Wednesday, May 26, 2010

CP Angus Shops Vans

CP 's Angus Shops turned out one 'Angus' van per day starting in 1970, at a cost of $40,000 each. All-steel welded construction, insulated with spray foam, safety glass aluminum windows, cushion underframes, 35,000 BTU oil heaters fed by a 100 Imperial gallon oil tank, and Barber Bettendorf swing-motion caboose trucks made them a modern alternative to CP's fleet of steel and wood end-cupola, and earlier steel centre cupola vans. The steel cupola was constructed separately and later joined to the carbody, accounting for the nickname "saddleback" being applied to these vans. CP 434549 and 434646 head west and east on 107- and 132-car grain trains respectively (above) at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1981.
Also at Portage in 1981, another pair of grain trains meet, with 434337 and 434175 on the tailend of the eastbound behind 8698-5546 meeting a 113-car train of empties behind single unit 5779 (above). Not all saddleback vans are Angus Shops vans. 434175 is a riveted-body, radial roof van to which a modern cupola was later added. CP often balanced the number of vans in terminals by deadheading one along with the working van. Freshly-painted 434554 is at Bayview Junction in Hamilton in June, 1981. A tall cupola meant even taller smokejacks.
Between 1970 and 1979, 435 Angus Shops vans were built, numbered 434300-434734. Steam escaping in front of 434425 is from the steam-heated passenger equipment on the cabooseless operation display train in Kingston's outer station on November 16, 1984:
Here are four van photos taken from the Dutch door of VIA No 1. In 1984, a tailend crew member is out on 434389 to inspect our train near White River, Ontario. Note the distinctive arrangement of marker lights, inspection lights, brake wheel, cushion underframe, vertical posts and high handrails.
Also in Northern Ontario in 1986, 434521 and a deadheading van bring up the tailend of an eastbound, with welded rail dropped along the mainline for impending installation. The cupola reaches to 15 feet, 7 1/2 inches, but even at that height is not tall enough to see over an "exceeds Plate F" trilevel autorack:
A Schreiber sunset in 1984 shows 434447 resting on an adjacent yard track with its storm door open, awaiting its crew for the next trip over the Nipigon or Heron Bay Subs. It's difficult to find a van photo with a closed storm door.
At Chalk River in 1985, we're getting an inspection as 434539 rolls east. Notice just how far down the carbody the cupola extends.
Friendly Manitoba. Heading north up the Minnedosa Sub from Portage in September 1985, 434341 is tailing a solid covered hopper train behind 5796-4202 as it passes over a farm crossing. The tailend crewman gives a friendly wave. Within five years, vans will disappear from CP's network as a cost-saving measure. Fewer then 80 Angus Shops vans remain in use by CP mainly to protect backup moves, and as "MOW Transporters" for use on work trains.
Paul Smith worked in CP's Winnipeg caboose shop located on Sutherland Ave., on the north side the yard just east of the Slaw Rebchuck bridge. Electricians, machinists, pipefitters and carmen performed scheduled maintenance on 16 vans per shift, including lights, refrigerator, stove, water system, running gear, doors and windows. Labourers cleaned the vans and replaced fusees, torpedoes, and spare knuckles. Once a year, vans were hand-washed with a bucket and scrub brush. The shop also maintained the Winnipeg Auxiliary, business car Strathcona, Pettibone mobile crane, reefer service truck and road repair truck. Paul was kind enough to send this photo of 434501 in Winnipeg:
Running extra...

Manny Jacob of Winnipeg has partnered with Athabasca Shops of Okotoks, Alberta to produce etched stainless-steel pairs of photo-etched storm doors including screen material, to fit Rapido Trains' Angus Shops van. The prototype doors were aluminum and plexiglas. Contact Athabasca Shops for details.

Coming soon to my van track: Rapido Trains Angus Shops van via Lark Spur Line in Merrickville. Sure to be another quality product from Jason, Dan and Bill at Rapido, with friendly, efficient service from Jeff and Pat at Lark Spur Line.

