NS&T Troop Train – Welland Avenue

NST Troop Train - Welland Avenue

Here’s another photo from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada, which I visited in September, 2018. One of the NS&T’s early steeple cab locomotives is hauling a train of conventional (steam railway) heavyweight passenger cars along Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. This photo also appears in the revised John Mills book on the NS&T, where the locomotive is identified as either #1 or #7, and the train is identified as a troop train movement arriving from Niagara-On-The-Lake, circa 1916.

The train is a highly unusual one and not what comes to mind when I think of the NS&T. It’s not likely I would model it, or this early era. However, I do like a lot of things about this photograph.

I like the large trees at left, which will become a defining feature of the Geneva Street terminal when it’s built in the 1920s. (Have a look at this photograph to see what I mean.)

The NS&T also used metal towers to support the trolley wire in some places in St. Catharines and a couple of examples are shown here. They will be a challenge to model, and I’m not sure I will attempt it – although I suppose one could commission some photo-etches for them. I also like the glimpse of houses along the right side of the image. They offer some guidance for modelling residential structures along St. Catharines city streets – something I’ll be doing a lot if I decide to build an NS&T model railway!

The interlocking tower is interesting in that it’s located on the south side of Welland Avenue – and not on the north side of Niagara Street, as it is in later years. I assume the tower was moved south when the junction to the Lake Shore Division (to Niagara-On-The-Lake via Port Weller) was relocated from Welland Avenue to Niagara Street, around the time that the new terminal was built. It wasn’t a big move: The tower can be seen on Niagara Street in this view, taken from Welland Avenue:

StC Freight House and Niagara Street tower

(Click on the image to read more about it elsewhere on this site)

NST 19 – Merritton

NST 19 - Merritton Yard

NS&T 19 – Merritton yard. Photographer and date unknown.

Here’s another photo from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada, which I visited in September, 2018. NS&T freight motor 19 pauses while switching. The photo does not have any location data but I’m pretty sure this is the Merritton transfer yard so that’s how I’m labelling it. The photographer would have been standing on the station platform (a bit of which can be seen at the bottom of the image) and looking northwest. Number 19 is standing on the main track. At the far end of the yard (to the left of 19) there are a few freight cars, which appear to be standing on the scale track. (If someone can provide corrected info, I’ll update this post accordingly.)

Merritton yard was small but important, as the primary freight connection between the NS&T and the Canadian National Railways system. Cars left here by the CNR would be hauled up to the Niagara Street yard, which would feed various industries in St. Catharines.

The NS&T built Number 19 in 1925 as its first Number 16. It was sold, almost immediately it seems, to the Montreal & Southern Counties, where it wore Number 325. (Number 16 was then applied to a national Steel Car steeple cab acquired from the Queenston Construction Railway, which built one of the hydro-electric power canals in the Niagara Region). M&SC 325 returned to the NS&T in 1936 and was given the number 19. This 50-ton freight motor is of the same design as NS&T 8 and NS&T 15. (I have photo etches and detail parts from William Flatt to model all three.)

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.

HEPC: Freight Motor E21

HEPC E21

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 a electric line that once operated in the Niagara Region – and which supplied a few freight motors to the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway.

One of these motors was E21. 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.

NST 18 - Welland Avenue Yard

NS&T 18 – Welland Avenue yard, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

NST 18 and 41 - Welland Avenue Yard

NS&T 18 and express car 41 – Welland Avenue yard, St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

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. It’s still there today.

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 E21:

HEPC E21 Data

With this post, I think I have exhausted my material on the HEPC Queenston Power Canal Construction Railway. (If you missed any posts, you can find them all using the HEPC – Construction Railway category link.) I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at this short-lived yet interesting electrified construction railway in Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula.

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: Freight Motors E13-E18

HEPC - E17

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.

Among the HEPC’s roster were a half-dozen motors – E13 to E18 – built in 1919 by Canadian Car & Foundry of Montreal. None of these made it to the NS&T roster: According to the revised John Mills book on the NS&T, E13 to E17 were among the HEPC motors sold in 1926 to the International Nickel Company (INCO) in Sudbury. I have not found any information about the disposition of E18.

