Thursday, March 14, 2013

CP Hospital Train - 5468 Continues West

Separated from CP Rail's 1992 hospital train  on September 25 at White River, CPR 5468 was set out due to chronically overheating axle bearings.  To help 5468 continue west, a 42-inch diameter A1A idler axle wheelset taken from CP M640 4744 departed Montreal on October 19.  The replacement axle was fashioned at Winnipeg's Weston Shops in the seven weeks after both axles arrived there from White River, and the original axle trailed 5468 westward aboard a CP Rail flat car.  
Having wintered in White River, 5468 departed White River behind GP38-2 3127 on April 19, 1993 arriving Thunder Bay on April 20 with Angus vans 434325-434447-434332.  The special movement passed through Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on a chilly April 29, with the flat car and now five Angus vans.  Stopping at the station (top two photos), a crew member drops down to the ballast to check 5468's axles before proceeding west. (W. Schellenberg photos)
The flat car carrying 5468's original axle trails its tender.  The special movement looks rather insignificant crossing the prairie, next to the towering Manitoba Pool elevator at Burnside:
An original CP Rail memo detailing the move:
The train as it arrived in Thunder Bay on April 20, was shown in the June 1993 BRS Branchline.  Bryan Martyniuk has since shared his original photo of this unique movement which caught him by surprise upon its arrival.  Thanks, Bryan!
Photographers, including former CP engine crews, were keen to photograph 5468's trip west. Merv Root shared this photo that surfaced twenty years later, showing 5468 receiving some attention at Swift Current:
5468 completed its journey to Revelstoke, British Columbia on May 2.  Interestingly,  30 years earlier, 5468 was part of 'A Show of Power' at Windsor Station from May 1-4, 1963. Sharing the platforms with just-delivered C-424 8300, 4-4-0 29, Selkirk 5935, and GP30's 8200-8201. The three steam locomotives were destined for the CRHA museum at Delson, with 5468 and 5935 arriving from Calgary, held since retirement and restored for the occasion. CP trumpeted: "Through the years Canadian Pacific has been in the vanguard of advances in the transportation field.  This display of locomotives, especially the new diesel units illustrates this point."  Who could have guessed that years later, this classic CPR locomotive would travel across Canada once again, albeit in a most unusual way!


Zartok-35 said...

That has got to be the most cabooses ever operated on a single train! The most I've seen, anyway.
Thanks for sharing that old historical paper, aswell. Interesting read!

Eric said...

I really have to credit my uncle with his expert coverage. He was tipped off by another Portager who worked for CP, thus enabling him to catch and follow the movement west.

And I agree, possible Angus van record! Thanks for your comments,