NS&T Troop Train – Welland Avenue

NST Troop Train - Welland Avenue

Here’s another photo from the Andrew Merrilees Collection at Library and Archives Canada, which I visited in September, 2018. One of the NS&T’s early steeple cab locomotives is hauling a train of conventional (steam railway) heavyweight passenger cars along Welland Avenue in St. Catharines. This photo also appears in the revised John Mills book on the NS&T, where the locomotive is identified as either #1 or #7, and the train is identified as a troop train movement arriving from Niagara-On-The-Lake, circa 1916.

The train is a highly unusual one and not what comes to mind when I think of the NS&T. It’s not likely I would model it, or this early era. However, I do like a lot of things about this photograph.

I like the large trees at left, which will become a defining feature of the Geneva Street terminal when it’s built in the 1920s. (Have a look at this photograph to see what I mean.)

The NS&T also used metal towers to support the trolley wire in some places in St. Catharines and a couple of examples are shown here. They will be a challenge to model, and I’m not sure I will attempt it – although I suppose one could commission some photo-etches for them. I also like the glimpse of houses along the right side of the image. They offer some guidance for modelling residential structures along St. Catharines city streets – something I’ll be doing a lot if I decide to build an NS&T model railway!

The interlocking tower is interesting in that it’s located on the south side of Welland Avenue – and not on the north side of Niagara Street, as it is in later years. I assume the tower was moved south when the junction to the Lake Shore Division (to Niagara-On-The-Lake via Port Weller) was relocated from Welland Avenue to Niagara Street, around the time that the new terminal was built. It wasn’t a big move: The tower can be seen on Niagara Street in this view, taken from Welland Avenue:

StC Freight House and Niagara Street tower

(Click on the image to read more about it elsewhere on this site)

2 thoughts on “NS&T Troop Train – Welland Avenue”

  1. Hi Trevor, regarding those metal towers, I recall from ages ago (the late 80’s or early 90’s??) an article in Model Railroader about an approach to modeling analogous metal towers for the North Shore. The author started with a clear plastic core (plexiglass? Clear styrene?) and either painted or applied the visible metal latticework on the surface of that core.
    This seems like a good approach to modeling things like this in HO from a stability and ease-of-assembly perspective, although I wonder if there might be reflections or visual distortions from what’s supposed to be empty space within the tower. Might be worth mocking up first if you decide to assess this approach.

    1. Hi Karl:

      Interesting idea. I remember that article (vaguely) – thanks for the reminder.

      I think that photo-etched towers would be plenty strong, once they’re bent and soldered up – especially with lengths of wire soldered into the corners. Years ago I built a photo etched kit from Sheepscot Scale Models for a crane boom and I was impressed by how strong the final assembly turned out to be. (I’ve attached a photo of the finished crane as it appeared on my O scale Maine two-foot layout.)

      Based on that experience, I’m confident that photo-etched towers would be the way to go if I really wanted to model them prototypically. The other question is, do I have to? Or would standard wooden poles as used elsewhere on the system do the job just fine? They certainly would, mechanically, so the question becomes, “Is the extra effort required to assemble metal towers really worth the payoff?”

      Something to ponder…


      SPCRR - Quarry Crane

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