Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Postscript: Trackside with My Dad

When I asked for comments on the previous post, in the form of influences that have made Trackside Treasure readers the rail enthusiasts of today, I didn't anticipate such a large, diverse and most meaningful response. It was great to hear from all of you. In this post, I've included selected responses with a few additional photos - my Dad, sister and me at CN's Collins Bay station in 1973 (top) and Dad with 1201 (third photo below) about to depart the VIA station on its Brockville-Bellamy sidetrip during the September, 1990 Ottawa-Brockville Bytown Railway Society fantrip.


"I've been a railfan since I first existed, and a modeller as soon as I could and that's all because of my Dad, who grew up in Windsor just down the street from one of the mainlines. We've been to countless train shows together, visited many of the same museums and attractions as those pictured in your post, we've even been on the 1201 out of Ottawa twice. In fact, I believe somewhere there is a picture of my Dad and me in almost the same pose as your father and son at the front of the engine. That may have been the same trip, actually.
Your post got me thinking very much about my Dad and part of that is the timing. After a three-year battle with cancer my Dad went into palliative care on December 31st. We were told that mere days remain. 
Part of me worries how my hobby will change once he's gone since he's been such a prominent part of it and true to the spirit, his custom brass model of 1201 (which he snuck into the house due to the price tag) will be there at his visitation." - Jeremy Corke. Thanks to Jeremy for sharing photos of the prototype CPR 1201 and the model covertly purchased to avoid his mother's ire (both above).
"Losing one's parent is an experience that no one but that parent's child can properly understand. Having lost a mother far too early, I would say I understand, but the fact is I don't. It's a unique experience for everyone. But, having said that, I am sorry for your loss.

My grandfather took me aboard a CP locomotive in Windsor when I was but three or four years old. I remember him explaining to me, in a thick French Canadian accent, how the engine worked. I also remember his co-workers being very nice to me and immensely respectful to him. It's an early memory, but still vivid after 30 plus years. I've been a train fan ever since that time. I credit my grandfather for that." - Michael Hammond

"Thank for you sharing your experiences with your Dad. I too shared a train interest with my late father. I realized after he died that I think I was the closest too him in our shared ship & train interests. We spent many times alongside tracks at Brockville, Komoka, Denfield Road bridge, Port Huron/Sarnia, Durand and Ferndale. Doesn't matter what trains we saw, or didn't see at all, it was we spent time together. As a parent now, I understand this desire. Doesn't matter what you do with your child, as long as you're spending time together. Thank you for sharing this personal tribute and I wish the best to your family during this difficult time." - Andy

"I really enjoyed that Eric. Thanks for sharing those photos and stories. It paints a picture of how Trackside Treasure came to fruition. One of my earliest memories with my dad is the trips between our farm and town. I would scan both directions of the CN Assiniboine Sub as we approached the crossing. If I saw the faintest set of triangular lights I would demand we stopped at the crossing and waited. A request that he always complied with." - Ben Alain

"I look forward to reading more about you and your dad in a future post.  My dad sparked my interest in model trains, which naturally led to my interest in full scale trains; there were times where he might have been more interested in buying and running the models than I! With Audrey now being a bit older, I've taken her trackside a few times and she really likes to watch train videos with me on YouTube. She's not picky, just really wanting to watch the choo choos." - Adam Walker

"I was introduced to trains by my grandfather who passed away when I was ten in 1980. My father took over...taking me trackside although he never had a 'love' for trains like I did. In some ways, I think that's impressive in itself in that it wasn't a passion for him but he indulged himself for my benefit. Countless hours at the Dundas Ontario station site and Bayview of course...when you could drive right into the wye. Games of cards, sharing of dreams and ideas, reading of comics, Model Railroader and such with old country music on the old AM radio. Oh, for the chance to go back...even for one day." - Gerry

