the idea. There is no proof that the sch­
eme had been Clergue s originally, but it somehow seems to fit l.n
with his floir for empire-building.
Despite the problems of the parent corporation and the result-
ing loss in traffic to and from the Gertrude ond Elsie Mines, the
M&NS managed to survive. The Official Guide 1905 lists two passenger
trains each way, daily, over the 14 miles of main line. Creighton
Mine remained the chief source of traffic, with 15,000 tons of ore­
concentrate shipped per month in the decade 1901-191U. Poors Manual
1905 shows that the railway owned two locomotives. Mr. Ray Corley,
Canadian roilway locomotive historian, hos kindly supplied facts on
the M&NS/AER numbering system and its relation to that of the Algoma
Central & Hudson Bay, as shown in the roster notes at the end of
this article. Speculation based on these facts leads to the conclu­
sion that locomotives owned by the M&NS previous to 19u7 were num­
bered between 12 and 18, inclusive. Further data is at present un­
The locomotive roster presented supplies information relevant
to a much later date and indicates that motive power used on the
completed railway was acquired after 1911, with the one exception
In 1907, or shortly thereafter, the Lake Superior Corporation
and its subsidiaries resumed plans for expansion. The M&NS acquired
a new locomotive, Number 27, in thot year and proceeded to make the
route of its line more closely resemble that described in its orig­
inal charter.
Mr. T.J. Kennedy, General Superintendent and Traffic Manager
of the AC&HB/M&NS , organized the Superior Construction Company to
build the M&NS extension. The construction company appears to have
been a temporary part of the Lake Superior Corporation family. Mr.
Kennedy was in the right place at the right time, since, in 1915,he
was President and General Manager of the Algoma Eastern Railway Com­
pany, successor to the Manitoulin and North Shore Railway Company,
and a receiver of the then-bankrupt Algoma Central & Hudson Bay Rail­
way Company.
The M&NS rails, now 80-pound, had reached mile 24 by 1910, the
Crean Hill Mine and its townsite of four hundred population. Mine
traffic had previously been hauled from the Crean Hill property over
a spur of the Canadian Copper Companys railway to the Sault Branch
of the Canadian Pacific Railway. On its arrival, the M&NS took over
this traffic and the spur south to the CPR was finally abandoned in
1915. This favourable treatment of the M&NS by the Canadian Copper
Company and its successor, the International Nickel Company, was to
continue throughout the railways life.
The town of Mond at mile 26 was the next settlement to be reach­
ed. Here lived the workers tor the mine of the same name, situated
a mile or so to the north. Until 1913, ore-concentrates were taken
by aerial tramway to the Mond Companys smelter at Victoria Mines,a
few miles south on the CPRs Sault Branch. In 1913, the town of
Coniston, to the east of Sudbury, was chosen as the site for the new
Mond Nickel Company smelter and the M&NS, by then the Algoma East­
ern Railway, began hauling ore-concentrates from the mine destined
for this smelter.
The railways new name caused considerable confusion in Sud-
bury railway circles in 191U and 1911. Officially, the Manitoulin &
North Shore Railway Company became the Algoma Eastern Railway Com­
pany on May II, 1911 i yet, for some time pI ,vious, the Sudbury STAR, a
newspaper of the town, and mining industry publications had been
referring to the Company as the Algoma Central. The close cor­
porate relations between the Algoma Eastern and the Algoma Central,
plus the presence of some regularly-assigned rolling stock and main­
tenance-of-way equipment labelled Algoma Central, apparently pro­
vided a reasonable basis for the confusion. There was no explanation
for the name-change and it can only be assumed that the Lake Superior
Corporation wanted all of its subsidiaries named Algoma (something).
Construction of the M&NS/AER continued westward to Turbine, mile
34, where there was an interchange with the Canadian Pacific Railway
and a Canadian Copper Company spur, which turned north to the power
developments on the Spanish River. AER locomotives were to run over
this spur with Canadian Copper Company pilot crews. From Turbine to
Espanola, the AER right-of-way roughly paralleled the CPR, following
it closely and crossing under it at about mile 38, near Nairn. The
AER track from Turbine to Nairn followed the south bank of the Span-
ish River and was often no more than five or six feet above the
rivers summer level. Although power developments upstream would
have helped to control water levels somewhat, spring flood-waters
must have been a chronic problem.
At this time, the Sudbury STAR reported that, in addition to
the new construction, the original 14 miles of track to Gertrude had
been improved. This involved track renewal with 80-pound rail, new
ballast, widening of the fills and draining of the muskegs. These
improvements were not all completely successful. The wider fills
were too heavy for their corduroy bases, for on o~e occasion, a
.. sink developed near Creighton, in which the track and eight ore­
cars were submerged. Two of the cars were later recovered, when new
the present-day Nickel Subdivision of CP RAIL. Looking east, this
is the precise location where the pre-1930 CNR transfer track join­
ed the AER. In the backgrolnd was the extreme west end of the AER s
yard in Sudbury. Photo W.A.Wilson, August, 1971.
fill pushed them back up out of the swamp. Sixty years later, the
muskegs are still stubbornly hazardous and a continuing problem.
The AER main line, without final ballasting, reached Turner,
mile 86.2, in April 1913. Turner was the site of the Little Current
yard and dock facilities on Lake Hurons Georgian Bay. Company of­
ficials toured the line on board the Lake Superior, one of the
Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railways business cars, which had come
east from the Sault via the CPR. In October of the same year, the
bridge to Manitoulin Island and the town of Little Current itself
was finished and the Algoma Eastern Railway could boast of 87.1 mi­
les of main line. The Dominion of Canadas Railway Board apparently
found all things to be in order and the new line was declared open
The Sudbury STAR wrote enthusiastically about potential passen­
ger traffic and lower freight rates for certain goods, notably coal,
northbound through Little Current harbour. The STAR pointed out
that the Canadian Pacific was charging less for coal in North Bay,
Ontario -which the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada also ser­
ved -than in Sudbury, even though the coal for North Bay was ship­
ped via Sudbury~ Traffic prospects south of Espanola indluded for­
est products, commercial fish and livestock and were excellent. J.
P. Mader, then-General Agent of the Algoma Eastern Railway, remem­
bers that one of his early tasks was to solicit the cattle traffic
from Manitoulin Island, which formerly had been routed by boat to
Owen Sound at the base of the Bruce Peninsula.
The STAR was not completely happy with the operation of the new
line. When the first passenger trains from both Espanola and Lit­
tle Current to Sudbury ran, the newspaper was angry because no ad­
vance notice of their arrival was provided. Perhaps Algoma Eastern
management, over ten years late in fulfilling even a part of the
responsibility undertaken in its charter, was too embarrassed to
call attention to itself on the occasion of the first operation o~
its passenger service.
