First Trips and Early Excursions in the Ottawa Area

The local papers have provided some interesting glimpses into the first runs over many of the lines in this area.  These are set out in date order as we come across them.  For a detailed time line of these events please see my pages:

Significant Dates in Ottawa Railway History


8 October 1851 Bytown and Prescott Railway - turning the first sod
21 June 1854 Bytown and Prescott Railway - Prescott to Chesterville
9 August 1854 Bytown and Prescott Railway - Prescott to Kemptville
16 August 1854 Bytown and Prescott Railway - Kemptville to Prescott
10 January 1855 Bytown and Prescott Railway - Prescott to Ottawa
10 January 1859
Brockville and Ottawa Railway - Brockville to Perth
19 April 1864 Grand Trunk/Ottawa and Prescott Railways - Montreal to Ottawa
14 September 1865 Brockville and Ottawa Railway - Brockville to Arnprior
14 September 1865 Union Forwarding and Railway - Arnprior to Ottawa
15 September 1870 Canada Central Railway - Inaugural train between Ottawa to Sand Point
4 December 1872 Canada Central Railway - Inaugural train between Sand Point and Renfrew
30 August 1875 Canada Central Railway - first sod ceremony at Pembroke
9 December1877 Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway - First excursion from Hull
10 June 1879 Inauguration of Palace cars on the Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway
6 August 1879 Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway - Inaugural train between Hull and Aylmer
30 September 1882 Canada Atlantic Railway - first excursion Ottawa to Coteau and Valleyfield
9 December 1884
First passenger train between Aylmer and Quyon on the Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway
29 June 1886 First transcontinental passenger train, the Pacific Express, passes through Ottawa
5 November 1887 First train in Canada to be equipped with electric light
4 March 1888 Brockville, Westport and Sault Ste. Marie Railway - first train
8 November 1890 Canada Atlantic Railway - trial trip of locomotive No. 15 between Ottawa and Carlsbad Springs
16 December 1890
Gatineau Valley Railway - first inspection trip over the line
3 March 1893 First trip over the Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway, Ottawa to Arnprior
21 December 1895 Inspection train alongside the Rideau canal and opening of the temporary station at Maria street
19 June 1896 Hull Electric Railway - First trip Deschenes-Aylmer-Hull
29 June 1896 Hull Electric Railway - First day of operation between Hull and Aylmer
30 June 1896 Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power - first day of operation
19 May 1898 Montreal and Ottawa short line - first passenger (inspection) train)
29 July 1898
First train on the Ottawa and New York Railway between Cornwall and Ottawa
5 September 1898 Ottawa and New York Railway - first excursion and the blessing of the railway by Archbishop Duhamel
13 January 1900 Ottawa Electric Railway - first trip on the Britannia line
27 January 1900 Ottawa Electric Railway - first through trip to Britannia
22 April 1901 Ottawa, Northern and Western Railway - opening of the Interprovincial Bridge, Hull to Ottawa
25 July 1901 Hull Electric Railway - First trip of a street car over the Interprovincial Bridge
2 December 1901 Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway - first train from Waltham to Ottawa
circa 1910
A Trip to Queens Park on the Open Streetcar.
20 March 1915 Glengarry and Stormont Railway - first inspection trip from Montreal to Cornwall
24 May 1915
Opening of the Glengarry and Stormont Railway

9 October 1851 - Bytown and Prescott Railway - Turning the First Sod

The building of the first railway created a great deal of interest in Bytown and the Bytown Packet of 11 October 1851 carries this account of the ceremony to turn to first sod.
On Thursday last, the 9th instant,was witnessed the very novel, and to the people of this section of Canada, most interesting ceremony of breaking ground on the line of the Bytown and Prescott Railroad.  The day was as beautiful as could be desired, and an immense concourse of people were congregated to witness the proceedings.  Between three and four o'clock in the afternoon the Procession, in the following order, formed in front of the Railroad office in Rideau Street, and from thence proceeded down Sussex Street to the place selected for the important operation:-
His Worship the mayor and Members of the Town Corporation.
Directors and Officers of the Railroad Company.
The Hon. Mr. Justice Burns and the President of the Railroad Company.
The Sheriff of the County and other Officials.
The Grand Jury.
Cadets of Temperance, in Regalia.
Sons of Temperance, in Regalia.
The President of the Company delivered an address, and then taking the spade proceeded to break ground, and tossed the first sod in first-rate style, amid the shouts and cheers af assembled thousands.
Justice Burns addressed the audience, congratulating them upon the prospect presented of so great and desirable an undertaking being carried forward.  Judge Armstrong being called upon, congratulated all present on the occasion of breaking ground, in commencing a work of so great importance; and in a short but very happy and humorous speech, referred to some of the advantages that would result from it.  G.B. Lyon, Esq. M.P., next spoke, complimenting the taxpayers, who had assented to their Municipality subscribing largely on behalf of the enterprise.  They were all shareholders indirectly, and were interested in its success.  Speaking in the open air, or on the subject of Railroads was not his field, and Railroads were not his politics.  He wished the undertaking success.
The President returned thanks to the Sons of Temperance, complimenting them in the highest terms; which was replied to on the part of the Sons and cadets by Mr. Hewitt.
The Sons presented a highly creditable appearance both as regards numbers and respectability - and we were particularly pleased with the interesting and fine dsplay made by the cadets.
Mr. Bell, Mr. Robinson and Mr. Friel being called upon, addressed the audience, and the proceedings closed.

Precisely at 7 o'clock a large party of gentlemen of the town sat down to dinner given by the President and Directors at Doran's.  To say that the dinner was at Doran's is a sufficient description of the of the manner in which it was got up, and of the excellent quality of the viands - to state that it was got up in Doran's best style is to say all we can in praise of the eatables and wines.  The President of the Company, Mr. MacKinnon, presided - supported on the right by Mr. Justice Burns, and on the left by Captain Ford, Royal Engineers.  The Mayor of the town acted as Vice. On the removal of the cloth, after ample justice had been done to all the good things, toasts were given from the chair.
(There then follows a description of the toasts.)
A number of jovial songs were sung in the course of the evening by different members of the company, and that heartiness and good humour which the best of champagne and wines of every description, together with the auspicious events which the Company met to celebrate, were calculated to inspire, prevailed throughout.

Bytown and Prescott Railway - 1854-5

This was the first railway in the Ottawa area.  A number of excursions were run before the line was opened throughout to Bytown.  The first was recorded in the Ottawa Citizen of 17 June 1854.

First passage per Bytown and Prescott Railway.

We are requested to state that the Prescott Division of the "Sons" have engaged passages by the cars to attend the Temprance Celebration at Spencerville on Wedneday next the 21st inst., and other individuals can also be accommodated at the same price, say Three York Shillings each for going and returning.
Tickets to be had at the railway office over Mr. Perk's store, or on the cars.  The cars to leave the station below the fort at 9 1/2 o'clock a.m. - Prescott Telegraph.

9 August 1854 Excursion on the Bytown and Prescott Railway

This was reported in the Ottawa Citizen (weekly edition) on Saturday 12 August 1854.  It was in the form of a letter dated Bytown, August 10 and signed BULLFROG.

Sir, - Yesterday morning dawned upon as large a merry a party of gentlemen on board the steamer Beaver as ever left this sylvan city "on pleasure bent" to be present at the opening of the railroad between Kemptville and Prescott.  Everything was as pleasant as pleasant weather and pleasant fellows could make them, no small matter when we consider that the party consisted exclusively of "man's imperial race," but aggreably to the old adage "start determined to be pleased and you will be pleased," and heterogeneous, albeit the crowd, made up as it was, of Batchelors, Benedicts, Doctors and Justices, Lawyers and Councillors and Chapmen, withal starting with this wholesome determination, pleased they were to a man, such rollicking and such fun, so much loud and hearty laughter and so many tricks upon travellers as would have convinced the most prudish of Eve's fair daughters that one blade of a pair of scissors is not the worse for having the rust rubbed off it by occasionally separating it from the other blade; but tis two o'clock and Hurrah! here we are at Kemptville where we found a splendid spread, and which received every due justice at the hands of the hungry and happy Bytonians.  All things considered, too much credit cannot be done to the Managing Committee; and if the knives did not cut it was they were new and had never cut before; but certes they were clean and we all know that cleanliness is next to godliness.  But the ding dong of the engine bell signifies that it is time to "take your places ladies and gentlemen", which no sooner done than the shrill whistle warns us to hold on while the engine starts with its precious cargo of 450 or 500 sons and daughters of Adam.  Off we go to the tune of Rule Britannia struck up by the Kemptville Band.  Pish, pish and in a few seconds the unmusical gallop of the Iron Horse convinced us, however profound our knowledge was or Arithmetic, that we could make up a small sum of twenty in simple addition by counting the cedar posts which flanked the road on either side.  The engine and the road were individually new - new they were to each other, while collectively they were new to the people and the people new to them; and the occasional screams of the steam whistle showed, as some errant horse or cow obtruded on the track, that Railroad Cars were likewise new to quadraped as well as biped, who with heads down and tails erect,scampered in terrorem out of harms way, and looked to all the world as if they meant to ask, where the devil do you come from?  One hour exactly found us in Prescott, reader remember it was a trial trip, and many of us for the first time slackened out thirsty souls with the waters of the St. Lawrence, improved mightily, as some declared, with Gllman's Brandy - seven o'clock sees us safely stowed in again, and "homeward bound". The same description of mirth as at starting only ten time more pungent, attended the Prince Albert steamer, which disgorged its load at 3½ a.m. on the Basin wharf, where each took himself to his own domicile, highly pleased at the day's doings, with only one object to mar his happiness, to wit, that on the morrow he had to go back to business again.


16 August 1854 - Bytown and Prescott Railway Excursion between Kemptville and Prescott

The second excursion was reported two weeks later in the Ottawa Citizen (weekly) of 26 August 1854 being the account of the Railroad Temperance Excursion which was abridged from the Ogdensburgh Sentinel:

"On Wednesday 16th inst. the Temperance People of Canada in the vicinity of the completed portion of the Bytown and Prescott Railway, got up an excursion from Prescott to Kemptville, for the purpose of celebrating the entry of the "Iron Horse" within the precincts of the latter place, and of having a general public congratulation of the masses, upon the success of the enterprise which links them with the Atlantic cities.

"Having a partial regard to public prosperity and the cause of temperance, we appropriated the day and made one of the multitude.  At the depot at Prescott, we found the locomotive St. Lawrence most gaudily dressed in holiday clothes, trimmed with flowers, evergreens and flags. The stars and stripes, on equal footing with the cross of St. George, floating on either side of engine and tender.  Three passenger and three platform cars, capable of carrying over one hundred passengers each constituted the train.  We left Prescott 9.36 a.m. with all the (cars?) comfortably filled, having on board delegations from Ogdensburgh, Brockville, Maitland, Augusta and a general turnout from Prescott.  At most of the cross-roads, we passed passed large crowds anxious to arrest the train that they might procure passage, but it was impossible to accommodate them.  At Spencer's we were joined by a delegation of about two hundred who were "piled on". Seating or stowing them away, was a question not to be entertained, not less debated. The cars, we presume, if they could have told their feelings, would have made the same reply that the notorious Charles Lamb did, when the inquisitive cab man thrust his head into the box and asked "Are you full in there?"  The reply was "I don't know how it is with the other passengers, but that last piece of pie did the thing up for me!"  So it was with the cars, that last station, had most emphatically done the thing up for them.  Just imagine an old fashioned four seat stage coach, with four passengers on each seat, two standing between seats and a fat old lady and gent entering thro' the door, on either side, and you have a tolerable fair idea of our compactness after absorbing that last two hundred. Being somewhere in the vicinity of the middle of one of the platform cars, and near the bottom of the pile, we knew or saw little else during the remainder of the passage.  We know however that there was enjoyment and sport among the top tier for often we felt the pile shake as though the outside ones were laughing, and a spent voice reached us with the exclamation "there goes another hat!" which was all explained when we reached Kemptville, by seeing a number of individuals with their heads dressed in handkerchiefs.

"About 12 o'clock the seats of the stand were all occupied and a meeting of at least two thousand was called to order by Mr. Ellwood, the District deputy G.W.P. of the Sons, who nominated W.H. Ellerbech, opened the meeting with beautiful and appropriate remarks, after which, Mr. David Fields of Ogdensburgh, read a sound, and able, well written temperance address - a copy we understand, was requested by the committee, for publication - Mr. Fields was followed by the Rev. Mr. Brewster, at some length, who in turn was followed by N.H. Lytle of Ogdensburgh and Rev. Mr. Smart of Brockville, in short addresses. The speaking was interspersed by music from the Kemptville Band.

"At two o'clock the multitude adjourned to the dinner grove and partook of the repast which had been most bountifully prepared by the good people of Kemptville, after which the time was spent in general congratulations and social conversation.  It is estimated by good judges that not less than 4000 strangers visited Kemptville, on this occasion and many more would have been present could they have secured passage on the cars.

"The return train from Prescott arrived out at 3½ p.m. when we made preparations for our return home, having seen but one God's images, during the entire day, who bore the mark of the beast on his countenance.  On our return trip we were not loaded so compact as on the outward passage aand were aforded an opportunity of viewing the country and the construction of the railway.

"The country along the finished portion of the road, is much of it low and swampy or uncultivated land.  The road is well built, remarkably straight and even and much of the distance lies on solid rock.  Its construction is nearly perfect, a fact every passenger will be willing to concede after a ride over it.  The management is under the superintendence of Mr. Hough, who we noticed upon the train during the whole of the excursion, with a watchful eye to the safety of the passengers.  Mr. E. Whitney, formerly postmaster of Ogdensburgh, is the regular passenger Conductor on the finished portion of the railway, and had charge of the excursion train on this occasion.  Mr. Whitney is a modest unassuming gentlemanly conductor whom the Company will doubtless retain as long as it is in their power to do so.  Nearly three, miles from Prescott the road is crossed by the Grand Trunk Railway.  The crossing is made by bridging, obviating the possibility of collision.  The Grand Trunk Road is built by English capital, and in English style, wide guage (sic) and will cost too much money ever to be a paying concern.  It does not touch the river at Prescott, the builders being fearful that some of its trade might be diverted by the Ogdensburg Roads.  The same policy would successfully "run into the ground" all the paying roads ever built."


10 January 1855 - First Excursion on the Bytown and Prescott Railway

The Bytown and Prescott Railway was opened throughout between Ottawa and Prescott on 25 December 1854.  What would seem to be the first excursion trip over the entire railway took place on 10 January 1855.  This account originally appeared in the Ogdensburgh Republican and was reprinted in the Ottawa Citizen (weekly edition) on Saturday 20 January 1855.

R. Hough Esq. the Superintendent of the Bytown and Prescott Railway, having given notice that on the 10th instant, an excursion train would run from Prescott to Ottawa leaving Prescott at 10 a.m. on that day, a number of our citizens, a number of whom had never visited Bytown, determined to avail themselves of this opportunity of taking a ride over this new and important road and paying their Bytown neighbors a flying visit, and witnessing for themselves the beautiful and majestic scenery with which this new "City of Ottawa" is surrounded.  The day was cold but pleasant, the crossing over the St. Lawrence bad, inasmuch that but two or three small boat loads succeeded in getting over in time for the train.  We happened to be among the lucky number, and found on our arrival at the depot a goodly number of our Prescott friends ready to accompany us.

The train started at the appointed hour and after a pleasant ride of about two hours and a half we were safely landed in the City of Ottawa.  Bytown was nowhere to be found.  On arriving at the British Hotel kept by MacArthur, we found good fires  attentive servants and last, though not least, an excellent dinner embracing all the delicacies of the season, to which our party did ample justice. After the removal of the cloth, several impromptu toasts were drank and appropriately responded to.

On leaving the table we were agreeably surprised to find a sufficient number of teams in waiting at the door from the livery stable of Luke Dubois which had been ordered by that prince of good fellows John S. Gillman Esq. of Prescott to carry our party over the city.  We passed the balance of the afternoon and evening in viewing the Suspension Bridge, the Chaudier Falls and other objects for which this city is noted.  During our drive we made brief calls at the residences of several of the prominent citizens and partook of their whole-souled, old fashioned hospitality, among whom we must not forget our friend Lyon, proprietor of "Lyon's Hotel" near the Suspension Bridge where, in addition to a hearty welcome, we were entertained with an impromptu dance, which in its ease and naturalness, carried us back to the days when social enjoyment had not given way to stiff formalities and buckram etiquette.

Where much joy meets one on every side, time goes by on no lagging wing - and before we were aware of the fact, night had settled down upon the city.

At six o'clock in the morning, as many of the party as could shake off the agreeable appliances of Morpheus, arose and departed for their homes, where they arrived in safety, after another pleasant ride over this new railway, which connects the city of Ottawa with Prescott and Ogdensburgh "and the rest of mankind".

