Consulter nos archives / Consult our archives

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

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

Canadian Rail 457 1997

Lien vers le document

Canadian Rail 457 1997

Canadian Rail
No. 457
ISSN 0008-4875
THE QUEEN CHARLOTTES REViSiTED …………………………………………………..
FRONT COVER: The shops of the Aero Camp in the Queen Charlolle Islands were well equipped. This post-war photo shows locomotive No. I
outside the shops, with another Climax, with its smokebox removed, inside. The logframework and other parts of this building were still standing
in 1971.
Maurice Chandler Collection.
For your membership
in the CRHA, which
includes a subscription to Canadian Rail,
write to:
CRHA, 120
Rue St-Pierre, St. Constant,
Membership Dues for 1997:
In Canada: $35.00 (including GST)
United States: $30.00
in U.S. funds.
Other Countries: $37.00 U.S. funds. Canadian Rail
is continually in need of news, sto­
ries historical data, photos, maps and other mate­
rial. Please send all contributions
to the editor: Fred
F. Angus, 3021 Trafalgar Ave. Montreal, P.Q. H3Y 1 H3.
No payment can be made for contributions, but the
contributer will
be given credit for material submitted.
be returned to the contributer if requested.
Remember Knowledge is of little value unless
it is
shared with others.
EDITOR: Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas
N.W. Smith
W. Bonin
DISTRIBUTION: Gerard Frechette
LAYOUT: Fred F. Angus
PRINTING: Procel Printing
An Issue Devoted to Railways in the Queen Charlotte Islands
t=h: I
: I i.l~· 1 —–1
The Queen Charlotte Islands lie off
the coast of British Columbia between 52 and
55 degrees north lattidude. They are quite re­
mote and
off the beaten track for the average
tourist. One does not tend to associate these
I .r~:…–Heca~e
,–Y-islands with railways, in contrast to Vancou-
~rr. I. ver lsi and and the B.C. mainland. However
0{ . IS .. Ianp ~ . the Queen Charlotte Islands were once the site
~-t of several interesting railways, of which the
glle~~leflii_.! S t r ai t history, and even the existance, is viltually un-
~~.ndIPIl known to most rail historians.
P ac ifi c C~ k..) We are very fortunate to have received
three very detailed histories
of railways on the
Queen Charlottes. These were researched and
written by Robert Turner, the weJl known his­
of Western Canadian railways. In addi-
r tion, we have the observations and photos by
~sla ~ Y1 Steve Walbridge made during a 1995 visit to
~~ .. -M ., II the islands, where he observed a suprising
IV;;;). number of relics of the railway era.
. .
,~ .. _ _I.Ol .. .I..n_I,.,., I Thus we present an issue of Canadian , –
~ Rail devoted to these little known lines.
Haida Gwaiis Steam Logging Railway
By Robert D. Thrner
One of Canadas westernmost steam rail­
ways operated on the Queen Charlotte Islands or,
as the
Haida people prefer, Haida Gwaii. Sihlated
100 miles west of Prince Rupert and south of the
Alaska panhandle, these beautiful, remote islands
were the site
of only one steam powered railway
used in logging
although there were several min­
ing tramways and a logging operation that used
wooden poles as rails to operate specially built trac­
tors for
hauling logs.
There were many logging camps along
the British Columbia coast but few were as iso­
lated as the
one on the north shore of Cumshewa
Inlet on Morseby Island, one of the two major is­
lands in the
Queen Charlottes group. Even the clos­
est rail connection, the Canadian Nationals line to
Prince Rupert was across the stormy, exposed wa­
of Hecate Strait. This camp was opened in the
mid-1930s by A.P. Allison who was an experienced
coastal logger and who had previously operated a
logging railway
at Green Point Rapids. The story
of the camp and the logging railway at Cumshewa
Inlet illustrates both typical operations in a coastal
logging camp and some additional features that
The magnificent stands of Sitka spruce brought loggers to the Queen Charlottes during
both world wars because
of it value in aircraft construction. It was light in weight,
strong and resisted splintering. -BC Archives
& Records Service, D-04659
were a result of its remote location, the nature of the timber being
cut, the climate and topography in the area as well as the special
market conditions that made the construction of the railway camp
economically feasible. An additional interesting aspect of this camp
is that many relics survive and of the eight locomotives used on the
one is preserved and the boiler from a second is used on
another preserved locomotive.
The islands ofHaida Gwaii are different in character from
central and southern coasts of British Columbia. Douglas-fir,
major commercial species on eastern Vancouver Island and ad­
jacent areas of the mainland is not found on the Queen Charlottes.
The forests are dominated by western hemlock, western red-cedar
and Sitka spruce. In unlogged stands, the mature rain forest trees
can range from four or five to ten feet in diameter and from 150 to
250 feet or more in height. Some large trees exceed even these
gigantic sizes. The Haida used the forests as a source of many
plant products and in particular used the cedar for building con­
canoes and for many other items essential to their daily
Although the forests
of the Islands have been logged com­
mercially since the early 1900s and for local use in earlier times,
distance from major milling areas and markets restricted large
scale use of the timber. During the First World War, a sudden need
for aircraft-grade spruce that was abundant in parts of the
The light weight spruce was used in aircraft construction
because of its strength and resistance to splintering. Large opera­
tions, using modern steam machinery, but not railways, were estab­
lished hurriedly to supply the spruce. A photo in The Timberman
of May 1918 showed a scow loaded with 10 Willamette and Wash­
ington donkey engines being shipped to the Massett Timber Com­
pany for spruce production. Some of the first cornmerciallogging
along Cumshewa Inlet, the location of the logging railway that is
subject of this article and an area once the site of several major
Haida villages, took place during the First World War. At that time,
horses were used to drag the logs to beach where they were as­
sembled into rafts. However, this burst of activity was short-lived.
With the
end of the First World War, the spruce market all but
disappeared and most of the logging operations closed down and
the loggers moved on. The remote logging camps simply could not
compete with more accessible sites along the coast. After several
years the Kelley Logging Company logged high-grade timber along
the shores of Cumshewa using A-frames to yard the logs to the
shore or log chutes to run the timber down to the inlet, where it was
assembled into rafts. The logs were towed to Ocean Falls and other
coastal mills.2
commercial logging developed and expanded.
By the late 1920s logging operations on the Charlottes had grown
with the timber being sent to mills at Powell River and in the
Vancouver area. The Depression of the 1930s hit coastal logging
operators very hard but production continued in many camps and,
as the 1930s
drew to a close, there was, once again, an increase in

Moresby Island
Haida Gwaii
Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C.
Moresby Camp
I –

demand for top quality aircraft spruce particularly in England. It
was not until the 1930s that an operation, large enough to support a
railway, was established on Moresby Island.
The 20 years of rail­
way logging operations that followed, and the subsequent history
of some of the equipment, is the basis of this article.
A.P. Allison arrived on the Queen Charlottes
in 1926 and
worked as a log buyer and then established his own Jogging opera­
tions and bought a mill at Queen Charlotte City.3 In 1933, the A.
Allison Logging Company moved its operations from the Queen
Charlotte City area on Graham Island to the north shore of
Cumshewa Inlet and in the next few years developed the only log­
ging railway on the Islands. The camp was known as Allison Camp
and later was renamed Aero Camp. Allison had about two square
miles ofti.mber and cutting arrangements for adjacent timber owned
by the Powe.11 River Company to which much of the timber was
shipped on contract. The timber consisted
of about 40 percent
40 percent hemlock and 20 percent cedar and Allison esti­
mated that the timber would last 12 years. The clear, excellent
spruce, used
in aircraft production, was a key to making the opera­
tion economical and helped overcome the high costs oftransporta­
In 1936, Allison began construction
of a standard-gauge
logging railroad, over a switch-backing right-of-way from the beach
camp into the Spruce forests towards Skidegate Lake, 5.5 miles
inland. The company purchased two Climax locomotives from
Pacific Mills at Ocean Falls. Previously, the locomotives had oper­
ated at Kimsquit, north
of Prince Rupert. They arrived at the camp
in June 1936 and
it is likely that some of the other railway and
logging equipment also came from this source
32 MARS -AVRIL 1997
Br1l~h Columbia
Cumshewa Inlet
Building the railway presented unusual difficulties. Al­
though much
of Moresby Island is rugged and mountainous, the
area being logged included large swampy areas
in most of the low­
lands through which the railway was built. The extremely high
of the area contributed significantly to this problem. The
trouble with these islands is theres nothing to give a foundation,
Allison told the
West Coast Lumberman. We have had to snake in
around mountains and
in many spots the grade of the … track is 6
percent. And often the ground
on which the railroad is built is little
more than swamp. The article noted that
in several sections it was
necessary to sink 25-foot piles to establish a base for the roadbed.
of the road had to be graded across long stretches of muskeg,
in several places bridges several hundred feet long had to be
built over the umesisting ground.5
In 1937, Allision had about 150 men at work and living
in the camp
which was under the management of his son W. J.