The previously-mentioned 1913 relocation of the Mond Nickel
Companys smelter to Coniston, east of Sudbury, seemed to provide an
extra incentive for a direct connection between the Algoma Eastern
and the Canadian Northern (Ontario) Railway in Sudbury. There must
have been some interesting and animated bargaining between the Can­
adian Pacific, the Canadian Northern (Ontario) and the Mond Nickel
Company for the lucrative traffic that the AER could offer, since
ore-concentrates from the two on-line Mond mines could easily have
been routed via the CPR from Sudbury to Coniston. Canadian Northern
(Ontario) must have offered a most attractive arrangement to the
Mond Nickel Company.
The Canadian Northern (Ontario) Railway had served Subdury sin­
ce 1909 by a spur running west to the downtown section from its ma1n
tions of which are still visible. In 1971, Canadian National Rail­
ways trestle carries the transfer line over CP RAIL in the back­
ground. The photo was taken by W.A.Wilson in August, 1971.
line at Sudbury Junction, 3.S miles to the east. In that year, this
MacKenzie and Mann road had proposed an extension to the Manitoulin
and North Shore through the town, which involved numerous grade cros­
sings. Already suffering from a plague of these, courtesy of the CPR,
the town fathers quite sensibly declined the proposal.
The scheme which was to succeed in 1913 involved a combined
wooden-trestle and steel-span bridge, crossing two streets and the
main lines of both the CPR and the AER in the northwest corner of
the town. The bridge was not very high, for on one occasion an AER
employee fell from it, for reasons now unknown, landing in a sitting
position on the AER main line, with only his dignity injured. While
the new interchange line was built and owned by the Canadian Nor­
thern (Ontario), it was shared equally with the Algoma Eastern, the
latter using it for their switching in daylight hours.
Previous to 1913, Algoma Eastern passenger trains departed from
the Elm Street crossing, about where the AER joined the CPR main
line in Sudbury. From 191J to 1924, the AER used the Canadian Nor­
thern (Ontario)/Canadian National station facilities. Cooperation
reached a high point during the summer of 1920, when Canadian Nor­
thern (Ontario) sleeping cars ran through from Toronto, via SudbulY,
to Little Current on Manitoulin Island. The decision of the Algoma
Eastern not to build a station in Sudbury was, in retrospect, common
as it was in the days of the Algoma Central Railway. It is easy to
see why a fall from a cut of cars on the trestle would probably be
fatal. The west abutment was built in 1930. Photo W.A.Wilson S/71.
of the Algoma Eastern Railway is heading southeast towards the cen­
tre of Sudbury. Toady, this portion of the AER is part of CP RAILs
branch to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Phott, W.A.Wilson: August 1971.
sense, sinoe a town the size of Sudbury never did need three passen­
ger stations~
Expansion naturally brought changes to the Algoma Eastern. Pas­
senger trains were rescheduled for Canadian Northern connections in
Sudbury, but of much more significance was the changing of the name
Claro Belle Junction to Copper Cliff, Although the CPRs Sault
Branch served the town of Copper Cliff, as well as its smelters, the
Canadian Copper Company chose to ship its total and steadily increas­
ing nickel production via the Algoma Eastern. Perhaps the nome-change
of the operating point was to recognize this practice. Not playing
favourites, the Algoma Eastern divided the onward traffic equally be­
tween the CPR and the CNorO at Sudbury.
Elsie Junction had all but disappeared from the timetables of
the AER by World War I and was replaced -approximately -by Nickel­
ton, site of the British America Nickel Companys operations. BANC
arrived on the Sudbury mining scene just before World War I, with
an impressive list of mining properties and ambitious plans to erect
a smelter near the Murray Mine, a bit northwest of the AER main line
at Copper Cliff.
The Murray location was the site of the original Sudbury Basin
mineral discovery, made when the Canadian Pacific Railway s ma~n
line was pushed through this region in the 1880s. The mineral dis­
covered was thought to be copper -and certainly there was copper
in the ore -but the original developers were bitterly disappointed
to find considerable amounts of an impurity which, at that time, was
almost impossible to remove. This was nickel, today the most impor-
ilway subsequently became Clarabelle Station on CP RAIL, after a num­
ber of changes, back and fcrth from two words to one. Dale Wilson
took this picture in August, 1971.
tant mineral mined in this region. It was same time before the me­
tallurgists were able to develap a commercially-acceptable process
to separate the nickel from the copper economically and to put it
to use in its own right.
Perhaps coincidentally, there were several of the directors of
the British America Nickel Company wha were or would be members af
the management of the Lake Superior Corporation. However, control of
the BANC was maintained by the British Government, who were anxious
to ensure a supply of nickel for the impending European conflict.
The 1917 Royal Commission Report on the Nickel Industry stated that
the British Government was a~o BANes princ1pol customer.
Nickelton turned out to be the proverbial flash in the pan.
Rail traffic was spasmodic, due to design problems in the smelter
and other developmental difficulties. When BANC was working, the AER
ran passenger extras for the employees, to and from Sudbury. BANCs
fortunes were directly reflected in this passenger volume, which var­
ied from a high of 100 to a low of 5, per working day, each way, dur­
ing the month of August 1913. Production of nickel did not begin un­
til World War I was nearly over and, after 1918, the market declined
rapidly. BANC, unlike Mond and Canadian Copper, had no established
peacetime market to fall back on. By 1921, all was ominously quiet
at Nickelton and in 1924, BANC assets were liquidated for but a
small fraction of their actual worth.
Soon thereafter, the AER spur to Nickelton was abandoned and
the name disappeared from the timetables. In 1940, once again due to
a wartime condition, the Murray Mine was re-opened and a new rail
369 R A I L
line was built in fram Nickelton. As luck would have it, the 1940
rails belonged to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The 1914-1918 war years brought considerable added rail traffic
to the Sudbury district. Canadian Copper Company reloacted its out­
door roast-yards from Copper Cliff to ODonnell, mile 18, on the
Algoma Eastern. This resulted in a considerable amount of new traf-
fic for the AER, since 60% or better of Canadian Coppers raw ore
was pretreated outdoors. The yard hod four parallel tracks 7,500
feet long, with roast piles between them containing 125,000 tons of
nickel sulphide ore. Using considerable quantities of locally cut
wood for fuel, the roast piles were set afire and allowed to smoul­
der for four to five months. This slow burning removed a substantial
amount of the sulphur from the ore in the form of sulphur dioxide
gas, thus making it easier to process the roasted ore in the smel­
ter furnaces.
The vaporized sulphur dioxide gas polluted the air for miles
and eventually killed off whatever trees had escaped being used for
fuel. This cheap but destructive process for removal of the sulphur
was used until 1929, when the Government of Ontario finally legisla­
ted its discontinuance. Ore shipments from ODonnell must have con­
tinued until 1938, since an International Nickel publication de­
scribes this as the year when the ore-handling facilities were re­
Ontario, with its typical CPR design. It took 13 minutes for Algoma
Central Railways Train 1 to cover the distance from Sudbury in 1928,
while in 1972, CP RAILs Dayliner Train 427 was allowed 7 minutes.
Photo by Dale Wilson, August, 1971.
