|Part 1: Sudbury to Espanola
The Algoma Eastern Railway is today a mixture of operating railroad,
rusting unused rail line, private access roads and abandoned right-of -way
slowly being re-absorbed by Mother Nature. Much of the abandoned
right-of-way is inaccessible, however certain parts may be seen as noted
in the descriptions below.
Sudbury yard, just to the northwest of the CN overpass on Frood Road
has entirely disappeared. The Nickel Spur still crosses the former
yard area on its way to Creighton, but there are no signs of any of the
buildings or track that formerly occupied this area.. Even the foundations
for the water tank, which were visible in the 1970s have been covered over
with a layer of fill. At the west end of yard, the original CNoR
transfer right-of-way which joined the AER at mile 1 can be found.
A pair of concrete culverts mark the original junction.
Following the line west we come to Clarabelle (Mile 4.8), CP's main
access to the Inco Copper Cliff Smelter complex and still a busy freight
source and destination. Clarabelle is accessible from Hwy. 144 north
of Copper Cliff. About three kilometres beyond Sudbury turn left
on the road to Copper Cliff. The "new" station, which is a CPR structure,
can be seen where the road south to Copper Cliff crosses the highway.
The track layout has changed over the years but is still similar to the
AER layout of 1930.
Continuing west we reach the end of track just south of the Creighton
Mine open pit. A spur into the site provides needed service.
Creighton Mine still produces ore, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable
future, ensuring that this portion of the former AER will likely see continued
use. That being said, Canadian Pacific's current three year plan
calls for this Sub to be transferred to a short line operator. Creighton
Mine can be reached by taking the road north from Lively, a small town
about about eight kilometres west of Copper Cliff. The turnoff to
Creighton Mine is about three kilometres north of Lively.
Beyond Creighton the abandoned right-of-way is used as a private access
road by Inco to the Gertrude Mine site some three kilometre beyond Creighton
and to the site of the former O'Donnell roast yards a little over five
kilometres beyond that. If Inco ever decides to reopen Gertrude,
it is quite conceivable that rail could easily be re-laid back to the site.
Permission is required from Inco to access this portion of the right-of-way.
The access road ends near the site of the Vermilion River Bridge where
the stone abutments may still be seen. When leaving Creighton, instead
of turning left off the mine access road to travel back to Lively, turn
right and follow the road a little over a kilometre to Hwy. 144.
Turn right and about a half kilometre later you will come to an overpass
over the old AER right-of-way. About a half kilometre further on
the west side of the road is the access road to Gertrude Mine. This
site is posted and requires permission from Inco to enter. The Gerturde
access road joins with the AER right-of-way at the mine site.
|John Morgan (1997)
A.E.R. Right-of-way at High
Falls looking east
From the Vermilion River to Turbine, the abandoned right-of-way shows
as a summer only trail on the latest topographical maps although I believe
that the access road running east from Crean Hill Mine to Lockerby Mine
follows the old AER roadbed.
At Turbine the AER right-of-way crosses High Fa ls road.
The roadbed can be clearly seen as a rough trail, both east and west of
this road. From Turbine to Nairn, the roadbed follows the Spanish
River. In some places is used as a Hydro right-of-way. Between
Turbine and Nairn the old roadbed can be seen in places to the north of
Regional Road 3 to the Spanish River. At a number of points along
this road, the remains of broken down AER trestles may be seen sticking
out of the Spanish River.
North of Nairn, a dirt access road leads east along the Spanish River.
This access road leads to the Nairn Falls generating station and is part
of the old AER right-of-way. West of Nairn the right-of-way moves
south and crosses Hwy. 17. South of Hwy. 17 the roadbed parallels
for a couple of kilometres and can be clearly seen until Hwy. 17 veers
north to cross the Huron Central main line.
John Morgan (1997)
Remains of an A.E.R. trestle along the
Just east of the Hwy. 17 crossing of the Spanish River, there is a dirt
access road to the south of the highway. This road crosses the Huron
Central tracks and reverses direction to use the AER right-of-way for about
a kilometre. West of this access road the roadbed continues through
the bush to the first Spanish River crossing about a 1.5 kilometres south
of the Highway. The trail then continues east to the current track
heading south from McKerrow. Most of this part of the roadbed has
completely disappeared under reforestation projects.
The second operating portion of the original AER line heads south from
junction at McKerrow to the Domtar paper mill at Espanola. This part
of the former Little Current Sub is operated under lease by the Huron Central
Railroad. The access road just west of McKerrow more or less parallels
the spur. The former junction with the AER mainline was just to the
east of the end of this road where it "T"s into the road leading west to
Hwy. 6. There is no sign left of the junction with the former AER
mainline. Even the portion of the line that remained in the 1970s
as a car cleaning siding and mentioned in Dale Wilson's history of the
AER has long since disappeared. In the accompanying picture the AER
main line curved to the right about 200 feet north of the road crossing,
about where the grey gravel ballast starts between the rails. Follow
Hwy. 6 south to Espanola. Just north of the town, the highway crosses
the Spanish River. Looking to the east you can see a fine overview
of the Domtar paper mill, the power dam in the Spanish River and the original
steel truss bridge of the AER's second Spanish River crossing above it.
|John Morgan (1997)
Looking north to the site of the
former A.E.R. Espanola Junction
Continue with Part 2