Friday, June 29, 2012

Canada Day by Train IV

It's time once again to celebrate Canada Day by sharing some photos of our great country from on or along the rails.  To help you enjoy these photos, I've added lyrics from that anthemic Woody Guthrie song "This Land is Your Land" written in 1940, Canadianized by the Travellers in 1955.  To make this experience multi-media, just click here to listen to the Canadian version, to accompany these photos a mari usque ad mare taken by yours truly, as well as by my brother as noted.  Turn your speaker volume up, scroll down and sing along!

As I went walking that ribbon of highway/I saw above me that endless skyway
Gas and grain at Conquest, Saskatchewan (above), CP 5912-5900-5676 hauling grain cars at 50 mph along Highway 18 between Bienfait and Frobisher, Saskatchewan in 1989 (D.J. Gagnon photo, below):
I saw below me that golden valley/This land was made for you and me
Morning grazing at Endako, British Columbia:
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling/and the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling
Roadside in Glenside, Saskatchewan taken in 1986:
As the fog was lifting, a voice was chanting/This land was made for you and me
Misty morning at Mileage 48 on CP's Heron Bay Sub, VIA Park car view:
This land is your land/this land is my land/from Bonavista to Vancouver Island/from the Arctic Circle to the Great Lakes waters/this land was made for you and me.
Stopped streamside at Sockeye, British Columbia, waiting for a ballast train's derailed caboose to be rerailed at Tyee, Mileage 68 of CN's Skeena Sub, aboard VIA's Skeena east out of Prince Rupert, 1986:
I roamed and I rambled and I followed my footsteps/to the fir-clad forests of our mighty mountains
Mountains that are both snow-clad and fir-clad dwarf VIA No 1's  rainbow consist near Banff, Alberta in October, 1980:
And all around me a voice was calling/This land was made for you and me
This land is your land/this land is my land/from Bonavista
CN NF210 915 kicking cars hard at Corner Brook, Newfoundland, 1988 (D.J. Gagnon photo):
to Vancouver Island
CP Hotels' Empress in Victoria, British Columbia, 1980:

From the Arctic Circle 
Slightly south of that, but still fairly far north, National Harbours Board terminal elevator at Churchill, Manitoba, 1987 (D.J. Gagnon photo):
To the Great Lakes waters/This land was made for you and me.
Two ribbons of steel skirt Lake Superior on CP's mainline east of Firehill, Ontario:
Happy Canada Day! Bonne Fete Canada!

Running extra...

The Patient Canadian: CBC News reports that Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia held its annual Moose Draw (not Moose Jaw as in Saskatchewan) at which unlucky but undaunted hunters show up annually, some for up to thirty years, waiting for a chance to bag a moose.  You'll never see an uglier, more majestic creature.

The Accented Canadian: CBC's Colleen Jones reported courtside at an Olympics volleyball match "that if the Fijian team brought home a medal, each team member would be given a hooose and a cayre" translation: a house and a car.  Inspirational talk; chances of Fiji becoming a volleyball dynasty were likely poor.

The Decorated Canadian: Major David Currie of the South Alberta Regiment supervises the surrender of once-invincible German troops at St-Lambert-sur-Dives, France on August 19, 1944.  This photo of Currie  "shown at left with pistol in hand...closest anyone has ever come to photographing a man winning the Victoria Cross" gives way to this photo, less often seen, of the now-prisoners heading to captivity. Both photos are studies in faces and postures, of brave audacity and shameless surrender, of victory and defeat.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Post-postscript: Private car Pacific