CHIt(,O lit,
SudblY 10 EJpanolo and LUlie Current. On .• t916·20
and olhar railway lin .. (efR ond CNR) In the
Corporate changes ensued. The Canadian Copper Company and a
number of other local companies combined to form the International
Nickel Company -INCO -during World War I. Only the Mond Nickel
Company remained as an independent producer and it, too, was to
merge with INCO in 1929.
The nickel and copper mining and refining business boomed in
response to wartime demands and new mining properties were located
and prepared for operation. To supply sufficient hydroelectric power
for the growing complex, INCO built additional generating installa­
tions north of Turbine. To handle the increasing traffic, the AER
apparently obtained locomotives when and where it could. Between 1914
and 1919, the total rolling stock of the AER also increased from 256
to 389 cars for all types of service.
As might have been anticipated, in such economic conditions
rumors were constantly circulating about the possible sale of the
AER. The Sudbury STAR identified the interested parties as the CPR,
the CNorO and even the Grand Trunk, although the latters nearest
rail was in North Bay, 80 miles to the east. Canadian Northern (On­
tario) was considered as the company most likely to become the new
owner, but nothing developed and talk soon ceased. As a sidelight to
all of this, the Algoma Eastern was presented as a very prosperous
The early 1920s were not so happy a time. BANC staggered along
towards bankruptcy and the Crean Hill and North Star Mines were shut
down. Conditions were sufficiently depressed in 1921 to force INCO
to suspend most of its operations for a full year and Mond Nickel
worked on a greatly reduced basis. Curiously, 1921 saw the delivery
of two new locomotives to the AER. These were 2-8-0s Numbers 55 and
56 from the Montreal Locomotive Works, the last locomotives that the
railway was to buy.
A further comment may be made on the Algoma Central Railways
motive power prior to 1920. Sources indicate that Algoma Central and
Hudson Bay Railway locomotives Numbers 28, 29 and 30, 2-8-0s built
by Montreal Locomotive Works, Montreal, in 1911, were leased by the
AER for an indefinite period during World War I. Specifically, Al­
goma Eastern records show that Number 30 was involved in a collision
in Sudbury Yard in February 1914. An unknown number of Canadian Pa-
cific Railway locomotives were also leased about this time, with
CPR Number 3408 (2-8-0; MLW 1904) definitely on AER property as of
December 23,1918. Mr. G.S.Dennis says that a number of Baldwins
were acquired temporarily during World War I, but little information
is available as to their origin, length of stay, or disposition. Ac­
cording to AER records, locomotives numbered 55 and 58 were in ser­
vice during September 1917. Since a new AER locomotive was numbered
55 in 1921, it is logical to assume 11iOt the Baldwins were number­
ed at least from 55 to 58 and were with the AER for no more than the
period 1916 to 1921. The numbering system suggests that the loco-
motives were probably repainted by the AER and may actually have be­
en bought by the railway, rather than only leased. A letter from
AER engineman Wickenden to Mr. Dennis father, at that time with
the Canadian armed forces overseas, indicated that the Baldwins
were expected to be troublesome. In fact, one of them later killed
Engineman Wickenden when one of her main rods broke and forced the
Johnson bar back, crushing his chest.
The Sudbury STAR reported in October 1922 that Algoma Eastern
Railway timberlands, situated along the Algoma Central, had been
sold to Philadelphia U.S.A. interests for over a m11110n dollars.
Since the AER reported operating losses of $ 214,000 in 1922 and
$ 44,000 in 1923, it would seem that the proceeds of this sale were
of little real assistance to the railway. A complete history of the
Lake Superior Corporation might reveal reasons for this sale and
the disposition of the proceeds. It is interesting to note that a
number of the members of the Board of Directors of the Lake Superior
Corporation were residents of Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A., at that time.
Mining and related traffic declined further in 1923, with the
closing of the Mond Mine near mile 26. Othei classes of AER traffic
were in better shape. Lumber in considerable quantities was being
shipped from Little Current and Fox Lake (mile 60). The Spanish
River Companys paper mill at Espanola was receiving 500 cars of pulp-
wood and shipping 8,000 tons of paper per month. Local passenger
traffic, tourists, livestock, poultry and even cars of fresh fish all
contributed to keeping the line going. Little Current Harbour was a
busy place, the major commodity handled being inbound coal for the
nickel companies furnaces.
Early in 1924, the Algoma Eastern Railways public timetable,
printed daily in the Subdury STAR, began listing AER/CPR connecting
trains. Yet, freight interchange with the recently-formed Canadian
National Railway Company continued, as did the use of the CNR s sta­
tion facilities. Finally, a change came with the advent of the sum­
mer timetable. AER passenger and express business was relocated to
the Canadian Pacific Railway station in Sudbury, where it was to re­
main until the end of AER operations. Freight business with the CNR
continued as usual. In the opinion of J.P.Mader, who was by this
time the AER City Passenger Agent in Sudbury, the lower cost of CPs
facilities, plus the more direct route to the CPR station, were the
main reasons for the relocation.
The summer of 1924 saw the first and only head-on collision in
the history of Algoma Eastern operation. Passenger Train 1, with
engine Number 51, bound for Little Current, met freight extra Num-
ber 54 at mile 77. Mr. G.S.Dennis, a schoolboy at the time, was
riding the passenger train that day and the following is part of
his story:
The conductor of the passenger train, Bill Dick, had
suddenly remembered his meet order for Birch Island.
Why he did not pull the emergency air in the baggage
car, no one will ever know. He had left the baggage
car and was climbing onto the top of the tender just
as the two engines met. He was thrown alongside the
passenger locomotive, where the air-pump, breaking
loose in the crash, dropped on him, killing him in­
The foreman of that section of track, Arnold No­
ble, was riding in the cab of the passenger engine,
checking for rough spots in the roadbed. He hesitated
for a split second too long before jumping and was
crushed to death between the cab and the tender. The
terrific impact forced his foot, unmarred, with shoe
and sock still in place, through the two-inch planks
of the engine deck.
Behind the freight engine, six flat cars had
doubled up into the length of half-a-car. Water
gushed into the coach from the ruptured tender of
the passenger engine. The crash forced the baggage
car up onto the tender platform and tore a gap­
ing hole in the tank.
Besides the two deaths, a baggageman narrowly escaped drowning,
·being pinned face-down by the trucks and other baggage. Locomotives
were rented from the Canadian Pacific while Numbers 51 and 54 under­
w.ent extensive repairs.
Mr. Dennis also tells of more pleasant times on the Algoma
Ea stern Roilway:
In the absence of roads, the train was the only means
of access to storfs, etc. Many times, 0 farmer would
come out to the track waving a letter or holding a
parcel. They were always picked up by the train crew
and mailed. Often, some member of the train crew would
shop for some necessary item for the farmer or home­
steader. The passenger train would stop anywhere to
pick up or let off a person ••• the girl or boy that
Dad ( an AER engineer) used to pick up at the North
Star Mine and take into Creighton to school.
And (there was) the time the wayfreight crew left
the engine at Crean Hill to hunt rabbits and partridge.
