Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Postwar aerial images of Montreal. Addiction warning for geography junkies

These side-by-side aerial images show how the lower NDG area has changed between 1947 and nowadays.
   You can see a ton more aerial overhead shots of Montreal by clicking here and switching the last digits in the URL following this legend.
  Warning: these images will keep you up all night if you're a Montreal geography junkie because they're pretty amazing and I plan to post a few more images in the coming days.
   This particular then-and-now  demonstrates how the old Brodie farm on Oxford and St. James extended right up to the tracks and a couple of farmhouses stood the southern end of what's now Oxford Park.
   A huge patch of Wilson's southern tip sat empty as well.
   The real action (click above link to see it in its full glory) lay below the tracks where countless trains were moving back and forth.
  (Thx to Emdx for the tip. My email addy is in the margin for any other such tips).


M. P. and I. said...

I can now see just who is going to be up all nite!

Images of Turcot, the Coal Chute with the sand piles to the North and the Roundhouse are marvelous.

Check out the following two views of same location.

Derailed Streetcar 91 Lachine, 1944.

Same Location from the air, top right of photo.

Note station on Tramways, to left. Bridges over R. St. Pierre.

In another view, LaSalle Coke South of the Canal is immediately identifiable from aloft!!

The whole place was far more intriguing in 1949 than it is now.

Thank You.

DenisH said...

Hey Kris+Chimples!

Just to let you know, there are 3920 photos in the Archives Montréal aerial set, and the naming convention is more complex than just changing the number at the end of the link.

But fear not, Archives Montréal has an index map and a list of all the links (tedious system though) to access them all:

I'm currently working on stitching all those beauties together into a high-resolution map (à-la-Google Map), but don't hold your breath, that's 3920 stitches... even my grandma couldn't do it that fast!


M. P. and I. said...

Another Bascule Bridge, a Basin, a Hydro Electric Plant and the Swing Bridge at Atwater on the Lachine Canal.

Downstream from the Cote St. Paul Locks on the Lachine Canal was once a basin on the South side of the Canal with it's own Bascule Bridge on St. Patrick carrying both the road and the CPR Canal Bank Spur.

Basin is to the right in photo South of stern of ship in Canal.

There was a steam winch on the East side of the basin to pull vessels in and out.

This bridge was removed c. 1958.

In the left of the photo at the CsP locks on the South side was once a small hydro-electric plant as shown here in it's own channel South of downstream lock gates.

To the South of the factories can be seen the 'Roof' of the water flume used to supply water power to industries.

The following view shows the Atwater Swing Bridge!!

I WAS up much of the night and am amazed at just how EMPTY most areas still were. Many of the creeks, farms and fields we used to explore as kids in NDG and CSL are plainly visible.

One photo shows that Westminster ended at a 'T' where it met CSL road where Galardos would later be built.

The frail City Hall is on the SW corner.

The level crossing over the CPR to the North was then to the West of WM.

In 1960ish when they installed the underpass North of Galardos on WM they put in a temporary level crossing to the West.

The small creek that used to cross WM at Westover where the old Municipal traffic signal from 1959 is in a recent Coolopolis entry is plainly visible, as is it's route under the 1916 culverts beneath the CPR above Adalbert.

The culverts will still be there, but, not much else.

Over the years we walked most of the creeks from the golf course over by Sortin yards thru to near Pare, keeping ahead of the backhoes, pavers and concrete mixers.

The wheel-screeching curve on the CPR to the East of Adalbert was not built until 1950 or so concomitant with the construction of the then-new CPR St Luc Yard at the top end of Westminster.

The 'Triangle' of undeveloped land within the CPR to the North of the CSL Shopping centre is a rare thing.

Further out, a 92 streetcar sits at the end of track at 56th in the-then wilderness, another car en route between the Terminus at 56 th and to where the line turns South on 45th.

Mostly open country.

It will be nice to see all the images 'stitched' together.

Thank You all for a wonderful resource back to the past.

h.b. said...

There's a steam engine (and train) in Montreal West station.

David said...

Nice to be able to see the single-track loop of the 31 streetcar that went up Old Orchard, west along today's Upper Lachine (Western in those days) and back down Belgrave. Belgrave was not really built on as can be seen here:

It shows how the 1880s Brodie house had been chopped in front to widen Upper Lachine then (St-Jacques), and what had been gardens leading down to the canal was already rough wasteland.

Anonymous said...

Very cool! Thank you very much for posting. Found my old hood in Baie d'urfe. Mostly farmland at the time.

M. P. and I. said...

Thank You, David.

I did NOT know where that photo of the 31 car on Belgrave was taken.

I don't think I ever rode the 31, but did ride the old 48 and across the old CSP Bridge and down Church by streetcar aeons ago.

Never rode the 101 Cote St Luc bus, nor the original 162 ex Elmhurst once the streetcars came off, either, that I can remember.

My, My, My.

Anonymous said...

