HEPC: Freight Motors E1-E12

HEPC - E1

While working my way through photographs of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada in September, I found a number of images from the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway – operated by Ontario’s Hydro-Electric Power Commission.

As noted previously, this railway was an interesting electric line that once operated in the Niagara Region – and which supplied a few freight motors to the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway.

The NS&T rostered two freight motors – the second #16, and the #17 – that were originally built by National Steel Car Company of Hamilton for the Queenston power canal project.

HEPC freight motor E9 was sold to the NS&T in 1926, and became its #17:

NST 17 - Welland Avenue

Another HEPC freight motor became the NS&T’s second #16 – although we don’t know which locomotive it was on the HEPC roster. The second 16 arrived on the NS&T in 1926 and received a new cab in 1930.

NST 16 - Welland Avenue

The revised John Mills book on the NS&T notes that the second 16 was a National Steel Car Company product, which would make it one of the E1 to E12 series. Of this series, we’ve accounted for E9 (which became NS&T 17). Mills notes E7, E11 and E12 ended up on the International Nickel Company (INCO) railway in Sudbury. I have no information about the disposition of the rest (E1-E6, E8, and E10).

In the archives, I found a book of photos that also included information about each piece of HEPC equipment. I believe this book was an evaluation of the equipment for insurance or possibly sale purposes. Here is the page from that book that provides details of the first six National Steel Car freight motors – E1 to E6. I assume E7 to E12 were similar:

HEPC - E1-E6

I have more photos of HEPC equipment with their valuations, and will share them in the coming days.

HEPC Queenston Railway

HEPC-Jordan Spreader

A HEPC freight motor and Jordan Spreader work on the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway. Photographer and date unknown.

The Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway acquired its freight motors from a variety of sources. Three locomotives – NS&T 16, 17 and 18 – arrived on the property via the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway. This railway – built by the Hydro-Electric Power Commission (HEPC) of Ontario – operated for three years (1918-1921) with the sole purpose of helping to excavate a power canal designed to drive the hydro-electric generating station at Queenston, Ontario. Chapter 18 of the revised John Mills book on the NS&T provides a good capsule history of the railway, so I won’t repeat it here.

While working my way through photographs of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada in September, I found a number of images from the construction railway.

HEPC-E1

HEPC E1. Photographer and date unknown.

HEPC-E3

HEPC E3. Photographer and date unknown.

HEPC-E9

HEPC E9. Photographer and date unknown.

The construction railway rostered 12 of these handsome steeple cab electrics – built in 1918 by National Steel Car Company of Hamiton, Ontario. These 50-ton models were 35 feet long.

Note the four trolley poles on each motor: this was required because the overhead wire was mounted off-centre to keep it out of the way of shovels while loading dump cars. The photograph of E9 clearly shows this.

Note also that these freight motors are fitted with large air tanks – again, this is clearly seen in the photograph of E9. These freight motors often handled cuts of eight-to-10 air-operated dump cars, and needed extra air capacity not only to provide sufficient braking but also to be able to power the dump mechanisms.

Of these 12 engines, one – E9 – was sold to the NS&T in 1926, and became the railway’s #17. Its heritage is clear:

NS&T 17 - Welland Car Barn

NS&T 17 – Welland Car Barn, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

The NS&T 17 should not be confused with the HEPC 17, which has a very different history:

HEPC-E17

HEPC E17. Photographer and date unknown.

This engine was part of a 1919 order (E13 to E18) from Canadian Car & Foundry in Montreal. These were also 50-ton freight motors, but were 41 feet long over all.

HEPC-E15

HEPC E15. Photographer and date unknown.

E15 and E17 were amongst the freight motors that the HEPC sold to the International Nickel Company in Sudbury in 1926.

The HEPC also ended up supplying a boxcab-style freight motor to the NS&T:

HEPC-E21

HEPC E21. Photographer and date unknown.

