Consulter nos archives / Consult our archives

La majorité des documents conservés par le Centre d'archives et de documentation de l'ACHF sont disponibles pour consultation.

Most of the documents kept by the ACHF Archives and Documentation Center are available for consultation.

Canadian Rail 426 1992

Lien vers le document

Canadian Rail 426 1992

Canadian Rail
No. 426
60 YEARS 1932 -1992
1-::mOR: Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas N.
W. Smith
PRODUCIQN: A. Stephen Walbddge
A. Germaniuk
For your memberShip in the CRHA. whiCh includes a
subscription 10 Canadian Rail. write 10:
CAHA, 120 Rue SI·Pieg, SI. Conslan!. Que. J5A 2G9
Rates: in Canada: $29 (including G5T).
outside Canada: $26. in U.S. funds.
PRINTING: Procel Printing
S. WALBRIDGE ………. 26
……………….. DYSON THOMAS…….. 32
RAIL CANADA DECiSiONS ………………………………………………………………… DOUGLAS N.W. SMITH .. 34
……………………………………………………………………………….. 34
THE BUSINESS CAR ………………………………………………………•…..
Canadian Rail is continually in need of JlEIWS, stories. historical data, phol0S. maps and other material. Please send all contributions to the
editor: Fred F. Angus, 3021 Tratalgar Ave. Montreal. P.Q. H3Y IH3. No payment can be made for contributions, but the contributer will
begiven credit tor material SUbmitted. Material will be returned to the contributor it requested. Remember Knowledge is of little value unless
is shared with others.
Frederick F. Angus Hugues W. Bonin J. Christopher Kyle
Jack A. Beatty
Robert Carlson William La Surf
Charles De Jean Bernard Martin
Walter J. Bedbrook
Gerard Frechette Robert V.V. Nicholls
Alan C. Blackburn David W. Johnson Andrew W. Panko
has a number 01 local divisions across the country. Many hold regular meetings
and issue newsle1ers. Further information may be obtained by WIlting the division.
P.O 8<,.1162 Jo/Vl N B. E2l.a7
P.O eo. 22, SatIOr1 ir
Montraal P 0 H:.l8 3JS
PO eo.962
Smith I Fail. On. 1(7A M5
P O. eo. 103. Slali ~. Dn1. K71A 6P11
PO eo.: !l849. T …….. A­
Tomrno.Dn1. M5W1P3
PO. Boll S93
$I CaIhaf1nw, ~ ~ 6.18
W~lOj(n 0MIi ….. -CIO PacIIC Coast 0M$I0n
60·6100 4., A..-N E.
~. AhrUo T2- 5Z8
PO. 60x 6102. SWiorIC
PO 60.39
PO 6o • .tOO
CrartJrOOk. B.c. VIC 4H9
IZJ ……… srre.I
Nelson. S.C. IlL 218
PO 60.2408
PJfooe G<.orge. B.C. VO!N 286
PO 80It 1005. $WoIA
v…..:ower. B C. V6C 2Pl
Douglas N.W. Smith
wrence M. Unwin
Richard Viberg
A. Stephen Walbridge
John C. Weir
FRONT COVER: The fuhrdllr bridgf of
rill Crt/lid Tnmk Ruil … ay at SII. All/lt.I·.
C(//wda Ea.51 (110 …. SI(:. AIIIII de IJelleluf
P.Q.) 11.5 IJI1010RTaplled in 1860. TI!iJ
bridge was hllill ill 1855 as I,WI of Ihe
CTR linl Ixrweel/ Monluul alUl TOfOIllO.
(/lid il s/(HHIlllliI 1899 … hell il …. as 11­
lilaCId by (/ 11101( 111(;.10111 SITIICWI(.
Norlll(lli PholQ.I:ra,Jhk AI·chinS. McCord
11.11:11111. Phmo No. 7542 View.
As part of ils activities. the CAHA operates
the Canadian Rai/way Museum al Delson I
SI. Constant, Que. which is about t4 mIles
(23 Km.) Irom downtown Montreal. I is
open from late M
ay to earty October (daily
until Labour Day). Members. and their Im­
ami~es, are admltled tree Dt charge .
The St. Clair Tllnnel tOOth Allniversary
By Douglas N.W. Smith
(With some additional research by Fred Angus)
In September 1991, special events were held in Sarnia,
Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan
to mark the one hundredth
of the opening, by the Grand Trunk Railway, of the St
Clair Tunnel between the two communities. The engineering
solutions to the difficulties imposed by the soils in the area brought
this project into world-wide prominence.
To mark this major accomplishment, Canadian Rail takes
pleasure in presenting a history of this major engineering
accomplishment including a detailed account of the early history
construction of the tunnel as written by an anonymous
of the Toronto Mail in 1890. This article captures
the flavo
ur of the time and the attiUldes of the Victorians towards
the progress of technology. Supplementary material brings the
of the tunnel up to the present time.
From Our Own Correspondent.
The St Clair tunnel is an accomplished fact, and is now
numbered among the great engineering wonders
of the world.
After over
coming almost insurmountable obstacles the gigantic
iron tubes have been driven from each side
of the river and have
met, and nothing now remains but to lay the track in the tunnel and
excavate and grade the approaches. Thus
the greatest problem of
subaqueous tunnelling has been satisfactorily solved.
The credit for this undertaking is due more particularly to
two men,
Sir Henry Tyler, president of the Grand Trunk (GT), and
Sir Joseph Hickson, general manager
of the railway …
[Here it is necessary to interject material from other sources
into this account so as not
to perpetuate an error made by the
repOJter which attributed the St Clair Tunnel project to
Sir Joseph
when in reality it was the brain child of Sir Henry Tyler.
Those places in the article where the reporter attributes the tunnel
to Hicks
on have been excised -DNWS. J
On November 18, 1879 Sir Henry Tyler wrote to Mr
Hickson: When shall we be in running order to Chicago? As soon
as the route is, if it become, a proved S
Llccess, we shaH have
seriously to consider
the question of a tlmnel at Sarnia, or a tube
at the bottom
of the St Clair river, perhaps slightly below the
bottom, worked from a heading with a water-tight face

