By H.B. Bowen
Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock
The Angus Shops fire station and police building located at the Rachel Street gate leading to the midway out
of view off to the right of the photograph - Date/Photographer unknown.
Many years ago Canadian Pacific published a series of ten books named the "Foundation Library". One particular book
added to this collection, published in 1946, is named "Canadian Pacific Facts and Figures". It contains many short stories and articles
dealing with the company during that period. This month's article from that book, "Shop System", written by H.B. Bowen, Chief of Motive
Power and Rolling Stock, is reprinted here for your enlightenment with the addition of some appropriate images.
The 1946 Article
The Angus Shops, Montreal, under the supervision of the Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock,
is the main repair plant for the construction and maintenance of the Canadian Pacific Railway's 86,162 units of motive power and rolling stock. In
the west, at Weston Shops, Winnipeg, and at Ogden Shops, Calgary, are maintenance plants for motive power and rolling stock mainly assigned to
operation on the western lines of the Company.
The Angus Shops are situated in the north-east end of Montreal on a plateau overlooking the St. Lawrence River. They cover 200
acres with a shop floor space of 38 acres and 50 miles of railway tracks within the fence.
The Angus Shops were named after the late R.B. Angus, one of the original Canadian Pacific directorate. They consist of 23
separate buildings comprising a locomotive repair shop, four passenger car repair shops contained in two larger separate buildings with a transfer
table operating between them, two large freight car repair buildings, one housing mainly machinery units used in steel freight car repairs or
construction work, and the other the assembly line for heavy repairs to so-called "house" cars more commonly known as box, refrigerator,
stock, and similar. A cast iron wheel foundry, a general castings foundry, a frog and track switch repair shop, a bolt and nut manufacturing shop,
a very large blacksmith shop, a truck repair shop, a car metal working machine shop, a large wood mill, an electrical repair shop, a cabinet and
varnishing shop, a brass machine and tin smithing shop, an upholstery repair shop, a very large general stores, a plant hospital and police
building, and a modern general office and administration building. There is also a Test and Inspection Department and open freight car repair
tracks accommodating some 1,000 freight cars. A new and modern scrap and reclaim dock, a shot blast building, replacing the former sand blast
plant used for cleaning steel equipment, and a large new locomotive boiler repair shop are now under construction at the Angus plant.
Well-Equipped Power Station
The Angus Shops has its own power station. This is a steam plant equipped to convert high tension electric current to commercial
voltages for use at the machines and for lighting, etc., of the different shops. At the power station also is developed the necessary pressure for
compressor air line service and for oil feed for the oil furnaces at the blacksmith shop, steel car, and other shops. Here also is developed the
steam necessary for the heating of the various buildings.
There is a very large stores department at Angus wherein is housed most of the great quantity of materials currently used at the
different shops and as a central point for Eastern Lines generally. There is a hospital unit, fully equipped, with a qualified medical
practitioner always in attendance. There is an ambulance service and a first aid attendant on duty on each 8 hour shift. In 1942 a blood donor
centre was opened in connection with Red Cross war services. There is a very efficient fire brigade with a fire engine and several pumps and a
24-hour standing fire protection force. Angus has its own police and security force which is a section of the Company's well-known police
The Angus Shops are mainly used for the maintenance of locomotives, passenger cars, and freight cars. Approximately 30
classified locomotive repairs and five new locomotives can be turned out monthly at the locomotive shop. One thousand passenger cars are shopped
annually at the passenger car shops and in addition there is capacity for an output of 10 new passenger cars per month. The freight car shops have
a capacity for 100 shop repairs per day and 15 new freight cars, and together with the freight repair tracks, now turn out around 15,000 freight
car repairs per annum. The wheel foundry has a capacity for 320 cast iron wheels per day and turns out between 70,000 and 80,000 cast iron wheels
per annum. The general casting foundry has a capacity for close to 19 tons of castings per day and turns out between eight and nine million pounds
of castings per annum.
There are lunch and rest rooms and a shop canteen service. The athletic grounds nearby comprise 160,000 square feet of area.
