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Canadian Rail 435 1993

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Canadian Rail 435 1993

Canadian Rail
No. 435 JULY -AUGUST 1993
1943 – –

, ~ ~ ..
. ~ –
EDITOR: Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas NW. Smith
For your membership In the CRHA. which includes a
subscription to Canadian Rail, write to:
ASSOCIATE EDITOR (Motive Power): Hugues W. Bonin
DISTRIBUTION; Gerard Frechette
CRHA, 120 Rue 51-Pierre. 51. Constant, Que. J5A 2G9
CARTOGRAPHER: WiUiam A. Germaniuk Rates: In Canada: $30 (1IlCIIJdmQ GST).
LAYOUT: Fred F. Angus outside Canada: $27.50 in U.S. funds.
Printing: Procel Printing
RAILWAy ………………………………………………….. DOUGLAS N.w. SMITH ……….. 125
,. …………………………………………………………. DOUGLAS N.W. SMITH ……….. 128
…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 144
……………………………………. . …………………………………………… 146
…………………………………………. 147
Canadian Ran is continuaJty in need 01 news. stones. hislO1icaI data. photos. maps and 04her material. Please send all contributions to the
editor: Fred F. Angus. 3021 Trafalgar Ave. Montreal. P.O. H3Y lH3. No payment can be made lor contributions. but the oontriboter will
be given cledit for material sUbmitled. Material will be returned to the contributor if requested, Remembel Knowledge is of little value unless
is shared with others.
PRESIDENT: Waller J. Bedbrook Frederick F. Angus William Le $urt William Thomson
VICE PRES.: Charles De Jean
Alan C. Blackburn
Robert V.V. NichollS Lawrence M. Unwin
James Bouchard
VICE PRES.: David W. Johnson
Gerard Frechette
Ernest Ottewell Richard Viberg
TREASURER: Robert Carlson M
ervyn T. Green A
ndrew W. Panko A. Stephen Walbridge
SECRETARY: Bernard MMin J. Christopher Ky1e Douglas N,W. Smith Michael Westren
The CRHA has a number of local divisions across the country. Many hOld regular meetings
issue newslettel$. Further iIlformation may be obtained by writiog to the division.
CClI1ral Swrioll ;/1 Mall/real (IS il Gp·
pmral ;n the spring of 1943 shortly bl.
fore il IlU completed and opel/ell fur
st:fvice. Neitlrlflile ~Cal/adillll NaliOlla/
sigll nor the clocks are in place. nrc 1·lew
as tokenfrom Ell/VIIS defXlrlmenr 5lOre.
NOlice IIII. electric locolIIQlile hauling
the old wooden C(lrs rowan/s II/(f 1:11-
Irtmce of tile Mall/II Royal tUllllei.
Qll/lUlinll NatiO/U/f phuto No. 41490·1.
P.O Box 1182
s.InI John N.S. E2l 4G7
P,O. eo. 22. SUocIonB
MQn1ree1 P.O. HJ113J5
SmId(. F_. Ont. K7A!)AS
PO 800:171
~ Ont. K7LSV6
po. 800: 5&~. TIllItVIO A
T OItltIIo. Crt. MSW 1 P3
po eo. 593
51 CIoI~, Cl!>1 L2R 6W8
60·1100 ~A …. NE
CAIOW/.– T2A ~
P.O. eo. 8102. SI9Iion C.
e-. __ T~2NO
PO Boo 39
CrvtIrooII. B.C. V I C 4H9
NeIooI.II.C. Vll2V8
Priro:e ~. B.C V2N ZS6
PACFlC P.O. Box 100II. ~ A
V….,….,… B.C. we 211
l1.a e.Imota.I Fk..:I
–.ec vaT lSI
As part of lis aclivitles. the CRHA operales
thB Canadian Railway Museum at Delson I
51. Constant. Que. which is about 14 miles
(23 Km.) from downtown Montreal. It is
open from late May 10 early Oclober (daily
Labour Day). Members. and theil im·
The Wreck of CPR Train No.9
A Century Old Mystery
By Fred F. Angus
The recent announcements that Canadian Pacific has applied
to abandon its lines east
of Sherbrooke have caused railway
historians to recall the varied historical events concerning these
One of most mysterious, and least remembered, stories is the
apparent sabotage
of overnight train No.9, running from Montreal
to Saint John, in the depths
of northern Maine. To the best of our
knowledge this crime,
if indeed it was a crime, was never solved,
and the case remains a mystery after
almost a century. The account
of this wreck contains all the ingredients of a first-class melodrama;
the wreck
of the train, the self-sacrificing heroism of the engineer,
the gruesome details
of the tragedy, the hairbreadth escapes, the
quickly improvised emergency measures,
even a marathon run to
report the wreck to the outside world.
Above all, it teHs how a
of widely differing people, suddenly thrown into a traumatic
situation, can
cope with the events. Finally it contains that prime
ingredient, the unsolved mystery. Despite all this, the story is
almost unknown today. This
is that tragic story.
Canadian Pacific Railway train No.9, popularly but
unofficially known as the Montreal Express, was running about
20 minutes late, heading eastward through Sapling
Township in
northern Maine in the early hours
of Monday, July 2, 1894. It had
left Montreal at 8:00 the previous evening and was scheduled to
at Saint John N.B. at 1:20 in the afternoon and Halifax at
II :00 that night. As usual, the train consisted of a CPR ten-wheel
locomotive, a mail-express car, a baggage car, a second class
coach, a first class coach and, finally, a
CPR sleeping car. On this
run the locomotive was No. 567, a class
SR 4-6-0, which had been
built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (Builders number
J 2173)
and delivered to the
CPR in September 1891. All seemed in order
as the train neared the West Outlet
of Moosehead Lake, 12 miles
of Greenville Maine. Fred Leavitt of Megantic was the
engineer while Angus McDonald was fireman. In addition, Alfred
C. Foss of Sherbrooke, station agent at Greenville, and Charles
Grant, station agent at Jackman, were riding in the locomotive cab.
In the mail-express car mail agent
Walter Starkey of Saint John and
mail clerk John L. Miller had worked until Megantic and had then
gone to bed, Miller in the lower belth and Starkey in the upper.
Further back
in the train, most of the passengers were sleeping,
both in the coaches and sleeping car.
One of the first class
passengers was R.B. Van Horne, son
of William C. Van Horne the
of the CPR. Despite worrying news of increasing labour
unrest on the U.S. railways, no
one on board train No.9 had any
idea that this was going to be any different than a routine trip
the Short Line.
After leaving Jackman, the track runs along the shore of
Long Pond and Little Brasua Lake, before turning inland near
Tarratine (then called Askwith) and climbing slightly
over a ridge.
There are some curves on this section until the track straightens out
2000 feet before reaching the deck plate girder bridge over
the West Outlet of Moosehead Lake at a place later called
Somerset (or, sometimes, Somerset Junction),
but which, in 1894, had no name.
The western approach to the steel bridge was by
of a wooden trestle 244 feet long and of a height varying
from 10 to 25 feet
over the ground which was covered by rocks and
tree stumps.
The final curve before the straight track is an easy
curve to the right, thus the bridge would first become visible on the
engineers side, when only about 2000 feet away down a slight
Beyond the bridge the track is straight for more than two
miles, before another curve, and relatively straight track followed
by the bridge over the East Outlet of Moosehead Lake just before
the station
at Moosehead. No stops were scheduled between
Jackman and Moosehead, and the thirty miles were scheduled to
be covered in 57 minutes, an average speed
of 31.5 miles an hOUL
Although it was only 5: 15 A.M., there was already considerable
light. In the eastern
end of the time zone, and only eleven days after
the longest day in the year, the sun rose early; by the Standard
then in effect, sunrise was before 4:00 A.M. The morning was
somewhat overcast, but visibility was good.
someone in the locomoti ve cab, probably engineer
Leavitt but no
one knows for sure, saw something on the track
ahead, just at the beginning of the wooden trestle. Even at the
average scheduled speed, the train would reach the trestle in 43
however on the downgrade, and considering the possibility
that the engineer was trying
to make up time, the train was likely
exceeding the average speed. It is also quite possible that the
engineer was momentarily distracted
by something, perhaps one
of the riders in the cab, and did not see the obstruction until some
of those vital seconds had passed. In any case, there was little time
to think and not enough time to stop, although engineer Leavitt
applied the air brakes and reversed the engine, sticking to his
in the true heroic tradition of railway engineers. Fireman McDonald,
done all he could, joined the birds, either jumping or
falling from the locomotive and suffering a fractured skull and
other serious injuries.
The other three in the cab had no time to
Seconds later, No. 567 hit the obstruction, derailed, and ran
along the decking
of the trestle for at least 100 feet before running
off the bridge on the right-hand side and plunging 25 feet into a
landing almost upside down. The forward momentum
carried the locomotive forward another 85 feet bringing down four
spans of the trestle. Behind the engine, the train piled up into the
The first three cars were shattered and wrecked along side of
and partly under the fallen trestle. The first class coach was
derailed and the front end dropped over the bank, however it was
not heavily damaged.
The sleeping car was only partially derailed
and was
almost completely intact; its passengers were uninjured
except for being shaken up. In less time than it takes to read this
it was over. the locomotive and tluee cars were wrecked, four
were dead and four more critically injured (one fatally). In
addition, many more had lesser injuries and all were badly shaken
and in a state
of shock. No one was sure just what had happened,
and the speculation and theories continued to make headline
for weeks.
A few details of contemporary conditions might be of
interest. By July 1894 the Short Line through Maine had been in
operation for more than five years. The idea of a railway through
northern Maine to connect the
seaport of Saint John with Montreal
and points west had been advocated for many years and, following
of the CPR main line to Vancouver, the company
proceeded with its eastern extension.
The last spike on the ShOlt
Line was driven
in December 1888, and through passenger
service began on June 2, 1889 as the first through train left
Montreals Windsor station bound for Saint John and Halifax.
line was a success, and patronage had increased during the next
five years in spite
of the hard economic times that had begun in
1893. It is impOltant to note that, in 1894, the line was still new,
all structures between the western border
of Maine and Mattawamkeag
were scarcely five years old.
This included the trestle at the West
of Moosehead Lake.
Despite the modern day tendency to be nostalgic about the
Good Old Days, there was not a great deal to be overjoyed about
in that month
of July in the year of 1894. It was a time of
depression, violence, murder and assassination. The previous year
there was a major financial panic throughout NOlth
caused originally by the co
llapse of silver-speculation bubble, and
by 1894 the effect was being felt as a full scale depression, one
the worst of the nineteenth century. Thousands were unemployed
and those who
stil.l had jobs had their wages reduced. Everywhere
prices were falling and, while this may sound good today, it
is of
little use if one does not have the money to buy goods, or even food.
The trouble was not confined to America; it was scarcely a week
since an anarchist had assassinated the President
of France. In the
Far East tensions were !ising between China and Japan which
would result
in a full scale war before the month was over. All over
the world it was an unsettled time.
The railways were not immune
from the trouble.
In June a strike began at the Pullman works near
Chicago and this soon spread to railways handling Pullman cars.
By July many U.S. railways were
shut down and acts of vandausm
were taking place. Before the month was over there had been
rioting and many deaths as strikers and soldiers clashed. This
railway strike did not spread to Canada, and there was no proof that
there was any connection between a
ll this unrest and the events of
July 2 near Moosehead. Even though the wreck occlllTed in the
United States, it was on a
line owned and operated by a Canadian
railway. Still, one speculates that there may have been a connection
in view of the strong evidence of sabotage. If so, there was an irony
since the only car undamaged was the sleeper, and that was
operated by the CPR and not by Pullman.
RIGHT: The timetable showing the schedule of the CPR trains
between Montreal and Saint John in
J 894. No.9 was scheduled to
arrive at Moosehead at 5:04 A.M.,
and would have crossed the ill
fated trestle
al about 4:55 A.M. if on lime. It was, therefore. about
twenty minutes late when it was wrecked at
5: 15 A.M.
A map of about 1894 showing the Short Line
between Montreal and Saint John. The wreck occurred between
the points shown as Askwith and Moosehead at the approach oflhe
bridge over the river shown as flowing oul
of Moose/lead Lake
towards the Kennebec River.
Read Down
MIxed MIxed Sbrbk Wesn ~
~ .Exp.
Read Up
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………………… 12.29 379 ……. Tomah. ……. ! 9.37 ……………….. .
…… : ………… :.! 2.37 376 …….. :Poren ……… J. 9.30 ……………….. ..
…………. : , ……. 12.46 370 …….. ..E&ton.. ……. ~9.23 ……………….. ..
……. , …………. 12.68 U6 ……. Danforth …… 1 9.14 ……………….. ..