The southern part of Wilson, empty nt he first photo became the location of the PSBGM Gilson School which was there until the 70s when it was replaced by duplexes and Protestant kids had to go north to Herbert-Symonds (until it closed) or Willingdon.

M. P. and I. said...

Here is a view of the Decarie Traffic Circle, 'Continental Can' on the Tramways, at Cote de Liesse and Decarie.

With the Tramways bisecting the circle North/South.

To the South in the image, the Tramways split off Decarie to the SW and went along, out-of-frame, behind the Orange Julep, Miss Montreal et al. on the West side of Decarie to Snowdon Junction at Queen Mary.

The old Orange Julep was smaller. Looking West, Tramways tracks to the rear.

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

MP&I - great handle - wish I'd thought of it! Lots of fun tracing their rights of way (

But why I really wrote is that I am upset that I ONLY SAW THE ADDICTION WARNING TODAY! I've lost a lot of sleep looking at these. :-)

UrbanLegend said...

There was another Orange Julep on Sherbrooke Street East and another on the south shore on Route 132 in the Ste. Catherines/Delson area.

Such "globular" structures are not unique to Montreal, however. No doubt there were older ones in the U.S. which Mr. Gibeau copied.

Why the one on Decarie Blvd. has never bothered to build an indoor eating facility like the former one on the south shore is puzzling.

UrbanLegend said...

Regarding the PSBGM: nobody at the EMSB has bothered to reply to my email request as to the reason why Monklands High School was the original name of the newly-built school building on the corner of Somerled and Draper, and why it was renamed a year later to West Hill High School.

This puzzle was raised in an earlier post. The original West Hill High was at the top of West Hill Avenue and itself later renamed Monkland High School following West Hill High's swap to Somerled and Draper.

An enigna within a mystery, etc.

h.b. said...

According to , the original West Hill HS was called Westward HS from 1952-55 before it became Monklands HS.

Click on "The Name Game" on the menu at the left for the complete story.

UrbanLegend said...

Fascinating website about West Hill High, Monklands High, and the history, evolution, and end-of-an-era.

I had no idea the name-changing was the subject of so much wrangling.

Then there was the oddity about students not being permitted to use the front entrance of schools--although I seem to remember this rule being relaxed at West Hill High's Somerled building when I was a student there. I'm pretty sure I even remember students sitting on the front steps!

Students required to use strictly the many side entrances was standard procedure among most of the PSBGM schools I went to, including elementary.

I can only assume that the schools wanted to maintain some kind of "decorum" to any officials or parents who visited and who would logically arrive at the front entrance.

Exactly when and who initiated that rule would be interesting to learn. Perhaps an official complained about rowdy students inadvertently or deliberately hampering his arrival?

In high school, boys had to wear ties and a jacket or sweater. At first only a white shirt was permitted, but later any straight colour was allowed but no patterns as I recall.

Girls were required to wear those dark blue, knee-length tunics with a sash, although I remember after a few reported incidents of boys pulling the often dangling sash, the rule was changed and the sash was to be short and snug-fitting: no more loose ends!

During the final days of the school year in June, however, students were not required to wear the uniform.

In the mid-60s, of course, many boys grew their hair longer, but only to a certain collar-length was tolerated. Some boys managed to get away with it being longer if they had a note from their parents, as I recall. Some boys even claimed to be in local rock groups to keep it long!

After I graduated, the PSBGM dress code was dropped entirely, and there is a continual controversy as to whether a "no dress code" contributes to falling grades.

Recent studies have shown that wearing a uniform generates a attitude of organized behaviour, self-respect and--particularly with girls--much less unnecessary rivalry.

M. P. and I. said...

Idle Thoughts.

I attended Iona, Rosedale and Monkland ( 4400 WH )and it was frowned on to use the front doors at the latter two.

At Rosedale the students were not allowed to use the Mariette Ave. gates, either.

A Dorothy Pickle was the Principal.

North and South and the two side entrances facing Rosedale had the words 'Boys' ( North End ) and 'Girls' ( South End ) cast in the concrete above, later covered, but possibly still there, when the regime changed in Quebec.

The words 'Rosedale School' were above the Mariette entrance.

There were too many students to house in Rosedale school, so we first went to the Church Hall at Mariette and Terrebonne SE corner, the adjacent church to the East at Rosedale was new.

At the time we still sang 'God Save the King' said the Lord's Prayer, and saluted the Flag, either the Union Jack or the Red Ensign.

The old church hall was being demolished when JFK was shot.

Rosedale School. Note lack of North 1951 and South 1959 additions.

The boilers were under the Gym and burned coal thru 1957? H.J. Brydges, Oil firing introduced. Students in the 2nd floor hallway could gaze down into the Gym from the hall inside.

There was a chain hoist by the Boys side entrance to remove ashes for haulage.

All paper was burned in an Incinerator and mades clouds of smoke from the chimney.

The Janitor's house came with the job and was South of the school on Mariette. A Mr. Heron at the time I was there.

In '51 the North extension to Rosedale School was completed and we were put into one of the new rooms upstairs on the Mariette side.

