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Canadian Rail 481 2001

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Canadian Rail 481 2001

Canadian Rail
No. 481
ISSN 0008-4875
Postal Permit No. 1494279
THE QUEBEC BRIDGE -SEPTEMBER 1 0 1916 ………………………………………. -. …………………….. . DONALD F.ANGUS ….. ._ ………….. ._ ..
THE STATIONTYPEWRITER – A RAILWAY ICON ……………………………………………………………..
. FRED ANGUS …………………. _ ……….. .
15820s RECORD RUN REViSiTED ………………………………………………………………
…………………. . CNR MAGAZINE ……………… _ ……….. .
THEUNDERGROUND RAILROAD AND A REAL RAILWAy …………………………………………… . CARL RIFF. ……………………………….. .
SCRAP METAl. ….. . LONDON NEWS, 1860 …………….. ._._
THE EXPORAL PROJECT REPORT ………………………………………………………………
………………… . CHARLES DeJEAN ……………………. .
WINTERTRAINTRAVEL INTHE 1920S ………………………………………………………………
……………. . STEPHENWALBRIDGE ……………… .
NEW BOOKS ………………………………………………………………
…………………………………………………. .
THE BUSINESS CAR. ………………………………………………………………
…………………………………….. . 39
FRONT COVER: One day before disaster! Thefirst centre span of the Quebec Bridge on September 10,1916. Thefollowing day it
was floated out to the bridge
and the difficult job of hoisting it into place began. Unfortunately a casting broke and the span fell
into the river and was totally destroyed. A new span was constructed and finally
put in place in 1917, completing the bridge.
Photo by Donald F Angus.
BELOW: The uncompleted Quebec Bridge on September
3, 1916. This was eight days before the attempt was made to hoist the centre
span; an attempt that ended in disaste7:
Photo by Donald F Angus.
For your membership in the CRHA, which
includes a subscription to Canadian Rail,
write to:
CRHA, 120 Rue St-Pierre, St. Constant,
Que. J5A 2G9
Membership Dues for 2001:
In Canada: $36.00 (including all taxes)
United States: $31.00 in U.S. funds.
Other Countries: $56.00 Canadian funds. Canadian Rail
is continually in need of news, stories
historical data, photos, maps and other material. Please
send all contributions
to the editor: Fred F. Angus, 3021
Trafalgar Avenue, Montreal,
P.O. H3Y 1 H3, e-mail No payment can be made for
contributions, but the contributer will be given credit for
material submitted. Material
will be returned to the contributer
if requested. Remember Knowledge
is of little value unless
is shared with others. EDITOR:
Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas
N.W. Smith
HuguesW. Bonin
LAYOUT: Fred F. Angus
PRINTING: Procel Printing
DISTRIBUTION: Joncas Postexperts
The CRHA may be reached at its web site: or by telephone at (450) 638-1522
The Quebec Bridge in September 1916
by Donald F. Angus
The entrance to the Quebec Bridge on September la, 1916. The sign reads DONT PASS HERE -NE PASSEZ PAS lei. Three
of the inspection party have a few words with the guard. Note that the latter has a pistol handy, a reminder that this
was wartime. All photos in this article by Donald Angus, and taken on September 10
1916 unless indicated otherwise.
In September 1916 work on the Quebec Bridge was
nearing completion, or so it was thought. Work had begun
in 1900, and by 1907 had progressed to where the
steelwork was being erected at a very fast rate. Then, on
August 29 the entire south cantilever collapsed in one of
Canadas greatest engineering disasters. The remaining
steelwork was torn down, new designs prepared and work
began again.
Following completion
of the new, and much heavier,
cantilevers a centre span was built as a separate unit.
plan was to float it out to the site and hoist it into place.
of the bridge would then be a matter of only a
few minor jobs, and
it would be open to traffic by the end of
the year. It would not be a moment too soon for this was in
the middle
of the First World War, and heavy wartime freight
traffic would be speeded up once the bridge was completed.
The hoisting of the span began on September 11 and
then disaster struck. A vital casting failed,
one corner of the
dropped, and within seconds the entire centre span
crumpled and fell into the river, a total loss. It took a year,
and many tons
of steel, scarce in wartime, before a new span
was constructed and safely hoisted into place late
in 1917.
The day before the hoisting (and subsequent loss) of
the original span, September 10 1916, an inspection party
toured the bridge site. By some means now unknown, Lieut. Donald
Angus, the father of your editor, managed to get
included in this party. He was then serving as an adjutant in
the army, and was stationed in Quebec City. Fortunately he
brought along a 3 X 4 inch folding camera taking cut film.
That day, and the morning
of the next day, he took almost
sixty photos of the bridge. It seems that he climbed all over
the structure, including the tops of the cantilevers as well as
under, and on top of, the centre span. During the morning
September 11 he had to return to duty in Quebec so he did
not see the span fall. He did, however, take a photo
of the
two cantilevers a few hours after the fall.
of these negatives of these photos have survived,
recently turned up, in excellent condition, in an old
negative file. Unfortunately, nine photos taken on September
II, as the span was being floated out and prepared for
hoisting, are missing -it is possible that he gave them away
more than seventy years ago.
Your editor has printed a selection
of the photos from
the collection, and we present them
to the CRHA members.
They are published here for the first time since they were
taken 85 years ago. We hope you enjoy them.
There are still some questions, especially the
of the people in some of the photos, and the exact
location on the blidge of a few of the pictw·es. Any comments
that might identify them will be greatly appreciated.
ABOVE AND LEFT Members of the inspection party pose
to have their pictures taken.
BELOW: Looking along the track on the downstream side
of the bridge.
ABOVE: The interior
of the bridge superstructure
showing a construction shack.
RIGHT Looking down on the temporary track in the
centre span as it
is being prepared for the big move.
ABOVE: Dozens of onlookers staring at the huge span the day before it was scheduled to be moved.
BELOW: A close
up view showing the links by which the span was to be lifted.
OPPOSITE: Views showing the interior and underside
of the centre span. MARS-AVRIL 2001
BELOW Looking down from the top of the centre span. In
the distance are the tug boats which are to move if tomorrow
44 MARS-AVRIL 2001
LEFT: View from the top of the north cantilever looking
th. The opposite one looks a long way off!
BELOW Two visitors pose at the top of the structure.
OPPOSITE TOP: Another view from the top
of the
centre span showing the tug boats which
have just
arrived from Montreal for the big move. In the
background is the Citadel and beyond that is Quebec
OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Looking down into the interior
of the centre span.
RIGHT: The massive and extremely complex
structure of the bridge dWGljs the worker in the
lower right corner
of the photo. He may have been
of those who died when the centre span fell
the following day.
J .
46 MARS-AVRIL 2001
LEFT: Looking down from the cantilever to the river
far below. Note the walkways by which one could reach
the top
of the structure.
RIGHT: One of the huge linkage assemblies
which were to lift the centre span. It was the
failure of a casting associated with one of
these linkages that caused the disastel:
LEFT: The base of the north cantilever where it
rests on the supporting pie/: The cantilevers were
/lot damaged when the centre span fell, and are still
in use today, holding up the new span built in 1917.
The Station Typewriter -A Railway Icon
by Fred Angus
This extremely detailed photo shows a telegraph office, possibly Canadian Northwest Telegraph Co. (later CNR Telegraphs) in
Winnipeg in January, 1911. This office has two typewriters which were very important pieces of equipment for writing
legrams and other messages. 1n front of the agent is an Empire typewriter, manufactured in Montreal. Beside the typewriter
is a telephone, and above is a bare carbon light bulb of the old fashioned design. Behind the agent is the cover for the Empire,
and under it is another case, this one containing an Oliver, a design invented by a Canadian. The calendar on the wall clearly
the photo, while the rates posted on the wall behind the agent show the location. He is reading a telegram he had just
typed while another
is in the machine. Collection of Martin Howard
There were several pieces of equipment that were
considered essential to railway stations both large and small.
There was always a clock, usually bearing the certificate
the railways time service. There was the ticket case and the
dater used to stamp the tickets. There was the telegraph key
and sounder, and very often a telephone as well. And then.
there was the station typewriter. lIsually
in a prominent place
on the agents desk. Tllis was a machine
of many uses; writing
correspondence. preparing train orders. copying telegrams
for delivery to the recipients. preparation of reports for head
office, and various other writing tasks .performed by the
station agent. Yes, the station typewriter was always there,
but how many
of us really noticed it, and how many missed
it when
it disappeared; replaced by a computer ternlinal or
other piece
of high tech equipment, or perhaps when the
station itself was closed.
There was once a time when the
station typewriter itself was high tech, replacing the
of hand writing all documents. It is to that time that we go to
consider the history of something that used to be seen
throughout almost all railway systems. In
the earliest days of railways there was no such
thing as a typewriter, and all
correspondence was done by
handwriting, either by steel pen or pencil. In fact very early
in the railway era the prinlitive quill pen, made from a goose
feather, was still in use.
Major announcements, notices or
bulletins would be printed for distribution along the line,
but train orders, telegrams and letters were all hand written.
This was slow and, depending on the agents handwriting,
often djfficult to read. More than one train wreck was caused
misreading handwritten train orders. For many years
before 1870 numerous inventors had been trying to produce
a writing machine but for various reasons none had been
very successful.
Most were one-of-a-kjnd prototypes which
went into production. The closest anyone came to a
typewriter was Malling Hansen who produced a
writing ball in Denmark starting about 1867. This was a
beautifully made precision machine, but it was slow,
expensive and made in small quantities. Few were sold in
Europe, it had no influence in America. and there is no record
of any railway purchasing one.
All this was soon to change. About 1870 a man named
Christopher Latham Sholes, who lived
in Milwaukee, joined
forces with some associates and invented a writing machine.
It was an amazing and very complicated collection of keys,
levers, wires, springs and type bars, but it gave some promise
that it might be practical. The partners interested the
Remington company of gunmakers in producing the
machine. The market for Remingtons guns had decreased
following the end
of the Civil War and they were looking for
something else to manufacture. A deal was
made and the
of the new machines appeared in 1873 and went on sale
in 1874. At first it had no name, but the partners observed
that it wrote by means
of type, so they christened it the Type
Writer (two words).
The keyboard, as invented in 1873, is
to have been designed to minimize the striking of
two adjacent keys in succession, in order to prevent jamming
the early mechanism. This keyboard, the first line
of which
is QWERTYUIOP is still with us after more than 125 years,
even on the most modern computers, although it is
recognized as being much less efficient than other
configurations. Sales of the new machines were very slow at
first, partly because they cost $125 (equal to almost $4000
today; more than a computer) while a pen cost only 10 cents.
Like most new technologies, they had many problems and
malfunctions. Furthermore they wrote only
in upper case
letters, there being no shift or lower case keyboard.
The Remington No.2, introduced in 1879 and produced
until 1894, was the first to gain wide acceptance. Railways
were among the first purchasers, mainly
for offices but also
larger stations. Each machine bore an inscription
which proudly proclaimed
To save time is to lengthen Life.
In 1879 a new model, called the Remington No.2,
came on the market. This machine was more compact and
had a shift key so both upper and lower case letters could be
written. From then on, more and more people began
to take
the new invention seriously. By 1880 the name typewriter
(spelled as one word) had become a generic term, and they
in numerous offices. About this time several railways
began to purchase them for use
in major stations.
During the 1880s the use
of the typewriter spread as
it was realized that not only was its output far more legible
than handwriting, but with a little training a person could
type much faster than he (or she) could write. Gradually the
of the typewriter replaced the scratching of the pen
among the sounds
of railway stations across North America,
and eventually around the world.
The company offices also
purchased many typewriters and it soon became an
indispensable piece of railway equipment.
