Sentimental, Sooty Landmark Disappears From The Capital, Published 23 July 1954Ottawa loses a sentimental, if sooty, landmark with the disappearance of the old coal chute. Gone is the big old wooden coal container, and in its place is .a smaller, cylindrical conveyance.
"Looks like its for oil but it's for coal," remarked an old timer.
The coal chute which has been torn down stood on its site beside the Canadian Pacific roundhouse on Bayview Road, and in full view of the people crossing the Wellington Street Bridge. It contained 150 tons. Erected before 1913, most people can hardly remember when it was not a landmark.
This old coal chute started working long before the days of the mechanical stoker and when the best the CPR could use on its main line was the 10-wheeler, the classic type of engine Casey Jones drove.
Three GenerationsThe old coal chute served three generations of locomotives. It shot the coal into the chime-whistled 10-wheelers, it began "spreading the spuds" into the light Pacifics, and it lasted to give the big Hudsons (2800's) a bellyful of coal. Freight-wise it catered to the ancient moguls, and then before the end of the war it handled the enormous 5800 class.
Finally came the diesels.
Some thought this would be the end of the coal chute. Actually it has been the end of the present coal chute, but not the end of coal, definitely!
The old chute would put as little as four tons into the little light locomotive No. 450 heading up the Pontiac; and would stock up a 2800 on the fast morning run to Montreal with as much as 12 tons.
The old coal chute held 150 tons of coal. The new fangled coal chute contains only 50 tons. But it can replace coal ("elevate it" is the official word) at the rate of 30 tons an hour.
"We don't need to keep as much coal in reserve as we used to," said the CPR roundhouse spokesman.
Meanwhile eating into the coal burners are the new diesels. Numbers 7028 and 7011 do some local switching while the 8400 performs the road switch work
Now the fast trains No. 7 and 8 in their transcontinental flight use "the growlers" but these new diesels do not fuel at Ottawa.
But the handwriting is on the wall - and in oil.
"Just a matter of time," sighed the old timer, as he watched the new diesel talking to itself while it picked up a cut of cars and walked away.
"Just a matter of time ..."