Algoma Central Railway Adlake Reliable

Algoma Central Railway

The Algoma Central Railway started off in 1899 with an entrepreneur who needed a railway to haul lumber for his business from the wilds of the Algoma county to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In 1901, the owner acquired a charter that would allow a railway to be built to the Hudson Bay. Unfortunately, like many charters of the era, this grand plan never materialized. However the railway was known as the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway from 1901 onward.

Shortly after in 1903, the railway faultered in the bankruptcy of the Consolidated Lake Superior Company, which was owned by the founder of the ACR.  The railway had only built 90km of track north from Sault Ste. Marie. The Railway sat dormant until 1909, when construction resumed. By 1914, the railway finally made it to Hearst, the eventual terminus of the ACR, and the interchange with the National Transcontinental Railway.

The Algoma Central, while not what it used to be, still exists, now owned by Watco. You can still ride on the ACR through the Agawa Canyon on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train.

The Lantern

In 1912 Adlake released the Reliable model of lanterns. Reliables were just that, reliable, good lanterns. It’s no wonder they became so popular in North America. There aren’t that many Reliable’s that were for Canadian Railways, who generally preferred buying Wright lanterns. Algoma Central is an exception however. So far all the Algoma Central marked lanterns I’ve seen have been these Adlake Reliable  bellbottom lanterns. With the railway completing its construction in 1914, it’s quite likely these Reliables were bought around then as the services began to grow. The latest patent date on the lantern is April 1913, which would indicate they were purchased around the 1914 era, as more patent dates were put on Reliables later on.

The lantern is in excellent condition. Also of note is the red etched Corning globe. All the ACR lanterns I’ve seen have been etched in the same way, I have not seen a cast globe. 

To clean the lantern when I got it, I just used soap and ultra fine steel wool. It was covered in a thick layer of grime, and the thickest soot buildup I’ve ever seen. However, under the soot and grime is a true survivor and an excellent piece of Canadian Railway History.

While there were many, many railways in Canada’s history, few of them remained independant of the giants like Canadian Northern, Canadian Pacific or the Grand Trunk in the early days of railways in Canada. The Algoma Central remained independant for the vast majority of its existence, only being acquired in the 1990s due to declining business in the area.