The Railways of Ottawa

Findings of the Circle


2.1    The Interprovincial Bridge
2.2    The Prince of Wales Bridge
2.3    St. L&O Rideau River (the White Bridge)
2.4    St. L&O Rideau Canal bridge at Dows Lake
2.5    M&O Rideau River
2.6    B&P Rideau River
2.7    CAR Rideau River
2.71  CAR South Nation River Casselman
2.8     CNOR Rideau River - Hurdman
2.9     CNOR Rideau River - Federal
2.10   CNOR Greens Creek
2.11   CNoR bridges over the Carp, Mississippi and Ottawa Rivers and Stoney Creek (Beachburg subdivision)
2.12  QMO&O bridges on the North Shore line
O&NY Cornwall Bridge - see section 4
CAR Rideau Canal drawbridge 
2.13   CPR bridge over the Rideau River at Merrickville
CPR bridge over Greens Creek M&O wye Ottawa
2.14   OA&PS bridge over the Mississippi River at Galetta
CNoR/CNR Bridge over the Rideau at Smiths Falls
2.1   The Interprovincial Bridge

Interprovincial Bridge
Picture taken by Bill Linley when the bridge was still used for rail traffic.  This was taken on August 15, 1965 and shows
the Dominion, Train #4 and it's available from the author in his Morning Sun  book, "Canadian Pacific in Color: Eastern Lines."

Taken in 2002

The bridge was opened on 22 February 1901 having been approved by Privy Council (PC 1898-436 of 28 February 1898).  The event was recorded in the Ottawa Journl of 22 April and the Ottawa Citizen of 23 April 1901.  The following is a compilation of the two accounts.

Formally Opened: Passenger Train on the Gatineau Road into the Central Station

The interprovincial bridge was opened for railway traffic when the first train of the Ottawa, Northern & Western railway, formerly the Ottawa & Gatineau, crossed to the Central depot.  The handsome engineering structure was decorated with flags, as was also the locomotive and cars of the train, which was the regular morning express from up the Gatineau (i.e Gracefield).

Traffic on this train was heavy, seventy-eight tickets being sold between Gracefield and Ottawa. At the Hull station a large number of passengers got on, Mr. John Lauzon, of Ste. Hyacinche Street, Hull, being the first to purchase a ticket for a passage over the new bridge. Among those who boarded the train at Hull were Messrs. P.W. Resseman, general superintendent; Guy C. Dunn, chief engineer; J.R. Brennan, road master; H.R. Lyons, accountant;  A. Henderson, Superintendent of construction;  A.W.H. Stimpson, assistant engineer; Major S.M. Rogers; Ald, Desjardins; W.A. Clark; C. Olmstead; W.R. Taylor, secretary-treasurer for the Hull Electric company; and the press representatives.  The crew who had charge of the train were Messrs. H.T. Hoolihan, conductor; Wm. McFall, engineer; T. Hollihan, baggageman; R. Morrison, fireman; John Gravel and T. Charand, brakesmen. The distance between stations was covered in seven - nine minutes, the train arriving sharp on time.

As the train entered on the bridge, Mr. Noel Valiquette of the Cottage Hotel smashed a bottle of wine on the locomotive.  A big crowd stood on the Dufferin Bridge and watched the inauguration of traffic on the line.  There was no formality, a souvenir of the line in the form of a badge was presented to all the passengers and guests.

All passenger trains on the line will hereafter run into the Central instead of the Union Depot.  The train from the Gatineau will arrive at 9:35 AM and leave at 5 PM.

The cars had been overhauled and repainted  deep green colour and present a handsome appearance.  The entrance to the bridge at Nepean Point was thronged with enthusiastic spectators as was also the platform at the Central Depot. where congratulations were extended to the officials of the road.

Engineer McFall would lose his life in 1911 in an accident for which he received a citation for bravery.
See article by Colin J. Churcher on the life of Engineer McFall

Later called the "Alexandra Bridge",  it was built by the Gatineau Valley Railway and the Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway which had amalgamated as the Ottawa Northern and Western Railway.   The Alexandra bridge was the second longest cantilever span bridge in the world, after the Forth bridge in Scotland, at the time of its construction. City of Ottawa Archives photo CA-19928 shows the bridge in the early stages of construction while  CA-0107 shows the bridge with a number of locomotives on it presumably under test prior to opening.