Allison. The mild, wet climate of the Islands permitted logging to
proceed for most
of the year. Closures due to dry weather and the
of forest fires were very rare but snow could sometimes
shut down the camp for several weeks at a time. For example,
December, 1946, 50 inches of snow brought work in the woods to
a complete halt.
The company used two coal-fired, 45-lon Climax geared
locomotives, a Marion steam shovel, several ballast cars, a small
pile driver, and several dozen skeleton log cars operating on
miles of track
The steam shovel was necessary because of the
swampy nature
ofthe ground and Allison commented, a bulldozer
wouldnt be so effective in muskeg. The shovel was used in road­
building and could cover about 150 yards a day
in good conditions.
ger service on a mining railway and later as a logging
cmmmy, this was pretty elaborate accommodation.
The motor car had the advantage of being
double-ended and did not need to be turned at either end
of its mn. The operator of the car, recalled Stan Unsworth
who worked
at Allison Camp in the late 1930s, shut down
the engine, walked to
the other end of the car and fired-up
the other engine
and started out again. On a heavy grade,
both Budas
could be operated. Allison also used a more
crew car, a wood-bodied car built either on a
flatcar or converted from a boxcar.
It was fitted with board
seats for
carrying the logging crews from the camp to tbe
cutting and yarding sites in the woods.s
Allison found a power shovel very usefitl in building the railway in swampy ar­
eas. This photo
is behind the shop building at camp and shows the Marion shovel
being loaded onto a heavy flatcar.
The wooden ballast car at right was one of
three used on the operation. -Stan Unsworth photo, Author s Collection
In the early operations, only the best timber was
shipped because
of the distance from markets, high costs
and logging practices
of the times. Often three logs made
up a typical
car load. Logging spurs were built immedi­
ately inland from the
camp and eventually on the north
of Ski de gate Lake. The railway crossed the lake over
a low pile trestle that was filled in 1951.
The lake, about
six miles long
and one half mile wide and situated in a
Later, the company acquired a NOIthwest
diesel shovel and eventually a second die­
sel shovel and retired the Marion. For log­
ging equipment the company used two
Lidgelwood skidders operating high-lead
ding systems and three cold deck ma­
chines-a Willamette, a Washington and
an Empire. All were steam-powered and
l-fired, although sometimes wood was
The coal was shipped in from the
on Vancouver Island. Normally, a
car of coal was spotted behind or near the
donkey engine to act as a tender. It was
unusual to operate coal-burning logging
quipment and locomotives on the B.C.
Coast, but the heavy rain fall minimized
the forest fire hazards. With this equipment,
Logging produced about 30 car­
of logs a day but planned to increase
production to about 40 carloads.
The Green Hornet, an Edwards Motorcar used to take the loggers from the camp to the
woods. It is neatly lettered for the Allision Logging Company and is nwnbered possibly 75 or
79, the last digit being indistinct. -Bill Robinson collection
An interesting addition to the roster was a gasoline-engined
motor car,
called by the loggers the Green Hornet. Remembered
by old timers as resembling an interurban with a gas engine at each
end, it
was actually an Edwards gas motor car, Model 20 or 25,
built in 1924. This machine is believed to have been
from the Morrissey, Fernie & Michel Railway at Fernie, in B.C.s
Crowsnest Pass. It was the second Edwards
car built for the MF&M
in 1924.7 The first, which was supplied with a trailer and was pow­
ered by a single 75-hp motor, was tested but found uns
on the
grades between Fernie and the mines. A second car, larger
with two Buda, 60-hp engines was more successful. One en­
was mounted on each truck. Intended to make six or more
trips a day to the mines, it featured an interior finished
in birch and
stained mahogany. Seats were upholstered in leather. For pas
sen-deep depression, formed a focus for
some of the logging opera­
tions. There, loading facilities were eventua
lly constructed so that
timber could
be cut along the lake shore and moved easily to the
rail line for transpOli to tidewate
r. In addition,Allision built a small
sawmill on the south side
of the lake to cut ties and other materials
for the railway and the
Daily operations began at the camp with crews being taken
to the woods by the Green Hornet or in a crew car. Usually
several crews would be working in the woods at
anyone time. Fallers
would work in one area while
bucking and yarding crews would
work in another. At the loading sites, logs were brought into the
landings using the
steam donkey engines and were loaded onto
empty skeleton cars that
had been brought up from the camp and
spotted next to the loading machines. Depending on how
Allison s Climax No. I during the early years 0/ the logging rail­
way at Cumshewa Inlet. The track
is unballasted and light rail was
used. -Stan Unsworth photo, Authors collection
timber was being cut, one or two train crews could be kept busy
throughout the day taking empties to the woods and returning with
loads to the dump in a seemingly endless cycle. Train crews would
push the loaded cars out onto the dump trestle where the logs were
unloaded. At times, new spurs would be under construction and
trains would be used to handle rail, ties and ballast.
At tbe end of
the day, the loggers would be taken back to camp. The last train of
the day would take empties out for the loading crews to fill first
thing the next morning and then return to camp with loads to be
dumped that night
or the next morning.
The remote location
of the camp made it necessary for
the operation to be largely self-sufficient. Tills was a price
of being
so far removed from mainland population centres and also from the
other settlements on the islands. Allisons camp included bunk­
houses, a cookhouse, office quarters, a large machine shop and en­
gine house. Nearby was the steamer dock.
The lifelines of the
camp, as they were to so many other camps along the B.C. Coast,
were the coastal steamships. These vessels provided a remarkably
reliable service to the remote camps. They carried mail, food sup­
plies, travelling salesmen, doctors, dentists, visiting relatives, tour­
ists and
of course, the loggers, fishermen, cannery workers and the
people from the coastal communities. People in the camps could
order supplies, parts, materials and day-to-day needs by mail and
could have them delivered on the next sailing from Vancouver
Prince Rupert in a week or two.
The Queen Charlottes were served in earlier years
by Ca­
nadian Pacific steamers but Canadian National vessels operated the
subsidized service in the 1930s and early 40s.
The small steamers
Prince John and Prince Charles were used on the service to the
Charlottes and were regular visitors to Allison Camp.
Prince John
sailed from Prince Rupert to the Charlottes and also made sailings
from Vancouver. The
Prince Charles operated on a run from
Vancouver to the Queen Charlottes and Prince Rupert on a once
every two week basis. On June
8, 1940 the two vessels were bought
by the Union Steamship Company which took over the Queen Char-
34 MARS -AVRIL 1997
lottes service. The steamers were renamed Cassiar 1l and Camosun
and remained in Union service until 1949 and 1945 respectively.
Union maintained the Queen Charlottes run throughout the Second
World War and the 1950s. The
Coquitlam was the major vessel
serving Aero Camp and other Queen Charlotte settlements after the
war and normally maintained a weekly schedule.
Shipping the logs to the mainland was hazardous and ex­
pensive. Flat booms
of logs, which were used extensively in shel­
tered waters along the south coast
of the mainland and along the
east coast
of Vancouver Island, would have broken up in bad weather
in the unprotected waters
of Hecate Strait. Instead, the logs were
assembled into huge bundles
of logs called Davis or Kelley rafts
for the long tow to the mills at Powell River, Ocean Falls and
Vancouver. In
favourable weather, the 500-mile tow from
Cumshewa Inlet to Powell River took from
10 days to two weeks,
the ponderous rafts being slow and difficult to maneuver. Some­
times the tow could take as long as six weeks. Towing was usually
done in the summer months when the weather was better; in winter
Hecate Strait could become extremely rough. Mishaps did occur
and the rafts occasionally broke up in the straits, resulting in the
of thousands of feet of timber. Allison lost one raft in early
1937 and not a single log was retrieved. Sometimes log barges,
A pile-driver was usefitl in extending the trackwork through the
marshy areas being logged. This view
is probably along the shore
0/ Skidegate Lake. -Stan Unsworth photo, Author s collection
converted from old sailing vessels, were used to carry the valuable
timber. During the winter
of 1935-36, for example, the Powell
River Companys tug
St. Faith towed the barge Pacific Gatherer
with 1,250,000 feet of spruce from Allison Camp to Sitka Spruce
Mills on False Creek in Vancouver.
That trip took just eight days. II
The log dump at Cumshewa Inlet was built on a tr·estle
running out into deep water. Nearby, in the sheltered waters
of the
inlet, the logs were stored and assembled into the Davis Rafts be­
fore being towed to the mills. For work around the inlet and for
moving logs locally, the company owned the small tug
Gypsy. The
company also used a steam crane on the
wharf and for general
duties around the camp and shops.
