Friday, September 9, 2016

Montreal-Vancouver Round Trip Trains, August 1968

Travelling along through time, this is the third post in a three-post series on our family's Montreal-Vancouver round trip aboard CN in August, 1968.  The scenic first post doubled as a Canada Day 2016 Trackside Treasure homage, and part two preserves some family photos of life aboard the train, stopovers and visits made along the route. All slides are taken by my father, L.C. Gagnon (unless you notice he's in a photo!) and scanned by my brother Dave. Some italicized passages are taken from a trip account typed by my mother. Prior to departure at Central Station (top photo) , Capreol (below). Our itinerary was:
  • Aug 5/68 CN No 105 Panorama depart Montreal 2315
  • Aug 6/68 CN No 105 met Toronto section Capreol 1005, meet No 2 1100
  • Aug 7/68 CN No 105 arrive Winnipeg stopover 0900
  • Aug 7/68 CN No 5 Panorama depart Winnipeg 1815
  • Aug 8/68 CN No 5 at Edmonton 0920
  • Aug 8/68 CN No 5 arrive Jasper stopover 1445
  • Aug 9/68 CN No 1 Super Continental depart Jasper 2005
  • Aug 10/68 CN No 1 arrive Vancouver 1210
  • Aug 20/68 CN No 2 Super Continental depart Vancouver 2040
  • Aug 22/68 CN No 2 arrive Winnipeg 1200
  • Aug 23/68 CN No 2 split Toronto section Capreol 1100
  • Aug 23/68 CN No 2 arrive Dorval 2045 
August 6 morning in Capreol. CN 4132-4149 led out of Montreal with steam generator unit:
"At such stops as Capreol, wagons of ice streaming with water on account of the heat, were pulled out by tractors. Oil was waiting by the tracks for lubrication. There was a big sign by the station with a map on it boasting the attractions of Capreol, and noting its distance from Montreal - 425 mi. - and from Winnipeg - 1000+ miles."
CN No 2 arrives (above) and we are passing Winnipeg's Transcona shops the next morning, August 7:
Another early morning arrival, this one in Edmonton August 8:
Express cars at the station (above) and CN 6510 leading two other units during refuelling:
Looking west during station stop at Edmonton:

Edmonton yard switching
The Canadian across the river approaching Vancouver on August 10.
 "The hills became higher and treed - more and bushier evergreens, and what looked like maples with huge leaves. We had a race with the CPR's silver "Canadian" train, on the embankment on the other side of the river."
Vancouver CN yards, likely at Port Mann:
 Car tour of Vancouver. Steam tender, SD, Geep and F plus robot car CPR Drake Street after our arrival on August 10:
"While we were in the dome car, a special coach put on through the mountains from Jasper which had a rounded ceiling made entirely of glass except for a central strip. The steward, waiting in the aisle for the right moment, announced "Hell's Gate" and we saw away down below us the river boiling through a narrow gorge. I have noticed in my book that we passed through six or eight tunnels that morning on our mountain-hugging course."
Stopped Sceneramic at Mount Robson outlook returning east on August 21. This location is still used in VIA promotional material.
"We spent the morning in the dome car but were frustrated in our mountain-viewing by the clouds and fog draping them. The train stopped at Mount Robson, the highest peak of the Canadian Rockies, and Laurie hopped off to take a picture." Refuelling at Jasper on August 21:
A 'breeding pair' of Sceneramics at Jasper - I've never seen a photo of two Sceneramics together before!
Train on curve east of Jasper:
Meeting a CN westbound east of Winnipeg. Steve Lucas wrote rhapsodically about this CN track.

Sioux Lookout servicing stop on August 22 with CN 6531 in lead. We meet the westbound Super led by CN 6521 with icing platform at right:
Meeting westbound freight on curve, northern Ontario August 23:

Running extra...

This concludes our three-part 1968 trip account series. Though my brother scanned many more slides, these are the 'highlights' I selected to share with Trackside Treasure readers. Nearly a full decade before VIA, more than a decade after CN and CP's massive investments in passenger equipment that VIA would inherit, at the tail end of CN promotion of passenger travel. A unique time to travel across our great country. Now we are on the eve of VIA's 49th anniversary.


Jason Sailer said...

Great post Eric! I love the Super Continental photos - what it would be to travel like that, with the Sceneramics! I have a few slides of the Super Continental from the early 1960s - looked like a very nice looking train.

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Jason.

Of course, my Dad made a point of photographing the scenic, family and trackside facets of this journey. It was probably the most extensive Canadian vacation we made as a family. I noted that one photo shows an olive-and-green car on our train heading east; otherwise it was all CN noodle, just a few years after this scheme was introduced.


Zartok-35 said...

Man it must've been something when CN had that many Passenger GP9s! Sounds like you had a great trip! These pictures rock! What a beautiful variety of locomotives.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Elijah.

My memories of the trip are those of a little guy, perhaps future railfan, but just taking everything in that was so incomprehensible! And what a great country to travel across!


Jeffrey said...

Great post, Eric!

I'm departing Toronto on the "Canadian" this Saturday—my first ever trip and so looking forward to it!

I would have preferred doing the trip back in this era, but better late than ever, eh?!

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

This, without a doubt, is the best post I've seen all day. No, in the last week. It was like I was riding along with you. Your stuff is the best. Trains, cool, but with a story, super cool. Two thumbs up!

Eric said...

Enjoy your Canadian trip, Jeffrey! Sounds great! Have a great time and take photos!

Chris, glad you enjoyed the post. I like the stories that go WITH the photos, as you do, otherwise we'd be on, I don't know, Flickr.

Thanks to both of you for your kind comments.

Michael said...

Question for you about your second photo. What is that coach on the right side of the photo? Great post.

Eric said...

Thanks very much, Michael. Fun to put this series together. Zooming in to the photo of my Mom and me with CN 4132 looks like : 5599.

Mark said...

Neat documentary photos of a memorable trip! Thanks for sharing, Eric.

Any idea of the numbers of the two superdome cars in that "breeding pair" photo? I couldn't quite make it out, even after zooming in.

Eric said...

I don't have any notes from my Dad, but the nearest one looks to me like Fraser, Mark.
Hope this helps and thanks for your kind comments,