The HEPC acquired this Baldwin-Westinghouse 55-ton freight motor second-hand in 1919 from the Auburn & Syracuse Railway in New York State. It went to the Toronto & York Railway as its #2 in 1924 before ended up back in the Niagara Region in 1927, as the NS&T 18. When the wire came down in 1960, the CNR forwarded this freight motor to the Oshawa Railway as its #18. This freight motor was fortunate enough to go into preservation, when it was sold to an enthusiast and ended up at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1964.

nullCT Trolley Museum 18
(Click on the image above to read more about the 18 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum website)

There’s one other ex-HEPC locomotive that made it onto the NS&T roster, as the line’s Second #16. Unfortunately, it’s not known which HEPC locomotive this was. What is known, according to Mills, is that it arrived in 1926 and received a new cab in 1930. The rebuilt locomotive is immediately recognizable as it has four windows along the cab side:

NST 16 - Welland Ave Car Barns

NS&T 16 – Welland Avenue car barns, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

Number 16 ended up in Oshawa in 1960 – then went to Noranda Mines Ltd. in 1965.

While not directly related to the NS&T, my visit to Library and Archives Canada also turned up the following pictures of the construction of the Queenston power canal:

HEPC-Hanging Wire

HEPC-Steam Train

HEPC-Charles Boone

NS&T: ex-Queenston Power Canal freight motors

The Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway rostered an eclectic collection of equipment – including many pieces acquired secondhand. Included in the “previously enjoyed” category are a trio of freight motors originally built for the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway – an industrial railway operated by Ontario’s Hydro-Electric Power Commission (HEPC). Here are photos of all three – from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NST 16 - Welland Avenue Yard

NS&T 16 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

National Steel Car built NS&T 16 in 1918. This 50-ton freight motor was acquired from HEPC in 1926. Its number on the Queenston Construction Railway is not known, but it joined the NS&T as the second Number 16. (The first 16 was sold to the Montreal & Southern Counties in 1925, but returned to the NS&T in 1936 as Number 19.) When acquired by the NS&T, this freight motor sported the same body configuration as Number 17 (below), but the NS&T rebuilt Number 16 in 1930, giving it a new cab with a distinctive four-window side arrangement. I’m not sure why this was done.

NST 17 - Welland Avenue Yard

NS&T 17 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T 17 is also from the National Steel Car class of 1918. It was originally Queenston Construction Railway #E-9. Number 17 was 35 feet long and weighed 50 tons. I love the design of this freight motor, and I’m glad I have photo etches and detail parts to build it.

NST 18 - Welland Avenue Yard

NS&T 18 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

Number 18 is a classic Baldwin Westinghouse freight motor design. B-W built this 55-ton unit for the Auburn & Syracuse Railway in 1918. The Queenston Construction Railway acquired it, second hand, a year later, and it became #E-21. It was reassigned in 1924 to the Toronto & York Railway as that line’s Number 2, and acquired by the NS&T in 1927. I also have photo-etch and detail parts to build this freight motor.

The revised John Mills book on the NS&T includes a chapter (18) on the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway. It notes the canal was 8.5 miles long and its construction required the displacement of nine million cubic yards of earth and four million cubic yards of rock. The railway had 24 electric locomotives (plus a number of steam engines), plus about 250 air-operated dump cars.

The overhead wire was off-centre, so electric locomotives were each fitted with four trolley poles. They also carried heavy duty air compressors and larger than usual air tanks, because in addition to needing air for braking, they also supplied air to operate the dump cars.

When the CNR shut off the power on the NS&T overhead in 1960, all three locomotives transferred to the Oshawa Railway. From there, they took diverging routes. Number 16 went to Noranda Mines Ltd in 1965. Number 17 was scrapped in 1964. And Number 18 went to the Connecticut Electric Museum at Warehouse Point in 1965.

NS&T 16 – Thorold Yard

Over the past couple of days, I’ve shared a few photos of the NS&T in and around its small yard in Thorold, Ontario. Here are couple more from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt – featuring a freight motor with a thing for covered hoppers:

NST 16 - Switching near Substation Junction

NS&T 16 – Thorold Yard. Photographer and date unknown.

