The Burlington Canal Bridges

David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
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This page makes it clear that the Grand Trunk Railroad only came into Hamilton when it purchased the Great Western Railroad in 1882.

“The Grand Trunk Railway (G.T.R.) was officially opened between Sarnia, Ontario, and Portland, Maine, on November 21, 1859. This first version of the G.T.R. did not run through Hamilton, Ontario; instead, it ran north of Hamilton through Toronto and Guelph. It was not until the G.T.R. amalgamated with the Great Western Railway (G.W.R.) that it came to Hamilton.”
http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/205/301/ic/cdc/industrial/grandtrunk.htm
 

scotto

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Feb 15, 2004
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scotto

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


________________________________________
There are a couple of conflicts with other posted information, I only posted what is on the author's article had written and I have seen history being changed and sometimes just plain made up many years after the fact.
Just to add, this is an exact date and easily looked up at the library.
 

David O'Reilly

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Dec 15, 2012
483
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scotto
07-17-2013, 11:33 PM
I have been asked about the many bridges that have spanned the Burlington Canal since it was first cut through the Beach Strip back in 1826.



Some early history from author Bill Manson
____________________________________
With the completion of the Burlington Canal in 1826, a wooden bridge was constructed to allow the passage of land traffic across the new waterway. However, this bridge sustained heavy storm-damage and was torn down. It was replaced by a swing bridge in 1830. Unfortunately this bridge too came down when struck by a schooner. For decades after the accident, a wooden scow, pulled by heavy chains, was used to transport people, animals, and goods across the canal.


Many descriptions of the early canal suggest that there was a moveable bridge, but it didn't last long and those who wanted passage to other side of the canal had to pay a fee to use the wooden scow and at times it was impractical due to the weather. In the winter many just walked across the frozen canal, a line was strung across for some safety, keep in mind that the canal was not wide as it is today.

Edit; Another good description of the early wooden bridge can be viewed in this thread;
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2229&page=3 (The First Ferry Across Burlington Canal; The Swing Bridge And The Old Ship Inn)


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.

From Charles Cooper's Hamilton's Other Railway
____________________________________________
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.



__________________________________________

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. "During the construction of the new steel bridge over the canal at Burlington, passenger and freight traffic between Hamilton and Burlington, via the Beach, has been suspended, the service being operated via Waterdown and Burlington Junction" (The Railway and Shipping World, June 1902). The new bridge was opened for traffic in the summer of 1903. Until 1930, only one of the railway swingbridge's two spans actually crossed the Canal, the other being a balancing span.

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.)
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. In 1962 the railway and the road were accommodated by means of a combination liftbridge, with the track now back on the alignment of the original railway swingbridge….

Here is a bit of information on the 1952 collision of the laker W.E. Fitzgerald with the bascule bridge.

1952 W.E. FITZGERALD hit the Burlington Lift Bridge at the entrance to Hamilton Bay after a mechanical problem resulted in the structure not being raised. The north span of the bridge was knocked into the water resulting in traffic chaos on land and on the water.

http://www.boatnerd.com/news/archive/4-12.htm
 

InsulatorHunter

Registered User
May 8, 2007
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0
Burlington
Here are a few nice views from the early-mid 1950's that show some old lakers in the canal with the old bridges and hydro towers present.

Vessels are Upper Lakes Shipping's Howard L. Shaw and CSL canallers Fernie and City of Kingston.

Howard L. Shaw [Hamilton].jpg Fernie.jpg City of Kingston.jpg
 
Last edited:

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
483
3
18
scotto
07-18-2013, 12:33 AM
I have been asked about the many bridges that have spanned the Burlington Canal since it was first cut through the Beach Strip back in 1826.



Some early history from author Bill Manson
____________________________________
With the completion of the Burlington Canal in 1826, a wooden bridge was constructed to allow the passage of land traffic across the new waterway. However, this bridge sustained heavy storm-damage and was torn down. It was replaced by a swing bridge in 1830. Unfortunately this bridge too came down when struck by a schooner. For decades after the accident, a wooden scow, pulled by heavy chains, was used to transport people, animals, and goods across the canal.


Many descriptions of the early canal suggest that there was a moveable bridge, but it didn't last long and those who wanted passage to other side of the canal had to pay a fee to use the wooden scow and at times it was impractical due to the weather. In the winter many just walked across the frozen canal, a line was strung across for some safety, keep in mind that the canal was not wide as it is today.

Edit; Another good description of the early wooden bridge can be viewed in this thread;
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2229&page=3 (The First Ferry Across Burlington Canal; The Swing Bridge And The Old Ship Inn)


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.

From Charles Cooper's Hamilton's Other Railway
____________________________________________
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.



