NS&T 10 and 62 – Welland Avenue car barn

Here’s a photo showing two interesting pieces of equipment:

NST 10 - Welland Ave Carbarns

NS&T 10 and NS&T 62 – Welland Avenue car barns, St. Catharines. Photographer unknown. May 20, 1932.

It’s time to get back to cataloguing and sharing images of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway in my collection. I found this photo in the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada, which I visited in September, 2018.

NS&T freight motor 10 is the primary subject. There are a couple of interesting details here. First, note that it has a wooden cab – the boards can be clearly seen above the windows on the cab end. Also note that it has a visor covering much of the headlight. This was common in wartime, particularly along the coasts: the visor was to make it more difficult for enemy warplanes to spot the locomotives from the air. But I haven’t (yet) encountered this elsewhere in my photos of NS&T equipment.

The revised John Mills book on the NS&T notes the railway built Number 10 from a flat car. It was given the number 603, and renumbered as 10 in 1920. Originally, it appeared in the classic “doghouse on a flat car” configuration, but it was rebuilt in 1924 and presumably that’s when it acquired the steeple cab configuration seen in this photo. This freight motor became the Cornwall Railway #8 in 1935, and was rebuilt as a plow in 1946.

Also interesting is Car 62 – parked to the right of freight motor 10. This is a 1912 Niles product – one of four originally built for the London & Lake Erie but acquired by the NS&T in 1915 and numbered 60-63. These interurban cars were 50’7″ long, weighed 58,960 pounds, rode on 6’6″ Baldwin trucks and had room for 54 passengers. The NS&T retired 62 in 1936 and scrapped it in 1942. The other three cars in the series remained in service until they were scrapped in 1947.

Two views of the car barn yard

I’m working my way through photographs of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada*. My findings included a couple of images taken from opposite ends of the main track that ran through the car barn yard on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines:

NST - Welland Avenue - Southwest

NS&T – car barn yard, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

A few days ago, I posted an image of NS&T 301 – and at the time, I was unsure of where the photo was taken. This image solved the mystery for me (and I’ve since gone back and updated that post). The unknown photographer is standing at the northeast corner of the yard on Welland Avenue, looking southwest along the main tracks that swing off the road and pass through the yard. The trespassing sign, switch stand and corner of the carbarn – at left – can clearly be seen in the photo of 301 linked to above.

I wish this photo was more clear, because there’s a lot going on in it. Just to the right of the car barn is a small shed and what could be a pile of sand. The barn leads are packed with equipment. What appears to be a 130-series car is preparing to leave the yard. This image also provides a good view of the fabricated metal poles used to support the overhead wires along parts of the NS&T.

To the right in the distance is the freight house that once stood on the property. I believe this dates from the days of the steam-powered St. Catharines and Niagara Central Railway. As noted elsewhere on this website, the NS&T’s freight house was located on Niagara Street.

NST - Court Street - Northwest

NS&T car barn yard, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

In this view, the photographer is standing on Clark Street and looking northeast into the car barn shooting along the main track, from the opposite direction of the photo above. This was possibly the same photographer, as one can see what appears to be a 130-series car on the main track (partially obscured by the trespassing sign). Again, there’s a lot of equipment in the yard.

At one time, the main track through the yard continued across Clark Street and down Raymond to James, forming one of the many loops through downtown St. Catharines. I don’t know when the railway lifted the track on Raymond.

For those unfamiliar with the car barn area, this St. Catharines fire map puts everything in perspective:

Fire Map - Welland Avenue car barns

*Earlier this month, I joined my friends Jeff Young and Peter Foley on a visit to Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa to do a dive into the astonishing Andrew Merrilees Collection. (Thanks to both gentlemen for helping to make my first visit to the archives a successful and enjoyable journey of discovery.)

Drawing on a finding aid compiled by Ottawa-area railway historian Colin Churcher, I tracked down and copied numerous photos of the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway and its predecessor lines. As part of the Merrilees collection at LAC, these are free to distribute with proper attribution, so I’ll be sharing my findings on this blog as time permits. To that end, I’ve created the Andrew Merrilees Collection category, so readers may find all posts related to this incredible archive of railway history.