During an elapsed time of 15 to 20 minutes, during
which they shot several of each, they were completely
oway from the engine. On returning, they found the
superintendent, Mr. F.M.Donegan, standing at the en­
gine steps. His only comment was, What a hell of a way
to run a railroad~
Nothing further was heard, but the crew decided to
confine their hunting to non-working hours.
In general, the AERs prosperity continued up to 1929. Traffic
seemed to increase gradually from 1924 onwards. Some temporary ex­
tra revenue came in 1927, when the CPRs Sault Branch trains were
diverted over the AER. A mine collapse at Worthington had token out
500 feet of CPR track and so the AER line from Turbine to Sudbury
carried the heaviest traffic in its history. This arrangement con-
tinued for some weeks, as further threats of subsidence kept the
CPR line closed. Passenger business flourished through the 1920s
ond particularly during the summer of 1928, when the Canadian Pa-
cific ran a standard sleeping car through to Little Current from
Toronto, primarily for tourists, in the same manner as the Canadion
373 R A I L
Northern (Ontaria) had done eight years previously.
In 1929, there were other ominous changes. The paper mill at
Espanola, by this time owned by the Abitibi Power and Paper Company, was
closed because its machinery had become obsolete. The AER had
ta cancel its one train a day. While this mill was used as a prison­
er of war camp during World War II, paper-making operations were not
to resume until 1946.
Once again, rumors of the possible sale of the AER began to
appear in the pages of the Sudbury STAR, but this time there was more
substance to them. Canadian Pacific was suggested as a poten­
tial buyer and this possibility was reinforced by a report that Mr.
J.J.Scully, General Manager of Eastern Lines for the CPR, had vis-
ited Sudbury and had then gone on to Sault Ste. Marie with W.C.
Franz, President and General Manager of the Algoma Eastern. Can-
adian National Railway Company was excluded from the picture when
Sir Henry Thornton, the Companys President, denied any involvement
of his company in the bidding for the AER.
It is interesting to speculate why neither the Canadian Nation­
al nor INCO seemed to want the Algoma Eastern. Canadian Pacific own­
ership threatened CNR access to a considerable amount of nickel traf­
fic and INCO, already servicing some of its properties with its own
efficient railway, would certainly have wished to be less dependent
on the CPR. Furthermore, Canadian Copper/INCO had seemed to favour
the Algoma Eastern over the years, often giving the railway prefer­
ential treatment.
The Sudbury STAR had predicted with accuracy what was to happen
and in the months following, the pieces were fitted together. The
problem of access by the CNR was settled an~ the CN proceeded to
rebuild its bridge on the tronsfer line to the AER. This reconstruc­
tion was not as a result of any particular structural problem, but
rather because the CPR was double-tracking and raising its main
line through Sudbury and the transfer-line bridge was too low to
provide the necessary clearance. After 1930, any fall from the new
bridge would most certainly have proved to be fatal.
By February 1930, the acquisition of the AER by the Canadian Pa­
cific was confirmed. Rather than a straight sale, there was the tra­
ditional 999-year lease to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The
CPs new acquisition was healthy enough, for in the year ended June
30, 1929, the AER had en joyed a net income of $ 100,000 on a gross
of $ 270,000. Canadian Pacific paid $ 3 million in cash for the
lease and assumed liability for Algoma Eastern/Manitoulin & North
Shore bonds worth over $ 2 million.
Shortly after this, the Premier of Ontario, Mr. Ferguson, issued
a statement declaring that the transaction had been effected to pro­
vide the parent Lake Superior Corporation with funds for necessary
iron-ore expansion. Notwithstanding this statement, it is interes­
ting to note that from 1925 to 1939, Canadian iron ore production,
including that which might have originated from the Wawa Mines, the
property of the Lake Superior Corporation/Algoma Steel, was absol­
utely nil. A charitable evaluation of this fact might be that the
onset or-conditions of economic depression in Canada prevented the
necessary iron-ore expansion from taking place.
News reports in June 1931 revealed another possible reason for
the Lake Superior Corporations need for money. Trouble had develop­
ed with the bonds of the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway Com­
pany and a complete change in the corporate structure of the Lake
Eastern Railways Number 52. Built by Montreal Locomotive Works in
1913 -BIN 51182 -she had 22tx28 cylinders and 56~ drivers. Dick
George of Oakville, Ontario, photographed her at North Bay, Ontario
on 7 September 1939.
Superior Corporation was announced. Although the infusion of money from
the Algoma Eastern lease may have helped temporarily, within
a few years, Francis Clergu~s dream was to be shattered.
Soon after the inception of the lease, Canadian Pacific announ­
ced that the AER shop and yard facilities in Sudbury would no longer
be required. AER locomotives were rapidly repainted with CPR colours
and numbers. AER ore cars were also repainted and used by the CPR
everywhere in the Sudbury district. The AER had converted a number
of wood-sheathed boxcars into cabooses and these were used in ser­
vice on the Creighton ore-train runs and on worktrains for the CPR
for many years after the change in ownership. Mr. George S. Dennis
is of the opinion that the Algoma Eastern passenger cars, wooden,
open-vestibule type, were used for some years in passenger service
to Creighton.
The operating point ~Clara 8elle~ returned to its former loca­
tion when the CPR decided that two stations named ~Copper Cliff~
were impractical and confusing.
During 1931, the ~Great Depression~ began to deepen more ser­
iously in the Sudbury district. There were newspaper headlines about
relief payments, soup kitchens and make-work projects and the
Sudbury STAR reported these with monotonous regularity. Predictably,
the Canadian Pacific Railway felt the pinch and, in September, the
announcement came that the 16 miles of the Nickel Subdivision, once
the Sudbury-Espanola section of the AER, would be abandoned and
dismantled. There was no justification for the luxury of duplicate
trackage from Subdury to Turbine. Traffic was light and the section
was costly to maintain. The AER track from Turbine to Gertrude was
retired from regular use and became a siding to store surplus cars.
Stored cars were spaced in groups of 18 to 25, with a six or eight­
cor space between, for fire prevention. About 1935, the track from
Turbine east to and including the Vermillion River bridge, was ta-
ken up. East af the Vermillion, ODannell and Gertrude provided but
little traffic and by 1946, timetables showed only the Sudbury to
Creighton section of the Nickel Subdivision in service. However, it
is probably that the Gertrude Wye remained in service at least
until the end of steam on the CPR.
Approximately one mile of former AER main line, that immediate­
ly east of the Espanola Wye, is in use in the 70s as a car storage
and cleaning track for cars destined for the paper mill at Espanola.
The balance of the former Algoma Eastern Railway, from McKerrow thr-
ough Espanola to Little Current, continued to be used through the
1930s and up to the present day as Canadian Pacific Railways and
CP RAILs Little Current Subdivision.
What would have happened if the Algoma Eastern Railway had not
been leased to the Canadian Pacific? Up to the end of its independent
operation, the AER was a successful enterprise and bond interest had
been paid regularly, except during the brief slump of the early
1920s. There is no doubt that, had the AER been left on its own, it
would have had a grim time in the 30s. No help would have been
forthcoming from the parent Lake Superior Corporation in the Sault,
as that enterprise itself was doomed.
