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.

NS&T 130 – Humberstone

In a post earlier this week, I shared an image of NS&T 130 from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt. Here’s another look at this classic interurban:

NS&T 130 - Humberstone Siding

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

My notes for this image say this car is on “the Humberstone siding”. I’m guessing this is either the passing siding at the north end of Port Colborne, or the spur to the Robin Hood flour mill in that town. In any case, the photo was likely taken the same day as the one I shared in my previous post, in which case the 130 is running as a railfan special.

I do like how the two-tone scheme jumps off the green background of a summer’s day in Southern Ontario…

NS&T 130 – Elm Street

There’s such a wide variety of designs for interurban cars that it’s hard to pick a favourite. But for a classic look, nothing quite compares to this image from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NS&T 130 - Elm Street

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

NS&T car 130 is working its way along Elm Street in Port Colborne. It’s running as a railfan special – note the “Special” in the destination sign in the front window. The arched side windows have been modified but it sports an attractive two-tone scheme.

While it uses trolley poles and not pantographs, this car just screams “Bob Hegge’s Crooked Mountain Lines” to me…

NS&T 83 – Substation Junction

Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway interurban car 83 was frequently recruited for fan trip duties and shows up in many of the images in the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt – such as this one:

NS&T 83 - Substation Junction

NS&T 83 – Thorold. Photographer and date unknown.

Here, a railfan special (note the white flags at the front of the car) is approaching the bridges over the Welland Canal in Thorold. The switch it’s on is for the east end of the passing siding at Substation Junction.

I like how close together everything is on the NS&T – like a model railway, in some respects. The headblocks for this switch are practically on that first bridge, and everything is on a grade.

Also, look at the number of people who are actually on the bridges in this scene. I count more than half dozen.

Car 83 is wearing CNR green, which means this photo was taken in the mid-to-late 1950s. By this time, the main line to Niagara Falls was long abandoned and this stretch of track would’ve reached across the Welland Canal just far enough to allow the NS&T to access the spur to Walker’s Quarry. This was normally the patrol of a freight motor with hoppers or drop-bottom gondolas in tow.

But the NS&T was very agreeable to taking the rail fans wherever they wanted to go… even if that destination was a gravel pit.

NS&T 83 – Geneva Street

Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway interurban car 83 was frequently recruited for fan trip duties and shows up in many of the images in the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt – such as this one:

NST 83 - Geneva at Queenston - St. Catharines

NS&T 83 – Geneva Street at Queenston Street – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

Car 83 is headed south on Geneva and has just arrived at the five-way intersection where Geneva, Niagara, St. Paul and Queenston come together. The photographer is standing on Queenston Street and shooting northwest. The car is running in extra service – note the white flags – and I’m guessing all those serious-looking gents are rail fans. (Perhaps they’re headed for lunch at the Queensway Hotel? It’s directly behind the photographer…)

I have shared many photos of Car 83 on this blog, but since it was such a well-photographed interurban the details are worth repeating:

The NS&T built Car 83 (as well as the second car to carry the number 82) in 1925. It had 72 seats and weighed 80,000 pounds. Interestingly, the NS&T built 83 not for itself, but for the Toronto Suburban Railway as that line’s number 107. The car came home to the NS&T in 1935 and was stored out of service. That changed with the demands placed on public transit by World War II. The car entered service on the NS&T in 1943, on trucks salvaged from NS&T Car 80 and 600-volt electrical equipment out of Car 133. Originally painted in the two-tone scheme, Car 83 was repainted in the mid-1950s into the CNR green scheme shown here. It was scrapped in 1959.

Geneva at Queenston - GSV

Geneva and Niagara Streets, from Queenston Street – St. Catharines. Google Streetview – 2017

While the NS&T is long gone, the intersection looks a lot like it did back in the 1950s. The same block of buildings stands, with different tennis. Even the parking lot to the north (right) is still there – although in the earlier view, it appears to be a car dealership.

This photograph was taken just east of the location where – on a different day – NS&T steeple cab 14 was caught hauling a boxcar to the factory on Phelps Street, which I shared in a previous post. The track in the foreground is the line along Queenston to Phelps Street.

NS&T at Martindale Pond

On the way to Port Dalhousie, after crossing 12 Mile Creek, the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway headed north along the side of Martindale Road. Before it could reach the port, however, it had to deal with another wet obstacle: Martindale Pond.

As illustrated in these photos from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt, the NS&T surmounted this obstacle with a trestle:

NST 83 - Martindale Pond

NS&T 83 – Martindale Pond. Photographer and date unknown

NST 622 - Martindale Pond

NS&T 622 – Martindale Pond. Photographer and date unknown

NST 622 - Martindale Pond

NS&T 622 – Martindale Pond. Photographer and date unknown

Martindale Pond is a small artificial lake near the shores of Lake Ontario created to permit navigation on the first Welland Canal. (It also served as the route for the second and third canals: remains of locks from those canals are still visible.) The NS&T – and Martindale Road – crossed the pond at a narrow bay that jutted to the west of the pond.

