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Old Time Trains


Philip Mason

First train over the newly CTC equipped former NTR mainline to Moncton arriving from Montreal October 2, 1941. Canadian National Railways.

The CTC applied to the NTR was some of the earliest in Canada, and I believe it was funded by the Federal Government directly to speed traffic between Halifax and Charny to help with the war effort.

CN routed all the military traffic , both material and troop trains over the NTR. The signals were distinctive, being "traffic light" style rather than searchlights. Another location that had a very early "island" of CTC control was Hervey Jonction where the NTR crossed the Quebec & Lake St.John. During WW2, the line to Arvida and Chicoutimi was very busy with bauxite traffic going in and aircraft aluminum going out.

Oddly enough, I understand this early CTC was built by Siemens Electric (which also built the TTC subway signals), however by the time WW2 came around, the North American operations of Siemens were seperate from the German parent company. Seemingly, only CN used Siemens signals, and later transferred to General Railway or US&S signals. The Siemens signals were very reliable, and a few remained in service well into the 1990's.

The NTR CTC was controlled from a new dispatching office at Edmundston. The control desks would have been built by Siemens also. The CTC covered Charny-Monk-Edmondston-Napadogan-Pacific Junction, four steam era subdivisions.

Since the new signal system was highly visible to the public, CN and the Government explained that the new system was to help with the war effort, and made the initiation of the service a media event.

Pacific Junction was just to the west of Moncton, so I'm sure the CTC extended into Moncton.

I think portions of the former Intercolonial may have had ABS added around the same time, again using the distinctive Siemens "traffic light" block signals. Some of the MLW Howard Fogg paintings show CN diesels passing this style of signal.

My guess is this is an eastbound passenger train at Moncton arriving on the first day of CTC operation.

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