Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sask Pool in Stranraer, Part 1

While driving the backroads of Saskatchewan in 1986, I decided I would drop in to an elevator. It occurred to me at the time that these wooden classics would not always be accessible. I pointed my Saskatoon rental car northwest from my second overnight stop at Rosetown.

Stranraer - its name just had a neat ring to it. It's named after a town in Scotland. Fun fact: the Supermarine Stranraer was a British pre-war flying boat! Stranraer still boasted three Sask Pool plants in the 1978-79 crop year - of  2470, 1820 and 1310 tonnes capacity. Located at Mi. 69.5 of CP's Kerrobert Subdivision, about 15 miles from the also-interestingly-named Druid. If there were Druids in this part of Saskatchewan, they'd have a challenge finding trees to worship!

Anyway, I'd never done this before - let's see and photograph the inner workings! The agent was busy receiving and shipping grain - four brown and yellow Government of Canada cars were already loaded, and he was working on a fifth - a red Coke can car! But he was not too busy to allow me the run of the place while he was working! 
A young farmer drove a classic grain truck into the drive shed and started unloading. He chatted with the agent as the grain flowed. Grabbing a handy bucket, the agent did an initial test. Look at that 'air-conditioned' trucker cap!
The farmer shovels out the last of the load:
After the farmer left, the agent headed out the front of the elevator, trackside. Ascending the latter to the top of the Coke can car, he manoeuvered the loading spout and more grain started flowing!
Joining him atop the car, he noted the danger of falling in! Remember, he would normally be working alone with no safety harness, no personal protective equipment except for steel-toed boots, and in the pre-cellphone era!
Back inside, I wandered around snapping some photos. Here is the main leg, with bin selector wheel:
To load the car, the agent filled the hopper with several hundred pounds of grain, weighing and recording each hopperload. Then he pulled the handle, releasing it downwards by gravity to the pit below, where it was elevated and directed out the car loading spout.
Another view from below. Note the trouble light and bin access hatches:
Looking up to the 'attic' of the drive shed, it looked like a logical place to climb to next:
This vantage point allowed me to get photos down to the drive shed floor, including the work desk and weigh scale at left:
Similar view from the drive shed floor. Let's just take in the myriad details in this view:
In Part 2, I'll complete the Stranraer elevator tour with some exterior views and an update.

Running extra...

Train and Grains. What could be more Canadian? Have you heard about my upcoming project dealing with these two iconic Canadian symbols? Probably not. It's at the very top of the sidebar at right. It's kind of hidden there, though. Perhaps you scrolled right past it. I've been keeping the project quiet. Shhhhhhhh. I'm not really sure what it's going to become. Don't tell anyone about it. There are probably only ten people who are interested in it. Oh, maybe 11 now!
Well it's about time Jeopardy host Alex Trebek received the Order of Canada. What can be more Canadian than a game show host wearing a CANADA 150 jersey? Alex hosted the Tournament of Champions this week, as Buzzy Cohen, New York music executive garnered $250,000 in prize money. What is...a lot of money? Governor-General Julie Payette did the honours at Rideau Hall. I'll bet they shared a few potent potables and maybe some potpourri!


Canadian Train Geek said...

These are some really cool "behind the driveway" views of a grain elevator, Eric!

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve. It was a working elevator at the time of my visit. It was really a privilege to be able to record its inner workings - and to finally share them!

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Wow, this is amazing. Love a behind scenes look at how things work, especially if it's something from long ago. Two thumbs up!

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Chris.

As someone who has 'happened into' a few places yourself, this comes as high praise.

Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2!

Anonymous said...

Eric, if you are considering publishing a book on your Stranraer, Saskatchewan sojourn, please include me on your distribution. Ironically, I am fascinated by grain elevators and grain cars (covered hoppers) even though I have celiac. I enjoy your blog Keep up the fine work. Respectfully, Jim Kirby

Eric said...

Great to hear from you, Jim. For updates on my upcoming elevator project, please stay tuned to

I am really enjoying retracing my steps throughout the West!

Mike said...

Spent many a day in that elevator as a kid.


Eric said...

Wow, great to hear from you, Mike.

If you ever want to share a few of those memories with me, I would be proud to add them to the post. You can email me at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca.

I treasure my very, very brief visit there that day.
Thanks for your comment,

Elevatorguy said...

I started with pioneer grain in 1987... I really appreciate seeing the old prairie sentimental...

Eric said...

Anyone with the handle 'Elevatorguy' is always welcome around here!