A sweeper, from Doug

While in Ottawa last week, I attended the monthly OVAR dinner. There, I met up with Doug Lake – a traction enthusiast whom I’ve known for years. And I ended up with this delightful little HO scale model of a McGuire-Cummins sweeper:

HO Sweeper - 01

HO Sweeper - 02

The best part? The Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway rostered an example of this single-truck sweeper – Number 23:

NST 23 - Coal Track - Thorold
(Click on the image to explore all my posts about this piece of work equipment)

This story of the HO sweeper starts with a much bigger piece of interurban equipment:

Illinois Terminal Class C

Back in the 1990s when I lived in Ottawa, I owned the above Suydam HO model of an Illinois Traction Class C four-truck freight motor. At the time, I was refocussing my hobby – I do that a lot – and I didn’t really need this freight motor, so I sold it on to Doug.

(I will admit I kind of regretted the sale afterwards because the locomotive was a favourite of mine – but Doug could put it to better use than I could and would get considerable enjoyment out of it, so overall I was glad to see it go.)

Fast-forward 20 years, and Doug got in touch earlier this month to ask if I’d be interested in reacquiring the Class C. I thought about it and decided that yes, I would. I told Doug that by happy coincidence I planned to be at the OVAR dinner in September, and asked how much he’d like for the model.

Doug’s deal was remarkable: I could have the model as long as I took a bunch of other models off his hands, too. All for free.

To make a long story short, I’ve ended up with several neat pieces of brass – including my Class C. I’ll use this cool HO sweeper as a study model for building my own version in S scale – and probably paint the HO model up as NS&T 23, just because.

Meantime, I’ll keep select pieces from Doug’s collection and pass along the rest to friends. I’ll be sure to tell them of Doug’s generosity!

NST sweeper 23 – Thorold

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 23 - Coal Track, Thorold Yard

NS&T 23 – Thorold. Photographer and date unknown

NS&T 23 is a single truck McGuire-Cummins sweeper, built for the Toronto Suburban railway in 1913. The NS&T acquired it in 1924. Sometime in the 1950s, I believe, it was painted into the very visible orange scheme shown here. The 23 was 27′-10″ long and weighed 32,100 pounds.

The sweeper is parked on the coal shed spur track in the small yard at Thorold. At one time, this was the A Martin & Sons coal dealer – but I’m not sure of ownership at the time this photo was taken. Ormond Street is in the background, and the brown and white church still exists.