If the impressions we received while on this excursion were real, the city of Ottawa with the facilities now owned up by the Bytown and Prescott Railway, with its unequalled and sublime scenery, is destined, ere long, to become one of the greatest resorts of pleasure seeking travel on this continent.

Of this Bytown and Prescott Railway per se, and of the unequalled telegraph line now building, and which is nearly completed between Prescott and Ottawa, extending along the line of railway, by the Montreal, Prescott and Ottawa Company, we design hereafter to speak, as also of their purpose of putting down an English sub-marine cable between Prescott and Ogdensburgh,  It is, we understand, the intention of this Company to put up two wires between Ottawa and Prescott, the posts for which are already set, are of uniform size and straight, and are put three feet in the ground, as all telegraphic posts should be.  Messrs. Dodge, Dickinson & Co. are the contractors.


10 January 1859 - First Excursion over the Brockville and Ottawa Railway between Brockville and Perth.

The Brockville Recorder was invited to travel with a group of invited guests over teh line between Brockville and Perth.  It appears to have been a long, drawn out affair although the papers felt it was a success because the train actually made it there and back.

We have had a ride on the rail to Perth.  Don't ask how long the journey occupied, whether three hours or ten hours, as the time taken cannot ignore the fact that the rails are connected and passenger cars from Brockville have entered Perth. This is a great fact, and there is no use denying it.

On Monday morning we went on board of a car for Perth, at the special invitation of Mr. Watson, the managing director of the Brockville and 0ttawa Railroad.  The cars were to start at 8.30, but it was nine before they took their departure.  The invitation to ride not being general, the crowd in the cars, specially invited, was not great. The distance between Brockville and Smiths Falls was made at an easy rate, over what appears to be a first-rate road, if we except a few miles not yet ballasted on this side of the Falls, and of which it would be unfair to judge at present.  We left Smiths Falls about eleven, and here commenced a "chapter of accidents" which continued until the end.  Monday's proceedings were a complete epitome of the history of the road from its first inception, stopping, backing, changing, with no one apparently capable of solving the difficulties. Why, we should like to know, were the engines and cars not under the direct control of Mr. Madrigan?  Had this been the case, the "chapter of accidents" we have been speaking of would have been fewer, at least we think so.

Monday, however, was a bitter cold day.  The thermometer at five in the morning stood at 40 below zero, cold enough, surely.  The line between the Falls and Perth had not been run over from the Friday previous.  The consequence was, that the snow had caked on the rail, and become, as it were, after the slight rain of Friday, part and parcel of the iron.  The wheels of the locomotives had thus to contend with glare ice: they would revolve but could make no progress in dragging the cars after them.  Several attempts were made to advance, but all was to no avail.  At length it was decided to "back up" to the Station, in order that the crowd might dine at the Falls while a locomotive was sent over the line to do battle with the ice and snow itself, and prepare the way for the cars..  After dinner another start was made, but also with no effect - the fates were still against us.  The forward engine's cowcatcher caught up the snow from the centre of the track and turned it over quite scientifically on the rail, and thus rendered progress  impossible.  Another "back up" to the station, in order to give the lead to another engine.  Here several who had joined "the excursion" at the Falls, concluded to "go home", and two Brockville gentlemen did the same, trusting to the Perth stage for conveyance to Brockville, at which place they arrived about three hours before the railroad excursionists.

At length another attempt to reach Perth was made, but before long a halt was called in order to search the ditches along the road for water to supply the locomotive.  The interesting experiment having to be made a second time.  Slowly and steadily the train at length moved on, and hopes were high that no other difficulty would intervene, but fate again decided against these hopes.  About a mile and a half from Perth, the last car on the train came to a dead stand: the coupling of the car had given way, and the engine, with the forward car, went off by themselves, leaving a car full of the most consummate grumblers all alone in their glory, till the engine returned from Perth, with a rope to hitch to the car.  At length the grumblers reached Perth about a quarer to seven at night, having made the passage, forty miles, in nine hours and three quarters.

After tea the crowd was again in motion towards the station, the hour for starting home being eight o'clock.  Here again our prospects for reaching Brockville were all but smashed into a cocked hat.  In shunting one of the cars it got off the track and about three hours were spent before it was got on.  About eleven o'clock "all aboard" was the word and the weary excursionists returned home about half past three in the morning, never to forget their first trip to Perth over the Brockville and Ottawa Railroad.
The severe coldness of the day prevented anything like an inspection of the works along the line, but on what we did see, we have no doubt, the road, when thoroughly ballasted will be second to none in Canada.

There was another, more satisfactory, trip recorded before the railway opened.  This took place on 26 January 1859 and was reported in the Perth Courier and the Brockville Recorder ran the story on 3 February.

On Wednesday last, the members of the County Council of Lanark and Renfrew, having received an invitation from the President of the Railroad Co., took a trip to Brockville on the cars.  The invitation was extended to members of the Town Council and several other of our citizens.  Having been invited by Mr. Watson, the Managing Director, to accompany the party, we took our seat along with the rest, and at a quarter past 9 o'clock the train started from the Depot.  There being only one passenger car, it was pretty well crowded; but the party being in good spirits, and determined to enjoy themselves, accommodated each other in a neighbourly way as well as circumstances would admit.  The train arrived at Brockville at twenty minutes to 12, having made the trip in 2.25 - which is pretty good running considering the unfinished state of a considerable portion of the road.  The party proceeded to the Willson House, where after visiting the tunnel, they sat down to a sumptuous repast got up in 'Brennan's' best style.  After doing justice to the good things set before them, short speeches were made by several gentlemen present. 'All aboard' was then the cry and the train on the return trip left Brockville at half past three, and arrived at Perth at six - all highly delighted with what was, to the greater portion of them, the first trip on the Brockville and Ottawa Railway.

The road is well made so far - is remarkably smooth - and when properly ballasted will be second to none in Canada

19 April 1864 - Montreal to Ottawa over the Grand Trunk and Ottawa and Prescott Railways

This is an extract from an account which appeared in the Ottawa Citizen for 31 May 1864.  The original appeared in the Montreal True Witness of May 9 and was written under the pseudnym "Bruin".  Our travellers stopped at Cornwall for a meal and spent the night at Prescott.  At that time the Grand Trunk was built to the provincial gauge (5' 6") whereas the Ottawa and Prescott was standard gauge (4' 8½") although there was presumably dual gauge track between Prescott and Prescott Junction.

We left the Bonaventure Street Depot at 6.30 p.m. on the 19th ultimo, and were whirred along at railroad speed towards our destination.  The night was clear, the air fresh and bracing, and the moon rose in an unclouded sky.  Onward we sped and soon the shrill whistle of the locomotive gave warning that we were approaching the first stopping place, and anon the granite cliffs of Pointe Clair appear on the left glittering in the moonlight.  Halt! cries the engineer and the snorting horse comes to a stand.  We discharge and take on and off we go again, and soon the waters of the Ottawa are heard rumbling at St. Anns and, the lines of Moore, written more than half a century ago, recur to our memory, when struck by the beauty of the surrounding scenery, and fired by the genius of the poetic fancy, he burst forth in the following stanzas:-

Faintly as tells the evening chime
Our voices keep tune, and our ears keep time
Soon as the woods on shore look dim
We'll sing at St. Anns our parting hymn;
Row, brothers, row, the stream runs fast,
The rapids are near and the daylight's past.

St. Ann's rendered famous by the poetry of Moore, may thy picturesque solitude be undisturbed by the innovations of man, save in the pursuit of all that is lovely in nature.

Isle Perrot was traversed and another branch of the Ottawa, and the elm trees of the pic-nic grove at Vaudreuil are seen in their leafy majesty, throwing their dark shadows on the crystal water and courting in their very nakedness the half stifled denizens of the crowded city to seek beneath their lofty branches free respiration and repose.  Well we do remember, not one year ago, having attended a pic-nic on these favoured grounds, given under the auspices of the St. Patrick's Society of this city, and conducted with all the success and decorum characteristic of the efforts of the Association. We sincerely hope the St. Patrick's Society will, during the coming summer, give the citizens of Montreal the opportunity of again spending a few happy hours beneath the shady elms of Vaudreuil, on the banks of the Ottawa and we are confident that the gentlemanly proprietor (Mr. Harwood M.P.) will be all too happy to place the grounds at the disposal of the Society.

But, reader, we are digressing, you will pardon us, we hope, and bearing in mind that memory brings back many a happy feeling, accompany us a little further.

Coteau Landing, west of Coteau, famous for the rapids and dilapidated forts and other places of minor importance, were passed in rapid succession and at last we reached "Cornwall, fifteen minutes for refreshments" cried the conductor; amen we said and into the railway restaurant we popped, fully determined to make the most of the time allotted.  There, sure enough, was a sight sufficient to gladden the hearts of hungry travellers, two tables the length of the room covered with a profusion of beef steaks, chops, sausages and other kindred strengtheners of the human system, made us for a time, forget the ethereal ecstacies of spiritual meditation, and fortify the inner man.

All aboard and off we go, following the escorting steed that leaves a trail of fire behind him until we reach Prescott Junction.  There, we had to wait a full hour for the passengers by the boat from Ogdensburgh who were going west.  It being past midnight, we grumbled at the delay, but it was of no use, we must either wait or walk one mile to Prescott, where we were to remain over night for the morning train to Ottawa.

St. Lawrence Hall and Campbell's Hotel &c. &c. greeted out ears on our arrival at Prescott, and ere we had time to reflect, the liveried messengers of the first named house seized our luggage and bore us all off in triumph but had we known our old acquaintance Campbell of Ottawa, had removed to Prescott, we certainly would have chosen his hospitality.

The trip from Prescott to Ottawa (54 miles) is through a country of unpreposessing appearance.  Although there are several stopping places, with the exception of Kemptville, there is no place (visible) of any note; there are, I believe, several thriving villages back from the stations.  On nearing Ottawa, the country assumes a more fertile appearance, and from the back platform of the cars we can see, on Barrick Hill, the massive proportions of the Parliament Buildings with their gothic towers, not completed, and surmounted with many flags fluttering in the breeze.  For a moment, friend W. and myself are puzzled to know the cause of this unusual display of the colours of the rainbow, but only for a moment; for we remember that the veteran Colonel, the Premier of Canada, has preceeded us on a visit to the future capital to inspect the buildings and push on the works as rapidly as possible, in order that the collective wisdom of the Province may at an early day have a permnent habitation and a home, and these signs of joy are hoisted by loyal citizens on his arrival to manifest their confidence in the purpose.


14 September 1865 - Brockville and Ottawa Railway Excursion from Brockville to Arnprior

The Brockville and Ottawa Railway was opened from Brockville to Almonte on 17 February 1859.  The Press Association held its annual meeting in Brockville in September 1865 and travelled from Brockville to Ottawa via Arnprior and Chats Falls.
The Globe, Toronto Thursday September 14, 1865 provides the following account.  Further reports can be found in a number of local papers, including the Hamilton Spectator.

The arrangement was that Thursday the party should proceed to Ottawa city by way of Arnprior.  A few minutes after six o'clock in the morning, more than one hundred ladies and gentlemen of the press excursion started northward by the Brockville and Ottawa Railway. The train passed through the tunnel under the town by means of which the railway is brought to the river's edge.  This tunnel is, I should think, one half mile in length, and passes under the Market Building, and thence underground until daylight is reached to the north of the town.  After the train is fairly in the tunnel the darkness is total.  There are no little holes as in the Victoria Bridge at Montreal to admit little streams of light, but black darkness renders it impossible for the passenger to see anything.  For the sake of variety, a few minutes of this sort of railway riding was very well, but I think few of the excursionists would have cared for a much longer experience of the kind.  The Brockville and  Ottawa road is smooth and well ballasted and we had a very comfortable ride to its terminus at Arnprior, passing on the way a number of villages, the chief of which are Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Almonte.  The latter place owes some of its prosperity to manufactures.  Flax mills are driven by water afforded by the Mississippi River (not the father of waters but a little river) -- Arnprior is distant from Brockville 69 miles, has for some little time been the terminus of the B&O Railway, but is about to lose that distinction, as the Company will, on Monday next open the road to Sandpoint, five miles or so much further up the Ottawa. When completed the road will terminate at Pembroke, a point some 50 miles further up the river.  Arnprior is finely situated on the south bank of the Ottawa, or more accurately perhaps, of Chat's Lake.  Mr. McLachlin, ex-MPP, an extensive lumber dealer, has a very nice residence there.

14 September 1865 - Union Forwarding and Railway

At Arnprior the party transferred to the vessels and horse railway of the Union Forwarding Company.  The Globe account continues.

At Arnprior there were not enough carriages for the excursion party.  Those which were to be had carried the baggage from station to the wharf, which distance - about a mile - the excursionists had to make on foot.  A steamer, the Oregon, carried us across Chat's Lake, a distance of about three miles or so.  Then we travelled across a peninsular, three or four miles by "tram" railway.  This railway has been in operation a good while, and differs considerably from an ordinary railway.  The rails are strips of bar iron, such as is used apparently for the tiers of lumber waggons.  The "ties" on the tram railway run lengthwise instead of crosswise.  The country it traverses is not at all level, but there was little digging done to make the roadway level.  This was done by filling up the "gulleys" with structures of timber on which the "ties" were laid.  The cars are drawn by horses, and one of the "conductors" claimed as a merit of this road that there never was an accident upon it.  Arrived at the end of the tram railway; the party embarked on the steamer Ann Sisson for Aylmer C.E.  The distance is twenty or thirty miles and the trip lasted some hours.  On board the steamer, the adjourned meeting of the Association was held.

At Aylmer there were flags up in honour of our arrival - at least we took it for granted that this was the meaning of the display.  Carriages were in waiting for us and a pleasant drive down the north bank of the Ottawa, and the bridge across the Chaudiere brought us into Ottawa city between four and five o'clock.


15 September 1870 - Canada Central Railway opening from Ottawa to Sand Point

The Canada Central Railway built between Ottawa (Chaudiere) and Carleton Place in 1870.  The opening run was reported in The Times, Ottawa on 16 September 1870.  This was a trip via Carleton Place through to Sand Point which section had already been opened by the Brockville and Ottawa Railway.

Yesterday was all that could be desired for the trip to Sand Point, and soon after nine o'clock a large crowd had collected at the terminus of the Canada Central Railway at the Chaudiere Flats, where a train of eight cars was in readiness drawn by the powerful engine, H.A. ABBOTT.  This engine was built in Taunton, Mass and is one of great speed and power.  She forms one of three which have been constructed for the Canada Central Railway Company.  No. 1 is named after to well-known English capitalist Mr. H.W.F. Bolckow who is, we believe, the largest shareholder in the company; No. 2 is named after the president (this would be John G. Richardson - CJC), and No. 3 after the contractor for the line to whose untiring energy and enterprise we owe the speedy completion of the road, Mr. H.A. Abbott.  This engine, as before stated was the one destined to propel the excursion train on the opening day.  She was profusely decorated with Union Jacks and Red, White and Blue flags interspersed with evergreens.
The band of the Brockville Garrison Artillery arrived about 9.30 o'clock and had a car assigned for their accommodation.
List of the invited guests - omitted.
And now the signal is given and at fifty nine minutes past nine o'clock

A few grunts and puffs and the good engine settles down to her work, and soon at a fast accelerating speed we are rattling down the grade out of Ottawa.  Past farm houses, the occupants of which, male and female, hurry to the door so soon as the sound of the approaching engine is heard, and with loud hurrahs and waving of handkerchiefs wish God speed to the Canada Central as our train rushes past.  Past little log cabins, whose inhabitants have done what they could to show their appreciation of the great event by hoisting miniature red and white flags, and who give us a hearty greeting as we pass; through green woods upon whose leaves the first tint of autumn is seen, and among the branches of which we now and then catch hasty glimpses of the Ottawa flowing calmly on.  Presently we reach the "burnt district" where black charred trunks and here and there smouldering ashes, afford evidence of the fiery ruin that has past over this part of the country.  The track, as many amongst us remark, instead of being rougher than that of other railways as might have been expected onsidering how recently it had been made, seems smoother than usual.  There is little perceptible oscillation, none of that 'bumping" up and down which sometimes renders railroad travelling so fatiguing, but we travel smoothly and steadily along and soon run past Bells Corners where traces of the late terrible fire are still more perceptible on both sides of the track.  In fact our course from this point to our first stopping place.
In almost entirely through burnt woods, although a little way back from the track, as our readers are aware, there lies a beautiful stretch of rich agricultural country.  Stittsville was reached at 10.25.  Thus we had accomplished our first fourteen miles in thirty four minutes, not by any means bad travelling over a new road, with eight heavily laden cars behind us.

