For questions or more information, please send an email to 

mmartins@pgrfm.bc.ca

 

A̲ ̲.̲.̲.̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲A̲T̲L̲A̲S̲ ̲L̲O̲C̲O̲M̲O̲T̲I̲V̲E̲

A 65-ton diesel-electric locomotive.
This engine was built in 1942 and used by the U.S. navy to move cars at the docks until 1956. This piece is very important to our collection because it is operational and was used to move cars within the park.
The Atlas Locomotive was acquired by the museum in 1990 as a donation from Canfor’s Port Mellon pulp mill where it was used as a switcher. To deliver it to our site, first Seaspan International moved the locomotive by barge from Mellon to North Vancouver. From there, BC Rail hauled it to City of Prince George.

 

B̲.̲.̲.̲ ̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲B̲C̲ ̲R̲A̲I̲L̲ ̲A̲U̲X̲I̲L̲I̲A̲R̲Y̲ ̲C̲A̲R̲S̲

The museum holds three pieces of rolling stock used by the Prince George BCR Auxiliary. They are a Diner/ Bunk car, a Tool/ Wash car and a Diesel Crane.
What is an Auxiliary Train Crew? These were a group of workers that regularly worked in the Car Shop who would be called to respond after a train accident.
American Hoist Diesel Crane: This crane was built in 1943 and acquired by the PGE in 1955. It was used to lift derailed cars and locomotives. The crane has a very long boom measuring 14.7m and is capable of lifting 150 tons! It was lovingly nicknamed the Northern Star by its Prince George crew before it was retired by CN in 2007.
The Crew Cars: Both these cars are “combination” cars since they are split to be multifunctional. Half of the Diner/ Bunk Car is a Kitchen and eating area, and the other half is filled with bunks. The Tool/ Wash Car houses the showers and sinks, a small recreation room, a private room for the crew foreman, and a large area for tool storage.

C̲ ̲.̲.̲.̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲C̲L̲O̲C̲K̲

If you have ever visited Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum, you know that the first thing you see as you pull up is the station clock mounted on our visitor centre.

This clock was originally from the CN station in Vancouver located near China Town and the harbor, now known as the VIA Rail station. It was transferred to our institution from The Exploration Place during the 1990s.

The clock was designed by Joseph Mayer Clock Company in Seattle for the Northern Railway. There are no known Joseph Mayer clocks east of the Washington/Idaho border making ours a rare sample. Long time volunteer, Ray Rutherford, helped acquire the funds to help bring the piece to working condition.

D̲ ̲…̲ ̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲D̲R̲I̲P̲ ̲T̲O̲R̲C̲H̲

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum is lucky enough to hold the first Heli-Drip Torch ever developed and used.
A normal hand-held drip torch is a canister of flammable liquid equipped with a long tube which holds a wick. When the wick is lit, the mechanism drips “liquid flame”.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the practice of clear cutting became popular which led to a greatly increased amount of “slash”, which is the material left behind by logging activities in the bush. These remains poised a fire hazard to standing forests. While many methods of creating and maintaining controlled burns were tried, a safe method was not developed until the Heli-Drip Torch was invented through a partnership between Northwood and the Canadian Forest Service in 1974. This new gadget hung upside down beneath a helicopter to start burns without endangering workers.

E̲ ̲…̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲E̲L̲E̲C̲T̲R̲I̲C̲ ̲L̲O̲C̲O̲M̲O̲T̲I̲V̲E̲

The British Columbia Railway 6001 is the only surviving 50 kilovolt electric locomotive of its kind. It is quite rare considering there have only been three 50kv lines ever constructed worldwide.
The locomotive was built in 1983 by General Motors in collaboration with the Swedish company ASEA specifically for the Tumbler Ridge subdivision which served the bull Moose and Quintette coal mines until 2000. Because of the rails passing through long tunnels (ranging between 3.5-5.5 miles long!) diesel engines that produced smoke could not be used since the tunnels were unventilated.
After their retirement, the 6001 and her six sisters sat unused for three years until they were shipped to Tacoma, Washington to be scrapped. Fortunately, Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum through the generous donation of Paul Roy and family were able to purchase the 6001.

F̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳F̳l̳a̳n̳g̳e̳r̳ ̳C̳a̳r̳

Flangers are large metal blades that are mounted beneath different kinds of rolling stock and lowered to clear ice and snow from in between the rails. CN Flanger 56466 was donated to Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum in 2006 by the Bulkley Valley Historical Society of Smithers.

Originally built as a boxcar in 1915, the car was constructed in eastern Canada from fir. In 1949 it was modified into a Flanger Car by adding a two way blade and a cupola.

The cupola is the raised section of roof most recognizable from their common use on cabooses. Since flangers were often attached to the back of the train, the cupola allowed workers full vision.