There is a well equipped sports building close by. During 1945 more than 7,600 persons were employed at Angus Shops, Montreal.
Vital Wartime Role
At the outbreak of World War II, the company placed the facilities of the Angus Shops at the disposal of the Canadian Government
for the utilization of all available space, equipment, and facilities in the prosecution of the War. In June, 1940, an order for the construction
of 300 18-ton Valentine tanks was placed with Angus Shops by the Department of Munitions and Supply, acting on
behalf of the Canadian Government, this order being subsequently extended to a total of 1,420 tanks of this class. The production rate was three
per day limited by available supply of the necessary materials. In addition to the manufacture of Valentine tanks, orders were placed with Angus
Shops for the building of marine engines for patrol defence vessels of the Royal Canadian Navy and for the manufacture in part, or in entirety, of
many other different classes of military and naval ordnance.
The Weston Shops and car service yards at Winnipeg, cover an area of 284 acres, and comprise 26
buildings with an aggregate floor space of 16 acres.
Weston Shops are the main locomotive and car repair shops for western lines. The buildings comprise locomotive erecting and
machine shops, boiler, tender and wheel shops, blacksmith shop, coach shop, general freight car repair shop, pattern shop, railway frog assembly
shop, wood mill, general casting foundry, and power house. The locomotive shops have a capacity for 25 classified
locomotive repairs per month. The freight car shops have an output of 800 repairs per month and the coach shops 40 front end passenger cars per
month. The shops employ between 2,000 and 3,000 men.
Ogden Shops are situated four and a half miles from Calgary, and, after Weston Shops, are the
largest repair shops on Western Lines. Ground was broken for the Ogden Shops, 1 Apr 1912, and they were named after the late vice president of
finance, I.G. Ogden. These shops cover an area of 213 acres with shop floor space of 10 acres and employ between 1,200 and 1,500 men. The shops
comprise locomotive and freight repair shops and include erecting, boiler, machine, blacksmith, tender, and wheel shops. A pattern shop, wood
mill, freight car repair shop, and general castings foundry. The locomotive shop has a capacity for 25 classified
locomotive repairs per month and the freight car shops a capacity for 500 repairs a month. A small number of passenger front end cars (coaches and
baggage cars) is also handled at these shops.
The Company's shops on Western Lines were also surveyed with a view to utilization for war material production and it was
arranged to assign the greater part of the locomotive shops at Ogden for use as a naval gun manufacturing plant. This undertaking necessitated the
transfer of the regular repairing of locomotives at this point to other smaller shops on western lines and entailed considerable expansion both in
buildings and facilities at Alyth, Alberta, and at Revelstoke, British Columbia. It also entailed the moving of a large part of the machinery from
Ogden locomotive shop to other points on western lines. On 11 Jan 1941, an order for naval guns and gun mountings was placed with Ogden Shops by
the Department of Munitions and Supply, acting on behalf of the Canadian Government. This order necessitated the building up and training at that
point a force of nearly 2,000 mechanics, specialists, and their helpers. Several additional war contracts were placed at this shop. At the
conclusion of the war and the cancellation of munitions contracts the Ogden Shops were rapidly returned to motive power maintenance, and on
25 Oct 1945, the first general locomotive repair, since reconversion, was returned to service at these shops.
In addition to the three main shops, or centres, referred to above, there are smaller locomotive repair shops located at five
points on eastern lines, namely, McAdam (New Brunswick), West Toronto (Ontario), North Bay (Algoma), Lyndonville (Vermont), and at Kentville, Nova
Scotia. There are six points on western lines where smaller locomotive repair shops are maintained, namely, Fort William (Manitoba), Brandon
(Manitoba), Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan), Alyth (Alberta), Revelstoke (British Columbia), and Vancouver (British
Angus shop switcher L1500 is a 4-6-0T class D3g rebuilt from number 3321 that was scrapped in 1958 -
Associated Web Sites
Ogden Shops Construction 1912
Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian Pacific Historical Association
Additional CPR Web Sites