Blende River Viaduct-Pass Lake Trestle
The Blende River Viaduct, better known as the Pass Lake Trestle, is located just northwest of the community of Pass Lake, Ontario at Milepost 123.4. While the Blende River is nothing more than a small creek (it is indicated as such on road signs), the valley through which it passed required the construction of a large structure. This was a direct result of the route that Canadian Northern was forced to select through the Pass Lake area.
The viaduct is 2258 feet long and the maximum height is 130 feet, making it the largest such structure in central Canada. It is comprised of 14 spans of 75 feet resting on 15 towers of 45 feet, with six 60-foot spans and four 40-foot towers at the ends. The foundations of the two abutments and end pedestals are on rock; the remaining pedestals are built upon pile foundations. The viaduct can support the weight of 180 ton locomotives arranged end-to-end along its entire length.
Under the direction of James A. Whalen, construction on the concrete substructure began on May 3, 1912, and was completed by July 30, 1912. Subcontractors Kennedy Construction Company poured approximately 3,600 cubic yards of concrete and utilized approximately 2,000 piles for the foundations. The steel superstructure was built by the Canadian Bridge Company of Walkerville, Ontario. The first span was placed on August 20, 1912, and the last span, or most easterly, was in position by December 28, 1912. The total of weight of steel for the spans and towers was approximately 5,000,000 pounds.
The viaduct was designed under the supervision of W.P. Chapman, Bridge Engineer, Mackenzie, Mann and Company and cost nearly $350,000 ($8-9 million in today’s dollars). Click here for its location.
There are several videos of the viaduct in the YouTube playlist below.