Martindale Pond - 1955 aerial photo

1955 aerial photo showing the Martindale Pond trestle, from the Brock University online collection.

(I’ve written previously about the 12 Mile Creek bridge and about the Canning Factory siding.)

As it approached the pond crossing, the Martindale Road swung further to the west – away from the NS&T – then crossed the pond on its own bridge. This provided an excellent vantage point for railfans to grab photos like the ones shown in this post.

Today, Martindale Road has been relocated to follow the roadbed of the NS&T and a new bridge exists where the trestle once was. The original alignment – now Old Martindale Road – is now a recreational trail.

Martindale Pond from the rec trail

Martindale Pond from Old Martindale Road. Google Street View – 2018.

In 1903, Martindale Pond was chosen as the site for the Royal Canadian Henley Rowing Course – a world-renowned rowing venue, and host to the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. It hosted the World Rowing Championships in 1970 and 1999, and the rowing competitions held as part of the 2015 Pan American Games held in Toronto.

NS&T – the bridge at 12 Mile Creek

Holiday-makers headed to Port Dalhousie for a day at the beach left from downtown St. Catharines, took the Louisa Street cut-off to Woodruffs siding, then slipped downgrade behind the McKinnon Industries plant to cross 12 Mile Creek – so named because the mouth of this waterway on Lake Ontario is located approximately 12 miles west of the Niagara River.

Here are some photos of the bridge over 12 Mile Creek – from the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt:

NS&T 83 - 12 Mile Creek

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

NS&T 83 - 12 Mile Creek

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

These two views were likely taken on the same day, during an enthusiast fan trip. While I can’t confirm the date, the revised book by John Mills includes several photos of Car 83 taken on September 8, 1957 – including a Robert Sandusky picture at this bridge. (In fact, it’s quite possible the top photo is his picture, as there’s a shot in the Mills book that appears to be this photo, but cropped.)

NS&T 83 is outbound in these photos, headed towards the photographers and towards Port Dalhousie. The white flags show it’s running as an extra movement – not on the schedule – which supports the theory that this is a fan trip.

The line to Port Dalhousie was built in 1901 – so presumably, this is when the bridge was constructed.

Aerial photo - 12 Mile Creek bridge and environs

1955 aerial photo showing the 12 Mile Creek bridge, from the Brock University online collection.

When the line to Port Dalhousie was built, 12 Mile Creek was no longer part of the Welland Canal: As part of the construction of the Third Welland Canal in the 1880s, the route was changed to cut diagonally southeast from Port Dalhousie. But there must’ve been traffic upstream of this bridge – or at least, the potential for it – because it was built as a swing bridge.

NS&T 620 - 12 Mile Creek

NS&T 620 – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

This photo is a good illustration of the method used for supporting the overhead wire where the swing bridge meets the approach.

NS&T Bridge - 12 Mile Creek

NS&T Bridge at 12 Mile Creek – St. Catharines. Photographer and date unknown

This image provides a good look at the central pier, and the rollers upon which the bridge would’ve turned. The abutment on the far (east) bank features a stone column to the right of the steelwork that would prevent the bridge from rotating clockwise. Based on this, the bridge would’ve rotated counter-clockwise to clear the river for traffic. However, it hadn’t been opened for many years by the time these photos were taken.

I’m not sure when the bridge was removed, although it was gone when I lived in St. Catharines in the 1980s. However, the central pier is still in place – a reminder of the days when St. Catharines visited the beach under wire…

12 Mile Creek - NS&T bridge - GSV

Central pier, NS&T bridge over 12 Mile Creek. Google Satellite View – 2018

(Today, 12 Mile Creek is a fast flowing, dangerous river with undertows and turbulent currents. Over the years, many people have drowned trying to shoot the rapids in this area.)

On the west side of the creek, the line climbed a hill to reach Martindale Road.

NST - Looking east towards 12 Mile Creek bridge from Martindale Road

NS&T Port Dalhousie Line – Martindale Road

In the above image, the photographer on the west side of 12 Mile Creek. He’s standing at the top of the grade, looking southeast down the grade towards the bridge. At the bottom fo the grade, just before the bridge, a spur left the main track and headed south along the west side of the water to Welland Vale. The roadbed from here to Welland Vale is now a recreational trail.

There was another bridge on the line to Port Dalhousie that was popular with railfan photographers – and I’ll share some photos of that bridge in a future post.

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…