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3510 at Ottawa West


M4g 3510 (Baldwin 30714 4/1907) in front of Ottawa West station partially blocking Bayview Road.
Collection of Bruce Chapman Note: 3510 retired 5/1957


In my pre-teen days, every afternoon, this old cow would pull a string of cars westward along Scott Street to switch the industries...Zagerman’s, Beach Foundry, Independent Coal and Lumber, Cummings Coal, Fentiman’s, which used the team track at Westboro station, and Leafloor Coal, just east of Woodroffe Avenue.

Some of the sidings were facing westward on Scott Street, and some eastward, so returning to Ottawa West from Westboro backwards, the engine could often be seen with cars both in front of and behind the engine. The tail end crew would be on the caboose platform with their little whistling device to warn automobile drivers of the train’s approach, and 3510 would also blow for the crossings, while stuck in the middle of the little train.

One time I was talking to Duncan DuFresne about this engine, and he said 3510 was just a pile of nuts and bolts ready for the junkyard, and the regular engineer was always listed in the register book at Ottawa West as A. Ross. Duncan said that his nickname behind his back was nigger Ross, but he wasn’t black, except for the coal dust stirred up by the fireman shovelling into the firebox.

The chimney of Ottawa West station can be seen behind the engine, and the Humane Society’s little building is just to the north of the station, north of the little parking lot. The Humane Society was moved years later to Champagne Avenue near today’s O-Train station at Carling Avenue, and now it is out in the south end of Ottawa on Hunt Club Road West.

One summer day about 1955, the conductor on the work extra 3510 (west), Mike Zaroski, asked me if I wanted to take a trip in the van to Leafloor’s coal out near Woodroffe Avenue. I accepted, and rode with him in the van with the 2 other yardmen, and the engineer was the good old Andy Ross.

After doing the switching at Beach Foundry, Independent Coal and Lumber and Westboro teamtrack in front of the station, they proceeded to set off all their cars in that team track (proected at both end by derails). and proceeded out to Leafloors with just one car of coal and the van. They set off the load and lifted the empty hopper, threw the hopper on the van which was still on the main line of the Carleton Place Subdivision, and then put the whole shebang, engine, empty hopper, van and backed into the back track into the loaded car into the siding, and sat....and sat....and sat.

Finally after several minutes, I could hear a whistle off to the east. Along came the G1 4-6-2 2226 heading over to Smiths Falls with a train of boxcars of loaded paper that had come in from the C.I.P. plant in Gatineau. I guess the yard office figured that these cars would be too much tonnage for early-evening freight #83 to Smiths Falls, so they ran this extra.

When I looked at the orders on the conductor’s table in the van, he had a 31 order, which both he and engineer Ross had signed, and it said: “Work Extra 3510 protects against Extra 2226 West between Ottawa West and Britannia after 210pm”.
The dispatcher who signed the order, H.R. was Harry Rickerd who worked from Smiths Falls looking after all the branches out of Ottawa, Monday to Friday days. So after the 2226 went by, they pulled out of the back track, backed eastward to Westboro, picked up their train, and backed further to Ottawa West. I believe that they had to stop at Independent Coal and Lumber west of Island Park Drive to lift cars, so those cars would have been on the nose of the engine as he backed down Scott Street.

So ended my adventurous day. It was not my first ride nor would it be the last!




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