The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Daily Archives: April 5, 2017

STEEP AND CROOKED … by Late Writer, Artist & Castle Builder Bill Laux

1

THE MINING RAILROADS OF THE CANADIAN BORDER

 By Bill Laux

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

THE BELCHER MINE RAILWAY 1906 – 1914

Lambert Creek WA seahorsecorral.org

Lambert Creek WA – Photo Credit: .seahorsecorral.org

 

            The Belcher mine was located on Cooke Mountain, in Ferry County, Washington.   The ore deposit was pyrrhotite, a sulfide of iron, which on Cooke Mountain contained appreciable quantities of gold.   When smelters opened at Grand Forks, Greenwood and Boundary Falls, there was a market for this ore, since the iron was in demand as a slag forming mineral, and the smelting process recovered the gold.

            H.C. Lycett opened the mine and built a three foot gauge railroad in 1906 from Karamin up Lambert Creek to the Belcher Camp, below the mine.   The transfer point to the standard gauge was just a quarter mile north of Karamin where a pile of rusty looking dirt (pyrrhotite) beside the BN track indicates the former ore bunker.   The two lines were just a few feet apart, the highway being on the old Hot Air grade.

            There was a reversing loop on the flat above this transfer point, and the line ran south along the hillside with a double switchback to gain elevation to enter Lambert Creek. In early morning light, the switchback grade can be easily seen today, looking east from the Karamin intersection.   The track ran up the north side of Lambert Creek for 8 miles to the Belcher Camp which was on the flat by the creek.   The camp comprised some 40 to 50 persons, a school, a store and post office and bunkhouses for the miners and railroad crew.   The railroad looped around the camp and had a loading bunker on the south side of the creek where a three-rail gravity tram came down from the mine 1500 feet up on the mountain.   The tram had two, 5 ton cars connected by a steel cable that ran over a sheave at the top.   The loaded car, coming down, pulled the empty car up. A passing tracks with spring switches in the center, allowed the cars to pass each other.   Kenneth Fairweather, the tram operator, had to climb the steep trail to the mine on foot each morning and hoist the crew in the empty car. At the end of the day he had to let them down again and then descend on foot. He got an extra half hour pay for this.

            A daily ore train ran down the line to the Karamin transfer bunker.   When someone needed to go to town, or when there were company officials on the property, the single passenger car was attached to the ore train by Conductor, Ike McClung.   Ed Williams was engineer, Dan Mc Dougal was fireman, and only the brakeman’s first name, Ralph, is remembered.   In addition to the ore shipments which went to the B.C. Copper smelter in Greenwood, the settlers along Lambert Creek hewed railroad ties for a cash income and sent them out via the Mine Railway.  At the Karamin transfer point the ore was loaded into W&GN ore gondolas to be taken up to Grand Forks.   There was no interchange between the GN and CPR in Grand Forks, so the single car of Belcher ore would be coupled to a GN train of empty ore cars bound for Phoenix.   The car would be dropped at the Coltern interchange with the CPR, and a CPR train would take it down the hill to Eholt.   A westbound freight would then pick it up and take it to Greenwood.   The CPR Shay would move it up to the B. C. Copper Company’s smelter on its Motherlode turn.

            The Belcher Mine Railway owned two locomotives.   No. 1 was a Baldwin 2-8-0, c/n 11005, of June, 1890, built new for the Alberta Railway and Coal Company.   It had 16 x 20 cylinders and 37” drivers.   No. 2 was another one of the Alberta Railway and Coal Company’s Hinkleys, a 2-6-0, and may very well have been former Trail Creek Tramway No. 1, as that machine was noted at Midway in 1905.   As well, the line owned a baggage car, little more than a boxcar with a side door and windows, also probably from the AR&C.   The single passenger coach, carefully lettered, “No. 1,” may well have come from the “Turkey Trail,” as it was of the same pattern as those cars.   The ore cars appear to have been identical to the old link and pin coal cars of the Trail Creek Tramway.   They may have been those cars or others from the Alberta line.

            As flags from both Canada and the U.S. were equally displayed on the passenger train for its inaugural run, some Canadian ownership may be inferred.   The mine and Belcher Camp lasted until 1914; Ike Mc Clung’s wife, Madge, taught school and the Belcher Camp store supplied the stump ranchers along Lambert Creek.   The railroad may have lasted a little longer.   A photo of the old Karamin lumber mill shows a narrow gauge track alongside.   The Belcher Camp was reported to have carried logs out of Lambert Creek to this mill, possibly prolonging its life for a year or two.

            Today Echo Bay Minerals works several gold mines on Cooke Mountain, not far from the old Belcher, and trucks the ore to their concentrator above Curlew Lake.

 

 

Floweryflower

If you like Flowers, Nature, Photography and pretty quotes, Welcome!

Dave Bikes America

One man, two wheels, Pacific to Atlantic

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Fiction Author

euredurchlaucht

Bilder, Eindrücke und Blödeleien

Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Vigilant Knight

Exploring the history!

GenTraveling

Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Educated Unemployed Indian

Trying to benefit from education & (a little) from unemployment!

tanja britton

Lives and writes at the foot of Pikes Peak

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Poetry and Prose

From soul to soul

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes

DaleDucatte.com

"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Deepa Kadavakat

Celebrate the ordinary & beautiful self

Susan Rushton

Celebrating gardens, nature, photography and a creative life

Backyard Photographer

Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time

PETER GRAARUP WESTERGAARD

Independent blog about literature, philosophy and society in words and images

Floresphotographic

Flower & Nature Photography.

The Hejhej blog

Another blog that you dont need

The Flowers of Art

In the kingdom of life, with the strokes of the brush, the bow and the pen, artists have sowed their hearts to contrive, fields rivalling in beauty the Garden of Eden.

The Timeless Treasure

A Sneak Peek of My Life !!!

Theresa J. Barker

literary & science fiction writer

Jupp Kappius

Zur Erinnerung an Josef "Jupp" Kappius

Calmgrove

Exploring the world of ideas through books

A Walk to Stressfree Life

be thankful for this blessed life!!!

Karolina Górska & Piotr Jurkiewicz

fotografia z naszej perspektywy

Melissa Blue Fine Art

Celebrating the Healing Beauty of Nature

Melissa Blue Fine Art

Celebrating the Healing Beauty of Nature

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

The Back Road Chronicles

Curious soul...and it makes me wanna take the back roads!

MaritimeMac

Go Explore

Inspire me

Love, Relationship, Lifestyle, Purpose, Marriage & Family

Travelling around the world

Traveller, photography

Intrepid Venture

Exploring the realms of the arts, sciences and politics

Megha Bose

A peek into Megha's mind

natureliteratureculturejournal

This is a journal about the things that inspire me: a beautiful landscape, a good book, a fascinating museum.

Candid Chicana

Chicano Culture, Inspiration, Self-Development

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Plants and Beyond

Green Plants Based Living and Gardening

Zimmerbitch

age is just a (biggish) number

Think Ahead

Des' Online Journal

witlessdatingafterfifty

Relationships reveal our hearts.

%d bloggers like this: