Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Locomotive #374

Sir William Van Horne, President of the CPR. Photo was taken in 1910. From the Vancouver Public Library Archives.
President Van Horne wrote a letter to Major Rogers, a CPR supervisor on December 8, 1884. Part of it read: “Company’s plans of Vancouver townsite must be kept from everyone, including your own engineers.” Mysterious wouldn't you say?

Letters went back and forth and on February 23, 1885, a formal contract was drawn up between the CPR and the province of British Columbia. But the BC government had some provisions.

1. The Company shall extend the main line of the CPR to Coal Harbour and English Bay, and shall forever thereafter maintain and equip such extension as part of the main.

2. Extension to be fully completed by December 31, 1886.

3. The terminus of the CPR shall be established in the immediate vicinity of Coal Harbour and English Bay.

4. The Company shall erect and maintain terminal workshops and other terminal structures in the immediate vicinity of Coal Harbour and English Bay so as to provide for opening of traffic on the through line by December 11, 1886.

5. Survey of the line to be taken at once.

6. No Chinese shall be employed in the construction of the extension of the main line from Port Moody to English Bay.
This is locomotive #374, the first passenger train into Vancouver. Photo from the City of Vancouver archives.
A group of people waiting for the locomotive #374. I think this is a photo taken at a recreation of this event in the 1940s. Photo from the City of Vancouver.
Another photo from the re-enactment of the arrival of  Vancouver's first passenger train. Taken in 1946 and obtained from the Vancouver Public Library Archives.
Another photo from the re-enactment. The locomotive was a gift to the city of Vancouver.

In return for the railway meeting the above conditions, the CPR was gifted 6,000 acres of land in the general area of the terminus and the south of False Creek. This area was heavily wooded and had little or no settlers. 

In October of 1886, the city-council of the newly born city of Vancouver - the name was chosen by Van Horne - induced the CPR to build shops, stores and terminal facilities on the north shore of False Creek. In return, the CPR had 20 years of not paying taxes on the land. The CPR agreed and the English Bay branch and Drake Street yard were born.

The extension from Port Moody to Vancouver was supposed to be completed by December 1886 but that didn't happen. Port Moody landowners didn't want the CPR on their property and obtained injunctions to keep the railway off. The Supreme Court of Canada dissolved these injunctions on January 5, 1887.

An 1899 photo of locomotive #374 on Spuzzum River Bridge.
And in 1909 on the Salmon River Steel Bridge.
Arriving in Vancouver on May 23, 1887.
May 23, 1887. Photos courtesy of the Vancouver Public Library online.

After that, things moved in a hurry. The first locomotive whistle was heard in Vancouver and on February 23, 1887, Vancouver saw its first train. Locomotive #132 pulled in as far as Alexander Street. Pulling four flatcars loaded with rails, ties and two cabooses, the train spent the night. The next day, track laying toward Coal Harbour began.

Fast forward to May 21, 1887. The Construction Department handed the Port Moody-Vancouver Line to the Operating Department. The CPR staff located in Port Moody came by train to Vancouver that night to take up residence. 

At 12:45 pm on May 23, 1887, crowds were gathered and the party started as the first passenger train pulled into Vancouver. The first passenger that stepped off was a 21-year-old Welshman named Jonathan Rogers. I read where he thought the fan fare and the celebration was for him, which in a way, it was. Rogers went on to become a major developer in this city.

1887 photo of locomotive #374 carrying canned salmon.
H.T. Devine took this photo of the arrival of Locomotive #374.
Dominion Photo Co. took this photo. The date is listed as 1886 but it looks more like the ones from May of 1887.
1961 photo of kids playing on locomotive #374 at Kitsilano. This photo was taken for the Province newspaper.

I want to thank Bernie Tully for writing the article at the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website where I got the information. Also, thanks to the City of Vancouver archives and the Vancouver Public Library for the old photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

Jonathan Rogers in 1915. Photo from City of Vancouver archives.
Jonathan Rogers, May 1937. City of Vancouver archives.
Mr and Mrs. Jonathan Rogers in costume at the re-dedication of Stanley Park in 1943.
Mr and Mrs. Jonathan Rogers in costume at the re-dedication of Stanley Park in 1943.

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