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Tag Archives: Port Arthur Duluth & Western Railway

Extra Credit XIX “Questions & Answers, Part II”

Extra Credit is video series that examines topics related to history in the Thunder Bay District and exploring that history.

I always get a lot of questions about my explorations and local history. Over the years I have had some unforgettable experiences while hiking, so this episode is all about the best and worst moments.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2023 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video

 

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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 November 18, 2022

Feature Friday

William Rees Brock, president of the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway when it officially opened in June 1893. Born in Eramosa Township, Upper Canada in 1836, Brock was a well known and well connected businessman in Toronto at the time. His company, W.R. Brock Company Limited, was one of the largest dry goods retailers in the city.

It is unknown how Brock became associated with the PAD&W as his name does appear in any railway records or newspaper reports until his election as president. It is assumed that his position on the Board of Directors of the Toronto General Trusts Company (which was managing the estate of a deceased investor) and his connections to the Bank Commerce (which had loaned the company a considerable amount of money) was the catalyst for his election, with those companies attempting to secure their interests in the line. Brock remained the president until the company was dissolved following its purchase by Mackenzie, Mann and Company and later incorporation into the Canadian Northern Railway Company.

Photo courtesy of TD Bank Group Archives.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2022 in History, Railway

 

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Extra Credit XIII “The Pee Dee, Part II”

Extra Credit is video series that examines topics related to history in the Thunder Bay District and exploring that history.

This episode is a follow up to our first video on the Pee Dee Railway (a link to which you can find below). We venture outdoors to visit remains of the railway a short distance west of Thunder Bay in Rosslyn, ON. You will see some rails that are still in place (not original though) and a few spots where significant points were once located.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2022 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video

 

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Feature Friday April 1, 2022

Removing the rails on the Pee Dee. This photo, taken circa 1939, shows crews in an unknown location removing the remaining 35 miles of what was the Port Arthur, Duluth and Western Railway.

The PAD&W was constructed from 1889 and 1893 to provide a link between Port Arthur, ON and Duluth, MN as well as tap nearby iron deposits. Eighty-five miles of rail were laid to the international boundary and six miles into Minnesota to the Paulson Iron Mine, but unfortunately the iron enterprise collapsed just as it was supposed to open. The planned connection to Duluth was never built (despite many later attempts to complete it) which left the line with no real terminus.

It was abandoned in sections, with the last trains running in March 1938. The line’s owner at the time, Canadian National Railways, petitioned the federal government to completely abandon the North Lake Subdivision as it was called which was granted in October 1938.

Archives & Digital Collections at Lakehead University Library

Removing the rails on the PAD&W, 1939. (Archives & Digital Collections at Lakehead University Library)
 
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Posted by on April 1, 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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Extra Credit V “Hiking n’ Biking”

Extra Credit is video series that examines topics related to history in the Thunder Bay District and exploring that history.

This episode is all hiking and biking…literally. I’ve been biking almost as long as I’ve been exploring local history. A few years ago I decided to combine both of these interests to allow me to cover more ground and give viewers a more “railway-like” experience. You hear me explain my history with bikes, show off my current ride as well as some of the accessories I use in my explorations. You’ll also see some video of my biking adventures, including an unexpected “accident.” Enjoy!

**Please just ignore my dog Luna when she appears on camera. I was so focused I had no idea she was in the frame or what she was doing.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2021 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video

 

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Extra Credit IV “Photography”

Extra Credit is video series that examines topics related to history in the Thunder Bay District and exploring that history.

This episode is all about photography, which I’ve been involved with photography since the mid 90s when cameras were still using film. I explain the evolution of my photography from that time to the present, some of the cameras that I have used along the way and how technology has changed this particular field of history exploration. I’ve also included some of my better shots from the past to today, including my newest foray into drone photography.

Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2021 in Hiking, History, Railway, Video

 

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