With the begilU1ing of the Sec­
ond World War in 1939, the Queen Char­
lotte loggers found themselves in a fortu­
nate position. Once again, aircraft-grade
spruce became a key strategic material. Just
as it had over two decades before, the de­
mand for aircraft spruce skyrocketed and
the islands were the principal supplier. The
light weight spruce proved to be
an ideal
material for use in the famous
fighter-bomber as well as other aircraft.
With increasing demands for
timber, Allisons next purchased a three­
truck, 80-ton Heisler geared locomotive.
This machine came from Miller Logging
Sultan, Washington. Before being
shipped to Allision Camp, the locomotive
was given a complete overhaul at the
Vancouver Machinery Depot between No­
vember 1939 and February
J 940. 12 When
placed in service as
No.3, it was used pri­
marily on the mainline between Skidegate
Lake and the log dump at the beach camp
on the shore
of Cumshewa Inlet.
A.P Allisons Climax No.2 at the Cumshewa Inlet log dump in 1938. The locomotives were
coal-burners at this time. The coaling platform is just to the right of the locomotive. -B. C.
Forest Service, 5328
Timber output soon reached record highs as loggers
were recruited to work at the remote camps. As an illustration,
in June 1941, 3,500,000 feet of cedar and 850,000 feet of air­
plane spruce were shipped from Allison Camp
in two huge Davis
rafts. Each measured 800 feet long, 80 feet wide and had a
of about 30 feet. The tug St. Faith pulled them sepa­
rately across Hecate Strait and then assembled them into a single
tow in a sheltered mainland inlet for the remainder
of the jour­
ney to Vancouver.
It took nearly a month to bring the big rafts
into port.
To expedite the production
of the critically needed
spruce, the federal government formed Aero Timber Products
Ltd. in June 1942 as the war was reaching its critical stages. The
new company took over Allisons camp and other operations on
the Queen Charlottes including another large camp on Masset
Inlet on Graham Island
to the north. However, this was not a
railway logging operation.
Allisons camp became known as Aero Camp
or sim­
ply Aero and after the war even boasted its own post office.
Allison reinvested some of his money in a sawmill at North
Vancouver and continued logging along the coast
of British Co­
lumbia. Robert
1. Filberg, the highly-experienced manager of
Comox Loggings operations on Vancouver Island, was assigned
the wartime responsibilities
of managing the spruce production on
the Queen Charlottes and Bob Swanson, given leave from the De­
of Railways, was assigned the job of getting the equip­
ment running to sustain the high levels
of production needed. His
took him to many camps and remote locations, of­
ten being flown in to inspect and organize repairs to equipment
using the mechanical inventiveness and genius that would make
him famous.
Davis rafls being assembled in Beattie Anchorage, CUl11shewa Inlet on
October 23, 1944. -G. Abernethy photo, B. C. Forest Service 2918/1
Under Aero Timber Products ownership, the
13 miles of
railway was expanded and new equipment was acquired including
two more Climax locomotives
in 1943. Both were two-truck loco­
motives and were purchased from Vancouver Equipment. A 50-
ton machine came from the Vancouver Bay Logging Company and
became Aero Timber
No.3. The other Climax, a 55-tonner, was
from Gustavson Bros. Logging at Jervis Inlet and became Aero
No.4. The Heisler, which had been A.P. Allisons No.3,
was renumbered Aero Timber No.5.
A typical landing scene from Allison :s operations in 1940 shows a coal-fired
donkey engine
and spar tree used for yarding and loading the logs onto the
logcars. -H. W Weatherby photo, B.G. Forest Service, 2483-6
Rail logging continued at a high rate throughout
1943 and 1944 as the demand for aircraft spruce peaked.
As many as 200 men were working at the camp during the
busiest times. However, the following year, operations
slowed down considerably. By May, 1945, only the Heisler
was operating, handling l2-car trains from the Skidegate
Lake reload to Aero Camp. Climax
No.4 was held service­
able as standby power and Seventeen and one half miles
trackage were in service. The end of the war in Europe came
in May 1945 and Japan surrendered in August. The next
C.D. Howe, minister of munitions announced that
the Aero Timber operations would be disbanded and that
all restrictions on aircraft grade Douglas-fir, Sitka spruce
and Western hemlock were lifted. The holdings were of­
fered for sale and bids from private industry were invited
by the War Assets Corporation until October 15, 1945. Howe
paid particular tribute
to Robert Filberg, head of Aero, and
to his associates Clarence R. Fraser of Vancouver and Percy
of Victoria. Aircraft quality timber, noted Howe, has
always kept pace with the demand from the aircraft indus­
tries in the United Kingdom and Canada. Credit must also
of course, to the crews who worked in the woods. In
1946, Filberg was invested as an Officer in the Order of the
British Empire for his services.
1l Meanwhile, the logging
operations were wound down during the fall
of 1945 and
the locomotives were laid up and stored. Climax
No.4 was
the last serviceable locomotive, remaining operational until
December 5th, when it too was stored.
The big Heisler was No.3 on Allison:S operation. These two views show the engine, with a cut of eight logcars, backing down to the log dump
in July 1940. -H. W Weatherby photos, B. G. Forest Service, 2447128 and 248319.
The Powell River Company, a long-established customer
for Queen Charlotte timber, purchased the Aero Timb
er holdings,
and early in 1946, began to reopen the railw
ay. Although the war­
time requirement for aircraft grade
Spmce had disappeared, the
post-war period he
ld promise of continuing high demand for qual­
ity lumber and the company was in a position to exploit the timber
effectively even though handicapped by long distances from the
mills. In the early 1940s, the Powell River Company had acquired
the Kelley Logging Company, which had been operating in the
Queen Charlottes for many years and which was credited with hav­
ing supplied 55
percent of the airplane spruce produced in Canada
during the war. Kelley Logging was reorganized as a wholly-owned
subsidiary company and was given control over all
of the Powell
River Companys Queen Charlotte holdings, including the Aero
Camp railway.
Under this corporate arrangement, the logging railway
was revitalized.
The heavy demands of the war years had left the
locomotives badly
in need of maintenance. No.4 was found to be
beyond economical repair and the No. I was salvageable only as a
stationary boiler and was sold in 1948. Repairs were made to the
two remaining Climaxes and the Heisler but new equipment was
clearly needed.
At some point after the war, likely soon after the
purchase by the Powell River Company, the locomotives were con­
verted to burn oil.
The war years had also taken their toll on docks and other
facilities on the North Coast. Gerry Rushton, histOIian
of the Union
Steamship fleet, related that the Aero Camp
wharf was in bad con­
dition after the war. As the
Coquitlam came into the wharf at Aero,
Angus McNeill, the master, called out to George Panicky Bell
the camp manager,
Why dont you get your wharf fixed? Im
waiting for you to knock it down! was the response in classic west
coast repartee.
In July 1947, a 70-ton Shay was acquired from the Merrill
& Ring Company at Pyst on Washingtons Olympic Peninsula, to
compensate for the loss a
nd deterioration of the original equip­
Bob Swanson inspected several logging locomotives avail­
able at good prices in Washington and went to Pyst to examine the
& Ring Shay. 1 had to get them going and there was quite
a to-do about that, he recalled. The boilers didnt match the B.C.
code. So I said I could fix that. I figured
ifit didnt blow up in the
States, it wouldnt blow up here. The air was the same. So I con­
verted those joints by putting a new outside butt
sOap on them. I
got a slide rule sent down to me and I did the calculations and laid
it all out and then we did the
job [at Vancouver]. It ran til they
scrapped them in the end.5
Like the Heisler acquired early in the war years, the Shay
was given a thorough overhaul at the Vancouver Machinery Depot
before being shipped to Moresby Isla
nd. After the overhaul was
completed, the Shay was tested on the B.C. Electric Railways track­
age on March 10, 1948. The new locomotive was placed
in service
that spring. A small Plymouth gas-mechanical 0-6-0, a model WLG-
3, also was acquired in 1948 for the operations at Cumshewa. Tllis
one, which became
No.7, was from the OBrien Logging Co. of
Stillwater near Powell River. Built in 1929 with a six-cylinder,
180-hp, Le Roi engine, it was re-engined with a model
SEALED TENDERS will be received by-
410 Seymour Street,
V.1ncouver, B, C.
unlil Nco, Monday OClober 151h, 1945, for all of Ihe assels 01 Aero Timber Producl,
Llm1ted, a Crown Company operating togging camps at Massel Inlet and Clmshewa
Inlel co Queen Charlolle Islands.
Tenders should be made on fhe offiCial form and enclosed in a sr>.xial Tel~jd Enve­
lope w~l1ch can be obtained frem the WiJr Assets Corporation on request Envelope
should be marked Tender No. 112.
must be accompanied by a deposit in tre form of d cerrified checuc for IO~}.
of the amount of the tendef. .
The properties
cun::;;SI of Iwo separate and distinct operations.
