A picture truly worth a thousand words

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A picture truly worth a thousand words
Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 29, 2018 7:04 PM

The newly built Burlington Bay Skyway is shown here. Not opened yet. Soon. Along the Burlington Beach Strip, connecting Burlington to Hamilton and onward to Niagara, runs a big bottleneck for the Queen Elizabeth Hwy. Toronto - Niagara. There are 2 functioning bridges blocking its path. One for highway traffic, the other for the CNR. The Hwy has a bascule bridge, shown open in the photo, backing up traffic for miles and miles. The soon to open Skyway Bridge would alleviate this and usher in major changes especially for the then numerous apple orchards of the then quaint town of Burlington.

The railway bridge is a swing type from a centre concrete island pivot. Changes coming for them to.  

We can see in the background the Steel Mills of Hamilton, the mighty Dofasco and Stelco, Columbia Carbon, National Steel Car and numerous other spins offs from steel manufacturing. A ship is approaching the canal, the Bascule is way up in the air, the railway bridge is swung open. 

More views.

 

Closer views of the bridges. As a child I was scared stupid of that Bascule bridge. This is the view from the backseat approaching from the Hamilton side.

Thought the end was nigh for sure... but! If the bridge went up it got worse 'cause all that machinery would moan and groan and the bridge at full lift looked like an alligator or a dragon and was ready to chomp down. It went really high. However... as the ship appeared all was forgotten, many men on multiple decks waving at the waiting cars. Most people got out of their vehicles and walked up or just got out as the whole thing would take 20 minutes, longer if there were 2 ships. 

Let me tell ya in know uncertain terms that the absolute best thing was a steam locomotive waiting right next to you with a string of reefers. That was a real delight. 

The quaintness of Burlington and its famed apple orchards are long gone, all of iit. It's a 200,000 sprawling suburb of the Greater Toronto Area and the orchards are strip malls, fast food, light industry, cookie cutter overpriced homes.

That swing bridge got rammed by a boat. The bascule got hit too. They were replaced by a new lift bridge that carried both, like this.

I was there for this too!

Back in the day.

Hamilton Radial Electric Railway 

Incorporated 1894 a line was built from downtown Hamilton at James Street going via Gore, Wilson and Sherman, then on private right-of-way to Hamilton Beach, and on highway right-of-way along the beach strip crossing on a shared swing bridge over a canal that led to Hamilton Harbour with service beginning July 1896. On to Burlington (13 miles) arriving there in 1897 and on to Port Nelson in 1898. The line was extended to Oakville on a 66 foot right-of-way and laid with 80 lb. rail opening on May 3, 1906 . Freight traffic was minimal except for a modest amount of carloads on industrial track in Hamilton and smaller yet in Burlington, all interchanged to GTR at those points. Express and package freight traffic on the other hand was heavy. 

Toronto & Mimico Electric planned to extend their line from Port Credit to Oakville to connect a through route 
between Hamilton and downtown Toronto with running rights over Toronto Ry. eastward from Sunnyside. It was never built and the 11 mile gap was part of the reason for low traffic that caused the extension from Port Nelson to Oakville to be closed August 3, 1925. 

Operations continued for some years until declining traffic caused abandonment January 5, 1929. Buses replaced the cars for passenger service between Hamilton and Burlington while carload freight in Hamilton continued on three miles of track until July 13, 1931 when CNR and TH&B took it over. Some of the city trackage was used by the Hamilton Street Railway until it ended rail operations in April 1951. 

Radial swing bridge Burlington Beach c.1915 

Postcard reverse cancelled August 28, 1917 Burlington Historical Society

View of Bascule bridge from opposite direction. Hamilton Beach Community Forum 

How the Skyway was built.

 

 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 29, 2018 8:37 PM

Post script-- The beach subdivision is gone and all the tracks are gone. It connected to the mainline, about 15 miles or so away, going to Niagara Falls. It originated at the station in Burlington and had its own secondary station not too far from the bridge. Right by the Brant Inn which was famous for being the home base of Guy Lombardo. It was a glitzy nightclub and the place to be seen. 

The line carried a lot of fruit and agricultural products in reefers, millions of apples sold through busy fruit sheds and dealers just behind the Burlington railway station. It also had a Niagara Chemicals plant, now Hercules Chemicals along its route. A spur to that plant still services Hercules with tank cars off of the Oakville Subdivision. 

Can't be 100% sure but I think that's where I saw my last steam locomotive in regular service, either a 2-6-0 or a 2-8-0, 1959 or spring 1960. It was on this sub for sure. Saw a big Northern struggling and slipping away as it was getting under way that winter for sure at the Niagara Chemical plant. 