"Nice tribute to your Dad. When he came to visit us he always prepared for an outing by getting ready to take notes. He would take a sheet of paper and fold it so he could fit it in his shirt pocket. Then when there was something noteworthy he would make  notes on one surface of the folded paper and continue until that was full and then next time he would  fold back the full section and continue on a fresh surface." - My uncle, Wilf Schellenberg who drove visiting Kingston railfans on many trips around Portage la Prairie's yards
A topographic map scan of the St. Andrew's East-Lachute, QC area (above) which includes the St. Andrew's East CN station site shown in the previous post. An original fiddle tune playlist, complete with starting notes penned by my Dad:



Why buy a birthday card when you can make your own? My Dad would often tape two railway-subject postcards back-to-back, then write greetings on the back of one, with viewer activity questions on the other, pertaining to the subjects shown on the postcards. Is it easy to see he was a teacher for decades?

We shared the same view on so many things...

My Dad gave me a great gift. He believed in me. 
Sincere thanks to Trackside Treasure readers for adding their memories to mine. -Eric

Friday, January 24, 2014

Trackside with My Dad

 This post is going to get personal. A Trackside Tribute.
Ever photographed a photographer? Not easy. Known for photographing and documenting every major happening, my Dad also documented every minor but still important railfanning occasion. I did a retrospective search of my years of photographs to find some I really liked; photographs of the photographer, to document the documenter. 