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,fra ::::::: ::::::: ::::::: m :::::.:i::~~:.::::: ::::::: ::::::: :~:::: f tH
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rif ::::::: ::::::: ::::::: ~ :::::$,E::: ~:::::: ::::::: ::::::: fttmO
.:46 … …. ……. 8.1M 219 …… .Jaol<.man....... ~.07 ............... 10.42
• 01 ………………… ~ ……… Bol.b…….. ……. ……. .. ……. 9.67
,10 ………….. 9.17 196 ….. Lowelitown ….. 8.20 … :.. ……. 9.20
• 716G ………………… 191 …… Boundary…… ……. … … ……. 8.10
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8 4Ii ………….. …… 161 …….. .M.llan ………… ,. • ……. ……. 7.~
S ………….. 11.06. 161 ………… 123 ……. ….. 7.01
9~2 ……………….. 137 …….. ,lIury… …… . …… ……. ……. ,.17.
10OS ………….. 12.03G 128 …… Cook.hlr ……. tI2.260 ………. :… &.62
11015 ::::::: ::::::: ::::::: 123 …… ~hton……. ……. ……. ……. &.IB
1g:~ ………………… m ::::::JOhn~~:::::: ::::::: ::::::: ::::::: 1 n~
t11:000 :.::::: ::::::: l:: 110 A; .. LennOxvill·L~ lU: ::::::: ……. t U~G
t1.200 1.150 1.04 108 Lv Sherbrooke Iu 11 .. 26 8.20G 12.10 ….. ..
1.50 1.29 ……. 100 …. .Rook For •• to…. …… 8.85 11.464 ….. ..
……. 2.50 1.~ 1.38 89 …….. ~IJ …….. 10.52 7. 11.10 ….. ..
……. .~O, 8.15 11.m 18 ……. Ea.tIn ……….. flO.IIG 7.11 9.40 ….. ..
~….!:….!!o 8.224 ……. 76 …. Bouth Stukol…. ……. 7.98: 9.1f4 ….. ;.
~:.:..:..:.:… 1.~:-:-:-:-:-:-:~ .. ;.,Waterlooli6 ………… t 7.40~:-:::-:-:-:
……. &.05: 8.3!lO 2.15t 70 …….• PD …… •. 141
1.6 8.60. ~
……. 542 f 8.te 61 …….. Pul1ord …………. f 1 .. 41 ………… ..
……. 622 8.61 SI … west Sherrord…. ……. 6.Ja . 1.« …… .
……. 50 9.06 64 ….. Adam.vlll. ….. ……. .22 1.14 …… .
……. D· , 9.16 2.58 ~ ….. Brigham Jo …. _ 9.40 1.16 S.M …… .
……. ..L.l!l:: 9.30 3.06 44 …… .Farnham Q….. 9.39 5.156 t 6.260 ….. ..
……. 10.02 3.30 80 ……. St. John ……. : 9.03 5.22 ………… ..
………….. 11.02 .11 6 ….. MontrealJo ….. .12 .22 …………. .
……. ……. tll.160 t 4.30G 0 M .. Montreal … Lv.1800: t 4.10: … : …….. ..
__ ___ Windsor st.n
::::.:: ::::::: :.~:~! ::~~::~ ::::.p~::r~:r~.1~6.:::: ~:::I~~~:~ ~ :::::::
………………… 7.45 ……… Toronto 19.1 .. ·• 8.45 ……………….. ..
……. .. ………. 111.26tl ………. Lond4D 90 …… t 4.00 ………………. ..
…….. [ ………….. 2.46& Detroit jE.Tlme 12.800 ……………….. J ..
::.:::: :.:.::: :.::::: !IU:, :::: :: .. :.Chlca~~~~ !I~:m ::::::: ::::::: :::::::
I ;S;;Dlt·auo~.DoiJy. ,,,,.pt Bunday. * DaUi, except Satnid4y. 1 DolI.1 •• [,:c,op Monday.
d W88Jern E~pr988 leaftlll RaUfu d&UY,Ucept 8ond.&y, j Bt. JobD d .. UY, ucept Sattar-
:i: B=r.,·~~~~.l~!~~:~::toSt. John unlU Su
.ughl. Throqh
a.t.I!.r~ Expr~ ¥td>lzoool ~oop< /!al1ml&jI, ;d uri ... S~ John 0I1d
Hout…l~: • _ Can~-~ ~ … —L Tuoqh ~
Walter Starkie (1846 -J 894) of Saint John, the mail clerk who was
killed in the wreck
of CPR No.9. Originally from ireland, he had
resided in Saint John
for many years, and left a widow and four
to mourn his death.
Saint John Telegraph, July
3, 1894.
of the wreck first reached the outside world as one
of the passengers ran five miles to Moosehead station. Despite the
ofthe area a connection was soon made to the telegraph
line and Conductor Dales sent a message
to Superintendent H.P.
Timmerman in Saint John. Within hours the news spread, at first
only the basic facts, but later more details came in. Originally
was thought that it was the westbound train that had been wrecked,
and people
in Saint John wOlTied about friends and relatives they
just seen off. As more facts emerged, the Saint John Globe
produced an extra edition on Monday afternoon with the black
FIVE MEN DEAD. Dreadful Accident on the
c.P.R.. As more and more details were reported, the papers
printed extra editions giving the latest particulars
of the disaster.
Gradually the facts became clearer, and they were grim indeed.
Engineer Leavitt was pinned down
by a heavy bar which had
crushed his head and killed him instantly. Alfred
C. Foss (riding
in the locomotive) was also killed instantly by suffering internal
injuries. Charles Grant (also riding in the locomotive) was badly
scalded to the extent that he later died. Fireman McDonald was
badly injured although he eventually recovered. Walter Starkie
was killed.
G.c. Hoyt, a passenger from Fort Fairfield Me.,
suffered a ghastly wound to the stomach and was found dead
beneath the wreckage
of the second-class car. The death of Starkie
was particularly gruesome
as a large sliver of wood had struck him
under the chin and had been driven completely through to the top
of his head. As his co-worker John Miller stated Poor Starkie and
I worked
to Megantic and then laid down to sleep. Starkie was in
the upper bunk and
J in the lower. Suddenly I was awakened by a
terrific crash and found
myself lying on the mail bags on the floor with something heavy across myfoot. I crawled
to the door and the
first man
J saw was Conductor Dales. I then went back and called
Starkie and placed my hand on him.
He gave one gasp and died. His
head was terribly bruised and I think something shall) passed
through histhroat. Myfoot was badly hurt. Miller had miraculously
by being thrown on top of the wreckage.
c. P. R.
The Atlantic E~pre·ss
Goes Through a
Over Moosehead Lake-··Baggage,
Postal and Second Class
Cars Piled on Top
or Each Otli6r .. ~FIY8 Persons Lose
Tbeir LIYes In the Wreck.
Walter Stark16, M~ Clerk or This
City, One of thG Victims.
The Killed and Wounded-Sleopers
Found Piled QIJ. the Track
Ncar the BI1.dgo-The
Tho Work 0(<< . Human Flond-A:Tole­
IIThPIl. Ro~1I Intill;vlow WltJl
the Paaaonjren. on the
Wrecked ;ltaIo.
The headlines in the Daily Telegraph of July 3, 1894. This
was known in newspaper terminology as a seven-decker
and was only usedfor major events. It would be the equivalent
to a page-wide headline today. Note the continuous flow of
text between parag raphs; typical of the layout in those days.
CPR First-Class coach No. 426 was one offour built in 1890 for the Montreal -Saint John service on the Short Line. One of these cars
was likely
in the train which was wrecked on July 2, 1894.
Canadian Pacific photo. Courtesy of Leach Collection.
The first inspection of the wreckage did not reveal the
reason for the disaster. However one fact came to light early in the
The brakes on the locomotive and what was left of
the cars were hard down, and, in addition the engine had been
reversed. This was positive proof that the engineer had seen
something on the tracks and had applied brakes and reversed the
engine. This important evidence went far to refute those who said
that there was no obstJUction and the trestle had simply collapsed
beneath the weight
of the train. It, with other evidence soon to be
discovered, would play an important
P31t in the formal inquiries
which were held in the days ahead. Meanwhile, however, the prime
concern was to get help for the survivors, and
to protect westbound
train No.
In 1894, the schedules were somewhat different than they
had been when the line opened
in 1889, and also different from
what they were in later years. Between about 1891 and 1895 the
westbound train, No. 10, was scheduled to leave Saint John at
40 P.M. and pass No.9 near Onawa about 6:00 A.M. During this
four year period, therefore, if both trains were on time, the
eastbound train would reach the point at which the wreck occulTed
two and a half hours before the westbound. Before 1891 and after
1895, in fact right up to the present time, the westbound train left
Saint John earlier and met the eastbound considerably fatther west
of its 1891-1895 meeting place. For many years there were two
ssenger trains in each direction, thus two meets each night;
however in 1894, as in 1993, there was only one passenger train in
each direction. At the moment when No. 9 was wrecked, No. 10 was
preparing to leave Brownville Junction, on time. The first news
that the crew
of No. 10 had that anything was wrong was when they
reached Greenville about 6:50 A.
M. and were told that a telegraph
message had been received that No
.9 had been wrecked an hour
and a half before. Immediately emergency measures were taken.
The passengers were disembarked from the front part
of the train,
the rear cars were shunted into a siding, and the train crews
proceded, with the engine and first three cars, to the scene
of the
wreck. They arrived at the scene about 9:30 A.M
., walked over the
trestle to the broken section and climbed down to where the engine
and cars had fallen. The passengers
of No 9 were working like
beavers and they welcomed the arrival
of the reinforcements with
delight. Although more than four hours had passed there was still
a great deal to do
in rescuing the injured and looking after them
until they could be evacuated.
While this was taking place, a wrecking train was run west
from Brownville Junction to the wreck scene and began work. The
first ptiority was to bring out the survivors, and this was done
using the equipment from No. 10. Many
of the first class passengers
rested overnight at McAdam before proceeding to Saint John.
Soon the survivors were being besieged by questions from newspaper
reporters, who quickly got these stories into print. M
r. William
of New Glasgow N.S. said he was dozing in the second­
class car when the shock was felt. Quicker than a flash he was
thrown over the seats and
jammed under the debris. He managed
to crawl out, with only a scratch on the back
of his head, but did not
know how he escaped death. Hoyt, of Fort Fairfield, was sitting
of him. The rear of the baggage car plunged into the second­
class and Hoyt was buried under the ruin
s. His stomach was torn
open, and when Mr. Gorman saw him he was already dead.
Much more detailed was the story told by a Mrs. Barbeau
of Montreal who was tracked down by a Globe repOlter at the
home of her mother in Saint John. She was somewhat tired
although none the worse for her thrilling experience.
Her story was
a major part
of an account which is so vivid that we reprint it in full:
At 5:15 a clock Monday morning she was sound asleep in
her berth
in the sleeping car. A severe jolting, bumping sensation
was felt, and many
of the passengers were doubled up in their
berths. All knew at once that an accident had occurred, but as their
car did not upset or fall they did not imagine how terrible
it had
been. The conductor at once
came in and told them to keep their
seats, that there was no further danger. When they went out a few
minutes later they saw how terrible had been the disaster and how
narrow had been the escape
of the passengers in the parlor [sic]
car. About fifty feet of the centre of the trestle was down and
through this had fallen the engine, postal, baggage, and second­
class and first-class cars, and all were badly smashed and broken.
The parlor car itself was partly over the end
of the trestle, and had
only been savedfromfalling to the bottom by
thefact that the first­
class car stood almost on end, with the sleeper resting against
The engine, which had broken loose from the cars, was fully two
hundred feet from the remainder
of the train and lay bottom up
almost buried
in the mud. The wheels were off and it presented a
completely demolished appearance. The postal, baggage and
second-class cars were all telescoped and complete wrecks.
of the second-class car there was hardly a thing left. The
first-class car was partly telescoped, and was in but little better
condition than the others.
The sleeper was the only car of the whole
train that appeared worth lIying
to save. The foreward trucks were
broken and the end against the first-class car was somewhat
in, but not badly, the vestibule arrangement having saved
itfrom total destruction. The bridge was as bad a wreck as the cars.
Great timbers had been broken
off like pipe stems and the immense
heavy rails were bent almost double. At once Conductor Dales and
Mr. Rutherford started for Moosehead and word was also sent to
Greenville and in a remarkably short time help was at hand. Mr.
Rutherford is an athlete and he ran back over the track the five
miles to Moosehead without letting
up. When he reached the
station he could only pant out The train
is wrecked; send a
doctor, when he fell fainting on the platform. While help was
coming the male passengers did
their best to get out the killed and
The female passengers remained in the sleeper and
assisted in dressing the wounds
of those that needed help. Some of
the sights were terrible. Men were brought in with their heads
crushed, their limbs torn
off and their bodies so scalded that their
off wherever it was touched. Some of the workersfainted
at the sights but speedily recovered and returned again to help in
the work. The medical men and others who ai.,.ived improvised a
hospital under the trees and did all
in their power to make the
injured comfortable.
As soon as possible the passengers were
taken back
to Moosehead Inn, where they were fed at the expense
of the Canadian Pacific. When the time to transfer came the
trainmen had got out all the baggage and
it was found that very
of it had been injured. There was a good deal of excitement
for a time over the belief that an unknown passenger, a lady, was
under the wreck and strenuous effor
ts were made to find her. After
a time
it was discovered that all the passengers were safe. When
the transfer was completed the bodies of Messrs. Starkie and Hoyt
were put on board. Theformer was brought
to this city [Saint John]
and the latter sent to Fort Fairfield. The bodies of Engineer Leavitt
and Station Agent Foss were sent to Megantic.
