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Canadian Rail 494 2003

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Canadian Rail 494 2003

ISSN 0008-4875
Permit No. 40066621
THE TRAIN NOW LEAViNG …………………………………………………………… MIKE WESTREN…………… 83
THE LANSDOWNE LEGEND ………………………………………………………… JAY UNDERWOOD……….. 90
THE BUSINESS CAR ………………………………………………………………
FRONT COVER: Canadian Pacific:S train No. J, the westbound Canadian stops at Medicine Hat, Alberta on April 30, J 967. On
the right is business car J 4.
Photo by Fred Angus
BELOW On May J 5,2003. Sydney & Louisburg car No.4 became theftrst exhibit to be moved into the new ExpoRail building at
the Canadian Railway Museum. A more detailed account of this historic event will be in the next issue of Canadian Rail.
Photo by Fred Angus
For your membership in the CRHA, which
includes a subscription to Canadian Rail,
write to:
CRHA, 120 Rue St-Pierre, St. Constant,
J5A 2G9
Membership Dues for 2003:
Canada: $40.00 (including all taxes)
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historical data, photos,
maps and other material. Please
send all contributions to the editor: Fred
F; Angus, 3021
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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 retumed to the contributer
if requested. Remember Knowledge
is of little value unless
it is shared with others. EDITOR:
Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: Douglas N.
W. Smith
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W. Bonin
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The CRHA may be reached at its web site: or by telephone at (450) 638-1522
The Train Now Leavillg …
(Or as The Dream Continues at the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel)
with Mike Westren
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River Rouge , Curzon and British Columbia ; three trains creating the illusion of being poised for departure.
All photos by Helene and Mike Westren
Two thirds of the North American continent apart,
very different and very important
national railway museum
developments are reaching critical, definitive stages. In the
Montreal area, the Canadian Railway Museum has opened
its ambitious new covered interpretive display halL The CRHA
membership has been kept well infOlwed on the progress
this venture. Far to the west, nestled in the East Kootenay
of British Columbia, the Canadian Museum of Rail
Travel also has passed a quite remarkable marker board.
to see a classic train, stretched out to
full length, are indeed rare in North america, or anywhere
for that matter. A few 1950s era streamliners do operate,
such as Union
Pacifics corporate passenger train and the
American Orient Express. The Royal Canadian Pacific falls
into an exclusive class unto itself In Europe,
of course, the
of them all, the Venice-Simplon Orient Express
has always been the standard bearer. In pure heritage
preservation terms, the options become even slimmer, which
makes the CMRT collection in Cranbrook all the more
remarkable. As
The Dream Continues, CMRTs slogan, to come
together for the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, a giant
was taken in September of2002. This sizeable collection
of passenger rolling stock was united on a fresh, linear site,
organized in rational order by train set. A magnificent idea,
wonderful vision, this courageous scheme consists
of real
of different eras poised seemingly ready to depart, a
grand illusion which really works.
Currently three tracks, with provision for a fourth,
create the atmosphere and feeling
of a busy railway terminal
point, right down on
Van Horne Street (B.C. Highway 3) in
Cranbrook. Very easy to find, the Museum sits on a narrow
strip between the active Canadian Pacific main line and yards,
and the trunk route highway. Buildings have been
architecturally purpose designed to promote the Grand
Union Station experience. A huge carved oak fireplace, from
Winnipegs Canadian Pacific Royal Alexandra
Railway Hotel
confronts the visitor at the entrance hallway.
To the left, the
space of the Royal Alexandra cafe / dining
room came from the same hotel, demolished in 1973. This



Displays· 3

w w w






~ r o » z » o m z +>­CD +>-00 +>-s: » T ­C Z N o o w
The new site almost ready to receive the collection of heritage passenger rolling stock.
alone provides a valuable local resource for functions,
weddings and conferences. Further excellent facilities may
be found to the right, where the original long
CPR freight
shed has been raised onto a new concrete foundation
basement. This creative building complex has to be the subject
of an aliicle unto itself.
Before going into the mechanics and logistics of the
just what are these trains, and why are they important?
This collection goes beyond the normal display
of powerful
locomotives, private cars and cabooses.
HeTe everyone has
the opportunity to experience the golden age
of passenger
rail travel, when getting there was possibly as important as
the destination.
It provides a lifestyle experience, admittedly
more likely to have been enjoyed by the more affluent
better off traveller. Nevertheless, it harkens back to the almost
mystical romance
of travelling by train.
to the collection, the jewel in the crown and in
truth where it all began with respect to CMRT, has to be the
Canadian Pacific 1929 TransCanada Limited.
Now all seven
representative luxury heavyweight steel cars are marshalled
in a single long line for pelmanent display and interior guided
tour. Carrying the markers
is solarium-lounge River Rouge,
next ten compartment sleeper
Glen Cassie, 8-2-1 sleeper
Rutherglen, 12-1 sleeper Somerset, dining car Argyle,
full parlour car No.6751, combination baggage sleeper
No.4489, and finally a high capacity tender. Ultimately a
locomotive, possibly a heavy G3d class Pacific type, could
complete the line, almost 800 feet
of solid train. Elsewhere,
modernized R-sleeper Redvers resides on Track 2 with other
interpretive cars. Full baggage No.4480, originally a
combination baggage sleeper, has been made redundant by
No.4489. Before the move No.4480 housed a fine
HO model
railway layout; this is now being rebuilt into the freight shed
basement alongside the restoration shop.
Track 2 begins with a four car set
off the 1907 Soo­
Spokane Train Deluxe, the Spooky Flyer. A consist made
up of a combination of both Canadian Pacific and Soo Line
cars, this train actually ran through the Crowsnest route and
Cranbrook when in service. The beautiful wooden
A rail on a track panel requiring adjusting as it is placed
on King Street.
observation lounge sleeper Curzon nudges up to the stops,
the striped awning fringing tbe
open platform roof gently
in the breeze. Next the palace sleeper Omeemee,
both thse are Soo, preceded by CPR first class coach No.621,
body only, and head-end baggage No.4 144. These cars could
best be described as fragile but stable. Even more fragile are
two representatives
of the 1887 Pacific Express: CPR first
class coach NO.52, body only,
and Intercolonial baggage
No.8027. Interpretive or educational cars fill out Track 2: CP
wood caboose, CPR sleepers Naughton and Redvers, plus
VIA ex-CN cafe lounge No.758.
A heavyweight car crosses the track panels out of the old site.
Brining up the rear on Track 3 is the open platform end
of 1928 superintendents car British Columbia. The 12
compartment sleeper Grand Pre had the singular distinction
of being part
of the 1939 Royal Train, and plans are to return
it to the splendid royal blue and opal livery applied on that
occasion. A 1936 lightweight Chinook set
is next: mail express
No.3612, baggage buffet No.3051, day coach No.2104, and
smoking car No.1700. These are all shorter length cars. Finally
the sleeper Newcastle and FP9A / F9B pairing of CPR
Nos.l409 and 1901 fill out Track 3.
The CMRT collections policy calls for an ultimate
Track 4 to eventually receive an officially preserved set of
Budd stainless cars forming a representative Canadian train
as introduced in the mid-1950s.
Three days, 11,12 and 13th
September 2002 were crucial in The Dream
Continues process. So much that had been
researched, gathered and buiJt up since the
idea of assembling and restoring a complete
1929 TransCanada Limited train set had
germinated in the 1970s, was reaching
crescendo levels this very hot week in late
summer. In preparation for this bug move,
three parallel display tracks had been laid on
new site space. Construction continued
at full pace on the new museum building
complex. Now the CMRT collection could be
rounded up and congregated in a single
location. While the core pieces were clustered
around Elko Station, the original museum site,
other components were scattered around
Canadian Pacifics Cranbrook Yard. Two
valuable car bodies were tarped up in the Citys
compound. All these could now
come together
in logical order and occupy permanent display tracks.
Early in the morning
of Tuesday II September, King
Street was closed to traffic for two days. Local
CPR crews
hauled in track
panels to construct temporary connections
between the original museum site and the active main line.
This little exercise had to be repeated four times over the next
two days to release all cars from the Elko Station site. Once
the stub tracks were emptied, but before the temporary
connection was finally dismantled, an A & B pair of elderly
Alco cab units was gently backed onto the one track
designated to remain in front of Elko Station. This pali of the
original site, with
station, water tower, diesel locomotives
and railway gardens
will remain.
The varIOUS
British Columbia bringing up the rear of the first cut of cars out on to the main line.
trains were then
assembled on the
main line, cars turned
where necessary,
marshalled into
the order intended
for permanent dis­
The form of this
has been described
earlier in the piece.
Note that this would
likely be the first time
1n over seventy
years that a complete
of the 1929 Trans
Canada Limited con­
sist would have
appeared and in
correct order. Any
cars that required
reversing were shut­
tled over to the
roundhouse and
spun on the turn­
MAY -JUNE 2003
RIGHT River Rouge with three more
Trans Canada Limited cars crosses King
RIGHT The full-length
Canada Limited
train of luxury hea vy­
weights eases
back into
LEFT GP38-2 No. 3029 marshalling the
1929 Trans Canada Limited on the main
GP38-2 No. 3029 spots the Trans Canada Limited up to the end stops on Track 1.
Meanwhile very demanding manual labour was going
to ready the new site to receive the new incumbents. A
permanent siding had been built behind the Prestige Inn for
secured access. This inn, which anchors the
museum zone
to the south, southwest, has also adopted an appropriate rail
Curzon is the first car to arrive on Track 2 at the new site.
oriented theme. Moveable temporary rails had to be installed
to link up with the display tracks. Fresh gravel had to be
spread and dressed before the train sets could be rolled in;
to accomplish this after the cars came in would not be
easy. With rails joined
to the track closest to Highway 3, the
site was ready
to receive its first arrival.
Gingerly, GP38-2. No.3029 backed the seven car
TransCanada set plus tender over the connection. Slowly
the consist crept and groaned its slightly arthritic way
in to
fill Track I, the solarium end of River Rouge nudged up to
the end stop by the terminal building. It did look maginficent
in the noon sun, this line of steel heavyweights with
the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop. Twice more
the temporary tracks were relaid, and piece by piece
the other sets were carefully wheeled
in. Eventually
all the cars were neatly lined up in their allotted places,
the permanent
display tracks filled. The temporary
connection has now become a semi-permanent
between Track 3 and the outside world. On
occasions, various pieces, the Chinook set as an
example, get
to go walkabout on Company business,
to speak.
Maybe it did take a quarter of a century to
reach this juncture. However, enough people believed
in the idea, and still do, and were possessed of the
tenacity or obstinacy to hang in. From tiny baby
steps, getting bigger and
reaching this latest giant
stride, the dream continues to continue; still many
to go. Central to The Dream throughout has
been and is CMRTs Executive Director, Garry
Anderson, whos efforts and the achievements of
CMRT have been recognized by CRHA Awards, among other
honours. He has been vital to the inspiration and
determination of this remarkable vision and level of
development of what now forms the Canadian Museum of
Rail Travel.
MAY -JUNE 2003 89
LtlX.ury wooden car Curzonis the last car to leave Iheold site.

Alcos at Elko : vintage A and B cab units are moved back into the old site where
they are now destined for long term display.
So now this part of the
illusion is complete, three period
passenger trains ready to leave the
terminal station. This is a
spectacular line-up, and represents
an absolutely major
on the part of the Canadian
Museum of Rail Travel. Everyone
should now make a point to go and
discover tbis gem, even
if it does
journeying clear across the
To use a somewhat cliche
and beleaguered
expression, this
is truly World Class.
Slowly but surely, as we
collectively join the dots, a picture
emerges. Port Alberni,
The West
Coast Rail Association in
Squamish, Revelstoke, CMRT in
Cranbrook, ARM in Edmonton,
Saskatoon, and so on to CRM in
St. Constant and beyond, the
small n national railway collection
will come together and will
eventually be recognized for what
it is and stands for.
The Lansdowne legend
by Jay Underwood
The power of any urban
legend lies in its longevity, its
ability to impose itself on the
public psyche to such an extent
that it becomes impossible to
ignore and -once told -spreads
gospel. The story of the disaster
at Lansdowne,
in Pictou County,
Nova Scotia has these qualities.
Nova Scotia Museum of Industry
at Stellarton. I was attempting to
provide something beyond the
conventional histories offered by
W. Milner (1920) and G.R.
Stevens (1964), in the works that
have become the accepted
accounts, but both of which are
to some inaccuracy.
previous years, as I
displayed my
working model of
the Chignecto Ship Railway at
model railway shows
in all three
Maritime provinces, more than
one interested observer would
approach me with a version of the
Lansdowne incident. The legend
alleges that
as many as 30 labourers died while
working on the Pictou branch
tbe Nova Scotia Railway from
Truro to New Glasgow, at some
time between 1864 (when the
province let the contract for the
project) and May 30, 1867, when
Sandford Fleming, the former
chief engineer, completed the task
just in time for the line to become
of tbe Intercolonial Railway,
and thus a federal responsibility.