It mainly saw service west of Smithers but sometimes worked the Endako run. In later years it was used in the yard to spread gravel and occasionally carry freight until 1978 when new safety regulations restricted the use of old wooden boxcars.

G̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳G̳r̳a̳n̳d̳ ̳T̳r̳u̳n̳k̳ ̳P̳a̳c̳i̳f̳i̳c̳ ̳T̳u̳r̳n̳t̳a̳b̳l̳e̳

The turntable now located at Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum was originally built in 1913 by the Grand Trunk Pacific for their new Prince George Roundhouse. It was dynamited from its foundation in 1984, and installed in its present location in 1990.

At 28 meters long and 102 tonnes in weight, the turntable can support over 394,000 lbs! This allowed the mechanism to turn rolling stock around and move it to the 13 rail lines in and out of the roundhouse.
Originally powered by pressurized steam, the turntable has since been converted to run on compressed air which still powers it today.

H̲ ̲.̲.̲.̲ ̲i̲s̲ ̲f̲o̲r̲ ̲H̲0̲ ̲S̲c̲a̲l̲e̲ ̲M̲o̲d̲e̲l̲ ̲T̲r̲a̲i̲n̲s̲

H0 scale model trains are 1/ 87th the size of regular rolling stock! The “H” stands for “half” since this gauge is half the size of “O” scale. These are the most popular scale of model trains in North America.

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum has a large collection of H0 scale model trains. A small portion of this collection can be seen displayed in our gift shop. In this display you can even see a rare model of one of the sisters of our electric locomotive.
We are currently working on a H0 scale model layout which features some industries significant to BC such as forestry, railway transportation, and mining.

I̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳I̳n̳s̳u̳l̳a̳t̳o̳r̳

Insulators were an integral part of the telegraph, and later telephone, system.
The wires were attached to wooden pegs which if wet would conduct electricity poorly and reduce the signal though the wires. Insulators were designed to protect the pegs, keeping them clean and dry.
Before the turn of the 20th century, glass was the preferred material for insulators because it was cheaper than porcelain. However, as electrical lines increased in strength, more resilient insulators were needed and porcelain increased in popularity.

At Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum we have many insulators. The majority of these were salvaged from old abandoned telegraph lines in the bush. This past summer our curatorial assistants inventoried over 1,200!

J̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳J̳o̳r̳d̳a̳n̳ ̳S̳p̳r̳e̳a̳d̳e̳r̳

Jordan Spreaders were commonly used to smooth and grade the gravel ballast alongside railway tracks; however, they were also used to clear snow and other track blockages.

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum holds CN 51070, a Jordan Spreader built by O.F. Jordan Company of East Chicago in 1919 for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

Originally an open design, a wooden cab was later built over the controls which along with a stove made operation much more comfortable for workers during the winter. This Spreader is equipped with two large blades that fold out from the body to extend out and over the tracks on both sides. While the wings are moved by compressed air, Jordan Spreaders do not have the capacity to move themselves, so they are pushed in front of locomotives.

K̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳K̳i̳t̳c̳h̳e̳n̳

Several of the rail cars at Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum have kitchen and dining facilities. We have chosen to feature the kitchen in one of our combination coaches, the Endeavour!

The Endeavour is a combination dining and power car that was built during the 1920s. Half of the car is set up as an open kitchen and bar, while the other half houses two large generators that could power the whole train! It served just this purpose in 1976 aboard the American Freedom Train which toured the USA to celebrate its bicentennial.
The Endeavour was later purchased by BC Rail and was run in the Royal Hudson service. The Royal Hudson service was aimed directly at garnering tourism dollars while harkening back to the nostalgic age of steam locomotion.

L̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳L̳a̳n̳t̳e̳r̳n̳

At Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum we have many examples of Railway and Switch Lanterns.

Signals often varied depending on the country or railway company who used them, but in general a red flag or light meant stop, green meant go and amber to slow down.
In addition, in the USA, moving the lamp up and down vertically was a signal to proceed; moving them across the track was a signal to stop; moving them in a circle was a signal to back up; or holding the lamp out steadily was a signal to reduce speed and take caution.
In Canada, in the past, since passengers were a rarity at small town stations, the train would not stop unless it was flagged down. When passengers wanted the train to stop they used a green and white lantern side-by-side.

M̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳M̳a̳n̳u̳a̳l̳ 

There are so many manuals! 

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum  holds hundreds of operating and maintenance manuals for many industrial machines, locomotives, and pieces of rolling stock.

In these documents an operator, mechanic, or researcher could find many different categories of information such as electrical diagrams, fuel and lubrication systems, cooling water and air systems, lubrication schedule, tests-circuits, parts catalogue, and this is only to name a few examples!