These new rooms had cloak rooms at the rear of the class room rather than the sliding-door lockers in the hall in the rest of the building, and Greenboards instead of Blackboards, the former later painted Black.

Seating 6 x 6. Flag in right corner with the PSBGM Calendar. Days in Red were weekends and Holidays.

The clocks all slaved to the big clock by 'The Office' and clicked every minute as the relay activated in the main clock.

The desks were portable and the floors, tile in the new addition at Rosedale.

The older part of the building had tongue and groove wood floor with the old-style sloped desks with the fold down seat on the front of the next rear desk, a little inkwell in the right corner. Pens had nibs and blotters were supplied. We were issued newsprint practice books for scratch work and glossy paper books for ink work.

Art was with water paints colours from dried blocks in a long closing tin and messy.

In 1959 a South addition was added and the coats were back in the hall behind sliding heavy duty Vinyl curtains.

The School 'Uniforms' were a good idea! Tho' hot come June.

The student pressure eased with the opening of Somerled School and Sir Arthur Currie on Chester at Rosedale.

Monklands ( 4400 ) was a monolith and the steam heat antediluvian. Mr. Hewson, Principal.

There was a song in the era called 'Steam Heat' which summed it up, sans the romance.

C. 1962 the chairs in the auditorium, formerly folding hard wood were replaced with cushy luxe cushioned ones and dire threats were issued from the podium about what would occur to anyone caught defacing same.

Lots of names at the website. My photo appears in one of The Banners not listed.

Wagar High also removed student pressure.

The steam engines at St. Luc all scrapped by then.

Before the PSBGM building was constructed at Fielding and CSL, Fielding dead ended at Hampton and motorists had to travel North on Hampton to get to CSL thru 1957?

Many memories.

Glad its over.

Thank You.

h.b. said...

I had similar experiences at Elizabeth Ballantyne school (Montreal West) in the 50's and early 60's. A few rooms still had the screwed-to-the-floor desks, but they were gradually replaced by the standard wooden desks and chairs. (we had to be sure the chairs were placed on top of the desks before we left for the day).

Some had greenboards; some had blackboards - but all had windows which could lift up from the bottom - or downwards from the top using a long pole.

Overcrowding reached its peak around 1957 (just before Westminster School opened) - with classes being held in the library and the gym. By the time I left, most of the classrooms in the "basement" were being used for art, music, storage, etc.

You never used the main entrance (on Northview) - the boys used the "Boys" entrance; the girls used the "Girls". Get in line and don't talk, or else the door monitors would report you.

"Senior" year (i.e. grade 7) students took daily turns sitting outside the "office" - running messages for the principal, and pressing the button to ring the bells for recess, lunch, etc. (that eventually became automated).

As the previous writer stated, the clocks made a loud "tick" every minute. Sometimes the Daylight/Standard time adjustments were made during school hours, and we would have to listen to the clock move forward one hour (or 11 hours - I don't think it could move backwards).

We also had the Union Jack, and the PSBGM calender with its red holidays. "God Save the Queen", "O Canada", pledge to the flag, and a coupe of hymns to start the day.

Ronald MacDonald said...

I lived at 935 Regent between 1950 and 1959, I remember many of those vacant lots being built on in the mid 1950's.

Ronald MacDonald said...

The area to the right of the building on the embankment below Regent and Melrose streets was lost to a huge landslide around 1956. All the buildings that exist today on the embankment were built on landfill. All it's going to take is a broken water main for some of them to end up on the bottom. Around 1954 the women living on Regent Street set up a road block to prevent dump trucks from driving down the street to dump their loads over the embankment. They were fed up with the mud, dirt, dust and danger to children playing on the street. It made the papers, but I've never been able to find it. My mother was one of the organizers. You can also see vegetable gardens were beginning to be built at the bottom, by the late 1959 the entire area at the bottom was turned in vegetable gardens by Italians living in the area. I've yet to find the creek at the bottom where we used to swim, I'll try another photo.

Kristian Gravenor said...

Ronald.. my dad bought a linear strip of land atop the embankment for $1, also assuming the risks of further injury after a child fell down and died.

I'd be thrilled to find any mention of such an event. If you know of anything, plllllease let me know.

M. P. and I. said...

I agree with Mr. Ronald.

It would not be surprising to see much of the land reclaimed to the South of St. J. slip down into old Turcot Yards and take out extended Pullman down below after a deluge or, as mentioned, a water main break.

As kids we haunted the edge of the escarpment to look down on the doings of the CNR as they wound down steam and coal and relocated out to the CNR New Montreal Yard on 2-17, West of CPR St. Luc, Sortin and Ballantyne Jct.

We saw dump trucks dumping spoil and what looked like just trash over the edge, whether this dumping was sanctioned by Higher Authority, I do not know.

Lots of sharp things to get hurt on, glass and broken wood.

We would throw rocks and bottles until we saw RATS, many rats scurring around in the detritus.

We then stayed away.

Turcot Yard and Coal Tower from foot of Oxford.. Dead steam engines to left, trash dumped foreground.

