NS&T 20 – Port Colborne

I’ve shared a lot of images of equipment in the north end of the NS&T system. Let’s look at the south end now…

I’m working my way through the collection of photographs, maps and other materials I’ve recently acquired from William Flatt. In a post a couple of days ago, I shared a photo of a freight headed to Port Colborne. Let’s go back to the south end of the Welland Division now:

NS&T 20 - Port Colborne

NS&T 20 and CNR caboose – Port Colborne. Photographer and date unknown.

NS&T 20 was built by General Electric in 1914 as South Brooklyn Railway #6. The NS&T acquired it in 1938 in a trade with a dealer in Toronto. It was a 55-Ton steeple cab, which was scrapped in 1960.

A few years ago, I acquired a photo-etched kit for this locomotive designed by William, so it’ll definitely show up on any layout I build.

This location is identified by John Wigt in a similar photo as the “layover spur” in Port Colborne. This is the present location of Princess Street, between King and Catherine. There was a business on the lot across King Street, where the 7-Eleven convenience store is now located.

The following photo shows the same house in the above photo in more recent days. It’s now the Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum:

Port Colborne - Layover Siding - Google Streetview

Location of NS&T layover siding, Port Colborne – Google Streetview 2014

Comparing these two photos, it’s clear the NS&T layover siding must’ve run where this segment of Princess Street is now located.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Gregory Ayres, I’ve now learned that’s incorrect. Greg contacted me via the comments for this post and I took another look. I also consulted maps and vintage aerial photos of Port Colborne, including those at Brock University and at the Niagara Region Navigator. Based on this, I’ve concurred with Gregory that Princess Street existed to the north of the tracks. Here are some aerial views:

Port Colborne - layover - Aerial photo 1934

Close-up of 1934 Aerial Photo – Niagara Region Navigator.

I have labelled Princess Street and the CNR depot. The track closest to the depot is the CNR line, while the NS&T is the next line to the north. An NS&T passenger car is in front of the CNR depot – as evidenced by the shadow it casts. Note the NS&T line comes in from the north on the left side, curving east to parallel the CNR, then curves north again at the canal (extreme right edge).

(As an aside, on the south side of the CNR line just west of the depot, there’s a large structure and two spurs entering the property from the west. That’s the CNR freight shed. At least seven boxcars are spotted at the shed and in the team area behind it.)

Based on the 1934 aerial photo, here’s an aerial courtesy of Google Street View, on which I’ve drawn in some trackage:


Princess Street, Port Colborne – Google Street View.

The white lines represent the NS&T main track and layover spur. The NS&T also had a crossover in this area to connect with the CNR. CNR lines are drawn in green. The CNR freight shed would’ve been in the large parking lot on the south side of the tracks – and I’ve included a pair of lines to represent the approximate locations of the spurs serving it. The CNR station is out of view to the right.

I based the updated location of the layover track, in part, on a second photo of NS&T 20 from the collection I recently acquired:

NST20+CN77234 - Port Colborne

NS&T 20 and CNR 77234 – Port Colborne. Photographer and date unknown.

The building at left, in the shade, is the red building seen in the preceding photo. There are vehicles parked in front of it, and obviously they would access this parking area via Princess Street. The weed-covered track in front of the freight motor is the NS&T main track, while the well-groomed track in the lower right corner is the CNR main track.

As explained elsewhere, any CNR vans assigned to an electric line such as the NS&T would’ve had their caboose stoves grounded for safety under the overhead wire, so once they were so assigned they would tend to stay on the property. Therefore, CNR 77234 would’ve been a regular visitor to Port Colborne.

This broader view illustrates the relationship between the house (now museum), Princess Street, the parking area on the south side of Princess (formerly the NS&T RoW), and the the CNR track and station (at right).

Port Colborne - NS&T and CNR - GSV

Port Colborne – Princess Street and CNR station – Google Streetview 2014

Today, the CNR track swings north onto the line that used to belong to the NS&T. The lift bridge at the extreme right carries Clarence Street over the canal. At one time, the CNR had its own lift bridge to the left of this one.

Port Colborne was the site of Robin Hood Flour Mills – a major customer for the NS&T. I discussed the mill in an earlier post.

5 thoughts on “NS&T 20 – Port Colborne”

  1. Hi Trevor, Are there any of those photo etched freight motors in S scale still available? Or do you know if there are any S scale kits for freight motors. I’m more interested in the freight service than the passenger.
    Thanks for any information, Gord

    1. Hi Gord:
      I pretty much cleaned out William’s collection for my own needs. Model Railroad Warehouse also did an S scale brass kit – really a starting point, as it’s just the body and frame – for a Baldwin Westinghouse freight motor like NS&T 18.
      You might want to try the S Scale Traction Yahoo group to see if anybody has some of his kits for sale. The folks on that group might have more information for you about sources of freight motors in 1:64.
      Good luck with the search.

  2. I am pretty sure that Princess Street was always in its present location. The old rail yard with the siding where the old electric engine and cabbose is pictured was located in the parking lot ajacent to Princess Street. The 7-eleven store is situated in a building that has been there for over 65 years and in no way connected to the NS&T railway.

    1. Hi Gregory:
      Interesting. I’ve taken another look at the photo of #20. I thought the line of greenery behind the locomotive was along the property line for the house that’s now used as the museum. If the layover spur is in the parking area, then the road is on the other side of that greenery. I wish I had another view of this area – I will have to go looking. Thanks!

      1. Yep – I agree with you. The layover spur must’ve been in what’s now the parking area on the south side of Princess Street. I’ve updated this post accordingly. Thanks!

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