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The Carillon & Grenville Railway A Living Museum

The new parent company saw little need to improve its railway property and the Carillon & Grenville eventually became antiquated.

In 1867 the railway acquired a tiny engine named Firefly. It was an 0-4-0 with an upright boiler that wasn’t much larger than a hand car. As it couldn’t pull anything it was presumed to have seen service as an inspection engine. It was scrapped in 1880.

A third locomotive, number 3 named Carillon, was added to the roster in 1874. This was purchased second-hand from the Grand Trunk and was an interesting piece of machinery. It was a 4-4-0 that originated as a 2-2-2 Birkenhead built in 1856 by Peto & Company’s Canada works at Birkenhead, England. It was converted to a 4-2-2 in 1856 and then to a 4-4-0.

A key figure in the operation was John Halsey who was instrumental in keeping this rolling museum on the rails. He functioned as General Manager, Superintendent, Road Master, Master Mechanic and Engine Driver. Two or three times per year he would visit the Grand Trunk’s Point St. Charles shops in Montreal to salvage parts from scrapped locomotives.

In 1895 locomotive number 1, Ottawa, was destroyed in an engine-shed fire. Locomotive number 3, Carillon, was renamed Ottawa at this time. The November 1899 Railway and Shipping World ran this excellent description of the state of affairs on the Carillon & Grenville:

"An odd institution that has lately come under my notice" said a friend of mine the other day, "is the railway 12 miles in length between Grenville and Carillon on the Ottawa River. This railway is employed for the transport of passengers and baggage going by steamer from Montreal to Ottawa and vice versa. The train, which consists of a locomotive and one car, makes only one trip per day, leaving Carillon on the arrival of the boat from Montreal, and on the return leaving Grenville on arrival of the steamer from Ottawa. The line runs through fields some distance from the river. The roadbed and rails cannot be seen except at close range, being overgrown with grass. At a glance the engine is seen to be an old timer, and probably will not stand a pressure of more than 30 to 40 lbs. It looks very like the first locomotive put into service on the old Northern Ry. and which, I understand, was built at Good's foundry, on Queen Street in Toronto. An old gentleman, grey haired and grey bearded, attired in a long black coat, white tie and high collar and presenting the appearance of a superannuated preacher, occupies the dual position of conductor and brakeman. Notwithstanding his antiquated appearance, however, he seemed to be rather more up to date in his movements, for on the whistle sounding 'down brakes' he responded so quickly that the locomotive and car were brought to a stop some distance before the platform which does duty as a station, was reached, and the train had consequently to be started up again to reach its destination." In concluding his description, my friend remarked that the old conductor must have a great task on his hands in making up his daily returns for the railway company. - "By The Way" in Canadian Electrical News. (Courtesy of Colin J. Churcher)

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