In Search of Hydro Locomotives
This past summer, an article in The Ottawa Citizen described plans to establish a conservation area in the vicinity of the junction of the Mississippi and Ottawa Rivers to the north west of Ottawa. It also mentioned that an abandoned railway roadbed would be used as part of a hiking trail there.Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, September 1988
When first informed of this, I was somewhat taken aback as I felt that I already had a more than adequate knowledge of past and current railway lines in the Ottawa Valley.
Then it struck me. Of course, the proposed nature area is close by Ontario Hydro's hydro-electric dam and generating plant at Fitzroy Harbour, on the Ottawa River. Going to my database of industrial locomotives in Canada, parts of which are reproduced below, I then realized that the former railway must have been utilized to transport construction materials from Canadian National's Beachburg Subdivision (the route of the BRS "Autumn Valley Express" to Pembroke) and the actual site of the dam on the Ottawa River.
As revealed by the chart, locomotives belonging both to contractors Morrow & Beatty and the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, the precursor of Ontario Hydro, were utilized at the site. The Morrow & Beatty units were Plymouth narrow gauge units (24"), while those belonging to 'Hydro were standard gauge 0-4-0s, two of which were tank-type engines.
According to my records, Morrow & Beatty also stored a standard gauge 4-4-0 at Fitzroy, prior to moving it to Kapuskasing, Ontario, for service on the Spruce Falls Pulp & Paper Railway, a logging railway in that area.
I am not convinced that I have a complete listing of all 'Hydro engines used at Fitzroy. There may have been more. I am also uncertain as to their final disposition. I have drawn similar conclusions with respect to the Morrow & Beatty ones, as well.
Shortly, I plan to examine Ontario Hydro's Archives to see what additional information exists on their, at one time, extensive fleet of industrial locomotives. I understand that engines were based at Queenston (steam and electric) and Alexandra.
I should be most interested in hearing from any readers with further information on either 'Hydro's fleet of engines or the operation at Fitzroy Harbour.