At the southeast end of Lasalle station there is a set of stairs that leads to a little park just to the side of the bridge on Lasalle Boulevard.
In the park is the remains of a church – reminds me of Saint Ann’s in Griffintown.
On the bike path on the south side of Lasalle boulevard there is a plaque on the first pillar. I have zapped this image a bit but it is still hard to read – it’s not easy to read when you are right there.
Basically your big name blogroll for CPR, but what is interesting is that the construction of the bridge began in March 1886 and was completed in July, 1887! That’s like 16 months. Granted, they didn’t have to worry about clearing the Seaway in the 1880′s, but still that is 16 months to build a bridge that is standing and functional 123 years later! It seems pretty clear to me that steel and stone are much superior products over concrete.
The river comes through tough enough, this is west of the Lachine Rapids.
To get back we waited on Lasalle boulevard and took the 110 bus back to Angrignon. It is a long zig zagging route that goes on forever. It wasn’t that bad being early Saturday evening, but I really can’t imagine doing that everyday during rush hour.
One of the things a visitor learns about Lasalle is that it easy to lose your sense of direction. Not only does the Aqueduc run straight through it, but the city’s road patterns were designed with traffic calming in mind making it a terrible city for pedestrians and public transportation. And Lasalle with it’s combination of residential and industrial zones has main streets that get very jammed during peak hours.
The Lasalle Loop sits there with about 80% or more of it’s rail pulled, but there is plenty of space. It runs just about through the middle of the most densely populated areas of Lasalle. It has a train station at one end and a Metro station at the other end. It seems like a very obvious place for a light rail/tram system that could get people to Angrignon quickly and allow for a greater efficiency of local buses.
If you have been watching the situation on the island in recent years you will know that there simply is not a coherent plan for the future with so many transportation projects close to approval that seem to be at direct odds with each other, it gets a little scary. But the Lasalle Loop is just sitting there waiting to be restored and the only right of way issue would be to rework it into Angrignon without destroying half the park. It would serve Lasalle immensely well, save a fortune in building costs, encourage sustainable transit, and actually save a significant portion of Montreal’s railroad heritage, something the city has been shamefully unconcerned with in recent decades.
The Lasalle Loop would work.
Before we got on the bus to go home we walked a few blocks west of the bridge to take a look at the Lasalle windmill of city logo fame.
Another nice restoration job. And an old story to finish off. I grew up in Verdun and the story we knew about the windmill was that it had been a fort in the battles with the Iroquois. That was easy to believe because in those days our history books still were slanting history in such a way that the need for such forts to protect us all from the vicious Iroquois who had committed a massacre in Lachine was deemed essential.
The windmill stood there as just a stone conical tower for as long as most people could remember which probably in part allowed the fort legend to grow (we used to picture soldiers shooting out those little windows). I still find it a bit weird, and in some ways disappointing, to think of it as a windmill. Thus spake the Don Quixote of Turcot Yards (wink!).
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Continuing the trek with Avrom Shtern and Andrew Dawson.
Stumbled on a path to find a hangout, hobo jungle, kind of place amongst some trees. Follow the tracks, even in the city, and sooner or later you will find one.
At the top of the path we came out here. Probably used to be a factory of some kind serviced by rail. Lots of space for the kids to play, yet must get boring for them being in plain sight for so long, heh, some things you don’t forget.
Grass gets cut regularly and I wonder who is responsible for that?
Avrom Shtern writes about the Lasalle Loop,
“The Island wide Urban Plan talks about conserving railway ROWs like the Doney Spur, the former Montreal & Lachine near the former Dominion Bridge and the LaSalle Loop as future strategic transit corridors. But Montreal has not acted. Neither have Quebec or Canada passed true railbanking legislation which conserves railway corridors once they are abandoned. Governments are at best indifferent about the issue and have no regard for railbanking and forward looking policies… The railways want to sell their surplus real estate to the highest bidder as they know that the current process of offering ROWs to government will for the most part be rejected because of tight budgets and a lack of concern about railway infrastructure. Railways are no longer run by railway men and women but by accountants and lawyers who only think about the the next quarterly profits statement. The tracks of CPR’s Lasalle Loop, now called the Lasalle Spur were removed between the Lachine Canal and Newman Blvd. Some of the line near Angrignon Park was built upon and as per usual no regard for railbanking and forward looking policies… However, much of the natural passage remains. One can even see signs of a watercourse adjacent to the western side of Angrignon Park. Lasalle Borough has had an interest in the ROW, (someone mows the grass), but I am not sure of the exact ownership. Hydro has used the western part of the easement since the post 1998 Ice Storm upgrading of power lines in the area. The line comes in from the north from Rockcliffe Hydro Substation in Lachine which connects with the Highway 20 Hydro line and the line to Hampstead Substation which serves the greater West End…
A light rail train can be resurrected along the servitude with connections to Lasalle Commuter Train Station, Angrignon Metro Station and eventually along the South Bank rail line along the Lachine Canal to Cote Saint Paul and beyond. The former MUC, Green Coalition and Heritage Laurentien have made similar proposals.
