Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Grand Trunk’s Industrial Complex


In 1856, the Grand Trunk Railway opened a big complex of shops in Montreal to build and repair trains and locomotives. It was located in Point St. Charles, not far from the Victoria Bridge's construction site. An area of this industrial complex was intended to the work on the cars and coaches (metal and wood), while another area was intended to the work on locomotives (metal only).

Engineering Dept. Staff - 1896

By 1961, the Grand Trunk was the main employer in Montreal in regards to manufacturing jobs. In order to provide accommodation to all these workers, a series of houses, called "Sebastopol Row", were built in 1857.

There were a lot of different buildings at the Grand Trunk's industrial complex: foundries, factories, shops for construction and maintenance, a warehouse, etc. There was also a station for the train passengers. At the beginning of the 20th century, the company's headquarters moved to Downtown Montreal, but the shops remained in Point St. Charles.

In 1912, the Grand Trunk's President, Charles Hays, died in the sinking of the Titanic. It was a big loss for the company, which encountered financial problems and went bankrupt in 1919. The decision was made to merge with their rival, the Canadian Northern Railway, which was also in bankruptcy, and a new Crown corporation was founded in 1919, he Canadian National.

The CN managed the industrial complex over the 20th century, and then rented it to ALSTOM in the 1990s. The site served again for construction and maintenance of locomotives and other vehicles. Today, the site is still owned by the CN but is not in use anymore.



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The Past Whispers
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