Friday, August 24, 2018

Four More Days at Portage, August 1979

To kick off Trackside Treasure's eleventh year, let's travel back thirty-nine years to the day (no less!) at Portage la Prairie, MB. During a visit to my aunt and uncle with my brother, we spent part or all of ten days trackside, including August 21 and 22. This post portrays the last four, beginning on August 25. At 1443, the CN operator has emerged from the station operator's bay to hoop up orders to eastbound CN 1069-1027 with grain boxcar loads and caboose 79790 (top photo) while more CN grain boxcars are loaded at Portage Pool 'B' grain elevator.
From atop the Skyline Bridge, at 1516 (above), a four-unit eastbound manifest behind CP 5555-5643-4563-4560 glides by. The former site of burned Portage Pool 'C' lies fallow just behind the CP trackage. CP boarding cars from a tie gang (note new ties between mainlines) are behind the train, with CP Express' former location at left. 
Vertical views! At 1529 a CN westbound led by 9657-9479-213-1352 lugs lumber empties ahead of caboose 79274 past CN's station at right. Then at 1545, it's a CP eastbound from the Carberry Sub behind candy-striped 5708 solo with van 434312 bringing up the tail-end and Portage Pool 'A'.
What can be more exciting than an SD-sandwich meet right before our very eyes in the shadow of Pool 'B'? CP 5595-8715 plod eastward, with a wave from the engineer:
The westbound, also with white extra flags is viewed through a flatcar with power CP 5540-5640. Though once a dead wombat could not be swung without heading a CP SD-led freight, now they're rare as hen's spectacles.
On August 27 at 1024, CN 4121-4303-4301 have lifted 49 empties from CN's Portage yard tracks, departing with 8 loads and 128 empties:

Just less than an hour later, the varnish arrives. Just when is the best moment to hide the nose of an F-unit behind an inconvenient pole? Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnow! As CN loads a grain boxcar at the former Victoria Grain, now United Grain Growers elevator at left, VIA 1413-CP 8516-CP 8559 have 15 cars in tow:
A westbound with CP 5621-4447 is in the background as sleeper Chateau Latour, diner Fairholme, and ex-CN sleepers Essex, Edson, Excelsior and precede Tremblant Park. Another multi-train prolific Portage moment!
Back at ground level during the station stop, CP Action Red adorns coaches 127, 105, and Skyline 517 ahead of blue & yellow ex-CN coach 5630. Truly VIA's rainbow era:
Thirty minutes later at 1144, this westbound CN manifest was led by 9405-9448:
Then on August 29 at 1529, an unusual visitor in an eastbound CP locomotive consist: 5514, SOO 777 and Geep 8703:
The modern SOO parallellogram logo just getting some sun while the photographer savours some shade under the Skyline bridge:
At 1548 the sun beams benevolently on westbound CP 5901-5744-4717 with a manifest in tow:
Finally at 1632 was this CN eastbound behind 5225-9610-9424-9567-9430-9478, mostly lumber loads with caboose 79430:
Of course all these photos appear, with hundreds more taken at the railfan mecca of Portage, in Volume 1 of my two-volume Trains & Grains book set. Though printing costs would have made an all-colour presentation prohibitive, we're able to get the best of both worlds here on Trackside Treasure. It truly was a golden age of Canadian Prairie railroading!

Running extra...

Last weekend's visit to Kingston's Fort Henry of the United States Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps, Battle Color Detachment and Silent Drill Platoon from Washington DC gave us these images of duelling drum majors. Of course, a friendly duel, as the association of the two military bands and infantry units goes back to 1954. The Marines also gamely participate in the Gunner's Gun competition, practising up to four hours a day in preparation!
As an HO scale version of CN's Kingston Hanley Spur draws inexorably closer, this 1911 fire insurance map of the much-ballyhooed and now protected Bailey Broom factory at Rideau and Cataraqui Streets speaks to us of the sweep of Kingston's industrial past. And present. Would look good in HO scale!

2 comments:

Zartok-35 said...

Berfore reading Trains and Grains, I had no idea CP ran thos msny of their straight SD40s this far west this often.

Eric said...

Glad to help in that regard, Elijah!
SD = So Darn many!
Thanks for your comment,
Eric