The Masset Inlet operations consist of standing timber, logging machinery and equip­ment, camp buildings and equipment, machine shop equipment, tugs
And barges, truck
road delelopment for 1099in9 the standing timber, wharves, docks and other miscel­laneous Jssets.
The Cumshewa Inlet operations consist
of a logging railroad, steel rails, locomotives,
logging cars, logging machinery and equipment, machine shop equipment. camp build­
ings and equipment, tugs, wharve~, docks, Davis r.-..fting gear, s.1wmiJl machinery, and
other miscellaneous anels.
PartIculars are available at the office of Aero Timber Products Limited Marine Build­
ing, Vancouver. The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of equipment
The assets are available for inspection at Mas.set Inlet and Cumshew,.:j Inlet and can be
viewed at any time.
Tenders must be for the assets in total for both operations or {or the assets ,n lotal for
each operation separately.
Offers fur portions of the property will not be considered.
Tenders received afler closing time cannot be considered. The highest or any tender
may not necessarily be accepted. The Volar Assets Corporation rese:ves the right to
(elect all tenders if no satisfactory offer is received
410 Seymour Street,
In August 1945 the war was over, so the assets of Aero Timber Com­
pany were put up
for sale by the War Assets Corporation. -British
Columbia Lumberman, August
1945, page 4.
Cummins diesel before being shipped to tbe Queen Charlottes.
It was followed in 1951 by a 90-lon Pacific Coast Shay, which
became the second No. I, and also a trio
of modern speeders, Nos.
104-106, all brought
in from the recently closed railway of the
Salmon River Logging Company on northern Vancouver Island.
With this new equipment, the railway continued to operate until
The Pacific Coast Shay adds
an interesting dimension to
the story. It was typical of 17 similar locomotives which operated
in British Columbia, but what set it apart from the others was the
ofa welded boiler in 1949,just a few months before the
railway was phased out. The boiler was designed
in accordance
with a new Boiler Code developed by the Department
of Railways
in 1947 and was the first all-welded locomotive boiler built
Canada. Constructed by the Vancouver Iron Works in August and
September 1949, it was X-rayed, stress-relieved and hydrostatically
tested. We consider this
newall-welded design of locomotive
boiler, noted Bob Swanson in the 1949
Annual Report of the De­
of Railways, a landmark in the progress of locomotive­
boiler construction and a tribute
to research in the field of mechani­
cal engineering.18
Three-truck Shay No.6 with a crew car at Aero Camp. The Union Steam Ship Companys Coquitlam (II) is in the background. -Maurice
Chandler Collection
The three-truck Heisler became
No.5 for Aero Timber Company and often was used on the mainline between Skidegate Lake
and the log dump. -MacMillan Bloedel Collection
The last loads of logs being brought down to the dump by Shay No.1 on August 31, 1955. Note that the long log ahead of the locomotive is
spanned across two skeleton logcars. -MacMillan Bloedel Collection
By the mid-1950s, after nearly 20 years of rail logging,
the easily accessible timber was virtually exhausted and truck log­
ging was becoming highly competitive with the aging railway tech­
nology. All along the coast, the logging railways were being dis­
mantled as trucks took over nearly all log hauling operations. The
of spruce and cedar had not been infinite, and the wartime
demands had hastened their depletion.
In all, nearly 800,000,000
of timber had been carried over the railroad to Cumshewa InJet
since the mid-1930s.
The last run on the railway was made on August 31, 1955,
using Pacific Coast Shay. No. I as the road engine. At that time, the
of Railways reported that there were 8 miles of main
line and 12 miles
of sidings and logging spurs on the railway. A
last run with corporate officials in attendance marked
the final log hauling day on the railway.
A clean up
of remaining timber using trucks, tractors and
A-frames was
plarUJed before the camp was abandoned. 19 Disman­
tling followed soon after with most
of the salvageable railway equip­
ment and steel being towed away on a barge for scrap
or resale.
There was little demand for steam locomotives and equipment at
that time,
and that same year, the Powell River Company also
closed its logging railway operations
in the Powell River area. These
had been operated under the charter
of the Eagle River & North­
ern Railway.2o Bob Swanson, who was then
Chief Inspector of Rail­
ways for the province, had kept an eye on the Pacific Coast Shay
with the welded boiler that he had worked on a few years earlier.
Coincidentally, at Canadian Forest Products on Northern Vancouver
Island, Shay No. 115, also a Pacific Coast Shay, was running out
of boiler time. This was a comparatively new Shay, having been
built in 1938 long after production
of most steam logging locomo­
tives had ended. When they finished up on the Queen Charlotte
Islands, they were loading all this crap out and it was going for
scrap. So
… I said, Look, when that boiler comes down on the
barge, I want it to call
in at Beaver Cove. When it comes in there on
the barge, get them together a
nd switch boilers, because thats a
brand new boiler. The one youve got theres worn o
ut. Put the
other one on and then the old one can go to the scrap heap
. Okay
Bob, well
do it. So they did it. The boiler, at least, of Kelley
Logging No. 1 continued in service at yet another coastal logging
operation. The remainder
of the Shay was scrapped soon after.
The story
of the Pacific Shay was far from over. Bob
Swanson continued to keep an eye on the Shay with the innovative
all-welded boiler. Within the next few years Can for dieselized
logging railway and phased out nearly
all.of its steam equipment,
including Shay
liS. Although no longer needed by Canfor, the
locomotive and its boiler was still in good condition. Meanwhile,
Bob Swanson bad been approached to provide locomotives to switch
On the last log hauling day, August 31, 1955, Pacific Coast Shay No.1 was in use. The generally rainy conditions on Morseby Island
often made the use
o/the spark arrestor on the locomotive unnecessary. -MacMillan Bloedel Collection
o/the railway equipment was loaded onto a barge and towed away/or scrap. The/ront o/Shay No.1, which was
to be unloaded on Vancouver Island, is visible ahead o/the scrap pile. -MacMillan Bloedel Collection
: ,
the bulk terminal at Vancouver Wharves
in North Vancouver. Swanson still had the
in mind. Thats a damn good loco­
motive, I thought, Jesus, thats a nice look­
ing locomotive. A solution fell into place.
Swanson acquired the Shay
in 1962 but
had to remove it from Beaver Cove on
Northern Vancouver Island. I paid $1700
for the thing and they said You load it!
So I had a barge go up
… and got the en­
gine down. I got it on the barge on the
rising tide, instead
ofthe falling tide. That
my only mistake. I got the engine
down there steaming, got it on the barge,
and the damn barge floated
off-and the
Shay ran forward. But I had air on
it and
I set the air and caught
it. I was drifting
out in the bay hollering my bloody guts
out and they came out and towed me
again! I unloaded it in Vancouver … and
three days later I had it running on
Vancouver Wharves.21
The boiler 0/ Kelley Logging s Pacific Coast Shay survived to be used on Canadian Forest Prod­
s No. 115 which later worked at Vancouver Wharves in North Vancouver be/ore being donated
to Fort Steele Heritage Park near Cranbrook, B. C. -Robert D. Turner
The Shay, and another acquired in 1964
from Western Forest Industries at Honeymoon Bay
on Vancouver Island, provided switching service at
Vancouver Wharves and at the same time kept two
steam locomotives
in operation that otherwise would
have gone to scrap. Operating under Swansons Rail­
way Appliance Research Limited, the locomotives
worked for several years at North Vancouver.
In 1970,
No. 115 was donated to Fort Steele Heritage Park
near Cranbrook in southeast British Columbia. The
second was sold to the Cass Scenic Railroad
in West
Virginia. As
of 1997 both locomotives are have not
been moved again. No.
liS is presently not in ser­
vice but is being repaired as funding permits.
The Plymouth diesel, Kelley Logging No.
7, was sold to Western Forest Industries at Honey­
moon Bay, west
of Lake Cowichan, on Vancouver
Island. WFI used the locomotive to switch cars
around its mill and take cars to the interchange with
the CPR at Lake Cowichan. After the mill was closed
in 1977, the engine was sold to Westcan Terminals
and Stevedoring Ltd
., in Victoria where it received
little use before being donated
to the Ladysmith Rail-
Locomotive remains atAero Camp, 1971. The boiler was thought to be/rom Climax
No.4, howevel; the shape 0/ the cab window frame in the collapsed steel cab, upside
down in the foreground, suggests that the cab at least
is probably from Heisler No.5.
-Robert D. Turner
way Historical Society in 1987. Recently, it was
transferred to the Kaatza Historical Society and moved to Lake
Cowichan for display
next to their restored CPR station.
of the facilities at Aero Camp were abandoned within
a few years
of the closing of the railway. Some camp facilities and
building were salvaged and moved to other locations but others
were simply left
to deteriorate. Two locomotives remained on the
Queen Charlottes. Climax
No.3 was left derelict at Skidegate Lake
where it was partly buried
by road construction following removal
of the trackage at the loading site. It remained there until 1961,
when it was shipped to Vancouver as scrap. The remains
of another locomotive, possibly No.4 on which repairs were abandoned in
is still at Aero Camp, where it appears to have been used for
parts before the end
of operations. Only the firebox, tank and a
of miscellaneous parts remain. A steel cab, probably
from Heisler
No.5 is also abandoned at the camp and it may be
that the other locomotive parts are also from this machine
steam crane was also left behind. Once used at Aero, it was inad­
vertently driven
off the end of the wharf and was not salvaged. For
several years it remained partly exposed at low tide, but
by 1971,
no trace
of it was apparent.