NS&T 301 – Welland Avenue car barn

Here’s a terrific view of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway that I discovered last week in the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada*:

NS&T 301

NS&T 301. Photographer and date unknown.

The photographer is shooting northeast alongside the north edge of the car barn on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. I love the motorman standing next to the front door of the 301 – perhaps waiting on his departure time. I also love that someone has stashed his automobile against the building – like a preferred parking spot – but quite the squeeze to make sure it doesn’t get sideswiped by a railway car.

NS&T 301 is a Cincinnati car, the class unit in the 301-312 series. These cars were built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company, as kits – then shipped to the NS&T to be assembled. In this way, the railway avoided a punishing duty for cross-border shopping. These 31′-6″ cars each seated 44 passengers and weighed 32,700 pounds. Unfortunately, the steel parts were not treated to protect the cars from corrosion and several were scrapped in 1948.

According to the revised John Mills book, the remainder were retrofitted with 14-foot poles and trolley bridges (the little platform on the roof to allow the poles on shorter cars to reach the wire) and otherwise retrofitted for service on the Port Dalhousie line. Since the 301 is equipped with the trolley bridge (and since the destination sign reads “Port Dalhousie”), the photo was taken after 1948. Buses replaced the trolleys to Port Dalhousie on March 1st, 1950. All Cincinnati cars were eventually scrapped.

We can’t read the sign on the pole next to the 301 as it faces east – but it warns people that they’re about to trespass on NS&T property. I have a view of the front of that sign, which I’ll share in a future post.

*Last week, I joined my friends Jeff Young and Peter Foley on a visit to Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa to do a dive into the astonishing Andrew Merrilees Collection. (Thanks to both gentlemen for helping to make my first visit to the archives a successful and enjoyable journey of discovery.)

Drawing on a finding aid compiled by Ottawa-area railway historian Colin Churcher, I tracked down and copied numerous photos of the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway and its predecessor lines. As part of the Merrilees collection at LAC, these are free to distribute with proper attribution, so I’ll be sharing my findings on this blog as time permits. To that end, I’ve created the Andrew Merrilees Collection category, so readers may find all posts related to this incredible archive of railway history.

NS&T 17 at work on Welland Avenue

I’ve found many pictures of NS&T freight motor 17 at rest in the Welland Avenue car barn yard, but I’m always excited to find new (to me) views of it in service. Here are two that I came across last week, in the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada*:

NST 17 - Train - Welland Avenue

NST 17 and train. Photographer and date unknown.

While I am not 100% certain where this photo was taken, I’m pretty sure it was shot on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines, between Geneva Street and the car barn yard. There was a section of double track here, which curved into the car barn yard. A quick search on Google Street View suggests the train – headed westbound – is about to enter the Welland Avenue intersection with Woodland Avenue: The bungalow in the image appears to still exist, on the northeast corner of this T-intersection. Many of the cars in this train would be headed to McKinnon Industries (General Motors) on Ontario Street, while others might be going to Welland Vale.

NST 17 - Train - Welland Avenue

NST 17 and train. Photographer and date unknown.

On a different day, NS&T 17 is headed westbound on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. This time, I’m pretty sure of the location: in the background, just ahead of the locomotive, one can see what I’m sure is the roof of the platform awnings at the Geneva Street Terminal. As with the first photo, this train is likely headed towards McKinnon and Welland Vale.

*Last week, I joined my friends Jeff Young and Peter Foley on a visit to Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa to do a dive into the astonishing Andrew Merrilees Collection. (Thanks to both gentlemen for helping to make my first visit to the archives a successful and enjoyable journey of discovery.)

Drawing on a finding aid compiled by Ottawa-area railway historian Colin Churcher, I tracked down and copied numerous photos of the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway and its predecessor lines. As part of the Merrilees collection at LAC, these are free to distribute with proper attribution, so I’ll be sharing my findings on this blog as time permits. To that end, I’ve created the Andrew Merrilees Collection category, so readers may find all posts related to this incredible archive of railway history.

