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Industrial Railways

by R. L. Kennedy

Industrial railways come in three general categories:

1. Non-common carrier (or, private) railways such as those operated by logging companies. These were not well known beyond their local area due their private nature. Some did haul local freight and passengers (mostly employees) to serve remote areas. Better-known ones included the Thurso & Nation Valley in Quebec, once owned by Singer (sewing machine) Manufacturing; Smoky Falls Railway (1926-1974) operated by the large Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company serving the Kimberly-Clark of Canada newsprint mill in Kapuskasing, Ontario; Abitibi Power and Paper's 40 mile long logging line operated 1922-1953, out of Iroquois Falls, Ontario; and Canadian Forest Products (CANFOR) Englewood Logging Division in the Nimpkish Valley of northern Vancouver Island. This latter operation is the last remaining logging railway in Canada. British Columbia once had the largest number of logging operations using rail.

· Others served mining operations such as the Asbestos & Danville once owned by Canadian Johns-Manville, serving a vast asbestos mine and mill in Quebec. International Nickel Company of Canada (INCO) in Copper Cliff once operated about 100 miles of railway with about two dozen locomotives (mostly electric) to serve its nickel mines and smelter in the Sudbury area.

· Yet another unique non-common carrier is the still in operation, Greater Winnipeg Water District Railway.

2. Internal Transportation in large industrial complexes such as steel mills and ore smelters. The Steel Company of Canada (STELCO) in Hamilton had an extensive operation to serve the massive steel mill complex. It once totalled over 100 miles of trackage requiring about two dozen locomotives. Dominion Foundries & Steel (DOFASCO), also in Hamilton had a substantial operation as well. Algoma Steel in Sault St. Marie likewise had a large internal transportation operation. All three still exist, all through in decreased dimensions.

· A sub-category is the more common plant switcher serving a large or medium sized industry requiring its own schedule of switching freight cars in its own sidings. These small operations serve one plant and often don't even cross a public road. More commonly they use a hand-me-down locomotive or even simply a car mover. The latter often referred to by the brand name Trackmobile (made by Whiting Equipment) but there are many other makers.

3. Construction contractors include those building normal railway lines, more common in the 19th and early 20th Centuries; and those established for a large project such as massive hydro-electric generating facilities. Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario (HEPC) had a number of these railways (some in remote areas remained behind to provide access to them), including the Queenston canal and generation plant near Niagara Falls. The massive Beauharnois Power dam in (Beauharnois, Light, Heat & Power) Quebec was another large construction railway.

Ontario Industrial Locomotives

Canada Industrial Locomotives
[all other provinces]

Steam Ontario Industrial Locomotives

Kirkfield Crushed Stone
narrow gauge steam operation

Canada Steam Industrial Locomotives
[all other provinces]

Construction Locomotives


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