The Burlington Canal Bridges

David O'Reilly

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#81
Scott
“The Swing Bridges

With the spread of the railway through out the Hamilton area, a more cost effective route was look at, the trip through the Beach Strip saved considerable time and money, so it was the railway that brought the first heavy moveable structure to the Beach.”

“On April 28, 1952, the north leaf of the road bascule bridge was damaged beyond repair when the laker W.E. Fitzgerald collided with it. It was never rebuilt, and a temporary bridge was installed to meet the south bascule.”

Scott
In the Hotels on the Beach thread, you indicate that the temporary bascule bridge was made of wood.
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/threads/hotels-on-the-beach.2165/

I presume you mean that the deck of the bridge was made of wood? And that the frame, was made of steel? Do you have any other information on this bridge? Maybe news paper articles?
 

scotto

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#82
Scott
In the Hotels on the Beach thread, you indicate that the temporary bascule bridge was made of wood.
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-2165.html

I presume you mean that the deck of the bridge was made of wood? And that the frame, was made of steel? Do you have any other information on this bridge? Maybe news paper articles?
That is correct, old pictures show steel I-beams being supported by more steel beams coming out of the water. The bridge sat on these beams with wooden sidewalks and wooden railings.
All temporary of course.
 

David O'Reilly

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Scott,
“That is correct, old pictures show steel I-beams being supported by more steel beams coming out of the water. The bridge sat on these beams with wooden sidewalks and wooden railings.
All temporary of course.”

Scott, this sounds as if it wasn’t a bascule’ bridge, but instead was built up from the floor of the canal. So wouldn’t it have interfered with the movement of ships through the canal?
 

scotto

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Scott, this sounds as if it wasn’t a bascule’ bridge, but instead was built up from the floor of the canal. So wouldn’t it have interfered with the movement of ships through the canal?
That is correct, the W.E. Fitzgerald hit and damaged the north wing of the double bascule bridge, all the ships had to use the south side when transiting the canal after the accident.
 

scotto

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This picture and attached description shows the temporary replacement bridge part way through construction. From the Hamilton Spectator, August 1952.


BRIDGE APPROACHING COMPLETION—With the under-water connection of the Burlington Canal Bridge completed, this picture shows the work now being done on the road surface. Authorities say that it is fairly certain that the bridge will be in action once more next week. A cement truck is pouring abutments for the surface connection.
 

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David O'Reilly

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#86
Scott
“From the Hamilton Spectator
Set Saturday Opening For Burlington Bridge

Hamilton, Aug. 13 (Staff). — A three-mile stretch of highway across the Burlington Beach strip, linking sections of the Queen Elizabeth Way, will be humming with traffic again this Saturday.
A new bridge constructed to replace the shattered Bascule bridge over the Burlington canal is to be opened by 6 p.m. Its completion will relieve a three-month traffic jam in this city started when an inbound freighter crashed into the Bascule bridge last May.
Since that time, the east-west thoroughfares have been clogged with detouring cars, trucks and buses which normally would have travelled the shorter route across the beach strip. The extra traffic thrown onto Hamilton streets resulted in a sharp increase in accidents and additional headaches and work for police.
And for the beach strip where some 3,000 persons live in cottages and permanent homes it will mean once again long streams of motor cars moving almost bumper to bumper throughout the day and night


During the past three months residents of the beach area have enjoyed a relatively quiet time. The road was blocked off after the wrecking of the bridge and only cars of the residents, their guests and peoples going to the beaches have been using it.
Normally the traffic will move slowly but smoothly across the three-mile stretch. But when a boat — even a small sailboat — moves through the canal it results in delays, piled-up traffic and frayed nerves. This is especially true on Saturdays and Sundays when traffic is at its heaviest. Chief Howard Nickling and his force have frequently worked 36 hours at a stretch keeping traffic moving and investigating the numerous collisions on the road. This weekend the traffic situation returns to its former status but for the hundreds of beach residents, for the beach police and harried motorists the only solution to the problem is the construction of the long-(discussed high-level bridge over the canal). Such a bridge would eliminate the necessity of stopping vehicular traffic for inbound or outbound boats.




