Beginning in the winter of 1928, material, machinery, and supplies had to be carried 72 miles (120 km) from the railhead in Flin Flon to Island Falls for the construction of the hydroelectric dam. A camp was built to accommodate 500 men. Twelve Linn tractors and 150 heavy freighting sleighs were purchased, and a contract let to transport material and equipment.
During the winter of 1928-29, 23,000 tons of freight, consisting of provisions, cement, reinforcing steel, steel rails, gasoline, lumber, derrick and trestle timber, structural steel, and machinery parts were carried over the ice. During the following winter, 210 men were involved in hauling fresh provisions and more steel, cement, and the rest of the power-house machinery.
The total weight of material necessary to complete the plant was 35,000 tons. This enormous amount of freight was handled by trains of six sleighs, drawn by 100 hp Linn tractors, serviced by a caboose for the two crews, who worked in shifts both day and night. One slept in the bunkhouse "caboose" while the other worked. Each train brought in a payload averaging about 78 tons, and the maximum recorded load was 124 tons. The average elapsed time for a return trip was 38 hours for the 72 miles.
Rene Elliot of Morris, New York (once home of the Linn Tractor factory) has sent us the following items about use of Linn Tractors for the Island Falls construction project:
This unique vehicle was developed for heavy hauling. With its massive drive train and undercarriage, the Linn Tractor was capable of traveling over different types of terrain while carrying heavy payloads. The flexible link track was the cornerstone of Linn's design. Unlike the modern caterpillar track, it did not easily slip sideways on ice or snow.
In the late 1920's Linn tractors were involved in the building of the Flin Flon railway and the Hudson Bay line to Churchill. In the 1930's and 40's these machines were used to maintain the Panama Canal. The Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Bridge River Project in British Columbia were built with the aid of Linn tractors.
Here is a story from Route North Roots magazine about using Linn Tractors during construction in 1928/29
Please visit Route North Roots to read other interesting stories about "North of 53"