__________________________________________

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. "During the construction of the new steel bridge over the canal at Burlington, passenger and freight traffic between Hamilton and Burlington, via the Beach, has been suspended, the service being operated via Waterdown and Burlington Junction" (The Railway and Shipping World, June 1902). The new bridge was opened for traffic in the summer of 1903. Until 1930, only one of the railway swingbridge's two spans actually crossed the Canal, the other being a balancing span.

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.)
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. In 1962 the railway and the road were accommodated by means of a combination liftbridge, with the track now back on the alignment of the original railway swingbridge. At that time, the 1902-03 railway swingbridge, the 1952 temporary north side road bridge, the 1922 bascule leaf bridge, and the centre island in the channel were demolished.



http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...dradialswingbridges1900AOATBrownCollection_zp s8273eea4.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 3, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/Radial1_zpse066abbd.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 2, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...dradialswingbridgesca1903AOATBrownColl_zps685 f2327.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 4, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...GTRSwingbridgeBurlingtonBeach_zps4c2ebe2a.jpg
Courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/OldBridges_zpsf21dd22c.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/sc.../Five Bridges/OldBridges_zpsf21dd22c.jpg.html)
I don't recall a credit on this photo, but the photographer is Gary Clifford.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/SupEngX16_zpsf0fd486f.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/scotto2010/media/Bridge/Five Bridges/SupEngX16_zpsf0fd486f.jpg.html)
Hamilton Public Library.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/.../BurlingtonCanal1952Spectator_zpsb9114f9f.jpg
Courtesy Charles Cooper.”

Scott,

Were pedestrians permitted to use the Hamilton and Northwestern Railroad’s swing bridge? This is something I’ve wondered about for some time, but more soe today when reading the ‘Herald Marker’ thread, in which your post says that the ‘Around the Bay Road Race’ began in 1894. This was two years before the road swing bridge was constructed.

“scotto
05-15-2011, 03:10 PM
"In 1894 the Hamilton Herald and a cigar store owner named Billy Carroll teamed up to sponsor a 30 km road race. Held on Christmas Day the first Around the Bay Road Race was a rousing success. It is not known if the publicity from the promotion of the race increased cigar sales at Carroll's store."

Read more;

http://hubpages.com/hub/In-1900-Caffery-and-Sherring-dominated-Boston

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1856.html

________________________________________
 

scotto

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Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
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The Beach Strip
Scott,

Were pedestrians permitted to use the Hamilton and Northwestern Railroad's swing bridge? This is something I've wondered about for some time, but more soe today when reading the 'Herald Marker' thread, in which your post says that the 'Around the Bay Road Race' began in 1894. This was two years before the road swing bridge was constructed.

________________________________________
I will say yes they were allowed to use the bridge, but I will check through some old newspapers to see if I can find proof of that.

Edit;
I have moved some of these Herald/Bay Road Race posts to the Herald Marker thread.

http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/threads/herald-marker.1856/#post-13653
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
483
3
18
scotto
07-17-2013, 11:33 PM
I have been asked about the many bridges that have spanned the Burlington Canal since it was first cut through the Beach Strip back in 1826.



Some early history from author Bill Manson
____________________________________
With the completion of the Burlington Canal in 1826, a wooden bridge was constructed to allow the passage of land traffic across the new waterway. However, this bridge sustained heavy storm-damage and was torn down. It was replaced by a swing bridge in 1830. Unfortunately this bridge too came down when struck by a schooner. For decades after the accident, a wooden scow, pulled by heavy chains, was used to transport people, animals, and goods across the canal.


Many descriptions of the early canal suggest that there was a moveable bridge, but it didn't last long and those who wanted passage to other side of the canal had to pay a fee to use the wooden scow and at times it was impractical due to the weather. In the winter many just walked across the frozen canal, a line was strung across for some safety, keep in mind that the canal was not wide as it is today.

Edit; Another good description of the early wooden bridge can be viewed in this thread;
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2229&page=3 (The First Ferry Across Burlington Canal; The Swing Bridge And The Old Ship Inn)


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.

From Charles Cooper's Hamilton's Other Railway
____________________________________________
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.



__________________________________________

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. "During the construction of the new steel bridge over the canal at Burlington, passenger and freight traffic between Hamilton and Burlington, via the Beach, has been suspended, the service being operated via Waterdown and Burlington Junction" (The Railway and Shipping World, June 1902). The new bridge was opened for traffic in the summer of 1903. Until 1930, only one of the railway swingbridge's two spans actually crossed the Canal, the other being a balancing span.