Private car Pacific made another stop in Kingston tonight.  If there's such a thing as a post-postscript, this warrants it.  The car glinted in the sinking sunlight, bringing up the markers of VIA No 48: 903-3463-3323-3304-3314-3300-Pacific.  I had seen the car as it headed to Toronto Monday night trailing VIA No 67 for some routine maintenance, but at 80 per, photography was suboptimal in the dusky drizzle.  As the train eased to a stop tonight, chances were better.  Much to my surprise, Paul Higgins Jr., ensconced in the elegance of Pacific, energetically emerged to engage this blogger in some discussion about the car and the Mother Parker's Remembers campaign:
Paul was graciously complimentary about Trackside Treasure's coverage of Pacific and the campaign, which to date has raised $300,000 of its $1 million goal for Alzheimer's research.  Good going!  He proudly described the work done to ensure Pacific was railworthy, and the compliments paid by VIA staff in Toronto when the car rolled over the pit during its inspection.  Thoroughly classy yet thoroughly modern.  Although today's railways are less able to handle non-operational details like private cars, there's no denying this car is serving a noble purpose.  On its way tonight to a media day in Ottawa, another media day in Toronto will follow after the Canada Day weekend, as the car heads west on No 59 on July 4. 
All too soon, No 48 whistled off toward Ottawa.  The co-CEO scanned the track to the east then headed back in, but not before dropping off a can of fine Mother Parker's coffee. Something my waiting wife and daughter in our minivan will enjoy - good arm Paul, and thanks!  The clear signal beckons as the marker lamps show the end of a train as it is surely intended to look.

Pacific will get a chance to stretch her legs some more, heading for the Atlantic (interestingly Jakob Mueller recently mentioned that Atlantic was the name of CNR's other such car, which eventually became Track Evaluation Car 15100, and was photographed in Port Jervis NY in 2007 in VIA-like blue and yellow paint) and her namesake, the Pacific in August and September.  Highball, Pacific!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Postscript: Private car Pacific

On its current Mother Parker's Remembers tour, private car Pacific was on the tailend of VIA No 64 at Kingston on June 5.  A marked contrast to the sleek and modern (well, modern if you live in the 1970's, like my haircut, see below) LRC cars that it's knuckle-to-knuckle with. Rebuilt in 1949, after a busy quarter-century of service with CN including Royal Trains, directors' specials, and the campaign train of prime minister John Diefenbaker, the car then as now has an impressive appearance.