(In fact, the line was completed a
year behind schedule. The
original contract called for its
completion in the most
substantial and workmanlike
manner on or before July I 1866,
to the entire satisfaction of the
Chief Engineer for the time
Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, the fifth
Marquis of Lansdowne, Governor-General of
Canada 1883-1888. The site of the alleged fatal
011 the Nova Scotia Railway, formerly
Lairg. was named after him in 1884.
It resurfaced three years
after the publication
of Fleming s
Way, with a phone call from CBC
radio personality Bruce
Nunn, the self-styled Mr. Nova
Scotia Know-it-All, who
specialises in providing his
listeners with little known
snippets of tbe provinces history.
Nunn was seeking verification
the story, and I told him I felt
uncomfortable providing any
corroboration, and that perhaps
Lloyd MacDonald, of
Marshdale, Pictou County, has heard a number of versions
of the story. As the custodian of the community cemetery, he
needs to know
if it is true, because a 30×70 foot lot lies
unmarked, the supposed resting place
of the doomed workers.
Unfortunately no records exist pointing to the
of the lot, or who might be buried in it, but it
appears there are several mounds
of some antiquity, enough
to suggest that a number of bodies were interred at some
There is one marker in the cemetery attributed to
an accident on the railway, a well-wom stone that marks the
resting place of a David Wynott, Ryno or Lynch (the
inscription is illegible) who died November 5, 1865.
to MacDonald, the legend suggests this man was
a survivor
of the accident, who died of his injuries sometime
The story came to my attention
as I researched the
history of the railway for a 1997 pamphlet
Fleming s Way to
entertain patrons of the Maritime Federation of Model
Railroaders on an excursion over the line from Truro to the two or three
deaths might have
been considered normal for such a
But the persistence of the stories provoked me to
seek evidence
of the event, if it indeed occurred.
Like most urban legends, the details remain
conveniently vague -but with each retelling that I have
of the Lansdowne affair, something more was revealed
that made it more compelling, and worthy of further
All versions of the event claim that Fleming, then­
Engineer in Chief of the Nova Scotia Railway (a widely
accepted fact) was under intense political pressure to
complete the line before Confederation -that not altogether
welcomed union of the British North American colonies
which was to be sanctified by the construction of the long­
awaited railway between tbe imperial garrisons
at Halifax
and Quebec. He was also facing a
continuous barrage of
criticism from the local press (the Eastern Chronicle and the
Colonial Standard) for having been permitted by Premier
Charles Tupper to quit his post as the governments chief
engineer to become tbe private contractor who would finish
job where others had failed.
One of the Andrew Onderdonks steam shovels, a Class A model, seen at work in the Fraser River canyon on the Canadian
Pacific Railway ca. 1883.BCA Photograph
No. 74941.BCA Call No. 1-30851 Photo in Onderdonk Album, #5, 17. (BCA
No. 98401-006)
The controversy surrounding Flemings change of
responsibilities created an unusual situation in that the
Liberal and Conservative newspapers
in Halifax joined in
support of Tuppers decision, while the Liberal and
Conservative papers in Pictou County were equally united
in opposition.
of the criticism focused on the autonomy upon
which Fleming had
insisted, for as Adams G. Archibald asked
in the House
of Assembly on March 16, 1866:
Who would now superintend Fleming? His own
friends, this man whom he had put on the engineering staff?
such a state of things calculated to ensure honest
The suspicion deepened as Tupper balked wben
challenged to supply more details about the contract, and
the qualifications
of Flemings successor, Alexander McNab.
McNab had been hired as a s
urveyor in the Public Works
department, after having left a position on the Grand Trunk
Railway, and a temporary position on the Caribbean island
of Grenada. That he was not well-known
in the province, despite
bis claim
to having deep-rooted ties to Nova Scotia, led to
comparisons between McNab and James Laurie, tbe
American-based engineer who had summarily replaced the
Nova Scotia RailwayS fust chief engineer, James Richardson
of Halifax in 1858.
The Eastern Chronicle of May I, 1866 offered
comment similar to Adams:
It is said, and has been publicly declared through
the press, that Messrs. Schreiber and Stewart, the former
Division engineer, and the latter, Inspector of Masonry on
the Railway, are contractors under
Mr. Fleming. If this is a
fact we cannot see how they can be retained
in the service of
the Government, and in government pay. The positions are
utterly incompatible, and destructive
of every security which
tbe province has for the due performance
of the work.
The Chronicle had already reported that a culvert
on Section 8 had been washed out, and on inspection the
failure had been found
to be due to faulty masonry, which
Fleming was supposed
to have inspected and approved. Such
The second of Onderdonks steam shovels, of the same era. These machines were similar to those used in 1865-67 by Fleming
on the Pictou Branch
of the Nova Scotia Railway. BCA Photograph No. 75146. BCA Call Number: i-30852.Photo in Onderdonk
#5. 18. (BCA Accession No. 98401-006)
was the intensity of the scrutiny under which Fleming was
Indeed, in its May 14, 1866 edition, the Eastern
editor, Hugh Simon Holmes, asked Premier
Tupper to conduct a commission of competent and
independent people to investigate Flemings work. Fleming
himself had made the offer
in a letter to the Halifax British
a newspaper that openly supported Tuppers
administration. No action was taken, which perhaps further
deepened the suspicions
of Pictou County residents.
In order accelerate the pace of the work, Fleming
had hired two steam shovels, a recent piece
of technology,
to assist in the excavation of the cutting at Lansdowne, (then
known as Battery Hill or
New Lairg) on the downward slope
of the lines highest point at Gordon SUlTUnit, on the border
of Colchester and Pictou counties. The area became known
as Lansdowne
in 1884 by Act of the Provincial Legislature,
in honor of the then Governor General of Canada,
the Marquis
of Lansdowne.
The site is on what is now the Cape Breton & Central
Nova Scotia Railways line, immediately to the east of
Highway 289, south of Westville. It is on Milepost 26 of the
almost exactly half way along the line. This was the
same location of the grand opening of the line (the second
ritual held, for Fleming staged a Golden Spike occasion
in New Glasgow on September 29 1866 to generate some
public confidence in his scheme.)
One reason for the delay in the work (another
widely-accepted fact) was the forbidding weather of the
period, both in the winter, when construction was often
rendered impossible, and summer, when rainfall added to
the misery. Fleming alludes to this situation in his work
Opening of the Pictou Railway (A. Grant, Halifax 1867),
and provides the best clue as to the most likely period of the
events surrounding the Lansdowne legend:
The summer of 1866 was unparalleled in this
Province for rain, as every farmer knows to his cost. This is a
most important consideration; the condition of the weather
is beyond human control, and the writer, from the first, fully
MAY -JUNE 2003
understood how very much depended on it. In his report
dated October 30
1865, he alluded to it, and submitted
that moderate good fortune with respect to weather would
be needed
to enable him to accomplish the object desired.
Railway Commissioner Avard Longley left no one
in doubt as to Flemings schedule, when he issued his report
in October
of 1865, prior to Fleming taking up the project as
a private contractor:
The progress made with the works on the Pictou
Extension has been less rapid than was anticipated when
the undertaking was begun, owing to embarrassments
resulting from the low rate of contract prices for work to be
performed, and it is not improbable that the most of the
contracts will ultimately be given up; nevertheless, it is the
of the Government to have that portion of the line
between Fishers Grant and the Albion Mines, opened for
traffic by the month of September ensuing, and another
section to West River by the end of 1866, opening the whole
to Truro by the month of May, 1867.
This will tax to the utmost the energies of all
concerned; but impressed as the Government is with the
importance of opening the line at the earliest possible
moment, no pains will be spared in trying to meet every
reasonable desire
and expectation connected therewith. I
am sorry to say that Contract No. 7 has already been given
up, and the work thereon is now being carried on by days
works, under the immediate supervision of the Chief
Engineer. The same course will probably be pursued with
other sections which
may be given up, or taken out of the
. hands
of the Contractors; and it is hoped thus to avoid any
serious delays in the prosecution
of the work. The Chief
Engineer expresses himself confident in the belief that the
work can still be completed as a cost within the limits
of his
first estimate; and
as the utmost confidence is reposed in his
ability and skill there is good reason to hope that the result
will vindicate the correctness
of his judgment. [Italics added
for emphasis.]
order to meet this challenge, Fleming had his
navvies working under tarpaulin shelters even in the most
inclement weather. This is also accepted as fact, and
acknowledged by Fleming in the publication quoted above,
which is less a celebration
of the opening of the line, and
more a defence
of his undertaking the work. The book is
composed largely of letters of commendation from other
engineers, and makes no mention of any tragedy.
McNab, for his part, made reference to the
difficulties encountered in Lansdowne:
The three heavy cuttings on sections 5 and 6,
by the steam shovels, have been taken out to a
largely increased width, which will obviate the great
inconvenience invariably attending all newly constructed
lines of railway, by the track becoming frequently covered
with slurry from the slopes.
These conditions obliged Fleming
to make changes
to his original specifications:
A slight alteration in the original location of the
railway has been made New Lairig [sic], but
to such an extent
as to render it
of no consequence whatever either as regards
the safety
of the road or character of the alignment at that
Plior to the contract being assumed by Mr. Fleming, a
certain portion of the embankment had been formed, but as
cutting from which the material had been obtained
proved so exceedingly hard as clearly to show that the
excavation could not possibly be completed in proper
season, the centre line was thrown a few feet to the north,
where, although
but little difference exists in the depth of
cutting, the soil is not of so hard a nature.
This alteration entailed an increase in the quantity
originally required for the embankment, as it became
necessary to widen it at the east end to admit of the original
curvature; and
taking into account the great height of the
bank at this place (about 70 feet)
it will readily be seen that
the increase
in width of a few feet materially enhances the
of the work.
McNabs report represents the only official
acknowledgment of any problems at Lansdowne.
Collapses -or slips -along cuttings and
embankments were not unusual along the line of the Nova
Scotia Railway. Major William Robinson, who had
conducted the survey for the line when it was intended to be
an intercolonial
railway in 1848, noted it was a common
feature of Nova Scotia soil when it became waterlogged.
In his report to Longley October 31, 1866, ten years
after the line had been built, road inspector William Marshall
was still pointing
to the nuisance caused by these conditions:
I regret that a heavy slip again occurred in the
McBean cutting on the Windsor branch, which has greatly
increased the cost
of ulpholdence. This cutting is on sidelong
ground, and collects and retains the water dUling frost from
the rising ground above,
and therefore ought to be provided
with a proper surface drain twenty or thirty feet from the top
of the slope, as a proper means of carrying away all surface
The Lansdowne story claims these factors
combined with tragic consequences, when the excavations
became saturated with rainfall, and the surrounding
overburden slipped into the cutting, burying the navvies
under tons of sodden soil.
Had this occurred, one might expect the local press
to react with suitable righteous indignation, and a scandal
erupt sufficient to require political action. But there is
nothing recorded in either of the county newspapers to
suggest any such calamity occurred.
is nothing in the index of the records of the
corners inquests, held by the Nova Scotia Archives and
Records management (NSARMS)
to suggest any catastrophe
took place. Indeed, the index from May
of 1865 to July of
1867 indicate only five coroners inquests were held in the
in that time, and four of those occurred in areas passed
by the railway: West River, Fishpools (now Riverton), Fishers
Grant and Albion Mines.
If these deaths were associated with
railway construction, they might be considered a reasonable
fatality ratio for so large a project.
Similarly, there is nothing in the graveyards at
Lansdowne Station
or nearby Lome to suggest there were
sudden deaths of men in such numbers to verify the
The Ritchie records of county graveyards in the
of the Pictou County Genealogical Society, at
the Hector Centre in Pictou hold no information that tends
to validate the story.
Robert Matheson, who­
se family has ties to the New
Lairg area dating back to the
of the railway, noted
of his family had never
spoken of any incident. Mathe­
sons great grandfather was a
stonemason on the Lansdowne
section of the line. Mathesons
father, born in 1900, was
custodian of the New Lairg
cemetery after 1979 (he died in
1993) and also never spoke of
any catastrophe.
94 MAI-JUIN 2003
There is sufficient
evidence to suggest the stOI), has
no legitimacy, and in all
likelihood probably never
happened, but urban legends are
difficult to dispel. Unlike most
urban legends, however, the
Lansdowne story is enhanced by
suggestions the tragedy was
covered up.
The Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Railway s track at Lansdowne, crosses a brook on
an embankment more than
70 feet high. It is here that the accident which may have killed
many as 30 railroad labourers is believed to have occurred, in heavy rains. (Jay
Tbe claim has been made that Fleming, anxious
and determined to avoid public outcry, had the bodies
quickly buried, perhaps in a mass grave at some conveniently
secret location. This aspect
of the legend certainly adds an
of excitement and romance to a remote section of railway
that appears to lack any attractive qualities. Even the most
ardent railway fan is
sometimes guilty of overlooking the
spectacular scenery of the area, now available only to
passengers on the weekly Bras
Dor excursion train to Sydney,
Cape Breton.