All the steel members are from Carnegie Steel, similar to the M&O Rideau Canal Bridge, though in the Alexandra bridge case Carnegie would have supplied the steel, rather than the complete bridge. The Bridge was constructed by Dominion Bridge of Lachine.

The CPR 1917 summary gives the following description of the bridge - 138'  + 247' through truss girder spans, concrete abutments, 1150' cantilever span, concrete abutments, 2 x 32' 5.75" D Pl girder spans, concrete pier and abutments.

There are three plaques on the bridge.  This picture shows their location.

(1)  At each end on both sides facing traffic:

(2)  At each end and on the bridge itself on the pedestrian walkway side there is a plaque by the Government: of Canada.

These two plaques are not identical as the English and French has been transposed.
(3)  A third set of two plaques has been placed on the railing for the pedestrian walkway opposite the two plaques placed by the Government of Canada.

Again the plaques are not identical as the English and French has been transposed.

2.2     The Prince of Wales Bridge

See the Article by Colin J Churcher on the 125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Pricnce of Wales Bridge.

An aerial view looking south from the Quebec side.  Lemieux Island in the centre

This picture is on page 20 of that Phoenix Bridge Company book with the following caption:

"The Quebec, Monteal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway commissioned the Chaudiere Bridge at Ottawa.  It was a through bridge with a single track and thirteen spans, seven of which were on the other side of an island from the six shown.  The railroad became part of the Canadian Pacific system.  From the 1888 Album of Designs. Courtesy, Frank A. Weer"

This caption was not correct.  By the time the bridge contract was awarded, the Quebec Government had already taken over the QMO&O and it was that government that issued the tender and contracted for the bridge.  The cost was met by Quebec, with $5000 extra from the City of Montreal, which wanted to ensure that the eastern terminal of the Canadian Pacific Railway would be in Montreal, rather than in Toronto. It was the Quebec government which sold the QMO&O and the bridge, at a loss, to the CPR on 1 May 1882.

The Prince of Wales Bridge was the first railway bridge across the Ottawa River.  It was built to the design of C. Schaler Smith, the consulting engineer, for the Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway when it extended across the Ottawa River from Hull to Chaudiere.  The piers, embankments and masonry work were built by H.J. Beemer who bid $112,875.10.  Work commencing in May 1879 and this phase was completed on 12 October 1880.  The Phoenix Bridge Company completed the erection very quickly as it was ready for testing on 13 December 1880. In effect, this is two bridges located either side of Lemieux Island, just above the Chaudiere Falls.  The original bridge consisted of 11 spans of 165 ft., one span of 145 ft. and one span of 265 ft.  The substructure consisted of stone piers founded on rock, which is located at no great distance below the water level except the longest span where there is about 30 ft. of water.

The original Phoenix pin and eye-bar spans carried the traffic into the CPR period but the decision was taken in 1926 to replace the original superstructure with spans of stiff rivetted construction capable of carrying heavier loads.  The substructure was found to be in excellent condition and with minor repairs and changes to accommodate the new pier members, it was continued in service to carry the heavier locomotive loadings.  The contractor for the fabrication and erection of the steel work for the new bridge was the Dominion Bridge Company, Montreal.  The erection work, extending over 8 months, was completed February 28, 1927 and was carried out without mishap or delay to trains.

See the article by Colin J. Churcher  Rebuilding of the Prince of Wales Bridge in 1926-27, Branchline, February 2006.