One of a two-car series of six-compartment buffet lounge observation sleeping cars, built by Canadian Car & Foundry in September, 1924 Pacific was numbered 1197, along with Atlantic, 1196. Some facts and figures:
  • Length: 82'7" over diaphragm buffers, 73' over end sills, with 57'6" truck centres.
  • Steel construction, with steel underframe, with double-vestibule ends, open platform, six-wheel trucks and wide double windows
  • Car #4 of the May-June 1939 Royal Train, during which the observation was enclosed.
  • Three major modifications were made in 1938, 1948-49 and 1951, and during the second rebuilding I believe the clerestory was covered by a turtle roof, one with arched and rounded ends.
  • Timken roller bearings 12/51
  • Renumbered CN 15157 in 2/74, then CN 48 in 4/74, retired 5/75, purchsed by P. Higgins in 2/76.
Pacific is tentatively scheduled for the following trips: Montreal-Toronto on VIA No 67 on June 25, Toronto-Ottawa on VIA No 48 on June 27 see this postscript post, Ottawa-Montreal on VIA No 32 and Ottawa-Toronto on VIA No 59, both on July 4, then further trips to London and Windsor. Remember that's a tentative schedule.  This effort by the Higgins brothers is to use their beautifully-restored private car to generate donations to Alzheimer's research in conjunction with the Alzheimer Society.  If you know someone living with dementia as I do, please consider making a donation to stop Alzheimer's in its tracks.
Walker Express blogger Adam Walker captured this level-crossing view of Pacific's lair in a photo taken from Dowty Road crossing in Ajax.  A notoriously rough crossing, it even rated mention in the Toronto Star fixer column in 2010 as being brutal while riding on or driving behind a bus. My Durham Region paramedic son noted that in an ambulance it is not a comfortable ride either.
Check out this Bing aerial view of plant and spur.  Interestingly, another car stored at the same location (not Pacific) and visible in the Bing photo was stored just west of Napanee station.  Ex-CN rule instruction car 15025, a Pullman car built in 1910, is stored in Ajax (with ex-VIA cafe-lounge 765) but when I photographed it in 1989 it was in a more agrarian, less industrial setting:
Here's an online photo auction site view of CN 9529 and caboose 79257 spotting Pacific in Ajax captioned April 2, 1982:
Pacific at home, beside the Mother Parker's plant in Ajax.  The old girl is likely happy to be out on the road now and rolling again on its first outing since 2000, rather than penned up agonizingly within earshot of passing trains on CN's Kingston Subdivision (Toronto Star photo, 2010):
Pacific's debut after restoration was on a Montreal-Richmond-Victoriaville CN fantrip on September 15, 1973.  Restored CN Mountain type 4-8-2 6060 led the black & white-painted consist, though it and Pacific were resplendent in CN green.  At Central Station's distinctive high-level platform before the excursion, (left) 6060 fairly gleamed in the morning glow and then glowed in the afternoon gloaming after taking on water and fuel oil at Richmond (right):
My siblings and I were fortunate to be on this trip, having travelled all the way east from Kingston the day before at my father's urging.  I'm the shortest, tousle-headed one, during a water stop at St Hyacinthe station.  
Then a runpast at commuter station at Otterburn Park.  Hey garcon, get off the roof!  Form a photo line! 
 Fantrip photos by L.C. Gagnon.
CHUM radio and CBC TV personality Larry Solway was on the train too, seen walking alongside coach 5219 during a runpast at Upton (left).  Double runpasts were held at St Basile, Otterburn Park and Upton. The tailend star of the show, Pacific brings up the markers (right) during an Upton runpast:
Until the fantrip, Pacific was a retired, semi-preserved repository for historical items under the control of CN's manager-historical projects, J.Norman Lowe.  It underwent a complete refurbishing at Point St. Charles shops, with repainting in the original green colour of the Company to match 6060.  The car's purpose was four-fold: to serve as a retail sales outlet branch of the Montreal sales store, a small museum for artifacts from the CN collection, a VIP reception area and to provide sleeping accommodation for potential cross-country trips.  Note reapplied CN wafer heralds, brass railings and curtains on the open observation platform:
Once again, I encourage you to take the opportunity to support the Mother Parker's Remembers campaign for which Pacific is generating donations, while travelling along VIA's Corridor.  Click here for more information on the tour, and if you feel this rail-related campaign is one you can support, click here to donate now.

Running extra...

VIA's Canadian is back up to its longer, summer consist.  Steve Boyko of Winnipeg just posted some nice photos and video of the speedy stainless steel streamliner here.

Just finished listening to Dick Cavett's Talk Show.  Can the laconic son of two English teachers from Nebraska make it big as a writer for Jack Paar and Groucho Marx?  Yes. Dick's career spanned four decades.   Unexpected best passage in the book is his account of the power of music.

A Washington state company has been granted salvage rights for the SS Islander, owned by Canadian Pacific Steam Navigation Company.  She sank near Juneau, Alaska on August 15, 1901 with a reported 480,000 ounces of gold aboard.  Did you hear the one about the shipload of yo-yos from China that sank in Vancouver harbour?  She sank thirty-seven times.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Private car Pacific

Private car Pacific graced the rails at Kingston's VIA station on June 5.  An expectedly classy and elegant Kingston platform scene indeed.  The Higgins Brothers, Paul and Michael, are paying tribute to their Paul Sr. who passed away in 2004, and raising awareness for Alzheimer's, hoping to raise $1 million. Here, VIA train No 64 arrives at Kingston station - 919-3463-3323-3364-3353-Pacific:
It's immediately obvious that this is not just another LRC car tagging along behind 3353, with that unique roofline and smokejack giving the game away.  Pacific usually resides in Ajax, but had travelled to VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre in Mimico to be readied for its trip east.
The appearance of Pacific was not a total surprise, due to a heads-up on Yahoogroups (thanks, Ray!) a couple of days before.  Pacific is on a multi-city tour for Mother Parker's Remembers, the campaign to aid Alzheimer's research.  While not usually one to promote a particular campaign above others, I would ask Trackside Treasure readers to consider supporting this one.  With a predicted 50% increase in the incidence of Alzheimer's in Canada predicted within a generation, this campaign with its rail-related theme that we can all support.
With marker lamps, Paul Higgins drumhead, stepbox, end-of-train 'ping-pong' paddle,open observation platform and HEP connections, Pacific makes a striking sight.  Fans of underbody detail, while thwarted somewhat on this trip by Kingston's trackhopper fence, may have better luck if I catch a westbound movement in future!
Two gentlemen (Paul's sons?) enjoy beverages aboard the car during the station stop, while I am feverishly and fanatically snapping photos.  Understated company logos and a descriptive plaque are visible on the car side:

The plaque provides information on the car's history including its use on the 1939 Royal Tour of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.  The royal cypher 'GR' George Rex adorns the car's name.
Bridging the years...HEP and vestibule connections between new and old, though the private car appears to be thoroughly modern in its systems.
The setting sun warms the side of P42DC 919 as the five-car train nears its departure time and the lighting of the headlights and ditchlights.  Pacific had an appointment to keep, at track 20 of Montreal's Central Station for a media opportunity and had also hosted an Alzheimer's Society executive directors' meeting.
Departing for Montreal, crossing Counter Street.  What's a real passenger train without marker lamps? Follow the Facebook and Twitter links on the Mother Parker's website for news of Pacific's upcoming trips.
This postscript post gives more background on Pacific. I support the campaign, and here's hoping the campaign will be successful, and that many of us will have an encounter with Pacific trackside!  A few minutes later, F40PH-2 6437 leads an eastbound at Kingston.

Running extra...

All remaining items in Trackside Treasure's VIVA VIA sale now 20% off.

It's graduation season, speaking of cyphers and other heraldry. I just found the official heraldic description of the Queen's University Coat of Arms.  It incorporates the blue St Andrew's cross, with symbols of Canada, Scotland, England and Ireland, respectively:  On a Saltire Azure between in chief a Fir tree eradicated in base a Thistle stalked and leaved in fesse a Red Rose barbed seeded stalked and leaved all proper and a Trevoil Vert on open Book of the first a Bordure also Gules charged with eight Ancient Crowns Gold.  Phew!  The crowns symbolize Queen Victoria and the University's royal charter, and the Latin phrase Sapientia et Doctina Stabilitas meaning "Wisdom and Learning shall be the stability of thy times."  Congratulations to Caitie and all the other indefatigable grads, and cha gheill!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Viva VIA Sale

All aboard for a carload of varied VIA Rail items for sale!  Timetables, paper items, VIA souvenirs and books and more! The first email received indicating interest in each item at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca makes the item yours.  Please refer to each item by name and lot number.  Each item will be shipped well-protected via Canada Post upon receipt of payment.  Shipping cost will be actual postage; payment of total by cheque or money order please.  