Another version
of tbe story claims that Fleming
chose to use a fill at Lansdowne, rather than a trestle, in
order to bury the bodies. This probably stems from the notion
that an embankment was cheaper than a bridge, as popular
historians like James Cameron
(Pictou County s History, New
Glasgow 1972) have claimed:
The steam shovels made easy work of the long
and high fill between Glengarry and Lome, and but for them
an expensive iron bridge would have had
to be erected.
Flemings own document, however, contains a letter
T. Vernon Smith, former chief engineer of the Barcelona
and San Juan Railway
of Catalonia (Spain) questioning the
of fill, noting that a bridge would have been far cheaper:
Tbe large ten and twelve feet arch culverts at New
Lairg and elsewhere are beautiful specimens
of work, that
never be fairly appreciated. Large, bold, iron-girder
bridges would have been much more attractive as works of
art would have commanded more attention, and challenged
m~re observation, and their cost would have been even less
than the works, unpretending and ornamental as they are,
which now permanently span these difficult and formidable
He got agreement in this from George Lowe Reid,
chief engineer of the Great Western Railway of Canada:
1 observed several instances in which you have, at
largely increased cost, built a solid embankment and
culvert, where, by a slight change of location and grade, you
might have greatly
reduced the amount of excavation, and
have crossed the ravine by a series
of spans, which would
have not only saved you a large sum
of money, but would
have produced a very pleasing structure which an
unprofessional man
might suppose, to be :hoth more co~tly
and more durable than a, so~id embankment witb its,
accompanying culvert. Few persons besides the Engineer
and the contractor know bow much costly masonry is buried
of sight underneath one of those heavy embankments
tom which 1 refer, and fewer still know how much care and
skill are
required in their construction, and how much is
by them in future years, in the general maintenance
and repairs
of the road.
It is fair to assume then, that the long-term integrity
of the line was foremost in Flemings mind, rather than the
of some incriminating corpses.
Crockett, now in his 80s, and a former
of the Marshdale cemetery has also heard different
of the legend all his life, but adds an interesting
element with a version that claims the workers were Chinese.
With no relatives to grieve for them locally, their
surreptitious burial was made possible without undue public
scrutiny. This aspect appears to be almost certainly untme,
for Chinese labour was
not used on any Canadian railway
until the 1890s
when construction began on the Canadian
Pacific Railway.
There is a strong probability that the reference
Chinese workers is a local adaptation of western Canadian
history, which holds there is a
dead Chinese labourer for
every mile
of CPR track in the Fraser Canyon section of
British Columbia. The Pictou branch is about 50 miles long
and the thirty dead workers nearly complement the
fatality ratio.
The are, however, aspects of this version of the
legend that
make it impossible to dismiss and -if true –
makes the event even more historically significant,
in that it
MAY -JUNE 2003
could indicate Chinese labour was used well before the CPR
was built.
First, the unmarked nature
of the grave would be
consistent with the burial
of heathen bodies by Christian
folk with no
knowledge of what a Chinese funeral might
Secondly, as will be seen later, the rate paid to
Chinese labour would have been markedly less than that
offered to local men, making Flemings saving in
construction costs possible. This kind of cost saving was
realized by Andrew Onderdonk as he undertook the
construction of the CPR in British Columbia (http://
co lIec ti ons. i c. gc. cal genera tions/ em i gran tslrai I way. h tm I):
Onderdonk, who had most of the contracts to build
of the railway line in British Columbia, could not
get enough white workers. The whites he did hire
disappointed him with their performance -most had never
handled a spade or pick before. He decided to use Chinese
labourers, and reduced his labour cost
by about $4 million.
Without Chinese labour he would have gone bankrupt
because it was the Chinese who linked the country from
coast to coast. Thousands of labourers were hired at less
half the wages paid to whites. They worked for a $11
Also, the
number of deaths involved, as many as
30, corresponds to the number
of men usually employed in
Chinese labour gangs (at least within the framework
of the
CPR experience.)
Indeed, Dr.
David C.Y. Lai, of the University of
Victoria, Canadas best known authority on Chinese
Canadian history noted:
Even the 1881 Canada Census did not list any
Chinese in Nova Scotia. If there were Chinese in Nova Scotia,
might have come from Cuba and Latin America (they
were the earlier
group from Fujian Province to North and
South America,)
or they might have come from Liverpool,
The Liverpool connection adds some credibility
to the Crockett version of the legend, since there was a regular
steamer trade between Halifax and Liverpool at the time,
and the Nova Scotia Railways agent in the British port city
was a relative
of Jonathan McCully, the influential member
of the provincial Executive Council.
It appears more likely, however, that almost all of
the labour for the Pictou Branch was provided by men from
the eastern counties
of Nova Scotia, or Irish immigrants, the
same combination used on the Nova Scotia Railway when
construction began in 1854. Given the systemic racism of
the time, it is difficult to imagine the local press would not
have reacted sharply
to the employment of Chinese labour
white men.
Immigrants were targeted to work on the line, as
the report
by the provinceS agents in London (Henry Boggs),
Liverpool (J.R. DeWolfe) and Glasgow (Alexander
Campbell) noted in their report to the Legislature in 1866.
The three quoted from a pamphlet issued in Great Britain
Ninety-three miles of railway are completed, and
in operation.
Fifty miles are in the process of construction; and
over One hundred and fifty miles additional are now under
contract. These works are creating an excessive demand for
labor, skilled and unskilled.
The wages were particularly attractive -perhaps
enough to buy the silence
of workers who might otherwise
feel compelled
to make intolerable or unsafe conditions on
the line public:
Laborers are paid
in specie, at the rate of 4 s. stg. a
day; masons, 8s. a day and the other mechanics in proportion.
Boarding may be had at from 8
s. to lOs. stg., per week.
While the legend
is difficult to prove or disprove,
Fleming cannot be held culpable for any deaths that might
have occurred, for he was rarely involved in the physical
of the work along the line.
Indeed, even as the construction of the Pictou
Branch got underway, Fleming was in the wilds of northern
New Brunswick beginning the first survey of fifteen
proposed lines for the Intercolonial to take. Collingwood
Schreiber, in the meantime (1864), had joined the Nova Scotia
Railway as division engineer
of the Pictou Branch, and was
on site until the completion
of the line.
is confirmed in J.M. & Edward Trouts The
of Canada (1871), where it is noted:
The Pictou extension was surveyed by Mr.
Sandford Fleming, C.E., and estimated to cost, including
rolling stock, $2,314,500. Some of the original contractors
abandoned their contracts, and work proceeding very slowly,
the Government took the work
out of their hands, and re-Iet
whole to Mr. Fleming for the sum of $2,116,500. The
road was satisfactorily completed within the time specified,
under the superintendence of another engineer.
This other engineer was the unheralded Schreiber.
G.R. Stevens devotes a great deal
of attention to the Pictou
branch and Flemings supposed triumph, but completely
neglects to include Schreibers participation:
Fleming had taken
on this work as a sort of spare­
time occupation but when it was discovered that existing
legislation necessitated a contract the Chief Engineer
resigned and on January 10lh 1866 undertook to build the
Pictou branch for $2,16,500, inclusive
of the work already
done and payments made. This was about eight per cent
below the aggregate of the original contracts ….
Stevens provides another reference point for any
involvement Fleming may have had with a tragedy at
Lansdowne, and emphasizes the measures he took to ensure
his deadline was met:

… Fleming paid off unsatisfactory contractors and
took over their work, but where he found work being done
well he left it in private hands and in some instances placed
fresh contracts. He erected comfortable quarters for his
workers and roofed over bridge sites, approaches
to tunnels
cuts so that construction might continue throughout
the winter. He strung telegraph wire along the right-of-way
to keep a check on the daily tasks. He procured two steam
excavators which did the work
of many men and he opened
quarries instead
of relying upon casual rock for his masonry.
He doubled his force of masons and stone-cutters during the
winter, when ordinarily they were unemployed, thus
obtaining them at cheaper wages ….
By the end of 1866
twenty-one miles of line,
from Truro to West River,
were open for traffic.
West River Station
at milepost 20.5 on the
line, on the opposite side of
Gordon Summit to Lans­
downe/New Lairg. Despite
this supposed triumph
against the odds, there is
little in Rev. George
Pattersons 1877 A History
of Pictou County to
celebrate the construction
the Pictou branch, beyond
this salutary paragraph:
96 MAI-JUIN 2003
In the year 1867,
just one hundred years after
the arrival
of the first settlers,
the railroad from Halifax to
Pictou was completed.
It had
been for
some time open to
Lloyd MacDonald (right) custodian of the Marshdale cemetery shows the unmarked gravesile
10 researcher Peter Underwood. The 30×70 foot lot shows some signs of interment. (Jay
Underwood photo)
Truro, and this had somewhat changed the trade, especially
of the rural districts of the county, large quantities of
agricultural produce being sent over land to Halifax, thus
making improved markets for our fanners. The effect
of the
of it, by the increased facilities which it affords
for communication with the rest of the continent, it i.s
unnecessary to
point out.
Although Pattersons focus
is on the early history
of the county, if the Lansdowne tragedy had occurred, it
surely could not have escaped the notice
of one so concerned
with the fate
of a mans souL Patterson claims to have spared
no effort to deliver an accurate history:
He has ransacked the County and Provincial
records, and teased all officials with his enquiries; he has
plodded his weary way through newspaper files, and works
of Colonial history; he has interrogated Micmacs, and, as
the Scotch would say, expiscated every old man and
woman he has met with in the county for years; he has also
conducted a large correspondence, and visited various
sections of the country in search of facts. To arrive at the
exact truth, he has labored conscientiously, as if he were
writing the history of Europe, and though he can scarcely
hope, that his work will be found free from all errors, yet he
believes that these will not be materiaL
Local mining disasters are described
in some detail,
example, yet curiously Patterson acknowledges some
aspects of the countys history have been omitted, and have
a dark side:
It is too well known that the history of the county
been disfigured by painful controversies. These could
scarcely be ignored in a histOlY like this, but the treatment
of them, it will readily be seen, must be a work of difficulty
and exceeding delicacy.
The course which he has adopted,
has been
to pass over all contentions of a personal character,
but where there seemed questions of importance at issue, to
point them out clearly and candidly. And though he could
not help, to some extent, viewing these from his own
standpoint, yet it has been his aim to look at them from all
sides, to endeavour to arrive at the exact truth regarding
them, and to judge charitably, where his convictions would
lead him to condemn.
It is clear from Patterson s standpoint that. there
was no incident at Lansdowne worthy Df note: But one
wonders if the Presbyterian minister was reluctant to
implicate Fleming, also a devout Presbyterian (he authored
works on the organization
of the church) in the deaths of
navvies who might have been Irish Catholic immigrants?
Patterson and Fleming shared the
same publisher, Dawson Brothers of Montreal, and were
published within a year of each other; Flemings history of
the Intercolonial Railway being released in 1876.
It is possible the content of the legend is rooted in
the traditional mistrust Pictou County residents have
harbored against the establishment in Halifax. This
attitude became quite apparent in recent times in the
aftermath of the Westray coal mine disaster of 1992, when
government collusion (albeit a government headed by a
Pictou County member, Donald
Cameron) with the mining
company was widely claimed
to have been at the root of the
explosion that
killed 26 miners.
If the legend is to be proved or disproved, it may be
necessary for the Marshdale cemetery corporation to decide
whether or not
to excavate the plot, but even the presence of
a few bodies would not necessarily corroborate the legends
claim; deaths on such projects were commonplace.
The exhumation would do more than satisfy morbid
It might help determine if Chinese labor was used
on a Canadian railway more than
20 years before the CPR
got under way, and it could cast the reputations of both
Fleming and Schreiber in a new light.
Perhaps sometimes it is better
to let the ghosts lie
Alexander Luders Light: The Forgotten Man
by Jay Underwood
In his epic history of
Canadian National Railways
(Sixty Years of Trial and
Error, Vol. I, Chapter 5),
George R. Stevens
describes the original plan
to develop the Intercolonial
Railway, and the choice
Sandford Fleming as chief
engineer in all too brief
The name of
James Richardson Forman
might also have been
added, had he not been
forced out of his position
chief engineer of the
Nova Scotia Railway in
1858 by
the venality of
some of Nova Scotias
leading politicians.
Forman went on to
engineer prominent
railway lines in Scotland.
Of these men,
none deserves more
consideration than
Alexander Luders Light,
and it appears that in fact
Light was the imperial
governments first choice,
not Fleming. Conventional
history has forgotten
Light, his connection to
the Intercolonial·, and. the
twists of fate that changed
the course of Canadian
The plan for a
joint survey involved the
appointment of a survey
commission of three
engineers, one nominated
by the Province of Canada,
one by the two Maritime
Provinces and one by the
Imperial Government.