After a very brief stoppage at Stittsville we proceeded on our way until Ashton, twenty-two miles from Ottawa was reached at 10:45.  At eleven o'clock we arrived at the Carleton station of the Canada Central, and scarcely had we halted when the Brockville train arrived, filled with a number of persons who joined the excursion train on its way to Sand Point. Carleton Place is the end of the new road, and our way from thence lay along the track which has, for some time, been used by the Brockville and Sand Point trains.  There is nothing of the scenery along this part of the trip worthy of especial note.  The country appears, for the most part, to be exceedingly well adaptged for agricultural purposes and the clearings already made are numerous and extensive.  Every stream we crossed was almost filled with a quantity of lumber showing how large a lumbering business is done in this section of country and promising well for the future prospects of the railway in this respect.  At half past eleven we reached the thriving town of Almonte, with its extensive woollen and other manufactories, and here we found a large number of persons waiting on the platform to greet our arrival.  We were now 36½ miles from Ottawa.  After giving our iron horse a little refreshment in the shape of wood and water, we once more started on our way.  Pakenham was reached at 11:52; a few minutes after 12 o'clock we crossed the long bridge which spans the Madawaska river and at ten minutes after twelve reached Arnprior, about fifty-three miles from Ottawa.  The remainder of the distance, about four miles, was performed very rapidly, and at twenty three minutes after twelve (Ottawa time) our train drew up in front of the commodious freight shed belonging to the company at Sand Point.  Across the road a sort of triumphal arch had been erected, from which was suspended a number of flags and in the centre a banner upon which was inscribed the word

And as our train halted we received a cordial welcome in the form of three rousing cheers from the crowd assembled on the platform.  Here the pasengers alighted; some strolled up to the terminus, a short distance off, which is close to the steamboat wharf; others went into the freight shed and spent some time in admiring
which were very profuse and at the same time in excellent taste.  At each end of the room was a cross table, while down the sides extended two long tables, and all of them were almost covered with a bountiful supply of eatables.  The walls of the building were decorated with evergreens and with streamers bearing various mottoes.  "God save the Queen" at each end of the room.  "Success to the railway enterprise," "Success and prosperity to the Canada Central Railway," "Brunel and Watt," "Rendal, Stephenson, Ross, Cubitt," "Dominion of Canada," "Brockville and Otatwa Railway," Northern Colonization Railway," "Ottawa Valley Railway," and many others. At each end of the room were the arms of England, Scotland and Ireland emblazoned on shields in proper colours and round the different parts were festoons of laurels etc.
was provided by Mr. Kavanagh, the well known caterer of Ottawa.  It is usual on such occasions, to say that "the entertainment was served in Mr. So and So's usual excellent style," but we feel that on this occasion we ought to say more than mere stereotyped words of compliment, for we certainly never saw a lunch of the kind gotten up under similar circumstances in such creditable style. Not only was there enough of everything, but what there was was of the very best kind and was well served up.
Releves - boned turkeys with apple jelly; game pate; hams; ornamented rounds of beef; smoked beef tongue.
Entrees - Chicken salad; partridges with jelly; oyster pates.
Roast joints - Roast beef, roast turkey, roast mutton, roast chicken, roast geese, roast veal.
Game - Partridges, wild duck, prairie chickens, plover.
Relishes - Olives, pickled oysters, pickled cucumbers.
Pastry - Jelly tarts, fancy cakes, wine jelly, blanc mange, charlotte russe, charlotte of apples.
Fruit - Isabella grapes, oranges, fameuse apples, almonds, raisins, figs etc. crackers mixed, celery.
While lunch was proceeding the Brockville Garrison Artillery previously referred to played the following
1. March "Distant Greeting" - Doran.
2. Lancers "Merrie Tunes"- Godfrey.
3. Comic fantasia "Echos of the night" - Riviere.
4. Valse "Milgrove" - Stanley.
5. Galop "Post Horn" - Leomig.
6 "God Save the Queen".
Chair was occupied by Abbott who proposed a toast to the Queen.
Many speeches - omitted
The train was by this time in waiting and soon the passengers were all on board and well satisfied with their day.  Everything had passed off most satisfactorily without a single contretemps.  At 3.42 the train started and arrived safely in Ottawa about six o'clock.  Thus ented the celebration of the opening of the Canada Central Railway.


4 December 1872 - Inaugural train, Canada Central Railway between Sand Point and Renfrew

The Times, Ottawa for 5 December 1872 reported the inaugural train between Sand Point and Renfrew:
At half-past eight yesterday morning, a party of gentlemen, among whom were the Hon. Sir Francis Hincks, the Hon. Dr. Tupper, Hon. Mr. Mitchell, Sir Hugh Allan, the Hon. James Skead, Mr. Foster, His Worship the Mayor of Ottawa, Mr. Martineau, Mr. Alderman Bangs, Mr. Wm. Mckay, Mr. Edward McGillivray, Mr. H.V. Noel, Mr. John Ashworth, Mr. Daniel Galbraith M.P.P., Mr. B. Rosamond, Mr. Aumond, Mr. McMullen (Brockville), Mr. George Hewson and Mr. Mr. Thos Stagg of the same place, and Mr. Haggart M.P., and Mr. Code M.P.P. (Perth); the Warden of Renfrew, and others, left town by the Canada Central Railroad to be present at the inauguration, or rather opening of the road from Sand Point to the thriving and rapidly rising village of Renfrew, situated on the River Bonnechere, nine miles fom its confluence with the Ottawa.  At Renfrew, the Bonnechere falls rapidly about 100 feet, over a bed of white limestone, and the scene is most picturesque.  Renfrew is 58 miles distant from Ottawa, and, by rail, about 12  miles from Sand Point. The opening up of the Canada Central, while it will greatly benefit Ottawa, will be of still greater importance to Renfrew, and it is to be further hoped that the line will be still further extended to Pembroke before many months elapse.  The trains from Brockville and Ottawa amalgamated at Carleton Place, arriving at Renfrew about haf-past one, where luncheon was partaken in the Town Hall.  The President of the C.C.R., Hon. Mr. Abbott, was in the chair, Sir Francis Hincks and Hon. Mr. Mitchell being on his right, and Sir Hugh Allan, Hon. Dr. Tupper, Hon. Mr. Skead and Mr. Galbraith on his left.  Through some misapprehension and to the great regret of the chairman the leading men of Renfrew were not present.  The champagne flowed freely, and the speeches were most eloquent, as they invariably are on such occasions.
The lack of, or misplacing o,f an invitation to the Reeve and officers of Renfrew caused a stir at the time and The Times, Ottawa commented on 6 December 1872:
Yesterday it was stated in the Journal that umbrage had been taken by the Reeve of Renfrew on account of an invitation not having, as it appeared to him, been extended to the representatives and officers of the municipality.  Invitations were sent. Mr. Henry Abbott, Suerintendent of the Canada Central Railroad did send invitations, and, although these invitations did not reach the Reeve, the Secretary or any other officer of the Renfrew Corporation - if we may so style the members of the municipality - the intention was good.  It is true, and "pity 'tis 'tis true", the invitation failed to reach Renfrew in sufficient time to prevent the Reeve from being affronted; but immediately upon it becoming known to Mr. Abbott that the written invitations had not reached their destination he telegraphed from Carleton Place sending the invitation to be present at the luncheon. Upon arrival of the train too, Mr. Abbott went and especially apologized for the lapsus, but His Worship the Reeve was inexorable, and like Calypso, would not be comforted.  He would receive no apology, but would satisfy his indignation by withholding the light of his countenance from the entertainment.  This churlishness, for we can call it nothing else, is to be regretted.  However, if Mr.Reeve finds it impossible to accept an apology, it is impossible for us to supplement the impossible.


30 August 1875 - Canada Central Railway
Turning the first sod at Pembroke

The Canada Central Railway was opened between Renfrew and Pembroke on 3 October 1876.  A formal ceremony to mark the beginning of construction was held at Pembroke on 30 August 1875.  An enthusiastic Pembroke town council had declared a civic holiday so that citizens could attend the ceremony.  It turned out to be a jolly affair with much champagne.  The Times, Ottawa and the Ottawa Citizen both reported on 31 August:

Pembroke Aug. 30.  The first sod of the Pembroke branch of the Canada Central Railway was turned here at four o'clock by Mrs. Esther Supple assisted by Col. Peter Valite sen., and Wm. Moffatt Eaq., Reeve of the town, Miss. Moffatt performing the ceremony of the christening of the road.
After the turning of the sod the assemblage adjourned to a large marquee erected for the purpose, and partook of a champagne lunch provided by the citizens.
A letter from Hon. A.B. Foster, manager of the company regretted his inability to be present at this occasion, was read.  The company was represented by Mr. Harris chief engineer, and Mr. T.A. Knowlton, Mr. Foster's private secretary.
Over a thousand people were present and testified their satisfaction at the formal commencement of the road, and the assiurances given in Mr. Foster's letter of its speedy completion were received with repeated and enthusiastic cheering.
The town council entertained the engineers and a number of leading citizens at a champagne spread in the Music Hall in the evening.
The Reeve occupied the chair and amongst the guests were R.L. Harris C.E.; C.S. Mason C.E.; Mr. Knowlton and Mr. Blackie of Toronto.  A most enjoyable evening was spent, the festivities lasting far into the night.  The proceedings were much enlivened by the presence of the St. Patrick's brass band, which discoursed some very fine music music before the performing of the ceremony and during the remainder of the evening.


9 December 1877 - Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway

First excursion train from Hull.

The arrival of the railway in Hull from Montréal caused a great deal of interest and there were a number of groups using the railway before construction was completed.  A number of people left for Montréal on the construction train on 21 November 1877 although the rails did not reach Hull station until two days later.  However, the first excursion was recorded in the Ottawa Citizen of 10 December 1877:

"A party of young folks went on a pleasure excursion on the invitation of the conductor of the construction train to Calumet yesterday, expecting to return last evening.  The pleasure party started about 12 o'clock, arrived at Calumet all right, and are still there, waiting for a chance to return home as the train did not return."

The mystery of the missing excursionists was solved by the Ottawa Citizen on Tuesday 11 December:

"The excursionists who started from here on Sunday returned between 11 and 12 yesterday having gone through with the train to Montréal."


10 June 1879 - Inauguration of Palace cars on the
Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway

The Ottawa Citizen of 11 June 1879 reported on an excursion from Montreal to Hull.  People from Ottawa had travelled to Montreal the previous evening to participate:

In railways, as in nearly everything else, time has worked wonderful changes.  A few years ago the travelling public were satisfied with an ordinary first class car.  Now they have become more fastidious in their tastes and look for canoe couches, revolving chairs elegantly upholstered &c.  To satisfy the public taste, and as well to keep up its first class reputation, the Q.M.O.& O. Railway decided to introduce on their line the Palace car system.  Yesterday saw the inauguration of the system and the event was celebrated by an excursion from Montreal to Ottawa, two of the new cars being attached to the regular train.  Among

The Gentlemen Who Were Present

By invitation were the following press representatives: - J. Stewart, Montreal Herald; G,B, Burland, Canadian Illustrated News; J. Harper, Montreal Star; J.H. McLean, Montreal Gazette; J.C. Martin, Montreal Post; R.C. Smith, Montreal Witness; George H. Fox, Ottawa Free Press; W.J. Cuzner, Ottawa Citizen; S. Foley, Journal of Commerce; A. Beaugrand, La Patrie; E. Lamothe, Le Nouveau Monde; R. Tremblay, Le Courier de Montreal; L. Lorrain, Franco Canadien; and O, Balland, le Minerve; M. Hosmer, General Manager of Dominion Telegraph Co.; Mr. A. Le Moine de Martigny were also present and the following officers of the company:  Mr. G.A. Scott, General Superintendent; Mr. F.J. Pruyn, General Paymaster; Mr. M. O'Meara, jr., Agent at Ottawa; and Mr. J, Gordon, Inspector of Stations.

The train left the mile end station at 9.30 o'clock and reached the city at 2 o'clock p.m. a delay of 15 minutes having occurred at Calumet station owing to the heating of the journals of the new cars.  Conductor Williams was in charge, who, with Conductor Diamond, bears the reputation of being perfection in his business; courteous under any circumstances, and anxious at all times to administer to the wants of travellers.  Engineer Whitehead, well known as one of the most experienced of Canadian engine drivers, piloted the iron horse and made fast time.  At this season of the year, when all nature appears to be clothed in her garb of green, the trip is particularly enjoyable.

The Scenery

is varied and enjoyable.  The route abounds in hills, valleys and small streams.  The Lievre at Buckingham, with its turbulent waters tossed angrily over the rocks before entering the basin.and skirted with a rich green fringe presents a scene of grandeur that must be seen to be thoroughly appreciated.  In fact, all along the line one finds something to attract his attention.  A very noticeable improvement is observable in the farms between Ottawa and Montreal since the road opened, furnishing further evidence of the capitalizing influence of the railways.  New houses are springing up, new barns are taking the place of the old rickety fabrics and the people are becoming more refined; neat and uniform station houses grace the different stopping places and a strong force of men are now engaged in improving the grounds around them.

The Rolling Palace

The two palace cars which were added to the rolling stock of the eastern division yesterday are not as expensive as some used on American railways, are elegant in every respect.  Each contains two lounges, 11 revolving chairs, and a stateroom and a spacious smoking compartment.  The chairs and sofas are upholstered in crimson and green plush, and the floor carpeted in keeping with the richness of the whole interior.  The walls are of black walnut and bird's eye maple, the ceiling richly ornamened with flowers and Egyptian figureheads.  In the smoking compartment tables are placed between seats, where one can indulge in a game of euchre or what, if he feels disposed to wile (sic) away the hours, and break the monotony of the jouney - for all railway trips, no matter where they are taken become monotonous in the end.  The external appearance of those palaces is very attractive also, the painter displaying a vast amount of skill in blending  of the colours.  They are named "Marquis of Lorne" and "Hon. H.G. Joly", and were manufactured by the Gilbert and Brush Company, Troy, New York.  They cost $7,000 each.

The Refreshment Depot

The principal stopping place between Ottawa and Montreal is Calumet.  There the regular passenger trains meet and pass each other, and there too is found something which will appease the appetite.  A splendid lunch room was opened yesterday and the party were entertained there at the expense of the line, the train having remained over "20 minutes for refreshments".  A horse car at this point connects the railway with the L'Orignal ferry which takes passengers for the Grand Hotel, Caledonia Springs.  This will soon be done away with and a new passenger car and engine combined will be substituted .  It is now being manufactured at a cost of about $14,000 and will be in running order by September next.  In this the people of L'Orignal and district hav  much to be thankful.

The Arrival

On arriving at Hull the excursion party were provided with busses and driven to the Russell House, where after partaking of a warm meal, they visited some of the principal points of interest in the city, leaving for home by the evening train at 4.45 o'clock.  They expressed themselves delighted with the trip and speak highly of the many courtesies extended by Mr. O'Meara jr., the efficient agent of this city.  Mr. Scott, the General manager, Mr. Pruyn, Mr. Stark and other officials of the company, all of whome left no stone unturned to ensure the comfort of their guests.  The all join in the wish that the palace car system inaugurated under such pleasing circumstances may prove the success the company may desire it to be.


6 August 1879 - Québec, Montréal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway

First train from Hull to Aylmer.

The Ottawa Citizen of Friday 8 August 1879 reported quite a celebration which nearly included burning down the depot:
Wednesday was a red letter day at Aylmer, and it is only natural that it should be for the inhabitants saw the realization of a fond hope that they have nursed in their bosoms for a tenth of  century.  For a number of years Aylmer has been retrograding.  With the construction of the Canada Central on the south shore of the river.  She lost control of the great traffic of the upper Ottawa; and in a dozen other ways her trade has diminished down to very narrow dimensions.  A new era has, however, dawned, and the silver lining of the dark cloud which has been hanging over her interests is gradually growing more distinct.  The "snort of the iron horse" is now heard there and promises in the near future to revive business, and wake the people up from the lethargy which has characterized them of late.  The town has now been placed on a line of railway which will doubtless some day form a branch of the great Canadian Pacific, for having extended their road so far, the Provincial Government, in order to secure a fair proportion of the trade of the Northwest, will in all probability continue it to Deep River.  The importance of such a connection is quite obvious, and is well understood in the counties of Ottawa and Pontiac.  But there is a special reason why the people of Aylmer felt that they should jubilate, a reason which towered above all others, and hat was the fact that the North Shore Railway scheme had its origin among her people and was the outcome of a general meeting of the counties of Pontiac and Ottawa, held there nearly 10 years ago.  Its consummation, in so far as that had at that time planned could not but create a spirit of enthusiasm and make them feel commercially speaking that they had been born again.  Wednesday, therefore, having been named as the day on which the first passenger train would reach the town, the citizens immediately set to work to arange a demonstration.  They had very little time to work on, and everything had to be gotten up in a hurried manner, but notwithstanding, the affair was a grand success and did not appear at all as if it were impromptu.  A committee composed of councillors and citizens was oganized and invitations were issued to prominent men of the county who have always manifested a deep interest in the promotion of the scheme.  Mr. Scott, General Superintendent of the Western Division of the QMO&O was telegraphed to and shortly before 3 o'clock arrived by special train, accompanied by several gentlemen from the city.