The TV week that was: Lost final episode (I'm still lost as to what really happened), Habs exit the playoffs, and American Idol winner to be chosen tonight. So long Simon, Seacrest out, hello reruns.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vestibule View of Saskatchewan, 1986

Aboard VIA No 1 in May 1986, streaking across the Saskatchewan prairie on CP's Indian Head Sub, the sun pops over the horizon around Wolseley. To adequately model these scenes, you'd need one heck of a layout room. Nevertheless, Wolseley's Co-Op Garage is an interesting structure (above). The main street of sleepy Sintaluta runs right up to the CP main:
An Indian word meaning "tail of the red fox", Sintaluta sports a hotel across from a former bank. A broken-up Avro Anson twin-engine trainer trackside is a reminder of Saskatchewan's wartime role in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan:
At Indian Head, we met an eastbound freight behind 5413 (ex-QNS&L 217). Indian Head's Co-Op distributes fuel and includes a lumber yard. Overcast is crossing the sky and showers will persist into Calgary.
At the west end of Indian Head's extensive elevator row, the Parrish & Heimbecker elevator blocks the morning sun momentarily:
A sweeping curve built around sloughs gives a distant view of Webb at Mi 20 Maple Creek Sub. Two Pioneer and three Sask Pool elevators give advance notice of the town's location as we approach:
The sectionmen's speeder is in the siding at Carmichael at Mi 43. We are likely getting a roll-by inspection on our way west:
Named for a former CP civil engineer, Carmichael hosts a 2,440-tonne capacity Sask Pool elevator. The elevator and annex mark the siding on the lone prairie, as our mostly Budd consist hustles along:

A curve at a farm crossing between Carmichael and Tompkins shows our the first part of our consist of 13 ex-CP stainless and ex-CN blue & yellow cars behind 6513-6628. The dry ranch country and Saskatchewan-Alberta border are ahead.
Tompkins, named for a CPR contractor, is at Mi 49. Two Sask Pool and two Pioneer elevators populated the elevator track. Two tie gons are in one end of the elevator track, one ALPX and one CPWX covered hopper are at the Sask Pool elevator, with one car at the Pioneer elevator.
The rain would get heavier and drive me out of the vestibule. After drying off, it was time to head up to the much drier dome in the Park car from Maple Creek, Saskatchewan to Crowfoot, Alberta. Another stint in the vestibule then followed, from Crowfoot through Medicine Hat, Gleichen and into Calgary.
Unfortunately, this is now a rare-mileage route. VIA later switched the Canadian to the more northerly CN line through Saskatoon and Edmonton.

Running Extra...

Efficient trip to Toronto for a conference Saturday aboard VIA No 655 westbound and J-train 668/648 eastbound. Two DPU trains on CN, lots of tie work along CP's Belleville Sub and two CP freights alongside. There's no way to take photos from an open LRC coach vestibule.

CEBX 800, the world's largest Schnabel car, is in Oakville to take on a oversize load for Kansas City. Previously used for Co-op upgrader moves to Saskatchewan, Tom Daspit has a nice series of photos of the car on his CEBX 800 page.

McDonald's is advertising their new Shrek menu: McFlurry is "Mint Ogre-load". Just what one wants to be thinking about sitting down to dessert. Shrek- green food. It's like Wendy's advertising a "fingertip in the chili" menu. Glad there's a no-tipping policy in effect.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

CN Buys UP

Once in a great while, CN buys second-hand locomotives coming off lease from another Class 1. In this case Union Pacific-twice. Sixteen years apart. CN is currently taking delivery of 35 ex-UP exx-C&NW C41-8's which are to be numbered in the CN 2100-series. In 1994, CN bought 24 ex-UP exx-MP SD40-2's which were upgraded and renumbered into the 5300-series. Formerly numbered 4090-4104, 4106-4114, the units were hastily repatched with a first digit '6' to avoid CN's 4100-series GP9RM's. 6109 was at Belleville on March 16/95 (above). 6098 was near the roundhouse in Belleville on May 7/94 along with 4120, 3536, 9561, 2320 and 5311. Check out that classic CN scheme clerestory-roof OCS baggage car:

