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Bridge construction early 1900s

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Bridge construction early 1900s
Posted by SD70Dude on Sunday, July 25, 2021 10:51 PM

Grand Trunk Pacific's Fraser River bridge at Prince George, BC was the largest structure on their line, and today it is a key link in the modern Canadian National system. 

It was also the most northern standard gauge moveable bridge in North America, beaten only by White Pass & Yukon's narrow gauge swing bridge at Carcross, YT.  

https://archives.exporail.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/canadian-rail-476-2000.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0lDr3I7fK6PcMYxoo00ptIK9XO6bbL2327nj5nIFkk5A-bAZ5Z-i2-swc

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=njp.32101061103782&view=1up&seq=785&skin=2021

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 26, 2021 3:32 AM

Interesting potential parallel between this Hays development (and the PGE south and west to Vancouver) and the nearly-contemporary Pacific Coast Extension that is such a timeless topic here.  If I understand things correctly, only grouping (with the Canadian Northern) gave this line access to a terminal at Vancouver, and for many, many years the Prince Rupert terminal was something of an afterthought -- had CN not occurred, and the GTP forced to 'go it alone', would the very different financing structure have allowed it to survive?

There is an untold but highly interesting issue inherent in this story.  Note that the bridge is a half mile long, constructed expensively of material largely floated at great cost down the river... but a downstream bridge half or less the length was rejected... out in the middle of undeveloped British Columbia... for reasons of real estate acquisition.

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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Monday, July 26, 2021 12:33 PM
 

Overmod

Interesting potential parallel between this Hays development (and the PGE south and west to Vancouver) and the nearly-contemporary Pacific Coast Extension that is such a timeless topic here.  If I understand things correctly, only grouping (with the Canadian Northern) gave this line access to a terminal at Vancouver, and for many, many years the Prince Rupert terminal was something of an afterthought -- had CN not occurred, and the GTP forced to 'go it alone', would the very different financing structure have allowed it to survive?

There is an untold but highly interesting issue inherent in this story.  Note that the bridge is a half mile long, constructed expensively of material largely floated at great cost down the river... but a downstream bridge half or less the length was rejected... out in the middle of undeveloped British Columbia... for reasons of real estate acquisition.

 

As far as the PCE goes. I wouldn't draw a parallel with the GTP or PGE. Especially the GTP which was building into resource rich territory where no other railroad had developed a RoW. The GTP utility has paid out in spades to CN with the Port of Prince Rupert. Terry, MT to Seattle, WA... Not so much

Side note. Thanks for posting this 70Dude. The GTP is one of my favorite subjects when it comes to railroad history.

 
 
 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!
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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, July 26, 2021 10:35 PM

Grand Trunk Pacific did some weird things with real estate.  

Another story involves the divisonal point at Edson, Alberta, where I worked for a time.  The railyard and much of the townsite used to be a swamp (the water table still wreaks havoc on roads in low-lying areas, the "pavement" of 1 Ave being the lowest point), and locomotive water was drawn from a muskeg creek at the west end of the yard, which was dammed for this purpose.  

This divisonal point was supposed to be located at Wolf Creek, about 10 miles east of Edson, at the exact halfway point between Calder (now Walker Yard) and Fitzhugh (the original name for Jasper), on the east side of the small river of the same name.  But word of this got out before the GTP had bought land there, so some speculators got there first and bought up every square inch, thinking they could sell it back to the railway at inflated prices and make a quick buck.  I can imagine how the conversation went.

GTP: we're building at mile 130 instead.

Speculators: what!? You can't go there, that's a bottomless swamp.  You'll never fill it in.  You're bluffing.  

GTP: oh yeah, watch us.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by SD70Dude on Monday, July 26, 2021 10:46 PM

The biggest difference between the GTP and PCE is the grades.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  

The GTP's ruling grade is 0.4% in both directions, except for the eastbound 1.0% Robson Hill between Tete Jaune and Redpass, BC (west side of Yellowhead Pass).

The continental divide isn't even the highest point on the line, that's at Obed, AB, about halfway between Edson and Hinton, at the top of the ridge between the McLeod and Athabasca watersheds.  

I think if Grand Trunk had remained an independent company they would have tried a lot harder to attract traffic through Prince Rupert, and this probably would have justified upgrading the track a lot sooner than CN did, it was predominantly 85 lb rail and train order operation until the Tumbler Ridge coal traffic caused a heavy rebuilding around 1980.  The federal government built the Ridley Island grain terminal around the same time, before this large amounts of bulk traffic had not been shipped through Prince Rupert.  

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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