The body from a crew car remained at Aero Camp along with other equipment in
1971. This
is probably the car shown in the photo of Shay No.6. It was built
either on the frame
of a flatcar or from an old boxcar. -Robert D. Turner
Aero Camp slowly faded into the second growth
forest, the buildings and structures rotting away in the Is­
lands rain and mist.
In the early 1970s, the log dump and
several buildings were still standing, the
remains of a
scrapped steam donkey, the body
of a speeder, and numer­
ous centre sills from the skeleton log cars were all evident.
Some rails were still
in place over the rotting ties and a switch
stand stood partly covered with
moss. Th.rough the rapidly
growing alders, the general arrangements
of the camp could
still be determined. By the mid-1990s, the forests had over­
grown much more
of the site and little of the original camp,
except for the larger steel artifacts, was evident as Steve
Walbridge records from his 1994 visit to Aero Camp.
Aero in Retrospect
The railway at Aero was an unusual coastal log­
ging operation on a remote part
of the west coast. Ini­
tially it was economically justified
by the demand, caused
by aircraft construction
in the late 1930s and through the
Second World War, for the fine quality, lightweight spruce
found in the area. After the war the demand for quality
timber continued and the logging railway remained eco­
nomically viable for another decade.
The remote location and climatic conditions
compounded problems
of operations at Aero Camp. Ac­
cess to the camp was
by coastal steamship and in later
by infrequent air craft services. The isolated nature
of the camp required the company to have well-equipped
shops and to
be more independent of suppliers than if
closer to major population and industrial centres.
Equipment brought to the camp was normally given a
major overhaul before delivelY to Aero to minimize main­
tenance problems once at the camp. The shipment
of the
Some camp buildings survived long after
the camp was abandoned. This photo was
taken in Augllst
1971. -Robert D. Turner
logs encountered problems of weather and
distance not faced
by logging companies
operating along the protected south coast
of mainland British Columbia and on east­
ern Vancouver Island. The use of Davis
Rafts or log barges and long tows to mar­
ket made production feasible but added
the costs and risks involved.
Plymouth No.7 went to workfor Western Forest Industries at Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver
It is now preserved at Lake Cowichan. -Robert D. limier
Although the geographic setting
of the camp complicated the supply and
of the camp, the day-to-day use
ofthe railway was generally typical oflog­
ging railways all along the coast. A no­
table exception was caused
by the wet and
boggy nature
of the area which required
the use of extensive low trestles and pilings for roadbed construc­
tion; a problem
not normally faced on south coast logging rail­
ways. However, the rail
equipment used was of the same types
common to operators in
other parts of British Columbia, Washing­
ton and Oregon. Geared locomotives and skeleton cars were the
main types
of equipment found on the railway.
The survival ofmallY relics in the camp make it an inter­
esting site
to visit and the preservation of the small diesellocomo­
tive and the boiler from the Pacific Coast Shay add an important
dimension to the heritage
of preserved equipment in British Co­
Camp and with its logging railway was one of hun­
of now abandoned logging camps along the British Colum­
bia coast but its location
on Haida Gwaii, the Queen Charlotte Is­
lands, and the history that surrounds it, makes it
in many ways a
unique and unusual logging railway. Moreover, its remote location
and the lack
of subsequent developments in the area have left the
site an interesting and unusual industrial archaeological site.
Acknowledgments: My sincere thanks to the late Charlie Hartie,
Tom Murphy, the late
Robert E. Swanson, Sonny Toleman, and
Stan Unsworth for their recollections
of Allison Camp, the opera­
of Aero Timber, and of Kelley Logging. Bob Swanson also
recalled his expeIiences as
Chief Inspector for the Department of
Railways. Thanks also to Maurice Chandler, Bill Robinson, Nancy
Turner and Peter Corley-Smith and to Fran Fowler and the late Del
Fowler for their friendship and help on the Queen Charlottes par­
ticularly during
our visits in 1970 and 1971. I am also grateful to
MacMillan Bloedels corporate archives and to the
staff of the Pro­
vincial Department
of Commercial Transport who, in 1971, gave
me access to the old files relating to the railway.
Doug Richter
provided additional roster information. Further research was car­
ried out in the
BC Archives, the BC Legislative Library and at the
of British Columbia Library. 1 would also like to ac­
knowledge the Royal B.C. Museum and, finally,
my thanks to Steve
Walbridge for rekindling my interest in the Aero Camp railway and
for bringing the story up to date with his accompanying article.
I This article is based on a shorter article, Logging in the
Queen Charlottes that appeared in the January 1973 issue
of Pa­
cific News. Additional information is drawn from Logging by Rail,
The B. C. Story, Sono Nis Press, 1991, and further interviews and
archival research.
2 Pacific Coast Lumberman, December 1922.
3 The early background on Allision is from Kathleen
Dalzells The Queen Charlotte Islands, Vol.f, Dalzell Books, Prince
Rupert, B.C., 1968.
4 1937 was the first year the operation was included in the
Annual Report of the British Columbia Department of Railways.
5 The West Coast Lumberman, July 1937, pp. 58.
6 Most details of equipment are taken from the files dealing
with equipment inspections
of the Department of Railways. These
made available to me in Vancouver in 1971.
7 See Canadian Railway & Marine World, June 1924, De­
cember 1924 and January 1925. For further information on the
Edwards Railway Motor
Car Co, see Edmund Keiltys interurbans
Without Wires,
1979, Interurban Press, Glendale, CA., pp., 105-
S Stan Unsworth, interview with Robert Turner, August,
9 The sawmill is noted in Kathleen Dalzells The Queen
Charlotte Islands,
Vol. 2, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, B.C.,
10 Gerald Rushton, 1974, Whistle Up the Inlet, The Union
Steamship Story,
1974,1. 1. Douglas Ltd., Vancouver, B.C.
II British Columbia Lumberman, February 1936.
12 It is unclear if Allison purchased the machine from Miller
or from Vancouver Machinery Depot.
13 British Columbia Lumberman, September, 1945, pp. 35
and July 1946, pp.
14 This story is recounted in Gerald Rushtons book Whistle
up the Inlet.
15 Robert E. Swanson, interview with Robert Turner, No­
vember 10, 1989.
16 Some records noted 250 hp as the original equipment
specification, Douglas Richter, personal communication.
17 The date of arrival of the Salmon River Logging equip­
at Aero Camp has not been deterrnined. Salmon River Log­
ging was owned
by the British Columbia Manufacturing Co. and
Westminster Shook Mills
of New Westminster (controlled by R. L.
1. H. McDonald and associates) which acquired it from the
Timberland Lumber Co.
of New Westminster and Green Point Log­
ging owned
by P B. Anderson and his son Dewey in 1945. See
British Columbia Lumberman, September 1945, p. 36. The rail­
way was phased out in 1950 and the operation was converted
truck hauling by June 1950. In December 1950 the company was
acquired by the Powell River Company and it is
most probable that
the railway equipment was transferred early the next year. See
also Rene Harding and Frances Duncan, 1979,
Saywardfor Kelsey
published by the authors, Kelsey Bay, B.C., pp. 76-77 and
of Railways, Annual Reports, 1949 and 1950. It is
interesting to note that the Department
of Railways Annual Report
for 1949 reports Salmon River Logging having a No.8 gas loco­
motive (JJ28); the same year
al1 inspection is also reported for Powell
River Co.s (Kelley Logging) diesel. Could these be the
same loco­
motive being reported
in two locations that year and on Salmon
River before its reconstmction with the
Cummins diesel?
18 Department of Railways, Annual Report, 1949, pp. JJ 9.
19 British Columbia Lumberman, October 1955, pp. 32-33.
20 See R. Ken Bradley, 1982, Historic Railways of the Powell
River Area,
B.C. Railway Historical Association, Victoria, B.C.
21 Robert E. Swanson, interview with Robelt Turner, No­
vember 10, 1989.
22 I had originally identified the remains of this machine as
No.4 but the shape of the cab near the boiler suggests that it is
more likely from No.5. So little remains that I have not been able
confirm the identification of tbe parts. It is possible that there
are the remains
of two locomotives there.
Roster of Locomotives and Motor Cars
1 (2nd)
75 or 79?
Type BuilderlNo.
