Bytown and Prescott - New Edinburgh
5.1A St. Lawrence and Ottawa - Chaudiere
5.2 Canada Atlantic - Elgin Street
5.3 Canadian Pacific - Ottawa East (Hurdman)
5.4 Canadian Northern - Federal
5.5 Canadian Northern - Hurdman
5.6 Canada Atlantic - Mann Avenue
5.7 Canada Central - Ottawa West
5.8 Candian Pacific - Ottawa West
New York Central
5.12 Gatineau Valley (Maniwaki) line
5.13 Waltham line
5.15 Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental - Hull
5.16 E.B. Eddy - Hull
5.17 Canadian Pacific - Kingston
5.18 Brockville and Ottawa, Perth
The first enginehouse in Ottawa was that built by the Bytown and Prescott Railway at the opening of the line in 1854. It was situated just to the east of the Rideau River and is shown on the Historical Atlas of Carleton County of 1879. The enginehouse appears on the Insurance Company plans into the early 1910 period. The original structure was destroyed by fire in November 1857, the fire also damaged the, then, new locomotive Prescott.Ottawa Free Press, 10/16/1871. "The contract for building the Chaudiere engine house has been given to Mr. Palen."
In the summer of 2016 the site of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway Roundhouse and turntable pit was excavated by a team of archaeologists.
Remarkable Stone Ruins of 19th Century Railway Roundhouse Unearthed at City Centre
Set out below are some pictures taken at the excavation
5.2 Canada Atlantic - Elgin Street
The roundhouse is shown on the 1888 Insurance company plans and is labelled as the Canada Atlantic Railway Engineers Shop. It was on the south side of Archibald St.(Arlington) just west of John St. (now Cartier). This is now the site of the apartment building north of the Queensway on the Driveway. The turntable was about 50 feet diameter and the roundhouse was about 55 feet deep. It covered an arc of just over 120 degrees. There was a small 2.5 story office building next to the roundhouse, which appears in a photo in John Trinnell's book.
-- Railway and Shipping World, July 1899, p209
The Canada Atlantic will this fall commence the erection of large car shops at Ottawa in addition to those already put up. The new shops will be located near the Rideau roundhouse, where the machine shops & repair works are situated. The buildings put up this spring at the foot of Elgin st. & which are now being used, will be discarded after the proposed structure at Ottawa East is up. They will then be used by the Co. for storage or may be available for manufacturing purposes. When the new car shops, which will be erected & equipped at a heavy cost, are completed, all the works of the Co. will be adjacent to each other, instead of being 1/2 mile apart as at present. They will consist of erecting, woodworking, drying & painting shops, & will run by electricity. In order to make a foundation a great deal of filling in will have to be done, & work on this will commence in the near future in time for the erection of the shops to start in Nov. & be completed early in the spring.
The CAR Elgin Street Shops were destroyed by fire in April 1902 burning 2 passenger cars, 1 combination car, 2 freight cars and 1 wrecking derrick.
This diagram is taken from a Grand Trunk Railway blueprint dated March 1915. It shows the two bridges across the Rideau River, CPR to the north, top, as well as the CPR four track roundhouse.
It appears from this diagram that the roundhouse did not have a turntable .
The Canadian Pacific roundhouse at
East was constructed in
September and October 1899. The Ottawa Free Press of 26 September
The Canadian Pacific railway has
commenced the erection of a round house
at Hurdman's bridge. It will be located between the C.P.R. and
C.A.R. bridges and will have four tracks leading into it.
The Railway and Shipping World for
November 1899, page 324 mentions the Canadian Pacific roundhouse
at Hurdman's Bridge, Ottawa.
Until the opening of this
locomotives were handled at the Canada Atlantic round house at Ottawa
East as explained in the Ottawa Citizen account of the first day of
operation 5 September 1898 which was published on 6 September 1898.
The Ottawa Journal of 10 September
contains the following:
Engine backs through a wall
Is now on rocks back of roundhouse.
At the Rideau round house of the
Candian Pacific railway at Hurdman's Bridge, this morning an engine
broke through the back of her stall and almost into the water.