NS&T 14 – Welland Avenue yard

The Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway had many homebuilt pieces of equipment – but it also rostered a few catalogue models from major builders. Here’s an example from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NS&T 14 - Welland Avenue yard

NS&T 14 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T freight motor 14 is resting in the yard at the Welland Avenue car barns in St. Cathrines.

General Electric built this attractive unit in 1914. The NS&T rebuilt it in 1943, and it was scrapped in 1960. Of all the freight motors that lasted until the end of electrification, it was the lightest at 40 tons. It’s shown here in the CNR’s attractive green scheme. I love the collection of tanks and pipes next to the right-hand hood.

Number 14 was a popular motor on the NS&T, as it appears in many photographs. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any model of this locomotive available in S scale. (It has been done in HO and O, however.)

In S, William Flatt offered a model of NS&T 20 (nee South Brooklyn Railway 6) – another GE steeple cab – but at 55 tons it’s considerably heavier and differently proportioned.

NS&T buses – Welland Avenue yard

The shop forces for the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway were a talented bunch – and parent Canadian National Railways came to rely upon them to maintain a wide variety of equipment. This included Canadian National Transportation Ltd buses – such as the two shown here, from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I acquired earlier this year from William Flatt:

White Bus 255 - Welland Avenue car barns

CNTL 255 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

CNTL 255 is a “Visi-Coach” model built for the NS&T in 1952. It’s built to a design from the Flxible (sic) Company in Ohio, distributed in Canada by the White Motor Company of Montreal. Buses 255 and 256 were the last of the cruiser style coaches acquired new by the NS&T.

Brill Bus 152 - Welland Avenue car barns

CNTL 152 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

CNTL 152 was part of a 15-bus order from Canadian Car & Foundry, which entered the bus market in the 1945 by establishing a plant in Fort William, Ontario. CC&F licensed the design for this bus from the J.G. Brill Company of Philadelphia.

(This isn’t the first time a bus has shown up on this blog. For a photo in colour, check out NS&T 14 – five at Thorold Station.)

In addition to its railway operations, the NS&T ran a fleet of buses in the Niagara Region, starting as far back as 1929. Over the years, these included city buses, sight-seeing and charter operations, and highway services. The NS&T was the first component in the CNR system to adopt buses, and the railway maintained buses for itself and several other operators under the Canadian National Transportation Limited umbrella at the Welland Avenue car barns.

(There’s a lot more information about the NS&T and Canadian National Transportation Limited in the revised book by John Mills.)

Eventually – inevitably – buses would take over completely. The transit services provided by the NS&T evolved into the St. Catharines Transit Commission, providing services in St. Catharines and Thorold. Today, this operator has a headquarters and maintenance garage on First Street Louth (west of 12 Mile Creek) and the Welland Avenue car barns were razed in the early 1960s to make room for a strip mall.

Back to the trains in my next post…

NS&T 41 (green) – Welland Avenue yard

In a previous post, I shared a couple of photos of Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway express motor 41 at the Welland Avenue yard in St. Catharines – in a red paint scheme. In its final years, this motor wore a handsome CNR passenger green – as seen in these pictures from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NST 41 - Welland Avenue

NS&T 41 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

NST 18 and 41 - Welland Avenue

NS&T 18 and NS&T 41 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

There was always a wide variety of equipment in the car barn yard on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. Tomorrow, I’ll share a couple more photos of equipment that called the yard home – at least, in later years…

NS&T 41 (red) – Welland Avenue yard

In yesterday’s post, I shared an image of Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway number 41. Here are a couple more views of that express motor from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NST 41 - Welland Avenue

NS&T 41 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

NST 41 - Welland Avenue

NS&T 41 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown.

In these two views, NS&T 41 is resting in the yard at the Welland Avenue car barn in St. Catharines.

Number 41 was built by the Cleveland, Painesville & Ashtalbula in 1917 as its number 60. The NS&T acquired it in 1927 and undertook a significant rebuilding of the car. It was originally a wooden car, but later received steel sheathing.