The last train to ran over the Prince of Wales Bridge on July 26, 2001.  This was an Ottawa Central Railway work train hauling ballast for the track work being undertaken in connection with the opening of the O Train service.  Ray Farand took these two pictures on that day:

Drone video of the bridge by Moe Cote

Drone video by Moe Cote.  This shows the Quebec side

2.3   St. L&O Rideau River Bridge (the White Bridge).

The original bridge was inspected by Thomas Ridout of the Department of Railways and Canals on 15 July 1882, it being the intention of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa to open this line, which had been build eleven years earlier, to passenger traffic.  The Inspector found:

"All the bridges are of timber - the principal one being a Howe truss deck bridge over the Rideau River composed of three spans of 100 ft each resting on masonry abutments and piers.  This having been erected in 1871, is now eleven years old and has lasted the general life of unpainted and unprotected timber bridges.  Upon a careful examination by boring I found that many members of the chords and floor beams were in a bad state of decay and from other indications as well I have no hesitation in stating that I consider this structure in an unsafe condition.  Carpenters are now engaged in putting in new oak prism blocks and screwing the trusses up, but the time has passed for mere repairs as the strength of every portion of the bridge is much reduced from age and therefore cannot be relied upon.  In my opinion an entirely new structure is required."

This bridge was rebuilt with four through truss girder spans with a total length of 303' 4".  Photographs are to be found in the Ballantyne collection which is in the National Archives.  At this time it was known as the "White Bridge".

On 19 November 1912 BRC order 18075 authorized the CPR to reconstruct the bridge.  Details are shown in Order in Council PC 1912-2645 of 28 September 1912.  The work consisted of replacement of the three 100' through spans by one 100' deck lattice span, two 60' deck plate girder spans and two 30' deck plate girder spans.  As the bridge was in the immediate vicinity of the locks at Hogs Back on the Rideau Canal, the CPR was required to keep clear of ice the two short openings which will be left at the north and south ends of the bridge which might become jammed by ice during the spring freshets each year.This work was completed and authority to operate over the reconstructed structure was obtained through order 21531 of 21 March 1914.  The existing 100' central span of the bridge was originally located at mile 88.2 on the Sherbrooke Subdivision and was presumably installed during the 1912-14 reconstruction.

Pictures taken during the reconstruction by Canada Foundry/Hamilton Bridge

Showing the demolition of the original structure

On 3 May 1913, the Ottawa Journal reported as follows:

The new C.P.R. bridge over the Rideau river a mile below Hog's Back has been practically completed.  It is a low black bridge and the piers used for the former structure have been used.

On 26 January 1967 CPR were authorized to reconstruct the north end of the bridge (BTC order 123335).  On 15 January 1968 CTC order R-1480 authorized the CPR to "operate over the northerly span of the Rideau River bridge which crosses over the Campus Road of Carleton University."

The original mileage of the bridge is shown as m. 2.64 of the Prescott sub, this became m. 2.51, presumably with the change in  measurement from Broad Street to Ottawa West and finally it became m. 2.38 of the Ellwood sub.

On 13 October 1923 a light locomotive passed over a party of Girl Guides on the bridge. For full details see:

CPR steam locomotive No. 1201 on the Rideau River bridge.  
From a postcard in the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Mattingly collection, Matt-7738.

2.4   St. L&O Rideau Canal Bridge at Dows Lake (also known as the Munsie Bridge).

The St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway was authorized to construct a swing bridge across the Rideau Canal by order in council
PC 1871-523 of 12 January 1871.  This was in connection with the proposed extension to the Ottawa River.  It was approved on the following conditions:
(1) The Company shall construct and maintain abutments and piers and all works connected with the bridge and form a channel of sufficient width and depth on both sides of the centre pier and grade a towing path on both sides of the Canal across the space occupied by the bridge at its sole cost and expense;
(2) The Company shall constantly keep men at the bridge to open it for the passage of vessels during the season of navigation and that such arrangements shall be made to ensure no delay or detention to vessels in consequence of the bridge or any of the works connected with it;
(3) The Company shall be held strictly responsible for any damage that may arise to vessels through obstruction of the Canal whether through inattention or neglect on the part of the company or its servants - improper maintenance of the works, accident or otherwise.

On July 15 1881 the bridge was inspected by Thomas Ridout for the Department of Railways and Canals in connection with the application by the railway to commence carrying passengers. The government inspector wrote:

"The next bridge of importance is that over the Rideau canal, a swing bridge of two openings 40 feet each, resting on timber crib abutments and centre pier.  The timber of this was also tested with an auger which shewed that considerable decay existed, particularly in the centre member of the chords, which were completely rotten.  The floor beams are becoming soft and many of the oak timbers of the turntable are decaying.  The cribs are also in a bad condition and have settled to a great extent - a few pieces have been added to bring them up to level.  This bridge should also be replaced."

