Tag Archives: Locomotive

Feature Friday January 27, 2023

Then and now featuring CN 5227 and 5216 in September 1993 as they round a curve and lead an eastbound into the station at Orient Bay, ON while the high cliffs of the Pijitawabik Palisades loom in the background. Orient Bay was one of the major stations on this line when it was opened by Canadian Northern Railway in 1915. Located at Milepost 41.3/91, it was home to a station, two section houses, water tank and wilderness resort.

Thirty years later, the Palisades still remain but the rails are long gone (photo taken in May 2022). After becoming part of Canadian National Railways, the line was known as the Dorion Subdivision until 1960 when it was merged with the more eastern Kinghorn Subdivision. Twelve years after the first photo was taken, the last train would run on the line and the rails were pulled up in 2010.

Photo courtesy of Bill Hooper

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Posted by on January 27, 2023 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday December 23, 2022

On a cold winter day in the 1940s, Canadian National Railways 2-10-2 Santa Fe locomotive 4006 (Class T-1-a) idles at Jellicoe, Ontario. Jellicoe was a divisional point on the Canadian Northern Railway mainline when it opened for traffic 1915. After CN merged lines in 1960, it remained a crew change location until service was terminated in 2005.

Locomotive 4006 was one of ten constructed by Brooks Locomotive Works/ALCO for the Canadian Government Railways in 1916. They were all retired from use in 1960.

B. Franklin Collection

CNR Locomotive 4006, a 2-10-2 Santa Fe (Class T-1-a), idles at Jellicoe, circa 1940s. (B. Franklin Collection)
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Posted by on December 23, 2022 in History


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Feature Friday December 2, 2022

An unidentified Canadian National Railways locomotive, possibly 1059, moves somewhere on the North Lake Subdivision likely during the 1930s. Originally built as the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway and opened for traffic in 1893, the line later became part of Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) network. In late 1918, CNoR was merged into the Canadian National Railways (CNR).

Locomotive 1059, a 4-6-0 engine (G-10-b classification), was one of 25 built for CNoR in 1903 by the Canadian Locomotive Company. She likely began running on the North Lake line in the late 1920s until it was abandoned in 1938.

CNR 1059?, date unknown
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Posted by on December 2, 2022 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday April 8, 2022

In an undated photo, a locomotive passes through one of the many rock cuts near Pass Lake Station. Pass Lake was located at Milepost 120.6 of the Canadian Northern Railway Nipigon Subdivision and later Canadian National Railways Dorion Subdivision. In 1960 it became Milepost 170.3 of the Canadian National Railway Kinghorn Subdivision.

While an exact identification is very difficult due to the resolution of the photo, it appears to be a CNR 3200 locomotive, possibly 3281. If correct, #3281 was a Class S-1-b 2-8-2 Mikado built 1916-1917 by the Canadian Locomotive Company for the Canadian Government Railways. The boxcar visible has what appears to be Canadian Northern lettering, placing the photograph in the early 1920s.

Thunder Bay Public Library

Rock cut at Pass Lake, undated. (TBPL)
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Posted by on April 8, 2022 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday March 25, 2022

Then and now photographs of Ancliff Station in Shuniah, ON. In May 1997, photographer David Schauer captured CN 5097 as she led an eastbound across Superior Shores Road toward Jellicoe and beyond.

Twenty-five years later the area is much quieter, the lone spruce tree standing vigil over the now silent crossing (photo from May 2021). Ancliff Station was located at Milepost 106.6/156.3 of the Canadian Northern Railway Nipigon Subdivision/Canadian National Railways Dorion Subdivision and later Canadian National Railway Kinghorn Subdivision.

Ancliff, May 1997. (D. Schauer)
Ancliff, May 2021.
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Posted by on March 25, 2022 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday February 25, 2022

A circa 1907 photograph of what is described as Sand Lake (today known as Sandstone Lake). If correct, Sand Lake was created as a stop on the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway in 1893 (Milepost 57). It was home to a siding, water tank (visible on the extreme right of the photo) and a section house. The PAD&W was laid with 56 pound rails and those in the photo do appear quite light.

At the time of the photo, the line was part of the Canadian Northern Railway network and known as the Duluth Section or Duluth Extension. The locomotive in the photo, #30, was a 4-4-0 (Class A-10-a) built in 1871 by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works for the Quebec & Lake St. John Railway. She was scrapped in 1912.

Thunder Bay Public Library

Sand Lake, circa 1907.
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Posted by on February 25, 2022 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday February 4, 2022

A construction scene on the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway (PAD&W) circa 1892. The exact location is unknown, but the end of track was near North Lake at the time (Milepost 71).

A locomotive, pushing a flat car and coach sit on a siding. It is not possible to identify the engine (likely #2 or #3), but her tender is piled high with wood instead of coal. The occupants of the coach appear to be well-to-do and include what appears to be one youth and a woman, suggesting a possible special excursion. In August 1892 PAD&W Vice President D.F. Burk did visit the area as far as Gunflint Lake with his family.