Canadians chose Sandford
Fleming, who had come to
Chief engineer of
theNorthemRailway. It was
manifestly impossible for
the Maritimes to find a
of the calibre
of Fleming; so he was asked
represent Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick as well.
Alexander Luders Light, a photo ca. 1880 in has capacity as
government engineer for the province of Quebec. (National Library
of Canada)
According to his
biography in The
Canadian Biographical
Dictionary (H.C. Cooper &
Whereupon, the British
government, with a pat on the back for everyone, also chose
as its representative.
There are some obvious errors in this statement –
the first being that
Fleming did not come to Canada as a
chief engineer -but over the years conventional histories
have allowed the final facile statement to pass unchallenged,
to the point that it has become an accepted fact, when i.ndeed
there were numerous engineers who could have represented
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and a chain of
circumstances that challenge the legitimacy of Flemings
claim to fame.
The Myth of Sandford Fleming (Canadian Rail
#483, July-August 2001) it was noted that Collingwood
Schreiber (by 1864 he was the divisional engineer on the
Pictou Branch
of the Nova Scotia Railway, albeit as a long­
term associate of Fleming); George Wightman (who had
surveyed railways in Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick, and
had participated
in the original smvey for the Intercolonial
conducted by Major William Robinson); and Alexander
Luders Light, chief engineer of the European & North
American Railway in New Brunswick, were equally deserving
of consideration. Co. 1881), Light was born in Durham, England, Apri
I 17 1822.
His father was Colonel Alexander Whalley Light, a
soldier and colleague of notable generals and members of the
royal family, a factor that would play
in favour of the engineer
in later years.
After being pensioned out of the army with a
distinguished record
of service under the likes of the Duke of
York and the Duke of Wellington, Col. Light brought his family
to Canada in 1831. He was the first of a number of retired
British officers to settle in Ontarios Oxford County,
establishing the family home on Dundas Street between
Beachville and Woodstock. Young Alexander became a
student at the Royal Grammar School in Kingston, where one
of his schoolmates was the future Sir John A, Macdonald.
Showing proficiency
in mathematics and mechanics,
Light was articled
to an English Civil Engineer of ability,
and by 1842 had become assistant engineer
in the Board of
Works of Canada, under H.H. Kilally and Samuel Keefer.
By 1846 Light had advanced to the staff
of the Great
Western Railway
of Canada, as Allan MacNabs line began
its crawl from the Niagara River
to the Detroit. His first position
chief engineer came in 1851, on the St. Andrews & Quebec
(later the New Brunswick &
Canada Railway), taking on
the difficult task
of restarting
works that had lain fallow for
almost five years because
the companys financing
The Biographical
Dictionary notes that for the
next ten years Light almost
uninterruptedly filled
important positions as Chief
Engineer of Government
Railways in the Provinces of
New Brunswick and Nova
Th i s
reference is
98 MAI-JUIN 2003
After the com­
pletion of the works in New
Brunswick, it was suggested
to Mr. Light by the Hon. A.
Gordon, Lt.-Governor
of that
Colony, and Lord
Lt.-Governor of Nova Scotia,
that he should examine the
three proposed lines of the
Intercolonial Railway, in view
of his becoming ultimately the
of tre undertaking.
accomplish this he
devoted a whole season, and
employed two Engineers and
a staff
of men to assist in the
survey, the cost
of which was
defrayed from his own purse.
This document,
inaccurate, since Light does
not appear to have to been
so involved with Nova
Scotias government-owned
railway during that period,
the chief engineers job
going successively from
James R. Forman to James
Laurie, to Sandford
Flemming then Alexander
MacNab. He was, according
Christopher Andreae
(Canadian Dictionary of
Biography, 1990) retained by
Sandford Fleming. His appointment as engineer for the
Intercolonial was not the coronation
popular histories have
suggested. (Canadian Illustrated News.)
which has been overlooked in
the conventional histories of
the railway, places Flemings
exalted position in a new light.
The memorandum was written
to the new federal government
of Canada on October 25, 1867
by Light,
to make his case for
being named
chief engineer of
the Intercolonial.
Lights memorand­
um notes:
Joe Howe in 1860
to inspect and report upon the condition of
Nova Scotias railway. This too is inaccurate, since Light was
hired in a consultative role only, to report (February 1861) on
the extension
of the railway from its terminus at Richmond,
deeper into the city
of Halifax to Queens Wharf, and he was
not the chief engineer.
Additionally, Light worked briefly on the New York
Central Railroad, even then one
of the great systems in the
U.S., and such
experience undoubtedly made him more
qualified than most to claim the Intercolonials top engineering
His name was made, however, in the construction of
the European and North American Railway between Saint
John and Shediac, a project that brought him close to the
British engineer James Brunlees. In both
New Brunswick
railway projects, Light became familiar with the intentions
the Intercolonial scheme, both being private attempts to
accomplish the same goal. Light came
to the E&NA after the
New Brunswick government was obliged to take over the
work from the British firm
ofPeto, Jackson, Brassey and Betts,
and his talent brought him
to the attention of the lieutenant­
of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as they wrestled
with the grand proposal
of the Intercolonial.
A memorandum prepared
in 1867, contained in the
University of New Brunswick, Archives and Special
Collections Department, Harriet Irving Library, shows Lights
work bridged the surveys made first by Robinson
in 1848,
and later
by Fleming.
On the completion of the survey he accompanied
the Delegation to England
in the autumn of 1861, and drew
up and published a report, with a map
of the proposed lines;
which was largely circulated both in the Colonies
and the
Kingdom, and which tended very materially, at the
time and subsequently, to remove the objections of the
Imperial Government, and to pave the way to their consenting
to the Imperial Guarantee.
Light further distinguished his career at the onset
of the Trent affair when tension between Great Britain and
the United States increased over the U.S. seizure
of the British
mail ship, and subsequent removal
of two Confederate agents
on the high seas. By virtue
of his fathers military connections,
Light was named the armys engineer
in charge of opening
the rough road
between Restigouche and Metis, by which
the British might reinforce the garrison at Quebec in the event
of a U.S. attack on central Canada.
In the collection
of the Duke of Newcastles letters
(University of Nottingham) the duke informed Viscount
Charles Monck, Governor General of Canada (Ne C 11205,
December 21, 1861)
of his concern about the danger of the
frontier road from Saint John
to the St Lawrence, and advises
him that the imperial government had decided to open the
which terminates at Metis. Newcastle states that the
War Office is sending out Mr. Light
to survey the area.
MAY -JUfIE 2003
The war office at that time was
headed by Sir George Cornewall Lewis, who
had previously been the
Home Secretary
(1859-1861). A journalist by calling (he had
been editor
of the Edinburgh Review) there
is no established connection between him
and Light. The appointment was made on
the advice of Gordon, since Light was
already in the provincial employ as chief
engineer of the European & North American
loss to Mr. Light of £500 -besides which
he was out
of pocket about £1,000 by the
previous cost of the survey, maps and
reports and journeys to England.
The pressure
to go to Brazil was
being applied by Brunlees, who had
secured the contract to build the Sao Paulo
railway between the Brazilian coffee­
producing city and its South Atlantic port
of Santos. The railway would become one
of the most important in the State of Sao
Paulo, and had
to overcome the obstacle
of the Serra do Mar mountains. In a
of seven miles the railway rose to
a height of 2,625 ft., using a cable railway.
The £2,000,000 project was under the
control of 26-year-old Daniel Makinson
Fox, one of Brunlees brilliant students. It
was a formidable task, as a 1935 article
Certainly the British Chancellor of
the Exchequer, William Gladstone knew who
Light was. In 1850, Gladstone had received
a copy
of an 84-page book entitled A plan
for the systematic colonization of Canada,
and all other British colonies, by an officer
of rank, nearly twenty years resident in
Canada. The author was Col. Alexander
Whalley Light, and the bookplate bore the
To the Right Honble., W.E.
Gladstone, M.P., with the authors profound
respect. My name to be kept secret for
obvious reasons.
The ambitious Lieutenant Governor
of New Brunswick, Arthur Hamilton
Gordon. (Provincial Archives
of New
When the railway builders
appeared upon the scene they found
themselves faced by conditions which had
seldom been previously equalled in such
The book, like many other works on the same topic
of the era, focused upon the use of railways to spread the
influence -of the .empire by the expolt
of the. poor masses of
the British Isles. Why Light felt h.e should remain anonymous
. is
not so obvious,
The conventional histories
of the railway suggest
Fleming won the post because of an association made with
the fifth Duke of Newcastle under Lyne -Henry Pelham
Clinton -in 1860, when the Prince of Wales toured British
North America and rode upon the Northern Railway,
of which
Fleming was
chief engineer at the time. Lights memorandum
indicates he was equally well known
to the Duke:
When this service was dropt [sic] (on the avoidance
of war) Mr. Light returned to England with another delegation
in the autumn
of 1862, and had several interviews with the
late Duke of Newcastle, and afforded his Grace such
information as induced him to offer to Mr. Light the
appointment of Imperial Engineer in accordance with the
terms of the Treasury Minute which had just then been
Clearly, by late 1862, Light believed he was chosen
to be the guardian of the Imperial interest in the Intercolonial,
but tbe machinations
of Canadian politicians then came into
play and ultimately foiled his opportunity. The memorandum
In consequence of the non-compliance of the
Canadian Delegates, the work then fell into abeyance; but
so confident was the Duke that its suspension was only
temporary, that he proposed
to Mr. Light to remain in England
in the hope that a brief period would bring the assent
of the
Canadian Parliament. Mr. Light remained two months,
though he was pressed at the time to accept an appointment
in Brazil worth £3,000 a year. This deal was therefore an actual operations. Although the first dozen or so
miles out
of Santos run through practically level country for
a greater
part of the way, the land is marshy, and before it
reaches the foot
of the cliff the line has to cross. an aim of the
sea and two formidable rivers, both
of which are subject to
heavy and. sudden
fluctuations in level.
For the first eight miles a low embankment had
be raised to receive the metals laid on the 5 ft. 3 in. gauge,
the course
of the line paralleling the Government road laid
across the marshes. A 500-ft. bridge takes the railway across
the arm
of the sea which separates from the mainland the
island on
which stands time port of Santos. The Cubatao
River is crossed by four 75-ft. spans, and the Rio Mugy by
three 66-ft. spans.
This heavy bridging would stand Light in good
stead when he took up his position as a divisional engineer
on the
Intercolonial, responsible for the massive bridges
across the Miramicbi river in New Brunswick.
Brunlees, Light had found a competent and
lifelong ally. Born in Kelso in 1816, he built the Bolton &
Preston Railway and its tunnel under the Mersey river, and a
rack railway up
Mont Cenis in the Swiss Alps. The Gazeteer
for Scotland notes:
He was also responsible for the docks at
Avonmouth and Whitehaven, together with piers at
Southport (1860) and Southend (1890). Bnmlees used novel
and economical techniques
in the construction of the former,
which became the first iron leisure pier built in Britain.
was 1097m (3600 feet) long when opened, but extended to
1335m (4380 feet) in 1868.
Brunlees was also the consulting engineer with the
original Channel Tunnel Company (1872-1886), which
planned but failed to bui ld the first link between and
continental Europe.
The Gazetteer fails to note
that Brunlees had also designed a novel
railway to transport fully-laden ships
across the strip
of land that later became
the site
of the Suez Canal. That idea
sparked a chord in the mind
of one of
Lights pupils on the European & North
American Railway, Henry Ketchum,
builder of Nova Scotias ill-fated
Chignecto Ship Railway.
the meantime, Lights
employment in Brazil cost him dearly,
as his memorandum notes:
The Duke only consented
Mr. Light then accepting to proceed to
il on the condition of a clause being
in his agreement that he should
be at liberty
to return to make surveys
the Intercolonial Railway, when
required: The surveys were ultimately
made; and
Mr. Light could not but feel
somewhat aggrieved that he was not
sent for.
100 MAI-JUIN 2003
One of his daughters caused
similar upset. Lady Susan Clinton
married Lord Adolphus Vane -contrary
her fathers wishes (the duke
believed Dolly Vane, the spoilt
youngest son of the Marquess of
Londonderry, was mentally unstable.)
After Dolly Vanes death, Lady Susan
became one of the Prince of Waless
many mistresses, and bore the future
of England an illegitimate son.
Instead the
job was presented
Fleming. Henry Fiennes Pelham
Clinton, fifth Duke of Newcastle and
of Lincolnwas an enigmatic man.
A young Edward Pelham Clinton, Fifth
Duke of Newcastle. (University of
The duke dd not live to
witness his second sons distinguished
career. Lord Edward Pelham Clinton was
soldier until he retired in 1880, to
become Groom-in-Waiting to Queen
Victoria (1881-94); Master of Queen
Victorias Household (1894-1901); and
to King Edward VII
(1901-7), but perhaps the behaviour
his other children explains why tbe
duke took both delight and solace in
the company of men of vision and
Writing in
The Great Houses
of Nottinghamshire and the County
Families, (Nottingham, J 881) Leonard
Jacks quotes a Miss Martineau,
He held many important political
positions, and was confidante and ally to many more,
including William Gladstone and members of the Royal family.
