Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas-ellaneous 201

Every 100th post, I bring together some miscellaneous stuff that I want to share, but which doesn't fit anywhere else.  It's also a way of celebrating the continued viability of my blog, by allowing my blog content to seem as random, easily-distracted and unfocused, much as I am in real life.  This 200th post is a little late, actually coming in as the 206th Trackside Treasure post.  Hey,  I was busy with my VIA Rail books  and preparing several posts that I didn't want to delay.  So here it is. Better late than never, and miscellaneous as ever!
We all know that any self-respecting Christmas tree should have a train under it.  I scanned a couple of pages of a childhood-era Sears catalogue to show those who are too young to remember that they actually used to sell train sets in the Christmas catalogues (youngish Trackside Treasure reader asking, "What's a Christmas catalogue?") The above catalogue also included Planet of the Apes 8-inch tall vinyl action figures, plus GI Joe with KUNG-FU GRIP! 

A 1974 Life-Like Catalogue, available in a toy store at the time, reveals several different trainsets available: D&H, steam, and action-oriented, including a photo of a sample trainset box.
A Leisure World catalogue gives some early indications as the cosmic necessity for Jason Shron to be born and Rapido Trains to be founded.  VIA FP45: foobie.  VIA blue-painted fluted passenger cars:  'nother foobie.  But look below at the cool freight cars, marked Aurora.  These were some different prototypes than had previously been available, featuring Canadian roadnames.  
More cool freight cars, this time under the Tyco brand.  One of those Ralston Purina wood reefers made many rounds on my early layouts.  Searchlight car! Piggyback ramp! Cattle loading!  I should disclose that I like the trainset rolling stock from this era, if you can't tell already.  ExactRail and the other super-detailed rolling stock manufacturers are a far cry from these resilient yet unresearched earlier models.
Another Canadian first...Parker Brothers Lionel HO catalogue showing the most Canadian roadnames available at that time.  Though this catalogue didn't show it, the versions of these cars I had featured the T-prefixed stock number as the reporting marks.  Encore des foobies!  Get a load of that 'GP-30' locomotive that's actually a GP20 with a C424 number on it. But they were Canadian!
Bachmann advertisement from Model Railroader magazine.  Look, even one Canadian scheme among all those guaranteed sellers lettered for the big Class 1 roads.  Any young model railroader of the 1970's would be pleased to find any of the above from Santa under their tree. We all know that Santa likes trains!
Maine Central: the Route of the Pine Tree.  In this case, it sure looks like a Christmas tree logo to me.  I unearthed this letter in a stack of responses I received in my teens from railroads, many now mega-merged. Do you think there's anyone at the railroads today who would respond, never mind on a nicely-written and perfectly-formatted business letter on letterhead?  Unlikely.

In December 1986, newly employed full-time, I took my parents for a day trip to our former home, Montreal.  Upon arrival at Montreal's Central Station, we posed in front of this very festive tree in the concourse, with the arrivals and departures board in the background.
I always hark back to my post showing VIA Christmas consists from 1976-1985.  Meanwhile, over at Windsor Station, CP put on another festive display, with real trees alive with lights on an awning.
It's very important that I remember to thank my Trackside Treasure blog partners here at each year-end:
-Steve, Confessions of a Train Geek
-John, CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Sub
-Chris, Prince Street Terminal
-Adam, The Walker Express
-Chris, Canadian Freight Car Gallery
-Dave, Pax Canadensis & Rolly Martin Country
-Manny, Modelling VIA F40PH-2's
-Train of the Week
-Matt, Saintjohnrailfan's Ultimate Adventures
-Robert, Oil-Electric
-Jason, Rapido Trains Blog
-Chris, Lyon Valley Northern
-Scott, Prince Rupert Rail Images

These blogs and sites bring lots of flavour, photos, videos, modelling, prototype, Ontario, BC, Manitoba, Eastern Canada, Pacific Northwest, CN, CP, VIA, GO, ONR and other good stuff to Trackside Treasure readers, as if ripped from today's railroading headlines or memories of yesterday.  Thanks, guys, for enriching us all with your engrossing and engaging material that I'm pleased to share!
Nothing says Christmas more than a snowy train shot or two.  VIA 6775-6541 speed seven cars westward through Napanee in early 1985 (above), while this photo from the Brian Schuff collection shows M420 2523 leading two RDC's, one an RDC-9 through what is likely snowy southern Ontario scenery (below).  Both photos of VIA's  unique power are featured in my second book on VIA Rail and epitomize Canadian improvisation as well as the unique trains and operations of VIA.
Try to take in a Christmas concert, movie or TV special.  Some of my favourite performances this year have been Little Big Town (Children, Go Where I Send Thee - a capella and a standing ovation!) and Jennifer Nettles on the Country Music Association Country Christmas, The Band Perry (Amazing Grace) on CBC's I'll be Home, and Katherine Jenkins at the Mormon Tabernacle at Temple Square.