LaSalle Coke and Crane in distance.

Down near Girouard on the Turcot Side there were a pile of huge 'Rolls', about 30 inches in diameter and about 25 feet long, made of steel, with flanged journals on their outer ends, the 'Rolling Surface' a Granite-like coloured stone polished to a glass-like finish ( Similar to a Grave Stone. )

My Father presumed they had come from a paper plant a la Shawinigan, and were so smooth to process the paper product.

( I later worked as a Temp. in a Kraft Pulp Mill during a shut down, and they had similar rollers, some heated internally w/steam. )

The rolls were there forever and must have weighed many tons each.

All sorts of stuff to find for a nosy, inquisitve kid.

Blah, Blah, Blah.

When we were older, CNR made the final switch to Diesels and herded many of the dead and doomed steam locomotives to Turcot Yard for scrapping, most of Turcot Yard was no longer being used as it was a redundant flat-switched steam-era yard dating back to the late 1800s.

We saw the scrapping had begun from the lofty view below Melrose, and raced down to Central Station to get Official Permission to go down and check it out.

A Mr. J. Norman Lowe in Public Relations, up the Elevator where the corridor from Dorchester met the Concourse, and into his office, he saw we were interested and 'mature' enough to look after ourselves and issued a written Permit to allow us access with the provisio we stayed away from anything in motion, and NOT GO NEAR the actual Scrapping while the men were working with torches and cranes.

We used to take the 106 from Elmhurst and get off at Cavendish and walk down the STEEP road to the East of Rose Bowl Lanes, the City even then trucking snow down in the winter.

We followed a sluggish foul green-coated creek East to where the actual Scrapping was taking place.

Mattresses had been dumped, along with old wood and furniture and smoldered away. Ugly.

Strange folk gave covetous looks our way, as they picked thru the junk from above on St. J.

So much we did not know, then.

The V-word not lost, yet.

WHY ARE they looking at us like that???? What DO they want??


I now know.

The stink of smoldering trash and swampy ooze everywhere against the toe of the slope.

Riviere St. Pierre in Turcot Yard in Flood. Can Car Spur crossing over, looking West.

M. P. and I. said...

Anyway, we walked past a small group of intact steam engines and got to where the actual scrapping was taking place.

Doomed engines, this one with it's rods on and coal. Ready to Go, but never again, Decarie and Girouard above.

Scrapping took place here, below Regent and Melrose w/the underpass up to Sherbrooke out-of-frame above.

There are three long buildings running E/W, bunkhouses for 'away' crews laying over, with four parallel tracks to their South in the following.

Three tracks were used for scrapping, as area was paved and level with rail tops.

The doomed locomotives were pulled up two or three at a time, as the Yard Engine could only handle that much weight, and spaced a total of five on the centre track, about 20 feet apart.

Their wheels had turned for the last time.

( We rode up one trip, looking out the rear of the Diesel, it's wheels slipping and sparking on sand beneath, a condemned locomotive, it's headlight nodding to us over the joints, facing us, feet away, maybe glad it's agony and shame would soon be over? )

On each adjacent track was a locomotive crane, one steam, one Diesel, each with a gondola car coupled on each end. The Diesel crane had an electro-magnet for small ferrous stuff.

There was lots of coal for the steam crane, tons still in the tenders of some of the doomed.

Similar steam locomotive crane as at Turcot.

A sort of Hell for machines, with smoldering wood from cab interiors, burning waste from bearing journals. Men with torches and leather and gauntlets commiting butchery with streams of sparks raining down.

We roamed everywhere. Up the long ramp and into the coal tower from the West.

Played Engineer and Fireman, the Firebox doors blocking the entrance to a man-made Hades when under steam. An ominous dark hole when opened, the grates like ribs inside.

You could burn corpses in there, just like at Birkenau, so much on TV with the recent Eichmann capture in South America by the Mossad.

And walked along the escarpment, looking up to where we once stood looking down from Decarie.

Little gardens all along, and the stink from the scrapping and the mattresses, everywhere.

The wind creaking loose sheet metal and rattling windows in their slides on the engines all around.

Was it the Wind, or one of those hungry-eyed folk??

Turcot was scary, but, we still went, anyway.

We were 'Men' or almost men.

Fifty odd years ago.

Thank You.

M. P. and I. said...

Dear Sir,

From time to time I go on ( and on ) about the scrapping of steam engines at CNR Turcot Yard, Montreal in 1961 where we spent many days walking around the condemned engines, listening to the wind rattle the cab windows and loose sheet metal, locomotives row upon row upon row.

The scrapping was gruesome, and messy, smoldering detritus everywhere below the escarpment.

Anyway, here is a link to Turcot in Sept. 1960 as CN 6153 made a cerimonial "Final Run" of a steam engine out of Montreal and, on it's return, was then put away for the last time.

( My Father and I were there. )

Most of the engines shown that were outdoors were cut up the next summer.

