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Town That Moved



xbarnes@mts.net SEPTEMBER 2003


Everyone has been asking about the town that moved, yes they moved the Town of Lynn Lake, MB from Sherridon, MB. The big move started in 1949 and was completed when the railroad opened in the fall of 1953 and then the Cat Trains were no longer needed. One thing that is very impressive about the big move is the tonnage and the size of the objects that was moved. Sherritt Gordon Mines moved everything from the mining equipment to the houses the people would live in, all in the dead of winter. It was a very well organized Cat Train haul and very impressive as to how smoothly it ran. They had to haul enough supplies to live and work the summer months until the next Cat Train could arrive.

To understand this better and to get a handle of how remote this project was, it is like going to the moon. The very first prospectors found the ore body that would become the Town of Lynn Lake, MB. These poor fellows had to paddle a canoe up a river system that was not very well charted by today’s standards. Then walk 1 mile in the bush and find a piece of bed rock the size of a pop can which contained enough ore in the sample to warrant a diamond drill program. Now this is really amazing because this is 1940's so after the prospector discovered the ore it might be up to a year before he knew what he had found. Then to retrace his steps to the exact location a year later and do more tests, then wait again. My God that generation had patience, but once the announcement of the ore body was made public (mining company work in silence so there is no claim jumping) then the Cat Trains were in business. The mining company ran out of ore at the Sherridon, MB location, so it was decided to move the mining equipment and the town 180 miles north to the new ore body at Lynn Lake, MB.


This was a major under taking in its time, only other move of this magnitude was the Islandfalls, SK dam project. Twelve Linn Tractors, Cat Trained in 23 000 tons of building material in a 90 day period in the dead of winter. Check it out at www.islandfalls.net you will enjoy the excellent web page by Dave Rutherford.

On the Sherridon, MB to Lynn Lake, MB, they freighted in 50 000 tons of material, 208 complete houses, the bank and the big school. The Cat Trains hauled everything in the winter months so the community and the mining company could work and live all summer until the next Cat Train would arrive next winter. Everything had to be order a year in advance and in big amounts because it had to last you the year. Sure you could get light items flown in for the price of an arm and leg but the Cat Train was the means of cheap transportation. The cat Trains would haul steady in all types of weather and repairs were made were it broke. No nice heated shop was available in the middle of no where. And you had no phones or radios to order parts. The men on the Cat Trains were amazing at there abilities to fix anything, with practically nothing.

The Cat Trains also hauled all the steel for the construction of the railway bridges to cross the major rivers. When the Canadian Nation Railway arrived with the track laying equipment, the roadbed was ready all thanks to the Cat Trains. One amazing feat for the Cat Trains, was the hauling of all the building material for the construction of Laurie River Power Dam. The mining company built a hydro dam 60 miles south of Lynn Lake, Mb to generate power for the new mine and town that was under construction. The hydro dam had to have everything Cat Trained in to the remote location for the summers construction season. This is no small feat in itself, the tons of concrete, huge turbines and steel structures transported over the frozen terrain is well worth noting.

We are working with the Town of Lynn Lake, MB to document the moving of the town, so more to come.

king of obsolete, mb, entered 2003-09-25
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