The round house is slightly elevated to bring it on a level with the
main line tracks and the big engine fell a few feet. She
is sitting upright on the rocks and the wrecking crew is jacking her up
to put rails under her. The accident happened about 7
a.m. The men had lighted her fires and not noticed that the
throttle was slightly open and the lever set off the centre. When
steam accumulated it found its way into the cylinders and the
engine backed up, plunging through the rear wall. The steam
failed before she reached the water.
Engine again on track
There was a gang of men working
day yesterday and all last night at the C.P.R. Rideau Round House,
where engine 209, used on the short line, had broken through the back
of the round house and almost stood on end on the bank of the
river. The engine was again on the tracks. Engineer Ingram,
who was in charge of the engine, could not stop it on the incline into
the round house.
In April 1910 CPR was asked at a hearing of the Board of Railway Commissioners about locomotives for the M&O service to Montreal. The reply was "the engine goes into a house near the Ottawa & New York. We have a small engine house there in which we can get one engine in. We have three stalls but we can get only one engine in on account of the larger power we are using now."
By 1912 people living in the area
complaining about smoke drifting over their homes.
A Grand Trunk Railway plan dated March 1915, which was produced to show a proposed interchange with the Canadian Northern Ontario, shows a four track roundhouse at this location but, curiously, it shows access via switches and not a turntable.
The 1917 CPR condensed plan and profile shows a small roundhouse situated between the CPR M&O and the GTR Alexandria lines immediately to the west of the Rideau River at Hurdman close to the CNR Riverside location where the single track across the Rideau River became double track into Ottawa Union station.
Signs of the pits etc. can be seen on early air photos although the building had gone by the mid-1920s. This 1945 air photo was supplied by Malcolm Vant
Image provided by Malcolm Vant from http://history.ottawaeast.ca/railways.htm
The Canadian Northern had very grandiose plans for this area which included a new town to be built in the neighbourhood. This facility was opened with the opening of the CNOR line to Smiths Falls in 1913 but was abandoned about 1922 when the CNOR was integrated into CNR with locomotive servicing being done at Mann Avenue and with freight being handled in the Bank Street yards.
The following information was abstracted from a November 1918 Canadian Northern plan filed with the Board of Railway Commissioners as 'Completed Railway Plan 563'. Dimensional data is generally scaled from the plans, but in a few cases it has been calculated from the plan chainage.
The facilities at this point, named
'Rideau Yard', were situated
entirely on land owned by 'CN (Canadian
Rideau Yard was located entirely within the triangle bounded by these three tracks. On the Ottawa-Toronto side, there was a four-track, double-ended yard whose extreme headblocks were 4,000' apart, the sidings themselves ranging from about 3,600' down to 3,100'.
On the Ottawa-French River side, there was a single double-ended siding about 3,400' long. The 2,200' long engine terminal lead ran off the east end of this siding towards the centre of the triangle, ending at the 90' turntable.
The 13-stall enginehouse was located in the northeast quadrant of the turntable. The second most easterly track was a through track with a double-length stall. Two outside tracks also radiated from the turntable, opposite the through track and the westernmost stall.
Another 5,000' of sidings ran off the main lead and serviced a stores building and the coal plant. The water tank, probably 50,000 gallon steel) was completely south of the engine terminal and likely fed strategically placed standpipes. A bunk house, boarding house and ice house were located about halfway between Rideau Jct. and the roundhouse, adjacent to the Ottawa-French River through siding.
In December 1919 the CNOR was authorized to construct a spur beginning on the Toronto line close to the junction thence in an easterly direction to the west limit of the Ottawa-Prescott Provincial Highway into the premises of the Ontario Good Roads Commission. This siding didn't last too long as the rails had already been removed by 1931. A spur existed into the Drummond's yard until recently. It seems tht the bed of the Highways spur was reused, although not all the way to the road.
The topo sheets and air photos in the National Air Photo Library at 615 Booth show the situation in 1931. Air photo series A4413 frames 16 and 17 clearly show the outline of a roundhouse and pit at that location with a spur from the east bifurcating Federal. There was also a North/South track to the west which put the roundhouse in the middle of this big wye. No other structures (coal tower, watertower, sheds) seem to be there. There is a string of cars on the spur in to the pit...probably dead storage. There were about 30 boxcars on the spur that day. There are two other interesting structures. One is just to the south of the Smiths Falls sub, maybe a hundred feet from the Federal switch. Maybe a control tower or station. There is a larger building on the south side of the roundhouse spur, perhaps 300 feet from the switch...perhaps offices for the facility. The faint outline of the siding for the Ontario Good Roads Commission can just be made out running south of the main line as far as the highway.
The pictures in 1956 (A15332, frame 142) are quite similar but everything is overgrown.
Amazingly, this survived in the
forest until the winter of 2007-08 when the area was cleared for
The Canadian Northern Ontario line from Hawkesbury was opened on 3 December 1909, some four years ahead of the line to Toronto. As late as September 1909 the company was still seeking an entry into Ottawa and consideration was being given to using the Ottawa and New York Railway engine house access to which would have been gained through a transfer track across Hurdman's Road. In the event there was difficulty in obtaining agreement for this connection and the company was forced to build its own facility. A small, two stall, roundhouse was constructed in the Hurdman/Mann Avenue area west of the Rideau River. The Railway and Marine World for February 1910 mentions the roundhouse
"The temporary roundhouse which is being erected at the foot of Henderson Ave. is expected to be completed early in Feb. It will accommodate 12 locomotives and will have a repair shop attached."
It is evident that this was not ready for the commencement of the service to Montreal and Quebec.
The 1922 fire insurance plan (PA NMC 10837 163/263)shows the 2-stall CNoR roundhouse and turntable near the Hurdman terminus. The turntable is about 530 feet measured from the street centre line, directly behind number 25 Robinson which runs off Hurdman. It is about 900 feet northeast of the Hurdman/Robinson intersection, which is in the same position today as then. There is no indication of any watering or coaling facility nearby. The turnout for the turntable faces east about 350 feet from the centre of the turntable. The south wall of the roundhouse lines up due west from the centre of the turntable. The turntable is approxmately 120 feet diameter and the shed is about 150 feet deep.
This facility was used for passenger locomotives until the amalgamation into CNR allowed use of the Mann Avenue Roundhouse. A daytime switcher was also allocated here for local switching and interchange work.
This is developed by Paul Delamere and Malcolm Vant from the 1912 Insurance Plans
In 1896 the OA & PS was extended to form a wye with the lines of the Canada Atlantic Railway. In July of the same year, Booth filled in 10 acres of land south of Mann Avenue, inside the wye, to form a new roundhouse and railway shops complex for the OA & PS. The CAR shops and roundhouse had been on the west side of the Canal,
The OA&PS roundhouse and shops of 1896 could well have been exactly the same buildings that survived there until demolition in 1964. The 10-acre area could have been the entire triangle formed by the roundhouse, the 40 ft by 170 ft shops building south of it, and the coal tower 1100 feet or so to the east. The old fire insurance map, which had clearly not been revised to the 1950's publication date, showed the roundhouse with a 55-foot turntable, a near full circle of 72-foot stalls, and an extension of three of the stalls on the south side to 95 feet. (The extension could have had tracks into all three stalls from the southern approach, without needing to use the turntable). The turntable was enlarged in later years to about 95 feet, and more stalls were extended. A panoramic photo of about 1915 apears to show the roundhouse as a full circle, with no gap to the northwest. This gap is evident in a 1933 aerial photo.
Coaling was originally carried out from a 13 chute coaling stage and the coal tower appears to have been a later addition. It is a Grand Trunk standard design and appears in the 1925 picture but not the 1902 picture. There was also a large building on the southwest side of the roundhouse, which was there until 1958 or later, though by then the erecting shops were gone.
The following is from the book "Enginehouses & Turntables on Canadian Railways" by Edward Forbes Bush, Boston Mills Press, Copyright 1990, page 63:
"Its walls were of wood lined with brick. It numbered 22 stalls for the accomodation of locomotives and 6 for use as a tender shop, where repairs were made to cisterns, frames and tender trucks. There were three drop pits , with the machine shop annex opening on two stalls, one of which was used as the blacksmith's shop. The plan drawing, revised in 1933, shows the boiler house and stores building as separate but nearby structures. Heating was by hot air, at least by 1919, according to the GTR report of that year. With its plank flooring the Ottawa GTR roundhouse does not seem to have been the fore of roundhouse design."
The book goes on to show the 1933 revised plan of the CNR roundhouse. The stalls were numbered counter clockwise from the opening to the north-west. Interestingly, stalls 1-8 were extant as 74' stalls, with #8 being lengthened to 100'. Stalls 9-12 were already 88' long at that time, possibly indicating that these stalls were either previously extended, or were new stalls added to the original roundhouse at one time. Stalls 13 thru 19 were lengthened from 74' to 100', and a gap existed between 15 and 16 with two tracks leading to the cinder pits to the southeast. Stalls 20 thru 27 were still 74' at that time. Stalls 1-7 and 20-27 appear to have NOT been lengthened due to the proximity of the main lines of the wye to the rear walls of the house. Also worthy of mention are other stalls (not numbered) which were used for other purposes. Between stall 1 and the gap to the northwest was a storage stall. Between the gap and stall 27 there was a carpenters shop. Between stall 16 and the gap to the southeast there was a stall for the blacksmith. The machine shop extended off stall 16 and the blacksmith's stall.
David Jeanes wrote on 17 March 2016 "Bush shows the roundhouse in its maximum CN configuration in 1933, with the erecting shop gone. The fire insurance plans show earlier configurations, including 1912 where the access to the northwest was covered, making it a full circle."
The Canada Central Railway had an enginehouse on the Chaudiere presumably from the opening of the line in September 1870. However the earliest reference in the newspapers is:
Ottawa Free Press, 9/27/1880. "A new turn table is being placed in position in front of the C.C.R.R. engine house at the Chaudiere. Men were engaged in this work yesterday."
N.B. This is likely in connection with the change of gauge from Provincial to standard and the entry into the Chaudiere by the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway.
A plan dated 20 April 1881 (after the Canada Central gauge change to standard) and prepared by the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway in connection with an application to cross the Canada Central at Chaudiere shows a three road Canada Central roundhouse. At this time there was no connection between the St. Lawrence and Ottawa and the Canada Central. However, the main track of the Quebec Montreal Ottawa & Occidental Railway from the Prince of Wales bridge joins the Canada Central. Maybe the QMO&O used the CCR roundhouse.
Ottawa Citizen, 10/26/1883: Shortly after two o'clock the old roundhouse situated on the north side of the track, was discovered to be on fire. Notwithstanding that the fire brigade was promptly on hand, it was found impossible to save the building, which was totally destroyed. Fortunately there were no locomotives in at the time, the last one having been taken out for shunting purposes just before the fire broke out. The origin of the fire is unknown. The loss is estimated at about $3,000."
The Canadian Pacific had essentially two enginehouses at Ottawa West.
Ottawa Free Press, 8/24/1883: "The C.P.R. roundhouse at the Union Station is fast nearing completion."
Ottawa Free Press, 10/5/1883: "The new C.P.R. roundhouse is going up fast. It is of enormous size."
Ottawa Free Press, 10/22/1883: "The new C.P. Ry. roundhouse will be finished this month."
Ottawa Citizen, 10/29/1883: "The new CPR roundhouse will, it is expected, be completed about the 10th of next month."
Ottawa Citizen, 12/13/1883: "The new round house of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company at the Chaudiere is now completed and affords accommodation for twenty locomotives and tenders."
Ottawa Free Press, 7/31/1889: "Repairs are being made on the Canadian Pacific Railway Co.'s round house on the Richmond Road. The old brick work is being replaced by new material."
Ottawa Journal, April 12 1910 "In one of the most spectacular fires seen in the vicinity of Ottawa for some time, a section of the C.P.R. roundhouse was destroyed at about half past three o'clock this morning and four big mogul engines were damaged beyond repair.
"The first alarm was sounded from box 141 at the end of Wellington street at 3:40 and when deputy chief Stanford arrived he immediately sent in a second alarm on account of the great headway that the flames had made which made it appear as if the destruction of a nearby row of wooden houses was inevitable.
"The firemen had great difficulty in getting their apparatus near the burning building on account of the fact that since the completion of the new viaduct there has been no provision whatever made for the entrance of a waggon of any description into the immediate vicinity of the shops.