2-Truck Climax/1491
2-Truck Climax!1511
2-Truck Climax!1547
Climax! 1539
3-Truck Heisler! 1487
0-6-0 Plymouth 13365
Gas Motorcar Edwards
Enclosed gas crew speeders
611 918
1111 929
Dimensions or Engine
12 x 14,33
12 x 14,33
12.5 x 14,33
13.25 x 14,33
17.25 xiS, 38
12 xiS, 36
Cummins DieseJ
19.5 Notes
NOTES: This roster was published in simplified form in Logging by Rail, The B.C. Story. All equipment operated at Allison/Aero Camp.
Dimensions shown are cylinder bore and stroke and driver diameter for
steam equipment. Dates of changes in ownership are mostly taken
from Department
of Railway inspection records but should be considered approximate. The primary source was the inspection files and
of the Department of Railways and Department of Commercial Transport. Additional information was drawn from: Mervyn T. Green,
British Columbia Industrial Locomotives (second edition); Benjamin Kline (publisher) The Heisler Locomotive; Michael Koch, The Shay
Dan Ranger, Jr., Pacific Coast Shay; Thomas Taber and Walter Casler, Climax, An Unusual Locomotive; and interviews,
forestry trade
journals and other sources noted in the following notes. Abbreviations: Allison Logging Company (ALCo.), 1936-1942; Aero
Timber Products (ATP), 1942
-1945; Powell River Company (PRCo.); Kelley Logging Co. (KLCo.), 1946-1955 .
1. Pacific Mills Ltd., No. I (Ocean Falls, Camp 17); Owens Logging Co., No. I (Green Bay) 1927; ALCo., No. I, 1936; ATCo., No. I; PRCo.
No. I; Sold 1948 for stationary boiler having been out of service for some time.
2. Pacific
Coast Shay. Merrill-Ring-Wilson Ltd., No.4 (Rock Bay); Salmon River Logging Co., No.5 (Kelsey Bay), rebuilt with new welded
boiler in 1949;
PRCo (KLCo) 2nd. No.1; Canadian Forest Products Ltd., for parts (Englewood) 1956, boiler to CFP No. 115. No. 115 to
Railway Appliance Research Ltd. operating for Vancouver Wharves, (North Vancouver) 1962; Fort Steele Heritage Park (Fort Steele) 1970.
3. Pacific Mills Ltd.,
No.2 (Ocean Falls); lease, Owens Logging Co., No.2 (Green Bay); ALCo., No.2, 1936; ATP No.2; Sold 1952 for
stationary boiler to Patterson Boiler Works (Vancouver).
4. Timberland Development Co.,
No.3 (Ladysmith); Booth Logging Co. No.1 (Goliath Bay), ca 1924; Vancouver Bay Logging Co. Ltd.,
No.2; ATP No.3, 1943; PRCo., No.3; abandoned 1955, sc. 1961.
5. Vancouver
Lumber Co. No.2 (Port Neville); Mainland Cedar Co., No.2 (Port Neville) 1922; Mainland Tbr. Co., No.2 (Port Neville)
1923; Bernard
Timber & Logging No.4 (Oxford Bay) 1924; Fulmore Lake Logging No.3, 1929; Gustavson Bros. Logging No.2 (Jervis
Inlet), 1936; ATP
No.4, 1943; PRCo (KLCo) No.4. Out of service by late 1948, later partly scrapped. Boiler may be abandoned at Aero
6. Miller Logging
Co., No.5 (Sultan, WA); overhauled at Vancouver Machinery Depot, Nov. 1939, to ALCo. No.3, Feb. 1940 (uncertain if
purchased by Allison before or after overhaul); ATP No.5; PRCo. (KLCo.) No.5. Last known inspection at Aero, May 28, 1952. Cab and
some other components may be abandoned at Aero Camp.
7. Merrill &
Ring Lumber Co., No.6 (Pysht, WA); PRCo. (KLCo.) No.6, 1947. Overhauled at Vancouver 1947-48. Last known inspection
at Aero, Feb. 1951.
8. Plymouth
Model WLG3, gas-mechanical, built with 6-cylinder 180-hp (also reported as 250-hp) Le Roi gas engine. Merrill & Ring
Lumber Co., No.8 (either Squamish or Theodosia Arm); OBrien Logging Co., (Stillwater); PRCo (KLCo) No.7, rebuilt with Cummins
Diesel engine, model
NH 600 of 200-hp.; Western Forest Industries Ltd., No.7, in 1973 No. 40 (Honeymoon Bay); Westcan Terminals and
Stevedoring Ltd.,
No. 40, (Ogden Point, Victoria, B.C.), 1978; Ladysmith Railway Historical Society (Ladysmith), August 1987; Kaatza
Historical Society (Lake Cowichan) 1996.
9. Believed to be from the Morriss
ey, Fernie & Michel Ry. (Fernie); to ALCo.; ATP; later details unknown. The car had two Buda 4-cylinder,
60-hp, engines,
one mounted on each truck, to provide extra power for steep grades. Seating capacity, 41. Baggage compartment 17 feet long.
Stan Unsworth, who worked at Allison Camp, referred to the gas engines as Continentals and it may be that it was re-engined by the time
was in use at the camp. Information here is taken from Canadian Railway & Marine World, January 1925. However, Keitys Interurbans
Wires gives details of cars under Crows Nest Pass Coal Company and Morrissey, Fernie & Michel Railway. One is given as a Model
20 at
17 tons, the other as a Model 25 at 32.5 tons. Both cars have the same length and power plant and are likeJy diffeling listings for the same
car; the
MF&M was owned by the Crows Nest Pass Coal Company. The car is numbered 75 or perhaps 79 in a photo of the car at Allison
Camp but the last number is indistinct.
Three enclosed, centre-cupola, gas-engined, speeders acquired from Salmon River Logging at Kelsey Bay on Vancouver Island, late
I 940s. Probably all were scrapped after the end
oflogging railway service in 1955. One speeder body remains at Aero Camp.
South Morseby Island Tramway Sites
By Robert Turner
Light railways or tramways, often operated without mechanical motive power, were a common feature of mining and other industrial
facilities. They provided a cheap and effective means
of moving heavy ore concentrates, coal and other materials. Several were used on the
Queen Charlotte Islands including one at a coal mine on Graham Island and others at mining developments.
Two were located near the
southern tip
of Moresby Island where a copper mine and an iron ore mine were developed, hal f a century apart. The tramways carried the ore
to shipping docks located
in sheltered bays, just a few miles apart, separated by a heavily forested peninsula. Like the logging railway at Aero
Camp farther north on Moresby Island, these mining operations were remote and dependent on coastal shipping and, in later years, air services
for there connections with mainland British Columbia. The tramways and the railway were all associated with temporary, resource extraction
communit.ies built with no intention that they would become established towns or cities. When the resource base was depleted, the camps and
transportation systems were closed and dismantled. Information for these sketches
is drawn primarily from British Columbia Department of
Mines Annual Reports and Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources Annual Reports.
The Ikeda Bay
Copper Mine
Ikeda Bay, now
called Ikeda Cove, at the
southern end
of Morse by Is­
land was the site
of a well­
developed copper mine
the early 1900s. It was de­
veloped by the firm of
Awaya, Ikeda & Company
of Vancouver and by 1907
was in full production with
more than
100 men, mostly
Japanese, working on devel­
oping the site and
in active
mining. The copper ore also
contained recoverable
amounts of silver and gold.
The mine, which in 1907
had three Adit levels and one
vertical shaft was located on
the Lily group of claims.
The mine workings and the
shipping wharf were con­
nected by a three-foot gauge
It was approxi-
The Ikeda Mines on Morseby Island during the construction of the camp buildings probably in /907-08.
The view is from the upper tunnel. In the foreground is the wooden-tracked incline system used to trans­
port sacked
ore. Note the tramway trackage beyond the ore. -Be Archives & Records Service, H-04582
mate one and a half miles
long and descended a steep grade from the ore bins to the coast and
then ran along the shoreline to tbe ore bins. Horses were used for
moving the ore cars Few details
of the tramway have been recorded
but photographs taken before 1910 for the B.C. Department
of Mines
show a well developed system using steel rails spiked to evenly
spaced ties. Some trackage, presumably
of a temporalY nature near
the mines, was much more crudely built with the rails spiked down
the length
of logs with a few cross timbers placed underneath. A
double-tracked incline tramway, with what appears to
be wooden
rails, was used to lower cars carrying sacked ore over a section
the route from the mine workings to the wharf. Had the mine pros­
pered, a small tank locomotive would have been a useful addition
to the tramway operation. The ore bins and wharfwere substantial structures and large
coastal steamships could dock easily. The ore bins bad a capacity
of 1000 tons and tbe facilities were modern and efficient, permit­
ting 1000 tons
of ore to be loaded into a steamer in 10 hours. Pas­
senger, mail and freight services were provided
by the Canadian
Pacifics British Columbia Coast Steamship Service
using such
steamers as the
Princess Beatrice and Princess Ena. In addition
cargo vessels came into Ikeda Bay
to take on cargoes of copper ore.