The story told by another passenger, Mr. Leslie, was
substantially the same
as that given by Mrs. Barbeau. Both said
that the CPR officials did all
in their power to make the passengers
comfortable. Both spoke in praise
of the work done by Mr.
McDonald, private secretary
of Mr. Van Horne.
Almost as soon as the news
of the wreck reached the
outside world speculation began as to what had been the cause. At
first there were many theories but, as more information became
available, two major possibilities emerged. Some people thought
that the trestle was rotten and had collapsed under the weight
of the
train, while others thought that the train had been deliberately
The newspapers were quick to adopt positions on this
question. A good example
of this is afforded by three Saint John
papers, the Globe, the Telegraph and the Sun. In its issue
July 3, 1894 the Globe ran a large headline reading TRAIN
WRECKING! in large type followed by It is Alleged that
Obstructions were Placed on the Track. In contrast to this the

Sun at first tried to convince its readers that the accident was
by the bridge timbers being defective, although they later
modified this stance to a
lets wait and see what the evidence
shows approach. Tills provoked
an editorial duel among the
various papers which calTied on for several days. On July 4 the
Sun said, in Palt There is perhaps too much tendency on the part
of the public to reduce the number of accidents and increase the
of crimes. If fire occurs concerning the origin of which
is no clue, it is too frequently put down as the work of an
incendiary. This explanation
is usually not needed, as only slight
is needed to account for the burning. The incendiary
and train wrecking theories are simple and easy
to form. They
screen from blame officers and employees who
cannot well afford
to be accused of negligence. But the public generally has no reason
for accepting the theory
of deliberate murder in preference to a
of want of care and lack of judgement on the part of the
of a railway. In the case of the Moosehead accident it is not
to accept the hypothesis of train wrecking. It is not much
more agreeable
to believe that the Canadian Pacific company,
is known to be carefitl and thorough, should have run its
trains over a dangerous bridge. The safest way is to wait for the
evidence. Meanwhile
it may be observed that sometimes works
give way even on so well managed a road as the Canadian Pacific,
and that there are now in Dorchester penitentiary no less than nine
men accused
of obstructing trains or cars.
The Telegraph, in its issue of July 6, ran a lengthy
editoriaJ entitled
Some salient points
of this editorial are as follows: Our esteemed
contemporary, The Sun, has been at great pains
to show that the
fatal railway accident at Moosehead Lake was not caused
by some miscreant who placed an obstruction on the track, but was
due to the neglect
of the officials of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
who permitted the trestles on their line
to become so rotten that one
of them fell under the weight of the train. …… It appears to us
In 1894, sleeping car service on the Short Line was provided by four cars which had been built by Barney & Smithfor the CPR in 1890.
is a view of the beautiful, ornate interior of one of these
cars. Since the sleeper was relatively undamaged, it was used as an emergency first-aid
area in the critical few hours after the wreck. These
beautiful surroundings witnessed some heart-rending scenes at that time. As a point
of interest, one of these cars, the SHERBROOKE, has
and, as the business car BRITISH COLUMBIA, is preserved in Vancouver. However, none of the 1890 interior remains.
Canadian Pacific photo. Courtesy of Leach Collection.
that The
Sun, in its great zeal to injure the Canadian Pacific
and avenge the wrongs of Mr. James Berry, because Mr.
Timmerman did not receive him on his bended knees, has rather
overshot the mark and shown its animus a little too clearly. . …..
The C.P.R. officials, however careless they might be of the lives
of the public, wmtld hardly approve of any carelessness that would
place their own
in danger. It can be no harm to mention, in this
connexion [sic], that Sir William C. Van Horne, president of the
C.P.R. railway, has a r
esidence at St. Andrews which can only be
reached by passing over the trestle where the accident occurred,
that he traverses this particular piece
of railway more frequently
than any other portion
of the line of the C.P.R., and that his own
and only son was
on board the train to which the accident occurred. The reader can judge from these facts how
far Sir
C. Van Horne would be likely to sanction or permit any
of that particular piece of road which would be liable to put
his own life and that
of his family in danger.
It is also
velY proper to mention in this connection that the
of the C.P.R. who were more immediately charged with
the duty of seeing that the road was safe were the persons who
would be most likely to suffer
if its dangerous condition led to an
accident. As a molter
of fact, two of the men who were instantly
killed by
the recent accident were in the service of the railway
company, and the only two
of the injured whose wounds are likely
to provefatal were servants of the railway company. EvelY motive
of self-interest and self-protection mus/therefore have operated in
CROSS SECTION OF TRESTLE Daily Telegraph, July 6, 1894.
the minds of the men connected with the railway to keep it in perfect
for this line was not a section of a poor branch road which
could hardly afford
to keep its tracks in repair, but a part of the
great Canadian Pacific on the main line
of the great highway
which extends from ocean
to ocean, the property of a corporation
which has abundant means
to keep its roadbed and bridges in the
most peifect condition. Moreover, the officials
of the C.P.R. were
well aware that an accident due to a weak or imperfect bridge
would be far more costly
to their company than any repairs,
however extensive, which might be necessary
to make the road
safe, and therefore there
is every reason to believe that this trestle,
like eve
I} other part of the road, was kept in proper condition for
the passage
of trains in safety.
The Sun
is very anxious to show that this trestle was so
rotten that it fell at once beneath the weight
of the engine, indeed
the theory
is put forward that the trestle fell before the train
it, and that the action of the engineer in reversing his
engine was due
to him having noticed that the trestle had fallen.
The absurdity of such a theory as the latter hardly requires any
demonstration, and the suggestion that the trestle was so rotten
it collapsed beneath the weight of the engine, is almost equally
The particular trestle in question was only erected
about five years
ago, and we know that good timber does not rot
in five years in this climate when freely exposed to the air. The
trestle on the Intercolonial Railway near Drurys Cove, which was
only recently replaced
by an embankment, stood for 35 years
before the government, which the Sun supports so strenuously,
thought proper
to replace it. If the Drury Cove trestle, 35 years
after it was built, was still fit
to cany trains, why should the
Moosehead trestle, which was only five years old, have become so
rotten as to
be dangerous to human life? The probabilities are all
in favour of this trestle being in practically as sound condition as
it was when it was built and passed the inspection of the government
engineer. Moreover, not more than a fortnight before the accident,
it had been inspected by the state officials of Maine, and no defect
had been found in it.
In another part of the same issue, the Telegraph
printed a
drawing of a cross section of the trestle,
together with a description which
is most informative as
to the type
of trestle work then used by the CPR: It is a
very strong structure, a type
of thousands upon this
continent which carry trains
in safety every day and
which have stood the test of experience. It was built
of Georgia pine and, as it was only five years old,
the idea
of it being weakened at all by decay is absurd. Mr.
Timmerman said that the material of the old trestle had
been used in making the repairs, and where they were cut
into with a saw they were hard and sound and strong. It
will be observed from the drawing that
it rests upon a sill
of 30 feet in length, that the posts are four in
number, and are made
of heavy timber, that these posts
are braced by powerful timbers passing diagonally
in the
of an X, and that the stringers that connect the
several parts
of the trestle are six in number and are very
strong. The width
of the platform upon which the rails rest
is 14 feet, and outside the rail there is a guard on each
side. The trestles are
15 feet apart from centre to centre,
so that it will be seen
in point of strength they were fully
to the workfor which they were intended, and that
the theory
of a collapse due to weakness is utterly unfounded.
On July 10, Division 440 of the Brotherhood of Locomotive
Engineers, situated at Henderson Maine, wrote a letter to
Superintendent H.P. Timmerman. In it they stated that they were
of the fmn belief that the wreck was not caused by any weakness
of the bridge. It was stated that any defect would have been
reported at once by train crews, and no such report was made. They
also said
The idea of our dead brother pulling a heavy passenger
train loaded with human lives on
to a bridge he considered unsafe,
at the regular rate
of speed, is preposterous. It is absolutely false.
While all this speculation and verbal wrangling was going
on, the CPR had been busy. During the day on July 2, General
Superintendent Timmerman and Divisional Superintendent Vanzile
had alTived on the scene, and soon a large crew
of men was busy
clearing the wreckage and rebuilding the trestle. On July 3 there
was heavy rain much
of the day, which greatly hindered the work.
Neveltheless progress was made and by July 5 the repairs were
completed and trains were passing as freely
as they had been before
the accident occurred. Meanwhile, on July 3, an investigation led
the company to believe that there had been sabotage. Accordingly,
on the same day, the CPR offered a reward
of$4000 for information
leading to the anest and conviction
of the inhuman perpetrators.
It should
be noted that this was a huge sum, equal to more than
$100,000 today.
Since the wreck had occlllTed
in Maine, a full investigation
was launched by the Railroad Commissioners
of the State of
Maine. The investigation was held on July II and 12, 1894, and
certain basic facts were recorded. Although fireman McDonald
was improving, and would eventually recover, he was unable
help much with the testimony. In the shock and confusion, he could
not even remember whether he had jumped or fallen. He had been
standing on the apron between locomotive and tender, due to the
of room in the cab, and had been found unconcious on the
ground about forty feet ahead from where he had presumably left
the locomotive.
The others in the cab, who might have been able
to clarify the situation, were, unfortunately, all dead. With respect
to the bridge, the evidence was much clearer.
The timber trestle,
from the embankment to the stone pier
of the girder bridge, was
244 feet, consisting
of sixteen spans, each of about fifteen feet. The
height of the trestle ranged from 10 to 2S feet, and the bents that
were thrown down were from ten to seventeen feet in height.
During the enquiry Mr. Boulyier, Section Foreman, testified
I examined the rail under the first-class car. I found one fish plate
there. It was down on the ground. I couldnt tell which fish plate
it was, but I know it was a fish plate.
It wasnt bent-taken off, same
as you would take it
off with an axe. I couldnt find the bolts. I
for them. The bolts were all out. 1 couldn tfind any. There
was nothing on
the opposite rail. No fish plate on it. James
Assnow, a witness who
went down under the car with Mr.
Boulyier, testifie
d: Both joints were taken apart and I couldnt see
anything broken. Boulyier and 1 wellt around and found a fish plate
right under the trac
k. There didnt appear to be anything with it at
all -I took notice
of the holes. On being questioned if any other
joints were disconnected, he said:
No sir. The rails were bent but
the fish plates were all on safe.
The Commission reported that the
evidence clearly showed that the rails
of the track, on the first span
of the trestle, had been separated by the taking off of the fish plates;
that the ends
of one or both of the rails extending on to the bridge
and had been pried up, and a new
cedar tie placed underneath the
rail so as to hold it in that position; that several other new cedar ties
were also placed on the rails as an obstruction. Near the point
where marks showed
that the locomotive left the bridge, a pOltion
of a new cedar tie was found on the bridge which bore marks of
having been cut and broken by the flange of a wheel.
On August 7, the Commissioners issued their report with
these conclusions:
I. That the accident was not caused by any inherent defect,
of repair, or structural weakness in the trestle bridge; but that
said bridge, on the day
of the accident, was of adequate strength to
CatTY all the engines and trains which were in use on that division
of the railroad.
2. That on the day prior to the date
of the accident, the
roadbed and track was in good condition and safe for the passage
of trains thereon.
3. That the rolling stock
of the train was suitable, in good
condition and in no manner defective.
4. That the cause of the accident was, that some person or
persons unknown, during the preceding rught, had withdrawn the
bolts and taken
off the fish plates used to connect the same or two
opposite joints
of the rails, that extended from the bank, about
three feet onto the bridge; that the ends
of one or both of the
connecting rails on the bridge were raised up, cal1ied to one side
and a cedar tie placed underneath same, and that other new cedar
ties were used in the same manner to complete the obstruction.
S. That no blame for the accident attaches to the railroad
corporation or any
of its officers or employees.
D.N. MOltland,
A.W. Wildes,
F. Chadbourne,
Railroad Commissioners
of Maine.
August 7, 1894.
With the release of the report, most people, even the editor
of the Saint John Sun, accepted the fact that it was indeed
sabotage that caused the wreck. Yet the big question remained;
who did it and what was the motive? Let
us consider the facts and
if they help to determine what really DID happen in the early
morning hours
of July 2, 1894. Considering all the evidence
presented, it is likely that the verdict
of the Railroad Commissioners
was correct in that there was
no negligence on the part of the
railroad and that the
wreck was caused by a wilful act on the part
of a person or persons unknown. Having determined this, however,
the Commissioners were not concerned with finding who these
or persons were. Most of the evidence, and in fact the
debate in the newspapers, was concerned with whether the wreck
was caused by sabotage
or by structural failure. For some reason,
very little discussion was concerned with who were the culprits.
Following the assumption that it was sabotage, several
factors c
ome to mind. The evidence showed that the wreck was
caused by the unbolting
of the fish plates, raiSing one or more rails,
and placing a tie underneath, as well as placing other ties
on top.
This was not something that could be done by anyone happening
It required knowledge of railway operations as well as special
tools such as a track wrench, spike puller and perhaps a track
or crowbar. The time and location appeared to have been well
thought out.