Number 41 survived in red paint at least until 1952: it was painted into green sometime before 1957, and withdrawn from service in 1958.

I don’t know its ultimate fate, but I assume – like most of the NS&T equipment – it was scrapped sometime after the power was shut off in 1960. This express motor was part of the famous “funeral procession” photographs – depicting a string of equipment headed for scrap, led by NS&T 20, in 1959.

NS&T sweeper 22 – St. Catharines

The Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway owned a variety of non-revenue equipment, obtained from a variety of sources. Here’s an example from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NST 22 - Car barns

NS&T 22 – St Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T built the 22 in 1920. It was 44′-9″ long, weighed 58,800 pounds, and rode on a pair of 6′ Taylor trucks. The unit was rebuilt in 1946 and sent to the Oshawa Railway in 1960. Originally, this unit had wooden end hoods to cover the sweeper motors. In later years, as seen here, the hoods were removed.

Number 22 is seen here in the yard at the Welland Avenue car barns in St. Catharines. To its left is NS&T freight motor 20, a 55-ton GE model about which I’ve previously written.

To its right, there’s a decent view of the section of the building that was devoted to maintaining CN Transport Ltd buses. (The CGTX tank car is a mystery – I’m not sure what it’s delivering to the car barns – possibly fuel for the buses?)

At the extreme right, another freight motor slumbers. It could be NS&T 18 or NS&T 21: Both featured unique bow-shaped handrail supports, and one of these is visible in the photo – to the left of the hood.

I’ll share another photo of a sweeper tomorrow.

NS&T – In and around the car barn

The car barn on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines played a critical role in keeping the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway in business – from servicing the line’s equipment, to building new equipment, to maintaining electric railway equipment for other members of the CNR electric lines family. So I’m pleased to have a number of images of the car barn among the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt. Here are a few examples:

NST83 - Carbarn interior

NS&T 83, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T 83 slumbers in the car barn on Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. I really like this photo – there’s just so much detail to absorb.

NS&T 83 + 620-series, car barn, St. Catharines

NS&T 83 + NS&T 622, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

This photo, taken from the west side of the car barn, shows a pair of “modern” NS&T passenger cars being serviced. Car 83 is on the left, while Car 622 is on the right. Car 83 is on the same track that’s occupied by Car 82 in this photo:

NST82 - Car barn

NS&T 82, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T 82 was built by the NS&T in 1925. It was to be the first of a series of 10 cars, but no others were built to its design. The 72-seat steel interurban was built on the standard underframe used for CNR self-propelled equipment. It was 61′-9″ long, weighed 80,000 pounds, and rode on 6′-6″ Baldwin trucks. Car 82 was rebuilt in 1956 for use in express service with the addition of freight doors, as seen in the above photo. It was scrapped in 1959.

The car barn was built by NS&T parent Canadian Northern (yes, Northern – a predecessor to the CNR) in the first decade of the 20th Century on land formerly occupied by a freight yard for the (steam-powered) Niagara Central Railway. By the mid-1920s, the Canadian National Railways had assumed ownership of the NS&T and other interurbans, and brought them together under the Canadian National Electric Railways operating unit.

CNER launched a modernization program which included the expansion of the car barn facility so that it could build equipment for all lines under the CNER umbrella – including the NS&T, the Toronto Suburban Railway, the Oshawa Railway, and the Montreal and Southern Counties. This shop also built and maintained battery powered and other self-propelled cars for the CNR. In addition to this work, in later years the talented mechanics on Welland Avenue also serviced the buses of Canadian National Transportation Limited. (In the photo of Car 82, it appears that the shop is doing this: note the lower-height door and lack of track in the right-most bay.)

The car barn occupied the east end of the block that’s now the home of the Midtown Plaza – running along the south side of Welland Avenue between Clark and Court Streets:

Carbarn - Aerial photo - 1955

NS&T – Car barn, Welland Avenue, St. Catharines – Aerial photo, 1955. From the Brock University online collection.

There’s a lot of activity in this space, and it’s a scene that would be satisfying to model as the photos in this post attest.