The Arrival

It is safe to say that the whole town and a sprinkling from the rural area were waiting at the depot, where for half an hour previous the Hull brass band entertained them with some lively airs.  The ladies turned out in full force and seemed to enthuse as heartily as the "sterner" sex.  By the way, speaking parenthetically, the town boasts of a plethora of female beauty.  The train, at all events, arrived and as it did a cheer was sent up which showed that the hearts of the people were warm and their lungs strong.  It was what they call

A Zulu Cheer

nine times nine and repeat.  When order had been restored and the band had got through playing the opening selection, Mayor Gordon and members of the corporation welcomed Mr. Scott on behalf of the citizens.  Miss Emma Murphy then advanced and presented that gentleman with an elegant bouquet of flowers. the graceful act being loudly applauded.  Mr. Alonzo Wright M.P. then made a few remarks.  After which a procession was formed, headed by the firemen and their engine and the band and escorted Mr. Scott and guests to Mrs. Richey's hotel where a meeting was organized.
The meeting then retired to the dining room where Mr. Richey, who is a first class caterer, arranged a sumptuous feast.  The table was beautifully decorated with flowers and the bill of fare was an extensive one.  Mayor Gordon occupied the chair and conducted the ceremonies with the utmost success.  After the cloth had been removed, the usual loyal toasts were proposed.  The health of Mr. Scott and the Mayor and corporation of Aylmer were given three times three, after which Mr. Scott offered to run his special to Hull and back with as many citizens as it could accommodate.

The Trip

The offer was received favourably and about 100 ladies and gentlemen soon found their way to the depot.  On their arrival, considerable excitement was ocasioned by an alarm of fire, smoke having been observed issuing from the south west corner of the station platform.  The planks were quickly pulled up and Mr. N.J. Conroy and the conductor, with two pails of water, quickly quenched the flames.  The train whistled at 6.45 p.m. and made the run to Hull in about 20 minutes, returning at about 7.20 p.m.

Torchlight Procession

The next item on the programme was a torchlight procession under the direction of the fire brigade.  At dark the torches were ignited and the town paraded.  It was a grand success and passed off without accident.

The Ball

This was followed by a ball in Mr. Richey's hall.  There were nearly 100 couples present and they certainly did dance until "the wee small hours", it being 3 o'clock before the musicians were allowed to take their departure.  It was a very general remark, that although the ball like the othe part of the programme had been gotten up in a hurry, there never was a more successful affair of the kind witnessed in the town.  At midnight a cold collation was served up by Mr. Richey and discussed with a good deal of energy.


30 September 1882 - Canada Atlantic Railway

First excursion from Ottawa to Coteau and Valleyfield
The Ottawa Citizen, on 2 October, recorded this excursion.  The directors of the line made a special trip on 11 September and trains started running just after that time.

Preliminary opening of the road from Ottawa to Coteau
A pleasant excursion

On Saturday last, through the courtesy of the management of the Canada Atlantic Railway a large number of leading residents of Ottawa were afforded an opportunity of inspecting the road as far as it is completed, and also viewing the site at which it is proposed to bridge the St. Lawrence at Coteau. The following was the invitation card;

The newspaper account had a description of the invitation card.  Reproduced above is a copy of the invitation kindly provided by Mr. William B. Esmonde, grandson of Edward Mcgillivray, the President.

THE START FROM OTTAWA was made sharp on time,and for a good half hour before, the station of the line at Stewarton was a scene of lively bustle.  Invitations had been extended to some 500 gentlemen and ample accommodation made for the transit of the whole party over the route.  Business and other engagements prevented a goodly number of those to whom the courtesy of the company had been extended from participating in the trip but still a large party of the representative gentlemen of the city were present. Among List of attendance


was rapidly and pleasantly made.  To almost all of the party the greater portion of the district to be travelled was new and there was general surprise at the excellence of the country, not only as regards its agricultural capacity, but as to the excellent condition of the farms and the general opinion was that the line would still further and greatly improve the district.  Eastman's Springs, South Indian, Casselman and intervening stations were rapidly passed and


A number of other residents of that place were added to the party.
Lists them


of the road is of the very best.  Although not yet completely ballasted, rapid time was made and on some sections of the trip over forty miles an hour was averaged.  This was notably the case between Coteau Landing and Alexandria where a distance of twenty-three miles was made in thirty-six minutes.  For easy travelling the road has no superior.  As it is not yet fully equipped with rolling stockof its own, the cars in use on Saturday were not of the latest style but there was no perceptible jolting a fact all the more remarkable as a great portion of the line is not yet fully ballasted. The bridges, culverts and other works along the line are all of the very best and most substantial nature and the promoters have had an easy line to run as regards cutting and grading and hey have spared no expense in putting in substantial work where it was wanted.  At one section of line there is one stretch of over twently miles over a country that looks like one big field and in which there is not a curve of any kind.  The track for the whole of this distance is a line straight as a crow's flight.  The party reached


early in the day and got off at the station which is situated close to the village.  This is the present terminus of the line. The trip down was made leisurely to enable the party to fairly see the nature of the construction and the description of the countrywhich the road passes through.  At the landing all embarked upon the steamer "St. Francis", which was in waiting and proceeded to


prettily situated in the St. Lawrence.  The island is destined to be one of the points over which the proposed new bridge will pass. It is already connected to the mainland by telegraph, and for the convenience of the visitors, a temporary office under canvas was put up.  A large awning tent had been put on the island in which tables for four hundred were laid and by the time all were seated they were well filled.  Here a bountiful collation was spread.  The drive, the country morning and the fresh air had sharpened the appetites of the excursionists and enabled them to do full justice to the repast.  The solid part of the entertainment had come to a close with all well satisfied and with plenty to spare.  Mr. McGillivray, president of the road, called on the company to fill their glasses and proposed the health of the Queen, which was received with all honours, the entire party joining in the National Anthem.
The next toast, also proposed by the president of the road, was that of "the President of the United States", in doing which he alluded briefly to the the friendly relations existing between the people on each side of the border, and expressed his conviction that the construction of such work as the Coteau must always help, by promoting facilities for commercial interchange to do much to cement a friendly feeling.  He coupled the toast with the name of Colonel Robbins, Comerical Consul at Ottawa.
Reply by Colonel Robbins
Toast to the Governor General
Toast to the Army, Navy and Volunteers
Toast to Doimion and Local Legislatures
Toast to Corportion of the City of Ottawa
Toast to the prosperity of the Canada Atlantic Railway
Several volunteer toasts followed.
An adjournment was at once made and the party embarked


on board the St. Francis.  This portion of the trip did not occupy long and a halt was made at the boat landing.  The stay at Valleyfield was made of brief duration but long enough to allow the excursionists to form some idea of the place which has about five thousand of a population and contains the largest paper mill and cotton factory in Canada.  Both of these structures are of a most substantial character being built of blue limestone and showing considerable architectural taste in their construction.


the party started.  On the return trip, while on the steamer, an impromptu meeting was organized and the hurricane deck was converted into a rostrum from which Dr. Hill, Mr. Clemow and several others delivered pithy speeches to the passengers below.  At Coteau the train was again taken.  The only stop made on the return trip was at Alexandria to let off the contingent which had embarked there.  The distance to Ottawa, wanting only an insignificant fraction of being eighty miles was made in slightly less than eight hours and a half.  The train got to Stewarton at twenty minutes past eight.



9 December 1884 - Aylmer to Quyon on the Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway

This account is taken from the Bryson Equity of 18 December 1884, although similar accounts also appeared in the Ottawa Citizen and the Montreal Gazette.  In fact the first passenger train over this line was an excursion reported in the Equity on 18 September 1884  "There was an excursion on the P.P.J. Railway last week, the train going as far as the rails are laid.  Flat cars decorated with evergreens were used on the occasion."  Passenger service was commenced a week later but this was reduced to a mixed service in mid January and passenger service was dropped in February for most of 1885.  In spite of the optimism expressed the PPJ never crossed the Ottawa river and into Pembroke.

The first passenger train passed over the Pontiac Pacific Junction Railway last Tuesday week from Aymler to the Quyon, formally opening the first twenty miles of the road.  The passengers were Hon. L.R. Church, the president; Mr. Peter White, M.P.; Mr. Hector McLean, warden of the county of Ottawa; Mr. R. White, Montreal, Mr. W.J. Conroy, Mr. McAllister and Mr. Geo. Boulton, directors; Chief Justice Armstrong; Mr. Wurtele, speaker of the Quebec legislature; Dr. Collar Church, Mr. C.N. Armstrong, the contractor, and Mr. Shirley, his chief engineer; Mr. Harris, the company's engineer; Mr. W.R. Kenny, the company's solicitor and Mr. Pangburn, superintendent of construction.  The train left Aylmer at 11 o'clock a.m. and ran alongside the Ottawa river as far as Breckenridge.  Several creeks are crossed by culverts and bridges substantially built, and the scenery in every direction is varied and interesting.  The first station is on Breckenridge farm and contiguous to the main road.  It is solidly built and wears an air of compactness.  The bridge here is built with steel girders.  Leaving this point the line passes through the heart of one of the richest farming districts in the Ottawa valley.  The land is as level as the prairie and the farmers are all wealthy and have wells tocked farms.  As many as 80 head of cattle were observed on one farm.  The next station is named Eardley, after the township in which it is situated, and is distant from Aylmer about 14 miles.  In this vicinity Ferris creek is spanned by a substantial pile bridge, constructed on a new principle by Mr. Shirley.  The piles are braced by diagonals secured by whalings, straps and bolts and faced with cedar plank.  The timber used in this and in all the other bridges has been carefully selected, and was furnished for the most part by Messrs. Conroy and N.E. Cormier.  At this point Mr. Hector McLean's farm is reached, and it is indeed worthy of the name of a farm, embracing as it does 2,000 acres, valued at $100,000.  His mother's property is in the immediate vicinity, a stock farm of 600 acres.  Several gullies are then encountered, one - the McLean gully - crossed by a trestle bridge 400 feet in length.  Two miles beyond this point the road passes from Ottawa county into Pontiac, leaving the level and gradually reaching a plateau and extending beyond the Quyon station, the present terminus of the line, and distant between twenty and twenty-one miles from Aylmer.  From Quyon to the Chats Rapids three routes were open and the directors, it is understood, have chosen that known as the front line.  This point is at the head of 30 miles of navigation, and is the seat of a water power equal in extent to that of the Chaudiere.  The terms of the contract with the company bind the contract to make the survey, locate the route, design and build all structures and iron the road ready for the Dominion and provincial railway inspectors, both of whom have already passed over the completed portion and expressed their satisfied with the result.  The contract was signed in June last, and, considering what the contractor had to contend against, he has done well.  Very favourable reports have been made of the work by Mr. Shanly, C.E. and Mr. Peterson, C.E. The roadbed is particularly good, and when the final ballasting is put on will be one of the best built in the Dominion.  It is destined to be a fast road, too, as the grade is easy, the maximum being something like fifty-two feet per mile with a four degree curvature.  The old site at La Passe for a bridge over the Ottawa, where there is a depth of 52 feet of water, has been abandoned and a new one adopted with a maximum depth, of 26 feet.  The contractor has the privilege of running passenger and freight trains over the road until it is finally completed, and will put on a service next week.  This will be hailed with delight by the people of Quyon and district tapped.  The party returned to Aylmer at 2 o'clock, and enjoyed the hospitality of Mr. Armstrong, at Mrs. Ritchie's hotel, where a capital lunch was served up.  Hon. Mr. Church proposed the health of the contractor, referring in warm tones to the manner in which he had so far done his work, and dwelling briefly on the importance of the road to the district.  Mr. Armstrong replied in a neat speech, at the conclusion of which he expressed the hope that by this time next year the same party would again gather round the festive board at Pembroke and celebrate the completion of the line, bridge and all.


29 June 1886 - Canadian Pacific Railway
First Transcontinental Passenger Train, the Pacific Express, passes through Ottawa.

Although the last spike had been driven in the Canadian Pacific Railway main line the previous year, transcontinental service between Montreal and the west coast did not commence until June 1886.  The Ottawa Citizen of 29 June 1886 recorded the occasion.

At Calumet the depot was elaborately decorated and illuminated.  A band played popular airs and the large assemblage cheered the arrival and departure of the train.  At Point Duchene and other places on the road to Ottawa, bonfires were lighted and houses were illuminated, and everywhere as the train passed it was greeted with local and enthusiastic cheers.


No demonstration was organized in Ottawa to greet the passage of the train which was destines to become historic, but a large number of citizens gathered at the Union Depot last night some time before the time fixed for the arrival and enthusiastic contemplation of the prospect was the rule.  The exuberance of the reception afforded the train from the moment of its leaving Montreal delayed it, and it was not until half an hour after the schedule time that its near approach to Ottawa became apparent.  Then the pyrotechnic salute was given at the depot. the moving spirits being Messrs. William Porter and Pearce.  The train backed into the depot in two sections, one being the through section and the other the regular Toronto train with extra baggage and mail cars attached.  The through section consisted of the superb dining car "Holyrood", the sleeping car "Hoholulu" two first class coaches and an emigrant sleeper.  The crowd gathered at the depot sent no noisy cheers but made up in curiosity or interest what it lacked in exuberance.  The cars had no sooner come to a stand still than they were invaded by a host of Ottawaites who eagerly examined the fittings and general arrangements.  Many expressions of admiration were heard as the crowd filed through the cars, for the "Holyrood" and "Honolulu" are simply palaces on wheels. A Citizen reporter who went through the train succeeded in finding the first passenger who bought a through sleeping car ticket and in order that posterity may cherish his memory, his name is given.  He was Mr. C.I. De Sola of the firm of De Sola and Ascher, Montreal.
The train being late on arrival at Ottawa was speedily sent forward on its journey, taking with it through passengers from this city.

As the cars began to move out of the depot, friendly hands were finally shaken, good wishes were exchanged and with buoyant feelings of patriotic pride the crowd left the depot and dispersed to the four quarters of the city.

Engine No. 300 which brought the train from Montreal was driven by Engineer Barrand, Fireman Maynes.  Another engine was coupled on to No. 300 before she left Ottawa.  No. 300 gave no outward sign of possession of the Montreal flag, the advent of which had been promised by telegraph.


5 November 1887 - Canada Atlantic Railway

First Train in Canada to be Equipped with Electric Light
The Ottawa Citizen ran the following description of the first train in Canada to be equipped with electric light. This report appeared on 4 November, the train having come to Ottawa two days before.  It was first used on a public excursion to Montreal and return on Saturday 5 November 1887.  The reporter likely became confused at the description of the number of trucks - presumably this should have read two trucks with twelve wheels.

The reference to "paper wheels' deserves some explanation.  The Allen Paper Wheel was introduced in 1869. It had a centre core built up from strawboard with steel or iron plates bolted on the front and rear. It was widely used in North America between 1880 and 1915. The original invention was as a substitute for the wood core of wheels with steel tires. Compressed paper was substituted for wood at the core. When compressed it was said to be as hard as ivory yet soft enough to cushion the ride and reduce wheel noise and vibration.  Pullman tested the wheels and eventually adopted them as standard.  A "Paper Wheel" would have a ring of bolts all around the wheel center. (Thanks to Paul Bown and Steve Hunter for this explanation).

The Canada Atlantic Railway Company has once again shown their regard for the comfort of their passengers and for some days the electric light train has been the subject of much comment and a great deal of curiosity. It is the first train lighted by this means that has run in Canada, and made its first journey yesterday, arriving at the Elgin Street depot last night.  The two new cars are called "Cassandra" and "Fivrenza" and are parlour cars, the equal of which it is only fair to say are not to be found in Canada, and the superior of which cannot be seen on any part of the vast American continent.  To travel in these cars is the very essence of comfort, on entering them there is a feeling of perfect ease and homeliness in spite of the gorgeous fittings, rich colours and altogether magnificent appearance of the cars.  While the colouring is particularly rich, at the same time there is nothing gaudy and nothing to offend even an artist's critical eye.

First of all the chairs must be mentioned.  They are in themselves perfect marvels of comfort and ease.  Here is found a fine blending of colours, the chairs being draped in a light blue velvet, with carpets and foot stools of black and ochre.  At each end of the car another excellent arrangement is found, as two seats are made on a sliding principle, emabling them to be formed into comfortable lounges, suitable for the easy travelling of an invalid.  Raw silk curtains are also festooned at the sides, and by drawing these the chair or the lounge, as the case may be, is turned into a complete private apartment.  These curtains are of a peculiar but beautiful orange tawny colour.  The window hangings are of velvet and the same colour and shade as the curtains.  In conspicuous parts of the car are to be found mirrors and neat and convenient hat racks of nickel plate.  The lighting of the car is done by incandescent electric light, and these are hung along the car at frequent intervals. Should these from any cause fail to act, provision is made to supply a fine light from handsome pendant bronze lamps which are also supplied.