 

 

N̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳N̳o̳r̳t̳h̳w̳o̳o̳d̳ ̳#̳1̳0̳1̳ 

We have many hidden gems that are rarely seen by the public at Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum! One of them is the Northwood #101 Locomotive. 

This 65 ton Diesel-Electric locomotive was built in April 1943 by General Electric for the US Navy as #65-00407 where it worked in Long Beach, California. It was later used at the Naval Ammo Depot in Burns City, Indiana. After the Locomotives work with the Navy, it was purchased by Northwood Pulp and Timber in June 1965. Northwood used this engine along with units #102 and #103. Northwood #101 was acquired by Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum in 1993 as a donation from Northwood, now a subsidiary of Canfor.

 

O̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳O̳p̳e̳r̳a̳t̳o̳r̳ 

Did you know that Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum also has telecommunications equipment housed in our Cora Bell Donald Building!?

As part of the collection there are two switchboards that would have required operators.

Switchboard operators were typically women. The position was considered a respectable job where women were favoured over men. The expectation was that women were more polite, and pleasant to listen to than men.

Each light, or “doll’s-eye” indicator, on a switchboard was assigned to another exchange. When a subscriber wanted to make a long-distance call, they would dial zero and their exchange’s corresponding indicator would light up.

An operator would see this and answer the call by plugging a cord into the lit-up jack. She would then ask the caller the number they wanted to call and plug the corresponding cord into the jack of the requested area and then dial the given number.

To gain the attention of the person being called, the operator would hold down the “ring” switch. After these steps, the callers would be connected. When both receivers were replaced the indicators would once again go dark. This was seen by the operator and she would disconnect the cords and carry on with the next call.

P̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳P̳.̳G̳.̳E̳.̳ ̳C̳a̳b̳o̳o̳s̳e̳

 What does P.G.E. stand for?

The Pacific Great Eastern of course! Although, these initials have also been jokingly said to stand for phrases such as Prince George Eventually and Provinces Greatest Expense.

 The building of the P.G.E. began in 1912 with a mission to connect southern BC to the north. It arrived in Quesnel in 1918, but construction soon after ground to a halt in the face of building challenges and then one world war after another.

After a gap of 40 years had passed and much money spent, the P.G.E. finally arrived in Prince George in 1952.

We have several artifacts at Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum  that were owned by the P.G.E.; however, many have been repainted in BC Rail colours. One piece that still bares the P.G.E. logo is our P.G.E. Caboose 1845. The caboose was built in 1913 as a boxcar for St. Louis & Shannon Francisco and was later converted to a caboose in 1956. The Caboose was bought by the Pacific Great Eastern in 1957.

Q̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳Q̳u̳e̳e̳n̳'̳s̳ ̳C̳o̳d̳e̳ 

If you have ever taken a ride on the Cottonwood Minirail train, you have heard the conductor and engineer communicating with whistle signals. Did you know that we use the same signals actually used on the railway!

 In North America two whistles means to release the brakes and go, one whistle means to engage the brakes and stop, and three means the train is going to back up.

The last signal we use is to indicate that the train is coming up to a crossing.

The signal is two long blasts followed by a short blast and one more long blast, ( - - . - ), which is also the morse code signal for the letter “Q”. 

It is debated how this signal originated, but one common legend is that British ships were ordered to sound this signal to let other boat traffic know that the Queen was on board and that other ships must yield to her passage.

R̳ ̳.̳.̳.̳ ̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳R̳u̳s̳t̳a̳d̳ ̳B̳r̳o̳t̳h̳e̳r̳s̳'̳ ̳A̳r̳c̳h̳ ̳T̳r̳u̳c̳k̳ 

Perhaps because they are so common and such an integral part of our industrial lives, the evolution of logging trucks has largely gone unnoticed. The arch bar truck is but one of many variations of logging trucks that have served the forest industry.

This N.O. series Mack truck was built in 1943 originally to haul US Army 155mm artillery field guns in Italy during WWII. It is one of four purchased in 1953 by Carl Rustad to be converted for use in logging by adding an arch and winch to the rear suspension.

It is a six-wheel drive and was converted to a Cummins six-cylinder diesel engine in 1956. It could pull 6000-7000 board feet of logs into the bush mills from very great distances and over roads of very low quality.

S̳ ̳…̳i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳S̳e̳m̳a̳p̳h̳o̳r̳e̳

Semaphores, like this one on Penny Station, were used by stationmasters to communicate with incoming trains. The position of the semaphore would instruct the engineer whether to stop at the station, slow down, or keep going.

Today the Penny Station Semaphore is painted all black, but as you can see in the photograph, its blades used to be painted bright red with a white stripe. This distinct colouring was to ensure a high contrast between the semaphore blade and its natural background.

