PHOENIX CENTIPEDE ‘Log Hauler’

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Western Development Museum Saskatoon, Sask.

The Western Development Museum is the home of the Phoenix
Centipede ‘Log Haulers’, donated a decade ago by the Pas
Lumber Co; Minneapolis, Minn. U.S.A.

These log haulers were originally purchased by the Sturgeon Lake
Lumber Company of Prince Albert, Sask. This company organized b y
Messrs. Shannon and Bell in 1903, first hauled lumber to Prince
Albert by four horse team. In 1905 a Steam log hauler known as
‘the 4 Spot’ was purchased from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and
was used for eight years in making the thirty mile haul from their
mill on the north side of Sturgeon Lake to Prince Albert, Sask.

The regular crew on this operation consisted of an Engineer,
Steersman, Fireman, and Conductor, a six man crew being used in
making non stop round trips so that some men slept in the caboose
at the rear while others worked. A shelter was built ahead of the
engine for the steersman who operated the front runners. The
locomotive was fired by coal, using from three to three and a half
tons daily. A supply of water, being needed every 4 or 5 miles, was
supplied by an extra tank on the engine and one pulled on a sled
behind. To maintain an icy road, water was sprinkled on the track.
The 4 cylinder locomotive, developing 100 horse power with 200 lbs.
steam pressure, had been capable of handling up to 32 sled loads of
logs, each sled being equal in capacity to a railway flat car.

Referring to this logging operation, the North West Farmer of
March 5, 1908, reported, ‘The Sturgeon Lumber Co. employs the
unique train shown herewith in bringing lumber from its mill to
Prince Albert, a distance of 30 miles. The engine is the only one
of its kind in Canada, and its achievements are creating
considerable interest among lumbermen. This engine was purchased in
the early part of 1905, to do the work which had previously been
done by mule teams. As you recollect, the winter of 1907 was the
most severe in the history of the West. Despite these very adverse
conditions, this engine did its work in a most satisfactory way.
The usual load hauled for a distance of thirty miles between the
mill and the city market is 150,000 feet. On a trial trip the
engine hauled for some miles 250,000 feet of lumber. It was not
deemed expedient, however, to bring this load the whole distance
because of some hills which were too steep to allow the engine to
work successfully. During the winter of 1908 there was a great deal
of mild weather, and the engine was not able to start work as early
as was expected. However, it was running regularly and maintained
the average speed of about four miles per hour, making one trip
every twenty-four hours.’

In 1912 the Log Hauler was purchased by the Ladder Lake Lumber
Co. and used in the Big River area. Taken over by the Pas Lumber
Co. Ltd. in 1919, it was used from 1921 -1935 for their logging
operations in the Pasquia Forest Reserve, east of Carrot River,
Sask.

The log haulers are now on display at the Western Development
Museum in Saskatoon and North Battle ford. The log hauler displayed
at the Saskatoon Museum is actively being used for various
activities. This includes the winter Fire Festival; for a lumbering
demonstration held each year during Pioneer Era; and was recently
used as a most unusual item to lead the parade kicking off the
Brier (Canadian Curling Championship) at Saskatoon.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment