PHOENIX CENTIPEDE 'Log Hauler'


| January/February 1966



Unique train

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.