Notice all the Diesels, mostly CLC, in Roundhouse, lending some credence to the rumour CNR had Diesels stored in the East while steam still ran in Manitoba in early 1960.

The following photo shows what could be one of the LAST steam-locomotive-hauled FREIGHT trains on the CNR in Montreal.

The date is February 22, 1959, and this oil train is bound from Turcot West at the bottom end of Brock Avenue on the-then single-track where then 2-17 crossed at a level crossing just to the West of the Rafael Ruffo Motel.

( A few years back a van slid off the highway just behind the camera location in this photo and landed on the 4-tracks below, the van's occupants on a cell telephone as a fast passenger train showed up hitting the van. )

In the distance can be seen the tall smoke stack @ LaSalle Coke beyond the Lachine Canal.

A long time ago.

Thank You.

M. P. and I. said...

Here is a wonderful CNR Film from 1958!

Some keynotes include, altho' not in order by route travelled West to East.

At time 5:50 is 'new' Cornwall Stn built when old line was flooded to the West by Seaway.

Time 5.58 at Lachine, Mtl. Tramways to right, streetcars still in use thru Aug. 10, 1958.

Time 7:15 is level crossing @ Dorion where school bus hit byWestbound freight. We were at Ville St. Pierre and saw Psgr. inbound, and wondered as to why all ambulances headed West on block.

Note river bridge a few frames further to L'Ile Perrot has not yet been twinned on Rtes 2-17.

Time 11:54 Bascule Bridge VSP,

Turcot Yard was wonderful, and we 'lived' there once CN started scrapping steam in 1961.

Active freight operations by then moved to New Montreal Yard.

Many views for Montrealers from our past.

Thank You!

UrbanLegend said...

Train 406 Film - Part Two:

Ed Jackson is shown driving his 1958 four-door Chevrolet downhill along Pullman Avenue into Turcot as he reflects on his 23-year railway career. Strange that there seem to be very few young people working in the rail yards or in the various CNR offices. Most of them seem to be over age 50. Was it railway policy in that era to hire older people or had they all been promoted from more menial positions at a younger age? The 406's engineer appears to be in his 70s. Pardon my "insensitivity", but somehow I doubt that someone who could very well croak at the controls of a freight train would be permitted to hold such a job today, despite the existence of a "dead man's control", or was the fireman expected to take over if this ever happened?

Jackson muses aloud about why motorists don't realize that a train cannot be stopped on a dime. It's not that drivers actually believe this, it's more about trying to see if they can beat the train at the crossing because they're impatient, playing "dare-devil", or possibly even drunk.

Those 1958 rail-yard marshalling techniques were fun to watch. I wonder exactly when "hump yards" ceased to exist and what has replaced it? I do remember as late as the 1970s hearing the early morning hour bangs of colliding railcars coming from the Cote St. Luc rail-yard humps. Local residents must have lost much sleep to that cacaphony--similar noise-pollution to what is occuring today to residents of Pte. St. Charles.

And when and why did the railway "right-of-way" change? I am referring to the fact that--as shown in the film--eastbound trains ran on the southernmost track and westbound trains on the northernmost track, keeping to the right just as road traffic does.

At some point in recent decades this long-standing practice was reversed to "keeping left" presumably either for safety reasons or due to the adoption of more efficient track-switching and signalling standards. I believe someone in this blog once divulged the explanation.

JM said...

Urban Legend,

Railroading is all about seniority. The longer you've been there, the better your choice of assignments and hours. That's why the top passenger trains before VIA Rail were usually operated by the most senior enginemen. Of course seniority doesn't mean you HAVE to take the better assignment.

We have also changed. Many of us are more active in our later years and we collectively smoke less, both of which make people look younger. Fore example, there are many more people who cycle in their 60s today than there were in the 1950s or even 1960s. People in their 60s today don't look like people in their 60s 50 or 60 years ago.

On the railroad, older employees with their considerable experience were respected for their knowledge and expected to mentor younger workers.

Deadman's pedals and other controls would stop the train in the unlikely event of some physical problem. The second person in the cab, usually the conductor on today's freights, is also a safety back-up. On most passenger trains, except commuter trains, there is a second engineman. One of the big arguments today has been railroads wanting more trains with a single crewman in the cab, something that won't soon happen after the Lac-Megantic wreck.

Hump yards are still around although fewer are being used. They are expensive to operate with their power switches and computerized retarders. Retarders are alongside the rails on the downhill side of a hump that squeeze the wheel flanges to slow a car. Computers decide how much pressure is to be used based on car weight and speed. Too much braking and the car will stop or won't roll as far as it should. Too little, and the car couples to the next car with too much force possibly causing damage to the car or its lading. Marshalling trains at hump yards is done with less freqency today because many trains are already assembled in long blocks of cars mostly going to one destination.

A railroad "right-of-way" is the land on which the rails are situated. Most railroads with double track still maintain the "keep right" concept although it's not a hard and fast rule. With Centralized Traffic Control, trains are routinely operated on what motorists might consider the "wrong side." Double track gives the Rail Traffic Controller (dispatcher in the old days) more flexibility in moving trains with faster trains overtaking slower trains and so on. A safety rule has always been to expect a train on any track at any time in any direction.