Wandering thorugh to the end of the gentlemen's car, the buffet is found, and here the hungry traveller, at a few minute's notice can obtain tea, coffee, eggs, toast, oysters and all the delicacies of the season.  To obtain these it is not necessary for the traveller to leave his seat in the car, as by raising the hand an electric bell knot can be touched which communicates with the buffet and summons one of the attendants.  Passing beyond the buffet, a cosy and handsomely furnished gentlemen's smoking room is found with a rich blend of colours, the prevailing tint being a rich orange.

The heating of the car is entrusted to a Black's heater, which is one of the best on the market, and which is so arranged that a certain temperature can always be obtained. The heater is enclosed in a casing with an asbestos lining.  The two cars are the manufacture of the Pullman Company and are supplied with double windows throughout.  The motion is particularly smooth, the cars are mounted on twelve trucks the wheels of which are made of Allan paper.

On passing from the parlour car the traveller encounters a first class car manufactured in Coburg by Mr. J. Crossen.  Here another fine blending of colours is found, the crimson velvet upholstery, bronze hat racks and mahogany fittings.  The third car on the train is a second class, made by the same manufacturer as the first class and very comfortable.  These two cars and the baggage car are run on Krupp steel wheels, which have been imported direct from Germany for these cars.  The name of the manufacturer of these wheels, which will be recognized as the famous Krupp cannon makers, is sufficient to convince the nervous traveller that on these cars at least there is no fear of a broken wheel.

Among the travellers who took the first journey from Montreal on the new train were Messrs. D.B. Stewart, Montreal Gazette; P.T. Cronan, Montreal Herald and D.A. Poe, Montreal Witness who are loud in their praise of the luxurious travelling afforded by the canada Atlantic Railway's new move.


4 March 1888 - First Train on the Brockville, Westport and Sault Ste. Marie Railway.

On Wednesday 7 March 1888 the Farmersville (Athens) Reporter wrote the following account of the first run between Brockville and Westport which occurred the previous Saturday. Now, how's that? They give you a free ride on their new railway, then make you walk all the way back home!

After years of patient waiting and hoping against hope, the long sought but much delayed train from Brockville to Westport is now an accomplished fact. If the spirit of Allan Turner Esq had been permitted to visit this mundane sphere and could have stood on the station  platform as the train steamed into Farmersville station, he no doubt would have remembered the prophetic words we heard him utter 15 years ago "I may not, and probably shall not live to see a train running between Brockville and Westport but I firmly believe that only a few years will pass before you take your first ride over the road" The railway was completed several days ago, except for the finishing of the iron bridge across the canal at Newboro which was finally completed last week so the railway officials sent out invitation to all reeves, deputy reeves, and several others to take a ride over the line last Saturday, March 3.

Accordingly, an engine drawing a baggage car and a passenger car was sent out from Brockville to Westport last Friday afternoon. On its arrival at the Westport Station, a good percentage of the population was at the station to see it pull in, and cheer upon cheer rang over the winter air. The residences of some of the leading men of the village were decorated with chinese lanterns, those of Reeve Adams, and Rev. D.Y. Ross being the most beautifully illuminated. Unfortunately the wind came up during the night with drifting snow, but it was decided to make the run just the same, and at 7 am, on Saturday morning the whistle blew a warning note that all was ready for the first passenger run.

Boarding the train at Westport were: W.J. Fredenburgh, E.J. Adams, W.J.Webster, H. Lockwood, George Fredenburgh. After a short run of thirty minutes, Newboro was reached where almost the whole village was out to see L.S. Lewis, JU. N. Knowlton, W. Bass, James T. Gallagher, R. Blake, JH. H. Cole, T.W. Preston, J. Webster, and C. English, board the train. Only a short distance had been traversed when the train came to a haltin a snowbank, and all train hands, and some of the passengers had to go to work with shovels, and at frequent intervals for nearly two hours there was a tussle with the snow.

At 10:20 Philipsville was passed and Delta reached at 11:10 where the passenger list was increased by T.K. Scovil, Portland; W. Richardson, Seeley's Bay; J.R. Gargavel, Elgin; and J.E. Brown, W.H. Denaut, S.J. Seaman, D. Brown, And W. Robinson.

A Telegram was sent to Farmersville that the train was coming and would be carrying passengers, and at 12:15, it pulled into the station. Here, the Armstrong House bus and a team and a sleigh carried the passengers down to the hotel, followed by all the small boys of the community and watched by the rest of the population. After a hearty dinner was enjoyed as guests of the railway officials, the party returned to the train, accompanied by J.B. Saunders, W.G. Parish, Tom Berney, S.B. Williams, James Ross, J.C. Hannah, and Bethuel Loverin. From Farmersville to Lyn no drifts were encountered and the train arrived in Lyn at 2:20 where coal and water were taken on, and a quick trip over the GTR soon brought the train to Brockville.

Here a large crowd welcomed the passengers and carriages were waiting to take everyone to the Railway Company offices in the Comstock Block, where they were welcomed by Mr. Hervey who spoke on the building of the railway. He then invited all to be guests of the company at a sumptuous feast at the Revere Hotel. During the banquet, one of the party arose and said that they could not consider putting Mr. Hervey to the expense of returning them to Westport, and as many of the party desired to stay over Sunday in Brockville, they could do so, and the rest could arrange other transportation home. Several in the party were greatly upset, as they thought the train would be taking them home, but although Mr. Hervey offered to do so, his offer was refused by this party who said he had already been too kind. In fairness to Mr. Hervey, we will say that he provided carriages as far as Farmersville for all who cared to travel that far, and from this village, a livery bus was hired to return to their homes. But the rumor went abroad that Mr. Hervey had left the party to get home as best they could.

In speaking to the party from Farmersville, upon their return, they praised the officials most highly for their entertainment and excellent food provided. They spoke of the comfort of the coach, and their enjoyment of the trip.
(Provided by Bob Moore)


8 November 1890 Canada Atlantic Railway

Trial run of rebuilt locomotive No. 15 between Ottawa and Eastmans (Carlsbad Springs)

The Ottawa Journal of Monday 10 November 1890 eported an interesting account of a trial run of a newly rebuilt locomotive the previous Saturday.  Taking out a rebuilt locomotive for a trial was used until the end of steam and the reporter gives a good account.  The return from Eastman's, now Carlsbad Springs was run at an extremely high average speed of 90 miles per hour if we are to believe the reporter.

Locomotive No. "15"
A splendid new engine rebuilt at the C.A.R. Shops.
No more danger of fire from coal stoves when Miss Fifteen is on duty.
The C.A.R. express this morning from Ottawa to Montreal was taken down by a magnificent new engine, which makes its first complete journey today.
The trial trip of the engine was made on Saturday afternoon, the Journal being among those on the locomotive.  The reporter, on arrival at the Elgin Street depot was met by Mr. White, by whom he was introduced to Mr. Ogilvie, locomotive superintendent, Mr. Chase, the driver and Mr. Kane the fireman of the new engine.  The vast mass of powerful machinery was found with steam up standing in the yard, near the mechanical office, whilst around her swarmed a number of mechanical engineers with monkey wrenches, oil cans, etc. putting finishing touches to the new favorite.
In appearance she is the very model of a modern express engine, combining elegance and power, and dispensing with much of the clumsy cumbersomeness of the old fashioned engines.


Mr. Ogilvie informed the Journal that the locomotive was manufactured by the Baldwin Foundry company Philadelphia, but that she had been entirely rebuilt in the C.A.R. workshops here, and had only just been completed.  She is a 17 x 24 cylinder, four wheels coupled and with Eames bracken (sic) driving brake.  She is fitted with full equipment for heating the cars, thereby dispensing with the necessity and danger of stoves. The driver wheels are 5 feet 8½ inches in diameter.  The whole of the work has been done under the direct supervision of Mr. Donaldson.  Her speed is intended to be about fifty miles an hour. She is painted in dark olive green and gold, bearing the description "C.A.R. 15".
The scribe having climbed into the cab found himself in a small glass house, opening at the rear on to the tender.  On either side a seat with windows on three sides, whilst the centre of the front is filled with taps, handles guages (sic) etc.  By the side of the right hand seat are the levers working the propelling and reversing slide valves and the whistle gear.  This is the driver's side.
Steam is up and the heavy mass vibrates.  The order is given to clear out, and having backed gently to the points, the great engine runs slowly, but smoothly into the depot.  Here there are a number of machinists who have been putting the last touches to her.  The signal that the line is clear is given, these men all scramble on board, and a start is made, the engine running backwards.  Heavy vibration stops, the connecting rods and valve links are working smoothly as do the pistons in their cylinder covers.  Slowly at first, but increasing in speed, she passes away from the city, over the Rideau and past Sheppard and Morse's piling ground into the country.  The machinists, apparently, while taking great pride in their latest pet, have still lingering anxieties as to her behaving herself properly, and whilst one seems to be on a sort of a patrol on the side boards wandering out of one window of the cab round by the cow catcher and in at the other window; another keeps vigilant watch on the tell tales of grease or tallow placed on the eccentrics to show whether or not they are heating.


There seems to be reason in some case for these anxieties.  As Mr. Ogilvie put it, on a trial trip an engine may go out but something may happen and you don't know when she will come back.  This one of the workmen illustrated by saying "An engine may run all right one way, but when it comes to the other - ah."
However, Miss 15 is gracious.  She runs without a jar, and having done 12 miles stops at Eastman's.  Immediately she is surrounded by the men and the eccentrics and axle boxes anxiously felt. All serene, no heating as the tallow shows.  A little oil is given here, a touch of grease there, until perfection having been perfected, and a general congratulatory verdict given, she is off again, this time for Ottawa.
The homeward journey is much like the outward except that now the engine heads the other way, and the party see before them as they sit.  Sitting there looking down on to the track, with their two apparently converging shiny lines like broad knitting needles running away into the distance, one can realize how the majority of drivers of passenger engines mostly become silent, grave men and more than ever of the marvel of travelling by rail.


The run from Eastman's tests her speed, the pressure has been carefully brought down to 140, and let her rip.  So she does, easily and gently, running smoothly and answering perfectly.  About three miles from Ottawa she slacks down and lands up in the depot in 8 minutes for 12 miles.
The trial trip party wish each other "good by" and the Journal representative wends his way home, feeling more than ever that Ottawa is to be congratulated on the enterprise and energy shown by the C.A.R.



16 December 1890 Gatineau Valley Railway

The first run over the Gatineau Valley Railway was an inspection of the first ten miles.  The company was anxious to complete this so that they could earn a subsidy.  A CITIZEN reporter also went along and penned the following account which appeared in the following day's paper:

Yesterday the first passenger car passed over the Gatineau Valley Railroad, being a special to conduct the Government engineers on their tour of inspection.  At 9.30 the car containing the party left the C.P.R. depot to take the G.V.R. at the junction of the two roads in Hull.  The party consisted of Mr. H.J. Beemer, president of the G.V.R.; Thomas Ridout, Dominion Government Engineer; Louis A. Vallee, Quebec Government Engineer; W. Dale Harris, Chief Engineer of the road; Guy C. Dunn and H.O. Lowes, section engineers; John Ryan, Superintendent of construction; Ed. Smith, Conductor; Wm. McFall, engine driver, and a CITIZEN reporter.
The new line on leaving the C.P.R. takes a couple of easy curves.  On each side of the line the company have put up barb wire fencing with a board top as extra protection for cattle.  The culverts were visited and critically examined on the 2 mile straight run shortly after leaving the junction and then Ironsides was reached.  Here the company have their first station.  It is three miles from the junction and about 300 yards from the village.  Close to this station are the Gilmour lumber yards and a siding will be made into these.  The next stop was a mile further on where a close inspection was made of a pipe culvert, and 300 yards distant from this was the big steel culvert, a substantial construction 9 feet 2 inches high and 9 feet six inches wide, made of steel rails and banked in with concrete.  Immediately after passing this the long cut, a heavy piece of work which caused no end of anxiety to construction owing to frequent slides.  This cutting is three quarters of a mile long, of an average depth of 15 to 20 feet, through heavy clay.  The work occupied just over one year in completion.  A short diistance on and there is another cutting of about 130 yards in length, of a depth of 150 feet, and then a pipe culvert deep down, which also caused an immensity of labour, the work having to be done twice over owing to slides.  The amount of material and wreck to the track has to be seen to form an idea of the extra amount of labour and trouble they have caused.  To repair this slide gravel had to be brought from a considerable distance, the portions which gave way being sticky clay with a little quicksand running through.  A mile and a half back of this spot are the old Ironsides Iron Mines.  Chelsea station is soon after reached and is six miles from the junction and immediately outside the celebrated


so well known to picnicers.  The Chelsea station house is very neat and commodious and has a large freight shed in connection and comfortable headquarters for the station master.  About a quarter of a mile from this spot the beautiful and picturesque scenery of the Gatineau region begins, on one side a high cutting and below the winding river with a background of wood and majestic mountains, the scenery being such as to touch the heart of an artist.  Following on by the river a splendid view is obtained of the Eaton Chutes and just here is a heavy rock cut of about 7,000 yards (sic).  A couple of miles or so further on and the ten miles to be inspected was completed.  About two and a half miles further on, near Atkinson's tollgate and a stop was made, the line being laid just to that point.  Here a stop was made for lunch and ample justice was done to the lunch baskets provided by Mr. Sam Cassidy, the tour of inspection having proved a good tonic.  After lunch, teams were in waiting and the party took the road to the Peche.  The line is graded along close to the macadamized road, which it crosses a couple of times and runs by the side of the river, at one place considerable filling having been done.  The station


is at the far end of the village and is a neat little structure.  The freight sheds are not yet erected as it is not yet decided what accommodation will be required.  The road is graded to within a mile and a half of the village and surveyed to the Desert.  The bridge at Peche will be alongside the present road bridge and will be of iron on stone buttresses and piles.  The company have neat offices in the village from which point Engineer Dunn is pushing on the work.  The second ten miles of the road has less cutting than the first and is less costly, and from the Peche on little difficulty will be met with to Desert, except at Pickanock, where a bridge of about 125 feet will have to be constructed.  It is expected that the second ten miles of track will be laid early in the New Year.


was accomplished in much faster time, no stops being made, and the party arrived home shortly before 7 o'clock.  The engineers will very shortly hand in their reports to the departments, and although refusing to say anything to the reporters it is believed they could not have been but satisfied with the substantial construction of the new line.

Mr. Alonzo Wright M.P., wrote regretting not being able to be present and the absence of Mr. C.H. Mackintoch was also regretted.


3 March 1893 Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway

First Run Between Ottawa and Arnprior

Inspecting the OA&PS
First passenger coach over the new road.

The Ottawa Evening Journal of 4 March 1893 carried the following account of the first passenger run between Ottawa and Arnprior over J.R. Booth's Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway.  In spite of the optimism of the reporter passenger service did not commence until 18 September becuse fo the wet weather as well as the time it took to complete the bridge over the Madawaska river.  It should be noted that the trip desctibed did not really go as far as Arnprior, it must hav stopped at the site of the yet to be built bridge just to the east of the town.

The first passenger coach over the Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway was run between the capital and Arnprior yesterday.

It was "a special" for inspection purposes and on board were Mr. John R. Booth, Mr. Geo. A. Mountain, chief engineer and other officials of the new line.

Considering that the road is not yet ballasted the "run" was made in splendid style, an average of twenty-five miles an hour being made.  Through the courtesy of chief engineer Mountain the Journal had the courtesy of an enjoyable trip.
The special left the Elgin street station at 8.30 on its flight to the west.  After crossing the trestlework at Preston street a magnificent view is presented to the sightseer.  Away to the north the snow clad Laurentian range looms out in stately grandeur, and the bright sun of yesterday morning made the view doubly charming.


When Bayswater is reached the city can be seen stretching out on all sides with the tall spires and shining roofs reflecting back the sunlight.  At no approach to the city can it be seen at better advantage than from the commanding eminences of Bayswater through which the line runs.


The first point of importance reached is Carp village 10 miles west of Ottawa and by the number of freight cars standing on the siding a stranger would be sure to think the road had been in running order for ever so long.  Here everything is bustle.  The farmers with grain laden sleighs, loading up the cars for passage to the east,  The station grounds at this place, as well as at other points, have been located, and the work of putting up suitable buildings will go on at once.  The road is wire fenced all the way.
Kinburn, eight miles further west, is next reached, and it may be stated that these eight miles are the straightest piece of railroad line in America.  Kinburn is a pretty little village surrounded by a very rich agricultural country, and the evidence of its producing qualities can be seen in the grain shed close to the siding, into which farmers are constantly pouring their grain for shipment.  At this point the bustle witnessed at Carp is repeated only in a greater volume.  As the train sped through there yesterday 19 teams were unloading their cereal binders.