For several years the Remington was the only serious
contender in the typewriter market. Then in 1880 a rival
machine called the Cali graph began to be produced, and
within a few years there were dozens of styles
of typewriters
of all shapes and descriptions, each claiming that its special
features were superior to all others. There were certainly some
true odd-balls, but some were well made and very successful
machines. Besides the Remington and the Caligraph, there
Before touch typing became widespread the double keyboard
machine was popular. This had a key
for every character
and, unlike the Remington, no carriage shift. One
of the
of these was the Smith Premiel;. introduced in 1889. It
gave Remington a good run
for its money but, like the lattel;
and most other machines, did 110t have visible writing.
was the Yost (introduced in 1887), the Smith Premier (a large
double-keyboard machine first made in 1889), the
(made in Canada starting in 1892), and the Oliver (invented
by a Canadian and introduced
about 1895). There was also
smaller machine called the Blickensderfer (often
abbreviated to Blick) which was introduced in 1893 and
the first practical portable machine. Its principle
anticipated the IBM golfball machine introduced 70 years
later. All these types (no pun intended) were purchased by
railways and were found
in stations from the 1880s up until
at least 1920
in some smaller locations. The Blickensderfer
was especially useful aboard trains where its portability was
a great asset; it was the laptop
of its day. However most
stations of any size used the large office variety of typewriter
like the Remington (in several models), the Caligraph, the
Empire and the Smith Premier.
Most of these large machines (and many
of the smaller
ones) had
one serious defect which was not considered
serious at first but became more apparent as the novelty of
mechanical writing wore off. They were what were called
upstrike machines. The type bars were arranged
in a circle
Canadas contribution to typewriter development was the
Empire, introduced
in 1892 and made into the 1920s. It had
a double shift, thrust-action (low noise) type bars and, above
all, visible writing. The railways loved them and used them
in considerable numbers. The
Empire was made by the
Williams Manufacturing Company in Montreal, in a
building at the
comer of St. James and Rose de Lima streets.
This building, recently renovated, still stands.
The Blickensderfer, manufactured from
1893 to 1917, was
of the first successful portables. In one respect it was
far ahead of its time. Its type elements were arranged around
a cylinder which rotated and descended
to type the required
charactel: The cylinders could be changed to give different
type faces. This was about
70 years before IBM reintroduced
new principle on its Selectric, commonly called the
go!fbaU typewrite/:
below the platen and struck upwards to print on its underside.
Thus the typist could not read the writing until it had
advanced several lines, or the platen was lifted. During the
1890s there was more demand for visible writing, but the
large manufacturers tried to
discourage this as they had a
50 MARS-AVRIL 2001
The Oliver was invented by a Canadian and was used all
over (also no pun intended) the world. Railway stations
from Gaspe to Patagonia, and from London to Vladistock
used Olivers, the latter being specially equipped to write
Cyrilic characters. Some
of these are still in service.
1894 Remington introduced its model No.6, superseding
the No.2,
and kept it in production until 1914. Outwardly
No. 6 closely resembled the earlier machine, but it had
many internal improvements.
In fact it represented the final
of the blind writers . These became the true
of the railways and, until they gave way to the
visible writing machines, chiefly the Underwood, they were
in use everywhere. Some lasted a surprisingly long time.
Barrington station,
/IOW at the Canadian Railway Museum,
used a Remington
No.6 until it closed in the 1950s!
large investment in tools and designs used to produce what
came to be called blind writers. Some of the typewriters
like the Empire, the Oliver. the Daugherty and the
Blickensderfer did have visible writing, but they were not
made in sufficient numbers to challenge seriously the large
companies. However it was obvious that visible writing was
on the way and
in the second half of the 1890s it arrived.
~ The immense value and necessity of having lli
your work in plain sight [roln start to finish is
Visible VVriting
has never been accomplished on a standard high
grade machine until the advent of the
On this machine it is accomplished Absolutely and Practically, without
the sacrifice of a single existing advantage, but with the addition of many
others never before obtainable.
The first advertisement for the Underwood in a Canadian railway publication appeared in the Railway and Shipping World
in May 1899, and is reproduced above. This ad emphasized the visible writing, but others soon followed extolling speed of
operation as well as smoothness and easy touch. In 1901 the Underwood No.1, shown above, was superceded by the outwardly
similw; but considerably improved,
No.5. It was the No.5 that confirmed the visible revolution and became the most used
in the world during the 32 yew;s it was in production. Many thousands of these fine machines are still in regular use.
About the year 1893 a man named F.X. Wagner
invented a radically different typewriter. Instead of swinging
up from underneath, the type bars
came up from the front,
and struck the front of the platen, making the writing
completely visible. Not only that, but the linkage was
designed to produce an easy touch, reducing fatigue and
clear uniform impressions. The entire machine was
rugged, durable and could work for years without major
repairs. Although he may not have realized it, F.X. Wagner
had invented the modern typewriter. As always, there was
one trouble -Mr. Wagner did not have the capital to produce
Then occurred one of those legendary stories with
which history abounds. A certain John
T. Underwood was a
manufacturer of typewriter ribbons which he supplied to
Remi ngton. One day abou t 1895, Remi ngton told
Underwood that they no longer needed his ribbons as they
were going to make their own. Underwood is supposed to
have replied Well,
if you can make your own ribbons I can
make my own typewriters. He thereupon
joined forces with
Wagner, supplied the capital and together they founded the
Wagner Typewriter Company in New York (later renamed
the Underwood Typewriter Company in Hartford). The new
machine was known as the Underwood
No.1, and production
started in 1896. Only fifty machines were produced the first
year, but,
following moves to larger quarters, production
greatly increased, and well over 10,000 had been made before
the end of 1899. The Underwood fully lived up to
expectations and the railways began to take notice. The
Railway and Shipping World (later Canadian Railway and
Marine World) began to advertise the Underwood to
Canadian railway
executives in its issue of May 1899, and
from then on there was no looking back. Visible writing was
here to stay.
For years other makers like Remington said that
their blind writers were
just as good, but gradually they
converted to the new technology, and by 1914 the upstrike
machines were a thing of the past. To put it simply, the
Underwood had conquered the understrike!
The first truly successful visible writing machine and the
one that revolutionized typing; the Underwood. It was such
a good design that those made in
1932 looked little different
from the ones
of 1896, and even in the 1950s they still used
the same principle, albeit in a more streamlined exterio/:
The Underwood number 1
was discontinued in 1900, after more
than 15,000 had been made, a
nd was
replaced by the improved NO.5
which first went on sale early in 190 L,
exactly 100 years ago. Some say, with
a certain amount
of good reason, that
this famous
machine was the finest
typewriter ever made. One thing sure
is that it remained in production until
1932, and well over three million
were made. The number 5, and its
wider-carriage sibling the number 3,
were used throughout
the world and
indeed THE station typewriter.
Although other makes like L.c.
Smith, Royal, Smith-Corona and, of
course, the Remington (by now a
visible writer) were frequently used,
the Underwood was the king. In the
1920s more than half of the
typewriters in the world were
Underwoods. Many of these old
machines are still in use, and some
of them are approaching a century of
service (your editor still regularly
uses a No.5 made in 1910). However
The station at Burlington, Ontario in the 1960s had a more modern typewriter than
many stations
of the time, but the principle was the same.
Photo by Bryce Lee.
not all the old blind writers were junked. Railways are
notoriously frugal and did not like
throwing out perfectly
operable machines simply because they were out of date!
Accordingly some were sent to smaller stations
where the
demand for speed was not as great, and there they had still
more years
of service. For example the one at Barrington
station, now at the Canadian Railway Museum, was an old
No.6 upstrike machine of about 1900 vintage;
this served until the station was closed
in the late 1950s.
By the time the Underwood number 5 was
discontinued in 1932 there were many other makes on the
market, and Underwoods share became less and less.
However this was in the depths of the Depression and the
railways could not afford
to buy new equipment if the old
was still serviceable. This applied to typewriters as well as
everything else. During World War II typewriters were
needed in great quantities by the military and there were few
if any for the civilian market. So older machines, some dating
back as far
as the 1890s, continued in use in stations across
the country, still clattering away, doing
their work as they
had done for
two or more generations. It seemed as if they
might go
on for decades more.
The next big changes began in the 1950s. The
railways were changing, as diesel replaced steam. Freight
trains became larger and less-than-carload service gradually
disappeared. Pa
ssenger trains also disappeared as more and
more lines became freight only or were abandoned.
The result
was the closure
of many small stations and the dispersal or
destruction of their equipment including typewriters. The
larger stations that remained could afford to upgrade their
equipment and their was plenty to choose from. Many
improvements had been made in typewri ter technology
including streamlining, lighter weight and, above all, the
introduction of electric machines. Then in 1963 IBM
introduced what became the known as the golf ball
typewriter, an electric machine which replaced the type
bars by a spherical type unit which could be easily changed
type different styles of print. Although this was a
lutionary design it had been partially anticipated by
the little
Blickensderfer away back in 1893. These new
machines were too large and expensive for most stations but
they did displace other machines from offices and made
available for use
in the stations instead of the older machines.
Then in the 1970s came the word processor and a
decade later the computer terminal which, however, still used
the old QWERTY keyboard invented
in 1873. These new
devices could do jobs impossible on the typewrite
r, but could
also do the routine typing as well.
So after more than 100
years an era ended and the typewriter disappeared from
railway stations throughout much
of the world.
Although many
people claim that the typewriter is
dead, this
is far from so and it will probably be around for a
long time to
come. Many still exist in closets, attics and,
yes, still
in use. One only has to recall the ice storm of 1998,
and its
resultant power failures, to realize that the old
mechanical typewriter still has its place in the 21 st century.
rtainly stations at most tourist and museum railway
operations still have a typewriter or two on exhibition, or in
service, and even on
the main line railways it is very likely
that an old machine still lurks somewhere ready for use in
emergency. Ne
xt time you look at the modern station with
its computer terminals, fax machines, laser plinters and fibre­
optic transmission lines, listen very carefully a
nd you might
just feel you hear, faintly in
the distance, the sound of the
old Underwood number 5 as the agent types out the orders
the next train.
lS820s Record Run Revisited
The article about the 75th anniversary of the record-breaking run of CNR oil-electric car 15820 has generated a great
of interest from the members. Mr. Ray Corley has sent an article which was published in the Canadian National Railways
Magazine for
December 1925, immediately after the run was made. It makes very interesting reading and also poses some
questions, for certain items differ from those in Mr. Collinsons report referred to above.
One example is the location of the
accident with the track speeder; one account puts it at Dalehurst Alberta while the other says it happenrd several hundred miles
further west,
in the Fraser canyon! There are also some slight differences in times which are not so significant.
In view
of the importance of this event, effectively the start of the diesel era, we are reprinting the entire article, as well
as some comments appearing in newspapers in 1925, and also a humourous story of an incredulous Saskatchewan farmer. As for
the differences
in the two accounts, we will leave it to the reader to decide which is the mosLaccurate; after 75 years it is unlikely
that we will ever know precicely.
Across the Continent in 67 Hours
New Oil Electric Car Makes Three
World Records in Run to Pacific Coast
Unique Chapter in Railway History Written
In the month of May, 1862, a group of three score
young men from The Canadas left on a perilous overland
journey to seek their fortunes in the far-off gold fields of
Cariboo, that EI Dorado of six decades ago which drew with
magnetic force all manner
of men to its hidden wealth just
west of the mighty bulwarks of the Rocky Mountains. Their
adventures and mis·adventures, their sufferings and the toll
of them by the hardships of the way are recorded in
For four months they toiled and plodded across a
continent and by their pluck and perseverance contributed
colourful episode to the annals of their country. The
Overlanders of 62 historians have named them.
Sixty-two (sic. should be sixty-three) years later, on
the first day
of November, the pages of history again opened
chronicle yet another chapter in transcontinental travel.
No lure of gold sparkled in its lines, the picturesque ox-carts
and the travois
of the Indian, which the Overlanders of 62
knew so well were lacking; the background
of the pages was
In the intervening scores of years the old west
passed into the realm of things that were; where the
prairies had rolled into uncharted distance, orderly fields
grain had taken their place; where fur-trading posts stood
amid scanty settlements prosperous cities reared their
buildings. But romance was not lacking in the story; it was
romance of transportation, of speed overcoming time
and distance and bringing community nearer
to community,
West nearer to the East. The demands of the Giant
Commerce are insistent and they must be met. A rapid and
efficient system
of transportation is among the most insistent
of all the demands made and this is emphasized in the
operation of suburban and branch-line service; and to meet
this the Motive Power Department
of the Canadian National
Railways bent all its energies. The result was the invention
of the oil electric car.