Look UP...look way UP. The units' first stop was at GTW's Battle Creek shops where cab appliances were removed. In late April the units began moving towards AMF's Pointe St Charles facility. Class GF-30v 5364-5377 received Positive Traction Control, and 5378-5381 received PTC plus dynamic brakes. Class GF-30w 5382-5387 had Woodward CLC Microprocessors and dynamic brakes installed. Until modified, the now-CN units operated in freight service, trail-only. On May 7/94, 6109 trails 9613-2038 arriving at Belleville on a westbound:
Surprisingly, 2038 continued west beyond Winnipeg, which was generally unusual for MLW's. Seemingly lost, the Century passed through Edmonton on May 12, eventually reaching Vancouver before returning east.
UP hill and down dale. On June 11, an eastbound's head-end with 9659-6104 is starting uphill at Mi 184 Kingston Sub, with the tail-end passing through Benjamin's Cut.
Ahoy Uncle Pete! Rideau Canal lockmaster waves to a westbound passing over the Rideau Canal Waterway at Kingston Mills Locks on July 8/94. 9555-6090-9526 are hauling 50 cars. The ex-UP units received the CN North America paint scheme which had been introduced in mid-1992. Other trains spotted with ex-UP SD's:

May 11/94 WB: 5315-6112.
May 29/94 WB: 9421-6112.
April 13/95 : 9449-6096-LMS 717.
June 2/95 EB: 2117-6103.
UP where we belong. March 16/95 finds 9516-6109 hauling some empty centre-beam bulkheads into Belleville station for a crew change while passengers await their VIA trains. A quick CN wet-noodle logo adorned the nose of each unit and the large Union Pacific red lettering on the long hood was covered by yellow paint.
AMF was working on other SD's for CN at the same time, outshopping SD40u's 6000-6028. These flat-faced units received new cab front walls with improved soundproofing and door/window seals. SD40u's also wore the CN North America scheme. 6002-5039 ease up to another westbound freight with 3540-2327 awaiting crew change at Belleville station on June 4/94:
CN's previous 2100-series were Draper Taper HR616's 2100-2119. Unique full-width hood units with a notch to promote visibility from the rear cab windows. Also in 1994, 6005-2119 look like Pennsy Baldwin Centipedes with all those spare wheels, as they soak up the late-day September sun at Belleville:
Class unit 2100 with one of many EMD lease units CN needed to power its trains, in this case ex-Conrail GP-38 EMDX 775. CP was also leasing large fleets of locomotives at this time. The pair are arriving Belleville yard from the east on March 16/95:
The units entered AMF's facility in random UP order in groups of two or three, and emerged in (mostly but not respectively) CN numerical order. Some were retired as early as 2007.
5364(6095), 5365(6100) Sept/94.
5366(6107), 5378(6114) Oct/94.
5367(6108), 5368(6091), 5369(6098), 5370(6092) Nov/94.
5379(6098), 5380(6099), 5381(6102) Dec/94.
5377(6112) April/95.
5382(6104), 5383(6093), 5384(6110), 5386(6113) May/95.
5374(6101) Aug/95.
5372(6094) Sept/95.
5387(6090) Oct/95.
5373(6106) Nov/95
5371(6103), 5376(6109), 5375(6096)Dec/95.

Way UP north in the land of ice and snow, re-born and ready to run. 5379-LMS 734-LMS 722 are westbound with intermodal traffic at Queens East, February 12/95:
DFW to YYZ. In this Jim Spears photo, taken April 30, one of CN's newest purchases from UP, 2113 (hey, let's spray-paint the unit number on the side of the cab!) is on its way north at Fort Worth, Texas. Black paint is the colour of choice to obliterate the Union Pacific this time; these units are causing a stir of expectation north of the border. CN buys UP redux.