Tractor Trains Do Great Work
Montreal Star, 1929:


THE PAS, Man., March 30. — (Star Special) —Virtual completion of a winter hauling job that stands without parallel in the mining history of the North Country may be announced by your correspondent after a visit to the scene of the operation, where the task of moving freight Into the Island Falls power site of the Flin Flon mine is entering its final stages. As spring approaches, a job that many believed impossible of accomplishment in the time available stands finished except for a few details.

This week the last loads of a tonnage amounting to upwards of 25,000 tons of freight will go forward from Flin Flon to the power site at Island Falls, 69 miles distant. The contract has been in the hands of Charles B. Morgan, local contractor, who has previously established some enviable records for winter transport.

As has been noted previously, the fact that early winter weather was so mild, and with little snow, the whole scheme was delayed to a point where few people believed the lost time could be made up before the break up. However, with tank gangs constantly icing the roads, and with the forming of heavy ice on the lakes it became possible to step up the tonnage handled per load. Latterly some huge loads were taken in, with the record held by Driver Scouten, who, early in February took 112 tons in his train, the distance being covered in 28 hours. Ten hours was consumed in the return trip.

Those unfamiliar with the way things are done in the North would have difficulty visualizing these big tractor trains moving through the wilderness with practically no stops. While there are camps on the route, the drivers seldom stopped, except in case of emergency. Two drivers accompanied each train, working in shifts, and rest was taken in the caboose at the back of the train—almost exactly like a railway freight train.

Forty miles of the road is over lakes, and the remainder, through the bush, was iced. With ten big Lynn (sic) tractors hauling these trains, as high as 700 tons a day was moved.

All manner of equipment has been taken in, a large part of the tonnage being cement, but there are also locomotives, turbines, hoists and all the multitude of things necessary for the construction of a power plant capable of producing 42,000 horsepower. The plant is being built for the Churchill River Power Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Ltd., and is expected to be in operation early in 1931.

The transportation of the big tonnage required was essentially one of organization, in view of the urgent need of the work, costs, and the limited time available to complete the job. Its successful termination is a tribute to the men responsible.

Construction ot the winter road represents an outlay of around $50,000, and it is estimated that it will coat a million dollars to transport this season's quota from Winnipeg to Flin Flon, and then by tractor to Island Falls. The costs of the winter road haul alone will run into about $600,000, according to information available. These figures give a slight idea of the scope of activities surrounding the big base metal proposition which is Flin Flon.

Big things are being done in a big way in the North.