After that it was just funeral trains of steam and the later fan trips. Very nice but not the same.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, December 29, 2018 9:08 PM

I looked on a satellite image, and it looks like the skyway bridge has been doubled (I crossed it a number of times, and I thought I remembered it as wider than your old photo).  I also noticed that the railroad (CN?) was gone.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 29, 2018 9:08 PM

More recently a drunk dump truck driver roared up the skyway with his bed all the way up:

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=409769&playlistId=1.1941234&binId=1.815892&playlistPageNum=1

Oops.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 29, 2018 10:06 PM

Yeah, brilliant. I remember the driver played stupid afterward. What? Me? I dunno? 

I would go to work at my Grandma's Fish and Chip shop on Ottawa St in Hamilton from our home in Burlington T-F-Sat evenings. Took the bus, the Hamilton Street Railway, HSR. It always ran along the beach strip but from 4-6 pm they had an express bus that went over the bridge. Hardly anyone on it. Sometimes just moi. You could open the windows on those buses, click click click sit back feel the wind at 70 mph and light up a smoke. 

This alone proves that civilization is dead.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 29, 2018 10:20 PM

GM New Look?

We had a trolley version of those in Edmonton, along with the diesels.  All gone now.  As a kid I loved sitting on the bench seat at the front, looking out through those giant fishbowl windows. 

The trolleys were nice and quiet, but nothing compares to the sound of a 6-71 roaring up Bellamy or MacDougal hill out of the North Saskatchewan valley. 

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, December 29, 2018 10:54 PM

Hmmm... mid 60's . The HSR did have those new look GMs with the huge windows up front and as trolleys too!

But...don't think that bus was that. It rattled and fixtures shook a lot, the fare box at the front on a pedestal would rattle away like the world was ending. Driver had a change maker on his belt.  I just can't remember much... had that huge semi circular monster seat thing at the back, that was cool getting that to yourselF and it had a window behind it, but of course that did not open as it was rounded. 

I do know it only made 2 intermediate stops and Ottawa St was one of them.

We dressed like mods, dark blue pea jackets, maybe white pants, had brown courdoury shoes that were just too cool to even mention, a French artist style beret cap, and of course shades. Players filter, small pack. No such thing as light or colour coding. Just Players, filter or not, king size or regular. So, small, Players filter, regular. Well under a dollar a pack. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, December 29, 2018 10:59 PM

Far out!  That's rad, man!

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Saturday, December 29, 2018 11:20 PM
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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 30, 2018 12:05 AM

Thought you might weigh in on this thread NDG, was hoping. Started when Mike sent me an email asking me if I had ever crossed over this bridge, along with a picture. It just grew from there. 

By the way for all the folks the bridge is now twinned with dedicated direction for each bridge. The twin does not have the arch, so not matching. 

Yes the Pump House is 100% worth the visit. Incredible really. I drool at the handmade perfect O Scake replicas of all the TH&B steam, both Berks 201 and 202 and both Hudsons 501 and 502, and a whole lot more. Smells nice in there, steam is calming. They say it's the only steam powered pumphouse left anywhere. 

The pollution has been cleaned up, even in Hamilton Harbour. It is crystal clear, amazing. Lake Ontario is clear in Burlington and you can see way down. The beach along the strip is packed with sunbathers. No commercial establishments allowed but plenty around the Bay in 10 minute walking distance. 

The City of Burlington bought up the railway land after abondonment of the rails. All those houses are gone on the Burlington side, the ones in the picture. That was Railway land and as the leases expired they were either moved or tore down. 

Right under where the bridge was built and to the roadway, immediately after crossing to the Hamilton side, was an amusement park, a little Coney Island and it had everything. It was Conklin shows and it's where he got his start way back in the day. The Royal Hamilton Yacht Club and the prestigious Queens Hotel were there too. 

So so much is gone. About the only thing left is the lighthouse. It's really old. The foghorns still sound on those foggy nights. 

My beautiful paradise of Burlington is gone. Maplewood Creek is a culvert , covered and paved. White Rose is no more. B/A is no more. The railway station is gone replaced by a bus shelter do it yourself thing a mile from where it was. The apple farms are gone. All of them. As in all. Now the fancy malls are falling into decline. Oh well don't live there any more. Glad I did though. There was lots of steam in the 50's... lots. 

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Sunday, December 30, 2018 12:32 AM
A Bit OT?
 
Two More Two-of-a-Kinds.
 
Like the TH&B Berkshires, too close, and right into the Furnaces at the Sault.
 
ACR 50 and 51.  CLC.
 
 
 
 
 
Sad.
 

