Algoma Central Railway by O S Nock 1975 190 Pages Dust Jacket
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Algoma Central Railway by O S Nock 1975 190 Pages Dust Jacket
Algoma Central Railway by O S Nock
190 Pages Indexed
Hard Cover with dust jacket
Fascinating history of the Algoma Central Railway written by noted British railway authority, O. S. Nock. The book chronicles the origin and development of the Algoma under Francis Clergue, its bankruptcy when his Consolidated Lake Superior Corp. went under in 1903, and the growth of the company though the 1960s. Illustrated throughout with black and white (and a few color) photos and maps. 190 pages with index.
A few years ago I was asked by the publishing firm of A & C Black Ltd of London, England, to write a series of books on the railways of the world. I had already written extensively about those of the United Kingdom, about their history, equipment, operation and their railroad men; but this was an altogether wider-ranging assignment. By the year x971 the first two volumes in this new series, dealing respectively with Southern Africa and with Australia were finished and I was at work on the third, to be devoted to Canada. It was then that I was introduced to Sir Denys Lowson, Bart, then Chairman of the Algoma Central Railway. He not only arranged for me to go to Sault Ste Marie to see the railway, and obtain information for my book on the railways of Canada, but he asked me to consider doing a book solely about the Algoma Central-not in the ordinary World Railways series but a 'special'. Just before Christmas that same year at a very pleasant social gathering in London, England, I met Len Savoie, President of the Railway, Jack Thompson, the Vice-President and General Manager, and members of the Board of Directors.
It was however not until the following summer that I was able to visit the Algoma Country, and then with my wife, I enjoyed three delightful days on the railway. In the business car Agawa in the company of Jack Thompson, Tom Gillespie the Comptroller, and their wives, we traveled the length of the line, and later I was able to study many historical documents in the head office at Sault Ste Marie. I left that fascinating and historic city convinced that there was ample material for a full-length book, and I received the 'go-ahead' at a meeting in London late in 1972. It was then arranged that I should return to Canada in the fall of 1973 to travel the railway, sec the glorious coloring of the trees in the forests at that season, and journey in the ships of the company. But a serious, though fortunately transient illness, prevented my going at that time and my visit was postponed until the opening of the shipping season, in 1974. So I spent an enthralling month on location, when the winter snows were only beginning to melt, and when there was still a great deal of ice on Lake Superior.
But there was no icy chill about the welcome I received from everyone on the Algoma Central Railway, and the writing of this book, to which I had looked for many months with pleasurable anticipation, became a positive 'labor of love'. From the President, Len Savoie, downward, the officers and staff of the company gave of their time and experience with the most wholehearted enthusiasm. Everywhere it was not only the formal help that one might have expected toward the execution of a project initiated by the Chairman of the Company, there was a spontaneous friendly interest by everyone I met, from senior assistants who sometimes produced hidden treasures of historical interest that their bosses did not know existed (!) to the bright young secretaries who always seemed to have tea or coffee ready at the appropriate moments. It was indeed a happy experience for me. Elsewhere in the book I have told of some of the great characters I met 'out the line'.
I was in Sault Ste Marie at the time of the Annual General Meeting of the Company in April 1974, presided over by Sir Denys Lowson himself; I was invited to attend and subsequent events that day reminded me of the occasion nearly 40 years earlier when the Great Western Railway of England celebrated the hundredth anniversary of its Incorporation in a grand luncheon in the Great Hall of the University of Bristol. Then the Chairman of the Company, Sir Robert Home, quoting from a letter of an old friend, said: 'All England seems to have a friendly family feeling for the Great Western'. Having attended that Annual General Meeting, in April 1974, talked to some of the shareholders, and met many prominent local men at a dinner held the same evening I felt that the same sentiments could be expressed in Sault Ste Marie, where everyone seemed to have a 'friendly family feeling' for the Algoma Central Railway.
During my stay I was able to visit some of the great companies that, like the railway, had their origin in the fabulous Clergue 'empire' at the beginning of the twentieth century; and I am much indebted to Jack Barber of the Algoma Steel Corporation, to Alf Askin of the Abitibi Paper Company and to Bill Hogg of the Great Lakes Power Company for arranging for me to see round their fine plants. I have to thank also Bob Curran, Managing Director of the Sault Daily Star, for allowing me to study the old files of that newspaper and for providing some interesting photographs. Here again I found the staunchest support for all activities of the Algoma Central.
My most patent debt however is of course to Sir Denys Lowson himself; for his invitation to do the job and for the very generous assistance he provided to help me to do it.
Since this book was written Sir Denys Lowson, who is mentioned throughout the text, retired as Chairman of the Board and Director of the Company. Sir Denys made a highly significant contribution to the growth and welfare of Algoma Central Railway over a period of many years, commencing with his work as a member of the Bondholders Committee, and continuing with his efforts on behalf of the shareholders during the reorganization of the company in 1958-9.
Sault Ste Marie,0 S NOCK
November t 974
The 'Soo' and Its Founder,
The Clergue Financial Empire: Build-up and Crash,
3 On the Line-Early Days,
4 The Years of Uncertainty,
5 Steam Locomotives,
6 Earlier Days on the Great Lakes,
7 The Bondholders' Control Period: Operation and Engineering
8 Bondholders' Control and Its Ending: Financial Operations,
9 The Changing Pattern of Business: 1950-66,
10 The Railway Today: Its Track, Bridges, Communications and People,
11 Modern Freight Operation
12 Diesel Locomotive Power and Rolling Stock,
13 Traffic on the Great Lakes, and the Ships That Run It,
14 The Soo to Thunder Bay and Back by MV Algoway,
15 Business Allies in the Soo: Algoma Steel,
16 Business Allies in the Soo: Abitibi Paper and Lake Superior Power ,
17 In the Track of the Black Bear: Passenger Business and Mail,
18 Natural Resource Developments on Lands Owned by the ACR,
19 Real Estate: the City Center Development at the Soo,
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