The perpetrators would have to know something of the
schedules to make sure that there were no freight trains on the line
that would reach the obstruction before
the passenger train. The
location, too could not have been better chosen; in a secluded area,
at the bottom
of a downgrade just after a curve, and at the beginning
of a wooden trestle that would almost certainly collapse if a train
derailed at that spot. Furthermore the work
must have been done
in the dark, since trains had passed by the evening before, and the
wreck occurred little more than an hour after sunrise.
heavy tools to a remote location, miles from the nearest settlement,
out major track dismantling, removing the tools and
escaping, all
in the dark with the means of transportation available
in 1894, was not the work
of a tramp, nor was it a random act
of vandalism; it was well planned by someone who had a knowledge
of railways and had access to the necessary tools. The sabateurs
likely lived
or worked in the area, since strangers would have been
noticed in this sparsely populated region. How they reached the
scene is unknown but it is reasonable to suppose that they
came in
a boat along the
West Outlet. This would avoid having to walk
along the track calrying heavy tools, and would
also make escape
easier. In short the whole affair looks like
an inside job; that is
done by
someone who worked for the railway.
If this was the case, what was the motive? Here there is no
clear evidence and we can only speculate. One definite possibility,
and the one considered by this author to be the most likely, is that
engineer Leavitt had personal enemies that were out to get him.
More than
one report said that this theory was quite widespread in
the locality, even though he was popular with most people in the
area. It was said that there had been earlier attempts to wreck trains
by engineer Leavitt, and although seemingly dismissed as
idle gossip at the time, there may have been s
ome truth in these
What seems incomprehensible at the present time is
that these reports and tumours do not seem
to have been followed
up in the subsequent investigation, nor was any reason put forward
publicaly as to why Leavitt would have
had enemies.
There are, of course, numerous other
possible motives. It could have been that
of the station agents riding the locomoti ve
was the intended victim
of some personal
grudge; it may well be that they
made a
of riding the engine to and from
duty and this practice was known, and the
attack planned accordingly. Another distinct
possibility is that someone had a grudge
against the CPR and took the opportunity to
take revenge when he knew that Van
son was on board. The affair may have had
to do with the Pullman strike, but it is more
likely that the attack was timed to coincide
with the strike
in order to divert suspicion.
What is almost certain is that it was not done
by one person; the heavy work involved
would have required at least two people
who knew the details
of what they were
doing. Perhaps the true
answer was the
proverbial None
of the Above. In any
case, despite the very large reward offered
by the CPR, there
is no record that the crime
was ever solved.
Despite the reports that it was a
complete wreck locomotive No. 567
survived. After lying for a time in its
ignominious resting place, it was hoisted
of the mud and taken to Montreal where
The wreck area as it is today. Sperry Rail Service car No. 119 is seen testing the rails on the
bridge across the East Outlet
of Moosehead Lake on July 26, 1985. This bridge, and the
surrounding terrain,
is quite similar to that over the West Outlet, less than five miles away.
The trestle work on the approach
to the bridge was long ago replaced by steel spans.
Photo by Fred Angus.
it was completely repaired. For several years thereafter it continued
to haul the passenger trains on the
same IUns it had done before the
wreck. Later it was superseded in main line service by newer,
larger locomotives and early
in the twentieth centmy was assigned
to lines
in southern Ontario. In August 1907, as pmt of a general
it was numbered 367, and was classified D2b, and in
November 1912 it was renumbered again to 7271. The 7 in front
of the number was intended to be a temporary expedient to avoid
duplication during the renumbering
of 1912, after which the
engine should have become 271. However, in this case, it remained
7271 until the end
of its career. Still assigned to southern Ontario,
but now downgraded to branch lines, it continued in service
fourteen more years. Finally, in September 1926, old 7271, nee
567, came to the end
of track, being retired and scrapped by CP
more than thirty years after its adventure in the wilds
of northern
The wreck of Train No.9 was the topic of conversation for
some time, but gradually faded away. Slowly things changed
as the
world moved into the twentieth century. In 1919, a quarter century
after the wreck, occurred a far greater accident on the Short Line,
the famous collision at Onawa, Maine. Today, old timers recalling
the history
of the line talk about the Onawa wreck, but the earlier
one near Moosehead seems to be forgotten. No one imortalized it
in a song, as was done with other, less tragic, wrecks, yet the
courage shown by engineer Leavitt in staying at his post when he
might have jumped and saved himself, was
just as great as that of
Casey Jones or other famous railroad heroes. The wreck of CPR
No.9 had the stuff of which legends are made, but the legend seems
to have disappeared.
The Short Line has been an important link between
central and eastern Canada for 104 years, but its days may be
numbered. Traffic is down, and now CP wants to abandon it.
If that
unfortunate event does come
to pass, the roadbed will likely be
by the wilderness, and the West Outlet of Moosehead
will be alone, with the water, the trees, the rocks, the birds –
-and the ghosts
of those who died at that spot in the early hours
of that day almost a century ago; July 2, 1894.
Thirty-Sixth Report of the Railroad Conunissioners of the
of Maine, with decisions and rules of the Board made during
the year 1894. Augusta, Me. 1895.
Saint John Daily Telegraph, July 3 1894.
Ibid. July 4, 1894.
Ibid. July 6, 1894.
Ibid. July 13, 1894.
Saint John Globe, July 2, 1894.
Ibid. July 3, 1894.
Ibid. July 14, 1894.
Saint John Daily Sun, July 3, 1894.
Ibid. July 4, 1894.
Ibid. July 5, 1894.
Ibid. July 6, 1894.
Montreal Gazette, July
3, 1894.
Ibid. July 5, 1894.
Working on the Railway
By Douglas N.W. Smith
Within living memory, the railways were the largest employers of labour in the Canadian economy. In 1929, five per cent of the
Canadian labour force worked in the industry. Practically everyone either had a railroader in the family
or was related to one. Railway
employment peaked at 192,000 in 1952. Mechanization, the replacement
of steam with diesel locomotives, and changes in the traffic base
have eroded the number
of railway employees. Today, the workforce is a quarter of that of employed in 1952.
of our readers have indicted they would be interested in articles dealing with the experiences of those who worked for the
railway. With this issue
of Canadian Rail, we are pleased to launch a series of articles based upon the recollections of those who worked
for the railways during their golden age before the steam locomotive was retired.
Two sources form the basis for this series. When Canadian National commissioned Colonel G.R. Stevens to write a history of the
of its system in the 1950s, part of the research work included an extensive series of interviews with retired employees. The
of many of these individuals pre-dated this century. The other source has been the Canadian National Magazine. During
the many years
of its existance, this corporate magazine published for the information of employees contained accounts of the experiences
of retirees.
The subject of this first article is Ira L. Boomer. Mr
Boomers career spanned the period 1891 to 1954.
In railway slang, a boomer is a railway man who moved
from one railway
job to another, staying for but a short time on each
or railroad. The heyday of the boomers was in the period before
the turn
of the century when these footloose men wandered over
the continent following the
SUD. During his long period of
employment, Mr Boomer lived up to his name and emulated the
earlier knights
of the road as he worked for five different railways
and served in posts from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.
Few jobs on a railroad
calTY greater responsibility than that
of the train despatcher. Quick thinking, quick acting and absolute
accuracy are his stock in trade. As a general directs his army so the
despatcher keeps
his trains on the move.
To do it he has a host of modern conveniences not the least
of which is a network
of telephones. It wasnt always so and one
man who knows it perhaps more than any other is I.L. Boomer,
of Transportation, B.C. District, who retired from
eN in 1940 after 46 years service.
Sometimes known by the telegraphic symbols
ILB or
The Chief, reminiscent of the days when he was chief despatcher,
Ira Boomer career was typical of a generation of railroad men who
existed prior
to the days of Centralized Traffic Control and radio
communciatiollS with train crews.
As a youth growing up in the Maritimes, Boomer was
fascinated by railways.
He hung around stations, and learned
telegraphy on Saturdays and after school. As a schoolboy he knew
each engine by its whistle
or the sound of its bells. In an era when cabooses were assigned to specific conductors, he knew each
caboose by number and who the conductor would be in it. Along
with others boys, he hung around the yards while train crews were
switching and learned all the signals. His father wanted him to be
a lawyer and was angry when Boomer told him he was going into
the railroad. At the age
of 15 years and 9 months he passed the test
as telegrapher.
In March 1891, at the age of 16, young Ira Boomer went to
work for the Intercolonial Railway at
Lower Stewiacke, N.S. as a
telegraph operator. At this time, the local MPs controlled the
of jobs along the government-owned ICR. To enter the
he had to secure a recommendation from the family pastor,
another from the local Member
of Parliament and, finally, swear
before a Justice
of the Peace that he would not divulge the contents
of any telegrams handled by him. He received $20.00 a month, out
of which he paid 10 cents a day for bed and 11 cents for board.
In his first year with the
ICR he even operated a yard
engine. When the crew failed
to show up and there was urgent
switching to be done, the young operator closed his telegraph key
and climbed aboard the yard goat. At
other times he assisted the
brakemen by throwing switches, cutting
off cars and riding them
into sidings.
Despatchers are sometimes
died at the name train detainers
jocularly applied to them
by their brethren in train service. ILB
determined theyd never hang that on him. When he moved to a
at the ICR headquarters in Moncton, he spent much
of his spare time in the back shops and out in the freight yard.
They used to wonder why the young fellow hung around
watching cars being sorted, distributed to team tracks, freight
sheds and indusu·ial sidings. Shop foremen
couldnt figure his
interest in a broken piston rod or a loose driving tire.
It was simple enough. He was getting his outside
training so he could be a better despatcher. He wanted to know how
to figure the time on train delays due to engine failure, know how
long it took
to perform the manifold yard operations.
Boomer was a competent despatcher for the reason he
not only knew his own work but understood the problems that went
with the
jobs of his co-workers. More than this, he made a point
of knowing by their first name the men he worked with.
Boomer remained with the ICR until 1901, advancing to
agent and
chief despatcher. When the standard rules came in,
Boomer was a train despatcher at Truro. When the conductor read
the rules to
the enginer the engineer replied Send for another
Im quitting. Well all be killed. Actually, standard
made for greater safety.
When the steel boom was on at Sydney, N.S. in 1901, the
service over the single track ICR line between Truro and Sydney
became demoralized. At the urgent request
of the Dominion Iron
and Steel Company to have the congestion cleared, Boomer was
sent to Sydney.
He opened an office at Sydney, hired two
despatchers and proceeded to clean up the jam. At twenty four
of age, he resigned to take a job as trainmaster for the Sydney
and Louisburg Railway on Cape Breton.
The S&L hauled coal
from many mines to the steel mills
in Sydney. He resigned from
job in 1903.
Between 1904 and 1908, Boomer worked as a trainmaster
for the Canadain NOithern Quebec Railway which operated from
Montreal to Riviere a PielTe, with branches from
Junction to Huberdeau, and from Joliette to Hawkesbury. He was
on a runaway train
in 1904 while making a round trip between
Arundel and
St Jerome. Returning from Arundel to St. Jerome, he
fell asleep in the caboose. Boomer awoke
to find the caboose and
two cars running loose down a 2.5 per cent grade eight miles long.
Jumping into the snow, he was knocked unconscious.
An engine
sent down the line to find the missing cars picked him up.
The two runaway box cars jumped the track at a switch.
The caboose, however, continued down the track, slowed to a stop
on a upgrade, and then ran back down the track plowing into the
two derailed boxcars.
The trains French-Canadian brakeman was
found in a snowbank muttering, Take me home, take me
. . I no more railway.
In 1905 Trainmaster Boomer was riding a 62-car freight
when it stopped at Joliette for a meal break. The conductor
and brakemen got drinking and refused to go further. Boomer had
to take charge and get the train into Montreal. Another time at
Joliette, Boomer was riding a snow plow extra. Two passenger
trains were waiting for the line to be cleared
to go to Montreal: The
fireman said, Stop the train. Im getting off. The engineer asked,
What will we do?
To keep traffic moving, Boomer took the
tluottle and the engineer was put to shovelling coal.
In 1908,
Boomer asked for a transfer to the western region.
The Canadian Northern appointed him Chief Despatcher at two trouble spots -Port Arthur and Rainy River. A boom
in prairie
settlement was producing unprecedented grain crops
in the regions
served by the Canadian Northern.
To reach markets in eastern
Canada and Europe, .a
ll the grain had to be carried over the
Canadian NOitherns single track line between Winnipeg and Port
Arthur (now Thunder Bay),
The Chief knuckled down to his work, went through the
familiar stages
of getting to know the men in train and engine
service, reduced train tonnage and started more trains moving
In those days of small cars and small power he used 40
crews east and west
of Rainy River and moved a thousand grain
cars in 24 hours regularly.
