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June 1989 - Page 58


S T. HENRI FREIGHTHO US
by David B. Frost
D o you have an area on your pike where you would like to model a team track or a set of industries, but your m a i n l i n e is s o far above it that an approach track would be ridiculously stee p ? Take h e art - the Canadian Pacific faced this same situation after they built their passenger line through western Montreal to Windsor Station . The railway solved the problem with a switchback, so why don' t you? The city of Montreal is situated on the slopes of Mount Royal, a 700-foot " mountain" rising abruptly from the St. Lawrence lowland. Ten thousand years ago, as the ice sheets retreated, a series of level terraces separated by steep slopes were carved around the mountain . During the 1 9th century, as M ontre a l e xpanded a l o n g t h e level benches, the sloped areas remained undeveloped . The landscape began to change, however, in 1 889, when the C an ad i an Pac i fi c decided to enter M ontreal from t h e west . The best available route was along the edge of the 1 50-foot bench where the fashiona b l e s u b u rb of Westmount w a s j u s t developing . Thus, the Canadian Pacific would access a new commuter market, but the local industry was in the St. Henri dis trict 80 feet below . It was located in an area served by the mainl ine of the Grand Trunk R a i l way (now part o f Canadian National Railways) e n route to its Bonaventure Station. The Cana-

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dian Pacific established the Westmount Team Yard above the bluff, but the few roads leading down to St. Henri were too steep for horses hauling heavily laden freight wagons. Somehow a line had to be carried down below if the St. Henri market was to be penetrated . The solution adopted in 1 9 1 0 was a switchback. At this point (one mile from Windsor Station) there were three tracks: the westbound mainline , the eastbound mai n l i n e , and the bi d i recti o n al l i ne for moving empty passenger cars between the station and the G l e n n passenger c a r yard . T h e S t . Henri spur diverged i n a westerly d i r e c t i o n fr o m t h i s t h i r d t r a c k , descending about 60 feet . Here it met with a switch and a long, level track

which formed the tail of the switch back. The switchback then dropped d o w n the re m a i n i n g 20 fee t or s o , running i n an easterly direction , and entered the n i n e - track team yard (where the old brick freighthouse was located). A series of industries developed with their own sidings branching off this basic system. A ready-mix concrete plant was constructed h alfway up the bluff with a siding in an easterly direc tion from the first leg of the switch back. A westward-bound siding, diverg ing from the second leg , served Canadian Foundry Supplies and was used mainly for covered hoppers filled with foundry sand . Imperial Tobacco used an extension from the fourth track

West

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To Windsor Station

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58



Model Railroading

June 1 989

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