As I ponder a layout based on the Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto Railway, I have been reviewing my various source materials (four books and a video) about the line.
And this one has turned out to be a real gold mine of information:
Like many railway references, the 2008 edition of the book by John M Mills includes a lot of data that one tends to skip over in favour of photos and captions when simply reading for pleasure. But since I’m reading for specific information this time through, I’m paying much more attention to it. So, I’ve been reading through the appendixes … which include a copy of NS&T Employee Time Table 52 – dated April 3, 1938.
In amongst the schedules and special instructions, there’s something I’ve never before encountered in an Employee Time Table: a complete list of sidings and turnouts for each division, presented in order with their mileage marker. This is spectacular information for the layout designer, because many of the sidings are identified by the customer they serve. Essentially, I now have a list of online customers, and where they were located in relation to each other.
For example, here are a few entries for the line out of Port Dalhousie:
Graham & Son Coal Company – MP 0.04
Yard Switch – MP 0.13
Johnson Coal Company Siding – MP 0.20
Dominion Canners Siding – MP 0.63
Lake Street Team Track – MP 1.02
Imperial Oil Company Siding – MP 2.21
Lincoln Canning Company Siding – MP 2.23
Cloney & Winton Siding – MP 2.33
… and so on.
The descriptions also include things like passing siding locations and lengths (e.g.: Thorold Passing Siding, 345 feet long), railway trackage (e.g.: Thorold scale track siding, 452 feet long; beginning of double track; South Wye Switch), and more.
It’s not perfect – a track map would be even better. I have track maps from the mid-1980s, but I know that a fair bit of the trackage in St. Catharines was rearranged in the post-electric era. For example, passenger service trackage in the downtown was lifted or paved over, and in some cases trackage moved to better serve industries or to get trains out of the streets. In other cases, customers disappeared – there weren’t many retail coal dealers in the 1980s – and tracks were removed. (A good example of this is the list of industries I’ve included above: the line to Port Dalhousie was cut back to McKinnon’s on Ontario Street by the era represented by my track maps. It was miles away from Port Dalhousie at that point.)
But, this list is an excellent start. If nothing else, it will help me determine what segments of the NS&T will be most interesting to operate. And it’ll give me names to put to industries, which should help in researching them. I’m really pleased!
Thanks to John M. Mills for including this important piece of background information in his book.