Saturday, June 11, 2011

Then and Now: Portage la Prairie 1980-2010

Recent CN and CP photos taken at Portage la Prairie, Manitoba reminded me of photos I'd taken there decades earlier. Although this post had 1980-2010 in the title, these photos are actually from 1979-2011, and the scenes in each pair of photos differ significantly. The Now photos are the fine work of Winnipeg blogger and railfan and Trackside Treasure blog partner Steve Boyko, whose blog Confessions of a Train Geek is ever-present in my sidebar. Steve graciously agreed to share some of his Confessions photos with me, as I've attempted to link disparate decades.

CN westbounds pass CN's station. Looks like a classic white Ford in the parking lot (above) and VIA's signature signs adorn those green lamp posts, although VIA doesn't necessarily stop here anymore.

Then: 9484-9535-5569-9581 clip through at 40 mph June 18, 1980

Now: CN Dash-9 2525 is trailed by four Drapers; former BC Rail 4610-2434-2416-2429 on April 4, 2010.
CN eastbounds also at the CN station. Skyview bridge is a common feature in both photos.

Then: 1069-1027 (black widow scheme Trains magazine unit) with grain boxcars on August 25, 1979. Note train orders being hooped-up by the operator, and other grain boxcars being loaded at Portage Pool 'B' elevator.

Now: In January 2008, CN train 346, ditch lights blazing with 2533-2233 haul 95 cars eastbound; mixed freight and forest products.

CP eastbounds pass the Portage station.

Then: Working semaphores and agent as elephant-style 5797-5983 haul potash and grain at 0925 June 22, 1982. A few short years before, a wooden platform was in place to serve CP's Canadian. CP's station park and engine track for S-3 6569 are at right.

Now: The CP station, now called the Canadian Pacific Railway Heritage Park & Interpretive Centre, is surrounded by a chain-link fence, as 9700-9663 coast by with a long double-stack train on December 27, 2007.

Westbounds in CP's Portage yard:

Then: Low-multimark 5523 with 108 grain empties - covered hoppers and boxcars on June 21, 1982, taken from the track machine spur.

Now: In June 2011, 9135-6040 are building a grain train. Portage switcher 3021 is locked away in its vandal-proof cage in background.

Taken from the Skyview bridge, VIA trains at the confluence of CN's Rivers and Gladstone Subdivisions.

Then: 1353-1354 lift two cars from Portage Pool 'B' as the Super Continental heads west with 6505-6610-CN 4105 in 1981. The Skyview bridge was always a perfect location to track multiple trains, something Portage still sees. CP grain boxcars at right, and CN outfit cars at left bracket the scene.

Now: Steve writes "On December 27, 2007, VIA train 2, the Canadian, came by at 10:44, 50 minutes late. The consist was VIA 6436-6453, deadhead sleeper Fraser Manor-baggage-coach-8227?-Skyline-car-Skyline-diner Emerald-sleeper Draper Manor-sleeper Butler Manor-sleeper Dawson Manor-observation car Tremblant Park. As it approached me, the Canadian disturbed a group of birds that were feeding on spilled grain between the rails."

Portage is still a hot-spot, even with longer trains, larger motive power, and fewer grain elevators in the background. Thanks for letting me relive some memories with Steve's assistance.


Zartok-35 said...

I can't say I've ever seen as many CN hellcats at once like at the top there, but I've had some good times with the 346. Wonderful pictures, both of you!
This post could use some more pictures of DPU units, though, thats one of the most drastic changes out here right now.

Eric said...

Hellcats...this could be the birth of a new CN-related motive power name. I'm familiar with Hellcats as US Navy carrier planes.

Yes, DPU is a big change. In the 80's, distributed power meant the middle unit of a power consist was cut out.

Thanks for your comments, Elijah. Don't worry, there will be more in this series.


Zartok-35 said...

I'm sorry...I need to quit forcing my wacky monikers on you.

Eric said...

Quite the opposite, Elijah. Keep them coming. We need more creativeness and uniqueness in today's railfan/modelling scene. Sometimes it's just too boring, otherwise.

It's what keeps me trackside, the chance I'll see something unique on the next train.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks for using my shots... very interesting to see what used to be there. I had no idea Portage had so many grain elevators!

Eric said...

Well, thank you Steve for making this idea actually take shape. It's fun trying to match up the Then and the Now photos, although as you've observed, some of the landmarks that I'm used to are gone. Sure gives a more open, sweeping view of the train, although I notice there are a lot more trees around West Tower.

Thanks for your comments,