Galetta is the next point of importance reached.  Here the Mississippi is bridged by a magnificent steel truss bridge of the most modern pattern and of great strength.  The iron superstructure rests on two massive stone abutments and an equally massive pair in midstream.  The cutwater of the pier as well as all the masonry is built to resist not only the river currents and freshets but it looks strong enough to successfully resist even the hand of time itself.


Arnprior, an ambitious town of 3,000 inhabitants, was rached a few minutes after ten o'clock.  This bustling little hive is overjoyed at the building of the Parry Sound railway, for they expect, and not without good and sufficient reasons, that the new road will give a boom to everything.  The Journal had a talk with many of the leading citizens and one and all expressed the great satisfaction they all felt at the enterprise of Mr. Booth in giving them an outlet, both convenient and - as compared to rates they have been compelled to pay - cheap.  The chief industry of the town is the great saw mills of the McLaughlin Brothers who employ about 700 men and have an annual output of 83,000,000 feet of lumber.  Arnprior is built on the banks of the Madawaska, has pretty wide streets, substantial buildings and some city-like business houses.  Some two miles from the town are several mineral springs.  Next week work on the new railway bridge spanning the Madawaska will be commenced.  It will be an iron superstructure resting on stonework.


As soon as weather permits ballasting trains will be put on the road, and the ballasting completed at the very earliest moment.  The rails on the road are of Sheffield manufacture, weighing 72 pounds to the yard.  They are the best rail in the market.  When all the ties are laid there will be 3,000 to the mile, some 350 more to the mile than any railway in the Dominion.  The idea of placing additional ties is to solidify the roadbed.


As the road is today, coaches glide smoothly, but when additional ties are placed, and the ballasting completed there will not be a jolt and the road will be capable of bearing a speed of a mile a minute.
When the road is completed to the Sound, and Mr. Booth promises to push it forward with all despatch, it is destined to become a great excursion route, not only for citizens of Canada, but for the people of the eastern States who desire an outing in the wilderness convenient to their homes.  The run between Boston and Parry Sound can be made in twenty-four hours and the Parry Sound country is a Paradise for hunting and fishing and this is not speaking of the country that lies between the Madawaska river and the Sound itself.


Freighting on the new road is very active.  This morning the engine "Nellie Bly" with J. King at the lever, and J. Blythe as assistant took up ten cars of merchandise and four empty boxcars.  The train was in charge of conductor A.O. Boyle with Messrs. Nicholson and Arris as brakesmen.  This as the first through freight to Arnprior although for days past freight has been taken up to points nearer to Ottawa.  Yesteday ten carloads of grain were taken down from Kinburn.  Freight trains will run regularly but no passenger service will be established until the road is ballasted and inspected.


21 December 1895 - Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway
Inspection train along the Rideau Canal and formal opening of the temporary station at Maria Street

Under the headline "City looks it over" the Ottawa Journal described the first passenger train to run alongside the Rideau Canal on Saturday 21 December, 1895.  Full service commenced the following Monday with Mr. J.R. Booth ringing the strting bell for the departure of the 8 o'clock Canada Atlantic train to Montreal.

The railway lines forming an entrance to the Central depot passed under civic imspection today.  The temporary depot at the canal basin was also formally opened.

At the invitation of Mr. J.R. Booth the members of the civic finance committee, the mayor and other members of council went over the lines this morning.  The party drove to the Canada Atlantic Railway in hacks, then boarded a special train which was waiting to convey them over the lines.  The train consisted of a locomotive and two coaches, one of which was Mr. J.R. Booth's official car.  The official car was well filled, the party consisting of Mayor Borthwick. Ald. Greene, chairman of the finance committee, Ald. Stewart, McGuire, Enright, Champagne, Grant, Cooke, Ford and Jamieson, city solicitor McTavish, Mr. J.R. Booth president of the O.A. & P.S. Ry., E.J. Chamberlain, general manager, A.W. Fleck, secretary-treasurer, M. Donaldson, A.J. Jeffrey, proprietor Arnprior Chronicle and a Journal representative.  The train moved slowly over the line to give an opportunity to observe the work closely.  The run into the temporary depot took a quarter of an hour.  Arriving at the temporary depot a large number of citizens were waiting about the platforms.  Among them were noted Mr. Claude McLachlan of Arnprior, vice-president of the O.A. & P.S. Ry., Fred Booth, president of the C.A. Ry., J.A. Seybold, ex-Ald. O'Leary, Oscar McDanell, Wm. J. Hurdman and Joe E. Duval, C.A.R. train despatcher.

On alighting from the train Mr. J.R. Booth handed Mayor Borthwick the key of the building and the temporary depot was formally opened by the mayor.  The building was gone through and its completeness and convenience for the comforts of the public favorably commented upon.

Mayor Borthwich, in a brief speech, complimented Mr. Booth on his enterprise.  Mr. Booth, in his reply, stated  he was pleased to know that his humble efforts had been appreciated.  The citizens had given him valuable help in carrying out this enterprise but Providence had also helped him for the favorable weather this fall he would not have succeeded as well as he did.
Ald. Cook proposed three hearty cheers and a tiger for Mr. Booth and those present cheered so as to make the walls of the station ring.


19 June 1896 Hull Electric Railway Trial Run

The Ottawa Evening Journal of 20 June 1896 records a trial run over the Hull Electric Railway.

Trial trip over the new electric road last evening.

A run from Deschenes to Aylmer and Aylmer to Hull with an inspection of the power house at Deschene - Quick time through verdant fields and along the river bank.
A trial trip over the Hull-Aylmer electric railway was made last evening.

Eight miles by electric railway skirting the west shore of the Ottawa and passing through verdant fields sweet with the smell of clover is a trip that Ottawans will have the pleasure of taking advantage of in a few days when the Hull Electric Railway company open their line from Hull to Aylmer.

Through the kindness of the officials of the road a number of prominent citizens and a representative of The Journal were invited to take the trial trip over the line yesterday evening.

The party consisted of W.J. Conroy, President; Chas. Magee, Vice President; Jas. Gibson, Secretary-treasurer; E. Seybold; T. Viau; A. Fraser; W.A. Clark and Fred Magee, Managing Directors of the line; Rev. J.M. Snowdon; Rev. Mr. Southam, curate of St. George's church; H.B. Spencer, Assistant Superintendent of the CPR; W.B. Scarth, Deputy Minister of Agriculture; H. Balson, Collector of Customs; Mr. Miall, Commissioner of Inland Revenue, and representatives of the city papers.

Leaving the Union depot on the CPR train at 5.05 the party reached Deschene Mills twenty minutes later and there left the train, for it was at this point that the trial run was to begin. Two of the new handsome electric cars which will be used on the line were in waiting to convey the party to the power house situated on the brink of the tossing rapids of Deschene.

The Power House

The power house is a large building built on a solid stone foundation from the solid rock bottom, twenty-two feet in height.  It is fully equipped with powerful dynamos, but they are not yet all in position.  The capacity of the power house machinery is at present 600 horse power, and when completed it will have a capacity of 1,000 horse power.  The power regulator is one of Barber's patent regulators and is unique inasmuch as it regulates the power required on the line automatically.

When the power is not required the regulator discharges itself.  It is one of the most interesting devices known to electricity. After Mr. J.E. Brown, the electrician of the line, had conducted visitors through the building an adjournment was made to the cars to begin the trip from Deschene to Aylmer.  Here a word may be said about the electric cars. They are both pretty and comfortable, strong and substantial, nearly double the length of the ordinary streetcar and capable of seating sixty persons, although as many as two hundred fares have been taken on cars of the same pattern.

On the road

Soon the party were on board, the electric car for Aylmer, three miles distant, the party having been joined by Mr. Storr, manager of the line; Mr. Brown, the electrician; Mr. Hibbard, Superintendent of Construction; Mr. R.W. Kenny and others.  Leaving Deschene the party passed the car sheds of the company which are now nearing completion.  The car shed is a solid stone building 167x67 feet and will be capable of storing sixteen cars.  Aylmer was reached eight minutes after leaving Deschene, and a number of villagers were at the station to welcome the first and long expected car.  Alighting from the car, everybody joined in three hearty cheers and a "tiger" for the Hull-Aylmer electric line.  The company's park fronting on the lake shore above the village was then visited,  The park contains 30 acres and is nicely wooded.  A pavilion of beautiful design, 40x40 in size is being erected there and a merry-go-round was on the ground ready to be put together.  The park is undoubtedly one of the finest in this part of the country.The beach is admirably suited for bathing and is not dangerous as children can wade out three hundred feet in the water.

Half an hour later the party were flying over the line homeward.  Deschenes was reached in seven minutes and the CPR crossing at Hull in seventeen minutes from Aylmer.  Here through the kindness of Mr. H.B. Spencer a train had been kept in waiting and the party was conveyed back to the city.

Will be open soon.
The line is expected to be in full operation by the end of next week.  There will be an official opening in a few days to which many prominent people will be invited.


29 June 1896 First Day of Operation of the Hull Electric Railway

After the trial trip mentioned above, a number of people were carried to Aylmer on 23rd June and the same evening the railway took delivery of the first electric locomotive in Canada.  The locomotive was tested on 26 June and the first day of operation was described in the Ottawa Evening Journal of June 29, 1896.

Cars are running
Electric Railway between Hull and Aylmer opened.

The line is in full operation today and patronized by many passengers - formal transfer by the CPR-the official opening will take place this week.

The electric railway between Hull and Aylmer was opened today and the seven mile stretch of rural lands between the two places echoes with the clanging bell of the swiftly rushing electric car.

The first regular passenger car over the line left Aylmer shortly after half past seven o'clock this morning.  It had a trailer attached to it and about one hundred passengers on board, among them Mr. Conroy, President of the line; J.W. McRae, President Ottawa Electric Railway; H.D. Spencer, Assistant Superintendent, CPR; J.D. Fraser, secretary-treasurer of the Ottawa Electric Railway; B. Batson, Collector of Customs; Ed. Miall, commissioner of Inland Revenue; W.B. Scarth, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and R.H. Haycock.

The run was made in less than 25 minutes and the CPR station at Hull reached in time to make connections with the 8.30 train for Montreal.  The cars for the present will run to Eddy's Corner.

The formal transfer

Mr. C.W. Spencer, General Superintendent of the CPR arrived on the noon local from Montreal and made the formal transfer of the CPR line from Hull to Aylmer, over which the cars run, to the Hull Electric Railway.  The CPR are reducing all commutation tickets for Aylmer but on and after July 1st the electric company will issue their own tickets.

The company will in a few days issue a full timetable for distribution announcing the connection with all CPR passenger trains at Hull. The official opening of the line will take place in a few days and will be celebrated in grand style.


30 June 1896 - Opening of the Cornwall Street Railway Light and Power

The Ottawa Evening Journal of 2 July 1896 reports the opening of the Cornwall Street Railway on 30 June:
Cornwall July 1.  The Cornwall Electric Street Railway is now an accomplished fact and the members of the town council and a large party of prominent citizens were carried over five miles of track yesterday in handsome trolley cars run by electricity.  Work was commenced on the building of the railway in April.  A large force of men were employed and the track laid on a good solid bed of macadam from the GTR station down Pitt Street to Water Street and thence east to the St. Lawrence Park on Gillespie Point, with a Belt Line which takes in Marlboro' and Second Streets.  The western line to the Toronto Paper Company's Mills and the branches to the textile mills have not yet been completed.  The rails used are of the regulation railroad weight as it is intended to haul GTR and other freight cars by electric locomotives direct to the mills and other places instead of transhipping their contents at the Depot as has been done in the past.

The St. Lawrence Park, which the Street Railway Company have purchased and laid out on Gillespie's Point, east of the town is a very pretty pleasure resort fitted up gaily with a large dancing pavilion, merry-go-round, boat houses, swings, etc.  The electric cars will run to the water's edge in the park and a wharf for the accommodation of large river steamers is being constructed.  The park was formally opened yesterday.

The Company have a large and well equipped power house on Water Street.  Their plant is all of the latest design. the machinery being made in Peterborough and the cars In Deseronto, Ont.  They will doubtless do good business in Cornwall.


19 May 1898 - Montreal and Ottawa Short Line Inspection Train

The Canadian Pacific Railway short line between Montreal and Ottawa was opened to the public on 5 September 1898.  On May 19 there was an inspection trip over the line which included an Ottawa Journal reporter.  The line was not opened until late summer because of the need to complete the Rideau River bridge, to finish the ballasting on the new line and to make arrangements with the Canada Atlantic Railway to use Central Depot.  This is the description of the first trip over the line.  It is a somewhat lengthy account but it gives some idea of the way in which people thought about the railways in those times.

First train over the Montreal Ottawa short line.
New Road inspected by the company’s officials yesterday.
Traffic to begin in July.
The line described.

The first train over the new CPR short line between Ottawa and Montreal left the Union Depot yesterday at 1.10 p.m., with General manager Thos. Tait and seven passengers on board.  Mr. Tait was on a tour of inspection.
The road will be opened for traffic in July, and then passenger trains running at a speed of between fifty and sixty miles an hour will be put on to cover the 111 miles between Ottawa and Montreal.
When the bridge at Hurdman's is completed trains will be able to run.  The bridge will be finished within four weeks.
Mr. Tait was accompanied by Mr. C.W. Spencer, general superintendent of the eastern lines; Mr. H.B. Spencer, superintendent of the eastern division who will have the new line under his superintendency; Mr. R.W. Leonard, construction engineer; Mr. D. Mc Pherson, eastern division engineer; Mr. John Morrow, right of way agent for the M and O railway; Mr. T. Oullen, Mr. Tait's private secretary and a Journal representative.
The train was manned by conductor J.A. Hibbard, engineer J. Ryan, Fireman Jos. Gilchrist, brakesmen Robt. Dawson and J. Dupont and superintendent of construction, Mr. J,B. O'Brien all of Ottawa.  Chef Wm. Dewfall, of the private car Earnscliffe attended to the refreshments.
Engine 385, an excellent speeder, first class coach 157 and Mr. Tait's private car "Earnscliffe" composed the train and it will be remembered as the first passenger train over the line that will be of great importance to Ottawa.
Leaving the Union Depot the Prescott line was followed to its junction with the old St. Lawrence and Ottawa railway.  Passing over a short curve, hardly completed, the train was soon on the new line.

To examine the work

The purpose of the trip was to give Mr. Tait an opportunity of examining the new work,  The new line is regarded as Mr. Tait's line owing to the attention and care he has given it and because, under his personal direction, the work has been thoroughly done that it will be one of the finest roads in Canada.  Mr. Leonard acted under the direction of Mr. Tait entirely.
The general features of the road are the excellent heavy steel rails used, the excellent switching system, the thorough method of ballasting and the finished manner in which everything has been done.  The road has been designed for speed and although the roadbed was not finished yesterday in places, the train ran at 35 and 40 miles an hour. Beyond Plantagnet, from which place to Montreal the line is completed, the train whizzed along at a mile a minute yet the shaking of the train was slight.  Other notable features about the line are the long sloping curves - in the few places they are necessary, the straightness of the line and the few grades.  The sharpest curve is but one degree, the highest grade is forty feet to the mile.
The rails used are 73 and 80 pound rails, the heavier rails being used in the eastern section of the road.  A most important feature and one that will make it easier for trains to run swiftly is that the main line, when completed, will be unbroken between Montreal and Ottawa.  The old system of switches has been supplanted by the MacPherson system invented by Mr. D. MacPherson of Montreal, who accompanied Mr. Tait yesterday.

Set automatically

The railway switch and frog are combined in such a way that setting one automatically sets the others, and if, through mistake or malice, left set wrongly, a train passing through in either direction would not be derailed.  The device is based on the common sense principle, that switches and frogs being the most expensive and least durable points in track should not have any of their parts subject to the destructive and useless wear of trains passing on the main tracks; but that their parts should only be touched by trains going into or coming out of sidings,  When the switch is set for the main line clear, all parts of the switch and frog are well clear of the main track rails, which latter are fully spiked, and absolutely as continuous and firm as if no frog were there.  The device has been in use three winters on the C.P.R. main track and has worked successfully.  Mr. MacPherson's switch has been adopted by Dr. Seward Webb on the St. Lawrence and Adirondack division of the New York Central railway.

The start

When the start was made yesterday dark clouds covered the sky and rain seemed imminent.  During the afternoon the clouds passed away and when the train reached Montreal the air was fine.
The piers of the new bridge over the Rideau River were first inspected.  The bridge is high and finely constructed, and will be completed within four weeks.  At 2.05 p.m. Mr. Tait gave the word to start and the order was "The best speed consistent with safety".  At Green's Creek - five miles out - the new stone bridge was inspected.  It is a three arch structure and nicely finished.  The first station reached was Blackburn, a flag station, but no stop was made.  The country is a lovely one, and the recent rains had brought the foliage and grass in all their fresh and verdant beauty.
The farm crossings along the line are splendidly finished: and the fences were all Page woven wire.  The stations are all neatly constructed and are painted a pretty brown shade.


