to Forfar - Trouble Again!
Forfar to Brockville - Screeching to a Halt!
At 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, October 1st, the Jitney took the main line to Toronto via Smiths Falls - the original CNoR Ottawa - Montreal main line. Just before reaching the interchange with the Brockville & Westport at Forfar, they heard a peculiar hammering underneath the car. They stopped to find that one of the small cast iron wheels on the front had lost about 1/3rd of the flange. With their experience from the day before, the crew simply picked up a couple of wheels from the section-crew, put one on the Jitney and continued on their way to Forfar. Here, they switched onto the Westport sub and headed down the line for Brockville.
The Jitney travelled down the line at a fair clip, notwithstanding that the track was light 58 lb rail covered in grass and weeds with hardly any ballast. They had travelled some distance when they rounded a curve in a thickly wooded area - only to find a huge elm tree across the tracks! The high winds of the day had blown it over. The crew immediately applied the brakes but they locked up solid as the Jitney went careening toward the elm tree. Fortunately, the grass and weeds across the track slowed the Jitney down until it came to a stop about 50 feet from the elm tree!
Now at this point you are probably thinking that Railway Bob has made up a nice tall story. Iif you don't believe me, here's a picture of the Jitney stopped 50 feet from the elm tree!
I too didn't believe my eyes when I came across this photo at the National Archives. I not only had this story, but I also had a photo to prove it. Photo courtesy National Archives of Canada C-042073. So what are the odds of a researcher coming across a find like this? But our story hasn't finished!
The Jitney was supposed to meet a train at the next station (which one, I don't know). While some of the crew went ahead to warn the train, the Jitney backed up six miles to the nearest station and took to a siding to allow the train to pass. A section-crew cleared the tracks in a couple of hours and the Jitney proceeded in due course to Brockville.
Now if you don't believe that this was a big elm tree, here's a photo of the tree across the tracks!
For me, the interesting point in this photo is the condition of the track. Note the light 58 lb rail, the absence of ballast, and the weeds and grass all over the tracks. Note how the two pieces of rail are joined together. The B&W used a rail joint - the Fisher joint - that was hardly ever used in North America. The Fisher joint was set underneath the two rails which were bolted down to the rail joint. Unfortunately, the weight of the locomotive and the cars had a tendency to crack the cast iron joint. When the B&W was abandoned in 1952, a large percentage of the line still had the original Fisher joint and the light 58 lb Cammell Sheffield rail of 1886! (There were pieces of the BW&SSM rail on the bridge at the Smiths Falls Railway Muesum.) Photo courtesy National Archives of Canada C-147692
This version of the Jitney went into service on Monday October 3rd, 1921 until December of that year. It made 4 round trips a day between Westport and Brockville - 1 3/4 hours to travel each way. It left Westport at 7 am, 11 am, 3 pm, and 7 pm as trains 78, 80, 82 and 84. It left Brockville at 9 am, 1 pm, 5 pm and 9 pm as trains 77, 79, 81 and 83. Total mileage travelled was 355 miles daily.
In the latter part of December, CN 501 was sent back to Montreal for general overhaul. It was replaced by a similar type of gasoline motor car that had been built in the Moncton N.B. shops. (This smaller car had operated between Nashwaak and Stanley, N.B during the summer of 1921). However, owing to its limited capacity, steam train service was restored temporarily. CN 501 returned to the Brockville - Westport run for the summer of 1922. We don't know when it finished running on the B&W. That's one area where we have to do more work.
Now here's a challenge to you model railroaders! How about drafting plans and/or building a "Jitney - either the original CNR #501 model, or the later CNR #15814 model? If you do build one, let me know.
Here's a list of some of the "Jitney's" that worked the Brockvile - Westport line. This is not a complete list. Most of these cars were the familiar gas-electrics or converted "battery storage" cars.