Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Vestibule View of Saskatchewan and Alberta, 1986 - Part 2

In Part 1, we went west from Piapot, SK to Bassano, AB. As our westward trip aboard VIA No 1 continues in May 1986, we're meeting an eastbound freight, displaying green signals with CP 5831-5731. We entered a siding west of Bassano at 1515. Both trains kept moving, and we reached the west switch as the freight had already cleared it with van CP 434626. Ten minutes later we met our eastbound counterpart, VIA No 2 with Eng 6304, two B-units and about 12 cars at speed:
Cluny, AB was named for a trading post owner in 1884. It is located at Mi 117.2  CP Brooks Sub:
 Check out those Service cars and the attendant gandy dancer vehicles parked nearby.
Gleichen has a train-order board and I was in contact with CP operator Tony Bonogofsky a year earlier. Tony kindly mailed me some train orders - watch for an upcoming post. Gleichen is named for a baron and CPR stockholder. Give us money and we'll name a town after you!
The rain was stopped and I was happy to be back in the vestibule. At 1545, Gleichen got the full Kodak treatment:


Approaching Carseland, there is still snow visible in ditches after a recent late spring snowstorm. This is where I dropped my lenscap down onto the right-of-way. Oh well, no sense pulling the air from the vestibule, I ended up purchasing a two-pack in Calgary!
Carseland, Mi 144.6:

Dalemead, Mi 152.5


Indus, with cars in the elevator track, Mi 158.5, is named for the river in India.
This photo left unlevelled, just to get third elevator in the frame:
Continue the vestibular vacation here as we enter Calgary!

Interestingly, in my Trains & Grains books, I did not include Alberta grain elevators. Watch for an upcoming post of CN's Wainwright Subdivision, including elevators on the northern CN route from the same year.

Running extra...

VIA has slowed down its sending of stainless steel cars down CN's Kingston Sub after Part 1 was published. Stay tuned, Budd! There will be more. But first, we're diverting to Alberta. Why? Because cold weather forced me in off the patio and it was time to heft the scanner up to the soft chairs to do some long-delayed scanning of some long-languishing prolific photo-prints.
This is not normally a political space. But it is a space to share optimism and to celebrate justice flowing like a river and righteousness as a mighty stream! Can't sit on my hands at this crossroads of history.
Blogger's new interface? I jumped before I was pushed. So far I haven't hit too many of the wrong buttons (hey, where did my draft post on the folly of using X2F couplers go to?) and perhaps it hints at the longevity of this social media platform. Blogger says it optimizes blogging on smartphones. What about on dumblaptops though - my preferred cyberspace Claymore, my nunchuk of nostalgia, my flyswatter of fotos.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

VIA Ex-CP Cars East to Montreal - Part 1

VIA has been repositioning stainless steel equipment formerly used on the Canadian. VIA No 12 was a deadhead equipment move bringing 20 cars from Vancouver (and the Prince Rupert train) into Winnipeg on May 17. Steve Boyko captured this movement from three different angles! With neither the Ocean, Skeena or Canadian running due to the present pandemic, there's lots of HEP stainless steel cars to go around. The cars can now be cleaned, refurbished and inspected as needed and as planned. VIA posted this press release May 6. The final Canadian had reached Toronto March 13.

Another special movement, VIA No 11 Engs 6427-6448, brought five cars into Winnipeg from Toronto around May 19. In the Corridor, several HEP stainless steel coaches, a baggage car and a Skyline had headed west into Toronto on May 9. Cars that came to VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre from Western Canada are being moved to VIA's Montreal Maintenance Centre, tacked onto the tail-end of VIA No 66 on successive nights. See the end of this post for consists of VIA's first No 12. Thanks to additional information from VIAphile Mark Sampson, you are there!

This is going to be a pop-up post. Each day's coverage of No 66 will have the consist followed by photos of that train.
May 20 VIA No 66 at Kingston OS 1745 May 20, 2020. 918Love the Way-3452-3348Ren-3320R-3335-3345R-919L-Frontenac-Acadian-8609-8144. To get a better, non-80 mph look, Kingston's VIA station was the place to be to see the equipment up-close.


May 21 No 66: 6459-6456-6453-913Love the way-3467-3340-3322-3326Ren-3319R-920L-8104-Glacier Park-Chateau Salaberry-Ch. Maisonneuve-Ch. Jolliet - the last four Prestige Class. Interestingly, the three 6400's in the lead brought the cars into Toronto, but have been remarshalled in the opposite order.






VIA No 66 at 1758 on May 22, 2020 at Kingston: 907Love the way-3460-3303Ren-3356Future-3363-3339R-906L-8606-Tweedsmuir Park-8105-8613:




VIA 8613, er, 613, has an interesting historical footnote in the long history of its VIA service.
VIA No 66 at 1750 on May 23, 2020 at Kingston (Collins Bay): 912Love the way-3462-3360Future-3300-3366F-6404-Strathcona Park-8118-Emerald (with Churchill wrap)-Empress-Kent.


Mark Sampson thoughtfully put a 'Hi Eric' sign in wrapped diner Emerald for me to see!

Earlier on May 23, VIA No 63 had Hunter Manor-Brock Manor-Fairholme-Chateau Jolliet-8509-Assiniboine Park tacked on the tail end from Montreal. It's been awhile since we had this many domes on the Kingston Sub - 1982:
The 20-car consist of VIA No 12 (CN's ID is P01251 15) which passed through Winnipeg on May 17 - each unit is followed by the bracketed date it headed east from Toronto as pictured above: 6453(21)-6456(21)-6459(21)-8118(23)-Strathcona Park (23)-8613(22)-8105(22)-Tweedsmuir Park(22)-8606(22)-Drummond Manor -Elgin Manor-Franklin Manor-8144(20)-Kent(23)-Empress(23)-Emerald(23)-8609(20)-Chateau Jolliet (21-Prestige Class)-Acadian (20)-Frontenac (20)-Chateau Maisonneuve(Prestige-21)-Chateau Salaberry(Prestige-21)-Glacier Park (21-Prestige). The first six cars (8118 to 8606 inclusive) were two three-car trainsets wyed then added at Jasper. The Manors stayed at the TMC. 

