Friday, December 3, 2010

Portage la Prairie's UGG Grain Elevators

United Grain Growers opened their state-of-the-art high-throughput grain elevator at Dundonald, Manitoba at Mi 14 of CP's Minnedosa Sub in 1993. This new elevator replaced three older elevators in Portage la Prairie and area, all built in the 1930's. Located just west of the Skyview Bridge in Portage, the first of these was built by the Victoria Grain Co., whose lettering was visible through UGG's paint job. An earlier view! Taken from westbound CPR No 7 - The Dominion - (notice coal smoke) by my Dad on September 11, 1950 showing a large 'wartime' annex on its west side:
Pictured above in December, 1989 in this A.M. Gagnon (top) photo and below on a summer morning in 1982:
The former Victoria elevator was located on CN's Rivers Sub, and formed the backdrop for a drizzle of falling embers in a Portage Daily Graphic news photo, taken on September 11, 1982 as MPE's Portage A elevator burned just to the north:
Car headlights illuminate the car puller at the elevator's base in this 1984 nighttime shot. Note the rack built to hold stored wooden grain doors, just to the left of the telegraph pole:
Another Daily Graphic photo showed the elevator at the time of its closing in June, 1994. UGG's other elevator in Portage at Eighth Street appears in the distant haze in this westward view taken from the Skyview Bridge:
By December, it was gone, with UGG no longer having to pay lease payments on the railway-owned land.
Portage's newer UGG elevator handled 40,000 tons of grain per year. A 1962 black & white photo graciously supplied during my visit to the UGG's Winnipeg headquarters, shows the company name and location proudly emblazoned on the elevator's south side:
In 1982, a CN section house and CP's Portage switcher S-3 6569, which switched the elevator several times a week completed the scene.
The Daily Graphic featured the elevator with its newly-applied UGG logo and a CN freight behind 5439 and a Geep in September 1987, marking the end of a CN strike.
The newer elevator outlasted UGG's older Portage elevator and two others: Rignold on CN's Gladstone Sub, and Westbourne on CP's Minnedosa Sub that closed when $4 million Dundonald began operation in September, 1993. Handling 150,000 tonnes of grain per year, and now operated by Pioneer, this W. Schellenberg photo shows the concrete silos, metal bins and office in September, 2010. A 62-car siding is in foreground, between the elevator and the Trans-Canada Highway.
GMTX 407 is the elevator's own ex-Conrail GP15-1 switcher, which toils away preparing trainload business for CP, sometimes late into the night. Change had come to grain shipping in the Portage area: three outdated wooden classics on three different lines, each loading a few cars at a time, replaced by a concrete behemoth with its own locomotive.
Read on! There's more in this postscript !

Running Extra...
New addition to our "ETU" links list in our sidebar: Chris van der Heide's Canadian Freight Car Gallery. Chris was kind enough to add Trackside Treasure to his Gallery's Web Links section.


Zartok-35 said...

The wonder and romance have long sicne left the railway grain transportation scene, but those through-put plants can boast some impressive train operations.

It's hard to tell wether that trailing GP9 is a classic or a rebuild.

Eric said...

We could debate whether the agent hand-poling a loaded 100-ton covered hopper 50 feet is more to be appreciated than a 62-car hopper spot complete with critter to move them.

In 1987, many 4200's and 4300's were operating in wayfreight service in eastern Canada as they awaited their turn at Pointe St Charles shops for rebuilding/chopnosing. The unit in the news photo looks freshly-painted. It's a good question, Elijah.

Dave said...

Thanks for the portage UGG pictures. Most, if not all, are ones I hadn't seen before. At least one I'd seen, now lost someplace, showed a wonky looking structure on the 'back side' of the elevator and I used that photo to build my G scale model. Do you have any idea what photo/year that was.




Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Dave. Probably Portage Pool B. Check this post:

One of the few, if not the only primary elevator that was served by both railways.

Happy New Year,