Merry Christmas to all Trackside Treasure readers, commenters, emailers, contributors and best wishes to all for a healthy and prosperous 2013!



Robert in Port Townsend said...

Interesting post, Eric. My one and only train-set was a tinplate of the UP M100000.

After an hour of watching it go round and round, much to the consternation of my parents, I boxed it up.

Wasn't realistic enough for me...

Wishing you and yours an enjoyable Holiday Season!

Robert in Port Townsend

Anonymous said...

Best of the season to you and yours!

Eric said...

Thanks, Robert and A. for your greetings. The move today is certainly towards hyper-realism, with locomotive-specific paint schemes and details. A far cry but a welcome change from unrealistic models of years past!

Merry Christmas,

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks for the shout-out, Eric, and I wish you and yours the best for the holidays.

Bryan said...

Happy holidays and looking forward to more in 2013.


Eric said...

Thanks Steve, same to you and your family!

Bryan, more there will be! As long as I have a two-page spread of post-it notes for future posts, Trackside Treasure will forge onwards!

Best of the season,

Don said...

waiting on your new books and till then happy holidays to you and your family thanks for the trackside treasure and the time to do the work.

Middle Sackville, ns

Anonymous said...

Dear Eric, I-spy from the frigid Winnipeg. The very mention fo Christmas and trains go together like turkey and gravey. The Lionel HO was introduced in 1977 and was sold at Woolco in Winnipeg. My own dad bought the CN FA-1 set with 3 cars and track with powerpack for 19.99. After Xmas we went backfor the SP Daylight loco and the CP GP-30. After years in Lionel tinplate a switch to HO scale. On the subject of Christmas, I would like to add that on Christmas Day durring the mid-1970s dad and I would see the CP NO 2 Canadian off at the CP Station and later the Via NO 1 depart at 13.30 going west along Wilkes Ave. There is nothing more special than waving to strangers and train crew on this special day. Have the photos to prove it. My thanks to David Finney of VIA and Ted Batters for those special times. From WPG...Merry Christmas......2012.

Eric said...

Hi Don,

Have you ordered copies of my VIA books yet? They're available direct - see my book blog in the right sidebar of Trackside Treasure. They'll also be available at Maritime Hobbies in Halifax in January.

Thanks for your kind comments and Merry Christmas,

Eric said...

Hi Brian,

Thanks for sharing those Christmas memories. VIA advertised ride for $25 on Christmas Day. That's one way to get away from the commercial Christmas foofaraw; you're right that it's a special atmosphere travelling this time of year.

I had the Lionel GTW, DWP, CP 40-foot and BCR 50-foot boxcars, and ONR caboose. A few cars that I didn't have to paint and decal at the time to get Canadian prototypes! Now, about that VIA blue FP45...I'll have to find mine!

Merry Christmas,

James said...

First train set I received was #6 on the Sears catalogue page. Still have it, although the loco is dead. Too much childhood fast running and crashing it into stuff! Also had a OO set from the UK, most of which eventually disappeared. It was windup. I found a replacement at a train show in the US recently though!

Merry Xmas,

James Jensen

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, James. I have one of those shifter locomotives in ATSF colours, also dead, as well as the pipe gon, SR 4365 bulkhead flat (with pulpwood load) and I picked up one of those large-windowed cabooses at a train show, so it's familiar to me too. Those trainset engines could fly, eh? No pulse, sound, DCC but fast!

Have a great Christmas,

Zartok-35 said...

Merry christmas, Mr. Gagnon!

Eric said...

Same to you, Elijah. Always great to have you along as a faithful Trackside Treasure reader. Season's greetings and all the best for 2013!

Anonymous said...

Dear Eric, Boxing Day in WINTER-peg and the trains are moving. CN is using its air cars and braking container during the cold snap. Look forward to the blog post on the 9100s or blind-bats, Fs with stripped out cab controls and painted over window glass. CP did the same to several SDs in the late 1980s and early 1990s including several MLW M630s and 636s. If you wish for more info, I will search the photo books for no. Too cold to type any longer, so its bye for now, I-Spy.

Eric said...

Hi Bryan,

Snowmageddon on the way here, according to the Toronto Global, just snow and not as cold at Wpg.

CP was always expert at cutting corners, even before Hunter arrived.

Watch for an upcoming Pick 3 here on Trackside Treasure!

How about Santa-Mac??

Eric said...

And still the crowd chants louder, "Get a MAC, get a MAC!!"
Get The Techie on standby!