An interesting aspect
of the mine, reflecting the cultural
of its owners, was choice of names given to the copper
claims; as well as the Lily, there were the Sweet Pea, Apple, Carna­
tion, Orchid, Lemon, Peach Pansy and others. They provided an
interesting contrast to the more typical names for mineral claims
the west, such as Last Chance, Bonanza, Hercules or Hope.
Moresby Island
.. 1;
Haida Gwail
Queen Charlotte
Ike9~.,Bay: ..
P i:
The company acquired the
of the sternwheeler G.M.
for use as a bunkhouse
for the miners
at Ikeda Bay. This
sternwheeler was originally a
CPR vessel built in Vancouver in
1898 as
part of its short-lived
service on the Stikine River in
connection with the Klondike
Gold Rush. The plan was to op­
erate a fleet of twelve
sternwheelers between
Wrangell, Alaska, and Glenora
nearTeJegraph Creek, B.C., near
the head
of navigation on the
Stikine River. From there
a trail
ran north
to the headwaters of the
Yukon River. Originally plans
made to build a railway
northward from Glenora to
Lake to provide a fast
route to the Yukon but the
scheme fell apart in the summer
of 1898 and the routes from
Ikeda Bay and Jedway
South Moresby Island
Haida Gwaii
Queen Charlotte Islands, B.C.
o 3
Japanese miners at one of the adits at the Ikeda Mines. -Be Archives &
Records Service, H-04580
RDT. 1997
Skagway over the White and
Chikoot passes became the preferred routes to the Klondike.
The railway from Glenora was never built and the CPR, and
many other operators, had numeous sternwheelers with little
use for them.
The G.M. Dawson was not yet finished when
the service was cancelled and later it was sold to the British
Yukon Navigation Company (the White Pass
& Yukon Route).
of the vessel were used in new White Pass steam­
ers built at Whitehorse and the hull was sold. Eventually, it
was used as a bunkhouse at Ikeda Bay where it was aban­
doned after the mine closed. (See Robert Turner, 1984.
Stern wheelers & Steam Tugs, An Illustrated HistOlY of the Ca­
nadian Pacific Railway
s British Columbia Lake & River Ser­
pp. 68-97.)
Of the CPRs Stikine fleet the only SS Moyie survives in­
tact as an outstanding
National Historic Site at Kaslo on
Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia.
Moyie and
her sistership
Minto were both destined for service on the
Stikine but their unassembled hulls and machinery were di­
verted to the Kootenays where they were placed in service late
in 1898. The decaying remains
of the steamer Schwatka and
the hull
of the Tyrrell, both part of the CPRs Stikine fleet, are
abandoned at the old White Pass shipyard across the Yukon
River from Dawson City,
At the time the Ikeda Bay mine went into production, the
B.C. Department
of Mines reported that it was practically the
only mine shipping ore on the Queen Charlottes. In 1908, the
mine shipped 6,000 tons to the Tyee Smelter
at Crofton on
Vancouver Island. Development work continued and an eight­
drill compressor was added along with a 25-h.p. stationary
steam engine
to haul the empty ore cars, probably on the in­
cline system and steeper sections
of the tramway shown in
one of the photos. How­
ever, the mine was only
worked for about six
months in 1909 before
closing although 4,000
tons of ore was shipped.
Apparently, the property
came under the control
of other Van-couver in­
terests about 1910 but
Mr. Ikeda remained the
manager. For the next
few years very little work
done on the prop­
erty. In
19 I 4, I keda re­
opened the mine with
eight or ten men work­
The next year 355
of first-class ore was
shipped to the Granby
smelter at Anyox north
of Prince Rupert. This
ore yielded 15.87 per­
cent copper, 4.28 oz. of
silver per ton and .28 oz.
of gold per ton of ore.
For a bunkhouse, the Ikeda Mines utilized the hulk of the Canadian Pacific stern wheeler G.M. Dawson. Many
additions were made
to the cabins and it is difficult to determine, in some parts of the vessel, which sections were
original stern wheeler and how much was added on although there appear to be original sections
of the saloon
deck still more or less intact behind the newer planking. -BC Archives
& Records Service, H-04587
In addition, 400 tons of
lower grade ore was pro­
duced. Production con­
tinued through the war years
at varying levels with 1050
of ore being shipped in
1918. Much
of the ore was
low grade and needed hand
sorting before shipment.
By 1919, little work
was being done and only 150
of ore was shipped to the
Granby smelter. Mining en­
gineers from Japan visited the
property but it required a con­
centrating plant and extensive
development to be made prof­
itable. Some work was done
the next year and
141 tons of
ore was produced before the
mine closed at the end of July.
During the last months, as few
as three men were working
with Mr. 1. Togunaga in
charge. Apparently, financing
was not forthcoming and the
mine was closed and the prop­
erty abandoned. Several thou­
sand tons oflow grade ore, un­
profitable to ship, remained in
the ore dumps.
The camp, viewed from the upper tunnel, in 1907 or 1908 after additional development work
had been done. The incline appears
to have been removed or at least relocated. -BC Archives
& Records Service, B-03126
By mid-1962, full production was
underway. At the surface mining pits,
Northwest shovels were used to load the
ore into 20-ton Euclid trucks which de­
livered the ore to a crusher. Ore from the
crusher was delivered for concentration
to the mill, located near the ship-loading
terminal, by trains
of eight 1 O-ton ore cars
operating on a surface railway powered
by an overhead trolley system. Details
of the rail operation and the types of
equipment used are scanty but the Depart­
ment of Mines & Petroleum Resources
noted in 1962 that two trolley locomo­
tives and
one battery locomotive, were
in use.
The Ikeda Mines tramway along the shore. The horse-drawn tramway car is loaded with sacked
In the distance is the steamer dock. BC Archives & Records Service, H-0458J
The bulk carrier Harriet Marti left
Jedway with the first shipment
of ore con­
on October 27, 1962. Over the
next few years three open pits were
worked including properties close to
Ikeda Cove owned by Falconbridge
Nickel Mines which were mined under a
royalty agreement.
The railway was used
The Jedway Iron Mines
The Jedway Iron Mines were located on a number of
claims on Harriet Harbour not far from Ikeda Cove on south
Moresby Island. Exploration work and some limited copper min­
ing had been calTied
out around Harriet Harbour in the early 1900s
but no large scale development came for many years. Eventually,
on the east side of the harbour, extensive drilling and testing was
out in the late 1950s and through 1960 under the owner­
of Silver Standard Mines Limited of Vancouver. In 1961,
the property was taken over for development by Jedway Iron Ore
Limited, a subsidiary
ofthe Granby Mining Company, and a con­
tract was secured with Shoji Kaisha Ltd.
of Tokyo to supply
2,000,000 long tons
of iron ore concentrates over five years. (De­
paliment of Mines and Petroleum Resources, Annual Report 1961,
p. 13).
Through 1961 the site was developed for an open pit op­
and a townsite was built. Like the mine at Ikeda Bay half
a century before, the mine had to be self-sufficient. The townsite,
more modern and with much higher standards of accom­
modations than those provided on the old sternwheeler Dawson,
was intended to survive only for the planned five-year life of the
mine. It comprised three bunkhouses, including one
with sleep­
ing for
60 men, a store, school, office, staff-house, and alleast ten
residences. By the time the mine was
in full production, the labour
force had increased to average 142
men working for the mine, 20
employed by the trucking contractor and
another 13 in the staff of
the catering company. The remote mining camp could be reached
by coastal freighters operated by Northland Navigation, which
had taken over some of the services once offered by the Union
Steamship Company, barges, and by B.C. Airlines or charter air­
craft from Sandspit at the north end
of Moresby Island.
Large are bunkers were built next to the steamer dock to store the are
between shipments and to facilitate loading the vessels.
-BC Archives
& Records Service, D-00554
End of 1907
Plan of Workings and Tramway i;-b–~~~~~tt..,.::::;:….,.,

Longitudinal Section of Workings
~edrawn from Department of Mines Annual Report. 1907.
IDT. 1997
No.3 Ore Bunker
To Wharf.
6.176 feet
until early 1967 when
it was bypassed and
crushed ore was
hauled by truck to the
mill for
tion. The mine closed
on February 29,
1968, plant and town­
site were dismantled
and the last employ­
ees left the site on
August 12th. Total
production of con­
centrates shipped was
2,282,835 tons from
4,341,676 tons
of ore
milled. A number
the building were
sold and taken by
barge to other com­
munities on the
Queen Charlottes and
the townsite of
Jedway became little
more than a memory.
However, evidence
the mines, the haul­
age roads, the loading
dock, waste rock fills
and the townsite re­
main at Jedway.