January 31, 1880, Hickson wrote to Sir Henry Tyler: In a
note you wrote me some time ago, you referred
to the matter of
making a tunnel beneath the River at Sarnia. I asked Mr Hannaford
to tell
me if any project of the kind had ever been to his knowledge,
considered and reported upon. I enclose you copy
of a short note
he has written me on the sub
ject. I doubt very much
if any bridges will ever be put across
either the Detroit or St Clair Rivers.
The shipping in these waters
is immense, and the shipping interest extremely powerful in the
of Michigan.
The difficulties in the way of sinking tubes are certainly
quite as great as
Mr Hannaford describes them …
In a letter dated January
7,1880, Hannaford stated that the
physical difficulties were such as to place a tunnel practically out
of the question and that if a crossing was ever required other than
the car ferry, a bridge would be the practical and least costly
After the fusion of the GT and Great Western railways in
1882, the matter was taken up again, as the line of the Great
Western on the one s
ide and that of the Chicago and Grand Trunk
on the other side
of the river were so situated as to favour direct
connection by a tunnel or otherwise.
Mr Walter Shanly was
requested by Sir Joseph
in 1883 to make an examination of the
river, which he did, reporting very much in favour
of a tunnel being
attempted near
the site which was subsequently adopted).
[The text
now returns to the account of the Toronto Mails
correspondent -DNWS.]
In 1874, Sir Joseph Hickson became General Manager of
the GT. With that shrewdness and perception which has proved
such a powerful factor
in placing the road in its present proud
position as one
of the greatest of the trunk line systems on the
… He at once set to work to consolidate the scattered
and moribund railway systems and interests
of the province and
amalgamate them into a quickened and harmonious whole.
fusion of the Great Western and other roads followed, and the
railway interests were benefited accordingly
… The acquisition of
lines of railway on the American side of the St Clair River and of
the Great Western line on the Canadian side placed the means of
carrying out the projected tunnel within the realm of possibilities
The GT now has its most important lines converging on both sides
of the St Clair River at about the only point where the building of
a tunnel could be undertaken with a reasonable hope of success.
The traffic over the GT system, which embraces the Grand
Trunk Railway
of Canada with its various leased and acquired lines
and connections,
the Chicago and Grand T[lInk, the Detroit, Grand
Haven and Milwaukee, the Toledo,
Saginaw and Muskegon, and
the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroads, has been increas
ing so
steadily and rapidly every year that
it became obvious … that a
ferry trans
it would soon be inadequate for the work. The two large
steam car ferries at present employed are worked
to their full
city. Besides this, the cost
of ferrying annually is very large
and the method unreliable.
The ferries are operated at a point on
the river where the current is swift, running from 6 to 8 miles an
In this way danger from the rivers freezing over is avoided,
but ice jams are frequent, and a powerful tug has to be kept in
constant readiness all winter to give assistance when necessary to
the ferries, which
occasionally get caught in a field of floating ice
and are carried rapidly
down the river. To reach this point where
the current is so swift the railway has to deviate about six miles,
making the haul so
much longer, which annually is a large expense,
owing to time lost and the cost of running the trains so many more
There remained two ways out of the present difficulty:
either to build a bridge or make a tunnel. The marine interests were
a unit against a bridge. The surrounding country is very level, and
it would be almost impossible to build a bridge of height sufficient
give a free and uninterrupted passage to vessels underneath. A
swinging bridge was out of the question as hundreds of craft of all
escription pass through the river daily. Steam barges with five Or
six vessels in tow follow each other in rapid succession through
this, the gr
eat waterway of the continent. This would interrupt
railway traffic, and then again, the current,
which is very swift,
would be
liable to carry vessels against the bridge unless it were
operated rapidly and much faster than any large bridge could be
swung. All these questions were considered, and it was decided to
take the
other hom of the dilemma, the tunnel.
This project was not at all promising. Subaqueous tunnels
are not very plentiful on this continent, and the road to s
along this path of engineering science is strewn with fa illlIes. At
it, an attempt had been made to build a tunnel, but it had to
abandoned after thousands of dollars had been expended on the
work. The Hudson River tunnel is still in progress, and the
ects of its success are not at all assuring Experienced
workmen in this department of engineering were not to be had.
There were plenty of contractors and engineers acquainted with
on dry land; there were successful rock llInnellers by the
but at tunnelling through clay and quicksand under water
they drew the line. True it was that several small tunnels had been
carried under rivers and lakes, but to guarantee success was
another thing. [In short, the decision to tunnel was a r
eal Hobsons
Choice, literally as well as figuratively. Ed.].
Of subaqueous tunnels it might be said that the Thames
tunnel was the first. This great work had failure written on its
plans for years. It was projected and begun
in 1807, and had to be
abandoned. It was resumed again in 1825 under Sir M. T. Brunei,
celebrated engineer, and completed eighteen years later, in
1843. This tunnel is only 1,200 feet long, a
nd it cost the enormous
sum of 1,200 pounds per linear yard or about $7,200,000.
Americaa subaqueous tunnel was first builtin connection
with the water works system
of Chicago in 1864, and was completed
in 1867. A crib was sunk two miles out in the lake and into the
bottom to a de
pth of fi fty-eight feet. A drift was them started
owards the city nine feet in diameter. The object was to secure a
pipe for fresh water. The work was successfully carried out at a
of some $457,844. Another under Lake Erie was built at
eveland in 1867-74, which was successful. These number about
the successes on this continent, with the exception of the tunnels under
the Chicago river, which are only minor undertakings, so
that it can be seen that the task undertaken by Mr Hobson was not
a cheerful
or an easy one by any means.
As already stated, an unsuccessful attempt had been made
to tunnel under the Detroit
River under conditions to a large extent
similar to those that exist at the St Clair River. Away back in 1867,
Mr James F. Joy, at that time president of the Michigan Central
Railway, asked Mr Chesborough, a well-known engineer, to make
a survey
of the Detroit River, and to report as to the possibility of
building a tunnel in the vicinity of Detroit.
Mr Chesborough presented a report in 1869 which outlined
a tunnel under the
Detroit River 8,600 feet in length, 3,000 feet of
which would be under the bed of the river. The idea was to build
two single track tunnels
one alongside the other. One was to be
completed before operations were commenced on the second. The
cost of the work was estimated at $2,650,000. Operations were
begun in 1872, and 250 feet tunnelled from the Windsor side and
1,200 feet from the
American shore.
water and natural gas, which abound in the
vicinity, interrupted the work, and the task had to be
abandoned as
This in itself would have been sufficient to deter less
sanguine men than
Sir Joseph Hickson and his confreres from the
. gigantic undertaking.
But Sir Joseph and those associated with
him are built
of sterner stuff. No such a word as failure is
included in their
vocabulary …
In 1884, Mr Hobson, with his able and enthusiastic young
lieutenant, Mr Hillman, made a survey of the St Clair River with
a view
of ascertaining the best place for the proposed tunnel. After
soundings of the bed of the river a spot was selected about
mile lower down the river than Sarnia, near the Indian reserve,
now in the suburbs
of the town.
Borings were then made
close to the proposed line, and as
down as the rock, to ascertain the depth of the clay and the
strata. It was found that the strata
consisted first of about two feet
of the common yellow sand, such as is found on the sea shore. Then
came a mixture of quicksand and blue clay, averaging about 12 feet
in thickness, and underlying this and down to the rock, a depth of
a hundred feet from the surface, a strata [sic] of adhesive blue clay
of the consistency of putty and increasing in tenacity according to
Drawings and plans of the tunnel were then made, and these
plans have been adhered to.
The St Clair Tunnel Company was then formed with the
following officers
President, Mr Joseph Hickson, general manager
of the GTR
Vice-President, Mr L. J. Seargeant, traffic manager
of the GTR: Directors, Hon Alexander Vidal, Sarnia; Mr J. Bell,
Mr Charles Mackenzie, Sarnia; Mr E. W. Meddaugh,
Detroit; and Mr
J. W. Spicer, manager of the Chicago and Grand
Trunk Railway; Secretary-Treasurer, Mr R. Wright; Solicitors, Mr
J. Bell, Belleville, and Mr E. W. Meddaugh, Detroit; Chief
Engineer, Mr Joseph Hobson, Hamilton; Second Assistant Engineer,
Mr. M. S. Bl
aiklock; Mechanical Superintendent, Mr J. T. Eames;
of Excavation, Mr T. H. Murphy.
Olle of the locomotives specially built fa} the St. Clair tunnel service. This engraving shows the engine as built. At that time they
were said to be the largest
in the world (note the figure of the man by comparison).
In the fall of 1886, operations were commenced by sinking
test shafts on both sides
of the river to a depth of 92 feet on the
American side and 98 feet on the Canadian side.
The shafts were
four by eight feet, and were built
of pine timbers, one foot square,
with a solid stay across the centre. At the bottom, drifts were
extended under the river at right angles to the shafts,
on the
Canadian side to a distance
of some 150 feet and on the American
side about 30 feet.
Water and gas prevented operations being
carried on any further.
These horizontal shafts were six feet
diameter, and were
made for experimental purposes. These tests
were completed
in the summer of 1887.
It was then decided to go on with the main project. The
company concluded to build under the river first from gigantic
shafts on each shore, and
once this, the more difficult section, was
finished to complete the end borings. Later on they di
they had fallen into the
same error as many other tunnel builders,
and that there is nothing like beginning
ill the beginning.
Work on the shafts began in the
summer of 1888. These
shafts are twenty-tlu·ee feet in diameter with brick walls two feet
six inches
in thickness. The walls were built upon a cast-iron
shoe with a knife edge, which kept sinking as the excavation
was going on below
and the bricks were built above. In this way,
the whole mass
of brick was to sink gradually with its own weight into the excavation.
For the first thirty feet the work on the
American shaft progressed favourably. Then the brick wall
refused to sink any further.
The stiff clay closed on the walls and
stopped further progress. Dynamite bombs were
exploded at the
bottom to release the pressure, but it was
of no use. The shaft sank
about four inches and then became fixed. All that could be done
then was to proceed with the
excavation and build the brick
downward. This method
of working proved very unsatisfactory.
Each section as it was built cracked away from the upper layer of
bricks, and the task seemed almost hopeless.
In sinking the Canadian shaft less difficulty was experienced.
The brick walls gradually sank to the dept of 98 feet, but when this
was reached a general settling in
of the ground all around the shaft
set in, and at the sa;ne time the soft blue clay began rising in the
of the shaft. To make matters worse, the shaft began to lose
its circular form, the great pressure
of the walls from the outside
was proving too much for
it. When the ground began to sink the
machinery and plant were hurriedly removed to a place
of safety.
Fearing an entire collapse
of the shaft, beams were hastily
placed across it at intelval
s. But the beams did not serve the
purpose required, and the shaft had 10 be hurriedly filled with sand
to relieve the pressure and save the walls.
Since then the company
have decided to fill the shaft with clay and leave it to its fate. The
American shaft was carried to a depth of 58 feet, and then
operations ceased. It is now decided to use
it as a ventilator. It will
be lined with cast iron similar
10 that used in the tunnel.
So far the results were not very
satisfactory. Sir Henry Tyler came out
rom England that year, and after the
ous work on the shafts, it was
ecided to begin right at the beginning
and drive the tub
es through from the
emities. The machinery. plant,
and equipment were moved 1,800 feet
inland on
the American side, and some
feet inland on the Canadian shore.
Two great spoon-shaped
excavations were made, one at each
e. Operations on these cuttings
in January 1889. The cutting on
the Canadian siele was carried to a
of 58 feet. The soil appeared to
be finn, and the cutting was not made
wiele. It was soon found necessary
to widen the cut, however, as a landslide
ed which sent thousands of tons
of loose earth and clay into
the cut,
filling it to the depth of 16 feet. The
lide was so extensive that it threatened
undermine the foundation of the
workshops and
it was decided to begin
the tunnel 158 feet further back.
ENGRAVING A . The shield being lowered into the heading.
On the American side, owing
to the existence of quicksand to a
of eight or nine feet, and the
,1-: / .
shifting nature of the blue clay
underneath it, the cutting was made
ger and wider. The depth of the cut
is about 56 feet and 200 feet wide at its
deepest part. An incline was given,
just s
light enough to enable an engine
to pullout the soi
l. The tunnel proper
then commenced, and after a pit
ad been dug on both sides of the river,
the huge excavating shields were rolled
down the bank a
nd placed in position.
A s
trong backing of wood was placed
nd the shield, a ring of the tunnel
bolted together, and the shield
then started upon its mission across
rneath the river. The engraving
(a) shows
the shield as it is lowered
into the h
eading. Engraving (b) shows
ENGRAVING B. The shield resting in place on the grade ready to enter the heading.
it resting in its place on the grade ready to enter the heading. The
cutting edges
of the shield are shown in front. In the rear of the
can be seen a portion of the iron lining of the tunnel pushed
up against the temporary timber backings …
A description of this shield is not out of place. The credit
for the invention is claimed by Mr Beach, the well-known American
engineer, alt
hough similar shields hav.e been used in Ellgland lllld
elsewhere. The shield consists of a strong cylinder of steel like a
ic section of stovepipe. The front end of the cylinder is
ed so as to have a cutting edge for entering the earth. The rear end for about three
feet is made thin and is called the hood.
nged around the internal main walls of the hood are 24
hydraulic jacks
aU operated by the one pump, each jack provided
with a cock by which the pressure can be relieved or increased on
anyone pump as desired. In this way, the shield can be directed
to the fractional part of an inch. When at work, the iron plates of
which the
walls.are composed are built up in a segment within the
hood of the s
hield. The hydraulic jacks are then made to press
the end of the tunnel plates or tube, and it is in this way the
shield is forced
ahead through the clay about two feet, the length
of the
pistons of the jacks.
As the shield advances, the men employed in the front cut
away the soil, and another gang carry it off. Each shield has an
diameter of 21 feet 7 inches, is sixteen feet long, and of
steel plated one inch thick. They are divided into twelve compartments
means of two horizontal and three vertical stays or shelves two
inches thick with cutting edges, and extend back six feet. There
is a heading or bulkhead, with two heavy doors almost flush with
the hydraulic rams.
This is a precaution that in case of flooding or
accident in the shield, the
doors of the bulkhead can be
The shield on the American side was started on July 11,
1889, and on
September 21 st on the Canadian side. On the
American side, little trouble was encountered. The work was
continued without interruption day an.d night, and each shield
anced at an average rate of about 10 feet per day. The largest
s work was 27 feet 10 inches.
At first,
the clay
was cut out with long thin
closed, cutting
off the danger.
These doors did not have to
closed once during the
spades known as the English
tiling tool. A
employed in the shield, a
cooper by trade, thought
he could devise a scheme
whereby the rate
could be materially
increased. He took an old
saw and bent it in the shape
of a horseshoe or like the
crooked knife used by
coopers for shaving out the
of barrels. When
he started to work with
this new tool, he
could do
the work of three men. The
knives were then adopted.
They are made for two men
to operate, with a handle at
each end.
The men grasp
the handles, and reaching
up slice out
slabs of the
putty-like blue
clay, three
and four feet long and four
and five inches thick.
slabs are loaded
upon cars
by a gang called the

