Friday, April 15, 2011

Postscript: CN and CP Rescue Units

Turns out Trackside Treasure readers don't just like rescue units hauling VIA trains, they like extreme rescue units, the more incongruous the better. What could be more incongruous than six-axle MLW power...a Century? Here are a couple of Centuries from the last century.

Heading for London on a snowy March 5, 1984 I grabbed a photo through the Railiner window of CP 4734 (above) at the west end of Spadina coach yard, near Bathurst St. It seems likely that this big brute had brought a storm-bound, broken-down VIA train into Toronto and was awaiting a trip back to CP rails.

Even though it was two weeks before the longest day of the year, this photo of CN 2016 hauling 6542 and four cars at 2041 hours, June 6, 1981 is a little dark. The consist of this train is shown in the previous post. The Century is, of course, smoking as it accelerates past Mi 182 Kingston Sub, heading for Toronto. Its headlight is burning brightly:
Jason Shron of Rapido Trains Inc. fame has the following rescue unit story to share:

Christmas 1984: I was in Club 52 between Montreal and Toronto. We had 12 cars or so, and were sitting in Central for over an hour with no power. I actually went out on the platform to check, and there was nothing in front of the baggage car. We stopped several times en route for no apparent reason, including half an hour just before Dorval, and at Belleville for 40 minutes. The 2500 ran out of everything but tuna sandwich by Kingston. I hate tuna sandwich.

We finally arrived in Toronto five hours late. I went to the front of the train, and was quite surprised to see two CP roadswitchers there. We were hauled on CN's Kingston Sub from Montreal to Toronto by a pair of CP engines!

While I don't remember there being SGU's, there must have been one or two. The CP crew must have had a CN crew as well, or they would not have been allowed to power the train on CN tracks. Getting the SGU's at the last minute could not have been easy either. I wish someone had got a photo of that. [I wish I had one to offer--Eric]

At least I can say with certainty that such things happened, and I will use CP power on some of my HO-scale VIA trains. While I love VIA as it is today, I could not see them going to CP in a pinch, and having CP pull the train over a CN line. We would just be put on a bus.

Running extra...

As well as supplying the above story, Jason Shron graciously agreed to provide the foreword for my upcoming VIA Rail book. As a fellow VIAphile, I certainly appreciate his unique viewpoint on VIA's history. He has put his interest in VIA into practice by producing excellent scale models for those wishing to reproduce VIA's unique consists.

Just finished listening to Dave Barry's Dave Barry is Not Making This Up. Funniest track on the audiobook is Worst Songs Ever. I still don't know why someone would leave a perfectly good cake out in the rain.

This takes the cake! Local restaurant advertising "Fresh Prune Pie" on its outdoor sign. That's just plum loco - I just kept motoring.


Zartok-35 said...

YES! Incongruity for the win! There is no better way, I say! It makes the railroad experience as beautiful as it is. Those steam Geeps(And perhaps the odd ALCo RS unit)the railroads had didn't help the situation either.

Eric said...

Thanks for your vote, Elijah. Cookie-cutter, predictable 21st-century railroading isn't as exciting as the last century. Having said that, there is still the expectation of something unexpected on the next train...