05-23-2011 11:04 PM
New old couplers
Thanks also for helping to rework the couplers on some of the cars. There were not enough of the original 1800s link and pin (dogbone style) couplers here. We only had four of the original ones, enough for the locomotive and one car. We cranked out enough of these at the Mt. Sicker shops to redo the WCR cars that had the temporary ones that were just square tube with linkpin holes. I noticed there is also an original rail bending tool (normally called a Jim Crow) in the last image below (beside the two stacks of couplers). I tend to not use it since it is too difficult compared to the nice hydraulic bender. We have much much nicer and less expensive tools these days compared to a century ago. A miner's pick was probably worth a day's wages back then.
05-23-2011 11:28 PM
You're welcome, Peter. The sunny skies and warmer weather are a welcome change to the two feet of snow that was on the ground when we christened the Dunsmuir coal car during my last visit!
I was a little late posting this evening but I have some photos of locomotive Ruby II to share now that things are moving along. From this afternoon -
05-23-2011 11:30 PM
Brilliant find today! 1911 style coal car with the opening tailgate
By the way GR74, very well done on finding that car frame (tailgate) today! I think there is a 50/50 chance it is a whole car and not just the tailgate part as suggested by the bit sticking out of the slack. It would be a bonus if it was also equipped with full brakes like the one here. I'll attach a photo of this one that was built of new materials using the 1911 Dunsmuir (CCDL) engineering drawing. The still buried one will be 36 inch gauge which is the gauge there since the railway in that area was regauged from 30 inch in the late 1800s. The gauge here is 30 inches. This again proves there is still plenty of stuff out there for those who know where and how to look. Need to get digging quickly before the competition among those looking for more coal cars heats up much more! Also need to watch out for bears as Al makes clear!
05-24-2011 12:18 AM
Originally Posted by Peter Roosen
I will make a point of uncovering the tailgate as soon as possible, it might be weekend work but I'm sure the job will get done! Loads of fun today on the WCR, the experience of operating one of the original locomotives employed in the Wellington Coal Mines goes beyond words! I am always thinking of our pioneer coal miners and how hard they worked whenever I do my time hauling cars from the mine. Thanks again!
Some nice photos, yogi. I believe that GBritt and I were in the same area last summer!
Last edited by GR74; 05-24-2011 at 06:29 PM.
05-24-2011 07:40 PM
Douglas Mines 2011
Yesterday after the WCR visit, Peter Roosen and I ended our day with a short hike and several stops at various mine locations around town. I have recently discovered a coal car frame buried in the ground and was eager to show Peter my find. I won't disclose the actual location just yet but will take some photos as I uncover and remove the frame/tailgate, having been buried for decades. Once the deed is done, I will post the location of the find. I also caught a glimpse of Dead Man's Cave, which I say was an airway into the mines. It has been sealed with concrete for many years now but Peter gave me a quick tour of the location. I did take a photo but was really disappointed with the exposure and won't post anything else from yesterday. I had the camera on the wrong setting which resulted in a poor picture quality and I didn't realize this until the pictures were uploaded to my laptop. Granted another opportunity, this will not happen again.
Off to the Douglas Mine location we went. We were losing daylight quickly and only caught a glimpse of the area from above. Again, the photo quality was so poor that I made a point of stopping briefly this afternoon for that second opportunity. To my knowledge the mines were around the corner from this excavator. I am clueless as to what is taking place down there, but if this kind work has continued far enough around the bend, I'd have to guess that the mines are gone! According to maps, there were three portals side by side. All were sealed with dirt but only one is visible today, flooded the same way that the Harewood Mine is. I'll hike it one day for pure enjoyment, hopefully she's still down there. Wouldn't that be amazing to see all three portals?
Here's that photo from today....
Last edited by GR74; 05-27-2011 at 12:14 PM.
05-24-2011 08:30 PM
Okay, that'll draw me out of my hibernation!