Past Blackburn the speed was only about 25 miles an hour owing to the inspection.  The run through Mer Bleu to Navan is most picturesque and the azure haze about the shrubbery of the low land was quite noticeable.
The trip was not without incident.  At Navan a bay horse standing near the track became frightened and after falling then rising dashed along the side of the track after the train.  The buggy collided with a switch and was smashed to pieces and the frightened animal swerved towards the field where a fence soon stopped it.
Leaving Navan a slight grade was ascended and at a speed of 35 miles an hour the train ran through a charming country to Leonard - a station called after Engineer Leonard.  The station is half way between Sarsfield and Bearbrook and in the centre of Cumberland township.The township hall will be erected there and a townsite laid out.  The C.P.R. Company owns 300 acres of good land, which will be divided into town lots.  Water is secured from the Bear brook, 6,000 feet away, and a 40,000 gallon tank has been erected at Leonard.  Three ballasting trains and large gangs of men were busy at this point.  At all stations a crossing siding amd a local siding have been constructed.
Just out of Leonard the C.P.R. owns 260 acres of gravel land.  A large steam shovel was at work yesterday getting out gravel.

Crosses the C.A.R. branch.

The country past Leonard is rolling and 40 miles an hour was obtained.  The road is flanked with bush.  Through Mr. W.C. Edwards' beautiful farm the company was given free right of way.  At Hammond - the village wiped out by fire last fall, but springing up again - the road crossed the C.A.R. Rockland branch - eight miles from Rockland.  The run through Clarence township - a great hay country - was fine.  The south side is well settled, and an air of prosperity is noticeable about the homes of the farmers.
At The Brook, four miles from Hammond flag station, large quantities of hardwood are ready for shipment, and the company has plenty of land for the accommdation of shippers.
The station at The Brook is a specimen of the neat buildings that the company has erected.  The station is combined with a freight shed and dwelling.  The exterior is painted a pretty brown shade, while the interior is finished in light colours.  Hardwood floors and red pine wainscotting have been put in.  The waiting and sleeping rooms are airy and comfortable looking, and every convenience has been put in for the agent.  A new hotel is being erected at The Brook and the saline and mineral springs in the district will doubtless attract many visitors.
Plantagenet and Caledonia Springs have been made very accessible from the west and Montreal by the new road.
Cobb's Lake - a natural basin - is just past The Brook.  Piles sixty feet long had to be driven in before a suitable basis could be reached.  During the spring freshets the water rises in the basin about ten feet.  It connects with the Nation River.

At Pendleton

Pendleton, some six miles from The Brook, is in the centre of some excellent farming country. The scenery is picturesque, and the land finely wooded.  The line passes through a fine bush just outside of Pendleton.  At Pendleton the C.P.R. transcontinental copper wire was noticed.  This wire is being stretched in an unbroken line from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the work of stretching it is going on at many points.  Six hundred miles have been stretched east of Port Arthur.  Four operators at each end will be able to send messages over it at the same time.
A fine view of Curran village is obtained at Pendleton.

Promise of Plantagenet

Plantagenet is expected to be the most progressive town of the district.  It is the end of the operating line between Montreal and Ottawa.  At Plantagenet the Journal man was introduced to Mr. William Rodden, "father of the Montreal short line" so called for his advocacy of the line.  Mr. Rodden treated the party to some delicious saline water from his spring.  A roller, grist and flour mill and a saw mill have been built at this point.  Several steam boats ply between Plantagenet and Casselman, 24 miles up the beautiful Nation River.  A town site has been laid out, a wharf erected, and with excellent saline and suplphur waters, the place should be a thriving town before long.  A splendid steel bridge with four piers, each 100 feet long, has been erected over the Nation River.  The masonry is all blue limestone.  The pleasant drives, splendid hotel sites and suitable grounds for golf links will no doubt add to the attractiveness of the village.
From Pendleton to Alfred the road passes through a famous agricultural country.  Alfred village could be seen in the distance.  A stop was not made at Caledonia Springs and the train sped on at a rate of over fifty miles an hour.

At Vankleek Hill

At Vankleek Hill the C.A.R. is crossed and at this point the interlocking plant is used, which permits the trains to cross without stopping.  The signals are so arranged that accidents are practically impossible. East of St. Eugene, 40 miles from Montreal, the train's speed was 59 miles an hour.  All along an air of prosperity was noticeable and new buildings are being erected at many points.
From a tourists standpoint the beauty of the line is all that could be desired.  A splendid farming country, finely wooded, with beautiful rivers along the way and picturesque hills, give great delight to the traveller.

A lovely sight

At Rigaud Mountain, with its shrine, the scenery was all that could be desired, but on past Fortune Beach, to Hudson Heights, with Oka mountain in the distance and the beautiful Ottawa lying in between, the scene grew more attractive until St. Anne's was reached at sunset, and all were captivated with the glory of the setting sun. The beautiful sky baffled description, but the creamy tints of the opal tinged with pink, all softly toned, convey a faint idea of the beauty.  As the sun sank lower towards the horizon it seemed to grow larger and the rays lighting up the sky tipped the fleecy clouds with light, creating the effect like the white capped waves of the ocean. One could understand Thomas Moore's inspiration of the beauty of the river at St. Annes.  Como, Lake of two Mountains and Lake St. Louis are all beautiful sights.  From Plantagenet to Montreal the scenery is perfect.
Owing to several unavoidable delays the train did not reach Montreal until about 7.40 o'clock.  At points the speed was 60 miles an hour.  Approaching Montreal the automatic normal danger electric block system was observed, and impressed one with the thoroughness of the equipment of the C.P.R.

Fast time to be made

The regular train service on the new line will commence in July.  The speed to be obtained can be guaged (sic) from that of yesterday's train.
The distance is 111 miles, and will probably be covered at a speed of between 50 and 60 miles an hour. The road has been built for speed, and Mr. Tait assured the Journal that the trains will be fast ones.  It is expected the run will be made in a little over two hours.
The trip yesterday was thoroughly enjoyable, and the kindness of the officials made it doubly delightful.  Refreshments were served on the "Earnescliffe".  The return trip to Ottawa was made over the north shore line by the "Soo" train due here at 1 a.m.


29 July 1898 - First day of operation of the Ottawa and New York Railway

The following is an account of the first day of operation of the railway between Cornwall and Ottawa which appeared in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder.  The original has been difficult to track down but thanks to Chris Granger we have found the following account which also appeared in "Down the Lane" for the same paper on 31 July 1939.  It has been abridged somewhat to reduce the length.

The first train to Ottawa left Cornwall at 7.45 o’clock this morning, July 29, with conductor Silas Brown in charge and engineer Ed. Leboeuf at the throttle. A train also left Ottawa at 6.30 o’clock, with Joseph Bombard as conductor and Albert Murray as engineer.

The trip over the O.& N.Y. proved a pleasant experience. The street cars take people to the station and, after crossing the G.T.R. at Cornwall Junction, the train hits a lively clip. The view of the country was somewhat confusing, cutting through farms and seeing mostly the backs of farm houses, where the entire family gathered to see the unusual and unfamiliar sight of trains passing. The Cornwall Centre cheese factory was passed a few minutes after leaving the G.T.R., after which the train passes through the big cut at the Post Road and stops at Black River and then on to Newington and Finch. The long promised connection with the [ ? ] country is at last an accomplishment, and there are to be no more nightmares of drives of long hours’ duration through snowdrifts and muddy roads to Newington and Finch. We instinctively uncover our heads to the gentlemen whose enterprise has made the quick trip possible and to the memory of the late Dr. Bergin, whose dreams were realized only after he himself had passed away.

At Finch, the O.& N.Y. crosses the Canadian Pacific Railway, a joint agent, Mr. Cease, looking after the interests of both companies. Here is installed a fine interlocking switch plant; a large tank holding 50,000 gallons and drawing its supply from the Payne River by means of an automatic gasoline engine of three horsepower. This tank and a similar one at Russell are under the charge of J.R. Simpson.

In a few minutes the train reached Berwick and a little later it arrived at Crysler, where the Nation river is spanned by a handsome iron bridge. At Embrun, the spire of a beautiful church is seen through the trees. A little to the west is the village of St. Onge. The Castor river, a black looking, sluggish stream, is crossed by a deck bridge. On the Mackie place, a little west of the track near Embrun, is seen a veritable curiosity in the shape of a huge boulder, weighing many tons, resting on another boulder, and so nicely balanced that a child can rock it.

Russell, three miles north, is a prettily-situated village with good buildings and an excellent fair ground and race track alongside the railway.

At Edwards, seven miles nearer Ottawa, there will be a flag station only. The people of Piperville, so it is said, opposed the railway and were anxious that no station should be located near them; now they would give a great deal for the accommodation.

At Hawthorne Junction, five miles from Ottawa, the O. & N.Y. crosses the Canada Atlantic Railway and runs for some distance alongside the newly-built track of the C.P.R. and a couple of miles out switches on to the old track of the Prescott road and into the Sussex street station. This is only a temporary arrangement. As soon as the O. & N.Y. and the C.P.R. can bring J.R. Booth, of the Canada Atlantic, to terms, they will run into the Central Station, just east of the Russell, where a handsome union terminus is to be built.

As one journeys over the 56 miles between Cornwall and Ottawa, the view from the car window is that of as fine farming country as there is in Canada. From Finch north, west and south, stretches the great prairie, no hill lifting itself above the dead level as far as the eye can reach. We knew Finch farmers and farms, but were unprepared for the appearance of the country further to the north, which is well cleared and cultivated and furnished with livestock galore. Compared with the section traversed by the Canada Atlantic, only a few miles to the eastward, the difference is surprising.

The road is well fenced and at every crossing whether the highway is opened or not, is a sign in the shape of St. Andrew’s cross, with the words "Railway Crossing" in large black letters.

The trains are running strictly on time and are carrying a good number of passengers for a newly-opened road, as well as considerable freight.

The general offices of the company are pleasantly situated at the Carleton Chambers, Ottawa, on Sparks Street, a short distance above the Russell.

All in all, the new railway trip from Cornwall to Ottawa and return was a delight and the road is sure to fill a longfelt want and be popular with the people of the district.


5 September 1898 - Ottawa and New York Railway

First Excursion and Blessing of the Railway at Embrun
The Ottawa Evening Journal of 6 September 1898 reported the first excursion over this line between Ottawa and Cornwall as follows:
The I.O.G.T. excursion to Cornwall and the public blessing of the O.&N.Y. line at Embrun yesterday attracted five hundred Ottawans.  About half went right through to Cornwall and spent six hours on the river front.  They visited the N.Y. & O. bridge across the St. Lawrence and were able to gain an idea of the size and importance of the structure.  They spent a pleasant day and returned to the city about 8 o'clock last evening.

About half of the excursionists stopped off at Embrun and attended the blessing of the railway by His Grace Archbishop Duhamel.

The Journal, in another report, gives an account of a possibly unique event for a railway in Ontario when it was blessed by an Archbishop at Embrun:

The railway was blessed.
Archbishop Duhamel assisted by a large number of clergy conducted it.  Embrun en fete.

The unique ceremony of blessing a railway took place yesterday at Embrun for the first time in Ontario.  The railway blessed was the Ottawa and New York line.  The affair was carried out with great eclat by the people of Embrun.

About 200 people went to Embrun from Ottawa in the morning.  Archibshop Duhamel, the members of the clergy and the invited guests occupied a special car.  On the arrival of the train at Embrun at 10.00 a.m. the Ottawa people were met by a large crowd.  Not only were the majority of the residents of Embrun present, but many people from neighbouring parishes. As soon as the stop was made, Archbishop Duhamel, arrayed in cope and mitre, spoke a few words in English and in French to explain the blessing he was to perform.  He then blessed the railway by singing special prayers and sprinkling holy water.  During the course of the ceremony many of the clergy were on hand, and Mr. C.B. Hibbard, president of the railway, attended in his official capacity.  At the close of the official function the Archbishop called for three cheers for Mr. Hibbard, and they were given by all with a right good will. Cheers were also given for the archbishop and the Rev. Father Forget, parish priest of Embrun.

At the church
Next the clergy and Mr. Hibbard took carriages and followed by the people in procession went to the Embrun church.  There solemn high mass was sung by Rev. Father Lambert, O.M.I. of Ottawa University, assisted by Rev. Father Larose, parish priest of "The Brooks", and Rev. Father Bourget, parish priest of St. Regis.  His Grace, who was at the throne with cope and mitre and the other sacred vestments, was attended by Rev. Vicar General Routhier.  Seats in the sanctuary were occupied by Rev. Father Dezaulnac of Cornwall, Rev. Fathers Alexis and Mois, Capuchins of Ottawa.  In the lower part of the sanctuary were seated Mr. Hibbard, Mr. Hebert of Montreal, representative of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Mr. O. Guibord M.P.P., Ald. O. Durocher, Mr. N. Tetreau of Hull, ex-M.P.P. and Dr. Duhamel of Hull, registrar of Ottawa county.  The body of the church and both galleries were crowded with the congregation.  A musical mass was given by the members of the choir under the direction of Rev. Father Forget who presided at the organ.

The sermon

A sermon was delivered in French by Rev. Father Alexis.  The preacher answered the charge oftentimes made against the Roman Catholic church that she is opposed to material progress.  He cited proofs from the history of the church, enumerated what she had done towards the abolition of slavery and for liberty, equality, fraternity, and civilization in general.  He spoke in particular of the Catholic Church in Ontario.  He closed his sermon by exorting his hearers to strive not only for material progress, which may be of great use even in the spiritual order, but above all to work for their own individual, spiritual, moral progress, and for that of humanity, because our last end in this world in perfect happiness with God in heaven.
The sermon in English which was to have been given by Rev. Dr. Fallon was not delivered owing to Dr. Fallon's unavoidable absence.
After mass all directed their steps towards Lussier's Grove, a short distance from the village, where tables were spread for 500 people. No less than 1,800 meals were given on the grounds.

The sports

Among the sports was a lacrosse match between teams from Duncanville and Cornwall.  There was a contest for the most popular of three married ladies, and for the most popular of three young ladies and on this $800 were realized.  The money will go towards paying off the debt on the church.  The Union Band of Ottawa rendered music during the day.  Mr. C.B. Hibbard, president of the Ottawa and New York Railway Co., showed the greatest kindness to the archbishop, the members of the clergy and all the excursionists, and was thanked sincerely for this generosity. The archbishop and his party returned home by special train yesterday afternoon.


13 January 1900 - Ottawa Electric Railway - first trip on the Britannia line

Public service on the Britannia line commenced on 21st May 1900.  On Monday 15th January the Ottawa Journal reported as follows:

Ottawa to Britannia in an electric car in 25 minutes.

On Saturday, Mr. T. Ahearn, superintendent Hutcheson, Mr. A.A. Dion and a Journal reporter made a trial run over the new subsurban line.

The track is laid all the way to the village but the trolley wire has only been strung to a point about half a mile this side - just where the tracks cross Richmond Road.  It was to that point that the run was made,  From the corner of Bank and Sparks Street to the stopping place the trip occupied 21 minutes.  Mr. Hurcheson estimated it would take about four minutes to cover the other mile.  Therefore the trip from the city to Britannia village could be put down at 25 minutes.

When the line is in operation it probably will not take as much as 25 minutes, because in the first place the big cars now being built for the service will be more speedy than the one used last Saturday, and in the second place the track will be ballasted which at present it is not.

Probably just at the present time, when shovelling coal into the furnace is the popular recreation, mention of the cool breezes the new line will make possible to sweltering humainty, may not appear quite timely.  But the winter is bound to pass, and the hot spells will come again, and then - then the new road will cime in for practical discussion.

The new line.

The new line has been laid in pleasant places.  Almost all the way the Ottawa River is in sight.  The line leaves the city tracks about 200 yards up the spur that runs into Victoria Park.  The line runs close to the south side of Richmond Road all the way except for the mile from where it crosses the road till Britannia is reached.

Up to the point where the line crosses the Richmond Road, the run, for a distance of about three miles is through a very picturesque section.  There are a number of long grades (and several sharp ones) that give the route a rolling appearance and add zest to the downward runs, for pleasure seeking humanity always likes a spice of danger with its bit of fun. A flying car on a down grade on a hot day is a thing of joy to most people - so long as they feel the cjance of accident are only 1 in 1,000.

As to Rails and Cars

Of danger, however, there is not likely to be the one part in 1,000.  The rails are extra heavy, 72 pounds to the yard, and the cars will be big 50 foot fellows,  On Saturday though the road was not graded, and the car used was only a 38 footer, and one used for late night service from the CPR station, the motion was delightfuly even.  When the road is put in proper shape and the regular cars are on, the travelling should be a pleasure.  The cars being built for the line, will be provided with what is known as swing motion trucks - trucks which prevent the car from feeling the sideward jars and thus make progress so much more steady.  The cars will be built much like regular railroad cars.  They will be handsomely upholstered and finished in oak.
A feature of the road is the straightness of the trolley poles. There are 350 of them set 80 feet apart.  They will be painted white.