Thank You.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, December 30, 2018 10:48 AM

Yes I heard they pushed the 2 Berks and the 2 Hudsons right into the blast furnace at Stelco. The Hudson's had their tenders removed immediately after their final run and they did not linger around the opposing tracks at the Aberdeen roundhouse for long .. off they went, a quick trip. Similiar fate for the ACR 2-10-2's.

The thing is they all had notoriety. Everyone in town knew them from the Postman to the Shopkeeper. They were household names, by number. Like twins. 

Between 61-65? there were plenty of funeral trains of steam, lot of wooden cars too. Many recognizable by number and wheels. Very disturbing. There was a scrap yard in London that used a guillotine that sliced 'em up like baloney. Many CPR met their demise there. 

If you knew the Skyway and the beach strip did you know of the Brant Inn? That was a place and a half. THE place to be 

Giving mom a heart attack

https://www.imgrumweb.com/post/3OlG3gFPgZ

The Brant Inn

https://www.imgrumweb.com/post/0sVW0ylPk2

The Story... I knew it well! Notorious 

https://www.dancescape.com/brantinnhistory

 

PS to MidlandMike -- yes the bridge was twinned. Yes the beach division was tore up and long gone... nothing but nothing remains. Do not know if they widened the original bridge lanes... would be tough to do as the arch constricted the lanes but you could be right. Certainly the approaches on the QEW were widened considerably. 

One thing they really need to do is get rid of those ugly hydro towers. There have been proposals over the years, especially attaching the lines under the bridge but it's always nixed. The thick and multiple cables also kill a lot of birds. Have seen the results of some magnificient huge birds. You would think there is a way. 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, December 31, 2018 10:45 AM

Freight operations on the Hamilton Radial Rwy. suburban, now Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) ended 1951. Some equpiment was stored at the bottom of the Beach strip on the Hamilton side and remained there for many years. Sometime in the early 60's it was all gone, vanished. 

 

 

 HRER #123 at the E. D. Smith plant west of Winona, March 1911. Note the unusual doors at the end of each car. (Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada, used with permission)

A clip of one of the fruit cars (HRER #393-398) has been found online, inside a short 1920 film on fruit picking in the Niagara Peninsula called 'Where Nature Smiles.' It can't be linked to directly, but here's how to find it:

Visit the National Film Board of Canada Images Search page

  • on the NFB page, click 'More Options' below the search bar

  • in the field 'Shot ID', type 27708.

  • The full documentary is 9 minutes, 15 seconds. The car is being towed by HTC #675, and appears at about 12:05:31:00 (for some reason this clip starts at 12:00:00:00

  • This is near where the Beach Sub connected back to the mainline. Also although at the other end those orchards were identical to the ones in Burlington, except they were apples of many many varieties. The basket factory clip is in Burlington. Operations were at a frenzy in the fall. Lots of steam, lots of reefers. All a memory now.

Paradise Lost 

https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/uhr/2001-v30-n1-uhr0603/1015941ar.pdf

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, January 01, 2019 4:55 PM

Next time I visit southern Ontario I will be sure to pay a visit to the Hamilton Steam Museum.  Might even manage to drag some relatives along too, make a day of it.

Seems like many (most?) streetcar systems handled some freight, except of course for Toronto with its unique gauge.  

In my area the Edmonton Radial Railway once had quite the collection of non-passenger equipment, unfortunately none of it survived into preservation.  They even had a rail grinder!

http://www.edmonton-radial-railway.ab.ca/streetcarhistory/workcars/

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

NDG
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Posted by NDG on Tuesday, January 01, 2019 5:48 PM

 

FYI.
 
The Sault at War.
 
Another Double Bascule Bridge That Met in the Middle.
 
 
 
 
Tender Headlight just visible. Click to Enlarge.
 
 
 
 
Algoma Steel Works just above canal.
 
 

Thank You. 

PS.

Note SHADOW of large Freighter blurred out in South Canal.

 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, January 01, 2019 9:56 PM

Apparently they were able to repair the bridge, as a double bascule bridge still sits there.  Our local TV station has a cam at the locks, and that bridge seems to always be down.  Those two locks are not used much.  The swing bridge in one of the old photos has been replaced by a lift bridge, which crosses the channel to the other two busy locks.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 3:00 AM

Thank you Miningman and NDG for all these informative links and images! The infrastructure at the Sault Ste. Marie canal is definitely an interesting example. : )

Jones Family Railroad Hobby YouTube Channel: 
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu9gt9Q9RF-Hwq7xWciVcWg/

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, January 02, 2019 10:30 AM

We did on lot on the Sault bridge in the Quiz a while back. Pretty extensive with lots of pictures. 

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