The creation of this type of motive power was largely
a personal triumph
of Mr. C.E. Brooks, Chief of the Motive Power Department, who was ably assisted by
Mr. G.E. Smart,
of Car Equipment, Mr. R.G. Gage, System Electrical
Engineer, and
Mr. R.J. Needham, Electrical Engineer of the
Central Region and thus, out
of the womb of necessity was
born a new type
of motive power which they believed would
satisfy the exacting requirements
of the day.
of this car had been oper~ted in experimental
runs and on branch lines for a few
bi-(~f weeks; but their
staying powers, running speed, had never been
put to the
acid test
of a transcontinental trip. Cars of this type were
required for service in Western Canada and when No. 15820
was Completed
it was assigned for service on the Pacific
Coast. Here was the opportunity
to make the supreme test,
to operate the car. under its
own power to Vancouver. A
schedule was drawn up for the trip; seventy-two hours was
the running time to Vancouver.
Three days between Montreal and Vancouver! Three
days to cross a territory some hundreds
of miles longer than
that which the
Overlanders of 62 had taken more than
four months
to tramp! All speed records for transcontinental
travel would be thrown into the discard
if such a trip were
Who can say that the days of high adventure are
passed, that
industrialism and commercialism has robbed
of her sway? When the Overlanders of 25 gathered
at Bonaventure station on that first Sunday in November,
there was just as much suppressed excitement and
expectation as there was in the hearts of the Overlanders of
62 when they started on their long hike to seek the pot of
gold at the rainbows end.
The epoch-making dash of No. 15820 across the
continent is now a matter
of railway history. Not only did
the new motive
power respond nobly to the most grueling
all tests -the endurance test; but three world records were
also broken. Vancouver
moved nearer to Montreal by a
of hours, for the schedule of seventy-two hours was
not only held but beaten by five minutes. Then there were
the delays on the road -five hours
of them, less five minutes
-and this reduced the actual running time
of the car to exactly
67 hours. And lastly, there was the unequaled feat performed
by the engine: it made a non-stop run throughout the entire
2,937 miles, save for less than
18 minutes when the oil supply
was cut off while the atomizers which fed the fuel into the
cylinder were changed three times.
Indeed, railroad history was made as never it had been
made before and the run was equally unique in transportation
But let the log of the trip tell its own story:
Sunday, November 1. -Promptly at 2.30 p.m., Oil
Electric Car No. 15820 started on its transcontinental run
for Vancouver.
The car had been specially equipped to make
the 2,937-mile trip.
The backs of four of the passenger seats
were removed and berths temporarily spread across them to
the two other adjoining seats; this gave sleeping
accommodation to ten people. The seating accommodation
was limited to the two end seats on either side of the coach.
In the baggage compartment were four drums
of crude oil for
engine· fuel purposes and a·
54 MARS-AVRIL 2001
compresses and fires, and this automatically cut off the fuel
The engine quickly responded to the cessation of
the flow and within a few minutes our speed slackened from
53 rniles per
hour to less than 10. There was but one thing to
do, replace the atomizer. Snitch was in charge of the engine
and he lo
st no time obtaining a new one; and even while the
car was coasting on its own momentum, the old atomizer
was taken out and a new one put in. The change took exactly
112 minutes to make and then the engine was running as if
nothing had marred its continuous operation. A rough
estimate was made by the mechanical men as to the actual
time lost by this mishap and it was placed at eight minutes;
this figure was computed
temporary table, set on
wooden supports, to feed the
crew. A supply of cold
provisions was in a box in a
corner which acted at once
as a pantry and larder.
Was It an Aeroplane or Bailway Car?
upon time actually
dissipated by making the
change of atomizers and
that wasted in the reduction
and acceleration of speed
varying between 53 miles
per hour, the zero mark and
of regaining the former
high speed.
There were eleven of
us in the party who were to
make the actual trip. This
number included three shifts
of enginemen, as the motive
power was
of a new type and
engineers were not familiar
with its operation. The
personnel of the party were:
No matter what time of the night or day,
the Oil Electric Car passed a station on its
continental trip people were out to greet it; and the
larger the station, the greater the number of
spectators. When the car arrived at Biggar, in
Saskatchewan, a stop was made for brake repairs
and the
crowd revelled in this unique opportunity to
see the car to best advantage.
Coteau Junction was
reached but a few minutes
behind schedule, despite the
delay. We were
by a large crowd but the car
remained only a few minutes
for inspection purposes.
Engineman Boyd, who was
driving, was sanguine that
we would make up our lost
time between Coteau and
Casselman but again
accident intervened.
When did you leave Montreal? one interested
completely enveloped in a huge buffalo coat,
D. Crombie, Chief of
Transportation, who was in
charge of the movement;
G.E. Smart, Chief of Car
Equipment; A.Coleman, Car
Supervisor; H. F. Finnemore,
Electrical Engineer; A. N.
Boyd, Road Foreman of
Locomotives, of Montreal;
T. Snitch, Diesel Engine
Sunday afternoon a member of the crew
And this is Tuesday afternoon, the farmer
remarked; then he cocked a wrathy eye at the railroad
man. Say, young feller, he continued,
do you mean
to tell me that that there things an airyplane?
It took the station agent exactly five minutes
to convince the agriculturist that he was not being
spoofed but simply was told the plain truth.
About 500 yards out of
Alexandria four cows were
Supervisor; F.E.D. MeDowell, Publicity Representative, of
Toronto; E. Schrantz, Electrical Engineer; F. E. Collinson,
Mechanical Engineer; I. Sylvester, Assistant Mechanical
Engineer; and A. Courtney, Chef, of Winnipeg. There was
also an engineer to act as pilot and a conductor of the St.
Lawrence Division who would travel with us as far as Ottawa.
At a signal from Mr.
Crombie the powerful motors
commenced to hum, came a blast from the horn and we slowly
moved away from the platform where a group of officials
stood to see us on
our way. At the end of the train shed the
car slowed down slightly so that a photographer might take
a pictorial record
of our departure; and then we were fairly
away on our transcontinental trip.
Our first stop was that of Coteau junction, a distance
of 37.8 miles, which we were scheduled to make in 49
minutes. The engine was running perfectly and as we sped
down the track the green lights of the block system winked
at us, one after another, signaling a clear line ahead.
Unfortunately, before we reached Coteau sediment from the
tank blocked the microscopic holes of the atomizer
which sprays the crude oil into the cylinder, where it
seen feeding on the right of
way. Boyd put the engine into emergency but before we
could slow down to
20 miles per hour we were upon them.
cow turned and moved directly in front of the pilot; she
was struck sidewise and thrown fully 10 feet into clear; death
came to her almost instantaneously but her head struck the
air pipes and these
were snapped off. The rush of air clamped
down the brakes and
before we could proceed this damage
had to be repaired.
log of this trip would be complete without paying
tribute to the efficiency and skill shown by Boyd, Collinson
and Sylvester in
making the necessary repairs. They worked
with masterly precision. A wooden pole provided the material
for a plug to
stop the leak of air through the pipe, fencing
along the right
of way the wiring to hold it in place. Within
30 minutes all damage done by the unfortunate cow was
repaired and we were again on our way. The mishap, however,
had cost
us a loss of many more precious minutes and as we
drew away from a large crowd of spectators, which first had
intended to welcome us at Alexandria Station but which
subsequently remained to watch us make temporary repairs
to the car, we were more than 45 nunutes behind
our schedule.
We did not run into Ottawa Station, but as we sped through
yards, the lights of the Capital gleamed dully in the
fading twilight; and then
we were at Rideau Junction, fully
40 minutes late but with the engine running with a
smoothness that brought
joy to the heart of Boyd. We now
had a new pilot and conductor
It will be noted here that the usual run of train No.1,
The Continental Limited, from Montreal to Vancouver, was
not followed.
The test trip of the oil-electric car was made
entirely over Canadian National lines and therefore the 253-
mile stretch
of track of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario
road, connecting North Bay
who were to accompany us
through to Brent.
From Rideau to
Pembroke junctions the run
was made easily and
trouble; but new hazards were
soon to present themselves.
Within a short time we entered
the northern boundaries
of the
Algonquin Park Game
Preserve; it was now quite dark
Perhaps the most significant phase of the
transcontinental run made by the new oil electric
car is the progressive spirit of the Canadian National
Railways which
it reveals. Officials of that line are
doing their utmost to give improved service
to their transcontinental passengers. The oil burning,
electrically-generating engine is the answer of a
progressive railroad management to the demands
of passengers for faster trains.
to Cochrane, was eliminated,
car operating instead over
southern transcontinental
between North Bay and
Foleyet was reached
approximately at 4.10
oclock in the morning. The
run was made without
Los Angeles Examiner.
and the glare of the headlight cut through the black mantle
of night with a keenness of a shining scimitar; its glare drew
irresistibly the wild life into
our path and several times nimble
footed does narrowly
escaped being struck as they flashed
in front of us; once a stately buck, his fine range of antlers
spreading black above him, made a wild leap over the track
and but for Engineman Boyd throwing the car into
emergency there would have been another casualty added
to our undesirable list. A family of bob-cats, four in all, can
cited as other unusual
formance; and
incident the engine con­
tinuing its perfect per­
at 7.30, just five minutes behind schedule,
the station at Hornepayne
came into view. Again the greatest
of interest was shown in our arrival, this time the spectators
containing a large sprinkling of women and children.
Between Hornepayne and
Long Lac first evidence of
brake trouble developed and, as subsequent events showed,
this was the specter which was to haunt us right across the
prairies. During the run over the famous cut-off, from Long
Lac to Nakina, several minutes were lost by a dragging brake
shoe. At Nakina an addi­
spectators of our passage; they
sat at a point of vantage by
the rim
of the headlight gleam
and spat
noiselessly at us as
we rushed past.
Brent was reached
behind schedule but with
many minutes made up during
the rush
through Algqnquin
Park; and here again we took
on a new pilot and conductor;
were to ride with us to
Capreo!. The run to this
Northern Ontario divisional
If· the functions of the railways include helping
to develop the country and binding its far-flung
provinces together, then mechanical improvements
and consequent
improvements in operation are to
be welcomed as serving that purpose. Hence the
apparent importance of the oil electric locomotive
which has been produced in Canada and which may
do much to improve not only the branch line service
but also the transcontinental service. Every
improvement in transportation service helps to knit
the country together and is to be regarded as a
national benefit.
tional stop of five or six
minutes was made to adjust
the trouble and here again, a
fine example of efficiency
and high-pressure, mech­
anical workmanship was
given. After a delay of about
minutcs the run was
At 1.25 p.m., approx­
imately 10 minutes late, we
arri ved at Armstrong. We
bade farewell to the Central
Region and crossed that
invisible boundary of the
Manitoba Free Press.
point was made without
incident and with time being steadily gained each mile.
North Bay was passed shortly before eleven
0 clock and, as
were other stations, the pla
tfOlID was crowded by interested
spectators; the Toronto train, about to pull out on its
southward run, likewise contributed its quota of watchers,
vestibules and steps of the coaches being filled with
curious passengers. We flashed through North Bay in a
of minutes and so successful was our run that Capreol
was reached two minutes ahead
of time.
Monday, November 2nd.-It was at 12.23 Monday
morning, when we drew to a stop at Capreol station and it is
worthy to log that although the hour was early and the
population little more than 1,200 people, it was estimated
approximately 400 were on the platform to give us a
parting cheer when
we pulled out on the run to Winnipeg.
As at
other terminal points we again changed pilots and
conductors. Western. Lines.