Top photo: March, 1980 at a farm crossing near Benjamin's cut, west of Mi 184 Kingston Sub. "Hey Dad, look at this!" CLICK! On July 14, 1982, crouching so as not to interrupt the smooth lines of VIA FPA-4 6793 leading a 7-car westbound with 6612 (above). Posing with blue & yellow coaches while seeing off my sister on one of her perennial peregrinations, departing Kingston's VIA station:
My Dad is reviewing some photos I've just had developed of CN's Rail Change Out unit. With scribblers, used for photo albums nearby, the photos will soon be finding a home for posterity. We had driven down to Kings, site of CN interlocking sidings east of Kingston on one of many excursions trackside, tramped through a field and patiently photographed the whole assemblage.
Also in the spring of 1985, we arrive aboard VIA Rail on a cold Saturday morning to attend the Toronto train show. Before finding our way onto the TTC, we pause on Front Street. My Dad greatly admires the Royal York Hotel, or any railway hotel for that matter, so I suggest I take a photo to capture both their profiles.
After the show, we return to the Royal York for a bite to eat in the cafe before boarding our train back to Kingston. We unabashedly enjoyed the arrival of a couple of limos full of willowy Swissair stewardesses. Coming in from the cold, I snap a quick non-flash photo overlooking the main floor of the lobby, grandly captioning this photo "A Man and His Hotel"!
In the summer of 1986, we are on another train day-trip together, returning to Kingston from Ottawa. Taken from across the aisle, Dad is enjoying a beverage from his tray table aboard an LRC coach. We have visited Hobby House, and a modelling magazine likely concerning one of Dad's favourite modelling subjects - British Flower-class corvettes or military aircraft is in the seat pocket.
February, 1988 finds my brother joining us for a joyous celebration: the driving of the last spike on my HO scale Manitoba Western Railway. Like Dad, I could not live anywhere without even a modest model railway, in this case the apartment my new wife and I shared. It matters little that we'll move to our current house in six months! Applause echoes in the tiny spare bedroom as diginitaries from Manitoba Western Railway, the Happy Valley Railway Management Corporation and Delaware & Hudson mark the auspicious occasion.
My Dad is visiting an area of Quebec he dearly loves, the Argenteuil. Since his mother was born in Lachute, still the site of the historic working family farm, he has made many visits here over many years. Fall of 1988 is another one, and my brother and two cousins stand beside CN tracks at the St Andrew's East station site.
On September 16, 1990 Dad holds his first grandchild, our son who is a mere 11 months old. Is toddler too young, or grandfather too old to be so close to a thumping, hissing steam engine? Noooo, although their faces bespeak a different opinion. An Ottawa-Brockville return fantrip behind CPR 1201 is pausing on CN rails at Brockville, and will soon run around its train to begin its return trip on CP rails to Ottawa.
Waiting for 1201 to head north past us (during the return trip to Ottawa, the steam-qualified CN engineer will develop a sore neck from 1201 pulling the train tender-first) I am taking a photo of my Dad using his 126-format camera. Ready to capture a real CPR whistle and bell on tape, note the CPR switchstand and CN insulated car in the background. Notice how many photos in this post show him camera-in-hand. Except this one - cassette tape recorder in hand. He has humbly and characteristically captioned the photo with the date and the simple words: "Goldenrod, purple asters, Parkedale crossing, Brockville"
That kid is really too big to be picked up and held! But in the interest of keeping him safe from humming VIA 6424, and to make sure he is in the picture, that is what is happening. It's June 16, 1992 we are enjoying an evening of watching trains at Kingston. A 5-car LRC consist is preparing to depart westbound at 1958. As you can see, members of our family spend a lot of time trackside.
Don't worry, several checks of the tracks for approaching trains have undoubtedly been made before this picture was taken at the Lachute CP station, on April 25, 1992. At this time, there is likely only one train each way per day, nocturnal at that. With his grandson perched on the crossing timbers, the familiar smell of creosote in the air, family cars in the distant parking lot and the sun beaming on our faces, he stoops to conquer.
When the Canadian Warplane Heritage Mynarski Memorial Lancaster landed at Kingston airport on August 1, 1992, it was a special occasion for us. My son with his 'chocolate chip' desert-camo hat on, has his grandfather alongside, once an air cadet serving during World War Two at RCAF No 1 Wireless School, Montreal, with his Harvard hat on. The Lanc will soon taxi out and perform a soaring, breath-taking flypast for the assembled crowd before heading westward to Hamilton.
Transit topics: A visit to the Halton County Radial Railway, Rockwood/Milton, ON resulted in a banquet at a nearby Harvey's, with my Dad seemingly ordering one of everything from the menu sign for us. Able to recall, even a few years ago, MTC streetcar routes from photos of the cars used on a particular route. My brother takes this photo with me, my son and my Dad, who has captioned it "TTC 327 (1933) replica of 1893 open car".
For Dad's 68th birthday, my wife baked and iced a birthday cake in the shape of a CPR beaver crest. He's nattily dressed for the occasion. As a retired teacher, he still wears a tie when going out, with blue (and maybe red for occasions that might warrant) pens in his shirt pocket. Having titled this post as 'trackside', I'm not going to get off track and start telling you my Dad's life story. That's another post for another day. Suffice it to say he was recently described as a 'renaissance' man - by definition, a man whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Well-read and well-spoken.
Grandfather and grandson a few years on, pausing with CP 5686-5531-CPRS 5581 waiting on a crew change westbound at Smiths Falls on a bright, sunny spring morning on May 25, 1996.
At Lachute Road farm on a very humid weekend, Dad and I provide a little music, with my daughter close by on the porch on Aug. 1, 1999. It looks like we're both trying to get a tune started...once it got going, his eyes would lock as the notes tumbled from his memory onto the strings, double-bowing and all. Trained classically, Red Wing, Marching through Georgia or the Irish Washerwoman would have warmed a parlour like a roaring fire.
Nearly two years later on February 24, 2001, we're enjoying a winter day at Kingston station, as a westbound LRC recedes to the horizon with 6919 trailing. Whether listening to music or strolling the platform, just being together with my kids was all we needed. Those garden trees at right were the site of many games of hide-and-go-seek between trains in warmer weather! If you'd care to comment on this post, please share some thoughts with me about family members; those who had an influence or made a difference in your rail enthusiast history.
Photographed by my brother but captioned by Dad, simply "Trainwatchers relaxing!" we are enjoying an afternoon between CN and CP mainlines on Aug. 30, 2001 at Morningstar Road, west of Trenton. The Plymouth Voyager blanket-bedecked liftgate shades and shelters the between-train kibbitzing with refreshment and trains galore. Notice how many photos in this post show my Dad smiling broadly!
Time, like an ever-flowing stream,
bears all its sons away;
they fly forgotten as a dream
dies at the break of day.
The Canadian Pacific built this stone culvert on the former Kingston & Pembroke line just north of Kingston near Sydenham Road in 1927 - the same year in which my Dad was born. The culvert still serves its purpose, though the tracks are no longer there.
Three weeks ago, after nearly four years as a resident of Providence Manor in Kingston,
and a short illness, my dear Dad died on January 3, 2014.  
Not forgotten. Not ever.
-Eric