A chance for capital.

In connection with the opening of the new road a suggestion may be offered for idle capital.  Now that electric cars are about to connect Britannia with Ottawa with a frequent service, low rates and stops at way points, there will likely be a demand for summer residences all along the route as has been the case around Montreal.

Between Hintonburg and Britannia there are many lovely spots overlooking the Ottawa River.  The land is high and dry and at many points there are clumps of woods.  Beyind Westboro (Skeads Mills) there are many desirable spots.

Some time ago, a director of the electric railway, at a board meeting suggested that the company should invest in land and erect a number of cottages for renting.  The idea was considered an excellent one, but it was decided to leave such matters to private capital and enterprise. Capital and enterprise therefore have the floor.  It is lot likely the hint will go astray.

Special and local

It is the intention of the company to run two sorts of cars "through" and "local".  The first as the name implies will run to Britannia without stops,  The other will be for the use of the suburbanites.


27 January 1900 - Ottawa Electric Railway - first through trip to Britannia

This article appears in the Ottawa Car Company Scrapbook #3 on microfilm at the Ottawa City Archives. It is a clipping pasted in the scrapbook with "Journal 29th Jan. 1900" written in longhand above it. However, it may have appeared in another Ottawa newspaper as a search of the Journal and the Citizen for this date came up blank.

A  Run Out to Britannia On An Electric Car Last Saturday

When Britannia is a part of Ottawa, - one of the greatest cities on the route of the Georgian Bay Ship Canal- It will be pleasant for those who went by the electric route to Britannia on Saturday to remember that they were the first persons to make the through trip over the new electric line.

The first through car left the post office at 3 o'clock Saturday afternoon and made the trip to Britannia on the Bay, remained there long enough to be photographed and was back at the starting point by 4.20 o'clock.

Supt. J.E. Hutcheson was at the motor, while on board were Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Lynch, Messers Warren Y.Soper, H.B. Spencer, C.A. Douglas, Dr Klotz, N.C.Sparks, D.R. Street, D.D.Y.Hossack,  Geo. French, Wm. Rowatt, J.D. Fraser, John Murphy, Dr. M.G. McElhinney, R.A. Bradley, J.P.Fisher, A.A. Dion, M.O'Donnell, Mills and Inspector Ingram.

The line will not be open for regular traffic until the spring, but it will be in thorough condition before the day of opening. Considerable increase in the population of Britannia is expected to follow the opening of the electric line to the village on Britannia Bay.

This item provided by Dave Knowles.


22 April 1901 - Interprovincial Bridge between Ottawa and Hull

See the Interprovincial Bridge.



25 July 1901 - First Street Car over the Interprovincial Bridge between Ottawa and Hull

From the Ottawa Citizen 25 July 1901.
At 0820 last evening Mayor Morris gave the word and the first electric car on the through line between Ottawa and Aylmer via the Interprovincial Bridge started on its way.  The first turn of the wheels, the first note in the song of the trolley marked an epoch in the history of Ottawa as a railway centre …George McConnell was the motorman in charge of the car
(Provided by David Jeanes)
However the Ottawa Journal had a more comprehensive account of the occasion. The reference to the Mayor and D'Arcy Scott is interesting.  Mr. Scott was Canadian Pacific, Legal Council at the time and the mayor had recently put two of his railway clients in jail over a contentious crossing issue.  D'Arcy Scott went on to become mayor of Ottawa and a Commissioner of the Bpard of Railway Commissioners.

First Run to Aylmer.
The New Service Inaugurated Yesterday
A Merry party Taken from New Ottawa Terminus over Interprovincial Bridge

A jolly party went out to Aylmer yesterday evening as the guests of Mr. H.J. Beemer and his officials on the first car of the Hull Electric Company to carry a load of passengers over the Interprovincial Bridge.  The car left Dufferin Bridge at 8.15 arriving at Queen's Park Aylmer about 9.06, the trip being made in 40 minutes; this time , however, will probably be reduced as there was no attempt at making a record.  Those on board the car were: Mayor Morris, Messrs. H.J. Beemerm P.W. Resseman, general superintendent, Ottawa Northern and Western and Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railways; Guy C. Dunn, chief engineer; Thos. Heeney, paymaster; J. Hoolihan, superintendent of construction; Ald. Desjardins; Ald. Hopewell; Ald. Champagne; Ald. Hill; Ald. Hayley; Ald. Storey; Ald. Stroud; Ald. Ellis; Ald. Askwith; Ald. Jas. Davidson; Ald. Enright; W.R. Taylor, secretary-treasurer, Hull Electric Co.; J.M. Lvoie; D.K. Baille; E.A. Olver; Geo. Lizotte; G.F. McDonald; Ald. Grant; ex-Ald. Butler; A.E. Bradbury; E. Miles; Rev. J.F. Gorman; Geo. Funcan; ex-Ald. D'Arcy Scott; Francis Loyer; P. Drapeau; O.A. Boucher, St. John, Que. and representatives of the city press.  The car was in charge of Motorman Geo. McConnell and Conductor Wm. Latimer.

After reaching the park a visit was made to the new club-house of the Victoria Yacht Club.  This handsome structure was greatly admired.  Boarding the car again, the party returned as far as Hotel Victoria where they all registered, headed by His Worship Mayor Morris.

The return trip was a merry one.  Some one called on the mayor for a song, but His Worship could not be induced to sing.  Someone in the back of the car shouted, "We'll have a duet by the Mayor and D'Arcy Scott," this seemed to catch the crowd and the uproar was deafening.  An attempt was made to produce a song from several of the Aldermen but the efforts were in vain.  The Rev. Mr. Gorman was finally induced to sing.  He received a vigorous applause.  Various choruses were heartily joined in by all, in which the sonorous voice of Ald. Champagne predominated.  When the middle of the Inteprovincial bridge was reached the car was stopped, and Ald. Davidson announced that it would be a fitting occasion for a speech from Mr. Beemer, whose name had become famous in the erection of this great structure.  It took some persuasion to get Mr. Beemer to his feet, but he finally got up and said, "Gentlemen, what do you want me to do; jump off the bridge? (laughter) Well, I'll make a speech.  Give us more light on this bridge."  The speech as brief, but as the city was so well represented, it seemed to be directly to the point.

Mayor Morris then spoke briefly.  He said he was delighted to have had the honour to be a guest on this occasion. and extended his thanks to Mr. Beemer and his officials, and also to the Hull Electric Co.  He commended them for their enterprise and said that they had done much towards the advancement of the city's interest.  Ald. Champagne followed in a similar strain, and said he would heartily support any efforts mde by the city council towards having the bridge properly lighted, as it was undoubtedly a great boon to Ottawa and a credit to those who had erected it.

After three cheers for Mr. Beemer had been given, the National Anthem was sung, and the car proceeded on its way, arriving in the city about 11.15.


2 December 1901 - First trip between Waltham and Ottawa over the Interprovincial Bridge

The Ottawa Citizen of 3 December 1901 recorded the first run of the Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway into Ottawa.  The company was run in close collaboration with the Ottawa, Northern and Western Raylway which had commenced running over the Interprovincial Bridge into Ottawa on April 22 the same year.  The PPJ had built westwards from Aylmer but the Hull Electric acquired its access to Hull and so the PPJ was forced to build its own line alongside the electric lines.  The Citizen account is the most complete although the Journal mentions that  "Souvenir badges were issued to all on board the train this morning."
Through passenger and freight service was instituted on the Pontiac and Pacific Junction branch of the Ottawa, Northern and Western Railway yesterday.  The first passenger train, which left Waltham at 6 o'clock, arrived at Central Station at 9.15.  The distance, 82 miles, was covered in three hours and fifteen minutes, considered good running on a roadbed just completed in places.  The train, which consisted of engine, baggage car and four coaches, was in charge of Joseph Murray, engineer, and S.R. Kenny, conductor.  The train was well patronized.  Amongst those on board were Hon. Geo. Bryson, Coulonge; S.A. Smith, David Gillies, J.T. Patterson, Campbell's Bay; H.S. Dowd, Quyon and Mr. Leggo, Shawville.  A number of the railway officials boarded the train at Aylmer, having made the trip from Ottawa on the first through freight which left the city at 7 o'clock.  In the party were Mr. Resseman, general superintendent; Guy C. Dunn, chief engineer, F.W, Martin, train despatcher; J.B. Brennan, roadmaster and Mr. Jordan, agent of the Hull Electric Company.  In the bagage car were 26 deer shot in the Coulonge district by Montreal hunters.  They were transshipped in Hull for that city.  A passenger service is to be maintained daily except Sunday, the train leaving the Central depot at 5.30 p.m. No freight will be carried on this train.  A freight train will leave Ottawa every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 7 o'clock, thus making three round trips a week.



A Trip to Queens Park on the Open Streetcar.

This Flashback by Claire Mitchell appeared in the Ottawa Journal for August 3, 1968

"Taking the street car" in Ottawa in the year 1910 was not a daily habit with us. It was only on special occasions that we could enjoy this luxury and the trip to Queen's Park was such an occasion.

Queen's Park, or Victoria Park as it was sometimes called, was situated on the Ottawa River a few miles west of Aylmer, Que., and was, for many years, an exciting place to go for a day's outing with the family.

Besides the zoo — which consisted of a huge black bear, a deer and fawn, a fox, raccoons and ducks and geese —there was a picnic area in a picturesque grove, a “shoot-the-chute" ride at the pier, where in a wooden boat one was catapulted down the slide out onto the Ottawa River and by means of pulleys was drawn back to the starting point; a laughing house of distorting mirrors; a merry-go-round and a roller skating rink. Music for the merry-go-round and rink was supplied by a steam driven calliope.

There was a bathing house with about 20 cubicles for those who wanted to go swimming. Though the shoreline was stoney, many hardy ones took advantage of the cool water. Bathing costumes in those days, especially for women, were not conducive to vigorous swimming, nor to sunbathing, since the body was covered from neck to toes, with stockings meeting the voluminous bloomers just below the knee.

In the late twenties, Queen's Park was forced to close due to the popularity of the automobile which gave people greater mobility for-travelling to more distant places.
But as a child in the early 1900's, the street car was the only means of transportation for most people, and the only way to get to Queen's Park.

* *.*

It was on a beautiful midsummer morning in 1910 with the sun a burnished orange in the sky giving promise of a hot day, that we waited impatiently for the streetcar. Finally it thundered toward us and stopped with a clamor of screeching and hissing brakes.

We were hurried out into the road and clambered up to the wooden seats running across the width of the car facing the front, and we had begun our two great adventures — a trip on the open electric street car and a visit to the zoo.

The conductor, who walked along a narrow running-board platform the length of the car, waited until everyone was seated, then pulled a cord above him which made a tinkling sound at the front where the motorman stood doing strange things with a large handle in front of him and with a "clang, clanging" noise we were on our way. He turned the handle round and round, back and forth, to regulate the speed of the car.

* * *

We watched fascinated as the conductor walked along his narrow platform, swaying to the movement of the car, holding on to poles at the end of each row of seats. He held out a metal box to each passenger and a nickle was pushed into a slot at the top, falling with a little clink to the bottom.

Arriving at Major's Hill Park, where the Chateau Laurier was under construction, opening two years later in April, 1912, we descended a long flight of wooden stairs, which led down to the Hull Electric Railway terminus on the same level of the railway tracks.

We then proceeded via the Royal Alexandra (Inter-provincial) Bridge, through Hull and westward beside the CPR tracks to Queen's Park. Though the day was hot, there was a lovely breeze through the open car as we clipped and swayed along at the fantastic rate of 15 to 20 miles an hour.

* * *

 At last we arrived at the Park, with its gay sounds of music and shouts of children. Our first stop was in front of the cages where strange animals' paced back and forth. The great black bear, as he paced up and down behind the bars of has special cage, held most of our attention. But even the smaller animals, to a city bred child, were exciting and fascinating.

The older Children were allowed on the thrilling shoot-the-chute ride but we smaller siblings were content with the merry-go-round.

Then we were rounded up for our lunch of sandwiches, cookies and oranges in the picnic grove. We washed at the old pump that spewed out ice cold water, which we drank with relish- from a metal cup chained to the pump. Later in the afternoon we had ice cream from a concession at the Park.

Then all too soon, the thrilling day was ended and we headed for the terminal. As the streetcar approached we could see the motorman as he turned the handle back and forth until this great monster once again stopped beside us.

* * *

As we jogged along the metal tracks, rumblings of thunder could be heard in the distance and clumps of black clouds tore across the sky. Then the thunder became louder and the breeze had turned into a strong wind. The lightning was great gashes of white flame in the sky followed by crackling thunder.

The conductor was trying to pull down the side-curtains, but .gusts of wind ripped them out of his hands.

Then with the help of some of the passengers, curtains on both sides were securely fastened which gave the feeling of being trapped in a dim floating, windowless room, which soon became hot and close.

Slashing sheets of rain beat against the curtains and a hubbub of voices and cries of frightened children was heard over the crashing of thunder and howling of the wind as it tried to tear loose the flapping side curtains.

Then suddenly, there was silence. The curtains stopped flapping, the thunder stopped roaring and even the gloom in the car seemed to be lessened. The conductor rolled up the curtains and once again we could look out. The sky was miraculously clear with the sun shining brightly.

When we reached home, our tears and fears of the storm were forgotten, as we recounted the experiences of our day at Queen's Park.


20 March 1915 - Inspection trip over the Glengarry and Stormont Railway

Montreal to Cornwall
The Glengarry and Stormont Railway was opened on 24 May 1915 between St. Polycarpe Junction and Cornwall.  The Chesterville Record of Thursday 23 March 1915 reported a trial run that was made prior to the opening:

The first through passenger train to reach Cornwall from Montreal over the Glengarry and Stormont Railway arrived about 1.30 p.m. Saturday.  On board were the following officials from the CPR.: Messrs. George Hodge, general superintendent; Wm Stitt, general passenger agent; A.C. Mackenzie, engineer, maintenance of way; L.M. Mactavish, traveling freight agent; J.R. Gilliland, Smiths Falls, district superintendent; O. Kirkland, roadmaster; M. Malloy, bridge and building master; T.B. Ballantyne, resident engineer; C.L. Hervey, A.A. Mellor and D.A. O'Meara, of the Glengarry Construction Company, builders of the road.

The party was met at the depot by His Worship mayor Stiles, members of Cornwall Town Council and prominent citizens.  The officials expressed themselves as highly pleased with the road and depots from St. Polycarpe to Cornwall and particularly with the Cornwall Depot which they described as one of the best ever erected on a new road.  A stop was made at each station on the way west and considering this fact the train made good time having left Montreal at 10 a.m.

Mr. Hodge the general superintendent stated that as soon as the frost was out of the ground the work of ballasting the road would be proceeded with and rushed to completion as well as other necessary works attended to, and he expected a through passenger service between Montreal and Cornwall would be inaugurated during the month of May.

The visitors were taken for a drive through Cornwall being accompanied by Mayor Stiles visiting several industrial establishments.  They were greatly impressed with the outlook locally.

24 May 1915 - First regular train over the Glengarry and Stormont Railway

Regular service over the Glengarry and Stormont Railway commenced on 24 May 1915.  The Cornwall Standard of  Sunday May 30, 1915 covered the event.

The New CPR Line
New Service Inaugurated on Monday - the Time Table

The regular passenger service over the Glengarry & Stormont Railway, the new CPR branch line connecting Cornwall and Montreal and points East and West, was inaugurated on Monday morning last, when the first regular train left Cornwall for the Metropolis.  Engine No. 2118, in charge of Engineer James Babcock, late of Smith's Falls, hauled a train of one baggage and four passenger coaches, in charge of conductor Wm. Hinton,
late of Smith's Falls.  Quite a number of passengers took advantage of the new route on the first trip.

The staff of the new depot at Cornwall is as follows: - R. King, of London, Ont., agent; L.B. Smith, of Renfrew, operator and ticket agent;
R.L. Stevens, of Chesterville, freight clerk; W.A. Maxwell, of Smith's Falls, freight checker; Hugh Englehutt, of Smith's Falls, trucker.

For the present one passenger train will go each way daily, leaving Cornwall at 7 a.m., reaching Montreal at 9:30; and leaving Montreal at
5:30 and reaching Cornwall at 8 p.m.

The following is the time table covering all stations from Cornwall to Montreal and return:

Glen Gordon 
North Lancaster
Bridge End 
Montreal Ouest
    Going East, read down; coming west, read up

On Monday afternoon the first way freight reached Cornwall at 1:15 p.m., and, after discharging some freight and re-loading, left about 5
p.m. for Montreal.  The train was in charge of conductor Jos. Tobin and Engineer J. Smith.
(Many thanks to Chris Granger)

Last updated on September 2005.