muckers, and the cars
are drawn out of the tunnel
by horses and
The hydraulic rams,
as alr
eady stated, are 24 in
number, and eight inches in
diameter. The power is
by a Worthington
pump capable of producing a
of 8,000 pounds to
the square
inch, which would
amount to about 125 tons per
or 3,000 tons on the
whole shield.
The greatest
pressure yet used was only
1,700 pounds per square inch,
40 tons per ram, or
1,080 tons on the shield.
The shields weigh
about 80 tons each, and were
built by the Hamilton Tool
Manufacturing Company.
They were brought to the
in sections and erected
in the shops adjoining the
The waUsofthe tunnel
are constructed
of cast-iron
segments, thirteen of which
and a key form a circle.
dimensions of each cast-iron
segment are, length 4 feet 10
—–_ …. —
July, 1889
August, 1889
September, 1889
October, 1889
November, 1889
December, 1889
January, 1890
February, 1890
March, 1890
April, 1890
May, 1890
June, 1890
July, 1890
August, 1890
inches, width 18 inches, thickness 2 inches, with flanges inside 6
deep and 1 3/4 inches in thickness. These segments are cast
32 holes in them, 12 on each side and four on each end. The
edges are planed in the workshops at the works. They are then
heated and dipped in coal tar, from
which they come out black and
They are bolted together with 7/8 [of an inch) steel bolts,
and the external diameter
of the tunnel is 21 feet and the inside 20
feet. These segments are placed in position by means of a circular
which revolves on a spindle in the centre of the rear of the
hield, and is provided with a vise jaw at one end and a counterpoise
at the other. When a casting is
secured in the jaws, the arm of the
rises about 9 inches, thus lengthening the counterpoise arm.
This gives the arm a clear space to travel around in the circle.
When the spot required is reached, the sliding motion of the arm
reversed and the iron placed in its position. This crane was
designed by
MrTeiper, manager of the Hamilton Tool Manufacturing
There are two tracks
these cars. On one
track the cars are drawn
out, and upon the otht.r the empty cars are sent back. Since the
invention of the crooked knife, the excavators have been enabled
keep easily ahead of the gang that lay the cast-iron segments.
The idea of these excavating knives shows how mans
inventive genius is stimulated by necessity. Another example is in
japanning of the cast-iron segments. At first the japan was
heated, and the cold iron segments dipped in the boiling liquid. It
was found that the tar would not dry soon
enough for the progress
of the work and that it was constantly dripping in the tunnel. Some
one suggested that the segments be heated. This plan was adopted,
and now works admirably. The japan is kept cold in a large vat.
The heated iron segments are dipped into it and absorb the japan
much better than in the old way. There is a great saving in the
amount of japan used, and besides, before the iron is cool the japan
is dry, and the segments can be handled without any trouble.
The men employed on the work are of a far more intelligence
than the
average navvy, and were all scheming and devising plans
for to
surmount the difficulties. In the tunnel, they work eight
hours per day.
Wilen the tunnel
on the Canadian side reached the river
great trouble was experienced with quicksand and water. It
was almost feared that the
work would have to be abandoned; but
Sir Joseph Hickson visited the works, and the men say he never
seemed so cheerful and confident as he did them. His happy and
sanguine manner did much to cheer them. The work was continued
in spite of every obstacle.
When the line of the river was reached on both sides, air­
tight bulkheads
of brick and cement were erected right across the
Each side of these bulkheads contains two large air
cllambers 17 feet long and 7 feet in diameter, with air-tight doors
at each end. These chambers are built one over each car track.
Then the work in the section next [to] the shield was commenced
under an air pressure of 10 pounds to the square inch, which was
graclually increased as the
work progressed.
When a gang of men or an empty car is to be admitted into
compressed air chamber, the outside door of the air lock is
openecl, and they are admitted. The iron door is them closed, and
the air valve
is opened into the chamber until the pressure in the
is equal to that in the tunnel uncler the river. The door leading
in can them be opened without any trouble. Latterly, the men have
been working
under an artificial pressure of 22 pounds per square
inch, or a total atmospheric pressure of 37 pounds per square inch,
or about 2 1/2 atmospheres.
The benefit of this compressed air is that its pressure is
such that water and quicksand will not flow into the tunnel – a leak
will not
show itself at all. The air pressure equalizes the pressure
of the clay and sand so that it overcomes all tendency to gush into
the shield and
endanger lives of the workmen. Three gangs of 75
men are employed in the compressed air, and about 700 men are
employed altogether on the work.
Only mules can be used in the compressed air sections.
Horses upon being taken
out of the compressed air lose the power
of their limbs, and bleed at the mouth, eyes, and nose. The men
before being admitted mllst all be examined by the companys
physician, Dr Johnston.
[n the air lock, the
air pressure must be inCleased or
reduced gradually on a man, it requiring about five minutes for the
Three accidents occurred owing to the recklessness of one
of the workmen, who let the air off too fast. If the air is Jet off too
fast, when a
man emerges into the outer atmosphere he finds that
has what
is called the benders, that is, his knees wobble under
him and
he bleeds at the nose, mouth and ears.
The foreman in charge of the excavation is Mr Murphy, as
daring a man as can be found in America. He is a born leader, and
adored by all the workmen under him, and under his leadership the
men worked cheerfully and with confidence. He has had experience
in tunnelling before, having been employed in a like capacity in the
Hudson River tunnel.
On the American side, they began using compressed air on
April 7th, 1890, and on the Canadian side on May 20th. The total
length of the tunnel is 6,000 feet, of which 2,290 feet are under the
river and remainder under dry land. The maximum depth of the
river is 40 feet. The length of the tunnel under dry land on the
Canadian side is 1,994 feet, on the American side 1,7 J 6 feet. The
length of the open cutting and approaches on the Canadian side will
be 3, I
00 feet, on the American side 2,500 feet, making the tunnel
ancl approaches a total length of 11,600 feet.
The cast-iron lining will weigh 55,963,600 pounds, secured
by 2,000,000 steel bolts seven-eights of an inch in diameter. Two­
thirds of the cast-iron segments were furnished by the Michigan
Car Company and one-third by the GT Companys foundry in
On each side of the river is the following plant: One pair
of winding or hoisting engines, one ventilating engine, with a
capacity of 10,000 cubic feet per minute, a Worthington hydraulic
pump for operating the rams, on the American side an Edison
electric plant, and on the Canadian side a Ball electric light plant,
a drill, a
planer with double tables, anel two Ingersoll air compressors
with boilers capable of generating 300 horse-power.
The tunnel at its lowest point is 94 feet below the surface
of the river. The grades on the shore are one foot to fifty; in the
portion underneath the river I l/6th foot to the 1,000 towards the
Canadian side, where a drainage shaft has been placed, which will
drain the tunnel.
It was a bright sunny morning when [ left Sarnia and took
street car for Point Edward … At Point Edward, I met Sir Henry
Tyler, Sir Joseph Hickson, Mr Hobson, Superintendent Stiff, and
number of other GT officials, and we boarded the official car and
started for the tunnel.
An inspection of the new freight yard site was first made.
Here men and horses were hard at work levelling the ground and
filling in a broad stretch with the material
excavated from the
tunnel, and
making the spot as level as a billiard table. The new
yard will have accommodation for 20 miles of siding. On the
American sicle a similar yard is being fitted up. The beginning of
the cutting for the approach was also inspected, and then we set out
on hand cars, as they are called jiggers for the tunnel.
When we arrived there, were joined by Mr Hillman and his
who were taking an observation of the shield. The observations
are taken from a small house in the line of the tunnel. Here Mr
Hillmans pet, the transit used on the Canadian side, is set on a
masonry foundation. It is a very fine instrument, made especially
for the work by Messrs Troughton & Simms of London, England.
Every morning observations are taken down into the
tunnel. A series of cliscs and a tube with cross wires, which passes
through the air-tight bulkheads, and having heavy plate-glass
openings at each end, enables the engineer to ascertain to the
smallest fractional palt of an inch any deviation in the direction of
the shield. This deviation is marked in a diagram and one diagram
is sent to Mr Hobsons Hamilton office, while another is kept at the
work. The man in charge of the hydraulic rams is notified of the
variation and deviation of the shield, and he adjusts the jacks so as
. r
A Sarnia slleel car aboUl1890. This is Ihe kind of car on which the Mail reporler would have ridden on his way 10 Iisillhe 51. Clair
/unnel eonslruc/ioll sile.
5amia operated Ihe lasl horse cars 10 run in Canada; Ihey lasled unlif J902.
Nalional Archives
oj Canada. Meni!ees Colee/ioll. PholO PA-J66522
to correct the error. The deviation is rarely more than one-fourth
of an inch. When the auger passed tluough the drift on August 25th
and both shields were sighted, they were found to be exactly in line
without any deviation whatever, which s
peaks vohunes for the
of the engineers.
After examining the pumping or drainage shaft, which is
being put down to drain the portals and approaches, we examined
the engines, the pump, air compressors,
and planers. Then we
descended to the mouth of the tunnel. Once inside the tube lines
of incandescent lamps, shining like stars, could be seen extending
as far as the eye could reach into the bowels
of the earth. A little
boy, perched like a cat on top
of huge horse, stood near the
entrance, where he had just brought up a
couple of cars loaded with
the material excavated from the tunnel. A roar like the escape
of a locomotive is heard from the interior, and sounded very
of the infernal regions. We were told that this was the
compressed air which was being let
off one of the air locks. The
walls on all sides looked like the gigantic ribs of a ship, and are as
dryas cork.
The party takes seats on two cars, and we are soon shooling
down the incline deeper and deeper, while the roar
of the escaping
becomes louder and louder every moment … After an almost
endless period
Mr Murphy who is conducting our car, set the brake,
and we find ourselves at the mouth
of the air-lock … The men are hard at work
in the shield, and when Sir Henry Tyler is recognized,
a shout is rai
sed which is almost deafening. A short passage
through the drift and the American shield is reached. .. At the
American side,
Sir Henry Tyler stood at tile opening while the
camera winked
… On the American side, the ground has settled
about two inches
over the tunnel, but no damage is done beyond the
of the walls of a house which belongs to the company.
The sun never looked brighter than it did after leaving the tunnel.
The air inside, however. in the portion outside the bulkheads is
very pure and there will be no trouble about ventilation. The
shields have not met, and the interior machinery and shelves will
be removed and the shells allowed to remain their place.
They have
served their purpose well.
The iron walls will be bui It up inside the
The original cost of the tunnel was estimated at $2,600,000.
This included the
cost of plant, material and labour. The actual
cost witl not fall far short
of this. There is this, however: since the
present tunnel has been
demonstrated a success, a second one will
probably be put through
close by, and in the case of a second a
certain a
mount can be saved by having the plant and possessing the
experience derived from
some of the slight [sic] indulged in the
first case.
SIR HENRY TYLER as he looked in 1891.
A description of the tunnel would be incomplete without
saying something about the projectors and those most closely
Sir Hemy Tyler, as president of the GT, took considerable
interest in the undertaking.
Sir Henry is a man of about sixty years,
with bright blue eyes, aquiline features, apd a profusion
of wavy
hair and beard as white as the driven snow. He is as active as a boy
of sixteen, being spare and athletic in figure. In Merrie England,
his home and native land, he has since his youth been closely
connected with great railway and
engineering undertakings. He
was a member of the commission that reported in favour of the
Brindisi route to India. His name can be found in the encyclopedias
as having reported on the advisability
of building a tunnel across
the Straits
of Dover, connecting France with England. He has still
of confidence in the undertaking, and says it would not be
half as difficult to
cut through the blue chalk strata underlying the
straits as the blue clay
of the St Clair River. The foolish fears of
the military authorities have kept this great undertaking from
being carried
through. .. Sir Henry is a captain of the Royal
Engineers, and has for a number
of years been a member of the
Royal Railway Commission. He was knighted for his distinguished
services, and
is altogether a remarkable man …
Joseph Hickson is a man who has risen to his present
position through sheer strength
of character and ability. He is a
railway man to the manor born, and his experience is so varied that
is not the slightest detail about the road he has charge of, or
about railroads and railroad matters generally, that he has not at his
fingers end. The construction of locomotives and cars, the
intricacies of switches and sidings, the details of bridges and
crossings, the management of freight and passenger traffic, the
of railway auditing and finance, and the broader field of
railroad politics and the relations of his road with other competitors
are all matters upon which Sir Joseph Hickson can bring rare
ability and the good judgment born of long and practical experience.
He began life believing that anything that is worth doing
is worth doing well, and the St Clair Tunnel is only one example
of his genius for carrying out gigantic enterprises. He was born in
1830, in the
County of Northumberlandshire, England, and began
railway life as a boy in the offices of the York, Newcastle and
Berwick Railway. Subsequently, he went to the
Maryport and
Carlisle Railway, and worked his way steadily up to the position
of agent at Carlisle. In 185 I he joined the Manchester, Sheffield
and Lincolnshire Railway and became assistant general manager.
It was then he was appointed to the position
of chief accountant of
the GT in 1861, and he subsequently became secretary-treasurer.
In 1874 he
became general manager, a position which he has ever
since held.
His services in the present position have been and are
inestimable value to the road. He changed the gauge to make it
uniform with the American systems. He sold to the Government
the unremunerative line from Quebec to Riviere du Loup and
secured control
of a line from Sarnia to Chicago. He is now
president of the Great Western of Canada; the Detroit, Grand
Haven and Milwaukee; Toledo, Saginaw, and Muskegon; the
Air Line; the Montreal and Champlain Railway; the
International Bridge Company, of Buffalo; the St Clair Tunnel
Company; and a director of the Central Vermont Railway. He
controls over 5,000 miles of road, and is the hardest working
railway manager in America.
Few men are so weJl liked by the employees as Sir Joseph.
can call almost all the old employees of the road by name, and
manner makes them all fell that they have a personal interest
in the railway. In 1881, the directors of the road expressed their
of his services by presenting him with gold and si Iver
plate to the
amount of2,500 pounds sterling … No man in Canada
was more deserving of the knighthood conferred upon him this
year than Sir Joseph Hickson.
Mr Jos. Hobson, the engineer who planned the St Clair
River undel1aking, is a Canadian. He was born in Guelph in March
1834. He engaged in engineering in the construction of the GT
west of Toronto. After various engineering experiences on railroads
in the United States and the
Maritime Provinces, he engaged on the
Wellington, Grey and Bruce in 1869. Early in 1870, he was
appointed resident engineer of the International Bridge which was
opened in November 1873
He then entered the employ of the
Great Western Railway Company, and became Chief Engineer in
1875, a position he has occupied ever since, although the road has
been fused
in the GT. He is a member of the Institute of Civil
Engineers of England, of the Amelican Society of Civil Engineers,
and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. The tunnel, which
is a monument to his genius, is sufficient glory for any engineer in
a lifetime …
This concludes the colourful account of the tunnels
construction which appeared in the Toronto Mail.
The following article appeared in the Saint John Daily Sun
(Saint John, New Brunswick) on Tuesday, May 5, 1891. It is
written in a rather charming style, quite different from that of the
Mail article, and contains some information not found in the
Accordingly, we have reprinted portions, consisting of
about half, of the Sun article. Original speJling and punctuation
have been retained. The portions which duplicate the Mail
at1icle have been deleted.
Of all engineering work that which is least certain is what
is called subaqueous tunnelling -that is,
driving tunnels under
rivers or other bodies of water. Usually the tunnel must be driven
in clay, or river silt, or sand and gravel, with, in any case, more or
less loose rock and bowlders [sic]. The trouble is to keep a tight
roof, and,
if the material is very soft, to keep the tunnel itself in
shape. There is great danger that the water will break through the
roof and flood the work, or that the sides of the tunnel may be
crushed in by the pressure
of the water and the half fluid material
beneath it ………. The work was done by an almost untried method.
en it is completed it will have cost about $3,000,000.
The Grand Trunk Railway crosses the St. Clair river from
Sarnia, Ont.,
to Port Huron, Mich. About sixty trains crosses [sic]
there now by ferry, and
at least seventy will go thJOugh the tunnel
every day when it is completed. On the St. Clair river there is a
shipping commerce five times as great as that which passes
through the Suez canal. The river is from half to three-quarters of
a mile wide, and the current flows from six to eight miles an hour.
For many years trains have been taken across on feny
boats. This is comfortable enough for passengers, but it takes up
precious time, the boats are
expensive to keep up and to operate,
in winter, when the river is fuJi of floating ice, the delays and
cost are serious.
To carry the tunnel, which it was decided to build here,
through clay with
occasional pockets of gravel and quicksand, and
with a great river flowing
only fifteen feet overhead, was a difficult
It was decided to do the work inside of steel tubes, called
shields, which should be pushed ahead as the work
advanced, and
to line the tunnel with rings
of cast iron as fast as the shield went
In this way the danger of collapse of the tunnel would be
avoided, and
it would be practically finished as fast as it was dug.
But to keep the water or soft material from flowing in at the
open front of the tube was another thing. How that was done will
be told later.
One shield was started in from the Michigan side and one
the Canadian side ………. As fast as the shield went forward
tunnel was lined with rings
of cast iron. Each of these rings was
twenty-one feet in
diameter and eighteen inches long, measured in
the direction of the length of the tunnel. [Except the last ring, which
made up of segments specially cast, since it was of a different
width than all the others in
order to close the final gap]. The ring
of less diameter than the shield could enter the rear of it; and
so there was always a complete tube of steel and iron from the face
of the clay where the men were digging to the entrance of the
tunnel ……….
This was all very simple so long as the work was under the
dry land, but when
it reached out under the river it was necessary
to find
some way to keep the water out. Otherwise, when seams of
loose material were struck, water would have poured in and
flooded the tunnel, and that would have ended the matter. To
prevent this compressed air was used.
Everyone knows that he can hold up a column of water
with a
column of air. Let him fill a U -shaped glass tube half full
of water, hold it upright, with the open ends upward, and blow into
one end of it. The water will rise in the other leg of the tube, and
the harder he blows the
higher the water will rise and the longer will
be the part
of the tube free from water.
Now, if one could put a fly in the dry leg of the tube and stop
end of it, the water would be held in the other leg, and the fly
could move about at his pleasure, dry-shod. This is the principle on
compressed air has long been llsed in deep foundations and
other sub-aqueous work. At
the St. Clair tunnel the dry leg of the
tube was the tunnel, the
wet leg was the river, and the workmen
were the flies ………. It will be understood that the deeper one goes,
and the
higher the column of water, the greater the air pressure that
must be carried.
The men, mules, and clay cars went in an out of that pan
of the tunnel, which was filled with compressed air by means of an
air lock ……….
The painful part of the journey is in the air lock at
the time the pressure is changing.
There people often suffer severe
pain in the ears from the unequal pressure on the two sides of the
eardrum, and sometimes the suffering is so great that they can not
go on.
After one has been a little while in the compressed air the
ceases, but there is a trouble which is peculiar to working in
compressed air, and whicl1 disables a good many men and kills a
The men call it the bends. It is paralysis, more or less
complete, of the muscles, and especially of the legs. Sometimes it
is not painful, but more often it is so, and sometimes very painful
indeed. At the St.
Clair tunnel there were three deaths from this
cause. Horses could not work in the compressed air, but mules
it well, though occasionally one of them was visited with the
The pressure of the air carried was ten pounds per square
inch at first and twenty-three pounds when the middle of the river
was reached. At times it was run up to forty pounds. Of course these
pressures are
in addition to the normal atmospheric pressure of
fourteen pounds per square inch, which is always present on
everybody and every surface in the open air.
The air pressure was kept up by pumps, and to guard
against accident there were two
sets of air compressors at each end
of the tunnel. If the supply of air had failed for a moment, the water
would have rushed in and drowned the men.
Besides the air-compressing plant,
machinery had to be
provided for pumping out any water that drained into the tunnel
during the work, and other machinery for lighting it by electricity.
There were hoisting engines and derricks with which to lift to the
surface the dump cars as they came out loaded with clay.
It happened repeatedly that the
shields, as they were
forced forward, entered pockets
of gravel or quicksand going deep
down into the blue clay. Then the air would escape through the
loose material and the water would begin to
flow in. Generally this
could be stopped soon by increasing the quantity of air pumped in,
but not always. Sometimes the air blew out through the bottom of
the river so fast that the ai.r pumps could not keep up pressure
enough to stop the f10w of water.
More than once it seemed that the tunnel would be flooded
in spite of all that could be done, but luckily the engineers were
always able, by plastering over the face of the gravel with clay, and
working the air-compressors up to a pressure of as much as forty
pounds to the square inch, to hold back the water long enough to
get the shield through the loose gravel into the clay beyond.
The 30th day of August, 1890, the shield from the United
States shore met that from Canada under the middle of the river.
This was just one year after they had started on their strange
journeys; and I do not believe that Meade, the 4th of July, 1863,
was happier or more thankful than was the chief engineer of the St.
Clair tunnel on this August day.
S note: This ends the Sun account. The final
reference is to General George Gordon Meade, Civil War general
and commander of the Union troops at Gettysburg, who had won
this critical battle on July 3, 1863.]
While the two bores under the St Clair River were joined
with a pilot drift on August 25, 1890, and they actually met on
30, it was to be more than a year before the tLlnnel would
opened for regular service.
While the tunnel it
self was completed, it remained to
excavate the approaches to the tunnel. This was a major undertaking.
The Port Huron tunnel ponal would be 60 feet below the land
in a cut which would be 400 feet wide across its top. The
open approach on the Port Huron side is slightly more than 2,500
feet long while that on the Samia side is nearly 3,300 feet long. The
unstable clay soil caused considerable delays in completing the
due to land slides
The most serious land slide occurred on
July I st when
some 300 feet of embankment came loose burying
the American appr
oach to the tunnel to a depth of 15 feet. The clay
excavated from the approaches was used as fill for tbe new Port
Huron and
Sarnia yards built near the tunnel 10.
While work on the approaches was underway, workmen
were busy finishing the tunnel. By January 16, 1891, rails had been
laid through the tunnel and
workmen were plastering the brickwork
in it with cement
The first trial trip through the tunnel was made using yard
253 on April 9th. The locomotive, which calTied
Hobson, Charles Percy, the Assistant to the General Manager of
the GT, and other officials, travelled from Sarnia to Port Huron.
Driver William Owens, Fireman William McNeish and Conductor
Nelson McKee comprised the first crew to take a locomotive
through the tunnel

