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In the Spring of 1958, Canadian National Railways’ transition of its locomotive roster from steam to diesel-electric is nearing completion.  Inasmuch as steam’s final scheduled run on the CNR won’t occur for another two years, on the company’s transcontinental Beachburg and Alderdale Subdivisions between Ottawa, North Bay and Capreol Ontario, the torch is being passed to the next generation of motive power.  With GMD-built FP9A and F9B units well established in passenger service on the Super Continental and the Continental for the past three years, it’s now time for regular freight service through the Upper Ottawa Valley to experience a similar transition, with mainline 2-8-2 Mikado, 2-10-2 Santa Fe, 4-8-2 Mountain and 4-8-4 Northern “Type” steam power yielding the hi-iron to modern and more efficient GMD F7A & GP9, MLW FA-1, RS-3 & RS-18, and CLC (Fairbanks-Morse designed) CFA16-4, CFB16-4, & H16-44 diesel-electric engines.


On May 27, 1958, at Pembroke, Ontario, railway enthusiast and avid photographer Stephan Delmonte “Del” Rosamond is on hand to witness and photo-archive Valley railway history in the making, as Class U-2-e “Northern Type” 4-8-4 engine CN 6179 becomes the last steam locomotive to work through Pembroke in regular freight service over CN Lines.  Engine 6179 is the last of an order of fifteen Northerns built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1940.  Sadly the locomotive would be scrapped at the London Reclamation Yard later the same year on the 7th of November, not much more than five months after Del witnessed the engine’s final passage through the Valley.


The train is operating in the eastward direction towards Ottawa, and is viewed from an elevated walkway located part way up the coaling tower.  Given the presence in the consist of flatcar loaded Model CD-52 transit buses, produced by Canadian Car & Foundry (CC&F) in Fort William for the City of Montreal, the movement likely originated at Port Arthur as Train No. 408.


The depot seen in the picture, for many years, displayed a station name board which read “Pembroke Jct”.  At some point, following the October 1956 termination of regular passenger service on the 21.1 mile Locksley Subdivision between the downtown “Pembroke” station and the hamlet of Golden Lake, the name board on the outer station was changed to “Pembroke”.  The location likely owed its “Pembroke Jct” distinction to the fact that a connecting track - seen diverging from the main line just west of the station - tied the former Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Pembroke Subdivision with former Pembroke Southern Railway trackage at National Jct. a short distance away and less than a mile from the end of track in downtown Pembroke.  Inasmuch as everything was rolled into Canadian National Railways in 1923, the “Jct” component on the name board was retained for another three-and-a half decades.  In Del’s photograph, the Locksley Subdivision’s main track can be seen in the distance on embankment near the Muskrat River beneath the steel trestle at the rear of the freight train.  It would be abandoned in the Fall of 1960.


By 1963, with the regular service steam-era officially ended on the CNR Lines three years earlier, the water tank seen in Del’s photograph had been demolished, along with the coal tower upon which Del stood to compose his picture.  In the summer of 1965 the wood-frame station building was demolished and replaced by a modern single-story brick structure that survived until the late 1990s.  Today (summer of 2018), other than the distant steel trestle which stands devoid of rail, nothing of a railway nature remains where Stephan “Del” Rosamond once bid adieu to mainline steam in the ‘Heart of the Upper Ottawa Valley’.


Raymond S. Farand
Copyright Notice: This image ©Del Rosamond all rights reserved.



Caption: In the Spring of 1958, Canadian National Railways’ transition of its locomotive roster from steam to diesel-electric is nearing completion. Inasmuch as steam’s final scheduled run on the CNR won’t occur for another two years, on the company’s transcontinental Beachburg and Alderdale Subdivisions between Ottawa, North Bay and Capreol Ontario, the torch is being passed to the next generation of motive power. With GMD-built FP9A and F9B units well established in passenger service on the Super Continental and the Continental for the past three years, it’s now time for regular freight service through the Upper Ottawa Valley to experience a similar transition, with mainline 2-8-2 Mikado, 2-10-2 Santa Fe, 4-8-2 Mountain and 4-8-4 Northern “Type” steam power yielding the hi-iron to modern and more efficient GMD F7A & GP9, MLW FA-1, RS-3 & RS-18, and CLC (Fairbanks-Morse designed) CFA16-4, CFB16-4, & H16-44 diesel-electric engines.

On May 27, 1958, at Pembroke, Ontario, railway enthusiast and avid photographer Stephan Delmonte “Del” Rosamond is on hand to witness and photo-archive Valley railway history in the making, as Class U-2-e “Northern Type” 4-8-4 engine CN 6179 becomes the last steam locomotive to work through Pembroke in regular freight service over CN Lines. Engine 6179 is the last of an order of fifteen Northerns built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1940. Sadly the locomotive would be scrapped at the London Reclamation Yard later the same year on the 7th of November, not much more than five months after Del witnessed the engine’s final passage through the Valley.

The train is operating in the eastward direction towards Ottawa, and is viewed from an elevated walkway located part way up the coaling tower. Given the presence in the consist of flatcar loaded Model CD-52 transit buses, produced by Canadian Car & Foundry (CC&F) in Fort William for the City of Montreal, the movement likely originated at Port Arthur as Train No. 408.

The depot seen in the picture, for many years, displayed a station name board which read “Pembroke Jct”. At some point, following the October 1956 termination of regular passenger service on the 21.1 mile Locksley Subdivision between the downtown “Pembroke” station and the hamlet of Golden Lake, the name board on the outer station was changed to “Pembroke”. The location likely owed its “Pembroke Jct” distinction to the fact that a connecting track - seen diverging from the main line just west of the station - tied the former Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Pembroke Subdivision with former Pembroke Southern Railway trackage at National Jct. a short distance away and less than a mile from the end of track in downtown Pembroke. Inasmuch as everything was rolled into Canadian National Railways in 1923, the “Jct” component on the name board was retained for another three-and-a half decades. In Del’s photograph, the Locksley Subdivision’s main track can be seen in the distance on embankment near the Muskrat River beneath the steel trestle at the rear of the freight train. It would be abandoned in the Fall of 1960.

By 1963, with the regular service steam-era officially ended on the CNR Lines three years earlier, the water tank seen in Del’s photograph had been demolished, along with the coal tower upon which Del stood to compose his picture. In the summer of 1965 the wood-frame station building was demolished and replaced by a modern single-story brick structure that survived until the late 1990s. Today (summer of 2018), other than the distant steel trestle which stands devoid of rail, nothing of a railway nature remains where Stephan “Del” Rosamond once bid adieu to mainline steam in the ‘Heart of the Upper Ottawa Valley’.

Raymond S. Farand

Photographer:
Del Rosamond [52] (more) (contact)
Date: 05/27/1958 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: 6179 (search)
Train Symbol: 408 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Beachburg Subdivision (search)
City/Town: Pembroke (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 33186

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4 Comments
  1. Wow, what a great shot and perspective, so much to take in from the scene. Probably my favourite photograph I’ve seen of this area. Very interesting narrative and the image processing is very well done. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Thank you, Jacob and Arnold, for your kind comments – I have to agree… Del really did a beautiful job with this shot.

    My friend, Mr. Raymond Farand, spent a lot of time and energy researching and writing the historical background for the narrative. In addition, Ray also provided expert Photoshop editing beyond what was done during the initial digital scanning by Digmypics in Arizona. For those that don’t know of Ray, he has written several excellent books regarding railroading in the Ottawa Valley. I’m extremely grateful for all of his assistance!

  3. For back in that era, this is a stunning image.

  4. Very nice narrative Peter. An ode to the end of Pembroke steam. Goes nicely with Del’s magnificent photo.

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