Spec Photo

Work Rushed on New Bridge
Heavy traffic on the (Queen Elizabeth Way) will once again, starting Saturday use the bridge at Burlington. Workmen are rushing to completion a new span, replacing the bridge destroyed in May when a freighter crashed into its north section. Summer traffic has had to detour through Hamilton, eight miles out of its way.
scotto
08-13-2013, 10:02 PM
This picture shows the temporary replacement bridge in place, this photo would of been taken from the new Skyway Bridge and you can see the start of the new lift bridge in the background.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/Bridge2_zps8475e06e.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/scotto2010/media/Bridge/Five Bridges/Bridge2_zps8475e06e.jpg.html)


Hamilton Public Library”

Scott, can I ask you to include the date that this Hamilton Spectator article was published to put things in to perspective? The article seems to indicate that at that time, the bascule bridge(s) and the road along the beach, were still part of the QEW. And, it refers to ‘the ‘long-(discussed) high level bridge over the canal’.
This latter point seems to indicate that the construction of the high level bridge hadn’t begun. But in your next post, you provide a picture of the construction of the lift bridge, taken from the high level bridge. Can you give a date for the commencement of the construction of the lift bridge?


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David O'Reilly

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#87
Scott,
Sory, in reading that article and the captions for the pictures, I thought that the reference to the 'high level bridge' was for the 'skyway bridge'.
 

scotto

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#89
Look-See Motorists Jam Beach Bridge

Hamilton Spectator article

Hamilton, Aug. 18—(Staff Special) —The temporary Burlington bridge has been open now for almost two days and already motorists and Beach residents alike are wondering if the long detour through Hamilton wasn't just about as easy.
Last night it took-almost an hour to negotiate the three-mile strip. At one point traffic was stalled for seven miles.
Chief Howard Nickling, of the Beach police, said the day-long congestion was complicated by the thousands of persons who made special trips down the bridge to have a look at it
The bridge opened nearly an hour ahead of the scheduled time, when honking of a long line of cars at each end of the bridge coerced officials into opening at 5.15 p.m. Saturday. .This thwarted the plans of a Beach resident, Bruno Citrigno, to be the first across.
Citrigno had parked his car on the north side of the bridge, first in line, Friday night he supplied himself with sandwiches, but they ran out. Shortly before five o'clock he wanted more. On the assurance of the bridge crew that it would not open until 7 o'clock he left his truck. During his absence the bridge was opened.
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The temporary bridge opened on Saturday, August 16th, 1952 at 5:15 pm.
 

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David O'Reilly

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#90
Scott
“from Charles Cooper’s ‘Hamilton’s Other Railway”

…. “In 1896 the Dominion government began work on a highway swingbridge to connect the new road along the west side of the beach strip. This bridge had wooden sidewalks and a narrow lane for vehicles.When the Hamilton-Burlington radial electric railway (the HRER) reached the Canal in 1896, it negotiated the right to use it in exchange for providing the motor and the power to operate it. This swingbridge had a south-side pedestal, and it was asymmetrical because of the need to clear the lighthouse immediately to the east.


This road/radial swingbridge was replaced in 1921-22 by a single leaf bascule bridge, also based on the south (Hamilton) side. During its construction, the radial cars were diverted over the GTR track, and only pedestrian traffic was permitted across (which played havoc with the daily milk and bread deliveries of the day).
In 1930-31, the Canal underwent its final widening to 300 ft, at which time the railway swingbridge was relocated diagonally 52 ft to the southeast, with its pedestal on an artificial island between the channels. At the same time, another bascule leaf was built on the north side of the channel to complement the existing road bascule bridge. (The radial rails remained on the southerly bascule leaf until 1946, when their removal caused a balance problem that required the removal of three and a half tons of ballast concrete.) “

Scott, do you have any information on why the 1896 road swing bridge was replaced in 1922 by the bascule bridge? Of course I asked you this in an e-mail, but thought I’d post it here just in case another member has the answer, or the time to look it up.
 

David O'Reilly

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#91
Back to the issue of what level of government operated the Burlington Canal. In 1879, the Department of Railways and Canals was established, and operated ‘the St. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes, the Ottawa River, the Trent and Richelieu Rivers and the St.Peter's and Rideau Canals’. What isn’t clear to me, is what is meant by ‘the Great Lakes’. Maybe this refers to all of the canals that connected with any of the Great Lakes, which of course would include the Burlington Canal. But if the operation of the Burlington Canal was included, the question still remains, what level of government operated it before 1879.
http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/...layItem&lang=eng&rec_nbr=276&rec_nbr_list=276
 