Following a meeting of the directors of the St Clair Tunnel
Company at Point Edward in August 1891, an ebull ient Sir Henry
Tyler stated that he expected a second tunnel would without a
doubt be built.
The prospects were that it would be started as soon
as the present tunnel was placed in regular service and its capacity
The tunnel proved to be an important factor is securing
freight for the
GT, particularly in the competitive market between
Chicago and the coastal cities of New York, Boston and Ph.iladelphia.
In June 1891, it was announced that the GT would sholtly begin to
Swift dressed meat from Chicago to the major cities of the
Northeastern United States.
The GT had lost this business two
years earlier to the Canada Southern/New York Central which
promised more expeditious handling of Swifts shipments. The
tunnel allowed the GT to eliminate the time-consuming ferry
operation across the
St Clair River and reclaim traffic 14.
Service through the tunnel was formally inaugurated on
September 19, 1891. The Mayor of Sarnia presented an address to
Sir Henry Tyler which stated: The municipal council and citizens
of Sarnia desire to extend through me, their official head and chief
magistrate, their hearty congratulations on the successful completion
of the St Clair tunnel, a work of vast commercial importance to the
great nations on this continent, and an engineering achievement
that will stand for all time as a monument of the enterprise,
foresight and skill
of its designers and builders. After the address,
the invited guests
boarded a special train which proceeded from
Sarnia to Port
Huron. The reporter for the local newspaper
recorded his impressions, presaging a factor which would bedevil
the operations
of the tunnel during its first sixteen years: smoke.
NEW YORK, i:lEPTEMBEl{ 13, 1890.
Highly polished and decoratedfor a special occasion with the royal cypher, the British lion, the American eagle, and flags of the two nations
served by the tunnel, 0-1O-(f[
598 presents a festive appearance, Unfortul1ately, neither the reason for these special efforts or the date of
the photograph has been recorded. This picture predates 1898 as the 598 was renumbered 1301 il1 that year.
National Archives of Canada/PAl 75912
In a few moments the special train was in motion towards
the portal. Carefully it picked its way down the incline. The banks
each side were lined with a cheering crowd of spectators, and
on the sides
of the cutling stoocl rows of clay begrimed workmen,
with pick and shovel, resting from their labours to great with
cheers the appearance of the official train that marked the successful
completion of the most important part of the great work in which
they had borne so laborious and dangerous a paI1.

