Friday, September 6, 2019

Southern Pacific GP35's on CN, 1979

From 1977-1979, the SP contracted with both Morrison-Knudsen and Canadian National to rebuilt 60 of its GP35 locomotives (espee.railfan.net - above). The 31 units rebuilt by M-K (SP 6302-6323, 6353-6361) were completed between October 1978 and November 1979 and classed GP35E. The 29 units rebuilt by CN (SP 6324-6352) were completed between January and December 1979 and classed GP35R.

On October 8, 1978 at 1706 I noted unrebuilt SP 6613-6646-6647 eastbound behind CN 9568-9437-9427 through Kingston. These units were being brought to CN's Pointe St Charles shop in Montreal for rebuilding.

On March 17, 1979  at 1611 I photographed rebuilt SP 6335 westbound behind CN 4013-9445, near Mi 183 of CN's Kingston Sub:
This SP unit was so remarkable to me that I exposed two precious frames of 110-format film on them as they passed, trailed by Bangor & Aroostook and CN boxcars.
Forty years later...
The Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario (RMEO) Facebook group administrator posted the two photos (above and below) in August 2019, terming the trailing SP unit 'run-through power' ... "A Southern Pacific locomotive trails two big CNR Alco Centuries as a westbound makes its way past Cardinal 40 summers ago....run-through power is now a common sight on Class 1 railroads but in 1979 this sighting was a rarity."
In fact it was so rare that I don't think run-through power happened at all in 1979 on CN. Sure, CN units to the L&N and CN leased some B&LE units under some terms. But these were not run-through power as we know it today. Since there are now fewer manufacturers, the units are built to a more universal standard. This encourages run-through use, especially on unit trains that traverse more than one railway. In fact, when foreign power run-throughs became prevalent some years ago, groups with the title FPON (Foreign Power in Ontario) quickly sprung up to report the plethora of observations!

It's likely that the photos available to the RMEO did not have appropriate caption information accompanying them. So in today's context, it was likely assumed these locomotives were run-through power. It's great that these photos were recognized as being atypical and were therefore shared to a wide audience! Obviously, other trackside photographers recognized these SP units as unusual guests on CN's Kingston Sub.

Running extra...

Just starting Paul Shaffer's We'll be Here for the Rest of our Lives, in which Paul mentions his obsession with Jerry Lewis's MD telethons, which always preceded 'back to school time'. Paul writes: "The greatest expression of unadulterated show-biz schmaltz was undoubtedly Lewis's fabulous telethons. There are endless variations to the drama of Jerry asking for a dollar more. To be sure, the telethon is one of the enduring institutions in American show business. And of course Jerry Lewis sits at the center [sic][Paul is Canadian] of that institution. Surely he is the celebrities' celebrity."

An interesting account of the Royal Train carrying Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh to Fort Saskatchewan, AB on August 2, 1978.

While waiting for the arrival of my Rapido Trains noodle RS-18 3120, I dragged 1973-Christmas-vintage Athearn SW switcher out of storage. Seen here switching the Wellington Street CN freight shed, the unit has a paper CN glued on by my Dad plus orange Letraset numbers added by me. The best part? The old SW got the switching done! Rapido's recently-arrived e-newsletter states that the CN RS-18's will be shipped September 18!

2 comments:

Robert Archer said...

After reading the past few weeks blogs (plural) I'm sitting here thinking "I should post a comment."
However; I can't really think of anything to write other than I enjoy reading each weeks entry.
Trains at the station; trackwork at the station and this week SP's for CN to repair back in 79.
The 1979 topic was something I have now learned. I hadn't realised that CN was so big in locomotive rebuilds. I was always watching trains back then but never took any pictures. I only regret the pictures I didn't take.
Keep on posting Eric and I for one will keep on reading.
Sometimes I will even write a comment.

Rob Archer
Mississauga.

Eric said...

Thank you, Rob. Your comments are always welcome.

As you noted, I like to cover a wide range of topics. Some from my own experiences and some that I just want to learn more about.

And share it all in the process!

Eric