His personal life was very unhappy. His marriage
Lady Susan Hamilton (1814-1889) was fraught with difficulties
was ultimately dissolved in 1850 after she abandoned
her family
in favour of a life in Italy. His relationship with his
father, the fourth duke, was strained; his father actively
campaigned against him in one election. Similarly, he had
strained relationships with most
of his children.
His third son, Lord Arthur Pelham-Clinton was a
homosexual, and the dukes correspondence with his friend
Gladstone often included complaints about Arthurs
behaviour. Born in London
in 1840, and educated at Eton,
Arthur entered the Royal Navy
in 1854, and was commissioned
as a lieutenant
in 1861. He served with distinction in Capt.
Peels naval brigade
in India, receiving two medals, and paving
the way for a promising political career. A Liberal, he was first
MP for Newark in July 1865, but retired in 1868
shortly before a scandal in which it was revealed he was the
of the noted transvestite Ernest Boulton, who went by
the names
Mrs. Stella Graham and Lady Artbur Clinton.
Boulton, and one William Frederick Park, were
arrested on leaving the Strand Theatre on April 28 1870,
as women. The resulting 1871 trial was a sensation,
and revealed Lord Arthur was not the only man interested in
Stella. The affair ended with a not guilty verdict on the
of conspiracy to commit the felony of sodomy. Lord
Arthur died
in 1870, the duke was spared any embarrassment;
he died
in 1864. noted
in 1864, shortly after the dukes death:
No statesman of our time has won a more universal
respect and regard, and few Ministers
of any period could be
more missed and mourned than he will be by good citizens
all parties and ways of thinking … Those who were nearest to
him were subject to frequent sw-prises from his simplicity, his
unconcealable, conscientious, and abiding sense of
fellowship with all sincere people, whoever they may be. As
a nobleman
of aristocratic England, he was in this way a great
blessing, and a singularly useful example.
From this we might gather that the dukes word was
his bond, and thus it
must have taken some great persuasion
to oblige him
to rescind the offer made to Light.
Flemings opportunity to involve himself in the
Intercolonial project came in 1863 as he was in London
presenting the memorial from the people of the Red River
settlement asking for a road or railway
to link them to Upper
Canada. As John Charles Dent noted in The Canadian
Portrait Gallery (J.B. Montague, Toronto, 1881):
In his professional capacity he
visited the Red River
to examine as to the feasibility of a railway connecting
that region witb Canada.
At the request of the inhabitants
there he
proceeded to England on their behalf in 1863, as
of a memorial from them to the. Imperial Government,
praying that a line
of railway might be constructed which
would afford them direct access
to Canada, without passing
over United States territory. Upon Mr. Flemings arrival in
London he had repeated conferences on the subject with the
late Duke
of Newcastle, who was then Colonial Secretary.
MAY -JUNE 2003
The Newcastle collection of the University of
Nottingham indicates the memorial was presented to the duke
between January and March
of 1863.
No doubt Fleming took full advantage of the
repeated opportunities to renew the acquaintance they
had made in 1860, and in doing so positioned himself as one
of the leading proponents of the railway, even though others
had championed the cause long before him.
Light was also in England
in 1862, as his application
to join the Institution
of Civil Engineers in 1863, sponsored
by Brunlees, testifies. This membership may only have been
token gesture on Lights part; something to add to his
credentials, for it appears from the records
of the institution
that he never read a paper before its assembly of august
engineers, nor was his obituary published in the institutions
minutes or proceedings, or published in the journal, The
ineer, as was customary.
The letters that passed between the duke and the
colonial administrators, in the possession
of the University
of Nottingham, however, indicate that Lord Newcastle had
ruled out Lights participation even as Fleming was
presenting the Red River memorial.
The collection of the dukes letters is extensive,
but in this particular case, incomplete. The first (Ne C 11184)
an incomplete letter from New Brunswick Lieutenant
Governor Arthur Hamilton Gordon (later I st Baron Stanmore
of Great Stanmore) to the duke, July 29,1863.
Gordon spent a great deal of his time lobbying
Newcastle become the first governor of the united lower
provinces, and had apparently been a supporter of the
proposal made to Light to be the imperial representative on
the engineering triumvirate. In the incomplete letter,
however, it is clear Newcastle had already explained why
Light was no longer a candidate, and Gordon offered some
advice to the duke:
We are going to commence the survey of the
Intercolonial line, and as by far the greater part
of the countly
to be surveyed lies
in New Brunswick, you will not think it
if! say a few words as to the choice of the Imperial
Engineer (Light being now out of the question) -It is very
important that he should not be in any way connected with
the Grand Trunk or Mr. Watkin, as
if he is, he will at once
arouse a prejudice against himself, and destroy a
ll confidence
in his report. What we want
is a really good English engineer,
wholly uncoJ1l10cted with North American parties.
is the first indication that Fleming was not as
obvious a choice as Stevens and others would have us
believe, but Gordon goes on
to incticate that Fleming wasnt
even New Brunswicks second choice. In a letter (Ne C
11186113) dated September
14, 1863, the governor notes:
Meanwhile I am anxious about the appointment
the Imperial Engineer for the survey of the Intercolonial. Do
not without consideration reject my recommendation of Mr.
He would take it I know if offered.
George Wightwick Rendel (1832-1902) was the
second son of the famed engineer James Meadows Rendel,
who had died in 1856. The senior Rendel was an
acknowledged expert in hydraulics, but had also worked on
transportation projects, like various chain ferries tluoughout
England, and was the London consultant for the East India
Like his father, George Rendel would become a
in the design and construction of wrought iron and
steel bridges.
He would also become conversant with Imperial
defence issues (which the Intercolonial was in its formative
years), serving as a civil Lord
of the Admiralty from 1882-
The name lives on today in the international consulting
of High Point Rende!.
The duke did not take Gordons advice, but his
reasons remain
unclear. In a letter (Ne C 1122711-2) dated
September 18, 1863, obviously posted as Gordons reminder
about Rendel was on its way
to Newcastles estate at Clumber
Park, the duke told Monck:
Amongst the arrangements respecting the
Intercolonial Railway agreed to hen the delegates were over
here, one was that
Canada should appoint an engineer for
preliminary survey, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
another and I another. I intended to have named Mr. Light
but when Canada hesitated about the whole matter he
accepted an engagement in Brazil. Now that Canada has
suddenly reverted to the
survey I am unprepared with any
other name than Mr. Fleming whom you have judiciously
chosen, for I feel sure that if I were to send a good engineer
from England his ideas would be much too extravagant for
such a line as
ought to be constructed and would probably
ruin the project by his notions
of expense.
I am, under the circumstances, willing
to forgo the
appointment of a third surveyor having every confidence
that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will select a good man
and having heard so favourably
of Mr. Fleming that I should
have named him
if you had not.
I say therefore do not allow any delay
to take place
in commencing the surveys for want of the third engineer.
The move did not sit well with Gordon. In a letter
(Ne C 11188/1-2) dated October 27, 1863, and at the possible
of being passed over as the govemor of the new province
of Acadia (a united Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince
dward Island), Gordon was unequivocal about his
For the first time since you have been my master I
now to make a little expostulation with you. If the
survey had gone on
or does go on do you think it was quite
to appoint as Imperial Engineer the Engineer nominated
behalf of Canada?
We had looked to the Imperial Engineer for
impartiality and had supposed that he would hold the scales
between those from
Canada and the Lower Provinces, but
according to this arrangement the Canadian engineer would
have had the survey and the report entirely
in his own hands.
Just reverse the case and fancy what an outcry there would
have been in Canada if you had nominated as Imperial
Engineer the one appointed by the Lower Provinces! Yet the
cases are precisely parallel.
can not help thinking that it may have been
suggested to you as agreeable to all the provinces. If so I can
only say most decidedly that no such proposal was ever
made to any member of this Govt. and that had any such
been made it would have been at once rejected,
It is perhaps unfortunate that the collection of the
dukes letters should leave so many gaps in the record, but
those gaps raise interesting questions, There
is, for example,
no record
of the dukes specific reason for not appointing
as he had promised, despite the fact that Light was in
England at the time, and would have been available, as he
had promised,
Christopher Andreae claims
Light was dismissed
from the Brazilian project:
,apparently for political reasons, in 1863 or 1864,
and he returned
to England
Whatever those reasons may have, been, they were
not sufficient to prevent his acceptance into the Institution
of Civil Engineers,
is also no record of any letter passing from
duke to Light to explain the sudden reversal of the
commitment the duke admits
to having made (in his letter to
Monck), which seems oddly out of character for a politician
noted for the strength
of his word,
Similarly, the duke
is oddly reserved in his appraisal
of Fleming, noting to Monck that he was appointing Fleming
as the imperial engineer on the basis
of what he had heard
about him, Yet, the duke had met Fleming personally
in 1860
as he accompanied the Prince
of Wales on his North American
tour, and as recently as January-March
of 1863 as he accepted
Flemings presentation of the Red River Memorial.
What could have been said by Fleming
to influence
the duke? Did he sabotage Lights appointment?
Fleming did not need the Duke of Newcastles
blessing or patronage in order to work on the Intercolonial.
Under the agreement between the parties, he had secured
enough favour with Monck
to win the position as Canadas
representative on the three-man committee
of engineers, He
was the ftrst confirmed candidate, as noted
in his 1876 history:
In pursuance
of this arrangement the Government
of Canada passed an order in council on the 22
1863, appointing Mr. Sandford Fleming to co-operate with
the nominees
of the Imperial Government and the Lower
This appointment was communicated to the
Governments interested, with the request that such action
should be taken as would enable Mr, Fleming, with his
colleagues to commence the survey without delay. Mr. Fleming
was however nominated by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,
and the Duke
of Newcastle, then colonial secretary, likewise
appointed him on behalf
of the Imperial Government.
In making the selection
of Mr, Sandford Fleming as
the representative of the Imperial Government while he at the
same time was acting for the British American Provinces, it
was felt that the Duke had rightly appreciated the importance
of avoiding the delay and inconvenience invariably attended
on divided responsibility,
Flemings account, which was almost certainly
written for him by his friend Rev, George Munroe Grant, is
accompanied by a footnote:
102 MAI-JUIN 2003
Viscount Charles Monck, the Governor General of Canada.
(National Library
of Canada),
The appointment was made by Despatch dated
17, 1863, to the Governor General -The Duke says;­
The character of Mr. Sandford Fleming whom, in your
despatch No. 81, you mention as having been nominated by
the Government
of Canada to undertake the preliminary survey
of the line of Intercolonial Railway, is so unexceptionable;
and the selection
of him by the Government of Nova Scotia
and New Brunswick
is such a further convincing proof of his
qualiftcation for the office
of Engineer for the line, that I am
quite ready to avail myself
of his services as the representative
of the Imperial Government. Your Lordship will accordingly
be pleased to appoint
Mr. Fleming at once to the situation. It
is agreeable to me to feel that by selecting Mr. Fleming as the
combined representative
of Her Majestys Government and
of the North American provinces especially interested in this
important subject, much delay has been avoided, and that
the wishes of your Government for the immediate
commencement of the survey have, as far as this appointment
is concerned, been complied with.
What Grant -or Fleming -fails to note
is that the
words were
in fact those of Sir Frederic Rogers, the under
of state for the colonies, and not the duke himself.
By this point, the
dukes health was beginning to fail him,
forcing him
to issue several assurances to the colonial and
imperial leaders that while he was frequently indisposed, he
was not incapacitated. (In November
of 1863 he told William
Gladstone by letter not to be concerned about his health; he
was not suffering as much, and his cough had not increased
the oppression
of the heart.)
MAY -JUNE 2003
Rogers glowing accolade included a proviso:
It will of course be understood that in waiving their
rights to appoint a separate Engineer for effecting the survey,
Her Majestys Government do not abandon the right to satisfy
themselves that the line
is one which will answer the purposes
in which the Imperial Government is interested, and that
can be constructed without application to the Imperial
Government for any further guarantee.
The letter, dated October 17, 1863, and the letter
containing Governor General Moncks instructions
to Fleming
in Fredericton) dated March 15, 1864, also points to
Stevens enor in asselting that the Imperial Government put
the seal of approval on Flemings appointment as the sole
engineer. By this time, Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick had
not reached a decision.
In his letter, Monck clearly tells Fleming:
You will endeavour to act in a cordial and
harmonious spirit with any persons who may be appointed
either on the part of the sister colonies, or of the Imperial
to co-operate with you.