David O'Reilly

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#95
Scott “From Charles Cooper's Hamilton's Other Railway
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At the canal, the new through-truss swingbridge was swung (by hand) for the first time on January 10, 1877. The 375 foot long riveted, wrought-iron superstructure was constructed for the H&NW by the Hamilton Tool Works at a reported cost of $23,000. The Hamilton Times proudly noted that "the construction of this bridge in Canada has circulated over $12,000 amongst the working population of the country", and added reassuringly that "the bridge will be eventually worked by an engine of 20 horse power which has been manufactured by Mr. Northey of this city". Five days later, the first engine tested the bridge by crossing and re-crossing it at different speeds, and making stops at random. Evidently all went well, and regular service across the bridge began the following month.
A couple pictures of the first railway Swing Bridge.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/ATBrown_zps6f37db45.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Coll C302 3 0 21 5, courtesy Charles Cooper

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...es/HNWswingbridgeBurlingtonAO_zps34be22b5.jpg
A of O , A T Brown Coll C302 3 0 21 1, courtesy Charles Cooper.



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The original wrought-iron steam-powered railway swingbridge was replaced in 1902-03 by a new bridge with steel truss spans and a raised control cab. The new bridge, to be swung by electric power, was built on the site of the old one. "”

Scott, does Charles Cooper indicate in his book the name of the company that built the 1903 railroad bridge?
 

David O'Reilly

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#96
scotto
07-26-2013, 11:50 PM
Just some additional information, back in 2005 all the topsoil was replaced around the north end of the Lift Bridge, work crews unearthed the remains of the railway swing bridge (north base).
A couple of pictures
http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/DSCF0016_zpsf3386365.jpg

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/DSCF0019_zps27f19c1f.jpg

But in your first post (07-17-2013, 11:33 PM)
you state “In 1930-31, the Canal underwent its final widening to 300 ft, at which time the railway swingbridge was relocated diagonally 52 ft to the southeast, with its pedestal on an artificial island between the channels.”

So by ‘north base’ you obviously can’t mean where the turn table was located, but rather where the north end of the swingbridge came to rest when in the closed posision. But why would there have been a base at that point.


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scotto

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#97
So by ‘north base’ you obviously can’t mean where the turn table was located, but rather where the north end of the swingbridge came to rest when in the closed posision. But why would there have been a base at that point.
Correct, the north base that is still present use to support the north side of the span while in the closed position. The base would be needed on any swing bridge to support the enormous weight of a freight train travelling across. You wouldn't want the center turning pin supporting all that weight.
 

scotto

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#98
More history dates from the Burlington Business Development Dept.

Canal, Bridge & Railway​
1826- First cut for new channel.
1827- Channel open. Schooner Zephyr (100 tons) first through followed by the Eliza Rebecca.
1829- A wooden swing was built for pedestrian and vehicle traffic, operated on a wooden pivot from the south side.
The schooner Elsie Hope under Captain McKay dismounted the bridge.
The government then provided a scow to carry traffic. It operated until April 23, 1896.
1832- Canal enlargement started.
1844- Enlarged canal in full operation.
1863- Ship and cargo tolls discounted.
June 29, 1876- Survey for the Hamilton-North-West Railway started across Beach.
August 1877- Grading and track laying started.
September 4, 1877- Major Thomassek started driving the piling for the center of the railway swing bridge.
November 28, 1877- The first engine named the J.M. Williams arrived at the canal with a load of materials for the bridge.
January 9, 1878- 4:00pm bridge was swung for the first time.
January 12, 1878- The rails were laid across the bridge.
January 15, 1878- The engine J.M. Williams crossed the bridge from the north.
January 18, 1878- Grand Trunk Engine #345 from Hamilton crossed the bridge with a load of ballast for the tracks.
April 11, 1878- The Bridge was swung to permit the passage of the schooner Orient, the first vessel.
July 13, 1880- Passenger trains were started across the Beach and during that and subsequent summers brought thousands of people to the beaches on the lake and the bay.
 

scotto

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#99
A section of a Spectator history article from February 7th, 1959

