January 1899, No. 11 The Railway and Shipping World (Toronto) Page 8, col. 3

The Victoria Jubilee bridge.

The work of double tracking the new bridge was completed Dec. 13, & both tracks were at once put into use. Work on the driveways for wagons, &c., and the footways, is being gone on with. It is expected the official opening will take place May 24, & that Sir C. Rivers-Wilson will be present. A report that the Prince of Wales would open the bridge was industriously circulated, but there is not believed to have been any foundation for it, & it has been officially denied. The Prince opened the Victoria Bridge in 1860, & the hold rivet he drove into the centre of the span is now in the G.T.R. general offices. It is said it will be deposited in the Parliamentary Library at Ottawa.

Chief Engineer Hobson, who has been in charge of the reconstruction of the bridge, has received great praise for the eminent skill displayed in the manner in which the work was carried out under his direction. The fact that during the progress of the work, including the removal of the great tube, there was no delay of the business of the Grand Trunk, & that the trains passed over the bridge as usual, the aggregate detention during the whole time not exceeding 24 hours, has been selected for special admiration, which has been expressed in the British engineering journals & elsewhere. Sir C. Rivers-Wilson has recently, in England, drawn attention to this splendid piece of work, at the same time indicating that English engineering was behind so far as similar work & problems were concerned.

The scrap iron representing the tubes of the old bridge made 477 carloads, & was sold to a Hamilton, Ont., firm.

At a recent meeting of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, a series of lantern views was given, illustrating the work of constructing the Jubilee Bridge. W. McNabb, Assistant Engineer of the G.T.R., gave short descriptive explanations of each view. The 1st showed the old bridge & opened the flood gates of memory for some of those present. Mr. McNabb praised the wisdom and foresight of the engineer who constructed it, & remarked that he had little dreamed that in 38 years from the day of its opening the railway traffic demands would have necessitated a double tracked structure. Weight of rolling stock, as well as traffic, had increased since then. The traffic of weights averaging 1 ton to the foot was thought in the old days to be the limit, & that only 3 locomotives could haul such weight. Things were changed to-day in hauling systems. When it was remembered that 80 to 100 trains passed over the bridge every 24 hours, & that the block system was used exclusively, the necessity of a double track was self-evident.

Views were then presented of the works on the new bridge. The lantern worked well, & the audience were practically transported to the actual words. The huge elevated cranes & tremendous iron beams, with the gangs of men busily working, passed vividly before the eyes, & Mr. McNabb made every scene interesting by excellent explanations. The unique work of closing the final span, was graphically described.

In proposing a vote of thanks, E. Keating spoke of the old bridge as among the seven wonders of the world, & some on in the audience suggested that the new bridge was the eighth. He was surprised that in a work of such magnitude no more than two fatalities had occurred, and every detail reflected the greatest credit upon the engineers.

C. Baillarge, city engineer of Québec, said that he thought the new bridge was magnificent & wonderful. There was nothing like it on the face of the globe. He mentioned the bridge on the Firth of Forth with two spans of 1,400 ft., & the wonderful Brooklyn bridge, but these were not to be compared in the matter of strength with this bridge. He was present at the inspection when a train passed over, & there was not so much as a tremor visible in the bridge.

Mr. McNabb remarked that Mr. Blackwell, father of the chairman, K.W. Blackwell, & then managing director of the G.T.R., was the first man who crossed the tubular Victoria bridge, & J. Duckworth, foreman of the bridge, had held that position since its inception. Those who visited the bridge in the afternoon saw Mr. Duckworth, who held the golden rivet which the Prince of Wales drove home in declaring the old bridge open.

Railways: G.T.Ry.