"On account of the strong wind that was blowing, and the tangle of scrap iron etc. which the roundhouse contained, the firemen experienced great difficulty in combatting the flames at first, but when the engine "Canada" was coupled to two lines of the hose the blaze was brought under control inside of thirty-five minutes.
"The incessant whistling around emitted from the engines which were in the burning portion and the lurid flames, attracted many spectators to the spot, in spite of the early hour, and as the usual custom in such cases, a squad of policemen were sent up from the station.
"Engines Nos. 42, 206, 274 and 1297 were completely wrecked and their loss will inconvenience the railroad as they were all in active service.
Chesterville Record, 4/21/1910: "The CPR roundhouse and three or four engines at Ottawa were damaged by fire."
4/1911 An Ottawa press report says that a new 16 stall roundhouse is to be built at Hintonburg west of the present one, a portion of which was burned down in the summer of 1910. The new building will be of concrete and will, it is said, be started at once. Some rearrangement of the yards will also be made ..."
The following is from the book "Enginehouses & Turntables on Canadian Railways" by Edward Forbes Bush, Boston Mills Press, Copyright 1990, page 58:
"The CPR's Ottawa West roundhouse, 21 stall capacity, was built in 1911 by J.B. Sanderson, an Ottawa Contractor. In 1925 the machine shop was modernized and in the following year a 6-stall extension was added. the walls were of reinforced concrete construction, as were the columns and beams. The joists on the other hand were of white pine and B.C. fir."
From David Jeanes, May 2016:
The NYC had a small locomotive facility adjacent to, and to the north east of, their passenger station to the west of Mann Avenue (or Ann Street/Gladstone /Avenue) at the corner of Nicholas (approximately where the Ottawa University heating plant is today).
The Railway and Shipping World, Aug 1901, page 231 reports "Five locomotive stalls will be built at Ottawa this year, to form the first half of a 10 stall round-house."
The Canadian Northern Ontario Railway was considering using this facility when it opened its Hawkesbury to Ottawa line in December 1912. The NYC was agreeable and prepared to extend its roundhouse to accommodate the Canadian northern Ontario locomotives. In the end the CNOR could not get permission, at that time, to cross Hurdman's Road with a transfer track to the Ottawa and New York yard and the CNOR was forced to build its own facility at Hurdman.
A picture is shown on the cover of Branchline for April 1982. There was a coal track and a turntable in 1906, both located further east and just before the junction with the CPR M&O sub. The turntable is shown on a 1928 aerial photo but had gone by 1933. The engine shed was replaced in the 1950's by a one stall concrete structure which survived into the early1960's as a covered storage bin for road sand and salt.
There were two engine houses at Hawkesbury.
A Canadian Northern Ontario Railway plan and profile (RG 46 vol 1612 file 9049) of Proposed Crossing of C.N.O.Ry & G.T. Ry Cos Telegraph Lines at Hawkesbury dated 11 November 1908 shows a four road roundhouse and turntable south of the CNOR main line and east of the GTR. It was located in the triangle formed between the two main lines and the connecting track between the two. This was used until the 1960's.A 1918 Grand Trunk Railway plan (RG 12M 78903/47 item 2984) of Hawkesbury shows what would appear to be a one road engine house in the Grand Trunk (formerly Canada Atlantic) wye close to the Grand Trunk station.
A 1918 Grand Trunk Railway plan (RG 12M 78903/47 item 2995) of Pembroke shows a three track roundhouse in the former Pembroke Southern Railway yard at Pembroke.
The first section of line was opened from Hull to Wakefield in early 1892 and an enginehouse and turntable was being erected at Wakefield on 21 January that year. No arrangements were initially made for servicing locomotives at Hull because the details of terminal station had not been worked out. The first trains were run tender first one way because of a lack of truning facilities in Hull. It is believed that arrangements were made to run on to the CPR at Hull and over the Prince of Wales Bridge into Ottawa where the locomotives would have been serviced.
The first train arrived in Kazabazua on 14 February 1893 and a temporary enginehouse and workshop were in place for this.
