The Rail Line
Inglis was built at the end of a small spur line from Russell. At the south end of the Inglis Elevators was an inverted Y section of track, which was used as a switching yard to turn cars around. Up to 15 cars at a time could be left for the agents to fill before the next engine arrived. Several shorter sections of track allowed individual cars to be placed in front of each elevator without blocking the main line.
All of this shunting of cars was both dangerous and labour intensive. Often the agent moved cars by hand, with the assistance of a car jack or a small electric winch. Look for the remnants of these small electric motors on the rail side of the elevators, near the Reliance Double Elevator.
Look north up the rail line. Just beyond the elevators stood the Canadian Pacific station. Like most prairie towns, Inglis was connected to the main line by regularly scheduled passenger and freight trains. Passengers , mail, fresh food, and news arrived in Inglis at 7:25 pm three times a week.
With the increased use of trucks and cars, the rail line slowly declined in use. In 1953, CPR ended passenger service to Inglis. Freight service continued for 18 more years. Grain shipments continued on an ever-decreasing basis until July 1995. The train track running through the historic site is all that remains of this once vital link to the outside world.
A CN freight car serves as a visual reminder of the importance of the railways to grain-growing communities.
THE PATERSON ELEVATOR
This elevator was built and owned by the N.M. Paterson company from 1922 to 1995.
In its day, this elevator represented the top of the line in grain handling. It is the only on site elevator that had a dust collection system, which was designed to reduce the danger of fire from the explosive grain dust.
It also has an annex on its north side which was added in 1951 for extra storage, and today its office, annex, and main elevator serve as the visitor centre for tourists.
THE RELIANCE TWIN ELEVATORS
This elevator complex represents the many changes that occurred in companies managing the grain trade.
The smaller elevator was built in 1922 by Matheson Lindsay.
It was sold to Province Elevator in 1928, which became Reliance in the 1930s. In 1941, Reliance added the second, larger elevator.
In 1952, the complex was sold to Manitoba Pool and finally to UGG in 1971.
You can see the small elevator has a distinct lean towards the tracks. When fully loaded, the weight of grain in an elevator bin compressed the wood as much as three feet. If an agent didn’t load all of the
bins evenly, some structural damage could occur.
The Northern Elevator
Built in the 1920s by the Northern company, this elevator was later owned by National, Cargill, and finally Paterson. The agent’s office is original and represents a typical office of the period, with room for storage and a coal shed.
United Grain Growers (UGG)
The last elevator in the row was built in 1925 by UGG, to replace the original elevator destroyed by fire in 1922. UGG was one of the first farmer cooperatives. The provincial elevator pools were organized in response to farmers’ concern about unfair practices by large corporate-owned elevators. The company provided precise instructions
for building and operating standard plan elevators, to ensure all of its customers received fair treatment.
Take a look at the metal spouts extending from the top of elevators down to Railway Avenue.
These were added later, so that agents could ship grain to the grain company terminals by truck, as well as rail.