The Princess Ena, shown at the Ikeda Mines are bunkers, was a small coastal freighter operated by the Canadian
Pacific Railway. The Ena was built
in 1907 and served many of the mining and logging camps along the British
Columbia coast. -BC Archives
& Records Service, H-04584
Baxter Pole Company, Port Clements
By Robert Thrner
Westminster Iron Works Tugaway tractor from an advertisement in the British Columbia Lumberman in 1927. This is similar to the
machines operated by the Baxter Pole Company near Port Clements.
This machine is not identified but may well be the one sold to the Lee
Hand Logging Company. -Robert Turner collect
The Port Clements Historical Society on Gra­
ham Island, largest
of the Queen Charlotte Islands,
has restored a logging tractor built to run on pealed
wooden pole
s. This vehicle, called a Tugaway was
manufactured by the Westminster Iron Works
in New
Westminster, B.C.,
in 1927. The machine is one of
three operated in the 1920s and early Depression years
by the 1. H. Baxter Pole Company. In 1988 the soci­
ety salvaged two vehicle
s, unused since the early
J 930s, from Kumdis Island in Masset Inlet and has
reconstructed one from the components. It
is an ex­
cellent restoration and
is displayed, under cover, at
Port Clements and is an admirable example
of pre­
serving industrial equipment. Because
of its enclosed
storage, photography is difficult.
The area around Port Clements
is generally
flat and marshy and pole railways were built to make
operating the Tugaway vehicles feasible over the soft ground.
Wooden poles,
12 to 16 inches in diameter, were pealed of their
bark and laid end to end over widely-spaced ties to function as
track. This produced an economical track structure that could be
built over very soft groun
d. The vehicles had large wheels with
on both sides so that they could roll safely over the rough
wooden trackage. The Baxter Pole Company used three Tugaway
tractors on a two-mile-long pole line at Ferguson B
ay, a four-mile
operation at Mayer Lake and finally on a two-mile line at Kumdis
Island all in the vicinity
of Port Clements. In 1933, Baxter closed
pole cutting operations and sold the two operational Tugaways
and a third one being used for parts to a local group but they were
not used again. Information on the history
of the Baxter Pole Com­
is drawn from Kathleen Dalzells, 1989, The Queen Char-lotte Islands,
Vol. 2, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, B.C. and
from Fred Wards article,
Cedar Pole Making and Handing in
1929, in The Charlottes, A Journal of the Queen Charlotte Is­
lands, Vol. 1.
Westminster Iron Works was a well-established manufac­
of iron castings, logging machinery and general foundry prod­
ucts. They expanded their production
in the J 920s to include a line
of small industrial locomotives, speeders and the Tugaway tractors.
The Tugaway utilized a Fordson engine for power and had a log
bunk mounted over the rear axle
of the tractor. On some models,
the forward axle
of the tractor was connected directly to the drive
train and the second axle was connected by side rods but on others,
including the Baxter machines, a chain drive was used. A third set
of wheels, or a pair ofwheels, supported
a second log bunk which was pulled as
a trailer. The logs were spanned across
the two log bunks. Photos show one
Baxter machine, probably
their first,
with a single rear axle. The Tugaway
preserved at Port
Clements has two.
Westminster Iron Works rated the
Tugaways at a capacity of 6000 feet of
timber on grades up to three percent and
3,000 feet on
grades to six percent.
Another advertisement for an im­
proved Tugaway claimed a hauling ca­
of 5000 feet on a five percent
The weight was given as seven
tons but was also noted at eight tons with
trailer and nine tons for a model with a
steel framed trailer. With three speeds
forward and reverse, advertised
speeds of two to ten miles an hour were claimed,
although Fred Ward, in an article,
Cedar Pole
aking and Handling in 1929, suggests that
of 20 miles an hour were possible. Large
drum brakes were provided for safe
ty. Advertise­
ments showed Tugaways designed for either steel
rail or pole road operation. As with logging trucks
of the period, the Tugaways offered no protection
for the operator. Just how ma
ny were built by
Westminster Iron Works is uncertain but four types
are known from advertisements or photos and
1926 the Lee Hand Logging Company, operating
at Bute Inlet, was noted as acquiring the first ma­
chine produced
by the company. See for example,
British CollimbiaLumberman, May 1926, pp. 101,
January 1927, pp. 85 and February 1927, pp. 87.
One other Westminster Iron Works
locomotive has been preserved. This is a
Buda-engined switcher that was purchased
by the McLean Mill near PortAlberni and
has been beautifully restored
by the West­
ern Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage
Society in cooperation with the Alberni
Valley Museum and the R.B. McLean
Mill National Historic Site. The R.B.
McLean Mill as a National Historic Site,
is undergoing restoration and develop­
ment on Vancouver Island.
of the restored Baxter Pole Company
Tligaway tractor at the Port Clements
Historical Societys museum. -Nancy
The Queen Charlottes Revisited
By A. Stephen Walbridge
Before reading this, I will presume you have read Robert
Turners articles, on railways in the Queen Charlotte Islands, in
this issue.
In July 1995, five
members of my family chartered a
sailboat, the TAKULI III, for a weeks sailing
in the Queen Char­
lotte Islands.
We took advantage of the occasion to visit the camp
site, railway tenninal and loading dock site
of this railway -quiet
since 1955.
After visiting the site
of the steam logging railway at Aero,
we sailed southamong the islands for two days, and overnighted on
board at Ikeda Cove. Strolling
on the shore, we came across the
of the horse-drawn carts used to bring the bags of copper
ore from mine to dock.
It was a very pleasant surprise, as we had no
previous knowledge
of this tramway, or of the Ikeda Bay Copper
Mine. Later that same day we sailed into Harriet Harbour, on the
opposite side
of the nameless peninsula from the Ikeda Bay Cop­
per Mine.
The remains ofa ship-loading facility attracted our atten­
tion, so we landed to explore. A pair
of 85-lb. rails crossed the
beach to the waters edge. Also, three 85-lb. crossovers lay
on the
beach. A long walk on the bare roadbed did not increase our knowl­
of the area. Robert Turners research and map tells all of the
story that is available about the mine and the railway.
Walking in the area involves losing sight
of your feet in
of moss. One of the relics found under the moss was a 14-
inch piece
of water glass from a locomotive or boiler, intact after
all these years.
I invite you to enjoy comparing the following photos with
the views
ofthe living scenes which are printed with Robert Turn­
ers article.
LEFT The boiler, probably of Climax No.
4, remains in 1995, with the roofofthe cab
The green board lining of the cab
clearly identifies the cab,
protected by
inches of moss. Compare with the photo on
41, taken in 1971.
BELOW 7ivo views of the remains of the
pier at Aero Camp. Oddly,
a section
in the middle has completely dis­
appeared, even
the part of the piles which
were under watel:
Photos ontliese two pages are taken at the
of Aero Camp.
1995 photos on these four pages are
all by A.S. Walbridge.
The frame of 2-truck 1919 Climax No.4. It is lying on its side,
partly covered by moss.
No wheels or running gear could be found.
A manually-operated rail bender slowly rusts away. This is like the
one used
for many years by the volunteers at the Canadian Rail­
way Museum.
Two abandoned rails at Aero Camp in 1995. It may be reasonable to assume that these rails were first used on Canadian Pacifics first
transcontinental line, and were later used at Aero between 1930 and 1955.
Two views of parts of numerous wood-silled logging cars, spending their last days protected by inches of moss.
The tramway lIsed to haul copper ore from the IKEDA BAY MINE was 3-foot gauge. These photos of the remains oftheframe of one of the are
cars gives
an idea of the load that the horse plllledfrom mine to doc/e.
Copper are, hauled by horse­
drawn tram from open pit
mines, was loaded onto ships
from the bunkers at the end
the pier in Ikeda Cove. These
two views show the little
remains in
j 995. Compare
these with the photo at the
tom of page 48 which shows
the facility in action
in 1913.
In 1907 The stern wheeler Dawson was
on timbers and used as a bunk
The photo below shows how it ap­
peared at that time, while
the picture at right
reveals thai only the baresl outline
oj the
vessel remains.
For some unexplained reason, three rail frogs ji-om the
Iron are Companys 85-/b. track remain in very good con­
dition on the beach al Harriet
BELOIt: On the opposite side oj a nameless
peninsula Jrom the Ikeda Copper Min
e, the
Iron are open pit mine is visible at aJew
hundredJeei elevation. The ballasted roadbed
in excel/em condition in 1995. Switchbacks took
of the elevation. The only tracks to be seen
to the beach, and may have been used in the
of railway and mining equipment.
The Canadian Pacific coastal steamer Princess Beatrice al Ikeda Bay, in the Queen Charlotte Islands, in 1907. -B. C.
Archives & Records Service, A-05222
Canadian Rail
120, rue St-Pierre, St. Constant, Quebec
Canada J5A
Postmaster: if undelivered within
10 days return to sender, postage guaranteed.

Demande en ligne