Changing a pole at the end of the line

Back in the day, photographers typically focussed on roster shots: Clean, 3/4 views of equipment. It made sense, given that film was expensive. But it made for pretty static pictures that rarely told a story. Occasionally, however, a static composition would convey life on the line, as in this example – from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I acquired from William Flatt:

NST 82 and 130 - Port Colborne

NS&T 82 and 130 – Port Colborne, Ontario. Photographer and date unknown.

Car 82 is the in-service car and is having its pole changed. (I’m not sure why: Perhaps the wheel failed on it? I’m open to suggestions.) Car 130 is tucked in behind, ready to make the return trip north.

The photographer is standing on the west side of King Street, looking northeast. The track in the foreground is the Canadian National Railways Dunnville Subdivision between Brantford and Fort Erie. The CNR Port Colborne station is out of frame, to the right.

The black automobile to the left of Car 82 is on Princess Street, which then curves behind the cars and turns into West Street before crossing the CNR track, as the turquoise auto is doing.

NS&T Car 82 was built by the NS&T in 1925, for the Toronto Suburban Railway. It uses a standard underframe designed by CNR for its self-propelled diesel electric rail motors. As built, the car seated 72 passengers, was 61′-9″ long, and weighed 80,000 pounds. Car 82 was rebuilt in 1956 as an express motor, and was scrapped in 1959.

NS&T Car 130 was part of a series of heavyweight wooden cars – passenger cars 130, 131 and 135, plus combines 132, 133, 134. All were built by Preston in 1914. They were 58 feet long, with 64 seats, and weighed 75,400 pounds. They rode on 6′-6″ Taylor trucks. Sadly, none of the cars survived: The 131, 132 and 135 were scrapped in 1949. 133 met its fate in 1942 while 134 lasted until 1950. Car 130 was preserved in Sandy Pond, NY but allowed to decay.

NS&T 130 – Stop 25

In yesterday’s post, I noted the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway identified many of its stops on the Welland Division with black numerals in a yellow circle. Here’s another example – from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I acquired from William Flatt:

NST 130 - Dainsville

Dainsville is just south of the NS&T’s level crossing with the Canadian National Railways Cayuga Subdivision – used primarily by the Wabash to connect Buffalo and Detroit across Southern Ontario, and modelled at one time by my friend Pierre Oliver. The photo is looking south from the road crossing.

Here’s a map showing the Dainsville stop and the “Grand Trunk / Wabash Air Line”:

Stop 25 - Dainsville - Map

I believe the east-west public road to the north of the stop is Forks Road East, and the road to the east of the NS&T track, running south is Elm Street. Today, the NS&T right of way here forms a part of Trillium’s Port Colborne Harbour Railway. The passing siding and shelter are gone.

NS&T 620 – Southbound at Stop 21

Let’s head south a couple of stops from the photo in yesterday’s post, to Stop 21. Here’s an interesting look at the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto station at Welland – from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I acquired from William Flatt:

NST 620 - Southbound at Welland Station

NS&T 620 – Welland. Photographer and date unknown

This is an unusual photograph in that it’s taken looking south. Most other pictures at Welland are taken from the south, looking north from Maple Avenue to capture the front of the car in full sun.

I like a couple of things about this picture:

First, notice the black “21” in a yellow circle on the side of the station. This is the stop number and it’s interesting to see that the stops were so indicated, even on major structures like this. A 1950s era ticket from the Welland Division (reprinted on page 63 of the revised John Mills book), indicates that there are 28 stops between the Thorold station at the north and the Port Colborne station at the south. (There are obviously a few stops no longer in service: the numbers range from “3” at Beamer’s in Thorold to “35” at the Port Colborne depot.)

Second, note the CNR boxcar in the background at right. My map of the Welland Division shows two tracks behind the station:

NST Stop 21 (Welland) - Map

This photo confirms that at least one of those tracks is still in use.

NST meet at Stop 19, Welland

The Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto was a busy interurban with passenger and freight trains serving major cities in the Niagara Peninsula – but it also had its share of small vignettes that would be easy to model. Here’s an example, from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I acquired from William Flatt:

NST 83 and 620 - Stop 19

NS&T 83 and 620 – Welland. Photographer and date unknown

This is the passing siding at Stop 19 in Welland. Car 83 is heading south towards the main NS&T station in Welland as it meets car 620 heading north towards Thorold. The photographer is standing at the Stop 19 shelter, just north of Thorold Road (Regional Road 538), looking north. Here’s a map:

Stop 19 - Map

My notes say that when the photo was taken, car 620 had recently arrived from the Montreal & Southern Counties, which likely dates the photo to 1956. The new car is likely running in excursion service, while car 83 is holding down the regular passenger service between Thorold and Port Colborne.

The RoW here now forms part of the Steve Bauer Trail – named after an Olympic cyclist born in St. Catharines. Here’s what the area looks like today:

Steve Bauer Trail - Stop 19

While the NS&T is long gone, it’s nice to know that one can at least cycle where the interurban ran – although, perhaps not as fast as Steve Bauer…

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.