This photo was taken looking south, at the north switch of the small yard in Thorold. The photographer is on the west side of the tracks. The freight house would be behind him, to the left (east side) of the mainline.

NST 16 and NST 620 - Thorold

NS&T 16 and NS&T 620 – Thorold Yard. ND Clark photo*. Date unknown.

Here, NS&T 16 has paused in its switching to let passenger car 620 pass by, headed north towards the Thorold station. This time, it has one of CNR’s “slab side” covered hoppers in its care. We’re looking north this time, from the east side of the tracks, and the roof of the freight house can be seen at the right edge of the photo.

I’ve written about NS&T 16 before, and the 620-series cars have featured quite regularly on the blog, so I won’t repeat that information here. Instead, I’ll focus on the covered hoppers.

In both photos, the car that the crew is switching has probably just been loaded at Exolon, located a half mile southwest of the yard (between MP .77 and .98 on the Welland Division). According to The Welland Canals and their Communities: Engineering, Industrial, and Urban Transformation by John N. Jackson, Exolon – an American company named for the fused aluminum-oxide abrasive it produced – opened its Thorold plant in 1914 to take advantage of cheap hydro electric power. The plant received raw materials via canal, including petroleum coke and bauxite. It produced silicon carbide (“carborundum”) which it shipped to an Exolon plant in Tonawanda, New York. There, the material was crushed and graded, then sold for use in the abrasive paper, refractory and metal industries.

The crew is likely rolling the covered hopper over the small track scale located on the track closest to the canal. In the first image, the scale to the right, just out of the frame. In the second picture, it’s behind the covered hopper.

(*Subsequent to posting this, I found the same image – in black and white – in the second book by Andrew Panko and Peter Bowen. I’ve updated the caption accordingly.)

NST 16 – Welland Canal

I’m working my way through the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt – and I thought I’d share some of the images that speak strongly to me about the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway. In yesterday’s post, I shared an image of NS&T freight motor 16. Here’s another one:

NST 16 - Welland Canal

NS&T 16 and train cross the bridge over the Welland Canal at Thorold, Ontario – Date and photographer unknown.

This train is on the Main Line that connected Port Dalhousie to Niagara Falls. Given the shadows, we’re facing east, and the rail line on the far bank (barely visible just to the left of the locomotive pilot, though the bridge) is the spur north off the Main Line to Walker’s Quarry. The Main Line was cut back to Shriner’s (just east of the Welland Canal) in April 1948 – seven months after the NS&T’s rail passenger service ended to the Honeymoon Capital Of The World. Walker’s Quarry – mentioned in yesterday’s post – would become the easternmost customer on the Main Line and continue to receive rail service until this bridge was removed in 1964.

That said, it’s hard to tell what freight cars this crew is working. They appear too tall to be CNR GS gondolas, as seen in yesterday’s picture – and too tall for hopper cars. If they’re boxcars, I’m not sure what they’d be doing east of the canal…

NST 16 – Substation Junction

I’m working my way through the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt – and I thought I’d share some of the images that speak strongly to me about the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway. A few days ago, I shared a photo of a passenger train at Substation Junction. This photo was taken in almost the same location.

NST 16 - Substation Junction

NS&T freight motor 16 with a string of CNR GS gons at Substation Junction – Date and photographer unknown.

The crew is likely shoving these cars across the Welland Canal bridge en route to Walker’s Quarry on the east side of the canal. As with the earlier photo referenced above, the track its on is the mainline to Niagara Falls. The photographer is standing on the south leg of the wye that marked the connection to the Welland Division. The substation – for which the junction was named – would be behind the photographer.

NS&T 16 was the second #16 on the line. The 50-ton motor was built by National Steel Car in 1918 for the Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway. The NS&T acquired it in 1926 and rebuilt it with a new cab in 1930. When the CNR dropped the NS&T’s wires in 1960 in favour of diesel power, the 16 was transferred to the Oshawa Railway. In 1965, it was sold to Noranda Mines Limited.

Walker’s Quarry is now a garbage dump.