As I mentioned last week, I recently acquired a copy of NS&T Employee Time Table 61 effective May 13th 1945. One of the things I discovered while reading through it was that 78 scheduled trains passed through Thorold each day.
NS&T Thorold Station. Photographer and date unknown.
These included two routes – the Niagara Falls Sub (main line) and the Welland Sub. The Niagara Falls Sub ran between St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, passing through Thorold en route. The Welland Sub ran between Thorold and Port Colborne, passing through Welland.
Main Line train: NS&T 135 & 132, Substation Junction 1943 – photographer unknown.
Welland Sub train: NS&T 130, Thorold – Photographer and date unknown.
Obviously, an interurban car working either of these routes would cover the route several times n both directions over the course of a day – which led to my next question: How many trains would be on the line to cover such a schedule? (The question for modellers is related: How many pieces of rolling stock are required to cover it?)
To answer that, I sat down on the weekend with graph paper, a ruler and coloured pens and drew a timeline for a typical weekday schedule. (Those who have set up a layout for operations might know this as a String Diagram). Here’s what I found:
1945 NS&T schedule interpreted as a String Diagram
You can right-click on the string diagram and open the image in a separate tab to see a larger version of it, but what I learned is that at a minimum, it requires four trains – two for each division – to cover 24 hours of passenger service through Thorold. At least some of the Niagara Falls trains could be run with two cars, as shown in the first photo in this post – so a modeller may want six pieces of equipment. In addition, there are a couple of other scheduled trains that do not follow the routine – they cover part of a line, then (I assume) deadhead to return to the car barn. So, there’s room for a seventh car, if desired.
I do not know if cars were pulled from service after a certain number of runs in the day, and new cars swapped. Obviously, the crews were – the lines ran from 5am to 2am.
The string diagram also tells me more about how Thorold worked – from a passenger train perspective. The Welland Subdivision car would arrive first, from the south, and take the layover siding (seen in the second photo in this post). Then, a main line train heading eastbound (from St. Catharines) would make its station stop. The main line train would then leave headed east (for Niagara Falls, with the Welland Sub train following it. The main line train would continue east at Substation Junction, while the Welland Sub train would head south to Port Colborne. The main line train would cross the Welland Canal and meet its westbound counterpart on the east side, at a siding called Shriners.
The schedules were set such that a person arriving at Thorold on the northbound Welland Subdivision train would be able to make the connection to the main line train with relatively little waiting: a four-minute wait for an eastward train to Niagara Falls, and a 15-minute wait for the westbound headed to St. Catharines. Those headed from St. Catharines to Port Colborne would also be well served: Their southbound train would be waiting when they arrived at Thorold, and they’d have seven minutes to board. What about those those travelling from Niagara Falls to Port Colborne? Their two trains would meet at Substation Junction, where – I believe – passengers would be able to scoot across the inside corner of the wye.
It sure didn’t leave much time for freight…
A quick switch: NS&T 14 at Thorold Station. Photographer and date unknown.
… but freights and other extras did manage to squeeze in between the parade of trains, making for a very busy day in Thorold.