Even so, the case of the Algoma Central and its contemporary at
the Sault, is interesting. The ACR was able to remain independent,
although insolvent, because the companys borndholders had assumed
control and managed to retain it through very difficult times. Per­
haps the same courage could have resulted in an independent Algoma
Eastern Railway Company.
about the 70s? How would the AER be doing today? One of
the major criteria for profitable operation would have to be the
volume of traffic generated at Little Curre:.t, Espanola and from
the nickel industry in the Sudbury area. In each of these three re­
gions, rail traffic has never been heavier. On the abandoned por­
tion of the AER main line, the Crean Hill and Mond Mines are again
producing, or about to do so. A new mine is being developed just
east of Crean Hill. Ironically, all three properties will be served
by a new spur from CP RAILs Sault Ste. Marie line, a rebuild of
the CPR 1910 spur which was abandoned when the two properties be-
came practically on line customers of the Algoma Eastern.
There is just no question about it. The Algoma Eastern Railway
certainly would have been right at home in the 1970s.
Algoma Eastern Railway -Structures and Facilities (1930).
Stations: 7 Copper Cliff; Creighton; Nairn; Espanola; Birch
Island; McGregor Bay; Little Current; Sudbury (CPR).
Shelters: Passenger shelters at several other locations.
Section Houses: 7 Creighton (2); Mond; Drury; Espanola; Birch
Island; Turner.
Coal Facilities: 3 Sudbury; Creighton; Turner.
Water Facilities: 5 Sudbury; Crean Hill; Espanola; Whitefish Falls;
Passing Tracks: 11 Creighton (2); Gertrude; Mond; Drury; Nairn;
Espanola (2); Anderson Lake; Carson; Birch Island.
Wyes: 5 Copper Cliff; Gertrude; Crean Hill; Espanola Wye;
Turner; use of CPR wye in Sudbury.
Engine Houses: 2 Sudbury; Turner.
be more
63 200
80 1
124,550 146.150 103.508
Jar. •
(Note 3) 41092 1907


168,800 194,500 134,800
56 200
166,566 191,350
3953 1351
54 C-2
22×28 56 200
3954 1352
57 200
3955 62598 1921
57 200
62599 1921
Roster Notes:
Note 1: The origin of the Manitoulin and North Shore/Algoma East­
ern Railway locomotive number series is now obscure, but
it is obviously similar to that of the Algoma Central & Hudson Bay
Railway. The first locomotive, M&NS Number 27,
took the next unallocated number in the AC&HB series,
following Numbers 25 & 26, acquired about 1903. The sub­
sequent numberings and renumberings were interspresed
with the AC&HB numbers, as follows:
AC&HB 25)
M&NS 27
AC&HB 28
thru 37
second-hand ca. 1903
new 1907
new 1911
AER 40 second-hand ca. 1911-12
(This locomotive was in an entirely new numbering
series, a practice subsequently followed by the
AC&HB to identify different classes of locomotives.)
AC&HB 38
thru 42
( Number 40 should not have been
t hru 56
AC&HB 50
ex-M&NS Number 27 ca.
(In the light of the impending lease by
this duplication was not important.)
the CPR,
Note 2: It is possible that the Algoma Eastern Railways Number 40
may have been the Chicago Great Western Railroads
Number 220, one of a group of Baldwin 4-6-0s built in
1902. Number 220 was Baldwin Locomotive Works SiN 20272,
built as a compound. Similar engines, CGW Numbers 200-
209, 211, 214, 216 and 217, were sold to the Canadian
Government Railways in 1917.
Note 3: Algoma Eastern Railway engine Number 50 was originally
Manitoulin and North Shore Railways Number 27 and was
purchased new by the latter company. Whether or not she
was lettered for the M&NS is unknown, but the locomotive
was considered as part of the Algoma Central & Hudson Bay
Railways Mechanical Department responsibility, as
substantiated by its road number and the fact that it
appears in the AC&HB diagram book. When the M&NS became
the AER in 1911, the locomotive was renumbered Algoma
Eastern Railway Number 50.
Locomotive Tonnage Ratings
Employees Timetable No. 20 -June 1,1924.
Crean Hill
Crean Hill/ Espanola/
Espanola Little Cur.
Little Cur./ ODonnell/
ODonnell Sudbury
560 1020 600 700 625 ( A)
870 1550 1025 1050 960 ( B)
1075 2000 1250 1250 1125
Reduction to ratin~s:
bad rail; +15_0
+ 15_0
For fast freight 10%
Rail on the Algoma Eastern
The original Manitoulin and North Shore Railwoy was laid with
60-pound rail for the main line and 56-pound rail or possibly light­
er for sidings, passing tracks, etc.
New construction and rebuilding occurred in 1910-1913, using
80-pound rail for the main line and some 72-pound for passing tracks.
In 1930, most track other than the main line was 60 and 72-pound.
Main line was predominantly 80-pound. Rebuilding of small sections
was undertaken in 1928 and 1929, using 85-pound rail.
Algoma Eastern Railway -Rolling Stock (1930)
Baggage Cars 1
Boxcors, 36 feet 8 inches long 18
Cabooses 8
Coaches, Passenger 3
Combines, Passenger and Express 2
Flat Cars, 40-foot 61
Gondolas, 24-foot, 4t inch; 38-foot 9-inch; 40-foot 196
Hopper Cars, 22-foot 6-inch 14
Maintenance-of-Way cars, miscellaneous 9
Total 312
On March 30, 1963, the Canadian Pacific Railway Company ter­
minated its mixed-train service, Trains 873-874, daily except Sun­
day, from Sudbury to Little Current, Ontario.
The consist of the last passenger train over part of the former
Algoma Eastern Railway was six freight cars, RPO-baggage car Number.
3617 and coach Number 1481, hauled by diesel-electric unit Number
Newspapers: The JOURNAL -Sudbury, Ontario 1900
The STAR Sudbury, Ontario various issues
Journals: CANADIAN RAIL -Canadian Railroad vorious issues
Historical Association
NEWSLETTER -Upper Canada April, 1963
Railway Society
INCO TRIANGLE -International Nickel
Company of Canada OFFICIAL
various issues
1905 1906
Royal Commission Report on the Nickel Industry:
R.W.Carlson 1917
Mr. John Cooshek,
Vancouver, British
Terrace Bay
Hi! ton Beach
tive Works, Montreal, in 1921 -BIN 62598. She had 23tx30 cylinders
and 57 drivers. When the Canadian Pacific Railway purchased Number 55,
together with the rest of the railway, in 1931, she was renumber­
ed 3955 and classed as N4c. Ernie Plant of Vancouver, B.C. supplied
this picture of Number 3955, taken at CPRs Angus Shops, Montreal,
August 15, 1948.
ate in 1972, Mr. Nicholas Mika, photographer and composer of sun­
! dry publications about Canadian railways, in company with Mrs.