M. P. and I. said...

MANY thousand words can be written about Railway Operations, Safety, Air and Dynamic Braking on such equipped Diesels, Rules, Time Tables and intricasies pertaining to Right, Class and Direction.

There are THICK texts to absorb if one so wishes if one elects to peruse any or all of the above.

THEN, there are observations and sensations that can only be imparted by having worked on a Railway on trains and locomotives, Steam, Diesel and/or Electric.

Anyway, it could take hours to define the 'Mistakes' in the Train 406 film from a Railwayer's point of view.

Most of the Diesel Locomotive dubbed-in sounds are wrong, a topic in itself.

'Train 406' changes motive power in every frame en route.

The Locomotive 'flags' are wrong colour for dialogue and story, or not required for Regular scheduled train, unless in 'Sections'

Train 406 would NOT have flags in this case in flim.

The Engine Numbers quoted do not match the locomotive in the film on the Main, nor in the Yard re getting Reefers for 406 to the East.

The steam passenger w/a Pacific up front, passing the train in the siding, Extra 3666 East as per white flags, is same train shown twice and 'First' train should have been carrying Green flags for 'Second' and it's number spoken was for a passenger Diesel FP9.

Like learning how Step-by-Step works in a Central Office at the Bell. Who cares, now?

Being there, done both inculcates sensations and knowledge that cannot be imparted by just reading, nor experting video games.

Its hard to smell the coffee or the roses just from reading a book or a DVD.

Set the Air wrong on 1% with many tons behind, your hands sweat, and your toes curl up until one ensures everything is well in hand, OR it gets away for a while, then grabs.

The Depression, the War and When the Diesels Came changed Railwaying for ever.

No advancement for years, then the War and hustle all the time.

The Diesels allowed Multiple Unit operation with two or more Diesels operated by ONE Engineer to pull trains that would have previously required two or three steam engines and their crews, plus a caboose. Longer trains = fewer crews.

( MU operation was used on early electric trains and locomotives, subways and Interurban/streetcars by 1900ish.)

Cut back on jobs, only the older men holding jobs well into the Sixties, many of who Hired On in the Twenties, few in the Thirties account Depression.

Steam engines would have to stop en route for water, and often, fuel, if coal burners. If two steam engines on train, both would have to take coal and water = Delay.

On freight, a steam engine would be changed out every 120/140 miles for maintenance, w/ a new engine and crews beyond w/ five men per crew, Conductor and Tail End Trainman in Caboose, Engineer, Fireman and Head End Trainman on Locomotive.

In Train 406 film, the rear man on left of cab is probably the Fireman, the Trainman sat w/his knees freezing against the door whilst the Fireman dozed and hogged the heater output on Diesels

In steam days it was different, and a 'good' Trainman would often help the Fireman, to be 'nice' and to get train over the road faster = Off Duty and rest sooner

Toronto/Montreal took three crews, Engine and Caboose @ Belleville and Brockville on line on most freights.

Now, in film @ Time 19:50 NOTE CN 521808 which displays a rare part of Canadian History.

Note Maple Leaf Herald on right end of car. Wording is 'Canada's Largest Railway', a not-common logo used, I AM TOLD, for a short period c. 1949 once Newfoundland came into Confederation.

Possibly someone else can add to this? S.V.P?

The steam crane beyond still sports the old Crackerbox Herald in Gold on Red and appears to be for Longue Point Yard once in the East of Montreal, roundhouse once approximately at the West end of Rue Chauveau, West of Boul de l'Assomption South of Sherbrooke.See 1947 views from air.

M. P. and I. said...

Anyway. Cabooses were 'lived in' when Train Crew was at their away-from-home terminal, and were heated w/stove with coal or briquettes stored under benches, the latter folding down to become beds w/ matresses stacked on Conductor's bed, covered with canvas when caboose in use on trains.

Food was chilled in warm months w/block ice in Ice Box under Cupola, the ice from ice house used to 'ice' reefers, or from designated Company reefers, water and ice blocks were brought by Junior Man on caboose.

In the film, the 'Caller' is walking to the Caboose @ 22:10 and CORRECTLY boards the Caboose at the Cupola end when Caboose is tied up.

This prevents the 'bed end' from dirty feet and cold air if crews sleeping as at 0400.

In film inside caboose, the Caller enters at 'bed' end for fiming purposes, as is wrong in real life. A Caller or other person entering the wrong end would be told off in no uncertain terms.

The bed end door was usually secured by sliding bolt when caboose set for sleep.

HOWEVER!!! Re Seniority. If the Conductor had soaked up too much draft at the bar whilst on rest awaiting a call, HE freely could dash out that bed end door to puke his guts out on the drawbar whilst the rain blew in on the Tail End Man's feet by the door.

The same previously-soaked Trainman would forget, could it be HIS hang over? and put his glove on the pukey drawbar to centre it for the Yard Engine coming down put the caboose on the train when called.