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wintertime in Brockville

I was in Brockville earlier in January, with time on my hands. Of course, I beetled trackside! At the Park Street crossing, just east of the William Street overpass and VIA station, No 149 was approaching (above) westbound at 1000 behind 5558-5697. I had just missed VIA No 52. Pulling into the VIA station parking lot, the lighting was not in my favour. Long, blue shadows fell towards me, and any photography would have been blindingly bad. This was my opportunity to head up to the William Street overpass. CN No 106 was approaching, roadswitcher No 532 was eager to do some work on the main, and there had to be more VIA trains out there, so up I went!
Being up on an overpass not only gives a unique viewpoint, it also reduces the chances of getting 'skunked' when there is a lot of activity. The same was true of my railfanning at Portage la Prairie, MB where more than one railway and several tracks were involved. Before any trains came through, looking west I was able to check out a nice string of CN boxcars, awaiting spotting at the CN metals distribution warehouse across from the station: CNA 415393, CN 412249, BCOL 100375, CN 415267, CN 414650, CN 415268, CNA 413088, and CN 411231 had been on-spot since Monday. Carrying metal products from Arvida, QC (thanks, Chris!), all but these two would soon be spotted on one of two tracks inside the warehouse:
Unintelligible graffiti and a surviving large CN logo (above). Brockville railfanning did not bores (sic) me, (below):
Foreman James Reader was hi-railing west just before No 106 blew through at 1105 with 2410 leading and 2540 (I think) trailing. Compare a similar view west in the VIA/CN era. CP's loop line and freight house, plus the pocket track used by VIA are of course now gone. Watch for an upcoming post. In the meantime, open up the link and toggle back and forth to melt away the years.
Soon afterward, 532 emerged from the yard light power. "We're being watched..." But a friendly wave from your blogger perched on his aerie allayed any fears of snoopervision.
Looking east, with CP's Brockville Sub branching off to the left with two interchange tracks, Geeps 7083-4139 spotted all but last two boxcars indoors, before skedaddling east to switch industries at Mi 118 and Mi 114 Kingston Sub. Toggle time - compare a similar view east in the CN/VIA era. Howard Travel's bus garage still promotes Canadian Airlines' 1987 logo.
But first, an amply-powered No 369 arrives to make a setout of more metals traffic at the west end of yard, north side: 5740-2514-5641-2442 wearing the North America scheme-5613 at 1130.
CN's 618xxx-series ingot flat car fleet has been supplanted recently by lease HPJX short-bulkhead flat cars. The sun was a-glintin' of the metal's metallic finish aboard HPJX 52222:
I don't know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but you can count how many metal signs could be bolted to one post, under the overpass. I was, however, 'walking on water' as the two inch-thick crust of ice from December's ice storm had not melted. CP's line to Smiths Falls branches off through the interlocking at left, with CN's Kingston Sub double-track mainline heading east to Montreal at right. The right-hand signal mast controls movements into the third (station) track at Brockville.
Another trip to Brockville last September netted VIA 6459 eastbound, having been renumbered from its original number 6403. It seemed only fitting that the crisp Canadian tenner tender that I received in change at Timmy's would feature the same locomotive. F is for freezing, F is for frothy coffee, F is for fake F40 numbering!
VIA No 64 (901-8621-4009-4118-4102-4101-4112) made its station stop, then crossed over to the north track to head east to Montreal. The sun was still at a difficult angle, but I still managed to finagle an Adam Walkeresque Kingston Sub mileage marker into the frame. The signals look yellow but they are actually red.
Departing east,
even more east, through the switch heater-equipped crossover switch from the station track to the north track of the Kingston Sub:
not nearly as west as it used to be,
then trundling vers l'est, a La Belle Province.
Here's a view of the station from the west end, looking  north-east that I took during a trip to Brockville last summer. VIA No 42 914-3 LRC cars was eastbound at 1510, not stopping in Brockville.