The question remains, however, why -if time and
speedy prosecution of the survey were so essential -did
Fleming take the time
to survey fifteen lines when Robinson
and Light had invested so much effort to
naJTOW the choice
to three routes?
if co-operation was a key concern, one has to
wonder whose convenience was being considered when
Fleming spoke deprecatingly of divided responsibility?
Certainly he had established a precedent for himself in Nova
Scotia when he resigned his position as
chief engineer of the
provincial railway
in order to complete the branch from Truro
to Pictou landing, demanding a free hand from the government
of Charles Tupper.
The documents contained in the appendices
of the
February-April 1864 Journal of the House of Assembly of
New Brunswick shows Gordons own executive council was
loathe to
join with Nova Scotia in appointing any engineer
until legislation had been passed by all the colonies, approving
both the cost-sharing formula and the appointment of the
of commissioners. As it turned out, neither province
had to make an appointment.
On September 18, 1863, Gordon sent Monck a copy
of the councils minute to him, noting New Brunswicks
reluctant acquiesence:
In recommending to your Excellency to appoint, in
conjunction with the Govel11ment
of Nova Scotia, an Engineer,
to make the preliminary exploration and surveys
of the line of
the proposed Railway, previous to the passing of the Railway
bills by the Canadian Legislature, we are aware that
we are
not adhering strictly to the arrangements agreed upon at
Quebec by the Representatives of the three Provinces in
September last, and subsequently confirmed by Her
Majestys Representative in each, which provided that no
urvey should be authorised until the necessary Legislation
should be had by the several Colonies and joint
Commissioners appointed.
As such survey, however, is desired by the Canadian
Government, they bearing five-twelfths
of the cost, we are
induced to
advise your Excellency to make the necessary
appointments for that purpose, in full faith that no other
departure from the compact entered into between the three
Provinces will be proposed; and that the construction
of the
if found practicable, will be undertaken on the basis
of the agreement.
Given that very definite statement, it
is surprising
Gordon would have agreed to appoint
Fleming as the New
Brunswick-Nova Scotia engineer, when he had already been
given the hats
of the Canadian and imperial representative, a
further abrogation
of the Quebec accord of 1862.
In the meantime Gordon kept up his acrimonious
correspondence with Monck over Canadas intransigence
on the legitimacy of the funding agreement. The controversy
was created by Canadian delegates William Pierce Howland
and Louis Victor Sicotte,
who retul11ed from their November
1863 meeting with Newcastle (and a side trip
to Paris) to declare
that Canada considered the survey vital to the determination
of whether or not the upper provinces would participate in
the construction
of the railway. The September 1862 meeting
at Quebec had determined that no survey would take place
until all four parliaments had passed bills in support
of the
financing, to be done through a sinking fund toward which
Canada would pay a five-twelfths share.
is sharply critical of Howland and Sicotte,
but he ignores the repercussions
of their action insofar as it
influenced Flemings position.
Gordon made it clear
to Monck that New Brunswick
understood that the survey and the funding agreement were
not inseparable, and the funding arrangement was not open
to re-negotiation after the survey had been completed and
the exact cost established.
Nova Scotias administrator, Major General Hastings
Doyle (then serving in lieu of Viscount Normanby) agreed
with Gordon, and even Newcastle expressed his
concel11 over
Moncks apparent duplicitous statements that the agreement
of 1862 was abandoned, yet the arrangement for the
appointment of the engineering commission was still in effect.
The argument had simmered for most
of 1863, when
Gordon -receiving
Moncks gloating November 2 memo that
Newcastle had agreed to
make Fleming the imperial engineer
-wrote to his master.
It is with some surprise that I observe in Your
Graces Despatch to Viscount Monck, of which a copy is
enclosed by Your Grace,
an allusion to the assumed fact that
S. Fleming was appointed to act as Engineer on behalf of
the Lower Provinces as no such appointment has been made
by them.
It is true that the members of the Govel11ment of
Nova Scotia were not averse to Mr. Flemings appointment,
but it never assented to by the
Executive Council of this
Province, and such being the case, the appointment was not,
I believe, ever fOimally proposed for the consideration
of the
Executive Council
of Nova Scotia.
Referring to the dispatch written by Fredric Rogers,
lieutenant-governor also expressed his concern that Canada
had requested Fleming be appointed as the imperial engineer:
The concluding words of the third paragraph of
Your Graces Despatch to Viscount Monck, may possibly be
held to intimate that the appointment ofMr. Fleming as Imperial
Engineer had been requested by the Canadian Government.
If so, I can only observe that no intimation of the intention to
make such a request, or its having been made, was ever
conveyed to this Government. In reply to a question whether
the subject was mooted during
Mr. Tilleys recent visit to
Quebec, that gentleman
infOlIDs me that such a suggestion
was never made in his presence, and
if made would have met
with his disapproval.
Was Canada conspiring with London to get their
in place? It is unlikely. Newcastle was quick to respond
admit that a mistake had been made, a point never
admitted by Fleming in his history of the work, or
acknowledged by subsequent histories. Writing from
Downing Street on December 20, 1863 Newcastle assured
I intimated my readiness to concur in the choice of
Mr. Fleming, to execute a preliminary Survey, under the
impression that the Provincial Governments had already
agreed upon making that selection. In this it appears that I
was mistaken, and therefore the nomination must be
considered as, fOf the present,-superseded. I can only say
if the cbrrespondeilcewhich is in progress on the subject
between the several provincial Governments should result
a resolution to make a Survey, I shall be happy to do my best
to facilitate
any measure which they may agree upon as
calculated to promote a satisfactory settlement
of the question
of constructing the Railway.
It is unfortunate that the duke did not attempt to
determine how, or with whom, this misunderstanding
originated; himself, Rogers, Monck or Fleming?
With the argument between Monck and Gordon now
extending into 1864, and each side blaming the other for the
nearly 12-month delay
in starting the survey, the Canadians
decided to take matters in hand. Writing to Gordon on
February 20, 1864, Monck informed him:
Referring to the Correspondence which has taken
place between the Governments
of Canada and that of New
in reference to the execution of a Survey of the
Route of the proposed Inter-Colonial Railway, I have the
to inform Your Excellency that in order to avoid further
delay, the Government
of Canada has decided to undertake
the Survey on its own responsibility, and at its sole expense.
It is unclear whether Monck expected this news to
be met with satisfaction, since it again openly abrogated the
of the 1862 agreement to which New Brunswick was
rigidly adhering, and from which GordonS executive council
had emphatically announced it would not deviate.
Taking an imperious tone, Monck threw the ball
back into New Brunswicks court, and indicated Canada
considered both lower provinces to be minor players in the
events henceforth:
104 MAI-JUIN 2003
The Mogy viaducts on the Sao Paulo Railway of Brazil.
Light engineered these spans with his student Henry
It will be for the Governments of Nova Scotia and
New Brunswick to consider whether, if the results of the
Survey shall prove useful to the enterprise, they will deem
right to reimburse to Canada their proportion of the cost of
the work.
By referring once more to a term of the 1862
agreement, Monck was underlining the bicameral nature
Canadas understanding of the deal. The Governor General
closed his dispatch with a final miss.ive:
Mr. Sandford Fleming, the Engineer appointed to
conduct the Survey will be despatched
to the seat of his
operations as soon as the
necessary arrangements can be
completed, and I have to request that you will give directions
that he may receive any assistance in the discharge
of his
duties which
it may be in the power of your Government to
afford him.
Clearly Monck was ignoring the notion that Fleming
would be acting under no authority but that
of the Government
of Canada; his appointment as the imperial engineer had been
suspended by Newcastle. His gambit paid off, however, as
Gordon appears to have become equally as tired of the
bickering. Writing back to Monck on February 29 he noted:
The spirit which has prompted this determination,
I trust, offers a favorable augury for the speedy conclusion
of the work so long contemplated, and affords a fresh
guarantee that the Government of Canada is sincerely
desirous of its accomplishment.
While promising
to give Fleming any assistance he
might require, Gordons executive council made it clear they
would adopt the stance taken by Newcastle and Rogers when
they had named Fleming the imperial engineer
in addition to
his duties as Canadas representative:
As the present Government
of Canada yet appears
to consider a preliminary Survey of the Inter-Colonial Railway
essential to secure the passage through the Canadian
Legislature of Acts to authorize its construction, the
Committee see no objection to their making the exploration
upon the terms proposed, and are
of opinion that evelY facility
should be afforded to Mr. Fleming in making the desired
MAY -JUNE 2003
The Committee wish it to be distinctly understood
that the Government of New Brunswick are not to be
considered in any way necessarily committed to the
conclusions at which Mr. Fleming may arrive. Any Survey to
be binding upon them, must
be conducted according to the
of the Act passed at the last Session of the Legislature
of New Brunswick, authorizing the construction of the Inter­
Colonial railway.
It appears then, that Fleming came into his position
not -as Stevens has suggested -by virtue
of his undoubted
merit, but
as the result of an uneasy political truce. Or was it
as the result
of something more sinister?
There is still no record extant to explain why Light
did not
get his chance to work as an equal on the railway
survey. With
New Brunswick clearly intent upon the spirit
and letter
of the 1862 agreement, and with Light available to
work on the project by 1864,
it seems he had indeed become
the forgotten man. Newcastle would die later that year;
Scotia would seize the opportunity to have Fleming survey
(and later construct) the long-promised Pictou branch
of its
own railway.
Contrary to Stevens assertion, the selection of
Fleming, insofar as the Pictou railway was concerned, was
not popular. Indeed, his appointment took on a surreptitious
aspect. It was made at the end of April of 1864, as the
Legislature prorogued amid premier
lW. Johnstons program
of retrenchment, drastic budgetary cuts that affected the
SC.otia railway, but did not prevent a cadre of Johnston
party supporters from receiving plum public positions.
Johnston himself was appointed to the Supreme Court bench
as a sort
of retirement reward.
Predictably, the NovaScotian, while always having
been a staunch supporter
of Joe Howes original scheme to
link Pictou
to Halifax by rail, railed against the employment
of Fleming, and the subterfuge surrounding it:
A large portion of the late Legislative session was
in the discussion of Railway policy of one kind or
other. The result of it all was substantially a Bill to authorize
construction of a railway from Truro to Pictou, the
subsidizing of a company or companies to build a line East
to the boundary
of New Brunswick, and West as far and as
much as they liked at so much as a gratuity
per mile.
It seems to be generally understood that the
Government are engaged in prosecuting surveys of the Pictou
branch. We have made some inquiry on the subject, and the
results are as follows: There are two sets
of surveyors out –
one working near Truro, the other near Pictou, -the former
under a Mr. Tremain, a civil engineer
of this city, of whose
qualifications nobody in this Province has ever heard much,
suspect;-the other under a Mr. Hazen, a stranger, of whom
nobody here has ever heard, and of course little or nothing
expect to be known. They may both be at the top of
their profession, for aught we know to the contrary, only it
seems rather strange after all that has happened in Nova
Scotia, about errors, mistakes, big fills, bottomless lakes, and
blunders of one kind or other, that we should be actually
engaged in the disbursing of something like two millions of
dollars more, under circumstances like these. Dont let it be
supposed that we wish to underrate the ability of these two
engineers. Nothing of the kind. They may be each a
or a Brunell, for aught we know, but we never
heard of any eminently, scientific or engineering
achievements, connected with either of their names.
The allusions
to deep fills and bottomless lakes was a
reminder that the newspaper had not forgotten the treatment
meted out to the first
engineer-in-chief of the Nova Scotia
Railway, James Richardson Forman. These imagined obstacles
had been cited by Howes political opponents ten years earlier,
reason enough to dismiss the engineer. Only after the
excessive verbiage of the tirade, did the editor get to the
specific objection
to Flemings appointment:
But we shall be told, probably -ay, ay, that may be
so; but the Government have engaged Mr. Fleming,
of Canada,
chief engineer -the person chosen to survey the site of
the Intercolonial line, and the work is to be conducted under
him. Exactly.
Now this is what we are coming to. We understand,
and we have, we believe, the very best authority for what we
are about
to announce -namely, that for some time past Mr.
Fleming, who, as the public are fully aware, has been, and
engaged surveying and exploring a route for the Intercolonial
Rai lway in the service and
employ of Canada for that purpose,
who has never, so far as we know, been
in Nova Scotia but
once, some time in April or March last -that Mr. Fleming
now, and for some time past has been, in the actual receipt of
a salary of $2,000 per annum paid out of the revenue of Nova
Scotia! Here is a man who
made a flying visit to Halifaxscime
six weeks or two months ago, took a drive
to Pictou with Mr.
James MacDonald, and returned forthwith
to Canada, made a
to receive L500 a year, and all expenses paid, with the
understanding that he was to go back and conduct his
Intercolonial survey. He, it seems, is to continue to draw a
salary at the rate
of L500 per annum, and as long as his work
Canada shall last. If he gets a good salary there, as no
doubt he does,
it will probably last a good while.