The trip through the tunnel, brief though it was, occupying
barely four minutes, was entered upon with mingled feelings of
awe, wonder and trepidation by many; on the train. The plunge
from brilliant sunshine into the dense darkness of the great tube
swift and startling. The inky blackness was so heavy that the
mps burning in the cars appeared to have no effect upon the
impenetrable gloom.
The electric lights set at intervals through the tunne
l, flashed brief gleams as they were passed, but these as a
of the accumulating smoke and dust grew dimmer and hazier
the train progressed until at length they seemed enshrouded in
fog. With closed windows and doors, the heat was getting to be
oppressive and the passengers were beginning to wonder how
much l
onger they would have to endure the heat and oppressiveness
when with the suddenness
of a lightning flash, the broad glare of
day burst upon them.

The tunnel had been safely navigated, and the pent up
feelings of tho
se who had made the trip found vent in a prolonged
eer. From the banks on the Michigan side responsive cheers
swelled upwards and rolled along as the train went gallantly up the
grade. At the summit, a sight
was obtained of one of the mammoth
special eng
ines built to convey trains through the tunnel .. ,5
The modification of the tunnel locomotives from tank to lender equipped locomotives did not improve their aesthetics_ This view, which was
taken in 1908, shows the large firebox which challenged the fireman. Originally numbered
598 to 601, the quanet of tunnel locomotives
were renumbered 1301 to 1304 in 1898. These units remained
in yard service after being displaced from tunnel service. The first unit was
refired in
1916 and the other three in 1920.
National Archives
of CanadaIPA-60703.
Following the passage of the official train, the tunnel was
tlu-own open to inspection by the public
who were invited to walk
through it. Train operation, however, did not begin for several
The delay was due to the incomplete state of the retaining
walls along the approaches to the tunnel on both sides
of the river.
The last date the public were able to inspect the tunnel was
October 25th. Interest in the new technological wonder
of the age was so great that the GT ran seven excursion trains from
Detroit to
Port Huron to accommodate the sightseers. By days
end, it was estimated that 7,000 had walked through the tlllmel
InitiaJly, four large O-IO-OT type steam locomotives built
by the Baldwin Locomotive Works
in Philadelphia were used to
haul trains tluough the tunnel. Baldwin
guaranteed that the
engines would haul 760 gross tons,
the equivalent of 25-30 loaded
cars, up the 2 per
cent gradients. At the time of their construction,
these 97.5 ton engines were the largest steam locomotives
in the
Locomotive 598 was the first one to be shipped. In a
completed state, the locomotives were too heavy for
some bridges
along the route to Port Huron. Consequently, the cab, tanks,
and other parts were taken off and shipped separatelyl7
Sometime after placing the engines in service, the GT equipped the
with conventional tenders in order to minimize the number
of trips to servicing facilities during each shift.
On October 23rd, the first freight cars passed through the
The first tluough freight train, consisting of II cars, left
Port Huron shortly after 1800 on October 25th. Initially, only
eastbound freight trains used the tunnel. Westbound freight and all
passenger trains
continued to use the car ferries. The passenger
trains could not use the tunnel as the new stations along the tunnel
at Sarnia and Port Huron had not been completed. So
remote was the tunnel that the GT inaugurated special trains to
staff from Point Edward to the Sarnia tunnel and from Fort
Gratiot to the Port Huron tunnel
Effective November 23rd, the GTbegan operating westbound
freight trains through the tunne
l. By the end of December, traffic
tluough the tunnel
amounted to 450 freight cars each way per day.
The GTs car ferries International and Huron were put up for
in January 1892
nger trains began using the tunnel on December 7th
following the
completion of the new station at Sarnia. The new
station at Port
Huron, however, was not ready for use until
February 1, 18922
While the GTwas hauling increasing freight traffic through
the tunnel, all was not completely satisfactory. The
noted that to
cope with the traffic, the GT was employing double
crews on the trains in the tunnel and had installed an automatic
It was having trouble securing men for the work even
though it was
paying brakemen $2.50 a day21. The dangers of
working in the dark, smoky bore probably accounted for this
The outfit used, in 1899. to take flashlight photographs of the interior of the St. Clair tunnel
Railway and Shipping World, January, 1900.
By its very nature, a tunnel is very difficult to photograph
in a way which depicts clearly its
engineering features. The best a
railway enthusiast can
do is to photograph a train emerging from
the tunnel portal or, perhaps, take a flash photo looking into the
of the tunnel.
is possible, however. to do better as we can see from this
remarkable story
of how the Grand Trunk Railway arranged for a
movie of the entire interior of the tunnel to be taken in the summer
of 1899, a time when motion-picture photography was in its
infancy. and film speeds were velY slow. This would be a formidable
job even with modern video cameras, and in 1899 these were not
even thought of in science fiction.
The following account is tak
en from the Railway and
Shipping World, issue No. 23. January) 900. One wonders if this
film has survived, and,
if so, where it is. The method is definitely
not recommended for present-day railway enthusiasts!
of the GTR have recently succeeded in obtaining
a flashlight photograph
of the interior of the Sarnia tunnel from
portal to portal. Numerous photographers from different parts
America have repeatedly tried to take one, but hitherto without success, and in the recent instance
some half dozen experiments
had to be made before the view was obtained. A set of large
lamps were made in New York for the purpose, and a car
arnUlged with the taking machine and flashlight apparatus was
brought into requisition, from which the experiments were made.
In the history
of moving pictures this was the first attempt to obtain
a flashlight picture
of a tunnel through which an engine and car
were flying at the rate of 30 miles an hour. The experiment was
only by way of trial for the first few trips, to see what could be done,
and the results demonstrated the possibility of perfect pictures on
a complete scale such as is required for the biograph.
The gondola
car on which the working machines were placed was fitted up with
a specially arranged outfit. A small house was built on the right, in
of the car in which were arranged the four powerful flashlight
The machines were connected with the compressed air
on the locomotive, with attachments on the tubing to regulate the
air which forced the magnesium powder from the powder chambers
of the flashlight apparatus, out through an aperture, across a flame
of alcohoL where it ignited and gave forth a light of pure white and
brilliancy, ancl with parabolic reflectors placed behind the flame,
the light
was thrown for a distance of more than 1000 ft.,
illuminating the tunnel to the smallest detail, and producing the
desired effect for a sharp and good negative.
The experiments were
This flash-illuminated view of the inferior of the St. Clair tunnel was taken, in 1899, as part of fhe successful project
to photograph,
by motion picfure camera, the entire bore of the funnel from portal to portal. Since the view was taken
only eight years after the funnel went into service, it shows it essel1lially as built.
and Shipping World, January, 1900.
and exciting. as can be imagined -the engine rwming like a
huge bullet through what practically looked like an immense gun
barrel, illuminated with a light that could
not be faced. and which
necessi tated the operators and those who took part in the experiments
wearing blue glasses, and rushing through this hollow tube at a 30
mile pace.
The mutograph or machine used by the biograph
company for taking the pictures was placed on the left of the
flashlight cabin, the electric motor used for running the machine
being connected with 4 storage batteries that were carried on the
car. Illustrations
of the outfit used and of the interior of the tunnel
are given.
By 1900, the tunnel had become an impediment. Increased
traffic levels and heavier freight cars were taxing the capacity
the single track tunnel and the abilities of the tunnel locomotives.
In 1901, Third Vice President Frank Morse wrote Hobson seeking
information on a possible solution to the problem:
On account of the increased tare in freight cars, the
of the St Clair Tunnel is being reduced, figuring on the
number of cars it is possible to put through it per day.
The only easy way to overcome this would be to substitute
our present locomotives, others of greatly increased weight.
Will you kindly advise if the condition of the bed of the
Tunnel would
cause any restriction being placed on the locomotives
we may wish to run through?22
Hobsons reply has not been found, it would have
stated that the tunneiiocomotives were about the biggest engines
which the bore could accommodate. Then matters came to a head
as the result
of a tragic and fatal accident. On October 9, 1904, a
freight train broke in two in the tunnel. By the time the
had been moved from the tunnel, five trainmen were overcome by
This accident spurred the decision to electrify the tunnel.
Not only would this eliminate the
smoke hazard, but the electric
locomotives would be able to handle greater tonnage at higher

: 9
i I
! (
• x
0 W
1 4. .
.i ~
II. 0
! -)
a ,
:z II.
· 0
r .. Z

I It
The GT developed a set of
specifications requiring that the
installation should be capable of
hauling a 1,000 lon train through the
tunnel from terminal to terminal in
15 minutes and that in so doing the
maximum speed should not exceed
25 miles per hour and the
speed when ascending the 2 per cent
grade should not be less than 10
miles per hour.
Based upon these
specifications, the GT invited tenders
from electrical firms.
The GTselected
Westinghouse Electric &
Company to construct
3300 volt, single phase 25 cycle
A.C. system. This would be the first
of single-phase system
to heavy steam railway service.
the terms of the tlml key contract,
Westinghouse installed the catenary,
built the
power house, trained the
crews, and was responsible for the
successful operation of the entire
Some of the overhead IVOrk in the St. Clair tunnel electrification.
Railway and Marine World, December 1908.
The locomotives were designed to exert the maximum
practicable tractive effort thereby increasing the capacity of the
The capacilY limit was determined by the maximum pull
which could be exerted on the draw bars
of the rolling stock
without breaking trains in two.
On the basis of this criterion, the
locomotives were specified to be
of sufficient capacity to develop
drawbar pull of 50.000 pounds when operating at a speed of LO
miles per hour. It was estimated that such a locomotive would be
able to
make a complete trip through the tunnel from terminal to
terminal with a 1,000 ton train
in 15 minutes permitting each
locomotive to make four trips per hour. This would provide a
capacity approximately three times larger than actual traffic
demands in 1905.
Six pantograph equipped electric locomotives were built
at the Baldwin Locomotive Works during 1907 and 1908.
unit was rated at 750 horsepower. When tested with a dynamometer
car, it was found that the unit developed 43,000 pounds of drawbar
pull before slipping its wheels. As the GT decided to operate the
units in pairs. each train would have 86.000 pounds
of draw bar
On January 31, 1908, work was sufficiently advanced that
an electric locomotive was hauled through the tmUlel from Port
Huron to test the newly erected catenary in the Sarnia yards.
Progress, however, was slowed by severe
snow stOlms which
blocked the main line.
[n order to clear up the backlog of traffic,
on the electrification of the tunnel was temporarily suspended
in early February24. An unofficial run was
made from Sarnia to the portal of the
tunnel on
tl1e Port Huron side shortly before February 19th. The
reason for not running the electric locomotive through to Port
Huron was to meet the
wish of several GT officials who wished to
be part
of the historic event. On February 20th at 11 :00. electric
locomotives 1308 and 1309 ran light from Sarnia to Port Huron.
Upon the arrival at
Port Huron. the two engines were attached to
700 ton freight train composed of 19 loaded cars. The eastbound
trip passed the western
summit of the tunnel at 12:28 and the
summit at 12:37. The crew on the first run consisted of
conductor Walter Hanson and brakemen A. Boody and M Falconer.
The locomotives were operated by Terminal Superintendent Jones
under the direction
of H. H. Rushbridge of the Westinghouse
Electric Company25.
On February 20th, the electrics hauled their first passenger
train through the tunnel.
This trip inaugurated the regular use of
the electrics on passenger trains during the 12 hour day shift.
Steam remained
in use on the freight trains and on the passenger
trains at night
In March, electric lights were installed the length
of the tunnel. On May 17th, steam operation through the tunnel
Westinghouse turned over the tunnel operation to the
Trunkon November 12, 1908. TheGT invited approximately
100 guests to ride the
official first train. At 1300, a special tunnel
inspection train pulled into the Port Huron station to load the guests
onto flat cars which had
been equipped with upholstered seats for
OPPOSITE PAGE: A general map and profile oflhe yards and IUI/nel al Samia and Port Huron in 1906,jusl before the eleclnjication.
The Railway Age, January
19, 1906.
An elec/ric locomo/ive and passenger train emerging from the St. Clair lunnel.
and Marine World, December 1908.
the occasion. On arrival at the Sarnia station. the guests boarded
a steam
locomotive hauled train of conventional day coaches
which took the party
to Sarnias downtown station on Crowell
Street. After the obligatory luncheon and speeches, the party rode
the coaches back
to Port Huron where they inspected the power
The electrification met all the expectations of the GT.
Train weight increased
by 25 percent and trip times through the
tunnel decreased by 33%. Due to
these factors, tile average cost of
handling a freight car through the tunnel fell from 26.6 to 17.2
cents. It is estimated that the half million dollar investment in the
electrification was repaid after the first
five years of operation.
In 1910,
it was reported that the entire traffic through the
tunnel was being handled
by 2 pairs of locomotives. Comparing
the last year
of steam locomotive operation to the first year of
electric operation, the Electric Railway Journal reported fuel
costs had fallen
by 6 I per cent and maintenance and repair costs by
per cent. The average mileage for each unit was approlimat.ely
2,700 miles per month the equivalent
of IO round trips per day. To
service the units, a two-track section of the roundhouse in Sarnia
was equipped as an inspection shed
In order to qualify for the electric service, the men who had
operated the steam locomotives had to attend instruction classes
afternoon for two months when off-duty. After completing
the classroom work,
the steam locomotive engineers operated the
electric units under
the supervision of instructors. The locomotive
crew was made up
of an engineer and assistant. Under electric
operation, the number of brakemen was reduced from two to one
due to the smooth operation of trains through the tunnel
The electric operation endured for fifty years. In order to
accommodate increasing freight traffic. CN purchased two electric
engines from the Chicago, South Shore
& South Bend Railroad in
The ten electric units soldiered on until 1958. With
the need to change motive power was eliminated and
the electrification was decommissioned on September 28, 1958 at
08:00. For some time prior
to this date, however, passenger trains
had been hauled through the tunnel behind diesel locomotives
the Grand Trunk Western thereby eliminating the time consuming
process of changing locomotives at both ends of the tunneP.
The St Clair Tunnel Company was amalgamated with CN
in 1958. Unlike many of the small railway companies which
formed a part
of CN, the St Clair Tunnel Company retained a
, I

