Some of CN's 9100-series GFA-17's were rebuilt to GFB-17's numbered 9100-9108 between May 1983 and December 1984. These were formerly CN 9174, 9170, 9157, 9152, 9154, 9178, 9155, 9179, 9150 respectively. CN 9100-9104 were assigned to Symington, and 9105-9108 assigned to Calder. On June 4, 1984, an eastbound 112-car loaded grain train into Portage la Prairie was led by CN 9173-9103-9100. The connecting track between CN Rivers Sub and CP Carberry Sub is in foreground:
Two years later, I was over-nighting in Rosetown, SK when a westbound freight made it into Rosetown through showers in the early evening. Tying down the train, the crew 'went for beans'. One of the blind mice was the second unit behind CN 5575:
On that same trip of mine, passing through Edmonton on VIA train No 4, CN 9101 was with CN 7949 at the Calder Yard shop tracks. Look right through the portholes!
The rebuilt units' front windshield and side cab windows were covered with one-eighth-inch steel. Number boards, classification lighs and the inside of some radiator vents were also covered with sheet metal.The headlight was kept in operation, with two emergency brake valves, no horn, no hostler control, no brake control and the units could not operate independently, being totally dependent on other locomotives for movement. For ballast, retired axles were mounted inboard, with six in the rear and seven in a the front compartment. Sanding pipes were reduced. CN 9102-9103 and VIA SGU's were at CN Symington shop in Winnipeg in 1985 in this online photo auction site photo:
CN engineer Mark Perry noted that crews referred to these units as 'red beetles'. Jim Booth kindly shared photos of CN 9102 at Kelowna, BC in February, 1987:
The units were retired in December, 1989. By 1990, CN 9100 and some classmates were in the scrapline at Montreal's Taschereau Yard (Bill Thomson photo):
CN 9103 in Jasper, captioned 1986.
CN 9173 in 1986 in Nanticoke, ON. Cabride!
Thanks to Jim Booth and Bill Thomson for sharing their photos for this post.
Looking forward to the annual Kingston Rail-O-Rama train show, March 11 and 12 at Kingston's Ambassador Hotel. Show co-chair Paul Hunter has worked hard on the show's website, flyer and buttons (sure hope he has a couple set aside for me!) I'll be there at the open, with those big bags I usually take to the grocery store!