We were now operating on Central time and
on the 24
oclock system of railroad time. It was here also
that Enginernan Boyd relinquished his post for the first time
since we left Montreal, making a record
of almost 18 hours
on duty without relief. Sioux Lookout was made in a splendid
run and practically all loss
of time was made up in this stretch
of territory. But one untoward incident occurred, that of
running down a hound belonging to a party of hunters. The
dog was surprised on a sharp curve, and, while the two hunters
were at no time in
danger, the animal turned and dashed
down the track. Before Coleman, who was driving, could
slacken the speed
of the car, it was overtaken and instantly
ki li
Sioux Lookout presented an animated scene as we
arrived. Stopping just long enough to take on a new pilot
and conductor and to discard
an empty oil drum, we set forth
for the next division paint
of Redditt. Near the station of
Richan atomizer trouble once more developed and again
five or six minutes were lost in putting in a new atomizer.
This time the atomizer was clogged by particles
of dirt in the
fuel tank.
It was here that Snitch drew attention to the fact that
to date the engine had made a remarkable performance under
the most trying conditions.
56 MARS-AVRIL 2001
At Watrous we changed from Central to Mountain
time, running more than two hours late. Brake trouble again
developed and another
42 minutes were lost before Biggar
was reached. Here a stop was made so that the brakes could
given a thorough overhauling. At the same time the
electrical wiring
of the car was examined and a grounded
wire discovered. We were
pointed out that the fuel,
carried in the baggage
compartment, was, In
continuous motion owing to
the action of the car and
therefore the ordinary
sediment in the oil had no
opportunity to congeal and
settle; consequently, the
engine was forced to absorb the
impurities as it was pumped
into the cy tinder.
Canada appears to be on the eve of a railway
revolution. Recent experiments by the Canadian
National Railways with oil electric cars have
convinced officials that here is the greatest advance
in railroading in
twenty-five years. The significance
of this development at this time is far-reaching. It
provides transportation at a greatly reduced cost just
when the railways are feeling most keenly the
competition of motor buses and private motor cars.
The Toronto Globe.
approximately three hours
and forty-five minutes
behind schedule when we
pulled out of the station.
The run to Wainwright
was a most successful one
and it was on this division
that 22 miles were covered in
less than that number of
minutes. During this speed
. test a coyote was surprised on
the track and in his fright he
Redditt was reached at 18.30
oclock but despite the
throng on the
platform we remained but a couple of brief
minutes. At White, the last station in Ontario was passed
and a few
minutes later we flashed by Ophir, the frontier
point in Manitoba. Although brake trouble again developed
a few
miles further on, Winnipeg was reached at 21.25
oclock, on time to a second.
No.4 was a dense mass of people as we drew attempted to outrun the car.
Although one of the fleetest
animals on the plains the race lasted less than one minute.
At Edmonton City the arrival
of the car created quite
a sensation. While we were
more than three hours late a
great crowd awaited us on the platform and the car was
thoroughly inspected during the five minutes stop that was
made. Then the run to Edson commenced.
No further brake trouble marred the day and from
to a stop and they welcomed
enthusiastically. Here
Messrs. Smart, Coleman and
Finnemore left the car to
return east again.
It was with great
interest that we noted The
Continental Limited, which
left Montreal on the Saturday
night previous, standing at
platform No. 1. Although the
Continental Limited had
At this time when economy is demanded in
Canadian railway Service, the new car
is calculated
to benefit the railway workers as well as the general
public. By making it possible to meet highway
competition, more workers can be retained in
employment on the railways. The co-operation of all
railroad men
is confidently looked for in helping to
establish the oil electric car. The good will of the
travelling public is also desired.
then on it was a stirring battle
win back the lost time.
. More than 28 minutes were
gained between Edmonton
and Edson. The casualty list
was also increased by the
total of three jack-rabbits and
two prairie chickens, the
latter being flushed from the
track and in
their confusion
flying straight against the car.
The Ottawa Citizen.
steamed out of Bonaventure Station more than eight hours
of us she was not due to leave Winnipeg until 10
oclock, some minutes after our departure.
While new drums
of oil were being loaded into the
baggage compartment a thorough examination
of the brakes
was made and it was decided
to replace the shoe which had
caused the previous trouble. Thirty minutes were lost in
effecting this change.
Tuesday, November 3rd. -Tuesday opened
unpropitiously; it may be logged as a day of difficulties and
The hour of midnight found us between Rivers and
Melville, again repairing a refractory brake. Fully ten
minutes passed before we were able
to proceed once more.
Thus Melville was reached almost 30 minutes behind
schedule and between that point and Watrous there was
another delay
of fully an hour. This occurred at Touchwood,
345.1 miles from Winnipeg, where a box car had
jumped a
switch and blocked the westbound track. It was more than
60 minutes before the line was clear and we could proceed. A further gain
of 12 minutes
was made between Edson and jasper.
We were now running in the heart
of the mountain
country and about us the Rockies pyramided in solemn
grandeur, their lofty peaks fading and merging into the night.
The scene was a beautiful and impressive one, and as we ran
around their mighty base many
deer and, once, a mountain
goat flashed across the broad glare
of our headlight. Despite
the fact that we were in the land
of curves and trestles and
making a gradual climb
to the Divide, the performance of
the engine was remarkable, and more than once it was
necessary to drop a wire at a passing station to the Chief
Dispatcher at Edmonton to break our running time so that
we could regain yet more minutes that were lost during the
troublesome morning.
Jasper saw
our last change of time made, when the
of the clock were set back one hour from Mountain to
Pacific. Somewhat to the disappointment of three-score
people who awaited our arrival at Jasper Station, we remained
but one minute and thereby
gave an undesired trip to Blue
to an attendant who was icing and watering the car.
Fortunately, he was able to meet No.2, at the next division
point and so his inadvertent ride only caused him a delay
some four hours.
Wednesday, November 4th. -Blue River was reached
in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the run being an
excellent one and
considerable time being made up. Then
came Kamloops. Here Mr.
against time virtually was over and won; shortest because
we were gaining seconds on our schedule every mile. Soon
the mountain range drew back into the distance and the
open land spread about us. Villages sprang into view and
then we were at Port Mann. We were now 12 minutes ahead
of time; but some of this was lost on the run between New
Westminster and Vancouver.
Crombie left
the car to return
east, accompanied by M.S.
Blaiklock, Assistant Chief
Engineer, who had joined the
party at Winnipeg.
It was at
Kamloops that we were
dispatched for the first time
since leaving Winnipeg as
running on time.
It was the
consensus of opinion that
the car had received the
There is no reason why this type of car should
not be used on branch railway lines for passenger
and light freight traffic. Indeed, the low cost of
operation should make it feasible to provide fuller
services than are possible with steam traction. Thus
the public will be better served and the operating
expenses of the Canadian National Railways can be
materially reduced.
At the booking-in point, in
the terminals, we were eight
minutes ahead; and when we
drew up in the Vancouver
Station three of these
minutes wore lost. We
arrived at the end
of our run
exactly five minutes ahead
of our 72 hours running
The Hamilton Herald.
supreme endurance test during the night, for more than two
hours and thirty
minutes of time had been made up while
running through the mountains.
Boston Bar was the next stop on our schedule and it
was during the run to this station, nestling in the heart
of the
mountains, that
tragedy drew near but fortunately receded
Came a sharp curve in the road and then a long trestle.
It was with a catch
of the breath that we saw a section man on
a speeder a short distance in front
of us. The emergency was
jammed down but a car traveling fully 60 miles per hour
cannot be brought to a stop in a moment. For a few bre~lthless
seconds it was a rush against death and then the section man
won out by a matter
of a split second. He reached the end of
the trestle and jumped just as we were upon him. The pilot
of the car cut through the speeder as if it were shorn by a
giant knife. The section man leaped to safety
just as one half
of his car was tluown over his time.
The arrival in Vancouver
of the record-making car was received with enthusiasm.
Besides officials of the company who were there to greet us,
number of interested spectators and newspaper men were
also present and during the day it is estimated that many
scores of people visited the car and inspected it.
When it is considered that the delays on the road
totaled almost five hours, the actual running time was 67
The delays may he logged as follows: 40 minutes to
Capreol; 28 to Nakina; 16 to Winnipeg; 30
at Winnipeg; 15
to Touchwood; 60 at Touchwood 42 to Biggar; 16 :to
Wainwright; 28 to jasper, 20 to Vancouver; or 295 minutes
in all. Adding to this figure the five minutes which we were
of time, we have a total computation of minutes to be
deducted from the schedule
of 300, or an exact five hours.
Here the log
of Car No. 15820 comes to an end. It
makes a most fascinating bit of reading and a most interesting
of railroad history. It
head. There was a rush to the
of the car to see if he were
injured but he was
by the track waving us on our
Boston Bar was
passed 10 minutes behind
schedule and the last three
hours of our long trip lay
before us. We were now
running on the banks of the
turbu len t Fraser Ri ver;
The objects which the railway management
have in view are reduction of cost of operation, and
ability to meet the growing competition of motor­
bus and lorry on the highways. The results of tests
appear to warrant the management in thinking that
the oil electric car will be of very considerable
assistance in these matters, and is disposed to think
that it is the opening of a new era in the development
of modern transportation.
is not given to every road to
break world records and the
of breaking three world
records in a single run stands
unique in the annals of
The question now arises
as to the future
of this new
type of motive power. It is
now in its infancy; what of
its development in the year
or years to come? Vice-
The Halifax Herald.
across the foaming waters stretched the famous Cariboo Road,
which in the
early days of the Cariboo gold strike made
history. The scenery here was fully as impressive as that of
the mountain range itself but of a different type. We were
still skirting the base
of lofty peaks, flashing through tunnels
bored through the rocky base
of the towering, tree covered
mountains above us. On the other side the smoke of a
locomotive hung in vague traceries but we soon passed it
and saw no more
of its clouds. We were running on a schedule
of 60 miles per hour.
The last three hours of our run were at once the longest
and the shortest
of the entire trip; longest because the race
President S.l. Hungerford, in Charge of Operation,
characterized the trip of No. 15820 as a development in
railway motive
power which can be described by no other
word than revolutionary.
When after much thought and study, we undertook
to develop these oil-electric cars, we were convinced we
were working along the right lines in the creation of a type
of motive power which would result in the solution of the
vexing problems of branch line traffic and highway bus
competition with which the first class roads of North America
are faced today, said Mr. Hungerford. We did not, however,
allow our hopes to rise too high and above all we did not
Art oil ~ ensh><>­
ear on he ~
National RaU ….. y.
m.dtJ • non-ctev run
from Montre .. l to
V~. 2937 mile.,
in 67 hours, ~
43 ~ :rn.Uee an -bottr­
.. Oh.r~.. ~ In
Tur.rets, tooj-hold. the non-stop record
of pleaaing-cigarette· smokers.
after month, year after year, the demand
for Turretll increases ~u:ge they Imlr
the big majority of ~okers.
After all, Jothing can replace good; honest
tobacco; grown and ripened right out in
the field under nature~8 .oWn 8lliillgltt­
nothing art:iflcial about _that-:-and. -the
hi gh quall ty is inbJed.
MUd and fld)l#ant
U re
The record run of 15820 was still remembered years later, and was even llsed in advertising. This large advertisement for Turret
cigarettes appeared in the Times -Journal
of St. Thomas. Ontario on April 8 1931. more than five years after the event. The
of the 67-hour (running time) cross-cOtlnfly trip is prominently featured. In those days smoking was still considered
fashionable and the health risk was unknown or ignored. Turret cigarettes were frequently adveriised in street cars in that era.
Note the low prices in that depression year
of 1931. National Library of Canada
difficulties but revo­
lutionize transcontin­
ental traffic as well. The
results of this test trip
make it evident that a
single locomotive
of this
could handle pass­
enger trains clear across
the continent without
being relieved. Conc­
eivably it could start
with a sufficient supply
of fuel to make the entire
It would result in
fewer locomotives being
required for a given train
service and it would
eliminate delays III
changing engines at
terminals, the taking on
of coal and water en
route, thereby making it
possible to have
over-all schedules than
is possible with steam
locomotives .
The two rival technologies met one night in 1925, and railroading would never be the same again.
five years later the CNR achieved complete dieselization, but sadly car 15820 was not
around to see the triumph. It had been scrapped a few months before.