Page 21
Lithograph of the interior of St Clair Tunnel box cab units 1305 ta 1310.
Electric Railway Journal, Volume XXXV. No 14,
April 2,1910.
public presence up to that time as its name had been proudly
displayed on the four steam locomotives and eight electric engines
assigned to tunnel
Today, the tunnel continues to serve as a critical link in the
ement of freight and passenger traffic between Central Canada
and the American Midwest. For those wishing to experience a
passage through the tunnel, VIA and Amtrak operate the
International, a Chicago-Toronto train, each day.
On December 5, 1991, CN arlllounced that it will build a
$155 million tunnel between Sarnia and Port Huron adjacent
to the existing tunnel.
CN expects to have the 1.2 mile long tunnel
completed in 1994. The new tunnel will allow CN to improve its
service to trans-border shippers. Traffic between
Canada and the
U.S. has increased by
12 to 15 per cent over the last two or three
years while domestic traffic growth has been flat.
The new tunnel is being built to accommodate double stack
container cars and multi-level automobile cars. These cars, which
are too
high to pass tluough the old tunnel, currently are being ferried across the St
Clair River. It is expected that the new tunnel
will reduce transit time for these shipments by up to
12 hours and
permit CN to eliminate the costly ferry
service. As well, freight
trains when passing tluough the tunnel must slow to a crawl
order to prevent todays large freight cars from hitting the side of
the tunnel. It is expected that trains will be able to pass through the
new tunnel at speeds
of 55 miles per hour.
In its issue for
September 13, 1890, Scientific American
made the prophetic statement: Should another tunnel be put
through, as now expected,
we shall have a much fairer chance to
compare the certain and marked advantages which the cast iron
tunnel possesses over the old style brick and
cement tunnels. It
then seemed as if traffic would require a second tunnel within a
very few years. Little did they know that
it would be a century
before another tunnel was built
at that location, but now, after 100
years, the prediction will
come true.
The fate of the existing tunnel has not been decided. It
could become a utility corridor, a back7.up for the new tunnel or
continue in its current role
With this new investment, trains will
continue to operate under the
St Clair River for many years to
I National Archives of Canada: MG29 A29 -Sir Joseph Hickson Papers
2 Ibid .
. 1 Amendment published in Toronto Mail, September 12, J 890.
4 The Great Western was amalgamated with the GT in 1882. One of the Great Westerns lines extended from Toronto to Sarnia via Woodstock
and Strathroy.
The GTs Toronto-Sarnia line, which terminated in the Sarnia suburb of Point Edward, passed through Guelph and Thetford.
Today, the Great Western line forms
CNs main route for traffic moving through to Chicago. The section of the original GT line from St
Marys Junction to a point near Sarnia has been abandoned.
The GTs line between Port Huron and Chicago was opened to traffic in February 1880. This trackage was operated by a GT subsidiary,
the Chicago and Grand
Trunk Railway. In 1900, the Chicago and Grand Trunk was amalgamated with other railways owned by the GT in
the Midwest to form the Grand Trunk Western Railroad.
S This project was abandoned in 1891. In 1902, the scheme was revived. The partially completed tunnels became part of the Hudson &
Manhattan Railroad linking Hoboken, New Jersey to New York City. See Diehl, L. B., The Late Great Pennsylvania Station, American
Heritage, New York, 1985.
6 The St Clair Tunnel Company was fonned in 1886 when the SI. Clair Frontier Tunnel Company amalgamated with the Port Huron Tunnel
The St Clair Frontier Tunnel Company was chartered by the Dominion Parliament in 1884.
7 Hickson received his title from Queen Victoria in 1890.
S The International Bridge linked Fort Erie, Ontario to Black Rock, New York, a suburb of Buffalo.
9 Observer, Sarnia, February 6, June 19 and July 3, 1891.
10 Ibid, March 13, 1891.
II Ibid, January 16, 1891.
12 Ibid, April 10, 1891.
13 Ibid, August 21, 1891.
14 Ibid, June 19, 1891. The Canada Southern and Michigan Central continued to use a car ferry to link Detroit and Windsor until July 22,
15 Ibid, September 25, 1891.
16 Ibid, October 31, 1891.
17 Ibid, March 6, 1891.
IS Ibid, October 31, 1891.
19 Ibid, November 20, December 25,1891 and January 22, 1892.
20 Ibid, December 11, 1891 and January 22, 1892.
21 Ibid, January 22, 1892.
22 National Archives of Canada. RG30, Volume 1783: Car Letter Book.
2) Electric Railway Journal, Volume XXXIl, No 24, November 14, 1908.
24 Observer, Sarnia, February 7, 1908.
2S Ibid. February 19 and 20, 1908.
26 Ibid. February 24 and 28, 1908.
2J Middleton, W. D. When The Steam Railroads Electrified, Kalmbach Books, Milwaukee, 1974 (Page 137) and Observer, Sarnia,
November 13, 1908.
28 Observer, November 13, 1908.
29 Electric Railway Journal, Volume XXXV, No. 14, April 2, 1910.
10 Ibid.
31 Upper Canada Railway Society Newsletter, October 1958.
32 The Gazette, Montreal and Windsor Star, December 6, 1991.
ABOVE. 011 November 9.1908, photographer
Boyd recorded this view of the renovated
interior of the tUllllel. This view which looks
toward Port Huron, Michigan shows the heavy
catenary supports adopted by the
GT for this
pioneer electrification.
Boyd Collection, National Archives of
RIGHT The approach to the St. Clair tunnel
from Sarnia.
and Marine World, December 1908.
-.PJWlw· n 1891
of the origil/al locomotives of
the St. Clair Tunnel Company as built.
Originally numbered
598 -601, they were
later numbered 1301 -1304,
and still later.
2650 –
BELOW: The original electric locomotives
were numbered 1305 -1310.
In 1910 they
he came
2655 -2660, then in /923 they were
ed 9150 -9155. Finally, in 1949,
they received numbers 150 -155. This
broadside view was taken in the 1920
On September 19, 1991 the St. Clair tunnel completed 100 yealS of service, and a large-scale celehration was held. Above. and on the
opposite page
we show some sigllificant photos dealing with this anniversary. Above left is the mOllument at Sa/llia cOl/sisling of an arch
made from origil/al segments
of the tunnel structure; these pieces were left over whel/ the tunllel was completed in 1890. Above right is
the commemorative plaque
at Port Huroll.
On the opposite page we see the special ticket used on the special trains, as well as a selection
of photos by Walter Bedbrook and Fred
Angus showing the special train which made several trips between Samia and Port Huron that day. The Ira in was operated in push-pull
fashion, with a CN unit on one end
and a GT aile on the other.
St. Clair River Tunnel
Centennial Committee
in associalion wilh
and Amlrak
celebrale Ihe
100111 anniversary
01 Ihis Greal Inlernalional Roule
The inaugurallrain traversed this historic
pass.age 100 years ago to this day
TIUllsday, September 19, 1991
Return ticket from slations at
Sarn/a, Ontario & Port Huron, Michigan
Single Coach Fare
Regular Fare
$15.00 Can. $13.00 u.s.
Child $ 7.50 Can. $ 6.50 u.s.
(12& undOr)
Advance Fare (up 10 Sept. 18. 1991)
Adult $10.00 Can. $8.50 u.s.
··G(jild;iiim$;6iJO()II!)HlW$~~S·lI:s:· ..
(123. undel)
Subjcd 10 and corditions on rlJ.lOt$&.
~.: ..
Good-for on~Jassage from
Samhlts:Port Huron
Train departs al 1700 hours
Approaching the tunnel from the Sarnia
GT locomotive 5729 is leading.
Photo by Walter Bedbrook.
Page 25
The special Irain going into the Sarnia
of the tunnel. The /railing uni/ is eN
Pholo by Walter Bedbrook.
This historic view shows the speciallrain al Sarnia, beside /he
Amtrak/rain the International. The latter was thefirst passenger
of the second century of tunnel service. The specia
l/rain approaching Ihe station al Pori Huron.
Photo by Fred Angus.
Photo by Walter Bedbrook.
The Ste. Annes Bridges Then and Now
By A. Stephen Walbridge
On their way to the sea, the waters of the Ottawa River flow
along the Ontario-Quebec border into the Lake of Two
Mountains. Before joining the SI. lawrence River at Ste. Anne de
Bellevue, the waters draining the Lake of Two Mountains divide,
to form lie Perrot; with the main stream separating Ste. Annes from
lie Perrot; and the other
separating lie Perrot
from the mainland at
While not being major
bodies of water, the two
streams presented the
first sizable problem to
the bui
Iders of the Grand
Trunk Railway of
Canada new line from
to Toronto.
Bridge, and the Ste. Annes bridge (see photo) and that the
construction of the Victoria Bridge is so well documented by
literature and by
photos, we appear to be permitted to make a
number of assumptions concerning the Ste. Annes bridge as well.
The I ine from Montreal to Toronto was built tllrough unremarkable
terrain, which
llowed the descent
of the St. Lawrence
Valley from Lake
Ontario -mainly
wooded country, with
few t
owns of great
size in 1854. The
rivers at Ste. Annes
and Trenton had to
be bridged; but the
main construction
problems, as
described in Thomas
Brassey: Railway
Builder, concerned
re winter weather,
which Mr. Brassey
was not accustomed.
The line is described
Trouts The
Railways of Canada
as Gauge of track
5fl. 6 inches,
the yard. It opened
for traffic on
26,1856, single track
only, unt
il 1900.
The Grand Trunk haci
been incorporated in
To construct a
railway, on a
route, from
Toronto to
Montreal a distance
estimated at 345 miles.
about the same time,
GTR became
involved in the
Canadian portion
of the
ine from Montreal to
Portland, Main
e; and the
construction of the
Victoria Bricige, to
connect Montreal to the
mainland railway to
Portland. As the main
source of funds was
British capital, the noted
British railway
construction firm of
Peto, Brassey, Betts and
Jackson were hired
The portal oj the GTR Ste. Annes bridge as it was when built. This photo was taken
by No
tman in 1860. Note engineer Rosss name and the dale carved opel the portal.
Now, lets turn our
attention to
the Ste.
Annes bridges. The
Grand Trunk Railway
Act of 1852, sec. 21
reads in part. The
NOllnan PholOgmph Archives, Mc.Cord Museum. Photo No. 7464 View.
March 23rd., 1853 for the construction of the line between
Montreal and T
oronto; and on March 3rd., 1853 far the construction
of the Victoria railway bridge at Montreal. Designed by Mr.
Stephenson and Mr. Ross, Alexander M. Ross name appears as
the engineer.
Available document
ation on the history of Canadian railways is
rich in the details of charters, subsidies, political pressures and
scandals; but,
except for some major engineering accomplishments,
is rather short on
the detai Is of construction. In the present case,
the fact that Mr.
Ross was the engineer for both the Victoria
Company shall be
authorized, if they
see fit, so to construct such bridge or bridges as
to provide for
the passage of all ordinary vehicles, animals and foot
passengers over the same … on payment of such tolls etc. William
Notman, the noted Montreal photographer of the time, shows a
footpath on each side
of the track; but its extensive use by the
public was unlikely. Notmans excellent photograph (Front cover
photo) of the finished bridge was taken in 1860 from the upstream
side; and j
udging from the height compared with the surrounding
land, was taken from the t
ower of the Roman Catholic Church in
Ste. Annes. (A note of interest: The Canadian Pacific bridge was
built to cross the same body
of water in the mid-1800s immediately
The Ste. Annes bridge photogmphed from lle Perrot ill the early 1860s. The church in the photo still stands.
Noiman Phatographic Archives, Mc.Cord Museum. Photo.
No.. MP2142.
The bridgefrol1l lie
Perrotto the l1Iail/land at Vaudreuil (Dorion) did not have a tubular span as it did not cross a
navigable clwl/l1el. This photo was laken aboul 1860.
Notman Phatograph Archives, McCard Museum. Phata No. 7541-View.
A view of the Grand Trunk bridge at Sle. Annes, with the Canadian Pacific hridge behind it, taken on September 2, 1896. Notice how
the much newer CPR span
dwmjs (he old GTR one. Within three years the laller would be replaced.
Notman Photographic Archives, Mc.Cord Museum. Photo No. MP 076/77(7).
upstream of the GTR bridge.) The bridge was built on 16 piers of
limestone, which we will discuss later. From the east (Montreal)
side, the tracks are supported between the first two
piers on the
deck plate girders of rivetted construction: followed one section
of thru plate girders, and the balance of the deck plate girders. All
of the steel was fabricated in the Canada Works at Birkenhead.
England, ready for erection. The statement was made about the
steel for the Victoria Bridge that
of the thousands of rivet holes pre­
drilled for erection on the site, not one had to
be reworked on the
job. With only one section of tubular construction, it is unlikely
smoke from the locomotive presented any great problems of
Let us consider the piers. The normal water level at this point is
not deep; so, although no photos have
come to hand. it is unlikely
the caissons were as elaborate as those that were essential to
construction of the Victoria Bridge. Each pier in the water had
cutwater on the upstream edge. Some photos give the impression
that the tracks peak in the tubular sectio
n: but this is not borne out
by the side view.
The stone used in the piers is described in Dressers Geology of
Quebec as the Black River group of limestones, first seen at Pointe Claire, where they
have been extensively quarried. (The
Golf Club now occupies part of the former quarry).
Bryan Matthew
s A History of Pointe Claire states, On March 20,
1854, the Grand
Trunk acquired four arpents of land from Eustache
Brunet dit LEtang, which was assigned to Peto and Company for
the establishment