By Mabel Burkholder
FOLLOWING is a letter of May 2, 1861, concerning Burlington Beach Canal tolls, from T. H. McKenzie of Dundas to Isaac Buchanan, Hamilton. It reveals the spirit of rivalry between the two places for the control of trade at the head of the lake.
"A matter deeply affecting the shipping interest of this town and community (Dundas) has lately been brought before our notice, by the proceedings of the Hamilton Corporation and Board of Trade. In reference to the reimposing of canal tolls on the Burlington Bay Canal for the benefit of Hamilton. I am quite sure you would not be a party to do an injustice to any community and you will at once see that if the Burlington Canal is to be handed over to the city of Hamilton and tolls imposed for their benefit, this town as well as all others west of this, will be compelled, to contribute to the payment if the Hamilton debt, which would be very unjust.”
"We in Dundas claim that, if this is done, a share of the tolls collected on all imports and exports to and from this town, and others, will" be absolved from all tolls inward and outward.
You will agree with me that this is only an act of justice toward us and I trust you will see that justice is done to us here, if the contemplated project is carried out."
THE TERM "reimposing" used at the beginning of the letter shows that this was not the first time tolls had been imposed at the Beach Canal. Also, we recall that it was during the 1860s that Hamilton was staggering under the burden of municipal debt, which Dundas did not wish to help lift.
Mr. Buchanan suggests to Thomas Galt, in a letter dated March 24, 1863:
"It may be found better for the city and its creditors that Hamilton should join with Dundas, and with the Great Western and Port Dover lines of railway, in agreeing to keep up, among them, the Beach Canal, thus keeping it free of toll."
On March I8, 1863. Adam Brown wrote to Isaac Buchanan, concerning the Burlington Beach Canal tolls:
"I SEE YOU GO IN for reimposing the canal tolls and, presuming that the Burlington Beach Canal, will be included in any scheme. I cannot refrain from writing you to express the opinion which I hold that such would be most injurious to us. As a question between utter ruin of the city and reinforcing canal tolls, I would, of course, choose the latter. But as there seems every probability of the city debt being settled without the aid which the canal tolls would have yielded, I respectfully suggest to you to weigh well the effects which the reinforcing of tolls would have upon our carrying trade as a shipping port and upon the now established reputation of Hamilton as a market for merchandise".
On April 18, 1863, Mr. Buchanan wrote to Mayor G. W. Burton:
"I hope that the government have carried out their promise to impose such a toll only in the case of the Burlington Canal as will suffice to keep it in repair. If this has been done, a transfer of the canal subject to that control would be infinitely preferable to the exaction of harbor dues, as under the act these could only be collected upon goods brought into Hamilton for consumption or sale."
ON MAY 14, of the same year, Mayor Burton replied to Isaac Buchanan: "It has been intimated that the grant for the repairs of the Burlington Bay Canal has been only partially exhausted, and that a considerable sum still remains on hand applicable for that object. As the government will now be relieved of their responsibility, it is assumed that this, as well as the tolls, will placed at the disposal of the city."

And so the heated discussion ended and the tolls were not imposed.
 

David O'Reilly

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scotto
06-05-2014, 11:44 PM
“More history dates from the Burlington Business Development Dept.

Canal, Bridge & Railway
1826- First cut for new channel.
1827- Channel open. Schooner Zephyr (100 tons) first through followed by the Eliza Rebecca.
1829- A wooden swing was built for pedestrian and vehicle traffic, operated on a wooden pivot from the south side.
The schooner Elsie Hope under Captain McKay dismounted the bridge.
The government then provided a scow to carry traffic. It operated until April 23, 1896.
1832- Canal enlargement started.
1844- Enlarged canal in full operation.
1863- Ship and cargo tolls discounted.
June 29, 1876- Survey for the Hamilton-North-West Railway started across Beach.
August 1877- Grading and track laying started.
September 4, 1877- Major Thomassek started driving the piling for the center of the railway swing bridge.
November 28, 1877- The first engine named the J.M. Williams arrived at the canal with a load of materials for the bridge.
January 9, 1878- 4:00pm bridge was swung for the first time.
January 12, 1878- The rails were laid across the bridge.
January 15, 1878- The engine J.M. Williams crossed the bridge from the north.
January 18, 1878- Grand Trunk Engine #345 from Hamilton crossed the bridge with a load of ballast for the tracks.
April 11, 1878- The Bridge was swung to permit the passage of the schooner Orient, the first vessel.
July 13, 1880- Passenger trains were started across the Beach and during that and subsequent summers brought thousands of people to the beaches on the lake and the bay.”

Scott, there seems to be a problem with this reference to the Grand Trunk Railroad engine assisting in the construction of the Hamilton and North Western Railway road bed in 1878. The Grand Trunk railroad (GTR) wasn’t in Hamilton or even the area at this time. The first railroad to come in to Hamilton was the Great Western Railroad in 1856. And it was purchased by the GTR in 1882.
http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/industrial/greatwestern.htm

and the Hamilton and Northwestern Railroad itself was purchased by the GTR in 1888.
http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/industrial/hamiltonnw.htm


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