Skip to content

When the 'bucket line' was a marker of local productivity

In this edition of Remember This, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre looks back on the Hollinger aerial tram
981.266.93 - Hollinger Tram Cable Splicing Crew - Hollinger Miner
A splicing crew, in 1962, works to replace the cable of the Hollinger Aerial Tram. Left to right: A. Beauchamp, William Phizacklea, Peter Lavorato, Angelo Martignago, Don Warren, Dan Hannah, Rudolf Baca, Wilfred Blais, Lionel Belair, Tony Battistone, Paul Guistizia, Fermo Bozzer, Rene Vexina, Alphonse Roy, A. Jubinville, and Murray McAdams. Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre photo

From the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre:

Many will no doubt remember the sight of buckets on their way to and from the Hollinger Mine, swinging along across the highway between Timmins and Schumacher. The continuous procession of the large metal bins was, for some, a declaration that all was progressing well at the nearby mine. 

In the early days of the mine, as excavations of gold ore expanded underground, waste rock was used to backfill the stopes. However, there was not enough backfill to go around and many stopes remained empty, posing a hazard for ground failures. The Hollinger aerial tramway, often called the bucket line, was built in 1927 in order to transport sandy backfill from a gravel plant about 5.5 kilometers away. In total, 230 buckets were suspended along 11,500 meters of cable. The aerial tram operated for 16 hours per day, with each bucket depositing its load every 17.5 seconds for a yearly total of 750,000 tons of backfill per year.

Every two years, the steel cables for the aerial tram would need to be replaced as they began to wear out. A team of 35 men worked around the clock for three days to replace the cable, and get the iconic equipment back up and running again.

Each week, the Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre provides TimminsToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Timmins Museum has to offer at and look for more Remember This? columns here