The Ottawa Free Press of 27 March 1886 noted:

"A new wooden swing bridge is being erected on the line of the St. L. & O. railway over the Rideau canal.  Quite a large number of builders are engaged in the work."

Following a further rebuilding, the CPR was authorized to use the bridge by BRC order 12053 of 21 November1910 and further work was carried out in 1914. Orders 21062 of 22 December1913 and 22920 of 26 November1914.

Order in Council PC 1916-743 of 4 April 1916 describes a more detailed reconstruction:

"Under date of 3 March 1871 a license was granted to the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway, their successors, heirs and assigns, to build, maintain and occupy for the purposes of the Company, a swing bridge over the Rideau Canal at the entrance to the cut on the southerly side of Dow's Swamp.
The Canadian Pacific Railway, successors to the St. Lawrence and Ottawa, now desire to construct a new substructure replacing the present old timber and cribs with a permanent structure. Approves a plan showing the proposed work."
The detailed work was authorized by BRC order 24969 of 10 May 1916.

An interlocking plant was installed under authority of BRC order 30633 of 9 February 1921."CPR authorized to construct an interlocking plant at bridge No. 1.9 over the Rideau Canal on condition that when a distant signal is at "stop", all trains must come to a full stop at that signal and then proceed to the home signal and there be governed by the rules covering the operation of interlocked signals."

Changes were made to the interlocking under BTC order 72440 of 19 May 1949 and 72725 of 11 July 1949.  Trains were limited to10 mph.but 30633 was amended to remove the requirement to come to a stop when the distant signal was at stop.

The Rideau Canal swing bridge was taken out of service with the opening to traffic of the Dows Lake tunnel on 3 May 1967.
Dows Lake 1  Dows Lake 2
These two pictures from the collection of William Felton McConnell

The following pictures were all taken by Bill Linley

CP's Smiths Falls - Ottawa Train 84 led by 8787 approaching the home signal on May 14, 1967.  The train was stopped while the bridge was turned.  I was standing on the edge of Colonel By Drive.

Here's S-2 7025 at twilight on July 31, 1967, returning to Ottawa West with the Sussex Switcher.   The next day the new tunnel under the canal would open to traffic.  Not the raised arm on the signal in the distance.

North Shore Train 131 with 9104 and 9021 showing the tender's hut on June 17, 1967.

The hut is quiet and the canal empty as Montreal-bound Train 76 crosses on March 2, 1967.  Note the silver pole in the distance.  Perhaps the pole is the home signal with the blades removed for the winter season?

Montreal-bound Train 134. Take note of the distant signal between the pedestrian and the hydro pole on Prince of Wales Drive.  August 18, 1966.

Picture of rodding, now gone, provided by Bernie Geiger

See also  Ottawa, Dows Lake

2.5  M&O Rideau River Bridge

This bridge was built by the M&O and opened on 17 July 1898.  The M&O had already been leased by the CPR in perpetuity on 15 November 1892, so this was really a CPR bridge. It is an 8-span through steel girder bridge,each side plate girders being 65 feet x 74" x 15",on a slight curve.  There are masonry abutments.  The curved ends of the bridge at the east end have faintly visible raised lettering in the steel, reading "Carnegie." meaning that the bridge was produced by Andrew Carnegie's Carnegie Steel Company, formed on 1 July 1892. The steel in this bridge is original.

25 September 1956 Paterson George Collection

The bridge has been converted into a bicycle path. A new utilitarian deck will (1999) sit above the steel cross beams.  A second handrail will be added to raise the present one (also not original), for bicyle safety which will change the external appearance of the bridge somewhat.

2.6   B&P Rideau River Bridge

This bridge was the first bridge across the Rideau River and was opened when the B&P extended into Sussex Street in December 1854.  It consisted of four 96' 11" through truss spans with masonry piers and crib abutments.  The crib abutments were changed to concrete by authority of BRC order 33470 of 23 March 1923.  There was a second 53' 10 1/2" Pl girder span bridge with crib abutments.  The bridges were taken out after the abandonment of the Sussex Street subdivision in April 1964.  The three piers in the main river can be seen today, although one can only be seen at low water.