When he was chief despatcher
atRainy River, D. Coombes,
Chief of Transportation, arrived in his private car and sent for
Boomer. He asked how Boomer had been able to move 1000 cars
of grain each 24 hours over the division and how he had trains
making the run from Port Arthur to Atikokan
in only 9 hours and
IS minutes. Boomer explained that the had cut the grain tonnage
by 40 tons, making 360 tons instead of 400 per train, and issued a
time card for the eastbound direction every eight hours. He held
meetings with despatchers to
instruct them on what was required
of them and held meetings with train and engine crews and went
into the whole question
of grain movement with them. In that way
he achieved cooperation and success.
Nowadays the chief despatcher
has a car clerk, stenographer,
operator and a systematic operation behind him. At Rainy River
!LB compiled his own forms and reports, allocated power and
crews, distributed cars for local loading and transmitted his own
messages because the despatchers were too busy with train orders.
It was not unusual for a despatcher to tap out more than 175 train
orders in his 8-hour trick.
Night work was more a rule than an exception when the
harvest moved to market.
Four and five derailments at a time were
not unusual and they took place frequently, In some places there
was nothing to rerail the equipment except a lidgerwood
or cables.
A 50-ton crane was the common property
of perhaps three divisions.
ILB stuck it out night and day when necessary. His
of outside work stood him in good stead and the crews
that manned the work trains appreciated that every delay stopped
the steady movement
of trains Boomer was striving to achieve .
Promotion was inevitable. In quick succession he became
trainmaster at Port Arthur, Neepawa and Rainy River, chairman
the efficiency committee, rule examiner and instructor, inspector
of transportation, assistant superintendent. When he was 34 he
was made superintendent first at Edmonton, then Calgary and
The track on the Goose Lake Line running west from
Saskatoon to Calgary was always gumbo
as there was very little
ballast. One time a visiting railway man said to Boomer
track is going down in the mud.. Boomer replied No, mud is
coming up over the track..
When the line from Rocky Mountain House to the Brazeau
coal fields high in the
Rocky Mountains was being built, crews on
the freight trains bringing in supplies would
sometimes stop the
train to
have a game of poker and the train would be held up until
game was finished.
1915 Ira Boomer was superintendent at Calgary.
War was on. He found himself short of matelial. Rails and spikes
were ripped from passing tracks to keep the main line going.
Power was such poor shape that on one occasion a mixed train was
57 hours making 150 miles. In that time it used six different
In 1916,20 bridges between Drumheller and Calgary went
out in a cyclonic storm. ILB commandeered hand cars, push cars
motor cars to get his passengers around the trouble and in to
Its all changed today but that is what went into the
of a railwayman in the era when ILB flourished.
In 1929 he settled
back to inside work first as assistant to
General Superintendent ofTransportaLion at Winnipeg for four
years, then, when the depression abolished that
job, he was sent to
Vancouver as Superintendent of Transportation.
In Vancouver, he held weekJy two-hour classes. Each
course continued several months for stenographers, clerks, and
othe roffice staff. In his talks he explained signals (red, white,
green flags, lanterns, torpedoes, fuses) and their use.
He also
explained operating rules from start to finish. About 25 to 30
people attended these classes and the pupils were grateful for a
better understanding of the work they were doing.
Only once did he flash back to the hectic scenes of his
heydey on the Winnipeg-Port Arthur line. That was in the spring
of 1935.
Following exceptionally heavy snow from the
coast light
up the Fraser Valley practically every form of transport except
steamships stopped. Fog grounded planes, feet of wet snow kept
cars and buses off the highways. Vancouverites walked to work or
didnt get there at all.
Slide after slide blocked the railways. Telegraph and
telephone lines went down like cotton thread under the wet
accumulation of a two-day storm. The CNR gratefully accepted
proffered help of amateur radio operators to keep in touch with
the forces up the line.
Fortunately Canadian National was able to
keep the line
open to Rosedale, east
of Chilliwack. Work and relief trains were
despatched from Vancouver. For a week, the railway was the only
link with the Valley.
The situation was made to order for ILB. He bedded down
in his office on continuous duty for a week handling all train orders
movements himself. Finally the transcontinental line was
opened. Trains ran up the CN line from Vancouver to
Hope, used
CPs Kettle Valley Railway bridge to cross over the Fraser River,
ran on CP to Basque, and then back to CN rails to Kamloops where
all was clear to the east.
Passenger and freight trains
were piled up waiting to get
lLBs train sheet that night went right back to the days
of Rainy River. Traffic was heavy next day. On the third day
matters had normalized and ILB
disappeared for 24 hours to get his
first sleep in a bed in 10 days.
be retired from CN in 1940, there were letters and
telegrams from Victoria to the Maritimes.
At a gathering in the
of W.T. Moodie, General Superintendent, the employees
presented him with a well
stocked purse and sent a silver vase with
flowers to Mrs. Boomer.
That weekend they gave him a banquet
and presented him with a framed testimonial, a beautifully worded
address inscribed by
Car Inspector John Jackson.
It was a big night. Harry
Howard, Chairman of the local
of the Order of Railway Telegraphers at Kamloops, handled the
gavel. Everyone was there,
from office boys to veterans. It was
a good
send-off and ILB enjoyed it as much as anyone. His final
words were
Good luck and God Bless you.
While his time with CN was over, Boomer continued to
work for the next fou11een years. After a short time with the
Sugar Beet Company and with the Cordite Explosive
plant at Transcona where he was in
charge of transportation,
Boomer resigned and went to the Northern Alberta Railway. From
there he went to the PGE, from which he retired in July 1954 at the
of 79. At that time he was believed to be the oldest railway
employee in active service in Canada.
Boomer served as a dispatcher on the NAR during the
period when the
NAR was struggling to handle the massive
of military goods and construction equipment for the
Alaska Highway.
It must have reminded Boomer of his younger
days on the
ICR and Canadian N0l1hern. One NAR conductor later
of Boomer, He was a great dispatcher. he always knew where
everyone was on the line and where they were going. He could
keep it all in his head
Boomers son followed in his fathers footsteps. He
learned telegraphy and served
25 years with Canadian National
where he became
chief train despatcher at Edson.
I Much of the material for this article was taken from the August
1940 issue
of Canadian National Magazine. It was supplimented
by notes taken during an interview with Mr.
Boomer in Vancouver
on October I, 1954.
2 Schneider, Ena: Ribbons of Steel: The Story of the Northern
Alberta Railways. Detseligh
Enterprises Limited, Calgary, Alberta,
By Douglas N.W. Smith
For many individuals, the steam locomotive epitomizes the railway. The wail of the whistle, the chuffing of the locomotive as it
accelerated from the station, and the acrid
scent of the smoke combined to make it the machine with the most human attributes produced
by the industrial revolution.
The care and feeding of these locomotives was carried out in roundhouse complexes spaced at 125 mile intervals across the country.
At one time there were hundreds
of these facilities which ranged from single stall on small branch lines to forty or more stalls ringing the
turntable at major centres. At these points, the locomotives had their ashes removed, were turned, .Iubricated, coaled and watered. The diesel
comotive rendered them redundant.
By 1990, there remained less than
100 roundhouses across the country. Very few of the structures remained intact from the steam
Most have seen sections pulled down. A large number have been sold and are fulfilling other roles. For example, the former Canadian
Northem roundhouse at Hanna, Alberta now houses a cattle auctioning business while the former National Transcontinental roundhouse at
Cochrane, Ontario is part
of a wood mill.
In 1990 the Historic Sites and
Monuments Board of Canada designated the CP Rail John Street roundhouse in Toronto as having
national historic and architectural significance.
The Board deferred making decisions on several other cases. It chose to initiate a special
study of the remaining round 110uses in the country. The purpose of this study was to provide an inventory and a detailed assessment of these
facilities. With this factual base,
it would be able to make informed decisions as to which of the remaining roundhouses should be designated.
The preparation of this repo11 was undertaken by David Smyth, a historian with the National Historic Sites Directorate of
Environment Canada. The result of his work was a 579 page study of the remaining roundhouses in Canada. Based upon this report, the
HSMB in 1992 awarded heritage designations to the following roundhouse
s: CNR at Joffre, Quebec, CPR at Victoria, British Columbia,
Algoma Central at Sault Ste Marie, Ontario.
Canadian Rail has been given permission to reprint parts
of this report. In upcoming issues, we will be featuring the history and
plans for many
of the remaining roundhouses across the country. As our stock of views of roundhouses is very limited, we are asking our
members to send in black and white photos
of any roundhouse during either the steam or diesel eras.
To launch this new series, we have chosen to reprint a paper authored by C. Kyle, General Master Mechanic, Eastern Lines of the
The paper, which was presented to a meeting of the Canadian Railway Club, was printed in the November 1909 issue of The Railway
Maine World. His paper deals with the design and staffing of the locomotive terminals.
Locomotive Dispatching and Terminal Facilities
By C. Kyle, General Master Mechanic, Eastern Lines c.P.R.
In pre pari ng this paper I have, as far as possible, aimed to
keep clear of the technical and theoretical side, and have rather
inclined to
the practical or everyday side of the question, having
in mind an after discussion somewhat on the lines of the old time
bunk-room chats.
To my mind there is no department connected
with railway operation that so much depends upon as that charged
with the dispatching
of locomotives. The roundhouse is the most
of all the departments, for no matter what figuring and
calculating is done elsewhere
or what business may be secured, if,
from various causes, the roundhouse fails in
prompt and reliable
dispatching thus causing detentions, etc., the business will eventually
fall off.
The dispatching of locomotives embraces many features
that may not be known to those not directly connected with this
of railway operation. The successful and economical
of locomotives depends, in a large measure, on good
government, and organization which will bring about team work
of the whole staff, and only those absolutely necessary to handle
the business carried on should be considered as
members of this
team; any surplus help will only tend
to diminish interest and lead
to sloppy work. In the best organized shops a general tendency will
noticeable towards tidiness both around the premises and with the
equipment; the practice
of making temporary repairs merely to
tide a case over at these points will rarely,
if ever, be resorted to.
These particular shops appear to be able to handle the business
without the necessity for doing work in such a manner as to invite
failures; at a
ll times the idea prevails that the efficiency of the
roads depends upon
the condition of the power, which, if first­
class, will greatly aid in train operation, and all the statistics being
prepared on a basis
of tons handled seems to appeal to all
concerned; the question
of aggressi ve departmental controversies
has no place here,
but where a general betterment can be effected,
there is no hesitation,
but rather a desire to assist, both by example
practice, the other depaLtments, so that the general result on the
particular district with which the shop is identified may be a cause
for special mention; in this way the credit is shared by all.
In former days it. was enough to turn a locomotive out for
a trip with a supply
of stores, fuel, etc., that to-day will take care
of a machine of double the capacity; then the question of costs for
repairs, fuel, lubrication, etc., was not gone into as thorough
ly as
at present, and it was considered the duty
of an up-to-date shop to
turn out a fine looking machine without regard to cost. A change
in the state
of affairs has been brought about by the handling of
The Canadian Pacific Railway engine house al Farnham, Quebec in June, 1914.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. A-i228.
competitive business, making it imperative that the freight offered
at present shall be handled with such dispatch
as will ensure its
delivery as contracted for, and the demands made on the machine,
in the matter of greatly-increased tonnage hauled and in the
in time allowed for so doing should be taken into
consideration. To-day careful record is kept
of shop expenses, cost
of locomotive repairs, fuel consumed, lubrication used, etc. This,
along with the possibilities
of engine failures and detentions,
makes locomotive dispatching somewhat
of a difficult problem. It
may, therefore, not be considered out of place to look into a few
points that may
be considered as essential in modem locomotive
dispatching; among these the question
of terminal facilities that
will pemlit
of expeditious handling of locomotives, is I think, one
of the most important, and generally speaking, does not receive the
consideration it should, as with the close
of navigation the railways
are called upon to handle important business promptly
in cold and
stormy weather, and there should be no question about providing
sufficient in-conling and out-going tracks equipped with coal and sand hoppers, ash-pits with proper ash-handling devices, and
water cranes
of such capacity as will care for the business without
detention to locomotives to and from the shop.
The turn-table
should be looked upon as the key
to the situation, and should be of
such construction as will enable it to hold up against the weight of
the heaviest locomotive in service; it should be preferably power
driven. There should be one person specially appointed to take
of its inspection and oiling, and it should be his duty to know
beyond doubt, that it is always
in satisfactory condition.
The shop should be roomy, well ventilated, and heated,
and special attention given to proper drainage from both the pits
and floor, thus making it possible for the men to get about without
the inconvenience
of wet feet, etc., which affects the efficiency of
the average man. There should be provision made for a suitable
office for foreman, and an engineers registering room; there
should also be a well ventilated rest house for engine crews,
equipped with sleeping and dining room accommodation, which
will pernlit
of the men getting a warm, substantial meal.
The Canadian Pacific Railway locomotive coaling plant at Sortin Yard, Montreal Que., December, 1914.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. A-J281.
