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Location DB > Canada > Ontario > Thorold > Great Western Rail Tunnel > A Brief History

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Tue, Sep 13th, 2005
posted by MHInc
A Brief History

I have noticed there are a lot of "Incorrect Histories" out there regarding the "Grand Trunk Railway Tunnel" I can assure you the history below is accurate, all was researched extensively.
Also included is some history regarding the 4th Canal and surrounding area.

John A. Macdonald makes plans to construct a 3rd Welland Canal to accommodate the vessels using the other two canals that were already in use.

Construction on the 3rd Welland Canal began.

Great Western Railway company requires a more durable and less interrupted way to cross the 3rd Welland Canal. Work begins on what is now known as the “Blue Ghost Tunnel” by the Department of Public Works. A single track tunnel, between locks 18 and 19 passing under the 3rd Welland canal.

The “Blue Ghost Tunnel” is completed, in less than 1 year. Measuring 665 feet in length, and 713 with the winged stone work at both ends. The tunnel was constructed with hand cut limestone blocks from the nearby Queenston quarry.

3rd Welland Canal officially opened
Great Western Railway incorporates into the Grand Trunk Railway System. The later company was the first to use the Tunnel.

The Grand Trunk Railway completes laying its Double Track system. And a new double tracked swing bridge is erected north of the tunnel near lock 17. This swing bridge is still in use today.

January 3rd - No.4 Express Collides with a light Mogul 100 yards from the west entrance to the Blue Ghost Tunnel killing the 2 firemen that managed the boilers.
Mr. Charles Horning was killed instantly Abraham Desult sustained burns on 90% of his body and died 5 hours later in St. Catharines General Hospital .

August 1st 7:00am – Due to mechanical problems in the engine room on the steamship “La Canadienne” control was lost and the ship collided into and through lock 22’s flood gates. 4 boys fishing near the lock were swept away by the small wave created by the crash, only 1 was rescued.

Plans begin to build the 4th Welland canal.

Harry Eastwood was the last person to pilot a train through the Blue Ghost Tunnel
The “Blue Ghost Tunnel” is used only by farmers to relocate their herds of cattle to fields across the canal, and is soon forgotten after the 4th and current Welland canal opens for many years until it is rediscovered overrun with trees and thick bush.

The 4th Welland Canals constructions begins.

July - A message is put out to family members that in order to build the new canal, the Grave Yard known as the “Old Cemetery of St. Peters Church” (The year of it’s 150th birthday) would have to be moved to what is now “Lakeview Cemetery” Only 250 Graves were moved to the new location, leaving a total of 663 graves left unclaimed which are now submerged under the waters of the pondage near the pump house close to the Blue Ghost Tunnel.

August 6th – A disaster in the 4th Welland Canal at Lock 6 took the lives of 8 men and two others near death, that later died of the injuries sustained, when a crane carrying an end post for one of the 500 ton steel flood gates dropped its load.

August 6th – Exactly 2 years to the day, 8 more men were killed. I found no information on this accident, but Lock 6 is said to be cursed.

The “Blue Ghost Tunnel” turns 123 years old this year.

If you are interested in more information regarding the paranormal factor and history you can visit


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