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…