Furthermore, the emp­
loyment of such loco­
motives would render it
unnecessary to maintain
greatly reduce the need
of terminal facilities of
various kinds, besides
effecting economies in
the cost
of fuel. It would
eliminate such vexations
as smoke and cinders and
overcome all danger of
property close to the
right of way being set on
fire by
sparks from the
engine. Taken all toge­
ther, the indications
make any extravagant claims for our invention. Severe tests
comparatively short runs in Eastern Canada proved to
our complete satisfaction that we had not been incorrect in
deductions, as these more or less minor tests proved
beyond doubt that we had evolved a motive power unit of
such low fuel and maintenance cost as to be incomparably
superior to any other type of motive power in use on
It was not, however, without some trepidation that
undertook to authorize the severe transcontinental test
which the small oil electric car has so successfully
completed. The report of that test makes it evident that by
working along present lines, we can solve, through the oil
electric car not only interurban and branch line traffic
elopment in the use of
point to the rapid dev­
oil-electric motive power on
In this day of rapid transportation and the
development of a new type of power which gives promise of
bringing the West even closer to the East, it seems a far cry to
the times
of the Overlanders of 62 and their four months
tramp across the virgin prairie lands. Yet the two epochs
transportation, the quick dash across the continent of the oil
electric car and the steady, weary plod
of the Cariboo gold
seekers, were brought close together, for among those who
were at Vancouver Station
to inspect the car was one man
who belonged to the
Overlanders of 621 Such are the
contrasts drawn by the hands
of time. What will the finger of
the future wri te?
The Underground Railroad
and a Real Canadian Railway
Information contributed by Carl Riff
Great Western Railway No. 52, Prospero was built by Stephenson in October 1856. It would have been less than two years
old at the time
of the incidents related here. Later renumbered 52, it was sold to the Midland Railway in 1873.
One of the most historic events in North American
history occurred exactly 140 years ago this month. On April
12, 1861
Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter, in the
harbour of Charleston South Carolina, and the American
Civil War began; it was to last for four long bloody years.
While Canada was not directly involved, many Canadians
fought in the war, on both sides, and the long term effect on
this country was very great. Certainly the war, and its
aftermath, hastened the Confederation
of the British North
American colonies, and the
formation of the Dominion of
Canada on July 1, 1867.
There were many causes of the Civil War, but the
main one, and the one that provided the final spark, was the
of slavery. Although all American colon.ies, British,
French and Spanish, had had slaves, the practice had virtually
died out
in the north by the time the United States became
in 1776. In those colonies that remained British
the slave system was outlawed in the early nineteenth
century. Thus the British colonies, and for a time the Northern
states, became a safe haven for slaves who escaped from the
However in 1850 the U.S. Congress passed a fugitive
slave law which provided for the capture and return
of slaves
if they succeeded in escaping to the North. So it was
that Canada became the new safe haven for escaped slaves,
and an elaborate network
of sympathizers, abolitionists and
safe houses was set up
to transport the escapees across the
border into Canada. This became known as the Underground
Railroad, and over it many thousands of slaves were
transpOlted to freedom. Its operation is well described in the
highly influential novel
Uncle Toms Cabin, written by
Beecher Stowe and published in 1852.
While the Underground Railroad was not really a
railroad, nor was it underground, there were several incidents
involving real railroads, so
me of them right in Canada. One
of these occurred on the Great Western Railway of Canada
in 1858 when a southerner was traveling across Canada,
from one point in the U.S. to another, and he
his slave with him. What happened next
was vividly reported
in the London (Canada
West, now Ontario) Free Press on September
30, 1858:
A Train Attacked by Negroes at
Chatham. – A singular affair took place
the Great Western at Chatham, two days
since, which has thus been described
the conductor, Mr. G.S. Goodrich:-
A party of Southeners were on the
express train due at Windsor at 5.15
p. m.,
and one of them had a mulatto servant, a
of ten years, along with him. At London,
colored man was observed in
conversation with the
boy, while standing
upon the platform. No
suspicion was
by this, however, but when the train
reached Chatham, where it stops
to wood
and water,
it was instantly surrounded by
a tumultuous gathering of three or four
For many the last section of the Underground Railroad was a boat ride. This
illustration, from the
1852 edition of Uncle Toms Cabin , shows the fugitives
after landing, sa
fe and free, at Amherstburg, Canada West.
hundred colored people, evidently laboring under great
excitement. A white man, representing himself
to be the
Sherrif of the town, entered the car where the gentleman
and his servant sat, followed
by a crowd of colored men.
of the latter individuals asked the boy to come out.
He replied that he would not, and clung to his master. In
the meantime, those outside were shouting Bring him
out, etc., and revolvers were freely shown
by the negroes
as well as in. The boy was taken out, crying and
to cling to his master, and borne away by
the crowd. The train then started, and the gentleman,
whose name
is W.R. Merwin, and residence St. Louis,
on to Detroit, and is now stopping at the Russell
House. Passengers
on the train state that no blame can
be attached to conductor Goodrich, as the crowd was
so large that any effort to repel them by the hands upon
the train, would have been entire folly.
Needless to say the case was very much discussed,
pro and con, on both sides
of the border. A follow up article
in the Free Press six days later, on October 6, 1858:
The Chatham Slave Case.-The occurrence that
took place at Chatham a few days since, when a coloured
boy was forcibly taken off a train on the Great Western
Railway, has attracted considerable attention
in the
United States. The New
York Tribune, speaking of the
matter, says:-
1. Mr. W. R. Merwin is not a Southern
gentleman, but a Northern travelling agent for a house
in this city
He is not the legal owner of any slave.
3. If he pretended to own this mulatto boy, he
must have been cheating somehow, for
he has assured
his employers here that he did not
own him.
4. The boy was almost certainly free born; but
in a/l events, he was made free by being taken through
the Free States and Canada, even if he had been a slave
before. No one,
we suppose, will for a moment doubt that
boy, if a slave, became free upon touching British
He was, therefore, his own master, and though the
forcible taking
of him off the train cannot be justified on
any ground, except he was detained against his will by
the person he was with, yet that he had a perfect right to
leave Mr. Merwin at any point of the route through
. Canada,
is a principle which will ever be maintained.
The case then disappeared from the papers and the
unnamed boy became
just one more person who had reached
freedom in Canada. But the whole situation was moving
rapidly towards its inevitable climax. Less than two years
later the Great Western played another
part in the story, as
was reported in the Hamilton Times of May 15, 1860:
Railway Speed.- A large number of Delegates to
the Republican Convention at Chicago, passed through
this city yesterday via the Great Western
Railway. The
special train, which left Suspension Bridge at 6.4 a.m.,
consisted of eight loaded cars, and we understand, made
the distance between Suspension Bridge and Windsor,
229 miles,
in six hours and twenty-six minutes -arriving
at 12.30 p.m., -the exact running time between Stations
being:-Suspension Bridge to Hamilton, 1
hr. 30 min.;
Hamilton to London, 2
hr. 19 min.; London to Windsor, 2
hr. 40 min.; or thirty-eight miles an hour -and as the train
entered the depot a grand salute was fired, amidst the
enthusiastic cheering of the immense crowd assembled
to greet their friends from the East.
This train proved to be even more historic than was
realized at the time.
The delegates, who made their 229-mile
trip across Canada, were
on their way to a history-making
event. In
Chicago they met in convention and chose their
candidate for President
of the United States. The name of the
winning candidate was Abraham Lincoln.
The stage was set
for the
great struggle which would end slavery, make the
underground railroad obsolete, and end forever such
incidents as that which occurred on the Great Western at
Chatham in September 1858.
::0 :t> r o :t> Z :t> o m z .p.. r:JJ (J) I) s: :t> ::0 (f) ~ ::0 r I) o o
A Great Western Locomotive
Built From Spare Parts and Scrap Metal
Following the depression that started in 1857, the Great Western Railway of Canada had a big downturn in its fortunes.
Between the time it began construction, 1853, and the panic year
of 1857 the GWR had taken delivery of 88 locomotives, but
then recei.ved none at all
in 1858 and 1859. In 1860 it began to build its own locomotives, using whatever materials it could lay
hands on. It completed one engine in 1860, three in 1861, two in 1862, and by the end
of 1869 it had built 21 locomotives in
its own shops.
In the
summer of 1860, reporters and artists for the Illustrated London News were in Canada covering the tour of the
of Wales, who would one day be King Edward VII. This was the same tour during which he officially opened the Victoria
Bridge at Montreal. Being with the Prince in Hamilton, the journalists learned
of the story of the home built locomotive and
published this article and
engraving in the ILN of September I, 1860.
There is one unsolved mystery. Records indicate that this locomotive, the George Stephenson was numbered 89 (later
81). Yet the engraving clearly shows
it as 67. Perhaps it was posed the tender of No. 67 before its own tender was completed.
The traffic on American and Canadian railways has
fallen off during the past two years as compared with former
periods, owing to a deficient harvest
in the Western States of
the Union. The source of
all trade and commerce in the States
of Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan
is obviously the
fruits of the earth. A bad harvest deprives the farmer of the
means of purchasing the imported or manufactured
commodities at New York and Boston; there is, therefore, no
interchange of merchandise between the east and the west
of America, and railways connecting those distant points
suffer the loss of traffic. In like manner passengers either
cannot afford to travel or have no business to call them away;
and the annual reports of the railway companies
show the
in diminished receipts.
The Great Western Railway of Canada
is no exception
to this universal railway misfortune. As a matter of course,
during these slack times the expenses of the line were
diminished, but the company possessing, at Hamilton
Canada West, very ample and well-appointed shops for
repairing locomotives, and also many clever workmen, the
directors during the last two years have employed the spare
time of these skilled mechanics
in preparing by degrees the
various portions of a large locomotive engine, assisted by
the tools and machinery
in their own shops, and the result
has been that
at the beginning of the present year an engine
great power and beauty of workmanship has been
gradually and almost insensibly completed, the cost being
paid for out of the revenue of the railway, and not charged to
capital account.
We present our readers with
an Engraving of this
locomotive, appropriately named after the father of railways,
the George Stephenson. The cylinders are 16 inches
diameter, with a 24-inch stroke. The total heating surface, by
an ingenious arrangement of the firebox, is 1248 superficial
feet; and there
is this difference between this and the other engines on the line -namely that it
is adapted to burn either
coal or wood, the latter being the fuel ordinarily employed.
Every endeavour has been made to ensure the best
workmanship and materials, both for economy in first cost
and for subsequent repairs. All old materials have been
worked up anew: thus, the framing
is made from old scrap
iron about the works, reforged by steam hammer; the inside
and outside connecting rods, and the valve motion, are made
from worn-out Lowmoor tires; the piston-rods and sidebars
are made from old and brok.en springs; and the cylinders are
cast from broken cast-iron car wheels, which
is the best.metal
that could be had for the purpose. The driving-wheels are six
in number, coupled by threes, five feet in diameter. The tender
holds nearly 2000 gallons
of water. Altogether, she (as
engines like ships are of the fair sex) does great credit to her
designer, Mr. George Forsyth, who,
in the engraving, stands
under the tender, with his hands in his velveteen jacket – a
true specimen of the English mechanic, and also to the
indefatigable locomotive superintendent,
Mr. Richard Eaton,
formerly on the London and South-Western Railway, who
stands, like a captain of a ship, on the footplate of the engine.
It will be observed that a roof covers the footplate
where the engine-driver and stoker usually stand, rendered
necessary from the inclemency of winter and from the heat
of summer. This roof
is provided with sliding windows, so
that access may be obtained to the outside of the engine
in motion, and there can be no sufficient reason why
in this country [England] should not be furnished
with a similar contrivance, and thus enable the driver to keep
a better look out than he can do
in the teeth of a driving
storm. The personages round the engine represent the
principal employes
in Canada -Mr. W.C. Stephens, the
in Canada; Mr. A. Ayres, mechanical draughtsman;
Mr. G.H. Mingaye, the paymaster; Mr. C.J. Brydges, the
managing director, standing on the engine; and
Mr. Thomas
Reynolds, the financial director -all
in winter costume.
