Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CP Angus Shops Vans

CP 's Angus Shops turned out one 'Angus' van per day starting in 1970, at a cost of $40,000 each. All-steel welded construction, insulated with spray foam, safety glass aluminum windows, cushion underframes, 35,000 BTU oil heaters fed by a 100 Imperial gallon oil tank, and Barber Bettendorf swing-motion caboose trucks made them a modern alternative to CP's fleet of steel and wood end-cupola, and earlier steel centre cupola vans. The steel cupola was constructed separately and later joined to the carbody, accounting for the nickname "saddleback" being applied to these vans. CP 434549 and 434646 head west and east on 107- and 132-car grain trains respectively (above) at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1981.
Also at Portage in 1981, another pair of grain trains meet, with 434337 and 434175 on the tailend of the eastbound behind 8698-5546 meeting a 113-car train of empties behind single unit 5779 (above). Not all saddleback vans are Angus Shops vans. 434175 is a riveted-body, radial roof van to which a modern cupola was later added. CP often balanced the number of vans in terminals by deadheading one along with the working van. Freshly-painted 434554 is at Bayview Junction in Hamilton in June, 1981. A tall cupola meant even taller smokejacks.
Between 1970 and 1979, 435 Angus Shops vans were built, numbered 434300-434734. Steam escaping in front of 434425 is from the steam-heated passenger equipment on the cabooseless operation display train in Kingston's outer station on November 16, 1984:
Here are four van photos taken from the Dutch door of VIA No 1. In 1984, a tailend crew member is out on 434389 to inspect our train near White River, Ontario. Note the distinctive arrangement of marker lights, inspection lights, brake wheel, cushion underframe, vertical posts and high handrails.
Also in Northern Ontario in 1986, 434521 and a deadheading van bring up the tailend of an eastbound, with welded rail dropped along the mainline for impending installation. The cupola reaches to 15 feet, 7 1/2 inches, but even at that height is not tall enough to see over an "exceeds Plate F" trilevel autorack:
A Schreiber sunset in 1984 shows 434447 resting on an adjacent yard track with its storm door open, awaiting its crew for the next trip over the Nipigon or Heron Bay Subs. It's difficult to find a van photo with a closed storm door.
At Chalk River in 1985, we're getting an inspection as 434539 rolls east. Notice just how far down the carbody the cupola extends.
Friendly Manitoba. Heading north up the Minnedosa Sub from Portage in September 1985, 434341 is tailing a solid covered hopper train behind 5796-4202 as it passes over a farm crossing. The tailend crewman gives a friendly wave. Within five years, vans will disappear from CP's network as a cost-saving measure. Fewer then 80 Angus Shops vans remain in use by CP mainly to protect backup moves, and as "MOW Transporters" for use on work trains.
Paul Smith worked in CP's Winnipeg caboose shop located on Sutherland Ave., on the north side the yard just east of the Slaw Rebchuck bridge. Electricians, machinists, pipefitters and carmen performed scheduled maintenance on 16 vans per shift, including lights, refrigerator, stove, water system, running gear, doors and windows. Labourers cleaned the vans and replaced fusees, torpedoes, and spare knuckles. Once a year, vans were hand-washed with a bucket and scrub brush. The shop also maintained the Winnipeg Auxiliary, business car Strathcona, Pettibone mobile crane, reefer service truck and road repair truck. Paul was kind enough to send this photo of 434501 in Winnipeg:
Running extra...

Manny Jacob of Winnipeg has partnered with Athabasca Shops of Okotoks, Alberta to produce etched stainless-steel pairs of photo-etched storm doors including screen material, to fit Rapido Trains' Angus Shops van. The prototype doors were aluminum and plexiglas. Contact Athabasca Shops for details.

Coming soon to my van track: Rapido Trains Angus Shops van via Lark Spur Line in Merrickville. Sure to be another quality product from Jason, Dan and Bill at Rapido, with friendly, efficient service from Jeff and Pat at Lark Spur Line.

The TV week that was: Lost final episode (I'm still lost as to what really happened), Habs exit the playoffs, and American Idol winner to be chosen tonight. So long Simon, Seacrest out, hello reruns.

9 comments:

Manny said...

Thanks for mentioning our storm doors, Eric. Test samples just arrived yesterday and I have mounted them to one of the GORGEOUS Rapido vans for showing at the TLR convention this weekend in Manitoba.

What an amazing model Rapido has done. Truly a favourite/prized piece for me. I remember the days when every train on the Keewatin sub had one or more of these wide visions trailing. Thanks to this release by Rapido I am now able to display top quality models alongside my previously-built Sylvans.

I might mention though that this is the first time I've ever heard the term 'saddleback' applied to these vans. Everyone I know simply calls them wide-visions.

I do have a small caboose page available:

http://www.execulink.com/~railbus/


Manny

Eric said...

No problem Manny, and good luck with the storm door sales. I share your memories of these uniquely Canadian vans in service. "Saddleback" is indeed a bona fide CP term, which may have originated farther west.
Eric

Train Geek said...

Great post, Eric. Not enough is written about cabooses / vans and I'm glad you have chimed in.

Zartok-35 said...

"Saddleback" is a new term for me. I always call the Angus cupolas "Milk Cartons" for their large and unusual shape. A very nice post!

I wouldn't mind getting one of those Rapido Cabooses. I just need more money...

Eric said...

Saddleback, milk carton, big yellow taxi, what have you, I agree wholeheartedly with Steve that we spend a lot of time on locomotives and forget what's following them. Stay tuned for more rolling stock posts.
Eric

Oil-Electric said...

Interesting to learn the term "saddleback" as applied to what I was taught on the CNR in the late '50's was the "crew car." The Prince Rupert Extension was never far from a water feature - creek, river, lake, pond. So I was not surprised to find fly rods in the supply cabinet on more than one occasion!

That "Multimark" logo reminds me of a meeting I attended, doing designs for a corp logo. The consultant impressed me when he admonished us NOT to make the design to satisfy us, but to inform the customer instantly of who we are, without having to explain it.

When CP had to constantly explain what each of the three symbols deplicted - no box on aircraft tails - it is no wonder the logo died a quiet death, without obituary, in 1987 ...

Eric said...

Waycar, crummy, hack, brain-box, cabin car...so many nicknames for the venerable, dearly-departed caboose.

When I rode VIA to Prince Rupert, one of the crew got off to pick berries for some passengers while waiting for a meet.

Robert, regarding the multimark, ubiquitous during its years of use, still referred-to when listing surviving multimark-bearing CP units years later. The small multimark was also introduced, then no multimark. CP equipment just looks Completely Plain without a multimark in my opinion, but I understand what you're saying about what it was intended to represent.
Thanks for your comments, hope you're doing OK,
Eric

Anonymous said...

Today in Havelock yard a scrap metal company is demolishing 2 Agnus van/ platform car conversions and a flat car and loading them into a scrap truck as I type.

Eric said...

Sorry to hear that, A. I've seen photos of those two, and they looked pretty rough. A fine career at an end. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Thanks for your comment,
Eric