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.

NS&T 17: Houtby’s Siding

The photograph below is a pretty exciting one for me. It changes how I’m thinking about my potential model railway, based on the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway.

NS&T 17 - Houtby's

NS&T 17 at Houtby’s Siding. Photographer and date unknown.

This photo is courtesy of the Niagara Railway Museum, which recently acquired a large collection of photographs. I’m grateful to Aaron White for giving me permission to share it here.

Number 17 and its short freight are in the hole at Houtby’s – at Milepost 2.33 on the Port Dalhousie line. It’s facing north, but it’s likely waiting to back south along the west side of 12 Mile Creek to serve customer(s) at Welland Vale.

To the left of the freight motor, one can see the bridge over 12 Mile Creek and – to the left of that, up the hill – the back of the McKinnon Industries complex on Ontario Street.

Aerial photo - 12 Mile Creek bridge and environs

1955 aerial photo showing McKinnon Industries, Welland Vale and Houtby’s Siding, from the Brock University online collection.

I’m thrilled to have seen this photo because it provides me with an example of the traffic that was hauled across the creek to the west bank. I am very keen on modelling the operations along Ontario Street, but was worried that McKinnon Industries would dominate the freight movements. This photo gave me reason to explore more of the freight workings on the Port Dalhousie division – perhaps I could add Welland Vale to a layout to boost the switching opportunities?

My reprint of the 1945 Employee Time Table includes a list of tracks outside yard limits on the Port Dalhousie Division, which is helpful in determining switching opportunities on this line:

NST - Port Dalhousie track list

(Note the mileage is measured from Port Dalhousie in this time table, so the MP given for Houtby’s is different.)

I like that the line also includes a couple of team tracks and canneries. (I wrote about the Canadian Canners spur at MP 0.86 and the Cannery Siding at MP 0.99 in an earlier post on Port Dalhousie and Lakeside Park.) Looking at the sidings chart above – and keeping in mind that the Port Dalhousie Division was a busy passenger line until about 1950 – has given me a lot more to think about.

Thanks again, Aaron!

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 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…