Running Extra...

Mark Perry's 365 Project has gone to the 'test pattern' now that 2013 is but a memory. I had asked Mark if he would consider making it a two-year, 730 Project. No, he replied that he'd leave it to someone else. In its place, another cool blog partner has joined Trackside Treasure's sidebar - Oddblock Station Agent's Extra Train Stuff, Etc. Check out his profile to connect to his other neat blogs.

I linked to Andrew's Berwick Railfan site in my recent Central Vermont white box cars post. He has an excellent collection of photos from Pennsylvania, home of the BFF plant in which the unique cars were built. Feeling stressed-out? Try his colouring pages...hey, why should kids have all the fun?

Train Reaction (oh, like chain reaction, I get it now) was featured on the news tonight. Not into the bar scene, these musicians drop into the next New Rocket to do some guitar-strummin', djembe-drummin' and crowd participation to engender TTC commuter community. And if they don't feel the vibe on one train, they hop off and hop on another two minutes later. Seems like fare play to me.

Friday, January 10, 2014

CP Stored Cars at Skiff, Alberta


Canadian Pacific has held rolling stock for disposition, donation and/or restoration at various locations across Canada after the equipment has been retired. Though I can't remember which photo first caught my attention, the cars languishing on a siding in Skiff, AB have intrigued me for some time now; an agrarian, Alberta Area 51. Where else could you see such an eclectic mix of current, retro and re-purposed rolling stock set out in the middle of the bald prairie? Strangely, the Google Maps satellite view still shows cars in place at Skiff. But not in the Google Street View from Skiff's Railway Avenue. Cars...gone! Here on Trackside Treasure, the cars still exist in this tiny corner of the blogosphere. Though this post contains some on-site photos, I haven't been to southeastern Alberta recently, and don't have permission to post all the photos I found. So, submitted for your clicking pleasure are over 50 clickable links that will lead you to more photos and information on these rusting, resting, relegated relics that I've relished retroactively.

SILENTIOUS SITES IN SOUTHEASTERN ALBERTA 
Listed in my 2008 Canadian Trackside Guide, the cars were at various times set out at Stirling (junction of Mi. 0.0 CP Cardston Sub, Mi 84.5 Stirling Sub and Mi. 0.0 Coutts Sub), Raymond (Mi 7.2 CP Cardston Sub), and Skiff (Mi. 51.0 CP Stirling Sub). Raymond and Stirling are towns just to the west of Skiff, with Skiff and Stirling being linked by road - the Red Coat Trail highway passes around Skiff on an S-curve before reaching Foremost, AB. West of Skiff is Fort Macleod, a notable Service car storage location for CP in Alberta, as North Transcona was in Manitoba. South of Skiff is Warner, home to a rare intact elevator row. The cars were moved from Raymond to Stirling, then to Skiff due to ongoing vandalism. Certainly, if many online photographers could find the cars, so could the local ne'er-do-wells. The cars, while stored at Stirling:

THE CARS AT SKIFF
Cody Kapcsos photographed 27 cars at Skiff, with the distinctively-painted grain elevator and big Alberta sky:
I have re-formatted Cody's photo, dividing it into two sections. Each alphabet letter pertains to a car which is listed in order by paint scheme, car type and number below, with the information I found. I'm leaving the 'CP' out of reporting marks used in this post, since all but one are CP cars.
A: 421681 Service flat car with Burro crane aboard
B: Flat car
C: CP Rail 50-foot combination box car 42668
D: CP Rail 52-foot flatcar 301364
E: CP Rail 52-foot Gondola 341459
F: Snowplow 400772*
G: CP Rail 52-foot Gondola 340040
H: CP Rail cylindrical covered hopper 388615
I: CP Rail centre-cupola Angus van 434395*
J: CP Rail 40-foot box car
K: Drop-bottom doors coal hopper 348551
L: CP Rail 40-foot box car 226227*
M: Box outfit car
N: Box outfit car
O: Box outfit car
P:  Box outfit car
Q: 50-foot Service box car 415138
R: Box outfit car 409018
S: Box outfit car 409017
T: Box outfit car
U: D&H heavy-duty 12-axle flat car 16157
V: Stacked-scheme box car 403627
W: Stacked-scheme box car 401216
X: Script-scheme grain-loading box car 143048*
Y: Box car 403629*
Z: CP Rail 23-foot ore car 377187
a: CP Rail23-foot ore car 377213
* For more on these cars, see The Final Five (bottom of post)