Mika, emitted yet another book on the same subject, past and
present. RAILWAYS OF CANADA is about 10% extracts and advertisements
from old newspapers and journals, 60% photographs, good and bad
which have appeared before -and 30% other material. If you want to
be clinical, there is a number missing on page 19, there are more
than a few technical inaccuracies and the irritating editorial quirk
of capitalizing the names of ALL of the railways, large and small,
is indulged in. But somehow the Government of Canada doesnt rate.
About one-sixth of the text is southern Ontario; there are
two pages on the antediluvian Chignecto Marine Railway, which is as
relevant to Canadian railway history as the duck-billed platypus.
May be Mr. Mika did not intend the work to be scholarly; but why,
then, in the acknowledgements does he say that the preparation in­
cluded several years of research. If the statement is accepted, then
one wonders how it happens that, on page 12, there is a photograph
of a drawing of the Dorchester of the Champlain and St. Lawrence
Rail Road of 1836, the work of the late John Loye, which has been
recognized as erroneous and so reported about once every three or
so years since it appeared.
And Mr. Mika doesnt have to go to George W. Pangborns gold
watch to find a drawing of the same locomotive. This is available
from the files of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association.
Anyway, the book is a slick volume and no doubt will sell well
to the uninformed, who will still thereafter be uninformed.
RAILWAYS OF CANADA N. and H. Mika Canadian Heritage Library 1972
McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, Toronto 176 pp. b&w illus. $ 9.95
Of the many books that have come to hand in the past summer,
without question the most entertaining, light-hearted, non-spec­
ific remembrance of things past is Colonel Duncan E. Macintyres
END OF STEEL. Although this slim volume has a railroady title and
a picture of ex-Canadian Pacific Railway 4-4-0 Number 136 on the
dust-jacket, it isnt at all a book about railways. Or perhaps one
should more properly say that it isnt all about railways.
There are vastly amusing paragraphs about the construction days
on various Canadian railways and the descriptions are fascinating
because they are subjective and atmospheric rather than objective
and definitive.
Of particular attraction to the reader is a sympathetic and
understanding account of the life of a small boy in Montreals
Westmount in the late 1880s, to which readers in the 1970s may
have some difficulty relating; however, this will not mar their
en joyment.
The illustrations really do not do justice to the narrative,
and they should. There are a number of non-sequitur photographs,
with one teeth-jarring transition from the Lakehead in 1902 to
central Ontario in the 60s.
Colonel Macintyre is to be congratulated -at the extraordinary
age of four-score and seven years -for having written a most read­
able and truly entertaining work, a feat which many authors of var­
ious ages have essayed valiantly to accomplish, but with indifferent
It is the Colonels second work in the idiom which describes
intimate as~ects of human existence in various parts of Canada a­
round the turn of the nineteenth century.
END OF STEEL D.E.Macintyre Peter Martin Associates, Toronto,Ont.
1973 133 pp. 8 pp. illus. Casebound $ 5.95
Alas~ There are books about the railways of Nova Scotia which
should never have been written. Among these are Clarkes History
of the rarrIest Railways in Nova Scotia (price 50¢), now happily
long out of print and IRON ROADS, which appeared this year.The new
work reiterates most of the inaccuracies of the old.
It is one thing to be a serious student of railway history in
any area of Canada and quite another to be an instructor of Graphic
Communications. And this book certainly demonstrates that differ­
ence. The seriousness of the work may be estimated by the fact that
the entire history of ALL of the railways of Nova Scotia and Cape
Breton Island, including the Intercolonial and the European and Nor­
th American plus the Dominion Atlantic, have been forcefully com­
pressed into less than 75 pages. In addition, some space had to be
found for the irrelevant pictures from the Nova Scotia Information
Service and those illustrations inexpertly extracted from Marguer-
i te Woodworths History of the Dominion Atlantic Railway of 1936,
without even an acknowledgement.
The printing job by the Lancelot Press of Windsor, Nova Scotia,
is quite primitive -at least,in the copy reviewed -and how it
passed inspection one cannot guess.
IRON ROADS may be interesting reading for some, but the amateur
railway historian should employ the utmost caution in his repetition
of the pseudo-historical information presented.
IRON ROADS David E. Stephens Lancelot Press, Windsor, N.S.
1973 78 pp. 30 illus. 6 maps $ 1.95 paper.
Any book with the name Keefer on the cover is sure to excite
the curiosiiy and interest pf most Canadian railway historians and,
when the cover is printed in red, blue and black on white stock and
declares that the book is about railroad promotion and manipul­
ation in the 19th. century, there is an obvious intended result.
It is a sorry situation when the University of Toronto Press
is obliged to resort to such strategms to sell a reprint of Thomas
Keefers PHILOSOPHY OF RAILROADS, which first appeared about 1850.
In addition, in case the purchaser might feel he had been defrauded,
also included is the text of one of two lectures delivered by Keef­
er at the Mechanics Institute of Montr~al in 1854, a notable chapter
which Keefer contributed to Henry Youle Hinds Eighty Years Pro­
gress of British North America published in 1863 and a hodge-podge
of miscellaneous papers from his bottom desk-drawer. These are most-
ly diatribes by Keefer relating to positions he thought he should
have had and include some really vituperative editorials.
But peace be to his ashes. His personal disappaintments
been dissected at length in other erudite publications. And
is little or no justification for their republication in this
paper-back reprint.
Let us then turn to the introduction of guest-editor H.V.
Nelles, Assistant Professor of History at York University, Toronto.
A book in itself, the introduction and notes thereto occupy 63 of
the volumes 248 pages -some one-quarter of the contents. From the
quantitative to the qualitative aspect, the reader will note at
once (page ix) that Professor Nelles makes some rather extravagant
and quest~onable statements and some which are downright wrong. The
ratio of logic to piffle is about 1 to 47 and how this proportion
was allowed to prevail, even in the introduction of a guest-editor,
boggles the reason. The reader may well wonder if this is typical
of lecture material being presented to serious students of history
at a university, or elsewh~re.
While Thomas Keefer was undoubtedly motivated to write as he
did by the rough-and-tumble of Canadian punch-in-the-nose politics
and business tactics of his time, it ill becomes an educated educa­
tor of a century later to describe a man of Keefers accomplishments
as a slightly pompous author who owed his later decorations to
political influence and that in earlier happier days ..• he had not
been so morally fastidious.
Indisputably, Thomas Keefer was, among other things, the build­
er of the suspension bridge over the Ottawa River at Chaudiere, as
well as the first public water-works in Ottawa. He was the first
president of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, today the
Engineering Institute of Canada. Despite his personal grievances
and there were a few -he was a competent civil engineer. His
critics have had to admit that there is no gainsaying these non-
political accomplishments.
The introduction of material in this reprint which is not re­
levant to the main text does little to enhance the credibility of
the guest-editor.
Thomas Keefer, now as then, speaks for himself, by himself.
intro. by H.V.Nelles Social History of Canada Series
University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1972 lxiii and 185 pp.
$ 3.95 paper $ 12.50 cloth.