At the ptincipal shops that are responsible for the upkeep
of locomotives, there should be provided tracks of sufficient
capacity to take care
of locomotives out of service on account of
waiting repairs, traffic conditions, etc., and also wheel tracks
sufficient to take care
of new and old wheels kept in stock. There
should be both driving and truck wheel pits, and all pits should be
provided outside with jacking planks or timbers. There should be
for loading and unloading wheels, suitable 10ITY tracks
for trucking heavy materials, up-to-date boiler tester and hot water
washing out plant, with pits specially allotted and constructed for
this purpose, special care being given to bad water districts. There
should be sufficient modern machinery to take care
of the proper
maintenance of tire work, driving boxes and wedges, pistons,
valves, and motion and rod work, also a proper blacksmith and
boilermakers equipment; all obsolete tools originally used for
repairs to the smaller power should either be disposed
of or
The roundhouse staff should be looked upon as the bone
and sinew
of the concern; each one should be imbued with a feeling
of loyalty to
his foreman, and have such a sense of the chain of
responsibility, from the call boy up that he will realize it is only by
his individual efforts that the best results can be obtained. The foreman who gives thought and study to his business, and is
thorough in system, straightforward, honest, and true in his
dealings with his staff and other departments, excels; the most
careful foreman is one who, while exercising close supervision, is
of tact and diplomacy, as no matter what the conditions
or how much expense has been gone into for equipment, etc.,
if the staff is not properly managed the result will be disappointing.
The importance
of knowing costs promptly is an absolute
necessity. In successful locomotive dispatching this does not
necessarily mean elaborate statements
of figures, etc., but rather
implies a systematic method
of expending money, watching and
knowing costs on lines that are applicable
to any other business. To
quote from H.H. Vaughans presidential address at the recent
Master Mechanics convention: In short, that without in any way
reducing the interest we have
in locomotive engineering, we take
up in a far more businesscJike and serious way the financial
problems connected with the operation
of the loco. department, the
of organization that will give the best results, and the
commercial aspect
of work of the motive power official in
conducting his department as though he were manager of a large
business enterprise.
A foreman who can in a quiet way make it known to his
just what a job is worth, and if necessary be prepared to
demonstrate that he has gone into the question sufficiently to know
his statements are correct, will enjoy the confidence and
support of all.
Investigations should
be made into cases of damage and
the cause ascertained
if at all possible, so that all questions relating
thereto may be answered promptly and recommendations outlined
that will assist in reducing possible future cases to a minimum.
should be the ambition of those handling correspondence to feel
that when a file
of papers connected with such an investigation
leaves their office, the investigation
is complete as far as they are
The chargeman or leading hand should so figure on his
work that only at a time when power can be best spared should
heavy repairs be undertaken, ·at which time
it is preferable to see
that all that
is possible is done, and done in such a manner that there
shall be no necessity to hold the locomotive out
of service at the
first turn around point, to go over what had not been properly done
in the first instance. The chargehand should be in the relation of
a doctor with the locomotives as patients; he should know the
particular ailment
or tender spot of each locomotive and by
encouraging engine crews to explain defects and talkoverconditions,
in a position to decide just how long it would be wise to keep
an engine
in service without attention; this will greatly assist in the
economical handling
of repairs. He should make it apparent to his
foreman that
there need be no anxiety as to his ability to handle his
or of the question as to whether he can carry the
of work done under his supervision, by cultivating
friendly relations with both loco crews and shop staff; he will soon
find them becoming so interested that they will
of their own accord
feel like sharing the responsibilities, thereby lightening the daily
The chargehand should consult with his foreman regularly
as to his doings and how he figures to handle his work; he should
feel it is his privilege to make recommendations that will,
in his
opinion, result in
economy or a bettelment of shop conditions. He
should be prepared to give an intelligent and honest expression
opinion as to the cause of any failure, having in mind that it is his
business to know, and
if it is a case of either faulty workmanship
or material the facts should
be given without hesitation, making it
clear that he
is in all respects worthy of the position he has been
selected to fill.
The machinist, boilermaker, blacksmith, and carpenter
should be closely in touch with the chargeman or leading hand and
should lose
no opportunity of bringing to his notice conditions or
defects that may have been observed which, in their opinion, might
lead to failures.
Since from this class of men intelligence and skill
are looked for,
each one should, when given a job, use thought as
to how the work is to be performed with the best possible dispatch,
always having in mind the fact that when vacancies occur for
higher positions, selection is invariably made from among those
who have been energetic, thoughtful and loyal
in the general
performance of their duty.
The engine hostler is a very important person in the
roundhouse staff; he should be the diplomat
of the concern, and
in daily contact with the locomotives and crews, must by
meeting the men familiarize himself with the condition of their
He should know of any defects that would necessitate the
off of boiler, emptying of tank, changing of wheels, etc.,
~nd should in turn arrange to place the engine on the proper pit
allotted for the work required, and incidentally advise the chargeman
of his doings; he should know the individual peculiarity of the men,
and give serious consideration to the importance
of their getting all
the rest possible, and by his many acts
of common courtesy inspire
such a confidence
as would cause the foreman no concern regarding
detentions from waiting engineers and firemen. Should a cause
discipline be under consideration, the hostler should be of such
standing that he might be looked upon as a referee and be prepared
to give a straightforward opinion if questioned by the foreman.
The apprentice of to-day may be looked upon as the
of the future, and while it is true the different companies
have taken a greater interest
in the training of the boys, and as far
as they can have made it possible for the boy to enjoy all the
privileges necessary to qualify as a successful journeyman, it must
also be borne in mind that time has brought about change
equipment, more efficient machines, systems and methods of
handling repairs so that the responsibility for the training of the
boys from the shop standpoint has increased in proportion, and it
is the duty
of all fair-minded men to keep this before them, and so
by their example make
it apparent to the lad that his selection of
the trade is a wise one. The cultivation of studious habits and
perseverance, and generally
of manly deportment, should be
encouraged -from the start; there should be a feeling grow up
between man and boy that their interests are mutual. By exercising
kindness and patience the man will soon see the fruits
of his labour
in the training
of the boy, who will seek his advice and confide his
little difficulties and secrets to him; this will
be the time to
discourage any inclination to coarseness
or unmanly behaviour
and to impress on the boy to at all times
endeavour to keep the
of the trade uppermost in his mind, so that when the time
comes for the boy to start out for himself, he will be a mechanic
reflecting credit on the shop that turned him out.
A story occurs
to me at this moment
of a man who secured a position in an up-to­
date shop, who on sta11ing was given a piece
of work that required
accurate filing; the foreman noticed
in passing by the new man that
he was handJjng the file like the bow of a violin. On calling the
mans attention to this, and intimating that work of that kind could
not be permitted the man replied:
If I only had the file I served
my time with, I could show you how to do a good
job. The point
wish to bring out is that in the training of our boys we should
endeavour to teach them the use
of any file; or, in fact, of any tool
or machine so thoroughly as wi II ensure getting everything possible
of it.
To the enginemen belong the task
of conducting their
respective duties
in such a manner that by their individual and
collective efforts, the district with which they are identified
generally, and themselves individually, shall be prominent in
favorable mention when
compalisons are being made. The
changes that have recently been made, and those that are constantly
taking place in locomotive design, call for not a little thought and
study on the
Palt of5nginemen. The engineer of to-day should
closely watch the new devices introduced, and only be satisfied
after he has become farniliar with the workings
of the same. He
should avail himself
of every 0PP0l1unity of being present when
The Canadian Pacific Railway engine house at West Toronto, Ontario, about J 9 J 5.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. A-35J7.
any discussion or demonstration is being made pertaining to his
business, and should aim at becoming an authority on
particular feature of his business. This, along with a keen sense of
economy, the exercising of care and intelligence when reporting
repairs required, having
in mind what it costs to perform work that
might be done more economically, at a time for instance when the
boiler is being washed and the like, and the exercise
of thought and
judgment in other ways, will result
in considerable saving. The
ideal engineer will be careful to see that no entry of repairs required
is recorded over his signature that there is any doubt about; there
are always ways and means for the proper method
of locating
defects, and until such defects are known the report should be
withheld. When on the line there should be a desire to gain a
reputation for good judgment in train handling
in order that the
superintendent and train dispatcher may be justified
in making the
statement that they have men on their districts who can do, and are
doing, good work, for experience has shown that superintendents
and those in charge are liberal to a fault in sounding the praises
enginemen rendeling good service.
The economical use of fuel has always been, and I presume
always will be, a subject
of interest. There can be no qnestion as
to what can be accomplished when all concerned are fully alive to
this question, and while the engine crew can, with careful practice,
take advantage
of each and every move made by each other in
respect to this item or the most efficient working of the machine,
I would beg
leave to quote the following extract, bearing on this
subject, from the repOit
of the committee dealing with this at the Master Mechanics Convention
of June, 1909: Efficient handling
of this involves the work of both the engineer and fireman and to
our minds constitutes one
of the most, if not the most important
in fuel economy. The question of running an engine in
order to get most economic results involves the work
of both
engineer and fireman, and is so important from that point
of view,
that we shall introduce this portion
of the subject by making the
following statement:
An engine may be built of the very best
material, and
of the most approved design, mechanically perfect,
with all the modern conveniences to assist in its perfectmanipulation,
and you place that engine in the hands
of an incompetent engineman,
and you have almost nullified the combined expert mechanical
skill necessary, to tum out the finished product; we think you will
all agree it is most important that the finished machine should have
skillful operation.
While the above is true, there
is little accomplished unless
those who have to do with the handling
of orders, station work and
the like, understand that fuel consumed when delays are taking
place is wasteful, and that the responsibility rests on someone; this,
along with fuel unnecessari
ly burned at terminals when the locomotive
is in the hanos
of shop staff, tends to lessen the interest of
enginemen, since they are responsible in all such cases for
excessive fuel consumption, over which they have practically no
control. No case
of this kind should be allowed to pass unnoticed,
for when enginemen are thus assured that interest is being taken
elsewhere than in
the engine cab, it will become an incentive for
them to be on the alert and prompt
in the discharge of their
The Canadian Pacific Rciilway engine house at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, about 1915.
Canadian Pacific photo
No. A-3303.
respective duties, and thus create the desire to establish a record for
their district that will outclass all others on their system.
The fireman of to-day may be looked upon as the engineer
of the future. He should have in mind his ideal of what constitutes
a successful engineer.
He is, of course reminded by the more
extensive examinations he is called upon to write up, of the
increasing importance
of giving attention to his business, and to
what will
be expected of him as advancement takes place. By close
attention he will hear the name
of some particular person in his line
being continually mentioned by tbe engineers as one who can be
depended upon under all conditions
to do a good job; requests from
on most imp0l1ant runs will be made to foremen for this
of man. A man of this kind becomes known, his opinion is
valuable, and is sought by those in charge and also by his associates
in cases of dispute; in cases of discussion and arguments pe11aining
to subjects for advancement in his line of business his remarks are
listened to with interest, and by his example he discourages
expressions which are disloyal, and neither good for
employee nor the company. It should then be worth his while
to locate this type of fireman, get in touch with him, and gain all
good points possible, always realizing he has to handle one of
the greatest items of cost in the business of transportation. I will
again, with your permission, refer to the statement made by
R. Quayle, at the recent Master Mechanics convention, in which
he says: We will suppose the fuel is all right, the specifications
are all right, the purchasing agent is all right, and the delivery on the ground is all right. I
made this statement to 22 locomotive
firemen within the last two
weeks, that I would select 100
locomotive firemen on the
C. & N. W., and I would guarantee that
if I Ilad every other man on the railway equally as good firemen as
the 100 I could select, that I could save easily $500,000 a year
The impo11ance, therefore, of familiarizing himself with
just what can be got from one scoopful of coal properly applied is
something for serious consideration, and will eventually result
the firemans ability, rather than his seniority, being the cause for
his being selected for important runs
or promotion. In going into
the fuel question,
r find I have gone a little outside of the terminal
switch, but the importance attached
to this pa11icular item, and
what it is possible to accomplish by constantly keeping before all
concerned what this
account means to a company, is the only
excuse I have to offer.
I would also beg
leave to touch on the importance for the
of friendly co-operation between the two departments
responsible for the handling
of tenninal traffic. I feel satisfied that
a hearty co-operation
of the trainmaster and the locomotive
at the terminal with which they are together identified,
make a freight blockage next to impossible, and this
combination along with
proper equipment, efficient help, and
intelligent supervision, are, in my opinion, what may be considered
as the essential factors required forsuccessfullocomotivedispatching.
The Fiftieth Anniversary of Central Station
Compiled by Fred F. Angus
Fifty years ago, on July 14, 1943, in the midst of World War II, Canadian National Railways new Central Station in Montreal was
officially opened by the Hon. Mr. Michaud, Minister
of Transport. This completed a project which had begun fourteen years before, in 1929,
but which had been intelTupted by the
Great Depression of the 1930s.
The July, 1943 issue of the magazine Canadian Transportation ran a lengthy article on this great project. We are pleased to reprint
major portions
of this article, together with a selection of photographs depicting Central Station over the years.
Since 1929, when the Canadian National Railways scheme
of terminal development in Montreal was embarked upon, references
to it in these columns have been frequent and at times lengthy.
Many readers will recall that when the work was first undertaken,
it was pursued aggressively; materials were plentiful, business
was good, the need for the improvements contemplated was very
evident, and there was every reason to strive for completion
of the
works as rapidly
as possible. But readers will recall
also, no doubt, that at
the end of 1929 there was a great security
market crash, economic conditions
became steadily worse from
month to month, credit was conuacted to an almost unbelievable
degree, and the incentive to rapid completion
of improvement
works steadily became less.