NS&T Brill cars at Port Dalhousie

I’m working my way through photographs of the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada*. Among my findings are a number of photos of the NS&T at Port Dalhousie – including the views shared here:

NST 326 - Port Dalhousie

NS&T 326 – Port Dalhousie. Photographer and date unknown.

NST 324 - Port Dalhousie

NS&T 324 – Port Dalhousie. Photographer and date unknown.

These two photos are looking east in the ferry dock yard at Port Dalhousie – and while they’re fairly standard views of NS&T equipment, I like that they show some details of the terminal building on the right side of the photos. This was on the water’s edge and was where people would shelter while waiting to board the NS&T lake boats headed for Toronto.

NST 324 - Port Dalhousie

NS&T 324 – Port Dalhousie. Photographer and date unknown.

Here’s another view of 324 in the ferry dock yard, this time looking west. The photographer may have been standing in front of the terminal building shown in the earlier photos.

This photo is from a different era than the previous picture of 324 – note the bars over the lower windows on the car in this picture (and the kid demonstrating how they don’t quite keep arms in).

The building behind the 324 (at left) was one of many framing this yard area. I have better photo of that building, which I’ll share in a future post.

The two cars shown in these views were part of the 320 series (320-326). These 52-seat suburban cars were built by Brill in 1917 for the Washington-Virginia Railway. The NS&T acquired them in 1929. They were 48’4″ long, weighed 56,200 lbs, and rode on 6′ trucks spaced 21’6″ apart. Car 323 was scrapped in 1945, while the rest were transferred to the Montreal & Southern Counties (another CNER property) in 1947, and scrapped in 1956.

NS&T 320-326 were known as the “Washington” cars, and in his revised book on the NS&T, author John Mills describes them as the most versatile cars the railway ever owned – noting they could handle local or suburban services, and were even used in mainline extras when required. They were favourites for the Port Dalhousie route.

*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 – Tower Inn Terminal

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 showing an overview of the compact interurban terminal in Niagara Falls:

Tower Inn Terminal

NS&T 135, 134, 130 – Niagara Falls. Lloyd G Baxter Photo – July 1940.

This image also appears on page 55 of the revised John Mills book on the NS&T, which is where I found the captioning information. That book (which I highly recommend) notes the photo was taken from the station’s observation tower, about two months before the terminal was forced to close to make way for a highway (the Queen Elizabeth Way) and a bus terminal. In this photograph, track one (at the right) is buried under materials that will be used to build the highway.

Despite the sad subject of this photo – the impending closure and destruction of one of the most handsome terminals ever to grace an interurban railway in Canada – there’s a lot to see in this picture. I particularly like how it shows off the roofs of three of the NS&T 130-series cars – classic, handsome wooden heavyweights that held down the boat train assignments between here and Port Dalhousie. (I’ve shared plenty of photos of this series elsewhere on this blog – and have more to share as time allows.)

I’m also intrigued by the freight car standing on a spur at upper left: I’m not sure what those tracks were used for. Perhaps they were team tracks? Or perhaps the railway is delivering the materials that will be used to pave over this piece of interurban glory…

*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 83: Louisa Street

On this blog, I’ve shared many images of Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway number 83. It was a popular interurban car for excursion service. This time, I have one of my favourite photos of this car – found among the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NST 83 - Louisa Street

NS&T 83 – St. Catharines. Robert Sandusky photograph, 1956.

Here, NS&T car 83 is headed eastbound on Louisa Street at Henry Street, on – you guessed it – a fan trip. It’s returning from Port Dalhousie and is a few minutes east of the bridge at 12 Mile Creek, and the siding at Woodruffs.

I was certain I’d shared this photo before, but I can’t find the post. No matter – it’s worth sharing again. I love the combination of big interurban car on a tree-lined residential street. And as I’ve mentioned previously on this site, I used to walk Louisa Street to get to high school. Granted, that was three decades after this photo was taken, but at the time the track still existed, and still hosted short CNR trains moving freight cars to and from the General Motors (nee, McKinnon Industries) plant on Ontario Street.

Louisa at Henry - Google Street View 2014

In the above image, Google Street View cameras have captured the same location in 2014. The track is long gone by this point. But the houses haven’t changed all that much over the intervening decades.

The personal connection with trains in the pavement at this location means I would love to be able to include a segment of Louisa Street running on any NS&T layout I build.

NS&T 80 and 130 – Scanlon’s?

Here’s a lovely shot of open-country running on the Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway, taken from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NS&T 80 & 130 - Scanlon's?

NS&T 80 and NS&T 130. Photographer and date unknown.

My notes for this image say it was taken “possibly at Scanlon’s”. According to my copy of the 1945 Employee Time Table, this was a nine-car passing siding between Fonthill and Welland, at MP 8.59 on the Welland Division. It featured spring switches at both ends to facilitate meets – such as the one shown here.

Car 80 was likely working in scheduled service on this day, while Car 130 was obviously in railfan service – note the white “extra” flags and “Special” in the destination sign. It’s likely this photo was taken the same day as two other pictures I’ve recently shared of Car 130 – at Humberstone and on Elm Street in Port Colborne.