New Edinburgh
This is an artists impression of the bridge from the Bytown Packet of 1 January 1852.  
The caption reads "View of Bytown and the bridge to cross the Rideau - taken from a point on the east side of the river near New Edinburgh".  
Of course the bridge wasn't built until some three years later and the final version exhibited some detailed differences from this drawing.

Photo taken from the south west corner by Bill Linley on Tuesday, March 16, 1965.

David Jeanes comments (September 2007):

You can see the link and pin construction and how the lower chords and the diagonals are all tension members, while the upper chords and the verticals are all steel beams in compression.

This appears to be a Whipple Pratt Truss (with crossing diagonals), according to the following two descriptions:

Pratt Truss
The Pratt truss was originally patented by Thomas and Caleb Pratt in 1844. In its earliest form, the Pratt truss was a combination wood and iron truss. The top chord and verticals acted in compression and were made of wood, while the bottom chord and inclined members acted in tension and were made of iron. This combination Pratt truss was built through the 19th century and was cited as a continued form by bridge engineers as late as 1908. The Pratt truss survived the transition to metal construction and was widely built as an all-metal truss well into the 20th century. In 1916, bridge engineer and historian J.A.L. Waddell claimed that the Pratt truss was the most commonly used truss type for spans under 250 feet.
Whipple Pratt Truss
The Whipple Pratt truss, also termed Double Intersection Pratt truss, added additional diagonals to the basic Pratt truss, which extended across two panels, but kept the parallel top and bottom chords of the simple Pratt profile. Squire Whipple’s double intersection truss was patented in 1847. In 1863 John W. Murphy, chief engineer of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, slightly modified the Whipple Pratt truss by adding crossing diagonals. The Whipple Pratt truss was widely used for long span railroad bridges.

You can also see the stone arch over the pathway at the near end, which was wantonly demolished by the NCC a few years ago, and which I think dates from the 1855 bridge, so was the oldest railway artifact in the original City of Ottawa.

Showing after the bridge was removed but before the underpass was destroyed. Frayne collection F2-1623

Frayne collection F2-1624

  2.7    CAR Rideau River Bridge

This was opened with the opening of the CAR into Ottawa on 13 September 1882.  There are two excellent early pictures of this structure in the National Archives.  PA 12198 shows the locomotive Georgia on the bridge in August 1882 while PA 27315 shows locomotive 21 posed with one passenger car in October 1893. The bridge was built by the Toronto Bridge Company whose plate can be seen on both early photos although it has been damaged by 1893.

BRC order 492 of 6 June 1905 authorized the CAR to reconstruct the substructure and this work was approved by order 529 of 4 July 1905.  After this time it had three through truss spans of 133.75 ft. and a total length of 401 feet. Further work by the GTR was approved by order 21525 of 20 March 1914.  It seems the basic structure survived until it was taken out of service with the opening of the new Union Station on 31 July 1966.

2.8    CNOR Rideau River Bridge at Hurdman

This bridge was authorized by BRC order 7503 of 9 July 1909.  Order 7945 of 2 September 1909 approved the Hamilton Bridge Company Diagram A of 13 August 1909 being strain sheets.  It was opened on 3 December 1909 and saw low use until closed with the abandonment of the CNR Hurdman line in 17 June 1966.

This is item 138 of 170 images at this link:

2.9    CNOR Rideau River Bridge at Federal

The CNOR bridge over the Rideau River on the Beachburg subdivision was authorized by BRC order 13668 of 18 May 1911 and the plans were approved by order 14828 of 20 September 1911. It was opened with the opening of the line from Hurdman to Smiths Falls on 3 December 1913.

2.10    CNOR Greens Creek Bridge

This was authorized by BRC order 5584 of 12 November 1908 and was opened to carriage on 3 December 1909.  The centre steel viaduct contained an 80' span, 3 60' spans and 5 30' spans, (410' x 65').  East approach consisted of 11 bents on sills, (150' x 52') while the west approach contained 21 bents frame trestle on piles, (300' x 53').