The business of the railways shrank to
a very large extent, and both gross and net earnings were reduced
to levels far below those
of 1928 and 1929. It was little wonder,
then, that the Government and the Canadian National Railways
executives found th
emselves in agreement that the terminal
development work should be suspended.
The undertaking, therefore,
was discontinued,
and progress for the seven years preceding 1939
of very small proportions, no work being done which did not
have to be done. However, a great deal
of progress was made
before work was shut down. Much grade separation was carried out
by subway and bridge construction; the viaduct to carry elevated
tracks between the site
of the proposed new terminal station at
Lagauchetiere a
nd Dorchester Streets, and the city end of the
VictOIiaBridgeovertheSt. Lawrence River, was partiaJJy completed.
Also, a large excavation for the proposed new terminal station was
made, about one million cubic yards
of material having been
Scheme Modified in 1939:-However, when work on the
terminal improvement project was resumed in 1939, it was on a
considerably modified sca
le. The vaIious projects provided for by
the 1929 progranune have b
een proceeded with only in part, and
while the opening
of the new station marks the successful termination
of a large improvement undertaking of great value to the city and
the railway alike, it
is a fact that many of the projects included
within the 1929 programme remain to be
gone ahead with at some
future time. Readers who are not familiar
with details of the
original scheme, and with the modified scheme
of 1939 on which
the work has been proceeding, will do well to study the two
accompanying sketch maps, one
of which provides information as
to the projects embraced within the 1929 programme, and the other
of which depicts the modified scheme on which work has been
proceeding since resumption
in 1939.
The Original Scheme:-It is impossible, in the space
available, to describe in detail all the projects contemplated in the
original C.N.R. Montreal terminal improvement programme, but
sufficient information can be presented to enable the reader to
discern the difference between theoIiginal and modified undertakings.
The accompanying sketch map I refers to the original scheme. The
location of the new central passenger terminal, at the portal of the
tunnel under
Mount Royal, is indicated by the letter a, while the
elevated tra
ck structure running from the terminal to the city end
of the Victoria Bridge is indicated by the letter b. The central
passenger station was planned to accommodate 95%
of all C.N.R.
trains enteIing
or leaving Montreal, and ultimately the full 100%.
It was planned to have the station facilities almost entirely below
ground, thus leaving a large proportion of the surface area available
for long term leases for those wishing to build hotels, theaues,
or office buildings. A feature of the original plan was the
of a double tube vehicular subway under McGill
College Avenue, extending from south
of Cathcart Street to a short
distance north
of St. Catherine Street.
The elevated track stJl.lcture extending from the south end
of the proposed new passenger tenninal to Victoria Bridge was
necessary to permit passenger trains running over Victoria Bridge
to reach the proposed new terminal. This part of the undertaking
has been caJTied
out as origi nally proposed. The viaduct portion of
the elevated track structure has been constJl.lcted of reinforced
concrete, with steel spans over the numerous streets crossed, and
this construction was large
ly completed before the suspension of
work. The provision of this elevated structure removes from the
ground level route heretofore used a large percentage
of the C.N.R.
passenger traffic entering and leaving Montreal.
At the time the
original plans were drawn up,
it was recognized that the removal
of passenger traffic from the Bonaventure Station area would
permit the development
of tlus area for freight purposes, and allow
for great improvements to the freight service at Bonaventure.
Another feature
of the original scheme, shown by letter g
on sketch map 1, was a line proposed to be built from Pointe Claire
to Val Royal, to bring passenger trains from the west into the
proposed new terminal via the tunnel route. This portion
of the
is not being proceeded with, and passenger trains from
Toronto and other
western points, which have been using the old
Bonaventure Station, will
leave the main line at SI. Hemy and,
running via Point St. Charles, will enter the new central terminal
over the elevated track structure.
sl LAIlf([NC[ RIVeR
Sketch Map 1. The various sections of the CNR Montreal Terminal Development scheme as originally planned in 1929.
Another improvement contemplated by the original scheme
was the building
of a line, about ten miles long, running from
Longue Pointe to Eastern Junction, this being indicated by the
f on sketch map 1. However the construction of this line is
not included in the modified scheme. Yet another undertaking,
originally contemplated but not
gone ahead with, would have been
the construction
of an engine house and other terminal facilities
Mount Royal for the accommodation of locomotives and cars,
now taken care
of at Turcot, which would have been diverted to the
new central passenger terminal by the tunnel under Mount Royal
and the connection between Val Royal
and Point Claire.
The original scheme also contemplated a new passenger
at Point St. Charles; this has been constructed as part of the
modified plan. However a new interchange freight yard at Point St.
Charles, to be a
joint undertaking with the Canadian Pacific
Railway and the Harbour Commission, was not proceeded with.
The final proposal was to provide sufficient office space at the new
terminal to permit the concentration there
of the C.N.R. clerical
staff which at the time was housed in
17 different buildings in
Montreal. While this plan has been modified, the new passenger
terminal does provide a large
amount of office space.
The Modified Scheme:-To the end of 1938, the total
on the entire project was $16,651,345.62, and a
Parliamentary return, dealing with proposed activity in 1939, said:
Work looking to the completion of the terminal on a modified plan has been undertaken.
The work which is contemplated in the
calendar year 1939 consists of the construction of certain sub-track
space at the station site, portions of the viaduct, elevated railway
and grade separations between the station area at Dorchester Street
and Victoria Bridge, and works in Point St. Charles.
For this
purpose, an amount of $2,320,000 has been included in the
Canadian National Railways budget for 1939. The intention, it
was said, was to provide for the completion
of the central passenger
terminal by stages. Generally, the essential features
of the original
plans for the terminal were retained, and the station
which has
would do credit to any railway. The name Bonaventure,
associated since 1847 with the railway terminal in Montreal, is to
be transferred to the new station, and, after the use
of the old station
is terminated, at a future date,
it will be known as the C.N.R.
Bonaventure Station. [Editors Note: This was never done. However,
in later years, a development known as Place
Bonaventure was
built adjacent to the station, so the historic old
name has been
The new terminal is a six-level layout; above the track
level are those
of the concourse floor and the two office floors,
Ie below the track level is that of the express, baggage and mail
facilities, and, below that again, the level at which the various
services are arranged, for the distribution
of power, heat and water,
and for drainage.
Soon after the announcement was made of the modified
scheme, activities were proceeded with, and early in 1939 tenders
were asked for the construction
of a subway to CatTY the C.N.R.
separation and, later in the year, on the
excavation for the
station site. Then,
with economic depression steadi Iy making
more evident throughout the world,
work on the
whole project was suspended
in 1931, and very little was done during
the following seven years.
Sketch Map 2. General layout of CNRMontreal Terminal scheme as modified in 1939.
Altogether apart from the
completion of the splendid new passenger
which the C.N.R. management
will throw open to public use in July, a
great deal
of terminal work of outstanding
value has been completed.
This despite
the fact that the work was scarcely under
way when
Canada and the entire world
were plunged
into one of the greatest
periods of financial stringency and
economic deterioration ever recorded.
Fifteen level crossings have been
abolished, several new streets have been
created, and the
way has been paved for
the development
of at least two wide
arterial thoroughfares
by the completion
of the central terminal.
over Bridge Street; also for the construction of the Ottawa
Street subway, and a retaining wall between Ottawa Street and
Smith Street, both
works being located in the elevated track
structure between the new station and Victoria Bridge.
works were gone ahead with, and numerous other contracts were
awarded, principally in
connection with the new central terminal,
covering such items as grading, the building of bridges, the
of approaches and, of course, of the terminal building
Grade Separation:-It might be well to point out here that
the whole scheme
of terminal development in Montreal is primarily
of separation of railway and street grades. Plans for such grade
separation in the city
date back a great many years; even as far back
as 1886 elimination of level crossings in Montreal had been
discussed with the
Grand Trunk Railway Company management,
by the Montreal Board of Trade, and there is reason to believe that
Canadian Northern Railway, when it entered Montreal, had in
view an eventual coordination of its terminal facilities with those
of the Grand Trunk. The tunnel which the Canadian N0l1hern
bored through the mountain reaches the city at a level which is
different by only inches from that
of Victoria Bridge. If this was
a coincidence, it was a
happy one because, years later, it became
a factor in the selection of the tunnel terminal site as the logical
of the new central passenger station.
It was not until 1922, when amalgamation brought the
Canadian National
Railways into being, that the problem of grade
separation in Montreal could be studied as a single subject
correlated with the possibilities of integrating the various lines and
of the company in the city. Studies were begun almost
immediately and continued
over the years. In June, 1929, Parliament
passed an act authorizing the construction, and providing the
Work was stal1ed immediately on several pieces of grade All rail entrances to the new
passenger station are free of
street level crossings from Victoria Bridge and Point SI. Charles,
covering rail traffic from south, east and west, and nOl1h from
Mount Royal. Carrying the railway across Notre Dame Street in SI.
Henry Ward has been a great time-saver because, with the tremendous
increase in wartime freight traffic necessitating
numerous train
movements at this point, a crossing at grade would mean many
delays to vehicular and pedestrian traffic during business hours. In
similar manner, subways at Charlevoix and Hibernia Streets, in
what is generally termed the Point SI. Charles district, and the
enlargement of the subway at D Argenson Street, approaching
busy Verdun, have further improved the speed and mobility
traffic in areas essential to Montreals industrial development.
Other impOltant grade crossings, which have been in effect
enough to be accepted as normal to Montreal traffic, are the
overhead bridges carrying Mountain and
Guy Street traffic across
the tracks leading to old Bonaventure Station.
These blidges, built
by the C.N.R., are taken as quite matter
of fact, as the traffic
volume now flows easily from the higher uptown level to the
business and industlial levels below. Prior to the building
of the
bridges, crossing the railway tracks at street
level was slow
because of the numerous train movements in and out of the station.
S Note: These blidges were demolished in the late 1980s
after the track from St. Henry to the old Bonaventure site was
The New Central Station:-While, as indicated in the
foregoing, the name Bonaventure will ultimately be transferred
from the
old to the new station, it is the desire of the C.N.R.
management that the latter be referred to, for the time being, as
The New C.N.R. Central Station, to avoid confusion. The
old Bonaventure station, which occupies a site used as a railway
since 1847, will be named the SI.
James Street Station;
it is remaining in use because of the
difficulty in securing, under present
conditions, sufficient electric
lo.comotives to handle all traffic into
and out
of the new station.
The new station is
of the
part-through, as opposed to the stub­
end, type; that
is to say some of the
line tracks are continuous
through the station area, with the
additional station tracks alTanged as
sidings, as compared to the stub-end
arrangement, wherein the main line
tracks terminate at the station, with
no provision for through movement.
The approach from the north
is from
the tunnel under Mount Royal, while
that from the south
is from the elevated
track structure extending from
Victoria Bridge.
The station building is of
structural steel frame, fire proofed
with concrete, with the wide span,
106 feet, over the concourse, steel
rigid frame. The exterior walls,
inches thick, are brick, with 4 inch
terra cotta lining, with exterior trim
of Montreal limestone. The large
exterior concourse windows are
bronze, while the windows of the
upper floors are
of wood, double
The Concourse:-The
concourse floors are of telTaZZO of
various colours and patterns. The
concourse walls are lined
to a height
of 9 feet with terrazzo, finished with
a plaster band at the top and covered
Dutch metal leaf. The rigid
frame piers are covered throughout
their entire 27 feet
of height with
terrazzo. All woodwork in the
concourse, including the doors, is of
slraightgrained whiteoak. The entire
The start of the excavation for Central Station as photographed in 1929. The view is taken looking
east, with Lagauchetiere Street on the right. Notice that some of the old houses on Belmont Street
(extreme left) were still standing.
Canadian National photo
No. 34075.
concourse ceiling is suspended and
finished with acoustic tile.
The concourse
of the new station has been designed so that
everything will be made as easy as possible for passengers and for
their friends who come to greet them or to see them off. As far as
is possible, all the facilities which the public uses are laid out so
that they may
be found at a glance and quickly reached. In
accordance with the modern concept
of direct expression, we find
here no proper architecture
of the museum or monumental type;
instead, on entering, the first glimpse
is of a great sweep of acoustic
tile ceiling 33 feet above the floor. Two clocks, suspended from the ceiling. take nothing away from the simplicity. The concourse is
peaked to the centre and follows the constructional form
of what
are technically known as rigid frame
s, the greatsupporting members
tying floor, wall and ceiling over the 104 foot width. The eye
follows the line
of piers to either east or west end, where huge plain
glass windows let in a flood
of daylight. Flanking these windows
are two projecting corners, supported at the outer corner on
circular columns. These corners form great
25 foot reveals to the
window, and are tied together with a 7 foot frieze under the
window. The corners and the frieze are faced with low relief
murals, adding greatly to the richness
of the room. This is the co­
ordinated work
of sculptors, artists and architects.
Constructing the platfolws. August 4, 1939. View looking south. Note the old Canadian Northern tunnel terminal on the right.
Canadian National photo
No. 42726-2.