 PHOTO LINKS
Here is a photo of three printed-off pictures posted online that are no longer available. Taken beside the cars, these photos show the cars from a different angle than the other photos in this post; one is a nice view of the Burro crane on the flat car:
Shane Stewart photographed some of the cars stored at Raymond, AB in 2002: 415138, as well as some box outfit cars (I believe these are M-P and T in the above list): 409005, 409008, 409910409912, and 409196.

Railfan.net ABPR photo archive: Snow plow 400772 between two gondolas at Stirling in July 2001, and a nice shot of D&H 16157 at Stirling also showing the outfit cars. (Would you believe I printed copies of these photos on Sept. 27, 2001 - over 12 years ago? Alex, I'll take the category Things that Languish?)

Grainelevators.ca photos: Roadside view in 2006 by Lila Cugini , Chris Attrell's view of the elevator and distant cars taken in 2004, Dkorevaar/Rachel Anderson's 2008 end view and Shaun P. Merrigan's field view from 2010.  Saskatchewan Urban Exploration also made a visit in March 2010 (scroll a bit) - the photos show the up-close rough condition of the cars.

Railfans.ca photo: 434395 in 2007 by Gary A. Rich.

Flickr photos: Ian Proctor's two ore carskicked-in door of a Service box car, and 42668; Bealluc's photo of van 434395 taken from the roof of the snowplow; Bonedad's view of the Service outfit cars; Cody Kapcsos' long view; and Ron Hoetmer's big sky!

Cor van Steenis photographed four of the cars at Skiff and some of the Calgary cars (scrolling required). Mark Wright photo of D&H 16157 years prior, on port trackage. Eric Musekamp view of Skiff in the 1970s. CP freight switching Skiff in 1972 - Pat & David Othen.

PHOTOS BY BILL HILLEN AND JASON SAILER
When I posted a Trackside Treasure header photo of these cars, little did I know that I would soon be communicating directly with one of the directors of the near-to-Skiff Galt Canadian Plains Railway Society! Jason Sailer not only supplied important information for this post, he also sent photos that he and Society treasurer Bill Hillen had taken. The more Jason told me about the Galt Historic Railway Park, located in the County of Warner, 25 minutes south of Lethbridge AB, the more I became interested.

(So interested that I became a member of GCPRS. I urge you to, too! Membership application pdf form here.) Top two photos, and next eight photos by Bill Hillen. Snowplow 400772:
Stacked-CPR meets graffiti on 403627:
Either/ore situation:
Outfit cars 409018, 409017, possibly 409016 at right, all largely windowless:
Plow 400772, with the gon, flat, box car, location not available:
Former script-scheme CP 401467, location not available:

