VIEW-1211.1 | Grand Trunk Railway locomotive and tender, QC, about 1870

Grand Trunk Railway locomotive and tender, QC, about 1870
William Notman (1826-1891)
1860-1880, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
18 x 24 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Photograph (77678) , rail (370) , Train (185) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

The first locomotives to travel on the Grand Trunk Railway beginning in1854 were imported, but the company soon opened shops in the Pointe-Saint-Charles district of Montreal, where it built and maintained its rolling stock.

The steam locomotive illustrated here had to be accompanied by its tender, the wagon containing the fuel needed to build up enough pressure in the steam chamber. Adjusting the appropriate amount of coal was a very delicate operation. If the boiler was too hot, it could explode, whereas if it was not hot enough, the train would not have sufficient power. A characteristic trail of smoke came out of the chimney when the train was moving.

  • What

    At the end of the 1880s, the Grand Trunk's rolling stock included 700 locomotives, 578 cars, 60 postal wagons, 131 baggage cars, 18 000 box cars and 49 snowplows.

  • Where

    The Grand Trunks' shops were located near the Victoria Bridge in Montreal.

  • When

    In 1867, at the time of Confederation, the Grand Trunk had 2 055 kilometres of railway tracks.

  • Who

    The Peto, Brassey and Betts company of Great Britain built the Grand Trunk in the mid-19th century. In this era, the British had top-ranking expertise in this field.