Even today the notion
of public servants double
dipping their salary is anathema to the electorate, and
Flemings apparent sweetheart deal with the new chief
commissioner of railways (MacDonald had succeeded
Jonathan McCully to the post) allowed the NovaScotian to
beat a drum in favour
of former chief engineer Forman:
Now suppose that Mr. Forman was about to be
employed on the Nova Scotian lines, the Government of
that day had agreed to pay him L500 a year and allow him to
return back to Scotland to prosecute his profession there, it
would have been an exactly analogous case to this; and
what would have been thought
of such an arrangement, and
the men who made it? Just, we suspect, what the people
Nova Scotia will think of this, when they have been made
of the fact. If Nova Scotia can afford to enter upon a
to cost half a million of money, surely there ought to
be a masters eye and a master mind to plan and guide, duly
inspect, control and direct the operation.
Would any firm, company or private individual enter
upon a work
of such colossal dimensions, and into such an
engagement as we have described? Would not the person
Photo-Lith. by .he eU!lnd·De~b~rJ!s Lith. Co.
retain his service s on those
terms! Such an answer would
be nonsense. Tremain and his
colleague may spend weeks
and months surveying
sections and sending them on
to Mr.
Fleming, only to be
rejected, with orders for new
sites to be surveyed and new
sections to be sent.
Clearly an air of
SuspICIOn surrounded
Flemings work in Nova Scotia,
but the fact
of his appointment
points again
to his great ability
to sell himself to politicians.
There is, unfortunately, no
record of the conversation
that took place between
MacDonald and Fleming on
the drive to Pictou.
The bridge over the southwest branch of the Miramichi. The two spans over the river were the
most challenging aspect
of Light 50 work on the Intercolonial. (From Fleming 50 history of the
MacDonald was new
to the
job, and quite likely
unfamiliar with the engineers
who might have been
available as Nova Scotias
who counselled such an act be regarded by shrewd men and
capitalists as a
fool,or something worse? If it be necessary to
Mr. Fleming at all -if neither Mr. Tremain nor Mr.
Hazen be fit to be trusted with this work. Mr. Fleming certainly
ought to be on the ground, assisting
to select the very best
cheapest line possible. At least, so it seems to us. It
appears preposterous that Mr. Fleming, receiving full salary,
as we suppose, from Canada, (for he had engaged
there, and was at work before he was employed here,)-that
Mr. Fleming at Boiestown, or the headwaters ofthe Miramichi,
or Tamscouata Lake, or the neighborhood
of River du Loup,
searching for a suitable site for our Intercolonial Railway,
should at the same moment
be drawing pay from Nova Scotia
for locating a line between Truro and Pictou.
It does seem to
us about as anomalous a thing as we ever heard of. Suppose
that Lee, Longstreet or Beauregard were to accept an
engagement in Mexico to resist French prowess there, and
organize the Mexicans, and were actually
to hurry away for
that purpose, how long would they or either
of them, hold
of the almies of the Confederate States? And yet
is exactly what our Government is doing as regards this
Railway extension.
Well, so it is. Now what will the reply be? First,
probably we shall hear that there
is plenty of money in the
Treasury. That is announced in the last issue of the
Government organ. That L500 a year is a mere trifle to pay for
the use
of Mr. Flemings name in connection with such an
operation; Laurie had L1500. Then perhaps it will be said: Oh,
yes, but
Mr. Fleming can do the work of deciding as to the
surveys and the best lines, just
as well where he is, as if he
were on the ground. Can he? Is it reasonable?
If it be so, then
let him come to Nova Scotia and decide the Canada line
See how long how long the Canadians would stand that, or candidate on the engineering
triumvirate. Maj. Gen.
Hastings Doyle was 110 stranger to
Light; it Was to his units that Light was attached in the
of the Trent affair. Yet Doyle does not appear to
have stepped in to support Lights nomination. This is almost
certainly due to the
protocol that prohibited an outgoing
Lieutenant Governor (Hastings Doyle carried only the title
colonial administrator) from interfering with the prerogative
of his successor. The new v ice-regal, Richard Graves
MacDonnell was equally bound by protocol not to interfere
with the administration
of the incumbent govemment ofJames
Johnston and his lieutenant, Tupper.
If indeed, Fleming did sabotage Lights chance at
the professional prize
of building a railway for the empire, it
was not an altogether unusual occurrence. In an history
the Intercolonial Railway, published in the December 11 1889
of The Moncton Times, an unnamed scholar, reflecting
upon an early refusal by the colonial government
to supply
funding for the scheme noted:
Earl Grey promptly replied that Her Majestys
Government were not prepared to submit to Parliament any
measure for raising the funds necessary for the construction
of this railway. This was a sad blow to the hopes of Nova
Scotia, and excited some astonishment. The adverse decision
was generally supposed to have been due
to the Report of an
Engineer Officer, Captain Harness, addressed
to the Colonial
Secretary, hostile
to the scheme of an Intercolonial Railway.
It was naturally considered as singular by the people of the
Colonies that the fine plan
of national improvement designed
by one Royal Engineer, after two years of examination and
inquiry, should be so remorselessly scattered to the winds
by another. They were unfamiliar then with the lively manner
in which one engineer can rip up anothers work and prove
MAY -JUNE 2003
the absurdity of the most cherished scheme of a professional
rival. Smiles
Life of George Stephenson did not then exist, so
the colonies
of 1850 may be excused for their ignorance of
the ways of rival engineers.
analysis uncovered an unseemly side to the
of the civil engineer, and the lengths to which one
might go
in order to gain an advantage over another for either
a contract, or vindication
of their design for a particular work.
To this extent, such actions were not unethical as
of the day understood the term. Indeed, there were
or no codes of ethics to bind engineers of the period.
While there were many professional organizations in North
America at the time, they were slow
to adopt codes of ethics
that might limit the opportunities open
to their members.
The Engineering Institute of Canada, the national
umbrella organization responsible for professional
development was founded in 1887, as was the Canadian
Society of Civil Engineers, too late to offer any censure to
the rogues who might seek to make their names at the expense
of their colleagues.
Regulation of the profession was left to the
provincial and territorial societies, many of which did not
come into existence until the early 20,h Century. (Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and
British Columbia all formed societies in 1920. Ontario followed
in 1922, Saskatchewan in 1930, Newfoundland in 1952, Prince
Edward Island and the Yukon in 1955, and the Northwest
Territories 1978.) Even then ethical considerations were not a
high priority.
Nova Scotia, for example, the act establishing
the Association
of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia
(APENS), was not passed until 1922.
Ontario, according to Alison Piper (A Firm
Foundation: History
of the Professional Engineers Act):
In the period following the First World War, Ontario
engineers from various disciplines became aware of their
common interests, and decided to form an organization that
would grant them professional status. An Advisory
Committee on Legislation was formed to draft and secure
legislation to govern the engineering profession. It
comprised representatives of the American Institute of
Electrical Engineers, Chemical Institute of Canada, Canadian
Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Engineering Institute
of Canada, Ot]tario Association of Architects and Association
of Ontario Land Surveyors.
However, passage of the Act was not achieved
without compromise. Although the committee wanted the
to license and discipline engineers, members of the
legislature suspected engineers were using the pretext of
protecting the public to get monopoly powers for themselves
and refused to support licensure. As a result, the Act permitted
only registration, not
In the United States, one of the earliest professional
bodies -the Boston Society
of Civil Engineers -was founded
in 1848 by James Laurie. Even Laurie was not exempt from the
suspicion that he might scuttle a colleagues career. He was
the engineer who came under fire when his 1856 report on the
state of the Nova Scotia Railway, commissioned by a
government determined to be rid of its chief engineer, James
Richardson Forman, served its purpose amply.
Now known as the American Society of Civil
Engineers, that societys code of ethics today notes;
From 1877 to 1914, the Societys Board of Directors
believed that ethics was a matter
of an engineers personal
responsibility and honor and not appropriate for a written
code. In response to a motion concerning professional
conduct in 1877, the board resolved [t]hat it it is inexpedient
for the Society
to instruct its members as to their duties in
private professional matters. In I 914 a special committee of
the Board of Directors was appointed to draft a Code.
Section 5
of the Fundamental Canons of that code
sta tes:
Engineers shall build their professional reputation
on the merit
of their services and shall not compete unfairly
Some groups waited even longer. The history of the
National Society
of Professional Engineers notes:
The first reference to a Society Code of Ethics is
found in the May 1935 issue of The American Engineer in
the form of a suggestion for membership consideration. It is
not clear whether the SocietyS Board of Directors ever
adopted or acted upon the Suggested Code.
Even in Great Britain, the august Institution
of Civil
Engineers, formed in 1820 with Thomas Telford as its first
president, was more interested in technical aspects of
engineering rather than ethical considerations (Telford used
the institution as a forum for the canal owners to lobby against
the emerging railroads).
The charter presents the goals of the
institution in flowery prose, calling itself:

… a Society for the general advancement of
Mechanical Science, and more particularly for promoting the
acquisition of that species of knowledge which constitutes
the profession of a Civil Engineer, being the art of directing
the great sources of power in Nature for the use and
convenience of man ..
John Smeatons Society of Civil Engineers,
in 1771, was more of a social club, but did hold its
to a high standard. In a 1996 essay on the history of
the Institution of Civil Engineers, head librarian Michael M
Chrimes notes:
Smeaton came from a legal background, and from
the first his
own practice was distinguished by a code of
professional conduct which would be virtually
indistinguishable from todays.
Rule eight
of the institutions 1975 rules of conduct,
modeled on Smeatons example states:
A member shall not maliciously or recklessly injure
or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the
professional reputation, prospects or business of another
is not to say such codes were strictly followed.
Chrimes history notes the institutions second president,
James Walker, found himself the subject of a possible breach
of the code:
Pholo·Lh.h. br ,~. Buti.nd·O .. I».,.u Lhl>. Co.
CJ(.oj u.oork, ;nprCgru,)
profession at that time was a cutthroat
business, with disagreements often
spilling out of private offices and into the
Fleming himself came under
repeated criticism for his choice of the
Chaleur route for the Intercolonial
(although he had no real choice, it was the
route preferred and insisted upon by the
Imperial government) from
New Brunswick
engineers who saw more potential in the
central route.
C.R. Hartley, a respected
surveyor, made headlines in the March 13,
1868 edition of the New Brunswick
Reporter. Who is Hartley, the
newspaper asked:
Well, Hartley is a gentleman
who has received a telegram from Ottawa
of the bridge over the northwest branch of the Miramichi. The
falsework necessary
for six truss spans across the deep, rapid rivel; increased the
of fatalities to workers. (From Flemings history of the Intercolonial.) somewhat
to this effect:
Are you
prepared immediately
to take charge of a line of survey for the
Intercolonial Railroad north of
Fredericton under my instruction? The Institution can be seen to have acquired its
mature fonn at this time -the early 1840s, and this was reflected
in the deposition of James Walker as President in 1845. Walker
had felt he
would, like Telford, serve for life -but other
members felt this was stifling the Institution and the ambition
of younger members. There was some suggestion that Walker
may have professionally benefited from his position, but
Walker was very generous
to the Institution, and very bitter
about his treatment. However, biennial, and later annual
Presidencies were indicative
ofa more mature body, less reliant
on the prestige
of an individual member.
Chrimes notes that Walkers chief rival was the
Number Two man
of the organization:
Walker particularly fell out with Manby. Charles
is well-known for his role as the first pennanent full
time Secretary, but he was heavily involved with other
business interests, with Robert Stephenson and Company,
in the theatrical world.
Today, professional engineers in Canada are
expected to follow the code of ethics set out by the Canadian
of Professional engineers. The fifth tenet of the code
calls upon them to:
Conduct themselves with equity, fairness, courtesy
and good faith towards clients, colleagues and others, give
credit where
it is due, and accept as well as give honest and
fair professional criticism.
Clearly such regulation was the result of the
recognition of an history of unfair, often conupt, practices.
The rivalry and chicanery, not limited to the engineering
profession, puts the lie to the notion of Victorian era
businessmen as paragons of integrity. Indeed, the engineering
S. Fleming.
is a gentleman who has set the ball rolling,
which increasing in size as it rolls along, is
destined to
obscure the vain pretension of the North Shore as the great
Intercolonial Highway. Hartley has shown by the result
his Railway resolutions in New Brunswick, that two-thirds
of the province favour a more Central route, and he has
shown to merchants and capitalists of Montreal the
advantages of this route, that they have brought such a
to bear upon MJ: Cartier as he will find difjicult to
fact the tide has turned, and is now setting
with resistless force towards the Keswick Valley route.