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 CC&F freight motors:

HEPC - E13-E18

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

NST 41 – Geneva Street Terminal (II)

I’m working my way through photographs of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada. Here’s one of my findings:

NST 41 - Geneva St Terminal

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

I gave this post’s title the “(II)” addendum because it’s not the first time I’ve shared a photo of this freight motor at the main passenger terminal. Back in April, I shared another picture, reproduced below:

NS&T 41 - St. Catharines Terminal
(Click on the image for more information)

In both photos, the express motor is in a similar spot. It’s on one of the stub tracks. But the black and white picture that’s the subject of today’s post is obviously from an earlier time in the railway’s life, because there are still canopies over all the platform. In the colour photo, the canopies have been removed. (In fact, it looks like some of the through tracks to the right have also been pulled up.)

There are some neat details in this picture, including an electric light under the canopy – just to the right of the freight motor. That’s good to know for anybody interested in modelling this handsome yet little-used passenger terminal.

As always, you can check the categories menu on the home page for more posts about specific subjects – including Express Motor 41, the Geneva Street Terminal and The Andrew Merrilees Collection.

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.

Black Beetles and Stanton Drives

I’ve been occupied with other model railway projects lately, including speaking at the NMRA Lone Star Region annual convention in Texas, and setting up my home layout (Port Rowan) to be used as a location in a film. So work on anything related to the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway has taken a back seat.

But I have been busy acquiring things that I’ll need in order to model the line in 1:64.

Before I commit to building an NS&T layout, I have four criteria to satisfy. One of my criteria is to build the kits for various freight motors that I’ve acquired from William Flatt, and get them running to my satisfaction.

In order to achieve this goal, I have been creating a parts list for each freight motor (which I will share in future posts, once the lists are complete). At the top of each list is suitable power trucks: These are essential to getting them running, after all.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve placed orders with two suppliers, as recommended by William.

The first is Steam Era Models – an Australian company run by David Foulkes. Steam Era Models has been around for many years: In fact, back in the 1990s when I modelled the Boston and Maine Railroad in HO scale I acquired one of David’s plastic kits for a Victorian Railways Diesel Electric Rail Motor (DERM). At the time, Walthers had not yet introduced its model of an EMC gas-electric, and this was the most suitable starting point I could find to model the EMC doodlebugs that ran on the B&M:

Boston Maine Claremont Branch - Staging Yard
(The Steam Era Models doodlebug at right blends in nicely with my Boston & Maine equipment. You would never know its an Australian prototype. This was the staging yard on my HO layout.)

The model included a Black Beetle – a power truck of David’s own design. It was wonderful.

Fast forward about 20 years, and David has achieved international recognition for these power trucks, which he offers in several options. One picks the wheelbase, gauge, wheel type, wheel diameter and profile, and the gear ratio, and he builds them to order. William has used these under several of his models, and designed his white metal side frame castings to fit them.

I ordered two Black Beetles for Number 17 and a pair for Number 20, so I can now start work on those two motors:

Black Beetles
(Black Beetles for Number 20 (left) are built to 31mm wheelbase, while the trucks for Number 17 are 33.5mm wheelbase. Both locos ride on 14mm diameter disc wheels. I chose the Code 88 wheel profile (Proto:64) to match the NWSL finescale wheels I use on my freight cars, and the 27:1 gear ratio because that results in a slower, smoother drive. David installed the wires between the motor and pickups to test the trucks, but left them long so I can cut them and use them as leads for the DCC decoders. Normally they would be tight to the truck body.)

Interestingly, when I contacted David about these power trucks he asked if I had bought a Victorian Railways DERM from him many years ago. Great memory!

The NS&T also had three freight motors (8, 15, and 19) with trucks featuring an eight-foot wheelbase. For these, I decided to use Stanton Drives from Northwest Short Line. These run faster than the 27:1 Black Beetles, but I’m confident I can knock down their top speed through CV settings in my DCC decoders. I have acquired two Stanton Drives, which will do one of the freight motors. My order is in for four more to cover the other two. (UPDATE: These arrived July 30th)

Stanton Drives
(Stanton Drives from NWSL. As the packages note, they’re eight-foot wheelbase, with 36″ diameter code 87 wheel profiles, and DCC ready.)

While it doubles the expense, I decided to power both trucks on each freight motor. They will be pulling trains – admittedly short, but possibly up and down grades – so the extra horsepower will be welcome.