11-10-2010 06:30 PM
I wasn't sure what to say about your artifacts without giving you the credit! I am hoping this doesn't cause problems.
I have always had an interest in the coal mining that took place in this town long before I was even born. I have had a terrific time meeting you guys and hearing your own personal stories along with the exploration of the abandoned mines in the area. I had a feeling this thread would remain an already popular one as it was shining some light on our past. The photo contributions in this thread has given our audience an in-depth look at the beauty that surrounds us!
I'll be visiting Garry again soon to return some of his borrowed maps. It appears that he also makes benches now. I'd like to see what he will do with the wheels that I gave him.
11-10-2010 07:12 PM
Whatever Garry makes from your old wheels will be done right. His benches (one in his yard and the other being put into the Extension Miner's Park now) are very nice and well built. I gave him a good condition late 1800s or early 1900s 6 foot long chunk of 30 pound per yard rail a couple weeks ago to put under the one going into the park.
There are currently 3 coal cars under construction in Chemainus for which we have reproduced the drawings from a fantastic original 1911 engineering drawing that the Cumberland Museum and Archives has on one of the walls in there. These are large cars with opening tailgates and full sets of brakes that were used in the Cumberland #4 and #7 mines and also in the Vancouver Slope / Unden Mine area west of Harewood Mine. We retrieved the frame for one of these cars (36 inch gauge) two weeks ago that happens to be the one you posted photos of earlier in this thread (see photo below). I got the wheels years ago before the loggers came through but didn't take the frame because it was highly rusted and hard to extract at the time. Now it is more rusted plus highly mangled. Big job to restore this since the loggers trashed what was left of this highly rusted frame. Garry has a less mangled same or similar frame (36 inch gauge) and said he figures on building one for his yard maybe this coming summer. I'm happy to help or give whatever he needs to make that happen. The other two cars being made from these 1911 drawings are 30 inch gauge versions using smaller wheelsets (including the ones you took photos of on Friday that you posted yesterday). The frames, brakes, drawbars, etc. for those ones are being made from new iron using old style construction techniques (blacksmithing to bend, shape and fit using square nuts and bolts). Garry's when he gets his done would be a 4th one. These wood with iron frame cars will be more interesting than the plain ones that have no brakes or tailgates.
Last edited by Peter Roosen; 11-10-2010 at 10:14 PM.
11-10-2010 08:26 PM
Duke & Duchess
Thanks Sitka and Peter and GR74 for the great photos and this informative and entertaining discussion of these old engines. Sitka's personal family ties to that peculiar hunk of iron across from that boarded up building in Carcross brought some life into it for me! I'm not sure if the Duchess is maybe the Duke but the tampering of the builder does raise suspicion that something is off. Can't somebody look underneath for an obvious difference?
11-10-2010 09:45 PM
Looking from inside toward north portal entrance where locomotive sitting - Extension handcar loaded with tools in foreground.
11-10-2010 11:42 PM
Duchess 4424 working on the Taku Tram, unknown date
11-10-2010 11:47 PM
Duchess steam locomotive on static display in the 1950's
11-11-2010 09:03 AM
Duke & Duchess - Wellington Colliery Railroad route
Here is a route map for the original WCR as at 1883. Note that this map prepared by Bob Swanson (I knew him well) probably sometime in the 1960s has a few glitches in it such as the loop around Diver Lake and the E&N railway not having been built until a year or more later. The little islands in Departure Bay were also done wrong on the map. However, he did a great job, likely working from various old materials he has access to at the time, in preparing this fairly accurate and useful route map.
I give credit to Maynard Atkinson (Campbell River) who painstakingly converted this to digital format last month. The two of us carefully reviewed it, checking the details. Maynard also helped convert the 1911 coal car blueprint borrowed from the Cumberland Museum and Archives last month into digital format. Big thanks also to Frank Carter in Cumberland and the museum and archive staff for making this happen. In case you haven't been there, go check the museum out. It has an excellent coal mine (in the basement). (a little competition for the great work done on the one in the Nanaimo museum this year!) I've put in a plug to have the No. 4 Cumberland Mine main entrance re-opened with maybe a brick or concrete wall installed a couple hundred feet inside so people can actually see this impressive mine. The concrete fan house is still there but there is only a dirt bank visible where the mine entrance is.
Back to the 1883 map: notice that at that time South Wellington was in and around where the Avonlea subdivision / foot of Gilfillan Road is today. Original Wellington townsite is the stretch along Jingle Pot Road from Labieaux Road to what is now the Old Slope Pl turnoff. Maynard prepared a couple neat maps superimposing google maps onto this early map that shows how things line up today. On the Departure Bay end, the hairpin curve follows today's road (Argyle I think) and you can walk along the route. Like a game of hopscotch, coal seams discovered east of then South Wellington became East Wellington, then eventually much further southwest to become new South Wellington. I suppose that it was becoming too confusing so rather than call the next find West Wellington or a further south South Wellington, the names Extension and Ladysmith were chosen. Quite funny the way Dunsmuir kept packing up and moving Wellington. I'll add that his railway in Cumberland was also a Division of the later Wellington Colliery Railway (I'll attach a timetable, waybill and other WCR-Cumberland Division railway docs - also courtesy of Maynard Atkinson).
Last edited by Peter Roosen; 11-11-2010 at 09:26 AM.
11-11-2010 09:28 AM
Here are a couple more of Maynard's railway records from Cumberland Division of Wellington Colliery Railway (note that is "railway" after the late 1800s charter while it was originally "railroad" before then).
11-11-2010 09:52 AM
Another map for the rail nerds
It is hard to separate the mines from the railways so I'll assume that I am not the only rail nerd in Wellington. I say Wellington because that is the area that covers from Ladysmith to Cumberland, of which Nanaimo is only a small part! Dunsmuir considered the whole thing as being his at the time except that his ambitions took him all the way to Victoria with the construction of the E&N, huge land grants related to that and mines going everywhere with his engineering offices in 1911 being in Victoria - according to the coal car drawing posted earlier. Here is another map that some of you may be familiar with - again Maynard put this into digital form recently.
11-11-2010 07:25 PM
Anybody know which local mines, if any, still have their original railways in them?