Along the centre of the length of the floor, at 50 foot
intervals, are the parapets enclosing the stairs and escalators
leading to the train platforms. There are seven
of these stairways,
and grouped with four
of them are escalators or moving stairways.
A fifth escalator is placed on the side
of the concourse. War
conditions have delayed the installation of these escalators, and the
result is that they will not
be in operation until after the opening.
They are reversible
in operation, and can be made to move upwards
or downwards in accordance with the flow
of traffic. The general
of the vast concourse is spacious without being wasteful
of space, attractive without being ornate. The concourse is scientifically
ventilated, so that
it will be pleasantly cool in summer and
agreeably warm in winter. A modern public-address-system has
been installed in the concourse, and in all public rooms, and over
it, without shouting, announcements
of interest to the public will
be made.
Other Public Rooms:-The general waiting room, located
at the
east end of the concourse, is a wide, airy, well-lit room, which
is open to the concourse. This is one of the most practical
of the station plan, since passengers can be seated out of
the way and yet within sight of the life and movement in the
It has a low, sound-resistant ceiling which deadens
extraneous noises and permits
of con versation in a normal tone of
voice. The womens waiting and retiring rooms are stationed
nOt1h of the general waiting room. The waiting room
is panelled in oak and furnished with benches, tables and chairs, for
the convenience
of the passengers. Features of the womens
quarters are, a quiet room for women who must rest, and a
en suite with the medical department, where a trained
is in attendance. The toilets and bath rooms are attractively
in shell pink and black vitrolite.
The main restaurant has been laid out in conformity with
popular trends for rapid service; the main service
is of the low
horseshoe counter type, with four separate bays. feature
of this
counter which will appeal to the women is the provision
of a shelf
under the counter where they can place their handbags. There are
also a number of individual
tables and these, together with
the counter, provide
accommodations for about 100
people at a sitting. Immediately
of the restaurant there are
three private dining rooms, each
33 feet long
by 22 feet wide,
supplied from a service kitchen.
Entrances and Exits:-
The station is well provided
with entrances and exits. For
taxicabs and cars there is one
main entrance and one main
Taxis and private cars
carrying outgoing passengers
to the station reach the concourse
by driving down the ramp of
CathcrutStreet, almost due south
of McGill College A venue. This
three lane ramp descends to the
plaza in front
of the station.
[Editors Note:-Since other
buildings have beenconstlUcted,
this ramp
is no longer an entrance
to the station. Thesouthentrance
is now used for both aITiving
and departing passenger~.
Incoming passengers, who
intend to proceed by taxi or
The interior of Central station, looking east, as it appeared when new.
Canadian National photo No. 49674.
car, will leave the station by
the main exit in the centre of the south side of the concourse. Taxis
draw up to the station door, facing west, and, on leaving, move
west and south along the station roadway to Lagauchetiere Street.
For pedestrians, there are many other ways into and out
of the
Platform and Sub-track Levels:-The platforms are
reached by the passengers from the seven stairs in the centre
of the
concourse floor; they serve fourteen passenger train tracks. These
high platforms, flush with the level of the passenger car
vestibules, so that no climbing up
or down of passenger car steps
is necessary. In addition to the fourteen regular passenger train
tracks there are three others.
One of them is reserved for express,
mail etc., the remaining two are auxiliary tracks which can be used
for storage
of cars handling express etc., to road trucks, parking or
other purposes -special trains for example. The total
of fourteen
passenger tracks provides the largest trackage operating into any
in the city of Montreal. The comparative figures are 11 at
Windsor Street Station and
[1 at old Bonaventure. In passenger car
capacity, the comparison
is 150 cars for the new terminal as against
81 for old Bonaventure, not taking into account accommodation
for 36 cars for tUlmel suburban service and also for 33 cars on
express, mail
and auxiliary tracks.
Below the track and platform level is the sub-track level,
wilich is on the same elevation as St. Antoine Street. On this level
is situated, behind the scenes, the operating staff
of the station. From the standpoint
of train operation, it competes with the signal
tower and the dispatchers office for the title
of the heart of the
The area is a viltual maze of rooms, offices and other
facilities, only a few
of which require description here. It contains
the transformer room from which flows the current operating
trains and lighting systems. There are two entrances to the sub­
track level; one
is by roadway from St. Antoine Street, the other is
off Lagauchetiere Street just west of the old tunnel station. From
these roadways the sub-track area
is entered through doors which
operate automatically when cars pass over a magnetic control
located about thirty feet from the entrances inside and outside
the building. The baggage room, where trucks and other inward
and outward bound heavy baggage
is handled, is situated in the
nOlth west section
of the area. Off the baggage room, the offices
of the Canadian and United States customs services are located. In
addition to these large facilities, the basement also contains
of rooms and offices for the transaction of purely
interdepartmental railway business; garage facilities for from 50
to 100 express trucks; and sleeping and dining car facilities.
Heating and Lighting:-The main concourse and the sub­
track area are heated
by forced steam-heated filtered hot air
systems, while the offices and other areas are heated by direct
steam radiation. All office areas are equipped with fluorescent
lighting, providing illumination intensity
of approximately 35 foot
s. The main lobby and waiting rooms. and east and west
passageways, as well
as the stairs and escalators from the street
Page 140
Some historic views of Central Station.
ABOVE: The ceremony marking the official
opening, July
14, 1943.
Canadian National photo No. 43559.
A huge birthday cake in the concourse
marked the 25th anniversary
of Central Station,
July 196
Canadian National photo No. 68301-5.
of Central station
as seen from the Sun Life building in 1949.
The street car passing on
Dorchester Street
is No. 1959 which is now al the Canadian
Railway Museum.
Canadian National photo No. X-3I079.
An arial view of the
Central Stalion complex taken in the spring
of 1955. The Super Continental, on one ofils
earliest runs, is just departing on its long rull
10 Vancouver.
Canadian National photo No. X-40906.
Two views, taken in 1943, of the beautiful murals in the concourse of Central Station. Above is the north corner, and
is the south. Note the words of 0 Canada in both official languages. In more recent times the reliefs have been
in a monotone which makes them less visible. It is hoped that one day they will be restored to their original paint
scheme so their beauty will once again be appreciated.
Canadian National photos
43577 and 43565.
level to the concourse, and from the concourse to the train
platforms, are lighted by means
of flush mounted lens lights. The
roadways in the sub-track area are provided with non-glare, evenly
distributed light through the use
of prismatic refractor lights.
Miscellaneous areas, including the toilets, are lighted
by enclosing
opal glassware fixtures.
Provision for Overhead Buildings:-In the station area all
new construction has been so designed and executed that areas not
by streets are available for the construction of buildings
overlying railway station tracks and facilities.
In order to ensure
that no vibration from trains or from street traffic will be transmitted
into any future overhead buildings, provisions have been made so
that each
of the structures will rest directly on solid rock and will
be completely insulated and isolated from structures
railway trains and street traffic.
The concourse of the new station is located over the top of
the structure carrying railway hacks, but the columns supporting
the concourse are carried down through the track structure to solid
rock, and these columns are completely insulated from the track
structure. Similarly, the waiting rooms, lavatories and various other facilities are in a piece
of isolated structure located between
the underlying track structure and an overlying street deck.
The Concourse Murals:-Captain Charles F. Comfort,
of Toronto, now on active service overseas as an Official
War Artist, created the murals in the concourse. Bearing in mind
the mectium through which his vision was to be presented, the
setting and the necessarily large scale
of dimensions, he worked in
ample, summary forms; but while his figures are formalized and
symbolic, they are vigorous and human. They are stripped
to broad
essentials, yet detail is used where it will be most effective in the
design, to accent theme
or point up character -here a star, there a
maple leaf, somewhere else a note
of music -and some of them in
the great sweep
of the impressive panorama, having a charming
of humour, as the gopher in the shade of the gigantic grain
elevator and the slingshot rampant beside the boy and his dog in the
family group.
The artist has
not given us an historical pageant; this has
been done often enough; he shows, instead, the drama
of the
of Canadian life now. In his own words, The work is an
effort to formalize the contemporary life
of Canadians, their
industry, their recreation, their culture, their hopes and aspirations,
and to
some extent to suggest their environment. This has been
done by dividing the Dominion according to the cardinal points
the compass and presenting one at each corner of the concourse.
Friezes, not localized but embodying, in general terms, culture, on
the one hand, and social institutions, on the other, run along the east
and west walls. The points North and East are named in French,
Nord and Est, and South and West are in Englis
h. Along the base
of the design, lines from 0 Canada appear in French and English.
End of 1943 Article
Central Station has continued to serve Montreal ever since
The intention that other buildings would be built around the
station has been fulfilled, and today the exterior
of the station is
scarcely visible from the street. The construction
of the Queen
Elizabeth hotel in the late 1950s, and
of Place Ville Marie in the
early 1960s greatly changed the area and brought the original
of Canadian National to fruition. Gone was the huge hole
the north of the station, replaced by this major development.
in the mid-1960s the new Canadian National headquarters
building was opened, so making a reality
of the plan to have all the
general offices
of the railway in the Central Station area. Also in
the 1960 s, the area
of the concourse was greatly increased by the
relocating of the ticket offices and other rooms more to the sides.
With the formation
ofVlA Rail, Central station took over more and
of the intercity passenger traffic, and today all long distance
passenger train arriving at and departing from Montreal use
The name Bonaventure was not transferred to the new
station; perhaps that is
just as well, since the new name is well
suited to the new building. In any case the Bonaventure name
perpetuated in the adjacent development immediately to the south
of the station. Today the tracks are entirely covered from the tunnel
in the north to St. Antoine Street in the south, much as the original
designers had planned.
The architecture
of Central station was indeed well chosen;
it still looks fresh and modern, not at all dated, even after fifty
years. Through good times and bad, Central Station has been there
to serve the people
of Montreal and, in fact, all the people of
Canada, not to mention innumerable visitors from other countries.
Despite valious cutbacks in passenger service, the station still sees
large numbers
of passengers. Today there are plans for new high
speed trains in the Quebec City -Windsor corridor. These would
undoubtedly use Central station in the years ahead. One sincerely
hopes, that
half a century hence, our successors will still be able to
lide high speed passenger trains into and out
of Central Station as
they celebrate its centennial.
The Museums New Shop Building
After many years of waiting, the shop building at the Canadian Railway Museum at Delson / St. Constant has been built! These
photos, taken by
A.S. Walbridge, show the progress of the work during the spring of 1993. More details about this important
project will appear in a subsequent issue
of Canadian Rail, but in the meantime we would like to share with all CRHA members
these recent photos of the first major construction project at the Museum for a very long time.
ABOVE: March 6, 1993. The foundations of the new building are in place.
TOP: March 13, 1993. The day of the great Blizzard of 93! A somewhat desolate scene, but the foundations are above ground
and ready for the construction
of the walls.
13, 1993. What a difference a month makes! Spring is here and the walls are almost completed.
146, TOP: The /rant view of the completed building, ready for the tracks to be laid.
ABOVE: The most recent addition to the preserved equipment at the Canadian Railway Museum is RS18 No. 3684, a gift to the Association
from CN North America. This unit has not had any major alterations since it was built in
1957 -58 and, as such, is an important addition
to Ollr collection. This photo was taken by Walter Bedbrook on May 30, 1993, soon after the unit arrived at the Museum.
More Photos Relating to Previous Articles
ABOVE: 0 poge 53 of file Murch-April 1993 is!iltf of C(JIwdiUI1 Rail. ii, Ille (midI 011 lite Mon/real Pwk (1m/Island HIli/ltllY. we .Ill/led
Ilwf OIl/y two pur/iul vi .. !.! err knowI! /0 exisl of the Monlrea/ Tmm …. nys Companys official car. Qriginally MP~fd mr 1024. Ollr member
JacqrftS Loiselle h(u broughl OIlr allemi()11 10 this eXlremely rare holo showing (I {hue.quaner rear Iiell of the ell/ire ellr. II WfU wkell
ill 1910 (Ihe )ear ,Iwi /024 W{lS rebflilt as IIII official car) on MOUIII Royal AIelllle. The O(XlISiQlI llIS a chml Tres Saint Sucremt1I1 to La Chape/Je de la ReparllliOl/, sium/ed off the Bou/ de L/s/l lille allhe (!(/stem elUJ 0/ the Islulld of MOil/reaL Tlie
()ri.~iIJof pholo i.~ ill the archiles of the Order (/luI i.f primed will! Illeir peml;ssioll. for which ml ~_lpress grelllllpprcmi(lJI.
J~s Archill:) d($ Re/igiel/x du T,.e.~ St,ltrl Stlcrelll(~llI.
HACK COVER: On page 81 oflhe Ma),-Jlllle issue ofCmwdilm Raif. illlht anicle /)Il/h~ CPR lO·w/welcr.1. IIICIl1;OIl was made offile .f;mU,
locomolil~S bllill Jor Ih~ Algolllo Ccmrtlf. This pitUlo is oJ OI1~ oJ IhelC locomO/il·es. ACR /04. bl/ill ill /9/2. nit: pholo I(IS laken (II ScIllIT
Sle. Marie. Omorio in Jllllt. /947.

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