Saturday, February 27, 2010

CN Cabooses

Canadian National rostered over 700 steel cabooses. Featuring modern conveniences like electricity from axle-driven generators, improved seats and windows, two modern oil stoves, built-in markers, roller bearing trucks and cushion underframes. 79200-79349 were built by Hawker-Siddeley in 1967, and 79350-79897 were built from boxcars at CN's Pointe St Charles shops in Montreal in 1970-1977. These run-through cabooses were built to replace wooden cabooses built in the 1940's and 50's. 79558 is eastbound through Napanee, Ontario in early 1985 (above).

Go east (and west) young man. 79753 has an ACI label just to the left of the cupola, punctuating an eastbound freight at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on July 24, 1978 (above). Four months later, 79532 is tailing a westbound through Kingston (below). Interestingly, 79532 has been preserved near Boston Bar, BC!

The H-S cabooses had smaller side windows, arched roofs with end posts, and cupolas angled out from the roofline. 79283 bears consolidated lube stencilling and is stopped at Mi 182 Kingston Sub on March 12, 1979. Nine cars ahead, a Pacific Fruit Express reefer has knuckle trouble.
High view at Bayview. 79218 is almost to Hamilton, passing through Bayview Junction on June 23, 1981.
Extreme closeup. 79290 is trailing uphill at Mi 183 Kingston Sub on a westbound in 1985, in the low sun of a winter afternoon.
Vanishing point. The cabooses operated system-wide, including the Prairies. 79301 is westbound at Bradwell, Saskatchewan in 1986, following a long train of lumber empties destined for the BCR.
Shop til you drop. Just renumbered and repainted with a smaller consolidated stencil, 79917 is one of 25 cabooses outshopped in 1982. Tailing a wayfreight switching the DuPont nylon plant on Kingston's Cataraqui spur on January 22, 1983.
Go your own way. A little farther up the Cataraqui Spur, 79569 has picked the switch to the terminal grain elevator in February, 1990.
A few good vans. By 1997, CN's fleet was down to 130 PSC cabooses. Remaining cabooses were in work (W) service, such as 79707 accompanying crane 50451, spending the weekend in the sun at Napanee in April, 1998. Ten years later, she's still escorting welded-rail trains on the Kingston Sub.
Take this job and shove. What's a Hornepayne-stencilled caboose doing at Kingston's DuPont plant? Working, that's what. Pushing back on the tank track at the plant, in the waning days of cabooses on the spur, the tail-end crew is watching the process of the backup movement in March, 1999. Formerly 79820, 77017 was renumbered in 1995.
Ghost rider, near the wye. Within two years, windows welded closed, doorways covered with steel plate, and used as a Rider Only car, 77017 shepherds a welded rail train at Queens in March, 2001.
Harsh light of day. Silhouetted in the glare of a summer sunrise in July 1988, the conductor in the cupola 79878 follows the leader 79574. Cabooseless operation is less than two years away. Recently, a Scotford (Alberta)-stencilled caboose was seen in Saskatchewan, protecting backup switching movements. Would you believe an ex-Illinois Central now working for CN in work service in Ontario and Quebec? Today, only 14 cabooses inhabit CN's roster.
Fade to black. 79733 is more primer and grime than little red caboose, bringing up the markers of a 14-car metals train behind 4406-4365, south of Hawkesbury, Ontario on October 29, 1988.
Running extra...
As the Olympic flame is extinguished in Vancouver, Canada has acquitted itself both as a team and as a host. CTV's coverage was entertaining, including CTV's Brian Williams meeting NBC's Brian Williams. The PM has enjoyed taken in quite a few events, having not managed to get the Olympics prorogued.
Did somebody say record number of 14 gold medals for a hosting nation? Also, a gold medal for that CP commercial, showing the CP Olympic train in some typically awesome Canadian scenery, along with representative employees.
CN Kingston Sub RTC Tim Ball is calling it a career as of this Wednesday. Tee...JAY...Bee enjoy your retirement and enjoy photographing what you've been dispatching.


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Interesting material! Whenever we went out "train chasing" we always waited to exchange greetings with the guys riding the hack! PGE crews would often give you a toot or two on their communication whistle!

The caboose was the period on the end of the sentence.

I can still remember the feeling of total emptiness when I witnessed my first caboose-less train. A flashing red light is cold and impersonal.

The passing of the caboose. Yet another coffin nail in my relationship with "railroading."

Zartok-35 said...

Those are some fine looking Charlie Vans, Mr. Gagnon. I can't help but feel this post needs more Wood, though.

Eric said...

Robert, I agree that the trains don't seem complete anymore. In terms of wooden vans, I only remember one during my railfanning years, and that was on our local wayfreight, Elijah. It was also possible in the late 70's/early 80's to see the wooden cabooses in transfer/wayfreight service in places like Toronto.