HEPC: Freight Motor 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.

2 thoughts on “HEPC: Freight Motor E21”

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I find electric railway freight operations interesting, but to use electric on a construction railway intriguing. I would of thought that the cost of the overhead wires would be excessive for a short term railway. Were the locomotives themselves significantly less expensive?

    1. Hi Ian:
      Good question. I think the locomotives were probably less expensive. They were little more than traction motors and controllers in a metal box. Note that while 21 was more expensive than the steam crane in a previous post, many of the other locomotives were actually cheaper!
      Also, keep in mind that this railway was built by the Hydro Electric Power Commission. Therefore, they were actually paying themselves when they purchased electricity to run the railway…

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