A man slept with his feet towards car end or stove in the event caboose hit by run away cars when tied up to prevent broken necks, burns or other injury.

The Conductor had his bunk on the left. The Trainmen slept head-to-head on right.

Then there is 'Slack', a violent force when riding a caboose in motion.

Another story.

Blah, Blah, Blah.

Thank You.

UrbanLegend said...

Train 406 Film - Part One

That NFB's "Train 40" is certainly interesting and nostalgic, but I wonder if the film's storyteller (Ed Jackson, the so-called Assistant Superintendent of Terminals) was a real person or an actor.

There are also several features about the film which bear scrutiny, some of which are perhaps merely the result of overzealous editing such as the train whistling exchanges between the freight on a siding and approaching passenger trains.

I don't remember ever hearing such exchanges other than the standard "long long short long" at level crossings or the single long blast to warn track trespassers, so perhaps the siding whistles were done only for the benefit of the film.

Surely by 1958 radio communications had replaced most train whistling anyway due to the increase of noise complaints? Furthermore, the NUMBER of whistle blasts performed by the engineer in the film are either inaccurate or edited incorrectly--such as the "long short long" just before crossing the bridge into Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Further research is necessary.

Notice the Track 10 sign-board in Central Station indicating the Two Mountains line: Portal Heights, Mt. Royal, Vertu, Monklands, Val Royal, Cartierville. One wonders how many residents currently living along the east side of Cousineau Avenue even realize there WAS a rail line in their back yards--the former Cartierville spur line partially replaced by today's bike path which curves behind the Hydro-Quebec sub-station and ending at Keller Blvd.

A few features seen in the film at certain unidentified level crossings include a Fina service station, panel trucks of SKF Bearings and Heffernan Tiles, a CNR employee (?) holding a circular stop sign. Did the CNR actually pay someone to do this all day?!)

Presumably because the film is intended to reflect modern railroading, unfortunately for steam buffs there are few steam trains shown on camera. Amusing is the contention that turbo and atomic engines will someday replace diesel. That may yet take awhile--if ever!

M. P. and I. said...

Christ! What did the 'I have no Life'ers' DO before blogs and the Internet?? Yell at their Mothers for not making heir bed fast enough, and bitch 'cause the orange juice was too warm and the Pablum too cold??

Get out and see the world and get a real job before it's too late. It might already be too late?


Whistle signals have been a part of Railwaying since the steam whistle was invented. ( Ditto for ships, and, factories for keeping time, or calling emergency forces such as fire, or gas crews. )

There is/was a large steam whistle at the CPR St. Luc roundhouse at the top of Westminster which most NDGers used to know what time it was. I used to hear it when walking to/from school on Rosedale and had an idea how much time I could waste.

I have photos of that whistle somewhere and will send them in.

In the AM we could hear three 3 whistles from separate factories or shops around 8 AM as I was getting ready for school. The LaSalle apt. explosion was just after 8, as I recall, the smoke visible out our kitchen window.

Angus Shops once had an 8-foot whistle.

Anyway, when finished the Pablum, scroll down to Page 20 here re Whistle Signals!

In the Godamn film the whistle signals were SUPPOSED to portray the Passenger with the Pacific ( which is not a High Pressure Mikado! ) displaying green flags and Classification lights on the upper smokebox to inform all and sundry, and ESPECIALLY opposing trains that there was a SECOND train following running on the same timetable schedule, usually 20 minutes behind, but, could be hours, or not at all if later Annulled to suit operating conditions.

See Pg. 27.

The correct whistle signal for a locomotive carrying Green ( sometimes white if TWO Extra trains coupled together engine to caboose to expedite two extra trains as ONE actual train. ) was One Long Two short whistle.

In acknowledgement, the opposing train would whistle Two short, One long.

Caboose crews and trackside crews would wave 'Okay'.

In a passenger train the Conductor would pull the communication cord in the vestibule of the cars which would sond a small air whistle in all the cabs of locomotives if he wanted conditions to be met as per Page 25 above.

The Engineer would comply, and answer with his engine whistle.

Radios were NOT universal into 1970's and whistle signals can still be used if radio fails.

Ditto hand signals and lamp signals at nite.

The crossing with the SKF Bearing truck is at 1st Ave. Lachine. Old Dominion Engineering plant on far left, which also fronted on 2-17 opposite the Northern Electric Cable Plant below CPR Sortin Yard.,-73.664618&spn=0.00003,0.013797&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=45.438659,-73.664652&panoid=K_3LsqdAKk0fd4tkePcVYQ&cbp=12,72.23,,0,6.56

The crossing guard was a CNR employee as far as I know, often a man who had been injured, lost a leg, blind in one eye, etc. in Company Service and offered such a job as a cinecure.

Many of the crossing jobs along the CNR line btwn VSP and Dorval were manual jobs, with some of the crossing gates still having kerosene lamps until ine rerouted along highway 2-17 in 1961.