LAC PA-16012

PAD&W Construction camp, 1892. (LAC PA-016012)
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Posted by on February 4, 2022 in History, Railway


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Feature Friday December 24 2021

“Candie” sends her love from the cab of Canadian National Railways locomotive 1050 at Mackies Siding on the North Lake Subdivision circa 1931. Mackies, Milepost 47.1/35.5, was the terminus at the time of this small branch line which began its life at the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway.

Number 1050 was 4-6-0 (Class G-10-a) engine built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in 1902 for the Canadian Northern Railway.
Thunder Bay Public Library

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Posted by on December 24, 2021 in History, Railway


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The Tale of Two…Locomotives?

Writing a blog on a weekly basis isn’t as easy as it may outwardly appear (or maybe it is and I’m just not that talented). Though I may struggle a bit with the content, by far the most difficult part is trying to come up with a witty, clever title. Sometimes I hit and sometimes I miss (I’d like to more of the former, but in reality it’s probably more of the latter). This week was no exception. I had no idea what to call this week’s post, and then it hit me; I think it is very reflective of the week I’ve had. Besides, if Dickens can create something so popular why can’t I do likewise?

Obviously it has been a very busy week once again…but what’s new. We are down to our final full week of classes before the start of exams and there is so much to do. I’m slowing chipping away at my backlog of marking and I hope to be cleared up by next Monday. My exams are in and the students have been given their exam reviews. Most of the teaching is now complete and we will be focussing on exam prep. Where has the semester gone?

Things have been extra hectic as this Friday some of our students will be travelling to our feeder school Pope John Paul II to speak to them about coming to St. Patrick. Normally we send a contingent of football players to plug the program and hopefully do some recruiting. I’ve always sent along a highlight video of the previous season to show; problem is that it is not ready yet. I was supposed to work on it over the break, but as I mentioned it took a backseat to my Leeblain article. I’ve only got a few days to finish putting everything together! I should be working on it right now, but you know…

So, what’s been going on with the railway? Well, there are quite a number of things on the go. Last week I mentioned that my Leeblain article may have earned me another speaking gig, this time at the Thunder Bay Museum. There is nothing confirmed right now, but I may have the privilege to kick-off the 2013-2014 lecture season this coming September. I’ve never had the opportunity to speak at the museum, so I am really hoping that this goes through. It will certainly go a long way to promoting my work on the railway and our efforts to preserve the remains at Leeblain.

On the topic of lectures, I need to get cracking on preparations for my February 9th presentation at Gunflint Lodge. I am looking forward to this event, as the lodge is a beautiful place and it’s located in one of my favourite areas. I have not visited Gunflint Lake in the winter, and so it should be a great experience. Hopefully we get more snow; this past week has been another wild temperature ride. On Friday it was +3C with rain, and Monday dawned at a crisp -19C. We lost a lot of snow with the rain and it would be nice to get more before my visit.

Alright, so what’s with the locomotive thing? Well, it has actually been an ongoing situation for quite a while now; I even wrote about it last June (ironically in that post I was complaining about how hot it was). The story involves the most famous locomotive on the PAD&W, affectionately known as the “Black Auntie.” Her nickname stemmed from the fact that there was reputedly the image of a woman on her firebox door which apparently resembled a local Madame by the name of Julia Ann Roy.

So the issue lies with the fact that accounts of the type and appearance of the Black Auntie do not jive with historic information. Traditionally the Black Auntie was describe as a 0-4-0 locomotive; however documents suggest that rather it was a 4-4-0 “Rogers” type engine. There is a photo that purportedly shows the Black Auntie on an excursion in 1890-1891. However it lacks the necessary detail to make a thorough analysis. So I sent for an image of PAD&W #1 from Library and Archives Canada and what I received completely baffled me (unfortunately I cannot post the image as it is property of LAC).

Black Auntie, 1890/1891.

Black Auntie, 1890/1891.

The engine in the photo is appears to fit the historic description of a 4-4-0. There are some similarities with the excursion photo, but the archives engine looks longer and newer. The Black Auntie was heavily damaged in a January 14, 1891 engine house fire and needed extensive repairs. Could this account for the differences between the two? A plausible explanation. Compounding the whole issue is that there is another photo floating around that may also be the Black Auntie, but it looks nothing like the other two (and the front of the engine is not visible to see if there are leading trucks-the small wheels at the front).

Unknown PAD&W engine, unknown date.

Unknown PAD&W engine, unknown date.

I have ordered some additional images from the Archives that will hopefully aid in this investigation. This mystery has been absolutely frustrating; the more I dig, the more confusing it gets. I can certainly appreciate how challenging it can be for others who are doing similar types of research. I hope that I will discover some information that will help solve the curious saga of the enigmatic iron horse.

Anyway, time to run. More enlightening news and facts next week. Until then…

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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in History, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing


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