**SOLD** after an item means it's no longer available.

Before checking out the items for sale, click here to see the latest on my upcoming VIA book project, now including contents.
VIA System Public Timetables Lot 1 (below), issue dates:
-Apr 77, Jun 79**SOLD**, Apr 80 (2 copies**BOTH SOLD**), Sep 80 (2 copies**BOTH SOLD**), Jun 81**SOLD**, Apr 81**SOLD**, Nov 81, Jun 82, Oct 82 (2), May 83 $5 each.
VIA System Public Timetables Lot 2 (below), issue dates:
-Oct 83 (2 copies)**1 COPY SOLD**, Jun 84, Oct 84, Jun 85 (2 **1 SOLD**), Oct 85 (2)**1 COPY SOLD**, Jun 86, Oct 86, Jun 87**SOLD**, Nov 87**SOLD**, Oct 88**SOLD** $5 each.
VIA System Public Timetables Lot 3 (below), issue dates:
-Jan 90 (3 copies**1 SOLD**), May 90, Dec 90**SOLD**, May 91, Jan 92**SOLD**, Apr 92, Oct 92, Apr 93 (3), Nov 93 (3**1 SOLD**), Apr 94**SOLD** $3 each except massive cuts issue of Jan 90 $5.
VIA System Public Timetables Lot 4 (below), issue dates:
Oct 94, Apr 95 (2 copies), Oct 95 (3), Apr 96 (2 **1 SOLD**), May 97 (2), Oct 2000, Oct 2001**SOLD** $3 each.
VIA Souvenirs Lot 5, (below):
-VIA car door handle $5
-cardboard LRC locomotive and coach $5 for the pair **SOLD**
-VIA soap $3 each
-VIA matchbooks $1 each
-Book Rails and Rooms by Dave Preston $5
-Book Scenic Rail Guide to Western Canada, Revised Edition $5**SOLD**
-VIA lighter and original box $6**SOLD**
VIA Paper Items Lot 6 (below), $2 each**ENTIRE LOT SOLD**
-Mini-guide On Board
-1984 flyer on VIA's new Panorama
-Via VIA 1988 guide to VIA trains and on-board accommodations
-Canada by Train guide to routes, accommodations, VIA staff (2 copies)
-1982 Canadian Trip Guide with Schedule**ENTIRE LOT SOLD**
Lot 7 (below):
-Haliburton by Rail by Taylor Wilkins, published 1992, 133 pages richly illustrated with photos and maps, softcover, rare $24
-Expo86 grey ceramic tile 150th anniversary of passenger rail, showing CP Hudson 2823, produced by Les Poteries Rene Gagnon $5
Lot 8 - Colourful, original oil painting showing Alberta grain elevators, canvas mounted on masonite $10
Lot 9
-Canadian station prints, clockwise from top left (below), Rainbow BC, Charny QC, Kipling SK, Meaford ON, Orangedale NS, Eckville, AB, as is perfect for framing, by Richard Brown $15 for set of six:

Check out What's Inside my upcoming VIA book! 
Visit my VIA book blog for regular updates.
Thanks for looking through my selection of items and...happy shopping!

Friday, June 1, 2012

CP Canadian Forces move to Petawawa

At CP's Smiths Falls station, two RS18u's have brought a 60-car military extra in for a crew change.  On the head-end, 1837-1820 have paused west of the station on July 17, 1993.
These photos, by L.C. Gagnon, show a complete train of Canadian Forces engineer vehicles as well as force protection vehicles.  Taken every 3 or 4 cars, the photos show vehicles painted mostly in the overall white of a UN peacekeeping mission.  Bulldozers (top) followed by a Steyr Heavy Logistics Vehicle Wheeled (HLVW) with trailer (above) then heavy-lift cranes:
The train comprises 60-foot OTTX Trailer-Train flats, these with road graders showing rusted blades:
These vehicles are from 2 Combat Engineer Regiment stationed at CFB Petawawa, likely deployed to Somalia as part of UNITAF and UNOSOM, trans-loaded from ship to CP at the Port of Montreal.
Dump truck and road-building equipment (above) then light engineer tractor and water tractor-trailer:
Multiple Logistics Vehicle, Wheeled (MLVW) field kitchen followed by other variants:
Another HLVW, one of the heavier wheeled vehicles that the Canadian Forces moved by rail
GMC 5/4-ton utility trucks of several variants:
Another stainless steel water trailer with CP Rail piggyback trailers visible in background:
A view back to the station, looking timetable west, with trackage to Brockville in foreground:
Bison armored vehicles:
More MLVWs, similar to those moved to CFB Wainwright from Kingston in 1987
One went to Africa in Canadian woodland camouflage, and the end of the train is still around the bend:
Running extra...

Dude, where's 6453?  The last yellow-nosed VIA F40PH-2 is being tracked daily by VIAphiles as it awaits its trip in to the shop for rebuilding.  It's not so easy being green - 6400, the prototype rebuilt unit was later wrecked at St Charles de Bellechasse, Quebec in February, 2010.

Where's Skrillex?  The Grammy-award winning DJ announced he would be touring Canada on a private passenger train in July.  One problem - the tour's proposed schedule makes intercity travel by train impossible or should I say, impossishizzle.

Union Station floods due to backed-up sewers caused by heavy rainfall today in Toronto. Commuter chaos as TTC tries to replace subway service with shuttle buses.  This would have never happened in Winnipeg because they don't have a subway...yet.