M. P. and I. said...


At time 9:40 the Eastward caboose is stopping at OLD CNR station on curve at Dorval.

At time 11:40 in film the train is passing the OLD station at Dorval and the Atlas Copco Spur, the building receiving a second floor c. 1961, and the train then proceeds across Rtes 2-17 with the Jeep travelling East below just East of the Dorval Circle.

( In 1962? CNR had a short display passenger train in the Copco Spur w/ CN 6153 on West end. CN 46, now at Vallee Jct. and Tramways No.4 were stored across the tracks from CNR Dorval for years. )

Boul. Bouchard now is on old CNR line East from Dorval on a new bridge. This USED to be two-way, and was a very handy way to double back from Dorval Circle, past the CNR station and sneak in the West end of Lachine!

FWIW. While the present CNR Dorval station was being constructed, a portable interim station was installed. When with the Bell I was sent to remove the Pay Phone from same when new station opened.

At time 12:40 the CNR boss in his '58 Chev is stopping on the steep hill down from East of Rose Bowl Lanes on St. J. We used to get off the 106 at Cavendish and walk down this way to access Turcot and the steam engines in 1961.

Upper end 58 Chev road opposite City Works.,-73.621397&spn=0.000008,0.003449&t=h&z=18&layer=c&cbll=45.462452,-73.621397&panoid=sFhyd8jT0b-jOnAkd0owYw&cbp=12,137.9,,0,-3.78

Btw. Pullman USED to be a short road off St. Remi to Turcot Roundhouse and was only extended thru old yard to bottom end of Brock in later Sixties.

Hiram L. Piper, who made railway lamps and MTC Autobus time clocks was once on the East side of St. Remi below the CNR. Later moved to Ontario???

The film does play better with the sound off!

What did people, and Mothers do before the Internet?

Forget the maps and mouldy old street guides and nit-picking all the blogs

Get off your ass and Go Fire a steam engine or something just to experience life before it is gone.

WALK to Pelican Narrows with OUT Cell phone or tablet, just a camera and then write a book.

I DID go 10 miles on my 4-8-2 Norco yesterday, with my 8th Decade coming up., and ate out in a Restaurant, and 'Bought' for three seniors = $45.

Thank You.

M. P. and I. said...

There was a 'hidden' roundhouse on CNR in Montreal. CNR Hochelaga in 1947, Sherbrooke curves at left top of photo.

Present location.,-73.545742&spn=0.009073,0.013797&t=h&z=16

I understand this roundhouse was constructed c. 1927 by the CNR, as opposed to being an older "inherited' one from, say, GTR or Canadian Northern. CN's 'First' RH as CNR??

In 1963 we were schmoozing the East End as we read, with photo in the paper ( Star?? ), that the remaining MTC PCC cars stored at Youville Shops had finally been sent for scrap at St. Lawrence Iron and Metals on the waterfront South of Montreal Locomotive Works on Dickson.

The PCCs were there, along with a Motor Flat atop the pile of streetcars, and a Stores Cars, as Youville Shops was being demolished to accomidate the Metro abuilding.

( Around the same time we were dragooned into heavy toil to get track ready at CRHA Delson by the creosote plant and pig farm to receive the Montreal Streetcar collection, working in mud and slime as streetcars arrived by truck.. But, thats another story. )

A year later there were new low-nose RS18 locomotives on the dock fresh from MLW to be loaded onto ships destined for the Wabush and Arnaud Rwys. down river, they sparkling in pleasing Yellow and Green. That too another story.

In 1965 both the CNR and CPR upgraded their locomotive fleets using parts from 244-engined MLW locomotives from the early Fifties, their stripped hulks sent to St. L & I for scrapping, followed by the CNR Opposed-Piston fleet when these were retired en masse from 1967 on. Yet another tale.

St. L I &M moved to the South Shore in 1970. Obtained CN 46 from Dorval as a door stop, and scrapped many more locomotives.

When we had finished absorbing the pile of PCCs, and putting same on movie film w/ a spring-wound film camera, we decided to go up to Sherbrooke and took a different route on l"Assomption.

SURPRISE!! A roundhouse below Sherbrooke we had never heard about!, AND there was a steam locomotive outside!!

T'was CN 2534, missed in the big scrapping at Turcot in 1961.

Inside the roundhouse, nice and warm, was a herd of CN Diesel Switchers dozing from their toils around the East End out to the Refineries and the Spurs connecting to the CPR with a Wye at CP Hochelaga.

One Diesel still carried the cracker box herald on it's cab. We were impressed!

All put on movie film.

We met CN 2534 being moved by a truck in Belleville to a park in '66, it looking MUCH worse for wear, and years later, spotted it from a CN Passenger where it is now in Brighton, Ontario.,-77.743785&spn=0.000031,0.013797&t=h&z=16&layer=c&cbll=44.03611,-77.743291&panoid=QuUOlWmZI3s6mzlQPSbo0Q&cbp=12,163.48,,0,-7.28

Poor Old Thing.

Thank You.