BRC order 28704 of 22 August 1919 gave CNR authority to reconstruct the bridge.  This work was completed and authority given to use the bridge by order 32770 of 21 August 1922.  It is likely that the east and west approaches were filled in at this time - an aerial photo of around 1930 shows only the main viaduct.

The Greens Creek bridge was taken out of use and dismantled after the closure of the line in 1939

2.11   CNOR bridges over the Carp, Mississippi and Ottawa Rivers and Stoney Creek (Beachburg subdivision)

From Canadian Railway and Marine World, December 1915, page 453.
On the Canadian Northern Ry.'s main transcontinental line, about 35 miles west of Ottawa, are four closely located bridges. The first bridge, over the Carp River, consists of two 75 ft. half through girder spans with a 200 ft. truss span between them. The next crossing, the Mississippi River, is of two 75 ft. half through and a 121½ ft. half through girder span, between the two 75 ft. spans. A mile farther down is the Stoney Creek bridge, which had three 85 ft. half through girder spans. The fourth is a long crossing over the Chats Rapids of the Ottawa River, and is made up of 10 deck girder spans, including 5 plate girder spans each 115 ft. long, 2 of 121½ ft., one 200 ft. through rivetted truss and one 280 ft. through rivetted truss spans. The total weight of the bridges is about 2,800 tons.

The masonry foundations were all in at the time the superstructure contractor's men arrived on the job on June 20, 1914. The plant arrived a day later and at the Carp River, driving piles and building falsework started at once. The easterly girder span was first erected, then the bottom chords and floor system of the truss span, were placed in position as fast as the falsework was built. The trusses were erected by a locomotive crane after the floor system was completed. An air hammer was used for driving the piles, air being supplied by a steam compressor, which was also used for driving rivets. This bridge was completed so that the construction trains crossed on July 16, 1914, and track laying was started to the Mississippi bridge and completed so as to allow erection of that bridge to start on Aug. 1, 1914.

A camp was established at this point and maintained until the erection work was started at Chats Rapids, at which point a splendid camp for use through the winter was built, and the men were made as comfortable as they could be at home. The river bed at the Mississippi is rock, so that a temporary timber bent trestle was erected, which permitted running out the girders on the cars, from which they were unloaded into place. The centre girders of the Mississippi River Bridge weighed 52 tons each, and were erected by using a gallows frame, in connection with the 50 ton locomotive crane.

Piles were driven at Stoney Creek, on which a temporary track was constructed, and the girders carried into place from a side track by the locomotive crane. These girders weighed about 25 tons each. This bridge was completed on Sept. 3. 1914, but a serious delay occurred after this. About the time the track was laid to Chats Rapids, the grader's locomotive upset in a sink hole, and a very difficult job of rescuing it was accomplished by calling in the Terry & Tench Co.'s erecting plant. The compressor was set up, and the pile driver used to build a trestle across the sink hole. Then the big locomotive crane was used to pick up the locomotive and set it on the track. This caused a delay of three weeks, and threw the erection of the Chats Rapids Bridge long into the late autumn and winter.

Work was finally started at Chats Rapids on Sept. 16, 1914, and a 25 ton guy derrick, having an 88 ft. mast and a 75 ft. boom, was erected alongside the track, about 200 yards from the first or easterly span, where a storage and sorting yard was established. The first span, 121 ft. deck girder, was erected after the temporary falsework was built, by using the same method as at Mississippi River. The next span was a 200 ft. through truss over deep water, running very swiftly, the bottom being rock with great boulders, making it very difficult to secure a safe footing for the piles. The piles used were 14 in. x 14 in. 50 to 60 ft. long, sawed British Columbia fir, with, cast iron points. They were driven into the rock by the air hammer, sufficiently to get a good bearing. In addition to the deep water and swift current at this crossing, immense quantities of saw logs were constantly being floated down the river to mills at Hull, and other places, and it was necessary to keep watchmen day and night to protect falsework from destruction. On top of the falsework the bottom chords and floor systems of both the 200 and 290 ft. through spans were built, and the permanent track laid as the work advanced. From this track the trusses were erected by the use of the locomotive crane, the material being pushed in on cars by the railway locomotive from the sorting yard. The shopwork on these trusses was such that on the 290 ft. span the end posts, which were erected last, did not even require a wedge to be driven in order to connect them to the top and bottom chords. As all of the girder spans in this bridge were of the deck type, without cover plates on the top chords, the greatest care had to be used in handling them. The work of erecting this bridge, which was 1,589 feet long, was completed on Jan. 16, 1915, the camp abandoned and the plant shipped away. The falsework and a large part of the erection equipment was shipped to Troy, N.Y., to be used in building the Congress St. Bridge, across the Hudson River.