of a quarry. (Memo -most of the stone quarried
from this quarry was used for the piers
of the Victoria Bridge.
Although no specific
mention is made that this stone was also used
for the Ste. Annes bridge. the
appearance of the latter is identical.)
Many workmen at the quarry were Indians who lived
in Caughnawaga. (Across Lake St. Louis several miles from
Pointe Claire). Each
moming, shortly before dawn. a convoy of
canoes would arrive at the docks on the barge quay at the foot of
Cartier A venue (Station Road) and at the point. and each evening
before sunset, the flotilla
would push off to paddle back across the
.. .To house itinerant workers, a stone house was constructed
near the perimeter of the quarry. It served as a dormitory until the
of the century. and in I 904 became the original club house for
the Beaconsfield
Golf Club (1990, still in use for storage).
Stevens History of the Canadian National Railways states Hodge
found suitable stone for his piers (for Victoria Bridge) on the
ABOVE: The Ste. Annes lock with the two railway
in 1904. The train in the foreground is a
Montreal-bound CPRjreight, while
in the background
we see the GTR bridge. This
is the one which
replaced the
old tubular span in 1899.
No/man Photographic Archives, McCord Museum.
Photo No. MP 022179 (328).
RIGHT: Looking along the track on the original
at Vaudreuil about J860. Note the walkways
which must have been rather dangerous when a
train was passing.
Notman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum.
Photo No. 739J-View.
While no photo of the rebuilding of the Ste. Annes bridge has so far come to /ight, the method was likely similar to the way the Victoria
Bridge was rebuilt at about the same time. This photo, taken from a boat on July
2,1898, shows the new steelwork being built around
the old lube. The laller was then removed with minimal interruption
to traffic.
NaIman Photographic Archives, McCord Museum. Photo No. MP-076/77(77).
Caughnawaga Indian Reserve, sixteen mile upriver from Montreal.
sers Geology in Quebec describes the Caughnawaga stone as
shale or sandstone, which has quite a different appearance from
the Pointe Claire
SLOne. The stone used in the Vaudreuil Viaduct
section of the railway between lie Perrot and Vaudreuil has
received major repairs over the years.
Some piers have been
largely replaced; while others now include so
me original stone,
but a great deal
of concrete. I suggest that the shale or sandstone
from Caughnawga was used to build the piers for this section of
bridges, and that the soft stone did not stand up to traffic and
weather and current; and hence the major repairs.
The Ste. Annes bridges built in 1854-55 were single track, as was
the entire line from Montreal to
Toronto; until 1899. Several
quotes from
Railway and Shipping World of 1899 and 1900 are
of interest.
June 1899: Owing to the height of the locomotives recently
constructed and the lowness
of the tubular span over the Ottawa
at Ste. Annes, the Company (Grand
Trunk) is unable to use
them on the Western Section. The difficulty will be remedied by
the demolition
of the tube and the erection of an open span bridge
similar in height to the Victoria Bridge.
July 1899:
Work is in progress to complete the double track
between Montreal and Toronto .. .including four miles between SI.
Annes and Vaudreuil.
August 1899: Good progress is being made on the double
tracking between St. Annes and Vaudreuil. A steam shovel, two work trains and 75 men are
employed .. .Improved stations are to be
built at St.Annes and Vaudreuil.
They will be built of limestone
and pressed brick, and will
cost $14,000 to $15,000 each.
September 1899: The last relic of the first epoch of railway
in Canada is passing away in the form of the tubular
bridge at St.Annes.
This old bridge, which spanned the Ottawa
River near its junction with the St. Lawrence, is being removed and
a truss bridge erected in its place.
This old bridge is not only the
of the tubular bridges in Canada, but the last on this continent,
and its removal is a historic event.
April 1900:
Excepting across the bridges, which are unfinished
for want
of steel, a 2nd. main track has been laid between SL Annes
and Vaudreuil,
3.70 miJes .. .The bridging and earthwork were
exceptionally heavy.
New stations have been built at St. Annes and
May 1900:
The enlargement of the St. Annes and Vaudreuil
bridges and duplication
of the track on these structures is about
completed, and the trains will soon be running
over the second
track. When this
improvement is finished, the G.T. will have a
double track between Montreal and Toronto, with the exception
the 46 miles between Port Union and Port Hope.
November 1900:
Fast track-laying. Eight miles of rails between
Dorval and Ste.Arllle de Bellevue, Que. were laid on a
recently without the slightest interruption of traffic, by a force of
120 men working from 7 a.m. to a little before 6 p.m.
Lets turn from the THEN to the NOW.
Bridges, like any other part of a railway, need rebuilding for a
of reasons. The second rebuilding of the St. Annes main
span took place
in 1931. Today, in 1990, a plate is rivetted to the
of the bridge: Built by The Pennsylvania Steel Co., Steelton,
Pa. 1931
Due to fatigue, changing load factors, and technology, among
other reasons, the
past three years have witnessed the replacement
of the deck girders of rivetted construction on most of the St. Annes
bridge, and the Vaudreuil Viaduct.
The new girders are fabricated
of Cor ten steel, welded. There is no need to paint this steel as a thin
of oxidation protects the steel from further weathering.
The method of replacing the sections of girder is interesting,as it
was devised due to the need not to interfere withe traffic on the New beam onflat cal.
adjacent track. The girders were manufactured by Dominion
Bridge, some in Montreal, and
some in Toronto.
The selection of photos taken on September 3rd.
1990 include one
of the gantry crane used, which is
longer than the span
of the girder. The old rivetted
of the girder is raised from its bearing point
on each pier; then moved until one end overlaps the
track. This end is then lowered onto a dolly on the
railway track; pulled until the other end
is over a
second dolly above the pier, then pulled away for
loading on a set
of flat cars for disposal. The new
girder id.then shunted.on
its flat car into place at the
The end under the gantry crane is then
raised; and advanced over the space between the
piers, when the second end is raised and positioned
between the piers.
The girder is then lowered into
place upon the piers. One
of the slides shows on the
one end of a new girder; then open space
between two
piers; then on the right, the end of one
Page 31
of the old girders awaiting its turn for replacement Gantry crane for removing old beam and lifting /lew beam il1lo place.
The roadbed on the new girders consists of sections
of pre-cast concrete, which are lowered onto the
new girder to await the replacement
of the track.
Maintenance on the new type
of roadbed should be
a rare requirement.
Statutes of Canada 1852-53 c37 Grand Trunk Ry
of Canada
Thomas brassey, Railway Builder Charles Walker
The Railways of Canada -J.M. & Edw. Trout –
Canadian National Railway -G.R. Stevens
Geology in Quebec -Dresser
Photos by William Notman, courtesy
of The McCord
Museum of Canadian History, McGill University,
Montreal. Additional photos by the author
History of Pointe Claire
Railway and Shipping World, 1899, 1900
Instailing new beam.
Salem and Hillsborough Activities
Our member Dyson Thomas of Saint
John New Brunswick has sent these
interesting photos
of recent activities
on the Salem and
Hillsborough Railroad
in New Brunswick.
ssenger operation resumed on the S
& H in 1991, and the railroad had a
successful year.
Most of the trains were
diesel-hauled, but on at least two
occasions former CN steam locomotive
1009 (on loan from the CRHA) was
At present the diesel
motive power of
the S & H is as follows;
RS I No. 208, Ex -DEyCO. In operating
S-12 No. 8245, Ex -CN. 1n operating
RS I No. 8209, Ex -DEY CO 209.
Acquired for spare parts; not operating.
One of the most interesting events on
the S
& H in 1991 was the loading of
locomotive 42 (built in 1899) which is
being returned to Nova Scotia. On
November 19, 1991 three large flatbeds
and one crane truck arrived in
Hillsborough. The tender was separated
from the locomotive and all the trucks
were secured to the flatbed.
While this
going on, others were removing as
much as they could, such as headlights,
marker lights, smokestack, domes,
running boards, cow-catcher etc.
Unfortunately the
crane could not handle
the weight
of No. 42, so it was necessary
remove more parts to I ighten the
Eventually this was done, the
locomotive was loaded and all left
Hillsborough around 10 oclock on
November 20.
The S & H is looking forward to a
successful season
in 1992, and CRHA
members and others should enjoy seeing
and riding this interesting and scenic
New Brunswick railway.
S & H 8245 and train al Salem on August 20, 1991.
ABOVE AND OPPOSITE: The move of locomotive 42. November 19, 1991.
Rail Canada Decisions
By Douglas N.W. Smith
On October 7, 1991, the National Transportation Agency
(NT A) gave CP permission to abandon 37.2 miles of trackage
lying to the
east of Calgary, Alberta. This trackage consists of the
ponion of the Langdon Subdivision from Langdon (Mile 0) to
Irricana (Mile 25.7) which was placed in operation
in 1910.
The remaining 14.5 miles is the remaining portion of the
Subdivision between Langdon (mile 33.6) and Shepard
(Mile 45.1). This line, which formed part of the CP transcontinental
line between
MedicineHatand Calgary, was built by the construction
of Langdon, Shepard & Company in August 1883. It was
officially opened to traffic on
December 2, 1883. The completion
of the Gleichen Subdivision between Gleichen and Shepard in
gave CP an alternate route between these points. During the
CP downgraded the Strathmore Subdivision to branch line
On December 19,1991. the NTA authorized CP to abandon
the portion
of the Shamrock Subdivision from Tyson (Mile 70.3)
McMahon (Mile 95.2), a distance of24.9 miles. This portion of
the Shamrock Subdivision was opened to traffic in July 1924.
The Shamrock Subdivision lies approximately 25 miles
of the section of the CP transcontinental line between Moose
Jaw and Swift
Current. Reflecting the small population base along
the line, regular service
over the Shamrock Subdivision consisted
of only a twice weekly mixed train running between Moose Jaw
and Swift Current.
The federal government has exercised its authority to
overturn raiI line abandonment decisions by the NTA. An Order
in Council were passed in October 1991 by the Governor General
in Council reversing the
NTAs order requiring the abandonment
of the Taschereau Subdivision between La Sane, Quebec and
Cochrane, Ontario.
On November 21, 1991, the order to abandon
Chandler Subdivision between Sainte Adelaide and Gaspe,
Quebec was rescinded. The reason for this action was to preserve
the rail passenger service operated over these two lines by VIA
Due to the deteriorated condition
of the trackage between
La Sarre and Cochrane, VIAs once per week Senneterre-Cochrane
passenger service was suspended for several weeks last fall while
emergency repairs were made to the line.
One Hundred Years Ago
A century ago the use of electric power for railways was becoming
more and more practical. Already electricity was being sl1ccessfld
applied to street railways, and the horse car systems were facing
It appeared to be only a matter of time before main-I ine
railways also would be electrified, and the steam locomotive
go the way of the horse when this prophetic observation was
in 1891.
The enormous amount of dead weight due to the carrying of the
boiler, fuel and water in the old locomotive, will
be entirely
ry in the railways of the future, which will be propelled
electrically. Unquestionably the future electro-locomotion will
show a motor on every axle, or, at any rate, upon two axles of each
car, and every
car running as a unit, in which case they can run
coupled together in a train
or not, as may be convenient.
Saint John (N.B.) Daily Telegraph, May 8, 1891.
The prediction was, however, remarkably accurate in some respects.
The concept of multiple-unit electric cars has found much use,
especially on urban and suburban lines.
However for main-line
railways the prediction was only
half right. The motive power is
indeed electric, but the locomotive (either electric or diesel­
electric) is still very much with us and
is likely to remain so.
the steam locomotive remained in general use for
more than 60 years after this prediction was made; far longer than
the writer
of 1891 could have realized.
The Business Car
DUllcan MucLcnnan. [he eN rnginccr whu set up TOfO!110S GO
Transit COllumJ1er rail netwQrk and ovcr>aw [he laying of tmck
through Ihe Rock) MoulUains. now ha~ a new challenge. eN North
America named
tIobcLcnnan ih chief of (,.vllslrucliQn for the new
SI5511lII1i()1l undcrwnlcr mil !lIIUltl bCIII~~CIl Sarnia. Ontario nnd
Port Huron Michigan.
The tunnd. which eN hopc~ will speed up rail freight Lraffic and
cut into the freighl business handled by trucker.;, is expected 10
open in 1994. eN will be hiring tunnelling experts from around the
world 10 work under MacLennan.
Source: Montreal G I
NOIe: Sec pages 3 10 2S of Ihis issue 10 see how the present tunnel
:J.I 1his ~i!C was built].
An 87-year-old in~tilUtjon in Montrear ~ cast end is dying quietly.
Angu~ Shops. C;mlldian Pacifics locomolive and freight car
repair facililY. officially closl!d Friday January 3. bUI it will have
some workers on site for anothlr month 10 wind down oper.nions.
spokesman Tim Humphreys s,1id.