OPPOSITE: The engraving of the home-built Great Western locomotive George Stephenson as published in the Illustrated
London News on September
1, 1860. Of the fifteen people in the pictttre, seven are identified in the caption accompanying the
illustration. Unfortunately the other eight remain anonymou
ExpoRail Project
Exporail Project Report #3 -Feb.20, 2001
De Jean
This is an update
of progress to date since my last
report of January 17/01 on the construction of the new
building on the Museum site.
one or the site preparation for the new building
was finished as of February 9, with minor items to be
completed as part of the close out process. The contract
involved the excavation of 24,500 cu. m of existing soil, not
suitable for our stmcture and the replacement and compaction
of 35,000 cu. m of sand and rock fill, to prepare the site for
actual building construction
The creek cutting diagonally across the building site
diverted and two new flood plain basins have been
The second phase of construction, the pouring of the
footings and foundation walls was started
on February 12
~ith the lowest bidder GCP Construction of St. Jean sur
~Richeleau (one of 16 contractors who acquired bid
documents for this part of the contract).
of today all the excavation for the footings for the
exhibits section
of the new building have been completed,
350 of footings have been poured and the rebar for the
foundation walls on this section have been placed. GCP
expects to have all the footings and foundation walls
completed by March 7/01.
. Phase-ihree-or the construction of the building
envelope was advertised on Feb. 17, with submissions from
contractors required by March
15/01. To date the Museum
and the various conunittees working on the Exporail project
have let approximately $1.lm of construction related
Participation by the staff and volunteers of the
Canadian Railway Museum continues to help keep the
project on time and reduce anticipated costs. Some
examples of the kind of participation include:
Moving of our two 20 white Chimo spare parts
Unloading of a recent donation of heavy tooling for
our soon to be expanded restoration shop,
Continued cutting and removal of trees for site
preparation, and use as lumber and fuel for the John Molson,
Meetings with potential donors, administration at the
National, Regional and Internal fund raising levels,
Construction committee meetings, Financial control and the
museum Administration committee.
I can not emphasize enough the need for all
of us to
continue to work as a co ordinated team to help bring this
project to a successful completion.
Thanks for your help and support.
Charles De Jean Project Manager
Rapport des travaux #3 -20 fevrier 2001
De Jean
Voici la derniere mise a
jour sur letat des travaux du
nouveau pavilion depuis
Ie rapport du 17 janvier dernier.
La preparation du site du nouveau pavilion, soit
Ietape 1, sest terminee Ie 9 fevrier dernier. Il ne reste que
quelques petits details a completer pour finaliser cette etape.
Elle consistait, pour bien pre parer Ie site du nouveau
building, a ex caver 24,500 metres cube de sol juge non utile
pavilion et a Ie remplacer par 35,000 metres cube de
et de remblai de pierre. Le petit ruisseau qui traversait
a la diagonale
Ie site du nouveau batiment a du etre detourne.
De plus, deux nouveaux bassins dinondation ont ete
Le 12 fevrier, la compagnie GCP Construction de
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu debutait Ie coulage des
empattements et des fondations pour les murs. La deuxieme
etape de la construction etait donnee au plus bas des 16
A ce jour, Iexcavation des empattements du nouveau
pavilIon, Ie coulage des 350 pieds dempattements et Ie
coulage de larmature dacier servant aux fondations des
murs sont termines. Selon lentrepreneur GCP, la totalite du
coulage des fondations (empattements et murs) sera termine
. p()lr
Ie 7 mars.
annonce des sou missions pour la construction de
lenveloppe exterieure du pavilion, la troisieme etape du
projet, a ete publiee
Ie 17 fevrier dernier. La date limite de
reception des documents des entrepreneurs a ete fixee au 15
Jusqua maintenant, des contrats dune valeur de pres
1,1 millions de dollars ont accordes pour Ie projet Exporail.
Encore une fois, nous ne pouvons passer sous silence
limportante collaboration du personnel et des benevoles.
a eux, nous sommes en mesure de conserver les couts
minimum et lecheancier en temps. Quelques actions
meritent detre soulignees :
Deplacement des deux containers blancs de 20 pieds
servant aux pieces de rechange
Dechargement de plusieurs pieces de machinerie
lourde a etre utiliser a I atelier
Nouvelles coupes darbres sur Ie site du nouveau
pavillon, pour alimenter la John Molson
rencontres avec deventuels donateurs
et les nombreux comites: Comite de gestion du Musee,
Comites national, regional et interne de levee de fonds,
Comite de construction et Comite des finances.
Finalement, nous ne saurions insister trop sur la
necessite de travailler en equipe pour
Ie bien etre du projet
Merci de votre appui.
De Jean
Project report No.4 March 22/01
Charles De Jean
is an update of construction progress since my
last report
of February 20101.
The past month has been an extremely busy one for
GCP Construction carrying out Phase two of the Exporail
Display and Administration building. Phase two of the
contract in vol ves the
excavation and pouring of
footings and foundation walls
of the structure. This winter
seen considerably more
snow than in previous years
and has resulted in some
delays to construction work.
of today approximately
85% of the concrete required
be poured for column
footings, foundation walls
and the observation pit has
Rapport des travaux # 4 -22 mars 2001
De Jean
Le dernier mois a ete tres fertile en acti vites sur le site
de construction du projet Exporail.
entrepreneur GCP Construction, choisi pour la
deuxieme etape de construction du pavilion principal, a
entrepris les travaux de coulage des empattements et des
The observation pit
will create an impressive
viewing point allowing 30
visitors at a time to see the
underside of two pieces of
rolling stock placed on the
tratks over the pit, certainly a
Pouring one of the foundation footings for the new ExpoRailexhibition hall.
very different vantage point that most of us have rarely had
the opportunity to view. The contractor is expected to
complete his work by March 30101, about two weeks. It
should be remembered that winter construction requires
addition activities such as poured concrete must have a n
insulated shelter built around it and heated until the concrete
cures (3-4 days), the rock and sand fill must be frost free to
attain the required level
of compaction, the ground cannot
be frozen prior to pouring concrete, it is very difficult to
excavate foundations with 18 of frost, requiring an
pneumatic chipper or a ripper to break through the frost.
Phase 3, the construction of the principle envelope of
the building was out to bid February 17 with tenders
submitted by March 15. There were eight contractors who
Tanaka Development was the lowest bidder and has
been awarded the contract. Actual erection
of the structure
could start as soon as April 20!
Some of the accomplishments during the past 30 days
during one day 127 cubic meters of concrete was
poured, the lease for
our picnic and parking area has been
extended for two years, a new access road has been
completed to the construction site, land purchase
negotiations to secure a permanent right of way for service
truck access are completed, a donation
of cobble stone for
of our street car display has been complete, a donation
of street car switches from the MTC St. Henry car barn has
Thanks for your help and support,
De Jean, Project Manager fondations pour les murs et la fosse dobservation. Toutefois,
parce que
lhiver nous a amene un surplus de neige assez
il ny a que 85% du travail de completer.
La fosse dobservation donnera aux visiteurs un
impressionnant point de vue. Une trentaine de personnes
pourront en effet circuler sous deux pieces d equipement
ferroviaire places au-dessus deux. Certainement une
premiere pour la plupart des visiteurs. Les travaux, toujours
plus compliques 1 hiver a cause du gel et de lisolation
necessaire a tout coulage, devraient se terminer dici la fin
La construction de lenveloppe exterieure du pavilion
a ete accordee au plus bas soumissionnaire, soit
la compagnie
Tanaka Developpement. Lentrepreneur prevoit me me
commencer la structure dici Ie 20 avril.
Finalement, mentionnons que plusieurs autres
dossiers ont aussi ete conclus durant cette periode.
Mentionnons seulement Ie renouvellement du bail du
stationnement et de lair de pique-nique, la fin des
negociations pour les droits de passage des camions jusquau
site et une nouvelle route dacces au site. Tous, sans
exception, sont primordiaux au succes du projet. Encore
une fois, merci a tous.
A suivre

Winter Train Travel in the 1920s
By Stephen Walbridge
Before these two stories pass from my age 86
Ill write them for Canadian Rail.
Story No. 1.
My father, based in Montreal in the 1920s,
had to travel throughout the Province
of Quebec year
around. This was before the time
of airlines, and a
of good roads; so travel by train, especially
during the winter, was the only viable way.
On one occasion, he had to visit Chicoutimi
Canadian National. On returning home, he
boarded a CN train in the evening, expecting a good
nights rest in a sleeping car. Some time after
leaving Chicoutimi, the train stopped among
snowdrifts with nothing else visible. As an hour or
two dragged on, one
of the sleeping car passengers
asked the porter, Where are we, Porter?
The porter
replied, Saguenay Junction, Sir.. Sometime during
the night, the Porter aroused all the
sleeping car
passengers, and instructed them to get dressed. The
train was stopped. Someone asked the porter where
they were. Saguenay Junction, Sir. The train had
not moved!
The sleeping car was cold. My father
of keeping his pajamas on. The passengers
were then informed that the locomotive was running
low on water; so the steam
to heat the sleeping cars
had been disconnected. All the passengers were then
herded into the two day coaches at the head end
the train, which were still heated, full of cigarette
My father anived home a day late.
One would like to have had an opportunity to
ask several questions; but I
dont recall any more
details about the event.
Story No.2.
My father had business in Mont Joli a few
hundred miles north-east
of Montreal. He boarded
the train destined for Halifax by Canadian National.
Somewhere along the south shore of the St.
Lawrence River, the train stopped during a cold
winters night, without explanation to the passengers.
couple of hours later, the passengers were
informed that a freight train had derailed ahead of
their passenger train. Then came word that a relief
train had arrived on the far side
of the derailed freight.
The passengers were instructed
to put on their coats,
and walk along the tracks around the freight train to
the passenger train on the other side. The locomotive
of their train was low on water, and had to back up
to a water tower.
The passengers reluctantly single filed along
the track, a long mile past the derailed freight. But,
of course, there was no relief train. After a long
wait in the cold, the passengers turned back
to the
freight train. Smokers always maintained that to
smoke a cigarette in those circumstances helped to
keep them warm.
But smoking cigarettes in those
days involved the lighting
of wooden matches in
the wind out-of-doors. Finally, a few passengers
had the good
sense to ask the smokers for their
remaining matches.
They then set about lighting a
fire in a wooden freight car, in an attempt to keep
from freezing.
They succeeded in lighting the fire
in a freight car, which gave them some comfort.
the burning box car had other ideas. It kept on
burning, and then the next car, and the next.
And here my memory
of the event ends. The
story invites questions, all unanswered. My father
lived to age 98, so he
must have survived the event.
The Funeral Train of
The Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau
October 18, 1919 -September 28, 2000
by William J. (Willie) Radford
On Thursday, September 28, 2000, The 15th Prime
Minister of the Dominion of Canada, The Right Honourable
Pierre Elliott Trudeau passed away at his
home in Montreal,
Quebec with his sons Justin and Sacha and former wife
Margaret by his side. He was born Joseph Philippe Pierre
Elliott Tflldeau on Saturday, October 18, 1919 to
parents Charles-Emile Trudeau and Grace Elliott. Mr.
Trudeau was the brother
of Suzette, and Charles whom passed
in 1990.
In the years before he became prime minister, Mr.
Trudeau grew up
in Montreal and received his education at
Jean-de-Brebeuf a Jesuit college. Later, he graduated with a
law degree at the Universite de Montreal
in 1943 to further
earn a masters degree of political economy at Harvard
University in 1945. He then studied at the Ecole des
Sciences PoIitiques in Paris, France and then the London
School of Economics.
With a number of political and law degrees, Mr.
Trudeau entered national politics and won a seat
in the riding
of Mont-Royal in 1965 during Prime Minister Lester
Pearsons time. Mr. Trudeau was appointed as Mr. Pearsons
parliamentary secretary
in January 1966. In April 1967, Mr.
Trudeau was named to the Cabinet as Minister of Justice
and Attorney General by Prime Minister Pearson.