The falsework timber used in the whole of the above work was British Columbia fir of the best quality, cut for the purpose. In addition about 200 piles were purchased locally. Throughout the whole work there was not a single serious accident, and the health of the men was splendid.

The contract for the fabrication and erection of the above work was let by Mackenzie, Mann and Co., to Canadian Allis-Chalmers Ltd., Toronto, who sublet the erection to the Terry & Tench Co. Inc. of New York. W. H. Grant, Manager of Construction, Mackenzie, Mann and Co., had general charge. C. T. Smith was Superintendent of the work for the Terry & Tench Co., and much credit is due him for the successful carrying out of the undertaking; Geo. Fisher was his assistant; Nicholas Dowd had charge of the locomotive crane. About 60 men were employed throughout the job, and were all hired locally. The contractors state that it would be difficult to get a better working force of men together. The weather in the summer was greatly in favor of the work, but storms in the winter caused some delay.

2.12  QMO&O Bridges on the North Shore Line

The Quebec government hired two photographers to record the bridges on the QMO&O on completion in 1878, Henderson to document the bridges between Montreal and Hull and Livernois those between Montreal and Quebec.  An album of photographs survives in the National Gallery in Ottawa (call number TG445.P57) which contains 24 photographs, 20 covering the line from Hull to Montreal.  They are arranged in sequence from Hull towards Montreal as follows (mileages shown are those of the Lachute subdivision measured from Montreal):

P71:003:1    Gatineau River, mile 115.9
P71:003:2    Upper Blanche River, mile 109.4.  With 4-4-0 #17.
P71:003:3    Blanche River, mile 106.1.
P71:003:4    Aux Lievres River, mile 100.2. In final stages of completion.
P71:003:5    Aux Lievres River, mile 100.2. With 4-4-0 #17 and 3 cars.
P71:003:6    Aux Lievres River, mile 92.7.  Looking through the bridge with rails covered in snow.
P71:003:7    Little Blanche River, mile 89.2.
P71:003:8    North Nation River, mile 84.6. Two locomotives back to back.
P71:003:9    Salmon River, mile 72.8.
P71:003:10    Salmon River, mile 72.8.
P71:003:11    Riviere au Chene, mile 64.3.
P71:003:12    Rouge River, mile 62.0.
P71:003:13    Rouge River, mile 62.0. With 4-4-0 and one passenger car.
P71:003:14    Ballast pit with 4-4-0 #16, steam shovel and flat car, this is the only picture not of a bridge.
P71:003:15    Calumet River, mile 59.9.
P71:003:16    West side of Lachute.
P71:003:17    West side of Lachute.
P71:003:18    North River of Lachute.
P71:003:19    St. Scholastique River.  With 4-4-0, poor quality.
P71:003:20    Riviere aux Mille Isles. "Clark Reeves & Co. Phoenixville Bridge Works, Pa.
P71:003:21    Riviere des Prairies.
P71:003:22    St. Maurice River.
P71:003:23    St. Annes River.
P71:003:24    Batiscan River.
The bridges were built by the Phoenix Bridge Company, Pa. and the pictures and make a wonderful record of a railway under construction.  