THE EVENTUAL FATE OF THE CARS
Jason Sailer and Bill Hillen were among those working with CP to fulfill a promise made to the Galt Historic Railway Park to donate a snowplow, box car, van and other cars. Notwithstanding negotiations, CP eventually decided to scrap many of the cars after other avenues had not been pursued to their satisfaction. The cars were not suitable for interchange. CP had, however, paid for the transfer and craning costs of two preserved cars donated by the Town of High River to the Galt park: 1943-built double-deck stock car 277344 and 1941-built van 436986:
CP also donated four former Service cars to the historic Galt site: 401807, a 1918 RPO (ex-3774); 411369, a 1926 tourist car (ex-sleeper Parry Sound); 411692, a baggage-express car built in 1952; and 411734, a 1953-built  baggage car (ex-4754). These will be used onsite to provide display, restaurant, education and kitchen space, respectively. Bill Hillen photographed the cars en route, crossing CP's Lethbridge Viaduct in March 2011:
Cody Kapcsos' photos of the cars on the move, with cranes in action. Jason Sailer photographed the cars on-site in May 2013 left to right 411692, 411734, 411369 and 401807:
CP OFFERS MORE ROLLING STOCK
CP offered cars to credible organizations by tender on its website in October 2010, (strangely at least to me) "as part of the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the driving of the last spike". Along with some of the cars at Skiff  (the snowplow, one flatcar, drop bottom hopper and four boxcars), CP offered several other surplus Service cars stored at Calgary:
-404935 baggage-mail
-411742 cook/diner/sleeper
-411714 sleeper
-411734 sleeper/diner
-404924 tool car
-411752 Cape car, no trucks
-404097 auto box car...as well as:
-411249 former sleeper with trucks removed, Medicine Hat AB
-540033 double-deck auto-rack, Moose Jaw SK (which Steve Boyko photographed in 2010 - scroll a little and look in front of the blue locomotive)

Shane Stewart photographed some of the above cars stored at Calgary in 2003 when they were considerably less-weathered and reposed in good light: 404924411714411734411742; plus 401467, and 411692, the latter car later donated at Galt.

SADLY, SCRAPPED AT SKIFF
Most but not all cars at Skiff were scrapped by excavators on site in January, 2011. Spoiler Alert: this is not a pretty sight. This is the face of good corporate intentions unfulfilled...Sic transit gloria mundi. Cody Kapcsos approached the excavators at workdumpster and car trucks, the pile grows, while the line of cars shrinks, and a view of the ore cars.

SKIFF sans CARS
Two photos of the car-less elevator track taken by Jason Sailer on a bitterly cold, November 2013 Alberta afternoon. When it was a grain shipping point, Skiff hosted two Alberta Wheat Pool elevators plus this remaining Parris & Heimbecker elevator.
SALVATION...THE FINAL FIVE
*The snowplow, van and three of the boxcars were not scrapped. Bonedad posted some Flickr photos including a nice broadside of the three boxcars, and here's Mgsbird2's aerial view of The Final Five:
The plow had 'SAVE' spray-painted on it - Horizon Enterprises artsy view of a cloudy future, before the cars were trucked away:
The cars were moved by road to Aspen Crossing, a restaurant location near Mossleigh/Strathmore AB, where these final five cars have been added to the location's existing equipment. I guess this is the silver lining for this story.

December 2015 update - boxcars, plow and flat at Aspen Crossing, as posted by Chris and Connie.

Many thanks to Jason, Bill and Cody for sharing their photographs and Mark Perry for his assistance. Check out Cody's Flickr set of photos at Skiff.

ANOTHER SCINTILLATING SITE TO BE FOUND IN ALBERTA!
We won't even talk about the compelling collection of cars at DeWinton, AB. Well, except for this view. And this Bigdoer link. Check out those RCC's!

Running extra...

As I mentioned in my first Sceneramic post, this is another situation in which I almost feel like I've given birth to a post. That Sceneramic post had a paltry 22 links, with this post including over twice as many - so it's as if I had twins! Except for the amazing photos posted by the photographers I've linked to that had first caught my eye, I'm not aware of anything else online about these cars. Until now. It was fun to sleuth out as much as I could from various sources.

All over North America, similar sets of stored cars and even locomotives exist. Held in limbo for preservation due to a change in ownership or stewardship, change in corporate or institutional direction or just careless neglect, these cars usually rust away weed-grown and time-worn into obsolescent oblivion. As a rail enthusiast, coming across them can be a haunting moment of discovery. A couple of examples I've encountered: passenger cars held for commuter use in Syracuse NY and CN Geogrid autoracks at Danforth with trees growing between them.

The ultimate rusted hulks: partial restoration on the New Hope & Ivyland, steam locomotive boneyard southwestern Bolivia, and is it a museum? New Jersey. I know there are many, many more out there.