In its May 8 edition the same newspaper went on to
compare Hartleys grades in the central region with those
Major William Robinson and Fleming:
It stated on Mr. Hartleys authority, that he had
been successful
in finding a practicable and economical route
across the
height of land forming the water-shed between
the Tobique and the Miramichi. This ridge supplied the chief
arguments against several short routes proposed for the
It has been the grand excuse for advocating the
North Shore route, that by going round over the route
surveyed by Major Robinson, the ridge in North-Western
New Brunswick could be avoided. Major Robinson himself,
in his
report, was careful to bring out this argument, and
every advocate
of the long route since has rung the charges
upon the story. Mr. Hartleys report, however, shows that the
of grade in the way of a short route have been
wonderfully exaggerated. He has surveyed about fifteen miles
MAY -JUNE 2003
of the most difficult section of the whole survey, and finds
the average grade per mile only 43 feet.. ..
This is much more
favourable than the result
of Mr. Flemings hUlTied survey,
much more favourable than Major Robinsons estimate
of the grades in that locality.
The Reporters editor, no doubt keen to promote a
route that would pass by his home city
of Fredericton, drove
home his point proclaiming a final nail in the coffin of the
contentious North Shore route favoured by
It may be fairly claimed that Mr. Hartley has
succeeded in disposing of the bugbear of the height ofland.
He has shown that it presents no greater difficulty than any
other railways frequently encountered. He has shewn it can
be crossed at grades which are not by any means unusual.
As compared with the bridging and difficulties
of the North
Shore road, Mr. Hartley has proved the obstacles
in the way
of a shorter route to be almost insignificant.
In this matte
r, Hartley was supported by Walter Buck,
New Brunswick engineer who -in November of 1867

had published a lO-page pamphlet, unsolicited by any of
the governments involved
in the construction of the railway,
dismissing military considerations that played against the
central route. Also entering the fray were engineers John
OHanley and Robert Shanly,
Fleming was magnanimous in return; most of his
critics -including Hartley and Buck -found
work as divisional
engineers at
some point on the route.
Light, who offered no public criticism
of Flemings
surveys -or complaint about losing the prized job -was
similarly rewarded after he returned from England, newly­
wed, in 1867. George
Roses 1886 biography (A Cyclopedia
of Canadian Biography, Rose Publishing Co. Toronto) notes:

On his return again to England he became
associated with Mr. Bnmiees, Meadows Rendel and Berkley
Bruce, eminent English engineers and operated with them
some very difficult and important undeltakings.
He joined the engineering staff of the Intercolonial
in 1869, as chief engineer for the Miramichi district, replacing
W.H. Tremaine, a long-time Fleming associate
who had most
recently worked with the Engineer-in-Chief on the
construction of the Pictou branch of the Nova Scotia Railway.
Immediately under Light was William Smellie, a
of the Nova Scotia Railway who had been dismissed
in the wake of Lauries report into the management of the
railway, for his deliberate manipulation
of estimates in order
to hide overpayments to contractors on the Windsor branch
in 1858.
The Miramichi district, as Fleming (or Grant) points
out in his
1876 history of the project was not possessed of
very difficult grades like the Restigouche district, but it did
feature the formidable Miramichi River, necessitating
construction of two magnificent bridges.
So complex was this work, that Fleming (or Grant)
devotes an entire chapter to their construction, and a series
of illustrations detailing their design. Each of the two bridges,
labeled by Fleming as the north-west and south-west,
according to their positions relative to the river, required six
of 200 feet, and massive masonry piers placed in the
deep, fast-flowing river.
Whik the design of the bridges is credited to
Fleming, it is Light
who deserves the credit for ensuring the
work was done on time, and did not create the kind
of delays
less challenging divisions elsewhere on the line caused.
Certainly the construction
of the Miramichi bridges
were fraught with danger. Fleming appears to have adopted
the most frugal, and dangerous means
of crossing the river,
using truss
spans rather than a suspension bridge.
Writing in Design of Steel Bridges; Theory and
Practice for the use of Civil Engineers and Students
(McGraw-Hill, 1915) F.e. Kunz notes:
Simple truss bridges cease to be economical for
spans over 700 feet., if the length of span is selected for
smallest total cost, as the conditions which make an
intermediate pier too expensive increase also the cost of
erection falsework and the chances of accident during
Written so long after the Intercolonial was completed,
this warning would have been lost on Fleming, although the
technology existed for suspension bridges at the time, and
the philosophy was generally the
Indeed, it
would seem Fleming was most comfortable
with the truss bri dge design, for all the bridges on the
Intercolonial were of this pattern, from the small spans across
the Missaguash at the
Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border,
to the larger bridges
of the Miramichi and the Restigouche.
That there were no deaths associated with the
Miramichi bridges and the massive falseworks necessary to
build the piers midstream, speaks more highly
of Lights talent
it does of Flemings.
None of the engineers working under Fleming is
given any praise for their
work by the Engineer-in-Chief. Only
Light comes close to an acknowledgement of his talent, but
not for his work on the Miramichi.
The section of the European & North American
Railway between Shediac and Moncton, completed by Light
in 1860, before he left for his Brazilian venture, was
incorporated into the Intercolonials Nova Scotia division as
U. Of that section, Fleming wrote:
This section was opened for public traffic
in 1860,
and having been well constructed is
in excellent order. The
Engineer-in-Chief was Mr. A.L. Light.
It is perhaps all Light could expect of the man who
may have usurped his position as overseer
of what was then
the largest, and certainly the most important construction
project in the nation. Light left the Intercolonial engineering
staff in 1874, after the Miramichi district was complete, two
years before the line
was finally opened to Montreal.
Some of the bridges over rivers along the line of the Quebec, Montreal and Occidental railway, built by Light in the years after
the Intercolonial.
The Rose biography notes Light was immediately
appointed government engineer
of railways for the province
of Quebec:

… and as such had entire control of the constmction
of the Q.M. & O. Railway between Quebec and Montreal.
Amongst other works, he is the consulting engineer to the
Quebec and Lake St. John Railway, -a peculiar road differing
essentially from Jines
mnning parallel to the St. Lawrence. It
pierces the Laurentides, necessarily, with velY heavy grades
sharp curves, worked by unusually heavy engines. In
Mr. Light was chosen by the Dominion government as
in charge of the surveys of one of the divisions of
the proposed Short Line Railway, from Montreal to Saint John
and Halifax. His bold, able and vigorous advocacy
of the line
via Quebec, the Etchemin valley, and Chesuncook, by which
he claimed he could get grades not exceeding forty feet
mile, gave rise to a warm discussion in the House of Commons.
Light is now engaged with James Brunlees, C.E. of
London, England, in forming a company for the constmction
of a Cantilever bridge over the St. Lawrence at Quebec, for
which he has prepared the plans and specifications. This
bridge will have a clear span of 1,550 feet, a length of steel
of2,800 feet, a total length of bridge and arched
of 3,460 feet and a clear height above tide of 150
When accomplished it will be one of the grandest
engineering achievements of the world, and Mr. Lights
professional skill amply qualifies him to carl) out the same to
a successful conclusion. This distinguished
gentleman has
made for himself an enduring name in his profession, and
several great public enterprises in this countl) are under no
little obligation to his skill. He
is yet in the zenith of his physical
and professional powers; and we doubt not that brilliant
achievements still await him.
There was a great deal of irony in Roses final
prediction for Light. The Brunlees company was not
successful in obtaining the contract for the bridge at Quebec,
went instead to a group of local capitalists who incorporated
the Quebec Bridge Company in 1887, and threw their lot
with the Phoenix Bridge Company of Pennsylvania to come
up with a design and a contractor.
The project was fraught with peril. The only
practicable place for a bridge was a point seven miles upstream
from the Citadel, where the river narrowed to less than three­
of a mile, flowing between high cliffs. The water was
190 feet deep, and the current flowed at close to seven miles
an hour.
The end result for the company has been well
documented in John Tarkovs case study A Disaster in the
Making, (American Heritage
of Invention and Technology,
Spring 1986); the span designed by the American engineer
Theodore Cooper ·took a matter of seconds to collapse into
the river
in 1907.
Cooper had been brought in because the companys
chief engineer, Edward A. Hoare, had never worked on a
bridge with a span longer than three hundred feet. Light, on
the other hand, had experience both
in New Bmnswick and
Brazil with long spans. Cooper was not without talent, but as
Tarkov notes:
The projects he undertook … were notable and
prestigious. His works included the Seekonk Bridge in
Providence, the
Sixth Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, and the
Second Avenue Bridge
in New York. He moved through the
most rarefied
atmosphere of his profession, but unlike his
mentor [James Buchanan] Eads, he never oversaw a truly
heroic masterwork. The Quebec Bridge, viewed in that light,
was irresistible to Cooper. He said the bridge would be his
last work.
It would stand as the crowning achievement to an
elegant career.
Light also had no
crowning achievement, although
he certainly had a magnificent,
if unheralded career. If it galled
him that his
opportunity had been taken from him by the
of Fleming, he appears never to have said so.
it is interesting to wonder if -had he been the engineer­
of the Intercolonial as originally promised by Lord
Newcastle -would he then have gone on to survey the route
for the Canadian Pacific, as Fleming had done.
Alexander Luders Light died in 1894, nine years after
the driving
of the last spike, Nov. 7 1885 at Craigallachie. Did
ever think it should have been him looking over the
shoulder of Donald Smith in that historic photograph?
The Business Car
Mr. Gordon D. lomini has written the following very
interesting comments concerning our recent Rail Diesel Car
Sunday, 11 May 2003
copy of the November-December 2002
Canadian Rail all-ROC issue finally made its way into
my hands. RDCs have become something of a hobby all
on their own with me. I spotted three points of contention
in the issue.
[I] The CN roster repeats the myth
of Grand
Trunk Western RDCs. There were no GTW RDCs. See
the note about
CN #s 0-204 and 0-303 towards the bottom
of page 13in Lepkey & Wests CNR Passenger
Equipment. Nor was there ever any GTW ROC service.
[2] The total of 404 RDCs built is questionable.
The information I have shows the demonstrator plus 397
cars, total 398 cars. That includes the cars built new for
Australia, Brazil, Cuba and Saudi Arabia and the cars
sent to Canadian Car & Foundry for completion
[December 1968 Trains magazine and Budd records from
F. Corley].
ROC round-up in the December 1968 Trains
also cites
the 404 cars figure, and so it has puzzled me
for some time.
It finally occurred to me, literally only a
few minutes ago, that the 404 cars includes the New
Haven six-car Roger Williams train,
and that leaves me
somewhat uneasy. I think Id prefer calling those cars
ROC-based, not RDCs. Your thoughts?
[3] There never was an ROC dining car while
in Canada, overlooks the Baltimore & Ohio factory­
built dining-RDC-2s.
While I have your attention, a young computer
whiz named Jeff Pinchbeck, Dale Wilson
in Sudbury (he
gave me your e-mail address) and I are trying
to massage
Dales Canadian Pacific passenger equipment roster into
a form suitable for publication. A question has come
about the CP RDC-2s. Why did the CP buy so many
RDC-2s? Were the cars really intended for checked
baggage? Or to provide a modicum of passenger
protection in the likely event of front-end grade crossing
A more troublesome
question has come up
about the CP RDC-3s and RDC-4s. My understanding
is, only CP RDC-4 # 9200 was delivered with a fitted-out
mail apartment. The trouble is, we do not have proof.
Note 7
on page 24 in Ray F. Corleys book The Budd
ROC in Canada tells us, Mail section used for baggage
in cars 9020-9024
and 9250-9251. But the book was
in 1967, and so Note 7 is not absolutely clear
about the initial (as-built) equipment. And
we only have
the B revisions of the
CP ROC equipment diagrams.
The original A equipment diagrams have not surfaced
despite Dale putting out a call
on the Internet. Nothing
definitive came of
We also have conflicting capacities for the mail
and baggage sections. Got any ideas about tying these
details down? I wonder if the weight capacities of the
mail and baggage and combined mail and baggage
sections were somewhat arbitrary.
Finally, about
the RDC-3s and RDC-4s the CN
and (maybe) the CP ordered without mail handling
equipment: seeing
as how the small mail door wasnt
to be used for mail, did either railway ask Budd
about enlarging the small mail door?
Thank you, and best regards,
D. Jomini.
Recently your editor has had serious problems with
computer used to produce Canadian Rail. For six weeks
there have been mysterious crashes in the system which have
made it almost impossible to do significant work on the
publication. The problem has been traced to a defect in the
modem used to connect to the internet. Yesterday a new
computer was installed, of much higher capacity than before,
and this issue has been completed on the new system.
However there is still no intemet connection, and this will
not be available for at least three weeks. In the meantime, we
have decided to produce this issue in a
somewhat abbreviated
format, without our usual variety,
in the interest of getting it
out with a minimum
of further delay. The missing pages will
be made up in a future issue. Please bear with us.
Fred Angus, Editor. June
BACK COVER TOP: Toronto Transportation Commission car 2628, a Brill Witt, at Queens Quay on May 16,1950.
by William Bailey
VER BOTTOM: Former British Railways A-4 Pacific No. 60010, Dominion o/Canada being unloaded CIt Montreal
on April
26, 1967. Photo by Fred Angus
This issue of Canadian Rail was delivered 10 Ihe prinler on June 18,2003.

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