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(June 18-22, 2009)

Devlin Francis

Old Oakland Tribune Tower

Francis Fougere

When Trains Operated on Time

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

June 19, 2009. 11:58 EST

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© 2009 Francis Fougere, All Rights Reserved.

The Canadian National Railway in it’s time.
When trains operated on time and folks set their watches to them.

In 1928 the CNR decided to build a new railway station at James & Murray Steets. The new station was built in the Neo-classical style, with the main section of the station being approximately 90m x 25m. The station entrance is marked by four large Doric columns, with several stone carvings of the CNR’s steam and electric locomotives, and shipping fleet. The station concourse and waiting room is approximately 18m x 41m, and had six stairways leading down to three platforms below, serving six through tracks. The cornerstone of the station was laid on May 7, 1930, and the first passenger train (a special charter) departed on Febrary 20, 1930. The official opening was performed a year later on May 27, 1931, by the Governor General, the Earl of Bessborough.

Passenger traffic at the James Street station would remain fairly constant until the early 1960s. All branch line passenger trains to Port Dover and Barrie were cancelled by 1960, but the opening of Hwy 401 had a major impact on CN’s passenger trains in southwest Ontario. Starting in April 1962, most of the passenger trains along the Toronto-London-Windsor-Chicago mainline would not stop in Hamilton. The only remaining CN trains were the Toronto-Niagara Falls and Toronto-New York trains. The James Street station was closed on February 26, 1993.

The James Street station sat empty for several years, as its size and backlog of repairs made it an expensive acquisition. Then Hollywood came knocking. In 1996 the producers of the movie "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (an action movie starring Geena Davis and Samuel Jackson) gave CN $1 Million to renovate the empty station so part of the movie could be shot there. The publicity from this and the work done attracted the attention of the Labourer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA), who bought the station and spent $3 Million for additional renovations. In 2000 the station was reopened as LIUNA Station, a rental hall with catering facilities for weddings, dances, and special events.

This fine building is now protected as an Ontario Heritage site.

A Canon EOS 5D with a Canon 16-35mm L series lens set at 16mm was used on a Manfrotto 303SPH head. The cubic panorama was stitched together with RealViz Stitcher V4. This panorama was shot with available light at 1/15 of a second @ f 8 in RAW mode with an ISO of 400 on the Canon EOS 5D. I processed all of the images in the RAW conversion software Camera Raw 4.6 from Adobe. The images were then stitched together in RealViz Stitcher and the QuickTime panoramas are then converted from the flat TIFF images.

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