In Part 2, we'll attempt to capture a second train's contribution of cars to this Corridor Canadian crossing.

Running extra...

My future son-in-law gave up the chance to stay home and smell the homemade lasagna cooking to accompany me instead to Kingston's VIA station to see the third night's deadhead move of VIA equipment to Montreal. (That run-on-sentence was as long as this train!) It's not too often we see this Trackside Treasure being created - Dustin captured me capturing the moment! Your humble blogger is having a virtual flashback to the 1980's Corridor Canadian, when there was no such thing as a mid-train Park car. Strange times, indeed:
A recent re-watch of the 1963 classic 'The Great Escape' is being followed up by a read of Ted Barris' The Great Escape - the Untold Story. My copy is not lettered 'a Canadian Story' though. Maybe that's what happens when it's a National Bestseller (that is on my copy). The differences between the Hollywood version and the real thing are notable for not off-putting. Spoiler - I've actually worked alongside someone who IS mentioned in the book, by George!
Speaking of tunnelling, I'm tiring of hearing the phrase 'deep dive' pertaining to any newsmagazine expose' or any other normally-superficial account of something. It's become an epidemic, and besides, I prefer a shallow dive. Not just because I'm superficial, but because there's less chance of hitting my head that way.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Vestibule View of Saskatchewan and Alberta,1986 - Part 1

It was a particularly greasy afternoon crossing the Canadian prairie from Saskatchewan into Alberta in May, 1986 aboard VIA's Canadian, train No 1. This part of my trip to Steamexpo in Vancouver was scheduled to take about six hours from where my morning began at Wolseley to arrival in Calgary. I spent some time in the open vestibule from Webb to Tompkins. Then it got too unpleasant, rainy and cold and it was time to dry off in the Park car. (Vestibule-riding is now prohibited. At the time, my goal was to see the train ahead, photograph other trains and trackside treasure, especially the well-kept Alberta Wheat Pool grain elevators. It's important to note that this CP route has been rare-mileage since the Canadian switched to CN lines between Winnipeg and Vancouver in 1990.) When the rain stopped, it was back in the vestibule from Crowfoot to Calgary, which we'll complete in Part 2 of this two-part series. 

The fact that it's taken me another ten years to document this intervening part of the day says little about my publication punctuality! Thank goodness for modern photo-editing, which in part allows me to restore some of these views. The greasiness and drabness of the afternoon was especially pronounced in photos taken through the tinted dome glass.
Traversing CP's Swift Current Subdivision, Piapot, SK at Mi 67.1 was named for an Indian chief. For the next 40 miles, the Cypress Hills were visible to the south, though they were 25 miles away. Maple Creek at Mi 84.5:
Maple Creek was the home of stockyards, and was a cattle shipping point using fully-depreciated CP stock cars, even at this late date:
 Pioneer elevators and stock cars at Maple Creek:
Meeting Extra 5776 East at 1223 at Kincorth Mi. 97.3 - named for a village in Scotland.
Meeting No 404 Eng 5624 at Cummings, Mi 109.5 - named for an explorer from Boston!
Crossing the Saskatchewan-Alberta border at Mi. 114, the first of two towns named for notable Royal North West Mounted Police commanders and the March West. Major Walsh has been immortalized at Mi. 115:
 There were no Alberta Wheat Pool elevators that were not kept primly painted:
 Colonel Irvine's legacy is maintained in turquoise and white paint at Mi 125.7:

Dunmore was the site of a large CP Rail yard. The town is named after a predecessor settlement in Scotland.
Reaching subdivision point Medicine Hat, AB at Mi 147.4 at 1320, power in the yard: CP 3075-3070-3109. The first two were a year old, and 3109 was built in 1986. Angus van 434707 is coupled to them.
The sizeable station is at left with van 434570 on the van track as we get out of town.
Now riding CP's Brooks Sub, we reach Tilley an hour later, Mi 52.9. Must've been lunch hour to account for that passage of time! Tilley is named after a Canadian statesman and a member of Canada's first government under Sir John A Macdonald.
Twelve minutes later, it was Brooks at Mi. 66.8. Named for W.E. Brooks, CP division engineer, this was a three-elevator town. 
 I also photographed an Engro fertilizer agency in this area.
Named for an Italian civil engineer, Bassano is at Mi 97.6. Another photo at Bassano leads off this post (top photo).
Though we could have hoped for sunnier weather, it was still a pleasant experience watching our sinewy streamliner negotiate the shower-soaked scenery! Make sure you check out Part 2.

Running extra...

Here's a Government of Canada grain car scheme to keep an eye out for - Jason Paul Sailer kindly shared his photograph of CP  601266 at Alberta's Kipp Yard. Not only is there no Canadian flag, the French version includes 'of' and is missing an 'e'. Wird.

Passenger train photography is not easy these days. With VIA running only one pair between Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto, my sister-in-law was lucky to catch VIA No 63 led by 6404 and tailed by 912 at Mi 183 Kingston Sub. Thanks, Susan! Also, watch for an upcoming post on VIA equipment moves here, enlivening some otherwise predictably pandemic-proportioned consists.
Thirty-six years earlier, it was VIA 6784-6865 leading a westbound at the same location, slicing through a significantly more scenic right-of-way!