Rock Cuts of Chaffey's Locks (Continued)
Now, lest you think that the stoneboats rolled on steel wheels -
they didn't. The whole contraption was slid along the rails.
In the photo below, steel rails have given way to wooden logs at the rock
As the skidway got closer to the rock face, the steel rails gave way
to wooden logs flattened on one side. Unlike limestone, the granite
of the Canadian Shield breaks apart in very irregular shapes and sizes.
It is perhaps the most difficult type of rock to drill, blast, and excavate.
This rock cut no doubt swallowed quite a large sum of money in construction
costs. Mucking (excavating) operations are well underway and the
crew has almost reached the other side of the excavation. Behind
the two horses in the forefront, the wooden rails diverge into two fronts
at the rock face. In the background, can be seen another team of
Here's a closer look at the skidway close to the rock face. Notice
the steel rods and hammers in some of the workers hands. Most of
the loose rock has been excavated and the dynamite crew is now going to
go to work on some of the boulders. Holes will be hand-drilled into
each boulder, loaded with dynamite and exploded. The muckers will
then move in and clear away the rubble.
And this is what this activity during that summer of 1912 was all about.
A Canadian National locomotive speeds along the track where, only a few
years ago, construction crews were busy erecting bridges, building trestles,
and excavating rock. All of the trestles have been filled in.
Only it's a different summer - 1944. A new generation of young residents
of Chaffey's Locks have recorded a different part of the history along
this Canadian Northern railway line.