Friday, March 8, 2013

CP Hospital Train, 1992

On September 19, 1992 one of the most interesting trains operated by CP in the 1990's departed Montreal. A hospital train - a shepherded movement of equipment in poor condition (perhaps more aptly-termed an ambulance train?) this collection of equipment was heading for Western Canada.  Comprising locomotives and cars for scrapping, donation to museums, or shopping for repair, the special movement's progress was expected to be one subdivision per day. Including three vintage diesels that had been moved from storage in Quebec City to Montreal in August (CLC H16-44 8554 visible at right above) and one steam engine, the movement was pulled by CP SD40-2's 5669-5619 and totalled 2237 feet - 2392 tons.   Most of the equipment reached its western destinations expeditiously, though the vintage locomotives departed Winnipeg on November 14 arriving Calgary on November 18.  The star of the movement would not.
CP P3k 2-8-2 5468 required closer to nine months, after being waylaid and wintering in White River for seven months. Looking like an in-service locomotive (except for the CP Rail cars surrounding it) the freight-colours steamer was photographed by Raymond S. Farand near Almonte, Ontario. Raymond also photographed the train at the Arnprior Cut, approaching the Highway 17 overpass (top photo).
Dave Estabrooks photographed 5468 and the train at Cobden, Ontario between Arnprior and Pembroke:
Bruce Chapman photographed 5468 at Smiths Falls:
Here's the complete consist of this most interesting movement. Most equipment on the train was Service equipment, with CP 4xxxxx numbers, heading to Mandak Metals for scrapping.  Other classes with different destinations of equipment are listed.  Where available, links to online photos of the equipment are included.

301763 flat car loaded with boxcar trucks
315041 flat car loaded with body of boxcar for repair at Weston
315103 flat car loaded with body of boxcar for repair at Weston
80277 XM boxcar to Weston
521008 FC flatcar to Weston
165182 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
5468 to Coquitlam thence Revelstoke Railway Museum
434703 Angus van for protect personnel for 5468
165178 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
165151 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
8554 CLC H16-44 to High River, Alberta, still in Calgary deadline in 2009
165266 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
404325 box car
4090 MLW FA2 to Cranbrook, BC
165281 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
165074 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
4469 MLW FB2 to Cranbrook, BC
403637 boxcar
412814 diner
412778 diner
299912 boxcar
400571 flanger
403598 boxcar
404671 boxcar
412682 diner
411674 cook diner sleeper
411706 cook diner
400574 flanger
415832 water car
35704 XMH boxcar
165205 XLIH insulated boxcar to Weston
E&N 292359 boxcar
412773 sleeper
404720 boxcar
404328 fuel car
421232 flat car
404493 boxcar
412777 diner
411671 cook diner sleeper
404920 tool car
404665 power car
404001 flat car
412689 diner
400569 flanger
412631 sleeper
404290 boxcar
434669 Angus van for train protect personnel
8245 damaged GP9 to Ogden Shops, Calgary

Ross Harrison's photos of the movement appeared in the BRS Branchline in late-1992/early-1993. What an interesting mix!  The vintage locomotives and a few boxcars (likely the ones on flat cars) had no operating brakes.

Fred Shannon shared his photograph of the GP, MLW's and CLC units at Winnipeg:

Some background information on some of the equipment in the hospital train:
-the three flangers were converted from CP boxcars (classmate 400573 is preserved in Revelstoke)
-404290 was converted in 1965 from baggage 4359
-411671 was converted in 1963 from buffet-parlour 6654
-411674 was converted in 1963 from tourist sleeper 6247
-411706 was converted in 1968 from baggage 4785
-412682 was converted in 1967 from minibox 246133
-412689 was converted in 1967 from minibox 243812
-8245 had its A-end drawbar damaged on September 13, 1992 by a runaway hopper car in Bromont, Quebec

Not having seen this train, this is my way of documenting its wanderings westward.  It would have been great to see all those Service cars together!  Thanks to Ray, Dave and Bruce for their contributions. Watch for future posts on CP's Service equipment - In Service! and what happened to 5468....

Running extra...

For a compilation of over 100 freight car, caboose  and MoW car photos posted on Trackside Treasure, click here.

