The History of South River-Machar, Ontario
The Iron Horse Cometh
Hand Drawn Postcard of The Grand Trunk Railroad Station, circa 1900
Hand Drawn Postcard of The Grand Trunk Railroad Station, circa 1900 Details

The story of South River could not be complete without a trek down the tracks and look at the images of the railroad. Here is a picture of the Grand Trunk Railway Station. This picture was part of a series of postcards made to celebrate the 75th anniversary of South River(1907-1982). The Grand Trunk Railway was incorporated in 1852 with the purpose to establish railroad lines through the provinces of Canada. The Grand Trunk Railway merged with the Canadian National Railroad in January of 1910.

First Train Passing Through to the North
First Train Passing Through to the North Details

A locomotive and train cars, of the Grand Trunk Railway, heading to the North. From the 1890s through World War One the Grand Trunk Railway developed its lines in a massive expansion project. Behind the train is the South River Train Station and a train can be seen coming into the station.

Northbound Grand Trunk Railway Locomotive, South River Railway Yard
Northbound Grand Trunk Railway Locomotive, South River Railway Yard Details

Another locomotive sitting in the South River Train station getting ready to take its cars up to the North.

Grand Trunk Railway Depot in South River
Grand Trunk Railway Depot in South River Details

Another picture of the South River Train station with a train sitting in front of it. There are people milling around the station. The South River Train Station was a busy place back in the day.

Postcard of a Train
Postcard of a Train Details

A train waiting at the South River Train Station. The walkway is covered in ice. There is snow here and there near the train wheels.

Old Coal Chute, 1948
Old Coal Chute, 1948 Details

A fixture at the South River Train yard. This is a coal chute. This was the gas pump of the locomotive. Just drive under, open the chute and the coal will drop into the coal car.

Hand Drawn Postcard of the Grand Trunk Railroad Coal Chute, circa 1900
Hand Drawn Postcard of the Grand Trunk Railroad Coal Chute, circa 1900 Details

This is the coal chute at the South River Train Yard. In this artist's rendition we see what this structure would have looked like in its heyday. The coal chute could only look this good in a picture. Again this was part of a series of postcards created to help celebrate the 75th anniversary of South River(1907-1982).

Old Coal Chute Standard Chemical Company, May 1983
Old Coal Chute Standard Chemical Company, May 1983 Details

This is what the coal chute looks like after years of disuse. The coal chute's chute has disappeared. The train tracks, however, are still there. The silo is beginning to rust. Whether this structure is still standing or not is unknown.

Postcard of Grand Truck Railroad Bridge South River, circa 1920
Postcard of Grand Truck Railroad Bridge South River, circa 1920 Details

The Grand Trunk Railroad Bridge allowed trains access to the town of South River by crossing the South River. You can see another part of the South River economy floating under the bridge. Those logs are going to be processed somewhere down the river, likely at the Standard Chemical Company.

The South River Iron Bridge Spanning the South River
The South River Iron Bridge Spanning the South River Details

This is what the Grand Trunk Railroad Bridge looks like circa 1985. Unfortunately only half the bridge can be seen. This iron bridge is still strong and can be used at this time. It looks like the logging industry has gone down hill. There are no logs passing under the bridge.

Grand Trunk Railway Viaduct, South River
Grand Trunk Railway Viaduct, South River Details

Another Grand Trunk Railroad Train going to the town of South River. This time the train is passing over, not just a bridge, but a viaduct. What is a viaduct? Well, a viaduct covers an open span which is roughly equal height on either side, and this opening was created by erosion, usually a river, in an otherwise flat area.

Train Southbound on the Viaduct
Train Southbound on the Viaduct Details

There goes another Grand Trunk Railroad train along the viaduct. This one going in the opposite direction.

"Hauling Birch" Postcard, South River, circa 1920
"Hauling Birch" Postcard, South River, circa 1920 Details

One of the primary uses of the train in South River was hauling lumber from the expansive forests to one of the number of lumber mills in the area. This picture has a train 'Hauling Birch' from the wilderness to civilization.

Supplies to Lumber Camp, #3 Locomotive, circa 1930
Supplies to Lumber Camp, #3 Locomotive, circa 1930 Details

When logging was done out in the middle of nowhere men would live in logging camps. Trains would play an important part to these men. The trains would bring in supplies for men of the camp. This train was just used for delivering supplies. They should be bringing up food and bringing back timber to save time and money.

Log Train Ready to be Moved, circa 1920
Log Train Ready to be Moved, circa 1920 Details

This is what it looks like when a log train has been loaded up and ready to be transported. If you look to the left there are more logs ready to be loaded when the next group of empty cars are ready to be loaded.

Standard Chemical Company Lumber Camp, 1939
Standard Chemical Company Lumber Camp, 1939 Details

To get an idea of size and scale of these trains and their loads. There is a man sitting on the end of the logs in the second car. The diametre of those logs are as big as his chest!

Standard Chemical Company Switching to get in Front of Log Train, circa 1930
Standard Chemical Company Switching to get in Front of Log Train, circa 1930 Details

The locomotive is switching the line so that it can pickup a load of train cars. These train cars will be brought back to the Standard Chemical Company and be turned into lumber.

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