Item : 2011-002.13 - Railway trestle embankment construction

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Railway trestle embankment construction

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  • Moving images

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Reference code

AM1614-: 2011-002.13

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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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  • [between 1922 and 1940] (Creation)

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Physical description

1 film reel (53 min., 58 sec.) : 18fps, b&w, si. ; 16mm

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Samuel Shelby (Sam) Magoffin was the owner and president of S.S. Magoffin & Co. Limited Railway Contractors, an earth-moving company which he established around 1920. Between approximately 1920 and 1924, the company did filling, stabilization and clean-up work for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (Canadian National Railway) near Prince Rupert; during this time, the company’s head office was located in Prince George, British Columbia. Magoffin may also have been a sub-contractor in the building of the CNR through the Fraser Canyon. From 1925 to 1927, Magoffin’s company was in charge of levelling and filling along the waterfront of the North Vancouver harbour and, from 1925 to 1928, the company was contracted by the CNR to fill the Lyon Creek embankment.

Beginning in 1927, the location of the S.S. Magoffin & Co. Limited office is listed as the North Vancouver waterfront and in subsequent years is listed at various other addresses in that city, the last being at 1227 East 3rd Street, North Vancouver in 1958.

Sam and his wife Margaret (nee Margaret Plumer Boalt, b. 1892) first appear in Vancouver in the 1927 directory, as residents of the Devonshire Hotel at 849 West Georgia; in 1929 they are listed as residents at 855 West Georgia. Circa 1929, the Magoffins built a home “Rockhaven” at 3612 Marine Drive in West Vancouver.

Magoffin is also recognized as the founder and first president of the Golden Retriever Club of America. The Magoffins acquired their first champion golden retriever Speedwell Pluto in 1930, and established two kennels in Vancouver, “Rockhaven” and “Gilnockie”.

Sam died in Winona, MInnesota in 1959 and Margaret passed away in Colorado in 1972.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Item consists of a motion picture film which chronologically documents the construction of an embankment built to support a set of wooden railway trestles. The embankment was constructed by S.S. Magoffin and Company Railway Contractors for Canadian National Railways in what appears to be an area near Mt. Robson.

Progress on the construction is seen over time. Special attention throughout is paid to the machinery, which includes a 70 tonne Bucyrus steam shovel on caterpillar tracks, with substantial footage of scooping and dumping earth and other parts in action, and a small steam locomotive pushing rail carts. There are many shots of the workmen, the surrounding environment, and the work camp, as well as footage of workers recovering from storm damage including rockslides on tracks, flooding, and a steam shovel knocked over and buried in dirt, badly damaged.

Notes area

Physical condition

Slight shrinkage and warpage causing framing issues periodically.

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Item is also available as an MPEG2 file.

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Access to original film limited for preservation purposes.

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General note

Labeling on film cans and film leaders: "Lyon Creek: Contract #1 - Sept. 1925 to April 1926; Contract #2 - May 1926 to Aug. 1926; Contract #3 - Sept 1926 to July 1928; Contract #4." The labeling suggests Lyon Creek, but since the locations appear to be all the same and Mt. Robson appears in the film (9:17) and it is quite a distance from Lyon Creek, the geographical location of this film is in question.

Physical description

This film appears to have originally been made up of 4 reels, but at some point prior to donation they were combined onto one large reel.


Public domain

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  • Box: F17-F-27
  • Box: 726-C-06
  • Box: 708-C-06