Friday, September 26, 2008

Manitoba's grain elevators glide by VIA's Canadian, 1980

Comfortably seated in the Skyline dome, enjoying a Toronto-Vancouver trip aboard VIA's Canadian in 1980, it was easy to see wooden grain elevators appear on the distant horizon, glide by, and recede into the distance.

While researching future posts about this trip, I found a list I'd made of these elevators. Including a Winnipeg stopover, the following represents a ten-hour journey across southern Manitoba on CP's Keewatin Sub, CN Rivers Sub from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie, then CP's Carberry and Broadview Subs until darkess descended, before the Saskatchewan border.

At the time, Manitoba's main grain elevator companies were Manitoba Pool Elevators (MPE), United Grain Growers (UGG), Cargill and Paterson. Some towns also had the smaller, turquoise elevators of Cominco Fertilizers (Elephant).

..... Whitemouth UGG
0900 Hazelridge MPE Pool 224
..... Oakbank MPE
1352 Mile 10.6 MPE
1410 Dacotah Paterson
1418 Elie MPE, UGG, Elephant
1423 Benard MPE
1433 Oakville MPE, UGG
1500 Portage la Prairie 2 MPE, 2 UGG, Elephant
1553 MacGregor MPE, Elephant
1559 Austin MPE
1620 Carberry UGG
1635 Douglas MPE
1710 Brandon 2 Cargill, 3 MPE, UGG
1731 Alexander MPE, Paterson
1741 Griswold 2 UGG
1750 Oak Lake MPE Pool 134
1820 Virden MPE Pool 129, UGG

Loaded grain trucks at Elie's elevators in 1984:

VIA's 12-car Canadian zings through MacGregor at 50 mph in 1984, behind 6504 - 6603.

Change on the entire train of empty cylindrical covered hoppers heads west on CP Rail towards Brandon in 1986. In the distance is Burnside MPE, one of the last wooden grain elevators built. The high-throughput continuous-pour concrete elevators would soon make most of the wooden type listed above obsolete, thus numbering their days.

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