At the end of our trek we witnessed the beautiful structure of CPR’s active St. Lawrence Bridge in the shimmering Lake St. Louis to the west and Lachine Rapids to the east.
How is it that a bridge built in the 19th Century is better built than adjacent road
bridges and is not used to its fullest?”
Possible former communications box.
More gardens. Have a hunch it is not supposed to look inviting.
There are many paths that connect neighborhoods along the Lasalle Loop. And we were also surprised to see these railway crossing signs still more or less intact.
Long straight stretch.
Some actual track coming up ahead.
After a few hours of walking on plain ground the track changes your pace.
It’s beginning to smell sort of like beer as we head in to the final stretch.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of The Lasalle Loop!
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Andrew Dawson writes,
The station stops were from Highlands (Lasalle station today) as follows;
Highlands, Mile 0.0
Lafleur, Mile 0.68
Newman, Mile 0.91
Dollard, Mile 1.90
Allard, Mile 3.84(this is also where it met MTC trams, route #36)
Power Jct, Mile 4.53 (this is where the LaSalle Loop met the South Bank Branch)
Cote St.Paul, Mile 5.85 (though this was really Mile 3.8 of the South Bank Branch, connection with CN & the MTC trams # 25 & 36 on Church/de l’Eglise that is today in the shadow of the Turcot interchange)
Heading south west.
Plenty of wild flowers.
A lot of the road goes by the backs of neighborhoods like this.
On the other side is a large open chunk of land that may be getting prepared for development.
Surprising how much space is still available in Lasalle.
Can’t say if these are all guerrilla gardens and there may be some kind of “unwritten” arrangement in place.
Tree providing some shade in a garden.
One of the more elaborate gates to the countless gardens we walked by.
You would almost think you were on a country road in farm country at some points.
Andrew Dawson standing by a remnant of the rail days.
Railroad ties form the box for this tomato patch.
Overall the road was quite dry despite a few wet spots.
Another curve up ahead.
Lots of buildings with freight doors that don’t open anymore.
Looks like no one works on Saturday here.
Old hippy sitting on a dock.
Avrom Shtern’s turn.
Some kind of test pipe.
Old school signage on a closed business lot.
Hydro towers that went up after the Ice Storm in ’98. You can see more like these as far back east as the Verdun section of the Aqueduc.
Power station on the south side.
We were not the only ones following the loop that day.
Stay tuned for Part 3.
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On Saturday I walked the Lasalle Loop with Avrom Shtern and Andrew Dawson. Some of you may recall our exploration of The Doney Spur two years ago here, here, here, here, and here, so we were very much overdue for this trek.
The LaSalle Loop
As industry began to move into the newly incorporated town of LaSalle, an area still poorly served by mass transit, CP decided to built another line in the area, which came to be known as the ‘LaSalle Loop’. Built in the 1920s, it cut across the open countryside from Highlands to the Montreal streetcar terminus at the end of Allard Street, and thence down along the outside of the Montreal city line to join the South Branch at ‘Power Junction’, just east of the LaSalle Coke Plant. Trains then headed eastward along the South Branch as far as Church Street in Cote St. Paul. Although built primarily for freight, passengers were carried on through the end of World War II.”
And Andrew wrote that, “according to Michael Leduc’s “Montreal Island Railway Stations CP & Constituent Companies”, the LaSalle Loop line opened in August of 1922. Passenger service on the line was from 1922 to 1935, though during WWII it was reinstated. Trains ran from Highlands(today LaSalle) to Cote St.Paul on the South Bank Branch. The passenger equipment used would have been self propelled. Much like this battery car below or a gas-electric.
Here is a map of the part of the Lasalle Loop that runs from roughly the Angrigon Metro to the Saint Lawrence Bridge.
We met at the Angrignon Metro.
And started off exploring a tract of land east of there where the Lasalle Loop once ran.
Lasalle might be one of the most intense garden communities on the island as we found out on this trip. And, like this stretch of Ville Emard, most of it is not visible from the streets.
Obelisk near Allard and Irwin which is roughly where the Lasalle Loop passenger trains would have hooked up with the Montreal tram system (#36 bus route today).
The foundation of one of the factories recently torn down – Loblaw’s roof in background.
We began our march to the river along here. This building is a garage for Metro cars. The Lasalle Loop actually ran along the private property to the right.
We checked out the development alongside the park. Talk about there goes your view!
No back yards (there is a tricky short cut to the park, but not for the physically challenged or the elderly)
That green hill on the horizon is actually one of the largest PCB dumps in Quebec.
Metro garage from west end.
Just not sure about building car culture so close to a Metro Station.
At least the sidewalks in the project seem wide enough to serve pedestrians and cyclists.
And here, at the northwest corner of Angrignon Park, we begin along the actual right of way of the Lasalle Loop.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
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