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STR RAILROAD WEEKLY
NEWS OF THE RIDEAU VALLEY
WEEK OF APRIL 23, 1910
VOL 4 6/13/89
STR RAILROAD STORY (CON"D)
The Management of the STR Railroad have suggested that during your visit to the STR you travel over at least part of the line. If you have the time we can arrange a ride with a freight crew where all the action is. Since we have taken so much time in outlining the background of the railroad and it is late in the day, let us stop into the Central Hotel in downtown Stump-Gulch for a leisurely dinner and a restful nights sleep as guests of the STR Railroad. When you awaken early tomorrow morning we can take an early train out of Stump-Gulch and have most of the day to travel the line.
An early rising to a fine breakfast of bacon and eggs is a good start to a warm Monday early on the 7th of March. The spring is early this year and all the snow has gone but the wind can still be a little vicious at times. We must hurry as it is past 5 AM and we have to catch up with our crew, that we will start our day with. The horse drawn taxi from the hotel is not long getting us to the station. When we arrive we meet the President who welcomes us and introduces us to our crew and the dispatcher. The Engineman is John Downer and the Chief Dispatcher is Bill Miller Sr.. We find out that the morning way-freight we will be leaving on was ordered at 02:00 hours and is scheduled to depart at 06:00 hours. Our train is the Ground Hog #1 and the local switcher crew, John Cantwell, has got it all made up and is waiting for our crew to pickup their locomotive in the engine yard and put it on the point. As we leave the station to walk over to the locomotive John D. is checking his order sheet to see what work he has for the trip. The van on the train is STR 25 and we will leave with 5 freight cars, an LCL box at the headend and our van at the rear.
The consist is 2 loaded ore cars, a loaded box car, an empty reefer, and an empty gondola. As we approach our locomotive on the ready track we see that it is STR #7 a 2-6-0 Mogul. Climbing aboard we see that the engine is in top shape and fully steamed ready to depart. We barely get aboard and we are moving out and switching back up the ladder to cross over to the freight ladder to find our train on the outbound. It is already 06:30 hours which means we are a little late and still not ready to depart. The dispatcher has given us clearance to Westport departing at 06:45 hours. As the air is pumped up we look ahead and see the turnouts aligned for our departure on the righthand track of the two track lead. As we move out passing the switch crew they give us a wave. We quickly dive into a two track tunnel and emerge on the other side into bright sunlight, coming quickly to the end of double track. The signal says we have a clear track ahead so our next point of reference is passing under the overhead timber bridge at mile 4. This bridge carries the upper branch out onto a series of bridges and trestles accross the gorge to iron Pot Mine depot. As we pass under our yard limit signal tower we notice the sign for Forfar, a flag stop. We notice the Engineman cut back the throttle as we start down grade towards Westport and also he is preparing for the 20 miles per hour speed restriction on the Westport bridge at mile 7. As we slow the track runs out on a curved stone arch bridge onto a wood trestle and continues onto a wood truss bridge to cross over the valley where way down below we can see the lower branchline wind its way toward Sandy Valley. As the track straightens out the whistle gives a long blast for Westport station. This is our first station stop and as soon as we come to a full stop John is on the phone to report in to the dispatcher his arrival time of 07:15 hours. The next activity is to prepare to spot NFR68 empty reefer on the local team track. Before this can be done a loaded reefer NTLE & WR345 already on the team track is to be lifted along with a loaded cattle car LBR83 from the cattle pen at the rear of the team track. When our work is complete John is back on the phone to get clearance to depart for Torent. Our clearance comes for 07:45 hours and off we go to Torent. At mile 9 we plunge into another tunnel and pass the yard limit of Torent. At the west end of the tunnel we emerge into bright sun and come to a halt just before the east switch of Torent passing siding. As the crew throws the switch we ease into the siding with our train. John goes over to the station to report in with our arrival time of 08:00 hours. Looking at our switchlist we see that there are 4 drops and 7 lifts at Torent which will take some time. John tells us we will have Rabbit #3 through freight, leaving late from Stump-Gulch at 11:30 hours, overtake and pass us just after lunch time and also we can expect Sun #522, a passenger, to meet us at Torent just after the freight goes through so we have about 4 hours to get some work done. First we pull down the siding and leave the rear cars on the siding and then going beyond the west switch we then back up the main to the team track. The loaded box F&GR6207 is to be set out on the team track but first we have to lift the milk car at the head end of the siding and prepare to put it on the east end of the passing siding for 522 to lift after lunch. When the box is spotted we move back over to the siding to leave all the cars and prepare to run around our whole consist. The crew pulls the engine past the west switch, throws the switch and backs up the main to the east switch. Upon entering the siding at the rear of our train we pull back enough cars to set the milk car out on the main and put it at the rear of our cut. The next move is to pull a loaded box car and 3 empty ore cars from Iron Pot Mining company's sidings. With these cars in front of the milk car we pull the engine into the spur again and leave the milk car accessable for the passenger pickup. It is lunch time and we join the crew in the van with our box lunch the Central Hotel people very nicely packed for us. Trip (will continue next issue)
For yachting and canoeing, there are no more inviting waters in America, and the islands in every direction afford resting and loafing places for thousands of tired-out men and women.
Every variety of taste can be satisfied around Brockville, for those who want to get away from the dull grind of their own business.
The town itself has many attractions. It is well laid out, and possesses as fine streets and sidewalks as any other town or city in the Dominion. The public buildings are massively constructed of stone and many are gems of achitectural beauty in design and finish. There are the usual number of churches and schools, while the hotel accomodation is much above the average.
BROCKVILLE, WESTPORT & NORTHWESTERN RAILWAY:
The B., W. & N. W. Rwy runs from Brockville to Westport, a distance of forty-five miles. It runs through the heart of Canada's far-famed fishing grounds. Almost every station is headquarters for all the necessities that go to make up a successful fishing expedition. The first fishing of the year begins at CHARLESTON LAKE.
This lake is within easy distance of Brockville, and can be reached by the B., W. & N. W. Ry to Athens and then driving a short distance by omnibus, which meets every train during the season.
Before going out to the lake a traveller should stay a while in Athens.
The importance of Athens lies in many directions. No similar village can be seen anywhere, and for many years it has been noted for superior educational advantages to be obtained. Its public, middle and high schools have long held a prominent place in the community. Its public buildings are exceptional, and the public men full of energy and enterprise. It was a happy thought when it was decided to call the place Athens, for in beauty and culture the ancient city is no doubt its model. ( to be con'd)
Taken from W J Curle 1905.
This is the 4th issue of the STR Weekly.
Prez Bill Ackland
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