Canada mourns the passing of Stompin' Tom Connors, Canadian icon and troubadour.  Stompin' Tom implores us to 'keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the patriot that Canada needs now and in the future'. Here's one of Tom's train-related songs, shot at CN's Parkdale station, featuring 6535 with its large numberboard numerals, leading a passenger train.  Can you spot the CN switcher behind the line of women scorned?

For some classic Canadian rail sounds, check out Jay Winn's Vintage Railroad Audio CD catalogue.  Jay Winn wrote a spectacular article on CN's Brockville operations in T-R-P magazine.  I've been enjoying GM, MLW, passenger and freight audio from four or Jay's CD's.  Here's Jay's business (car) card:
Next weekend, March 16 and 17, it's the Kingston Rail O Rama!  I'll be there with my Trackside with VIA book series for sale, happily standing at my table talking trains!


Zartok-35 said...

That hospital train wasn't what I expected at all. It probably is the Best. Train. Ever. though, like you said.

Nobody could make a song about riding a train like Stompin' Tom. I'm gonna miss him. RIP

Eric said...

Hi Elijah,
Totally. Agree. With you. Only wish I'd seen it in person! Thanks to Ross, Bruce and Ray, it's kind of like being there.

Another interesting angle for this type of train is for modellers. There's absolutely no reason one can't mix and match, even from different eras for an occasional operating session. (If every train looked like this ambulance train though, it wouldn't be special!)

Thanks for your comments, especially re: Stompin' Tom. I was at the Kingston Frontenacs game tonight and a tribute to his Hockey Song garnered a warm round of applause from the appreciative crowd.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Very cool!! Best train ever.. perhaps!

Eric said...

You're right, Steve. This movement was certainly a unique collection of equipment that rivalled the movement of former VIA LRC units to Moncton - another interesting hospital train!

Thanks for your comments,

Anonymous said...

I remember that Hospital train on the Chalkriver sub !! What a day chasing that from Cobden to Pembroke ! The engineer on the locomotive that day was Jack Saunders on the Chalkriver sub For sure it was a cool Train !! David Estabrooks from Pembroke Ont.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments Dave, and for sharing those memories you have of the hospital train. It's certainly not the kind of train we see every day, so it makes an impression!

JDL56 said...

Neat post--provides lots of ideas for modellers. I use a variation on my CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Sub. by running vans on their way to the scrapper; see

John Longhurst, Winnipeg

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, John. I modelled a similar van move once my Angus van arrived:

However, the railways have an easier (and fiscally-motivated) time getting rid of obsolete cars than I do. I still have mine, and find them hard to get rid of!
(The equivalent of old issues of National Geogaphics and other printed material that keep showing up at used book sales.)

Anonymous said...

Dear Eric, Im back...great blog on the 5468, saw it in Kenora On in Sept 93? I spy reports Via no 1 on Mar 11...At Port Jct 6401-6434 with 12 cars, yoho pk at atil end, at 14.15 hrs. LATE. Not much to report as you saw the write up in FP, two minutes of fame, unlike Stompin Tom and his railrod ode to the ACR-Algoma Central #69, my personal fave, along with Hank Snow Ive been everywhere with Tom's maritime additions. From the peg...

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Brian. Watch for more on post.

Music and trains, especially Canadian music about Canadian trains would be an excellent topic for some future exposure.

I'm still waiting to record my Stompin' Tom tribute..."The VIA Song" you know, "The Good old VIA Train is the best train you can name..."


Unknown said...

I was looking back on some videos and I came across some video footage I took at Cobden Ontario of the Hospital CPR train Talk about cool seeing this footage again !! I'm going to see if I can transfer this from vhs to dvd ! Dave !!

Eric said...

Hi Dave,

Wow factor here! If you are ever able to convert that to DVD, it would be fantastic.

Either way, you're lucky to have it. It was a one-of-a-kind train. Treasure that treasure you found trackside that day!
Merry Christmas,

Unknown said...

I will convert this at some point You guys should see this video !! Any way of posting a picture of the steam locomotive taken at Cobden ?? Could I send a picture to your email address ??

Eric said...

The more you mention how awesome it is, the more I really want to see it, Dave!!!

Alternatively, sure, send a photo to mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca. Perhaps I can add it to the 5468 post...

Thanks, Dave!

Unknown said...

I will get right on it Thanks !!

Eric said...

Thanks to you too, Dave for this early Christmas present! Just updated the post.