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.)
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. In 1962 the railway and the road were accommodated by means of a combination liftbridge, with the track now back on the alignment of the original railway swingbridge. At that time, the 1902-03 railway swingbridge, the 1952 temporary north side road bridge, the 1922 bascule leaf bridge, and the centre island in the channel were demolished.



http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...dradialswingbridges1900AOATBrownCollection_zp s8273eea4.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 3, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/Radial1_zpse066abbd.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 2, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...dradialswingbridgesca1903AOATBrownColl_zps685 f2327.jpg
A of O, A T Brown Collection C302 3 0 21 4, courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/...GTRSwingbridgeBurlingtonBeach_zps4c2ebe2a.jpg
Courtesy Charles Cooper.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/OldBridges_zpsf21dd22c.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/sc.../Five Bridges/OldBridges_zpsf21dd22c.jpg.html)
I don't recall a credit on this photo, but the photographer is Gary Clifford.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/SupEngX16_zpsf0fd486f.jpg (http://s833.photobucket.com/user/scotto2010/media/Bridge/Five Bridges/SupEngX16_zpsf0fd486f.jpg.html)
Hamilton Public Library.

http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/.../BurlingtonCanal1952Spectator_zpsb9114f9f.jpg
Courtesy Charles Cooper.

From Public Works Government Services Canada (PWGSC)
The present (lift) bridge first carried two lanes of vehicular traffic across the canal and was opened to traffic in 1962.
The railway was removed in 1982, and the road then widened to a total of four lanes. The bridge is a tower drive type, vertical lift movable bridge.
The lift span is 116 meters long, 19.8 meters wide, weighs 1995.8 tonnes, and has a vertical lift of 33.5 meters. A system of machinery, sheaves and wire ropes originating at the towers is used to move the lift span. There is one 150 hp drive motor in each of the two towers to power the machinery and one 150 hp synchro-tie motor in each tower to synchronize the drive motors at each end of the span. The bridge is an important link between the cities of Hamilton and Burlington and is a vehicular alternate to the Burlington Skyway. It operates for ships from roughly mid-March to the end of December each year and provides shipping access between Hamilton Harbour and Lake Ontario.
The bridge was built between 1958 and 1962 and has been managed, operated and maintained by the department (PWGSC) since 1962.
http://i833.photobucket.com/albums/zz256/scotto2010/Bridge/Five Bridges/IMG_4350_zps1d92a87a.jpg
________________________________________


This page has a picture of the construction of the railroad bridge over the Canal in 1923, and shows the Lakeside House.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/...dge_across_the_Canal,_in_Burlington,_1923.jpg
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
483
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18
David O'Reilly
07-30-2013, 10:59 AM
Scott
“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).”

The caption for the picture of the construction of the 1921 bascule bridge on Tom Luton’s Hamilton Radial Electric Railroad (HRER) page indicates that this wasn’t the case, That the lline was cut in two.
on the tracks of the HRER is part of the construction of the new bascule bridge. The HRER has been split in two, with service from Hamilton to the south side of the canal, and from Oakville to the north side of the canal. The large building is the Lakeside hotel, south of the canal.”
http://hamiltontransithistory.alotspace.com/HRER.html
________________________________________


It turns out that the Hamilton Radial Electric Railroad (HRER) had planned to use the GTR’s bridge during the construction of the 1921 bascule bridge, but wasn’t able to meet the demands of the GTR.

The web master of ‘CNR IN Ontario’ sent me some information on the costs, but unfortunetly didn’t include it in this page. However, he has provided documentation that because the HRER didn’t get to run its cars over the GTR’s bridge, a sidewalk was built on the side of the bridge, to allow the radial passengers on one side of the canal, to get to the cars on the other side. And, at the time of the 1921 bascule bridge construction, plans were already in place to widen the canal, and build the north liefe of the bridge.

http://cnr-in-ontario.com/Database/...ionID=6&record=0&railwayID=22&publicationID=6
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
483
3
18
scotto
07-17-2013, 11:33 PM
“I have been asked about the many bridges that have spanned the Burlington Canal since it was first cut through the Beach Strip back in 1826.



Some early history from author Bill Manson
____________________________________
With the completion of the Burlington Canal in 1826, a wooden bridge was constructed to allow the passage of land traffic across the new waterway. However, this bridge sustained heavy storm-damage and was torn down. It was replaced by a swing bridge in 1830. Unfortunately this bridge too came down when struck by a schooner. For decades after the accident, a wooden scow, pulled by heavy chains, was used to transport people, animals, and goods across the canal.


Many descriptions of the early canal suggest that there was a moveable bridge, but it didn't last long and those who wanted passage to other side of the canal had to pay a fee to use the wooden scow and at times it was impractical due to the weather. In the winter many just walked across the frozen canal, a line was strung across for some safety, keep in mind that the canal was not wide as it is today.

Edit; Another good description of the early wooden bridge can be viewed in this thread;
http://hamiltonbeachcommunity.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2229&page=3 (The First Ferry Across Burlington Canal; The Swing Bridge And The Old Ship Inn)


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.

From Charles Cooper's Hamilton's Other Railway
____________________________________________
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.

Scott,
Was the engine for the swingbridge installed before the railroad began using it? or was there a period of time that the bridge was manually opperated?
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,855
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63
The Beach Strip
Scott,
Was the engine for the swingbridge installed before the railroad began using it? or was there a period of time that the bridge was manually operated?
I don't see much info in my Beach history books about installation of the engine, I would say that it didn't take long to get the engine install as any days with high winds would make that a difficult hand crank. I see in on one Charles' pictures of the old bridge, that there is a stack coming out of the control shack and there is smoke coming out. The other photos have a stack but no smoke. This also could of been the stack for heat.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
483
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18
Here is a bit more information on the 1896 road swingbridge, and the 1921 bascule bridge.


February 1921, No. 276 Canadian Railway and Marine World (Toronto) Page 84, col. 1
BRIDGES OVER BURLINGTON CANAL, LAKE ONTARIO.
The highway along Burlington Beach, which separates Lake Ontario from Burlington Bay, on the shores of the latter of which Hamilton is situated, is carried over Burlington Canal, or Channel, by a swing bridge, which is also used by the Hamilton Radial Ry., running between Hamilton and Oakville. Owing to the increase of traffic, the Public Works Department decided, a little while ago, to replace the present bridge by a heavier one, of the trunnion bascule type, and a design was prepared by Strauss Bascule Bridge Co., Chicago, Ill, which company was appointed consulting engineer, for a 2-span bridge, one span over the existing channel, and the other to be over a 300 ft. channel to be provided in the future. The first work being done includes the removal of the old bridge and the construction of the substructure for the new one. The contract for this work was given [to] Canadian Engineering & Contracting Co., Hamilton, and tenders were received to Jan. 11.
The truss bridge which is to be replaced was built in 1896, and was equipped in 1897 with automatic gates to regulate late traffic. Its first cost was $41,690, and maintenance expenses have been high. It was a swing bridge, operated by electric power, and counterbalanced on both sides of the pivotal point to compensate for unequal length and weight. It was very close to the G.T.R. bridge across the channel, and on the Burlington Bay side of it. The new bridge will occupy almost the same site as the one to be replaced, the difference being that the center line of the new bridge will be 10 ft. east (nearer Lake Ontario) than the center of the preceding one.
For the present, construction will be confined to a trunnion bascule type bridge to span the present channel, which is 130 ft. 7 in. wide. Provision is also made in the design for a second leaf, to span a proposed new 300 ft. channel alongside the present one. In the event of the additional channel being provided and the second portion of the bridge being built to span it, a new central rest pier, in addition to the main and counterbalance piers of the second portion, would be necessary.
From the center of the main trunnion pier, of the bridge now to be built, to the center of the rest pier, which will support the free end, is 160 1/2 ft., and from the center of the main trunnion pier to the center of the counterweight trunnion pier is 40 ft. The old bridge had a clearance of but 4 ft. above the channel, but the new bridge will have a clearance of 10 ft., which will obviate the necessity of opening it so frequently for the passage of small craft. The approaches will be on a gradient of 3%, and the floor level will be 8 ft. higher than that previously existing.
The new bridge will, like the one to be replaced, carry the single track 1ine of the Hamilton Radial Ry., running from Hamilton to Oakville. In addition, there will be a roadway for vehicular traffic, laid with wood blocks, creosoted. On each side of the bridge, outside the trusses, which are 25 1/2 ft. center to center, will be a 6 ft. sidewalk, of 2×4 in. planking, not creosoted, protected by outside railing of pipe construction.
Work was begun on the new bridge early in Dec. 1920, the use of the old bridge being discontinued on Dec. 6. The old bridge has been taken down, and the piers have been removed to the extent necessary to permit construction of the new ones, excavation for which is in progress.This work, as stated above, is being done by the Canadian Engineering & Contracting Co., of Hamilton, which also removed the old bridge, and is to be finished by the first week of July. The superstructure contract has not yet been awarded. The Hamilton Radial Railway cars now run to the bridge from both directions, the passengers walking across the adjoining G.T.R. bridge, on a sidewalk specially built for that purpose.
The Public Works Department is represented in this work by J. M. Wilson, District Engineer, and W. C. Brough, Seniorr

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