nlere will be nothing major going on. IllOSllydeanup and mOing
machinery and finishing up ~mllil conllllct~ Humphreys said in
a lelephone intervil!w. The Ja.~t full day ofoper.11ion., was Decemocr
13. The plalll has beell hul dowll Ihe past to weeks for Ihe
Chri:.lm;ls holidays.
Humphreys Il00ed.
however. Ihal a deal reached in November
bclwCCIl CP and nine union~ rcpres~nlin8 924 Angus worken,
ed fnr mo~! of lhe eml>loyees 10 conlinue working p:lst the
rid;ty shuldown. In each of fi c WtCk:s· the week of Dec:ember 16
·20 and the foor weeks Sianing January 6· a differem 20 ~rcent
of the approxim:uely 820 unioni«d employcc.< will be l:!llIed in.
57 members of the IOlal work force will be laid off by !he end
Janllary: [he txllance will havl! [he righl 10 bump inlo other
po~itio~ alth~ Cote St. Luc yard. Work .. n. hae Ihe righlto begin
.. xcrcising theIr seniorily and bump inlO other positiOlW
us of
Februflry 3.
If Ihere is 110 work Ihcre, Angus employccs will
l:onlinue tu be paid untillheir retirement. They can also lrun~fer 10
CP R:lilS heavy repair shop~ in Winni~g and Calgary.
side~ Il()W are TlCgolialing for additional options to offer the
rkers who will Ix displaced,
Source: M
ontreal Gazelle. l BACK COliER:
l3y Charles Lynch.
II look five holiday IripS 10 the Ollawa r.lilway Slalion 10 realize
hal as happening -lhe lrain. :lre bac-k. People kepI arriving by
in and needed to be pickell up. lind ~oplc kepI wanting 10 leave
by train and had
10 be taken 10 lhe station. The VCI) word ~t:uion
needed F-ellillg used 10 again: lilll<: was when il had only one
meanmg in evcry cit} and to\ n, and that was for the place the tr.lins
came in and departed. The word is b.1ck in Ihe vocabulary now.
with a
v~ngeaIlCC. (were tnlking Canad here, nol the rest of the
world, where trains
Ikver fadeu).
I h3d come to al>l>ociate IJdvcl with Ihe busilt thai goes \ilh
rICer ul>Cr-friendly at the best of limes and a nigh[nt:lre
allhe WOrsl. surp;lssed only by bus tenninals. YellICrc was a lineup
40 Ill.~icabs ;It the Ottawa slalion, and ;umouncemenlS about
lrains arriving and leaving. in a voice Ihal could be undcn;tood.
ere were ~opk lining up 10 board amid good-nalured b.1nrer.
many ~illing on their luggage, Arrilling ~sscngcrs came in
smiling from Ihe plalfomls pushing their SlUff in elms counesy or
the Jlumagcmcnl. Pcopit: do ]lot smite at airpons and bus tenninals.
On two vis
itS 10 Ihe SIal ion lhe re:.laurant \as closed and VIA was
idmg r~ coffee ar)(l cooki~ 10 all com!,. When was Ihe lasl
ime Ihe public got unyliling free <11 airlxms!
(,;ompared 10 Ihe tr class lrain travel (with use of the VII lounge at the Slat ion, and fret
meals and booze aboard) b cheaper than economy lr.Jvcl aloft. The
lUm air fare from Onawa to Toroolo. 50 minutes each way. is
somelhing like $450 if you counlt:lxi$ at each end. The train rare
is It is a ~ign oftlIC limes Ihal VIA is pUlling 011 more lrains I here the
traffic is
thlcke~t -belween MontTClil, OUawa and Toronto. The.~
are the ~ame 1T;lins Ihey touk away when tr.lffie wn~ thin and must
seel11ed re~igned 10 lhe clOSing down of Ihe passenger !llll
husincss altogether. I have 3lways )aid thai if the tmm were a IlCW
invention II would be hailed as the mar …. eI oflhe tll11e. and here we
arc reinvtllling il.
and getting –All Ahoard.
JU$I a bil of good news amid lhe prevlliling gloom.
Sourel!: Montreal GaJ;etle, January 4. 1992.
British SeCrctary of St:ue for Tran~pl)l1atjon, lvlakolm Rifkind,
will announce plans nC.ll11onth for
Ihe gllCnml~nt~ privali.(alion
of Britih Rail. the Ob~cJcr r~\ <[1a~r reponed 011 lACcmbcr 29,
TIle ~ell-off 1 expected 10 fClCh up 10 the l([uh alent of ~ billion.
Source: Montreal GMelte, 1AC(lnbcr 3t1, I~)I.
011 Nmnlllwr 9. 190.~, Jolm Bo.wl pllfllOflraphCt/ 111( GT Tram III ~/(Illdil1_~ (1/ Ih,> Smw SlalulI/. n,t (;T deeltd 10 01(/(1/( tJrr deC/ric JlllilS
ill IJ{llrs. Till spefljin(l{iolls for e(/{ II IIflil Inre 11-follows:
l1I8tlt 0(1 all 23 fut 6 ill(fIls, I/(;glll frOIll mil 10 lOp of roof 13 feet Widlll of nth Olel all 9/eel 8 ;Ileiles.
T 0/(11 wei:.:ht o//()(ommivC fully rflJlippnl 675 lOllS. LtlI<.:11I of rigill!heel bau If) feel .. O;l/meler o/llrilill,/( wheels f)2/11lhes.
Ulllik( s/cam locomOlh· mllier/,(llv Ihe prfscrthed spl(1 limils_
Nmi01J(l1 t
chheJ of C(IIliula. hmo No, PA·60727.
Canadian Rail
120, rue St-Pierre, St. Constant, Quebec Canada J5A 2G9
Postmaster: it undelivered within
10 days relUrn to sender, postage guaranteed
…… _–,_ … –
……. -…. –
lHermail Post.ltllrt

Demande en ligne