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Thread: Cool Underground Tunnel and Nanaimo's Old Mine Shafts

  1. #1771
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River
    Posts
    57

    Default Black Track Outing

    PR and I happened to cross paths in Nanaimo providing an opportunity for a walk along the Black Track near South Wellington. Parking at Elaine Hamilton Park and walking towards the E&N, it did not take long to intercept the Black Track. After all these years, it is still black!

    Artifacts were last thing expected, but in short order Peter's eagle eye picked out some intriguing relics from the past.

    The splice bar matches 1880/1890 Sheffield 50 pound rail in his collection. The Black Track was an abandoned railway grade by 1913. It is interesting that after nearly 100 years, the splice bar is going back into service at Peter's 21st century version of the Wellington Colliery Railway!

    The spikes are interesting, too. I do not recall seeing that type before on Vancouver Island. The modern day spike was included in the photo to illustrate the different design.
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  2. #1772
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    170

    Default Puppy dog spikes

    I'm wondering what the perceived advantages of the dog spikes were at the time. Were they easier to make? Was the steel softer or less predictable at the time, needing the thicker heads? The little ones from the mine (which mine???) have the same goofy dog heads. There do not appear to be any indents in the splice bar to match the dog heads either. As for the splice bar, there remains the possibility you suggested that it came from the E&N when the 50 pound rail was upgraded to 85 pound rail over a century ago.

    Until you mentioned the E&N started out at 50 and 54 pound rail, I thought it started, like the CPR, at about 60 or 65 with lighter rail in the sidings. I have a short length of the original 1880s E&N rail in service in the WCR locomotive shed that also matches the splice bar. I also have a couple lengths of the heavier original CPR steel (one made Krupp 1881 and the other Blaenavons 1882) installed a year ago on a siding. The Black Track and E&N are very close to each other where we picked up the splice bar, with the E&N about 10 feet higher up along the east side of the BT. The bar was closer to the BT than to the E&N but it is quite possible that it slid down the bank or was tossed over from the higher E&N. Can you recall the E&N milepost where we were finding these things? There is likely much more of this stuff out there. We didn't use metal detectors and this stuff was poking out of the ground or on top of it. The high water level in the adjacent swamp prevented us from getting to where the bent and twisted lengths of old rail are similarly located between the two tracks.
    Last edited by Peter Roosen; 08-22-2011 at 06:23 AM.

  3. #1773
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River
    Posts
    57

    Default Spikes and Such

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Roosen View Post
    I'm wondering what the perceived advantages of the dog spikes were at the time. Were they easier to make? Was the steel crappier at the time, needing the thicker heads? The little ones from the mine (which mine???) have the same goofy dog heads.

    Until you mentioned the E&N started out at 50 and 54 pound rail, I thought it started, like the CPR, at about 60 or 65 with lighter rail in the sidings. The Black Track and E&N are very close to each other where we picked up the splice bar, with the E&N about 10 feet higher up along the east side of the BT. The bar was closer to the BT than to the E&N but it is quite possible that it slid down the bank or was tossed over from the higher E&N. Can you recall the E&N milepost where we were finding these things?
    Those dog spikes baffle me. An internet search turns up sites where that type of spike is available today but nowhere can I find a description of their application.

    The small ones came from the west side of that water course we had to deal with during the walk. (49.11054, -123.908747) You posted a map on page 149 of this thread. It shows a stream from Beck Lake heading north. Southfield No. 2 slope looks like a good candidate.

    Ya, as much as I would like to believe we found a Black Track splice bar, the scenario you describe is the more likely. But, the darn thing laid in the bush for close to 100 years in any case!

    Scambling up the bank after being stopped by water covering the trail, we saw Milepost 68. The splice bar was just north of that, perhaps 68.1 or 68.2. The Black Track went under the E&N at Mile 68.8. The trestle at that location was filled during the 70s.

  4. #1774
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Nanaimo
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Ran into a guy while looking at garage sales today. He is an antique collector/retailer and says he has a miners cap with head lamp and battery as well as a harness and bridal set for a mine pony/muel. Only wanted $35 for the mining cap with light and battery and wanted over $1200 for the harness since its in really good shape and extremely rare. Also has a old stove from a caboose. Also has a ton of other rare antiques and collectables that are not mine related. He ran a store in town and now its all at his house. He said he got the cap from a person in Nanaimo but doesn't know if it was used in a Nanaimo mine.

    Oh he also said he has a piece of track from the late 1800's. Didn't say the length.

  5. #1775
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    170

    Default

    I'd be happy to accept that cap, light and battery at that price if you could pick it up for me Ace. I am in the southern US this week. Please find out what he wants for the caboose stove and what the details are on it. I'm going to need one for a caboose that will be built in a year or so for the WCR. I have the design and most of the parts for it already. I have a pot belly stove that I was going to use but it is not from the island so would much prefer one that was in service in the 1800s on the island.

  6. #1776
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Nanaimo
    Posts
    171

    Default

    Don't have the money to pick it up for you at the moment but I don't think it is going anywhere soon. I saw the caboose stove in person, it stands almost waist high with a flat surface on top big enough to boil a kettle on. Even has the chimney piece for you to slide a piece of bent 6" wood stove piping on. It was kind of along the side of a pile of stuff so I couldn't see most of the body of it. I don't have his number or name but I know where he lives so if I have time I may stop by to ask him what you want to know.

  7. #1777
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    170

    Default

    Thanks Ace. It might be the right type of stove. I've heard that there were stoves called "Nanaimo" stoves made for railway use some time ago. Anybody know more about this?

  8. #1778
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    170

    Default

    Disappearing pictures?

    Does anyone know why the pictures from this forum are disappearing? I was looking through postings from about page 100 onward and notice that the pictures are not there.

  9. #1779
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Port moody
    Posts
    203

    Default

    Probably because the person who took them withdrew from this forum. I.E., GR74.
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Roosen View Post
    Disappearing pictures?

    Does anyone know why the pictures from this forum are disappearing? I was looking through postings from about page 100 onward and notice that the pictures are not there.
    Coming to you "LIVE AND IN COLOUR",from the BIG MOO!!;)

  10. #1780
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Wellington
    Posts
    170

    Default Diasappeared?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunky View Post
    Probably because the person who took them withdrew from this forum. I.E., GR74.
    Oh? I was wondering why the long silence. He has made what I think is a great contribution toward preserving the history of the Wellington area in a very fresh and engaging way. What happened to cause him to withdraw? Did he get busted digging his way through into someone's Nanaimo basement from an old mine shaft? I just returned from the southern US to Canada and will head over to the island in a couple days. I'll try looking him up when I get there. He has great knowledge and insight into island history from a unique perspective that I find admirable.

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