It is extremely difficult to make an objective appraisal of a work
which exhibits, at one and the same time, attributes of both
the professional and the amateur. Reading ONTARIOS GOVERNMENT RAIL­
WAY: GENESIS AND DEVELOPMENT, one has the distinct feeling that the
anxiety of the author to publish largely influenced considerations
of presentation, design, production and quality. The haid work of
research and the final composition of 108 standard pages of text
surely deserves a better fate.
Without any doubt, a great deal of very hard work was required
to research the interesting infarmation which the author presents ,
but somehow, in the final chapters, much of the enthusiasm deman­
strated in the initial pa~es disappears and the story of the Temis­
kaming & Northern Ontario/Ontario Northland cames to an end, not
with a shout, but with a snore.
In the Foreword, it is stated that this book is presented as
a basis far a larger, more extensive wark. With this contention the
reviewer cannot agree. Sufficient material has been researched to
produce a definitive history of the T&NO/ONR and this account surely
is such a work. But the manner in which the material is structured
is sometimes uneven and erratic. Tabular information is scattered
about throughout the text. In one persons opinion, it would have
been preferable to examine other affiliated railways at the end of
the principal expose, rather than presenting them as a sort of
change of pace which interrupts the main narrative.
It might also be contended that graphics, not related to the
immediate text, should be presented elsewhere, perhaps in the
pendix. The maps are excellent, but the charts and tables are
the well organized. The provision of foot-notes on the pages with
text is diconcerting and distracting.
The apocryphal story of Fred LaRoses discovery of nickel is
rehearsed, apparently as essential to T&NO/ONR history as Father
Lacombes one-hour term as president is to the history of the Can­
adian Pacific Railway. The two-page discussion of Canadian North­
ern-Grand Trunk-National Transcontinental relationships is not re­
levant to the story, except in explaining the necessary relocating
of the T&NO at Cochrane. In this interim, the main justification
for the National Transcontinental -the mov~ment of western wheat
to eastern seaports -is not mentioned.
What is very relevant is the tongue-in-cheek description of
the infancy and early childhood of the T&NO, when the startled god-
parent, The Government of Ontario, suddenly realized that the
child needed nourishment but could not decide how it should be
Since uncoated paper is used throughout, the result, as far as
the illustrations are concerned, is disasterous. Poor quality of
printing shows to advantage in pictures and, no matter how well the
text has been polished, it cannot mitigate this unhappy situation.
Nonetheless, the description of the Nipissing Central Railway
and its rolling stock will be of interest to the electric railway
enthusiast, while readers specializing in private railways will be
regaled by the accounts of the Smoky Falls Railway, the Mattagami
Railway and the Kidd Creek Mine Railway.
For the reader interested in railways as distinct from pione­
ering, mining and farming, more and better pictures of T&NO/ONR
equipment, especially in open country, would be desirable. And,
while these additons are being made, it would be most salutary if a
printing process, other than stencil duplication, could be used to
reproduce the text.
All of these improvements and more could be made with funding
by a Canada Council grant, or by support from the Government of On-
tario, which surely must recognize the merit -and worth -of a work
so painstakingly prepared.
The Tennant Publishing House, Halifax, N.S. 1973 xv and 109 pp.
26 illus. Limited edition. $ 7.50 paper.
CP RAIL welcomed the Ringling Brothers-Barnum & Bailey Cir­
cus Train. The consist of 30 silver cars rolled out of the
Illecillewaet River canyon about 1900K and departed about 30 min-
utes later, after the train had been serviced and the stock cars
watered. Power up front consisted of a CP RAIL SD 40 and two C-630s.
The advent of the train caused quite a stir in Revelstoke
and a good crowd gathered at the station in the hope of seeing some
of the wild (and not so wild) animals. The circus trains general
appearance had changed somewhat over the years, for behind the bag­
gage cars and sleepers were several cars resembling container flats,
laden with animals in individual, container-like boxes. Bringing up
the rear was a new bi-level rack, carrying the circus vehicles.
Most puzzled by the train and its unusual consist was CP
RAILs all-wise computer. The circus-train cars bore no reporting
marks and, at first, no one could decide how to tell the computer
what the train was or its composition.
Finally, the initials RB were chosen, so that the compu­
ter now believes that somewhere there is an RB Railway. But who
is going to argue the poin1 with the all-wise computer? Its never
been to a circus, anyway~ K.R.Goslett.
from Churchill, Manitoba, in the summer of 72, as the
Government of Manitoba brought the history of the region
(back) to the native Canadians who live there. The display was in­
stalled in a refurbished CN 1907 combination passenger/baggage car,
which also had living quorters for the curator(s). The trip star­
ted on July 17, reached Churchill on August 31 and finally return­
ed to Winnipeg about November 1.
The material displayed in the car was primarily of Cree
or Chippewayan Indian origin, appropriate because Canadians living
along the Hudson Bay Railway are descended from these peoples. Ex­
hibits were happily identified in Cree syllabics, as well as in
The basic idea of the Rolling Stock Museum was to take the
Museum and our provincial heritage out into the Province, where
it was to be found originally, and to the citizens, a part of whose
daily life it once was before it was hustled off to the Provincial
capital by the zealous bureaucracy. Upon its completion, the project
was reported to be a valuable exercise for the Provincial Museum,
which will add to its flexibility and its sensitivity to the cul­
tural wishes of the Provinces citizens.
Twenty-two stops were made along the length of the railway,
including visits to small centres as well as large towns.
tional Railways in 1972 to carry out a study which was ex­
pected to result in advanced braking systems for todays
longer and heavier freight trains. This was the first time that the
AAR had contracted for such a study outside the United States. CNs
Technical Research Centre at Montreal utilized advanced computer
techniques for the study.
The first phase of the project was the accumulation of per­
formance data on existing braking systems and was completed at the
end of 1972. The second phase included the development of methods to
incorporate advanced concepts in existing systems. The final phase
resulted in recommendations to be applied to actual operating con­
ditions. The total information package was to be made available to
the entire US and Canadian railway industry.
KEEPING TRACK -Canadian National Railways.
1972 was the eighth familiarization trip since 1949 for
Members of the Provincial Legislature of Ontario, which de­
parted from Toronto Union Station on 4 September 1972. The train
which took the MPPs north from Queens Park was composed of 22 Can­
adian National Railways cars, hauled by three Ontario Northland
Transportation Commission diesel-electric units -ONR units, to you
and me~
For side-trips, the touring MPPs used three ONRTC buses,
which followed the special train for four days, from Sault Ste. Mar­
ie to Cochrane.
About 70 of the 114 eligible MPPs were expected. Only about
40 joined the tour. Ontario Premier William Davis never did catch up
with the train. Several MPPs only made it for the trout-fishing.
The budgeted cost of the caper was $ 100,000 for the 2,500-
mile tour by private train, chartered bus, special boat and muskeg­
buggy. An official of the government admitt~d that the cost reached
$ 200,000 for the 9-day perigrination.