In December 1967, Mr. Pearson armounced that he
would retire, and Mr. Trudeau became the 15th Prime
Minister on April 20, 1968 after he was elected as the leader
of the Liberal Party two weeks earlier. Mr. Trudeau would
win the national
elections on June 25, 1968, October 30,
ancl May 8,1974. Joseph (Joe) Clark of the Progressive
Conservative Party won the election on May 25, 1979
however he lost to Mr. Trudeau on February 18, 1980. Four
years later, Mr. Trudeau resigned from his position as Prime
Minister and joined the Montreal based law firm
of Heenan
During Mr. Trudeaus tenure as prime minister, he
married Margaret Sinclair, aged 22, on March 4, 1971 and
their son Justin was born on Christmas Day that same year.
Christmas Day two years later, the Trudeaus second son
Alexandre Emmanuel (Sacha) was born followed by third
son, Michel
in 1975. Michel died in a snow avalanche on a
skiing trip
in British Columbia on November 13, 1998. In
1977, Mr. Trudeau separated from Margaret and they were
divorced in 1984.
Following the death of Mr. Trudeau, his coffin,
covered with the Canadian flag, was on public display in
the Great Hall
of Honour of the Parliament BuildingS Centre
Block from September 30 to 0800 on Monday, October 2nd.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police pall bearers were
charged with the moving of the late Mr. Trudeaus coffin
throughout the funeral. At 0800, the coffin was moved from
Parliament to the Ottawa Station by a hearse. On arrival at
Ottawa Station, in privacy, the coffin was moved from the
hearse onto the last car
of a special VIA Rail Canada funeral
VIA had arranged for a special funeral
journey from
Ottawa back to Mr. Trudeaus beloved hometown of Montreal
where the funeral service was held the next day.
The train,
designated at No. 638 had two diesel locomotives and only
four passenger cars. There was no baggage
car as there had
been for the Right Honourabe William Lyon Mackenzie
King, Canadas 10th Prime Minister, on July 26, 1950 nor
for the Right Honourable John George Diefenbaker,
Canadas 13th Prime Minister, in August 1979. Eastward
from Ottawa to Montreal, the train operated as Passenger
Extra 6433 East on VIA track while it ran as Passenger
Extra VIA 6433 East on Canadian National Railways
The consist of the VIA special train had quite an
interesting history with its equipment.
The two locomotives
were Engines 6433 and 6436, both Canadian built by Diesel
Division General Motors
of Canada Ltd. in London, Ontario.
They were both
F40PH-2 models in the same GPA-30e class
built in 1989 and were two
of 29, in series 6430 -6458. This
series of locomotives all haveabout 0905 GM 645E3C
engine blocks with 3000 horsepower. The four cars behind
the locomotives were all
USA built by Philadelphia, Penn.
based Budd Co. From the front behind Engines 6433 and
6436 were three VIA I Club cars 4007, 4008, 4009 and
the fourth and last was Sleeper Buffet Lounge Dome
Observation car 8718 Yoho Park. This was the car where
Trudeaus coffin was placed for the 116 mile (J 87km)
eastward journey.
All four cars had many identities in their histories.
Club cars 4007, 4008 and 4009 were recently converted
from Coach configurations last Spring. They were previously
Coach cars 4123, 4124 and 4125 respectively which were
upgraded for VIA service in 1992 and 1993. Prior to the
4100 numbers, they were numbered 185, 186 and 187
respectively while stored awaiting upgrading, especially
conversion from steam heating to head end power. They
were not in passenger service with their temporary 180
numbers. All three cars were built in 1947 and had served on
USA railways, or later preserved, until VIA purchased them
Club car 4007 started out as Seaboard Air Line Coach
car 6224. In 1967 when amalgamation with the Atlantic
Coast Line formed the Seaboard Coast Line, they renumbered
the car to 5209. Amtrak acquired the car in 1971 and retained
SCL number 5209 until they renumbered it car to 6022 in
1974. The car was retired
in 1984 and went to the Mohawk
Hudson Chapter of the National Railway Historical
Society. A few years prior to VIAs purchase in 1992, the car
served on both the Rail/Sea Cruises and Village Rail Cruises
as No. 6022.
car 4009 had a similar history to No. 4007. This
car started out as SAL Coach car 6216 until the SAL merged
with the
ACL to form the SCL in 1967. SAL Coach car 6216
SCL car 5201 and the number was retained when
Amtrak acquired the
car in 1971. Again with Amtraks car
renumbering program in 1974, car 520 I became 6014 and
was retired in 1984. Following retirement from Amtrak, the
car went to the
Bluewater Michigan Chapter of the NRHS.
Prior to VIAs purchase
in 1992, the car served on the Rail!
Sea Cruises as No. 6014.
Club car 4008 began its history as Pennsylvania
Railroad Coach car 4059 until it became Penn Central Coach
car 4059 in 1968. This was a result
of the merging of both
the PRR and the New York Central Railroad that year. Amtrak
acquired the car in 1971 and renumbered it
to 5281 and then
again renumbered the
car to 6069 in 1974. Amtrak retired
the car in 1984 and it then went to the North Alabama
Railroad Club. Prior to VIAs pw-chase in 1992, the car served
on the Rail/Sea Cruises as No. 6069.
Buffet Lounge Dome Observation car 8718
Yoho Park began as a Canadian Pacific Railway car built
in 1954 with the same name along with 17 others with names
of national or provincial parks. Shortly after the CPR became
Canadian Pacific Ltd. in October 1968, the name of the
railway unit was changed to CP Rail, and they gave the
Yoho Park car a number, 15418. VIA purchased the car in
October 1978 and kept its identity for less than a year before
they renumbered the
car to 15518. Adding 100 to its previous
number was required to avoid confusion with their Steam
Generator cars that had such numbers they inherited from
CNR in March 1978, In 1992, the car was upgraded,
and converted to head end power from steam
heating and given new Number 8718. This car was named
the Yoho National Park which was a favorite of Mr.
For this reason VIA choose the particular car to
transport the coffin.
At the time when Mr. Trudeaus coffin was loaded
VIA car 8718 Yoho Park some 400 people were present.
Current prime minister, the Right Honourable Jean Chretien
and his wife Aline were also at the station, however they did
not board the train.
The former Mrs. Margaret Trudeau did
not attend at the station either, however all three did attend
the funeral service
in Montreal next day.
On board the special train Extra VIA 6433 East (638)
were Mr. Trudeaus two surviving sons, Justin and Sacha
along with other prominent people. FOlmer Govemor General
Romeo LeBlanc and his son, former Cabinet Minister Marc
Lalonde, retired Senator Jacques Hebert and onetime law
partner Roy Heenan
of the firm Heenan Blaikie were among
68 MARS-AVRIL 2001
the passengers. The media were riding in one of the Club
cars ahead
of the Yoho Park. Among the media, was the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which had assigned a
helicopter to follow the train on its eastward journey.
The special train was scheduled to operate over VIAs
own railway and the CNR from Ottawa Station to CNRs
Central Station in Montreal. The start of journey was on the
CNR and then it went on to VIAs Alexandria Subdivision at
mile 76.5, it followed this to Coteau Jet. station at mile 0.0
Les Coteaux, Quebec. Eastward between Hawthorne
station at mile 72.7 and De Beaujeu station at mile 7.5, the
of way is owned by VIA. while the other two portions
remains owned by the CNR. At Coteau Jet. station. the train
the Alexandria Subdivision and entered the Kingston
Subdivision at mile 38.0 and then travelled the eastern most
of that line all the way to Dorval station, mile 10.3.
At that station in Dorval, Quebec, the train left the Kingston
Division and entered the west end of the Montreal
Subdivision at mile 11.6. The train travelled that entire
subdivision to the end of its journey at Montreals Central
Station, mile 0.0.
The funeral train was scheduled to depart Ottawa
Station at 0840, however it was delayed to about 0850. This
was the beginning
of what became a celebrated and respected
train as there were many people along the way to see it pass.
At almost every crossing along the way. automobile drivers
stood at roadside and clapped.
The CBC followed the train
overhead on its journey and at some point had technical
difficulties with its camera:
The train released its brakes and slowly proceeded
from the station and was viewed by spectators standing on
the Belfast Rd. overpass bridge. Then it picked up additional
speed to 30 mph. About 0900. the train left the City of
Ottawa and the CNR owned track at Hawthome station, mile
72.7. Centralized Traffic Control ended there and the
Occupancy Control System began, which replaced the
damaged CTC system following the infamous Ice Storm
98 in January 1998. This was where the overpasses of
Highway 417 were located and as the train passed it entered
its own trackage as Passenger Extra 6433 East.
At that point
it also entered the City
of Gloucester and gained speed up to
80 mph.
At the request
of Mr. Trudeaus two surviving sons.
Justin and Sacha, the train slowed down at most towns,
villages and settlements along its eastward journey to greet
well wishers lined up at trackside.
The first slow down in the
corner of the City of Gloucester occurred at the
Carlsbad Springs settlement where
some 300 people watched
and waved as the train passed by the station at mile 67.2, 10
minutes late. At Limoges station, mile 56.2, located
in Nation
Township, the train again slowed for about 200 people in
that mostly French speaking settlement. Scheduled to pass
the station in the Village
of Casselman at 0911, the train
actually slowly passed about 0920, at mile 47.5, where more
that 1000 people came to see and pay their final respects.
Shortly after Casselman, the train left Prescott & Russell
County and entered Stormont Dundas & Glengarry County
which it travelled eastward all the way to the Quebec
provincial border.
VIA Passenger Extra 6433 East made slowdowns in
three communities of North Glengarry Township. The first
was made at Maxville, mile 34.4 scheduled for 0924, where
the CBC camera crew aboard the helicopter had technical
difficulties and the aerial view was lost seconds before
passing the station. However there were other CBC camera
crews at the Maxville station who recorded the tra
ins slow
passing along with well
wishers and a bag piper at about
0930. Scheduled for 0937, the next slowdown occurred at
Alexandria, mile 23.0, where some 2000 people, some
wearing roses and fl8gs, lined on both sides
of the track. A
bagpiper wearing a kilt,
James MacKinnon, piped the first
of The Mist Covered Mountains. Sacha leaned from
of the cars vestibule windows a took a rose offered by a
girl student in a school uniform. Also at the station, were
some CN and Ontario Provincial Police officers looking after
the crowds at Alexandria station for the actual trains passing
at 0945. Glen Robertson was the third
community in the
township where the train was scheduled to pass at 0947.
did pass the station located at mile 15.0, about 10 minutes
About three miles to the east, the train l
eft the Province
of Ontario and entered the Province de (of) Quebec at mile
12.l. In the De Beaujeu settlement in the Paroisee de (Parish
of) St-Polycarpe, the funeral train left VIA owned trackage at
7.5, De Beaujeu station, and entered the CNR where
the train once again became Passenger Extra VIA 6433 East
for the remainder
of the journey. At that point eastward, the
. train operated entirely ollCNR tirackage.
Also at De Beaujeu
station eastward, OCS becomes CTC. 1.4 mile east
of the De
Beaujeu station point, the train crossed mile 35.4
of CPRs
St-Lawrence & Hudson Railways Winchester Subdivision
at mile
6.l. Another 6.1 miles east of the STL&H diamond
was the east end
of the Alexandria Subdivision, mile 0.0, at
Coteau Jet. station, where
it joins with mile 38.0 of the two
Kingston Subdivision.
CBC camera crew was at Coteau station and
corded as the train slowed down, made a counter clockwise
turn towards
the Coteau Jet. station point. The train entered
the North track and made a crossover to the South track
before it passed Coteau station, mile 37.8, about 1010,
behind the scheduled time of 1004. At that passenger station
in the Municipalite de (Municipality of) Les Coteau x, there
were many people lined
up along the platform with CN Police
maintaining control. Eastward, leaving Coteau station,
remaining on the South track all
the way to Dorval, the train
gained speed to its maximum
of 90 mph.