Additionally, the Penny Station Semaphore is equipped with coloured lenses at the base of each blade. At night when the blades were not visible, their movement could still align these lenses through which a light would be shone to show oncoming trains the appropriate signal.

 

T̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳T̳e̳l̳e̳t̳y̳p̳e̳ 

The teletype, or teleprinter, was used to send and receive messages in morse code. However, it differed from other telegraph technology because it could read and translate morse code for the user! A worker could type out a message which the machine would translate into morse code and send over the wires. When it arrived, another teletype would read the message in morse, translate it into words, and then print a copy.

At Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum we have several different vintages of teletypes which would read and print messages in different ways. Since they were commonly used by the railway, the museum has several examples of teletypes used by CN Communications.

U̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳U̳n̳i̳f̳o̳r̳m̳

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum holds many uniforms that formerly belonged to conductors and engineers from several different railway companies, as well as uniforms from members of the BC Forest Service. This post will focus on conductor’s uniforms.

The traditional uniform worn by conductors and brakemen was a 3-piece suit; coat, vest, and trousers. They were designed for long service and hard use. For this reason, pockets and coat cuffs were often edged with leather.

Typically, brass would be used for the buttons on a conductor’ uniform and nickel on a brakeman’s. Badges worn on hats would also follow this material pattern and would bear the railroad’s name or logo.

At the museum, we are lucky to have samples of conductor uniforms from the Pacific Great Eastern, BC Rail, and Canadian National.

V̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳V̳e̳l̳o̳c̳i̳p̳e̳d̳e̳

Velocipedes are man powered track vehicles that were often used by track inspectors as well as other railway workers.

George S. Sheffield, a Michigan farmer, invented a three-wheeled railroad hand-car propelled by a combination of hand and foot power in 1877. He applied for a patent on his hand-car in 1879 and later that same year established his business, the George S. Sheffield & Company. His design was the model for most later velocipedes including the one pictured here.

Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum has five velocipedes housed on site. Two of these were donated by Canadian National in 1988. They are made mostly of wood in order to keep them as light as possible, weighing only 140 pounds, thus enabling one person to get the vehicle on and off the track quickly if necessary.

W̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳W̳a̳t̳e̳r̳o̳u̳s̳ ̳B̳a̳n̳d̳s̳a̳w̳

Frank J. Waterous founded the Waterous Engine Work Co. in Brantford, Ontario in 1844.

The company was known for manufacturing steam engines and sawmill equipment.

This 8-foot diameter double cut bandsaw was installed in Eagle Lake Spruce Mills of Giscome, BC in the 1930s and operated until 1974. It was donated to Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum in 1989 by Northwood, now a subsidiary of Canfor.

The saw was used to cut round logs into square cants and lumber. Bandsaws were popular because they created less sawdust and were more efficient than other types of saws. The byproduct of making the square cants, was the outside pieces called slabs. These slabs were either burned or forwarded to a smaller mill where they were sized and cut into smaller dimension product. 

X̳ ̳...i̳̳s ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳C̳r̳o̳s̳s̳b̳u̳c̳k̳

Yes, we know Crossbuck doesn’t start with an X, but they are shaped like one!

A crossbuck is placed at a level crossing, which is an intersection where a road and a railway line cross, in order to warn non-railway traffic. 

At Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum, we have several places where our minirail and roadways cross. In these locations, we are always sure to have a crossbuck displayed!

Our newest and most impressive example is pictured here. This crossbuck was assembled this past summer by a group of wonderful volunteers with parts salvaged from the Hansard Lake Bridge.

Y̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳Y̳a̳l̳e̳n̳k̳a̳ ̳B̳u̳n̳k̳h̳o̳u̳s̳e̳

Originally a Canadian National Railway bunkhouse, this building was restored by the Yalenka Ukrainian Cultural Society to celebrate 100 years of Ukranian settlement in Canada in 1992. They also had the goal of preserving the experience of railway workers who lived in such buildings around Prince George.

The portable bunkhouse was used along the railway to house up to 12 workers who repaired the tracks as needed. These men fixed broken ties, cleaned up train wrecks, cleared the track of debris, and performed general maintenance. When they finished one section, the steam crane lifted the little house onto a flatbed rail car and moved it to the next location. These men were among the first Ukrainians to settle in the Prince George region. 

 

 

Z̳ ̳...i̳s̳ ̳f̳o̳r̳ ̳Z̳e̳r̳o̳ of course!

We looked all over Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum for the best zero to bring to you all and finally decided on the luggage scale currently residing in Penny Station.

This is an example of a station platform scale that would have typically resided at a railway station. These pieces of equipment were used by railways to weigh luggage and goods to ensure there wasn’t too much loaded on the train and also to calculate charges for transport. Because of their comparatively small size, these scales were only used to weigh small amounts of goods brought by passengers or being shipped by individuals.