Participants grumbled that the underground tour of the min­
es at Timmins was cut short. Parts of the Algoma Steel property at
Sault Ste. Marie were too dangerous to visit or closed for the
Labour Day weekend. The bus tour of the Timmins area took place in
the dark~ The train and buses were never more than half-full. But
the Toronto STAR, from which this information was taken, said that
the fishing and the free-loading were great.
Eleven cabinet ministers were to have made the trip. Two
showed up. Nothing daunted, Premier Davis wrote, I am sure these
opportunities will provide all of us with a new appreciation of
northwestern Ontario which will reflect in our future deliberations
at Queens Park.
The participants ended the formal part of the tour at Mo­
osonee on 9 September, but three planes then took some of the MPPs,
government officials and reporters almost 300 miles further north
for a relaxing weekend of fishing at Hawley Lake in the sub-Arctic
wilds on Hudson Bay.
Some of the reporters, six officials of the Department of
Natural Resources and three MPPs were flown back to Toronto in an
aircraft chartered by the Provincial government.
to point out an error in the spelling of Mr. Pierre Ber­
tons name in the Waybills item on page 286 of the Sep­
tember 1973 issue of CANADIAN RAIL. Mr. Berton spells his name with
an e and not with a u. We thank Mr. Corley for pointing out
this typographical error and regret that it was not corrected by our
reports Mr. Martin Boston of West Bay Road, Nova Scotia.
In the 2t-month 1973 operating season, the CBSR carried
14,963 passengers, to the astonishment of the promoters. The steam­
hauled train has been such a success that the Cape Breton Develop­
ment Corporation is looking for a second steam locomotive, possibly
one of the ex-CPR 1200s from Steamtown U.S.A., and additional pas­
senger cars for a second train, to run over an alternate route in
1974. Mr. Boston has promised to send us additional information, so
that any of our readers intending to vacation in Canadas Maritime
Provinces in 1974 will have odequate advance information.
1965 which appeared in the August 1973 is~,ue Number 259 of
CANADIAN RAIL has asked that corrections be made in the cap­
tions of the pictures on poges 236, 237 and 238. CPR engine Number
2228 on page 236 was a G-1-s class; Number 2664 on page 237 was a
G-2-u class ond Number 2857 on page 238 was an H-1-d class. The CPR
steam locomotives, at first saved for preservotion, were finally
scrapped in the following years, Mr. Emery concludes: Number 815 –
1960; Number 1271 -12/1960; Number 2414 -1961; Number 2857 -1961
and Number 5118 -12/1960.
County Railroad imminent, The State of Vermont is almost in
the rail transportation business. Purchase price is $ 1.25
million. The operation of the line by the Vermont Transportation Au-
thority has been approved by Governor Salmon and Treasurer Frank
Davis, but details had to be worked out. Meanwhile, the StJ&LC op­
erated the line from East ~wanton to Hardwick, Vermont, with track­
age rights over the Central Vermont from East Swanton to Fonda
Junction on the CV s main line. Cost of keeping the line open this
winter was estimated to be $ 11,000 per month with $ 75,000 re­
quired to put the line in reasonable condition, In mid-October,
three ex-StJ&LC GE 70-tonners and one ex-Montpelier and Barrie Ra­
ilroad were being shipped out to an unknown destination. The ex­
M&BRR unit and one ex-StJ&LC were on the siding at Fondo Junction
while two ex-StJ&LC units were in the CV s Italy Yard at St. Al­
bans, Vermont, when the Canadian Railroad Historical Associations
sold-out trip to Richford, Vermont passed. Philip Mason.
Number 136 from Mr. Neil McNish to Mr. Neil McCarten, as
indicated on page 286 of the September 1973 issue Number 260
of CANADIAN RAIL was due in part to the fact that ex-Canadian
P~cific Railway locomotive Number 1057, with which Number 136 fre­
quently runs in tandem, was originally purchased by Mr. W. McCart­
ney of Toronto. Any confusion which was created is regrettable.
Binghamton, New York, on October 7 1973, consternation en­
sued at Colonie Shops when D&H PA 1 Number 17, having just
emerged from the point shop all shined up for the trip, stood with
its prime-mover idling. Suddenly, the engine hiccuped, gasped, gr­
owled and emitted noises like grinding up metal -and stopped. Oh
horrors~ One of the connecting rods had broken and had jammed in
its cylinder. The engine block was broken, the crankshaft damaged
and the prime-mover was definitely unworkable, with no replacement
available. D&H MM Dave Huggins and his ReSourceful crew installed a
12-cylinder 244 from a spare RS 3 in five (5) working days so that,
387 R A I L
according to the odvertise~cnts, the third PA 1 WOs operational, if
only just, when the Binghamton Bash rolled around. What will hop_
p~n next in the true_life drama of the Perennial PA Is? Watch
this spoce~ CALL BOARD _ Mohowk &. Hudson Choptar:NRHS.
its first ~oior order for prestressed concrete ties hod b
een ploced with fRANCON, division of Can forge Liaitee of
Montreal. The order was for 300,000, some of which were for usc on a
45-Qile section between Winnipeg and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba,
where the moin line is being doubled.
CNs Chief Engineer R.L. Gray said that escalating world
timber prices were diverting sall~ill output allay from lower-priced
tiMber ties, but that the possibility of laminated wooden ties was
being explored. There is still the question as to whether or not the
lominoted tie can compete economically with the solid wooden treated
tie or the concrete tie.
Concrete ties have been used in Europe for more than 30 ye
ars. The french Notional Roilwoys (SNCr) began using the improved
VW 2.3_metro solid prestressed concrete sleepers with RN spring cl­
ips for roil attochMent as early as 1946. CN installed a test sec­
tion of RS prestressed concrete ties (lwa concrete roil pedestals
joined by a steel tie_bar) with double_flexible insulating STEOEF
roil fa$tenings near Ste-CerMaine, Quebec, about 1960. The RS sleep­
ers were laid on 76 eM centres with 60 kg roil and, with doily ton­
nages as high 01 ~5,OOO, axle loads of 30 tonne I and teMperature
variations of 100 C , no roil creep was detected.
However, the 76 c~ spacing was too wide and the ballast de­
teriorated, resulting in the removal of the test section in 1966. S
ubsequently, other sections of concrete t:)$ were laid near Napo­
dogan, New Brunswick and on the Rivers Subdivision in Manitoba.These
sections were laid with a prest rei sed concrete tie of British de­
sign on a 62 em spacing, with 2,000_foot lengths of welded roil. Re­
sults lIere better.
In 1973, prior to placing the ordlH with fRANCON, CN woo
using prestressed concrete ties of British design on a 3-mile por­
tion of the Hountain Region in Alberto. In
Great Britain, BRITISH RAIL is predicting life_expec_
toncie, of 80-100 years for prestressed concrete ties. In Canado,
where conventional treated wooden ties lost 30 years on the overage,
prestressed concrete ties are expected to last 50 years or ~ore.
Wayne Hoogland.
.,. three GE side_radded, centre_cob units to haul newsprint r01l$ froD
their mill to the dock. Pierre Patenaude caught NUMber 3 on the dock
on 9 AugUst 1973.
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