I made an examination of New Douglas  Mine back in 2002, for the City of Nanaimo. Took a whack of photos, some of which I put into my report to the City's Development Services Division, but most of which are still lurking on an old hard-drive around here somewhere. The quality of the timbering in there was most creditable; it had been well-preserved by the generally-high level of the mine pool in the Newcastle-bed workings of that mine. The summer I did my mapping, the weather was unseasonably dry, and the mine pool retreated down a fair ways, I suspect through sheer evaporation after 35 days without significant rainfall.
At the moment, I am working on digitising and recapturing my mapping, done between 1982 and 2004, so as to be able to substantially edit and update my 1998 atlas of the coalfield. Conversions from NAD27 to NAD83, of course, for the benefit of modern mappers. I have still not made up my mind upon the best way to index the mines, since as time went onward I kept finding more and more and yet more (!) old bootleg holes, especially into the Newcastle coal bed. For some reason (maybe it worked into larger lumps than the Douglas beds did?), the Newcastle attracted a lot more attention from small-scale miners.
I am heading down to Boston for a month starting tomorrow morning, but hope at some point to find the time to tell the story of the various efforts to examine 'Mt Bickerton' as a source of thermal coal (via rewashing in a portable Birtley-type plant) and the 'Smith' and 'Zanella' tips at South Wellington as a source of Type 5 soft coking coal. We really tried, but the economics never quite worked out, even during the Wolf Mountain era when we had a plant up and running in the Hub City pit at Fiddicks.
Has it really been so long, already? I suppose so, it **is** 2011, isn't it?
05-24-2011 09:19 PM
I passed by the spot where the coal car tailgate is sticking up from the slack. I brought one of the the slack hounds from Cedar along for this. He and maybe another might come along to help out with the exhumation on the weekend - unless he is there already working at night with a lantern hanging from a tree! Here is a quick picture of it. Always find your stuff interesting Gwyneth and look forward to your S&Z tip stories! And anything further on Raven since I might be nosing a little deeper into the railway side of it.
05-25-2011 04:50 PM
Originally Posted by gwyneth
What a great job you have, gwyneth! I would have love to have been able to do that kind of thing for a living. Mind you, I didn't have much interest in our local history when I was in high school, nor did I find making career choices at such a young age an easy task. Sure you want to make good money but how do you know if you'll even like the job?
Since we are on the topic of the Douglas Mines, I was just wondering if all three portals were uncovered during your observation and whether the portals were connected to each other once inside the mine? I was also wondering which of the Nanaimo mines were your favorite?
Last edited by GR74; 05-25-2011 at 06:08 PM.
05-25-2011 05:57 PM
Originally Posted by Peter Roosen
Yep, that's pretty close to the same photograph that I have around here somewhere. So you guys might do the dig before the weekend? Go for it boys! Unfortunately, I won't be able to help until Saturday because of work. If you decide to wait until then, call me and I will help (I'll bring the beer). If it's just a tailgate, you might be able to get it out fairly easily. If it happens to be a full frame, you might be there a while. I figure you'd have to dig deep for a frame, wrestle the tree roots, and wind up needing three or four guys to haul it out of there. I've been considering this for a couple of months now and I don't want to do half of the job or pull it out and have it sitting there in plain view so that somebody else nabs it! I'm sure it's safe and nobody will find it while it's buried, but please try to get some pictures if you grab it before Saturday! I'm curious to see what's there.
05-27-2011 05:57 AM
Douglas Mines 2011
I went down to take a look at the Douglas Mines yesterday afternoon only to see that the girls had vanished! Only one of the three sisters was visible to visitors in 2010-11 before being sealed and preserved by construction crews. I am aware that the City of Nanaimo has had long range plans to develop the strip of land located between the E&N Railway and Old Victoria Road (the Douglas Mines site), and it appears that they have been recently filling in the area from two separate locations. I took a few photos yesterday, you can see that ground level is now 25 feet above the old Douglas Mine portal(s).
Photo 1 - this is the location of the Douglas Mines today, the area behind the excavator that I photographed two days ago from Old Victoria Road.
Photo 2 - the height of the fill measures approx. 25 feet. Hard to tell without a body standing in front, isn't it?
I was looking for some information on the area and found this:
Last edited by GR74; 05-27-2011 at 12:13 PM.