The bridges saw service on the QMO&O and later the CPR until they were rebuilt 1923-1925 in order to be able to handle heavier loadings.  This was recorded in the Canadian Railway and Marine World June 1923, page 277:

Lachute Subdivision Bridges. - We are officially advised that the following bridges on the Lachute Subdivision, Quebec District, are being reconstructed:
Bridge 56.8, Kingly Branch. - Existing 37 ft. deck plate girder span to be replaced by a 30 ft. I beam span.
Bridge 60.1, Calumet River. - Existing 50 ft. deck truss span to be replaced by a 50 ft. deck plate girder span.
Bridge 62, La Rouge River. - Existing bridge, consisting of three 150 ft. deck truss spans, to be replaced by three spans of similar type and dimensions, but of heavier structure.
Bridge 64.3, Riviere au Chene. - Existing 50 ft. deck truss span to be replaced by a 50 ft. half deck plate girder span.
Bridge 67.2, Salmon Creek. - Existing 50 ft. deck truss span to be replaced by a 50 ft. half deck plate girder span.
Bridge 72.8, Salmon River. - Existing 100 ft. through truss span to be replaced by a 100 ft. deck plate girder span.
Bridge 79.17, Papineauville Creek. - Existing 18 ft. deck plate girder span to be replaced by an 18 ft. I beam span.
Bridge 97.6, Trepanier Creek. - Existing 29 ft. deck plate girder span to be replaced by a 25 ft. Bethlehem I beam span.
Bridge 80.1, Trepanier Creek. - Existing 30 ft. deck plate girder span to be replaced by a span of similar type and dimensions, but of heavier structure.
Bridge 84.6, North Nation River. - Existing bridge, consisting of one 150 ft., one 200 ft., and one 100 ft. through truss spans, to be replaced by two 78 ft. and two 53 ft. deck plate girder spans and one 200 ft. deck truss span.
Bridge 89.2, Blanche Creek. - Existing 50 ft. deck truss span to be replaced by a 50 ft. half deck plate girder span.
Bridge 92.7, Blanche River. - Existing 100 ft. through truss span to be replaced by a 100 ft. deck plate girder span.
Bridge 106.1, Blanche Creek. - Existing present 50 ft. deck truss span to be replaced by a 50 ft.-half deck plate girder span.
Bridge 109.4, Blanche River. - Existing 100 ft. through truss span to be replaced by a 100 ft. deck plate girder span.
We are also advised that contracts have been let as follows:
To McKinnon Steel Co., Sherbrooke, Que., for fabrication of steel for bridges 56.8, 80.1 and 97.6;
to Dominion Bridge Co., Montreal, fabrication and erection of bridges 62 and 84.6;
and to Canadian Bridge Co., Walkerville, Ont., for fabrication and erection of the other bridges named above, and for the erection of bridges 56.8, 80.1 and 97.6.

2.13  CPR Bridge over the Rideau River at Merrickville, Winchester subdivision

The CPR Holiday Train 2015 More Bob Heathorn photos of the bridge at bottom.

This plan is dated  9 July 1886 (NMC 146075)

On 15 August 1887 the Ontario and Quebec Railway (Canadian Pacific) opened the Smiths Falls section between Vaudreuil and Smiths Falls. The bridge over the Rideau River was in service from that date.   Freight and passenger trains (possibly mixed trains) commenced operation between Perth and Merrickville on 25 October 1886.  This bridge at mile 114.2 Winchester subdivision comprises two 33 foot girder spans, six 78'6" girder spans and one 150 foot through truss spans on masonry piers and abutments.

The proposed site of the bridge was approved on 20 July 1886 by Order in Council PC 1886-1500. Formal approval was granted so far as the Rideau Canal was concerned on 11 March 1907 by Order in Council PC 1907-474.

Approval to use and operate the bridge was granted on 26 March 1909 by Board of Railway Commissioners order 6691.

On 22 May 1969 the Canadian Transport Commission approved the reconstruction of the abutments through order R-5743

The following are taken from a facebook post of Canada Foundry/Hamilton Bridge photos of the original bridge and the 1907 rebuild.

The above drone video was taken by Moe Cote on October 2016. (to see on YouTube
Photos below by Bob Heathorn 2012

2.14  OA&PSR bridge over the Mississippi River at Galetta, mile 20.9 Renfrew Spur

Drone video of the bridge in winter 2016-17

Click here to see the location on Google Maps

Updated 20 November 2020

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