Trestle West of Chaffey's Locks
Another challenge facing the contractors building the Canadian Northern
main line through Chaffey's Locks were a number of short but deep valleys.
In many cases, this involved drilling and blasting the tops of the hill
and then building a wooden trestle across the valley. When the line
was completed, the trestle would be filled in so that you never would know
that such a flimsy wooden structure was ever built there. Here's
some photos of the building of one of these structures. The location
is a few miles west of Chaffey's Locks during the summer of 1912.
All photos are courtesy of Mrs. L. Coon Henson from her uncle's photo collection.
In the above photo, the trees have been cleared across the valley and
work has started on drilling and blasting a rock cut through the top of
the hill (more about this rock cut later). Timbers have been piled
across the valley floor for incorporation into the trestle.
The trestle has almost reached the other side of the valley. It's
hard to believe that such a spidery structure will shortly be bearing the
weight of heavy steam locomotives, freight and passenger cars. Notice
the team of horses and the boardwalk at the base of the trestle.
The erecting crew can be seen at each level of the trestle - two men on
top, 3 men below them, another 3 below, and a small donkey engine barely
visible at the base. On the far side of the valley, work is progressing
on excavating the rock cut. Part of the trestle on the other side
is being filled in but it will be some time before the whole structure
is fully covered with fill.
The completion of the trestle calls for a photograph. Here the
erecting crew pauses for their official photograph at the west end of the
Then everybody gets up and moves to the east end of the trestle to get
their picture taken again. We get a good view of the size of the timbers
that have been incorporated into the trestle. A wooden trestle like
this won't last for too many years. Shortly, strings of flatcars
loaded with fill will be pulled onto the trestle and the fill dumped over
the side until the trestle timbers are completely covered. The fill
is still there today. Is the trestle still under the fill?
But we aren't finished yet. There's more
on the next pages.