A view of
Some 250 to 300 men were employed in Rivers during the early railroad
operations at this point. Pictured here are some members of the machine
An aerial view.
Yard Engine and Coal Dock.
The Final Years
The era of the steam locomotive was coming to an end in the early
1950’s. New diesel engines were faster and stronger. They didn’t
require the types of local maintenance that the roundhouse and yards
had been providing. For a time these new engines used local makeshift
facilities in the roundhouse, but soon new liquid fuel tanks replaced
the coal dock and the roundhouse was no longer vital to operations.
Rivers was still a busy place. No less than twenty-eight crews (one
hundred and forty men) were operating between this point between
Winnipeg and Melville. An average of sixty carloads of ballast
material were being taken from the railway's gravel pit on a daily
basis as road beds needed constant attention.
But what we today call “downsizing” was inevitable. In 1954
twenty-three men - four roundhouse and eighteen car-department
employees - received termination notices from the Canadian National.
Another result of the increasing advances in locomotive technology was
that railway operations became centralized, and as a result the
divisional point was transferred to Terrace, and eventually all
maintenance was relocated to Prince George, BC and Edmonton, Alberta.
In 1958 the railway removed the sixty-foot high smokestack landmark
above the roundhouse. In 1961 it was sold to Structural Fabricators
Ltd. Which opened for business in the location the next year.