Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The CPR Water Tower at Milan, Quebec

This undated photo of Canadian Pacific Railway’s water tower in Milan, Quebec, was probably taken by my mother in the late 1950’s.

This is the best photo of CPR’s Milan water tower that I have been able to locate. The photo was taken from the driveway of my grandparent’s home. Their house faced the tower and railway which made train watching very easy.

The intended subject of this photo may have been the heavy snowfall or possibly the water tower itself. The ball high on the mast shows that the tank was full and ready for the next steam powered train to take on water.

This wood-framed, octagonal-shaped building, painted in CPR maroon, was once a familiar Canadian railway structure. From this photo, the reason for the wooden shell was obvious; the building was heated to keep the water from freezing during the winter. Winters in Milan were very cold.

As a small child, I remember watching the steam locomotives of trains stopping and taking on water. Only once do I recall having been inside the wooden structure.

I remember accompanying my grandfather to pick up a 100 pound bag of grain. He had brought his wheelbarrow to carry the load and I was given a ride. We had to wait for someone from inside the Poulin’s general store (which was also the town’s post office and partly visible behind the tower) to come and unlock the door of the water tower. My grandfather had to pick up the bag from inside and load it on to the wheel barrow. I do not know the reason why the grain was stored there.

The water supply for the tower’s tank was gravity fed, piped in from a concrete reservoir that the railway had constructed on the slopes behind my grandfather’s home. The reservoir was not on railway property. Perhaps this was the reason why the railway provided the water supply to my grandparent’s home and the other nearby homes. Occasionally my grandparents would talk about the water pressure at home being lost after a train had stopped to take on water.

The tower was dismantled immediately following the end of steam in 1960. The concrete foundation was visible for years after.

The Oddblock Station Agent


More than 50 years later, Frank Jolin captured this scene of 5013 westbound passing over the crossing in Milan. He would have been standing about 100 feet to the left of the location where the water tower photo was taken.

Addendum Nov 12, 2015

Not the Milan CPR water tower, but the one shown below is/was identical, including the paint.

CPR water tower at Franz, Ontario. (image from Trainweb)

No comments:

Post a Comment