After the train passed through Vaudreuil-Dorion,
grew along the way towards Montreal. Autoroute 20
came into view once the funeral train passed that town. Many
automobile drivers pulled
off to the side of the highway to
watch the tr
ain pass. In Dorval, the CBC helicopter crew
regained its aerial view of the train just west of Boul. Pine
Beach (Blvd.) prior to passing Dorval station at its scheduled
of 1033. The train passed the station about 1040 where
people stood on or around the platform. Among the
crowd were school children
in uniform waving Quebec and
Canada flags and also some war veterans stared
in silence
with their hats clasped over their hearts. A priest who was
there also, blessed the funeral car with the sign of the cross.
Dorval station at mile 10.3
of the Kingston Subdivision in
eastward direction became mile 11.6 of the Montreal
On the last
CNR subdivision of the funeral trains
journey, the train again gained speed until it slowed
to about 30 mph prior to crossing Rue DeCourcelle
(St.) and the St-Henri station point at mile 3.4 in Ville de
(City of)
Montreal. Once the funeral train passed through
the St-Henri neighborhood it further slowed down
in speed
through the Point St. Charies and Griffintown
Prior to the trains arrival at Central Station, it passed
the Wellington tower at mile 1.1, which closed in May, on
the north
side of Canal de Lachine (Canal). North from
Wellington tower, the train proceeded slowly along the
Montreal Subdivisions east end, which paralleled the
southem-most portion of the Deux-Montagnes Subdivision
trackage to Central Station. The train remained on the
Montreal Subdivision trackage to its scheduled arrival time
of 1055 at Central Station, mile 0.0. A few minutes later, the
train arrived at Central Station and came to a complete stop
for the first time since it l
eft the Ottawa Station some 130
minutes earlier.
The complete stop on arrival marked the
of Passenger Extra VIA 6433 East, designated as special
train No. 638.
After arrival, at the request
of the Trudeau family, Mr.
eaus coffin was unloaded from the last carin· privacy
for transfer to a hear
se. One hour later, about 1200, the hearse
eft Central Station on Rue Notre-Dame (St.) and travelled
east fourteen blocks to Montreals city hall. On arrival at
city hall, Mr. Trudeaus coffin was unloaded from the hearse
by the
RCMP pall bearers and moved honorably into the
main hall for public lying in state for the next 22 hours. At
1000 on
Tuesday, October 3rd, the coffin was moved from
City Hall again by the
RCMP pall bearers to an awaiting
hearse on Rue NObe-Dame (St.) for the funeral service. The
service was held at the Notre Dame Basilica beginning at
1100 and lasted almost two hours.
The funeral service, as well as the trains journey, was
covered by the media especially by the CBC, CTV,
Global along
with others. Reporter Mark MacKinnon of
The Globe and Mail of Toronto, Ontario, mentioned in his
article entitled
Poignant tributes mark last trip home on
October 3, 2000,. The train ride, though barely more than
two hours long, provided perhaps the most stunning
testimonial yet to the wide-ranging and enduring popularity
of the for mel: prime minister.
SOlllces: By town Railway Society-Canadian Trackside
Guide, Feb.
2000 (ISSN 0829-3023);
June 2000, July-August 2000;
Canadian Broadcasting Corp.-Oct. 2, 2000; Oct. 3, 2000;
Canadian Television Network-Oct. 2, 2000; Oct. 3,
Canadian Railways in Pictures, Robert F. Legget, 1977 (ISBN
The Globe and Mail -Ontario Edition, No. 47039 Sept. 29,
2000; No. 47042 Oct. 3, 2000
New Books
G~I!I..l.LIW.!li. ~_lca R~IIr.n
, J. David Inglas
Kalmbach Publishing Co., publishers of Trains
magazine, introduces Guide to North American Railroad Hot
Spots. Indispensable for rallfans who travel, this guide takes
you to 100
of the busiest, most interesting train-watching
sites across the U.S. and Canada. Each spread includes a
color photo and authoritative text
about the site written by
train watching experts all over North America. Each
of the
include directions from the nearest major city or
highway, what you can expect to see and the sites history,
and detailed information on train frequency, typical
locomotives, radio channels, nearby points of interest, and
more. This 208-page, 8
112 X 5 112 soft cover book includes
200 color photos.
The photo on page 207 (Dorval) was taken
by CRHA member John Godfrey. Guide to North, American
Railroad Hot Spots
is available in hobby shops, bookstores,
and direct from Kalmbach for $24.95 U.S, To order the book
direct, call (800) 533-6644, Monday -Friday, 8 :30am –
5:00pm Central Standard Time. Please add $4.95 (Canada
add an additional $2.00 and other foreign countries add an
additional $5.00) for
postage and handling when ordering
direct from Kalmbach. Wisconsin residents add 5.1 percent
sales tax, Pennsylvania should add 6 percent sales tax, and
Canadians should add GST.
GMs Geeps
The General Purpose Diesels
While Electro-Motive Divisions classic F units are
recognized as the locomotives that knocked steam
locomotives from mainline freight service, it is just as
significant to acknowledge EMDs original GP locomotives
for the role they played
in bringing diesel power to scores of
North American railroads. By design, EMDs original GP
(for General Purpose) locomotives were simple and devoid
of the ornamentation and streamlined styling that graced
many early diesel locomotives. Back in the late. 1940s, however, function was far more important than form for the
railroad industrY>
Many railroads, large and small operations
alike, were quick
to see the value in owning the bidirectional,
accessible, all-purpose Geep.
The pages of this book capture
GP7s, GP9s, and GP18s hard at work on U.S.
and Canadian
railroads during the Golden Years
of Railroading. Additional
technical illustrations and photos are included to help you
spot the
subtle differences between the various production
models that were manufactured from 1949 to late 1963.
This book is also published by Kalmbach. Please call
them for
price and availibility.
(1OIpl.1 i1.1I. RillIO!I~ Muul,IlII, HI nll~1I1
I Guide to
Tourist Railroads
and Museums
2 0 0 I
Kalmbach Publishing Co. introduces its annual
bestseller, Guide to Tourist Railroads and Museums, 36th
Annual Edition with updated information for 200L Railfans,
modelers, collectors, and operators will enjoy planning their
railroading vacations with the valuable information in this
This book includes information on steam engines
and diesels, railroads, and trolley cars that you can ride.
There are also displays, including model railroads, you can
visit. Complete site descriptions include operating
schedules, locations, phone numbers, photos,
accommodations, special events, and directions. It even
includes coupons for savings on entrance fees and tickets.
This 460-page, 5
112 x 8 112 softcover book includes 400
black & white photos. Guide To Tourist Railroads And
Museums is available in hobby shops, bookstores, and direct
from Kalmbach for $16.95 U.S. To order the book direct, call
(800) 533-6644, Monday -Friday, 8:30am -5:00pm Central
Standard Time. Please add $4.95 (Canada add an additional
$2.00 and other foreign countries add an additional $5.00)
for postage and handling when ordering direct from
Kalmbach. Wisconsin residents add 5.1 percent sales tax,
Pennsylvania should add 6 percent sales tax, and Camidians
should add GST.
The very fine book, previously reviewed, by Alan
Graham, on the history
of the Prince Edward Island Railway,
is still available and may be obtained from the author.
The Business Car
On May I Bombardier Inc. will become the worlds
largest maker of railway equipment, as the European
Commission approved its acquisition of Adtranz from
Daimler-Chrysler for $1.1 billion Canadian. The deal will
nearly triple
Bombardiers rail transportation division, and
will give the
company a 20 to 25 percent share of the worlds
rail equipment market. In addition to the business of
manufacturing locomotives and propulsion systems, Adtranz
is also involved in the rail service industry. Its a far cry from
the old snowmobile!
Canadian Pacific Railway is scooping some business
from the trucking industry and building on its
with the Hudsons Bay Co. department store chain. Hudsons
Bay, which owns The Bay and ZeJJers, said that it will ship
16,000 truck trailers annually by rail on
CPRs Expressway
service between Toronto and Montreal -instead
of using the
busy Highway 401, or Macdonald-Cartier Freeway. Hudsons
Bay already uses
CPRs Intermodal service between eastei·n
and Western Canada. The railway built an Expressway
terminal near the Hudsons Bay distribution centre in eastern
Toronto after the retailer approached the railway, the
companies said. Expressway is CPRs way to take back some
shipping business from thetruckirig industry. It is a fast
service that lets shippers put standard truck trailers on to
specially built rail cars that are then put on scheduled train
services that operate between Detroit, Toronto and Montreal.
Four trains serve the Scarborough Expressway terminal daily.
Canadian National Railway wants to halve the time
it takes to deliver grain to port and return
empty hopper cars
to the Prairies for reloading. CN president and
chief executive
officer Paul Tellier told the Canada Grains
Councils annual
meeting on April 10 that
in 1999 it took an average of 21
days to deliver grain to port from the Prairies and get the cars
back for reloading. Twenty-one days is simply not
acceptable, Tellier said. No commodity can remain
competitive on world markets with that kind of turnaround …
My goal
is to make that trip in 11 days. Tellier stressed that
achieving this would require coordination and the
cooperation of all the major stakeholders in Canadas grain
transportation system, including farmers, grain
elevator and grain terminal managers, and port officials.
While it wont be easy, he said, this can be done. Telliers
challenge received a mixed response from the luncheon
guests, who included farmers and representatives of vaIious
grain companies, food processors, the Canadian
Wheat Board, and the federal and provincial govermnents.
The goal
of an II-day turnaround is very ambitious, said
Canada Grains Council vice-chairman Don Kenny. But
with the teamwork youve suggested, Im sure that goal is
quite attainable, he told the CN boss. Canadian Wheat Board
president Greg Arason also used the phrase very ambitious,
but unlike Kermy, Arason expressed reservations about
whether the goal could be achieved on a systemwide basis,
especially if grain continues to be loaded and transported
along branch lines.
Tellier said CN has proved its possible to
substantially reduce the turnaround time for Prairie grain
He said the railway and Saskatchewan Wheat Pool
completed a pilot project last year, operating a II O-car shuttle
train between the Prairies and Vancouver with a turnaround
of only seven days. CN also has been running a train of
100 or more cars between Illinois and Iowa and the port of
New Orleans, with a turnaround of six days, he added. He
said everyone would benefit from a quicker turnaround
because it would reduce inventory and storage costs, permit
more spot sales
of grain which would put more money into
farmers pockets, and
enable eN to operate 2,800 to 3,000
fewer grain cars.
Frank Roberts, the first president of VIA Rail, died on
21 at the age of 78. Wheri VIA was established by
the federal
government in 1977 it was initially an arms­
length subsidiary of CN. At that time Mr. Roberts became its
president, a position he held until 1982. Born on October 20
1922, Mr. Roberts joined the
CNR as an apprentice machinist
at the age
of 17. During World War II he was a fighter pilot,
and after the war he returned to CN and worked his way up
through the ranks.
He introduced features to VIA that are
in use, and as has been said he gave VIA its identity.
Long time CRHA member StUaIt Ian (Stu) Westland
died on March
31 at the age of 76. Sixty years ago he was
one of the early members of the Upper Canada Railway
Society, and had membership number 27. His primary interest
was electric traction, and he visited and rode many of
Canadas street car systems before they were abandoned in
the 1940s and 1950s.
An error in our chronology has been pointed out. The
end of passenger service on the Niagara St. Catharines &
Toronto interurban took
place on March 29 1959 (two weeks
after the QRL&P), and not on March 22 as stated. Also the
1952 strike on the
TIC lasted for 19 days, from January 5 to
January 23 inclusive.
The continuation of the chronology,
from 1961 to 2000, was not completed
in time for this issue.
It should be ready for the next.
BACK COVER: The first street car system in Canada to be completely abandoned was that in Belleville, Ontario. The Belleville
street cars made their last run in 1901, exactly 100 years ago. This photo Belleville Traction Company car
8, hauling trailer
7 during the 1890s. Another two-car train waits
on the adjacent track.
National Archives
of Canada, Merrilees Collection, photo No. PA-167045.
Canadian Ra-I
. 120, rue St-Pierre, St. Constant, Quebec
Canada J5A 2G9
Postmaster: If undelivered within 10 days,
to sender, postage guaranteed.
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