The Dam & Pump House


A component of…

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Rivers, Manitoba

A Project of The Rivers Train Station Restoration Committee

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Dam & Pump House

The decision by the Grand Trunk Pacific to create the Town of Rivers as a divisional point on its new trans-continental line necessitated a number of building and engineering projects. Extensive yards and a roundhouse would be required. There would be a need for a variety of facilities and services related to the maintenance of steam locomotives.

A good supply of water was essential, and the Little Saskatchewan River, while providing challenges for construction, was indispensable for the operations of the Grand Trunk Railway in Rivers.

Like all small prairie rivers, the Little Saskatchewan is very seasonal, and slows to a trickle during dry summers. By 1910, a dam was constructed to back up a dependable supply of water and a pump house built to send the water uphill to the water tower located near the roundhouse.


Aerial Views: The dam was quite near the rival C.P. line at Cossar Crossing.

Much of the dam has been washed away in recent years, but parts of the structure remain visible.




The Pump House

Operations were conducted by a pumpman, with John Borroff serving until his retirement in 1947. It could be a dangerous job. In 1917 shop-worker Olive Archer had suffered head and facial injuries when a valve blew out, and Robert McGregor was killed when caught up in the pumphouse engine.

The remains of this structure are upstream from the dam, alongside the former pump house. It would likely have been the site of the intake.

The dam, and the small lake it created, soon became a popular spot for swimming, picnicking and fishing. And like all dams it could be dangerous. In 1914 Billy McKinnon and the light craft from which he had been fishing, were swept over the dam and he was drowned.