The line was extended from Wright to Gracefield on 19 October 1895 and a temporary engine house was in place for the opening. On 25 October that year a turntable was being moved from Wright to Gracefield. This raises the likelihood that there was a temporary engine house at Wright which would have been used until the line was extended to Gracefield. The Gracefield engine house was in place until to opening of the line to Maniwaki but it is not known how long it lasted after this.
A two track engine house was in place at Maniwaki in time for the opening of the line on 8 February 1904, in fact it was in place on 30 December 1893. This was retained until the end of steam.
The Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway opened from Hull to Aylmer on 6 August 1879 and a turntable had been installed by that time. It is not known whether an engine house was also provided.
The Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway built the section of line from Aylmer west to Waltham. The first section was opened from Aylmer to Quyon on 6 December 1884 and engine houses were in place at both Aylmer and Quyon by this time.
The Pontiac Pacific Junction Railway established a workshop at Aylmer which was later used for heavy repairs for locomotives from the Gatineau Valley line. It was located near the corner of Front and Notre Dame streets. It seems it remained until the take over by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1902. The above picture, taken in December 1899, appeared in the Shawville Equity, from the collection of Carroll Boucher.
An engine house was built at Waltham
for the opening of the line on 2 February 1888 and this lasted until
the end of steam.
A shunting engine on the P.P.J.
Railway fell into the space
adjoining the company's round table at Waltham yesterday. The
engine was about to be run on to the table but the tracks, not having
been brought even to each other, the engine went down. The engine
was raised again in about five hours. It was not damaged much and
fortunately no one was injured by the accident.
It is also likely that temporary buildings were erected as the line was gradually extended between 1884 and 1888 but details are not known.
The Canadian Northern Ontario Railway built a five stall roundhouse and coaling tower at Brent for the opening of the line between Ottawa and North Bay in 1915.
The QMO&O had an engine house in Hull ready for the opening of service in December 1877. The turntable pit was completed on December 7 and the turntable was installed the next day. The QMO&O line was extended from Hull to Ottawa over the Prince of Wales Bridge in December 1880 and from that time trains originated and terminated in Ottawa so presumably the engine facilities ceased to have been used around that time.
being installed at Aylmer on
August 1879, shortly after the line had been opened from Hull on 6
August 1879 although it is not known if a locomotive shed was installed
The E.B. Eddy company commenced
narrow gauge locomotives
in their mill yard in Hull on 1 May 1888. The former animal
powered rail network had to be rebuilt in order to allow steam
be used. On 13 July the Ottawa Journal noted.
The E.B. Eddy lumber company
completed the new round house
for their yard locomotives and have added an addition in the shape of a
commodious coal stage where locomotive coal is stored.
Although the paper mentions a round
house, which inplies access
through a turntable, it is likely that this was just a one or two road
shed. The locomotives were tank engines and would not have
required turning. There is no evidence of a circular house on the
only two known photographs of the Eddy narrow gauge operation:
National Archives PA-012446
The first shows the locomotives evidently in their original paint scheme and probably on the first day of operation, 1 May 1888.
National Archives PA-012442
The second was likely taken at a later date after the locomotives had been in use for some time.
1924 Fire Insurance Map (http://maps.cityofkingston.ca/Media/InsurancePlans/1924/InsPlan1924_Map09.png)
This photo was taken by author Don Wilson in '53-'54, and shows 5 stalls with tracks, and a half stall and workspace at the right-hand end.
The turntable was removed and taken to Wakefield, QC. It was installed on 11 July 1974.
See also http://www.kingstonhistoricalsociety.ca/roundhouse.htm
5.18 Brockville and Ottawa Railway Perth
The enginehouse in its later form as a freight shed in 1970. LAC PA 203818
The Brockville and Ottawa Railway had a two stall engine house at Perth. The high arched doors and large windows, to give light for working inside, were similar to those on the Grand Trunk. Engineer Samuel Keefer, who from 1853 worked for Alexander Mackenzie Ross, Chief Engineer of the Grand Trunk, became Chief Engineer of the B&O as well in 1853 and Inspector of Railways for Canada in 1857.
The building was later converted for use as a freight shed and lasted until the mid 1970s. It appears that an original gable-end roof to the engine house was replaced with a sloping roof with some alteration to the stonework.
Updated 1 February 2021