Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Dad's Photos, Spadina 1982

On a warm, sunny July 21, 1982 my Dad and I took the morning RDC to Toronto for a day in the city. It's been five years since I blogged about the visit - from my perspective. This post features the visit to Spadina through the viewfinder of my Dad's Kodak 126-format Instamatic! 

The highlight of the trip was mogging around VIA's Spadina shops. Having been there a time or two before, I knew we could make an enjoyable visit to this sacred site, which in a few years would be superseded by the sliding-ceilinged Skydome. For now, there was no overt security, no fences, no closed-circuit TV cameras. Just a release form signed, ladders to climb, photos to take, memories to make. Cab visits to a VIA FPA4 (above) and ONR FP7A 1502 (below) included unpaid cab cleaning by the kibbitzing Kingstonians. Those leftover train orders were now obsolete anyway!
Having had hardhats handed to us, the bonedomes kept us from looking like boneheads if we hit our head on those short cab door openings, as well as providing a sliver of shady sun shelter! MLWs are being hostled, including 6770-6775 and 6870. Check out those tiny VIA number prefixes! The two cab-units will soon head to the turntable. Out of the cabs, I'm notepad-in-hand. My Dad's album notes: "We visited the roundhouse tracks at C.N. Spadina after getting permission and the use of hard hats. We were aboard some of the units."
We found the two RDC-1's that had transported us to Toronto that morning, 6117-6111. My Dad's notes: "Eric and I went to Toronto on RDC at 7:00 a.m., Kingston 6117, 6111. We visited CN Tower and then toured CN (Via) roundhouse and tracks."
A white plastic Ontario Northland trash bag made a handy train order-tote: Four RDC's  lead visually to the turntable, where the FPA4 spinnerama is about to begin!
An FPB4-FPA4 go round-about. Modelling hint - check the oil-soaked cinder and gravel ground covering, random hoses and escaping steam. Lithe light towers tower over all.
FPA4's 6775-6770 now ride the 'table:

Now it's 6782's turn. Literally.
My dad captioned this in-cab photo as "From engineer's seat. Installation for sanding diesel units is just beyond the Spadina overpass". Notes: "I was in the cabs of 6541, 6773 and [CN] 8512" - this is likely 6773:
Cab-unit profile, future VIA book creator profile, two towers:
Heading back to downtown. A brace of Railiners are arrayed before us, with 6205, 6135 (ex-CP 9072), 6117, 6207 and 6104 visible, the latter showing its distinctive 'white' above-window band! Look sharp in the background and you'll see CN baggage cars 70604-70605, longtime Spadina denizens wearing early CNR paint.
And a parting shot of the cab-unit ready tracks, with 6769 front and centre. Easily-spotted on the adjacent ready track is CN FPB4 6867, still wearing its CN stripes:
We returned to Kingston on a modern LRC consist departing Toronto Union at 1758: 6906-3338-3340-3302-3343. At Belleville, we passed CN switchers 1293-1306 and caboose 79525 as we had in the morning. A memorable day in Toronto! Thanks, Dad!

Running extra...

Wond'ring whose song that is on the Amazon Prime dog commercial? Would you have guessed Lee Marvin?

That 'Straight Outta Compton' meme theme got me creating some: 


Canadian Train Geek said...

So... much... alliteration...

Should state, "acutely abundant alliteration, above"

Superb Spadina scenes!

DaveM said...


It is good that some people still have some great images of this time period.


Eric said...

Thanks, Dave and Steve for your comments. My Dad was always one to combine subjects into one photo - you'll notice that in many of his shots. Those locomotives and that location - though special to us at the time - were mundane to most. Less than five years later - gone!

Steve, I should call myself functionally alliterate. Or absolutely, abjectly alliterate!


Jeffrey Dobek said...

Super post! I had a chance to wander around Spadina in the early 80s as a teenager, too. Just signed a release, and the place was mine.

It boggles the mind today that something like that was once possible.

Eric said...

This is the recurring reaction from readers, Jeffrey! Freedom to roam!

I think back to early 20th century derailments, after which the townfolk came out to crawl all over the derailed cars and locomotives and pose for pictures!

Those were the days, eh?
Thanks very much for your comment,

LinesWest said...

Such great photos, anytime I see those Alco FPA units (okay, MLWs), I just smile and shake my head wistfully. Thanks for posting these and all of the others, they bring back some old memories.

Eric said...

We share the same brain, Leland! I also always start out calling them Alcos. That contention could probably be supported by the rivet-counters among us. I am happy to use 'MLW' and 'Alco' interchangeably. Glad you enjoyed viewing these photos as much as I still enjoy wallowing in nostalgia!

Keep up the great work on your blog, too!
Thanks very much for your comment,

Michael said...

Wow. Such a different view of downtown Toronto. It reminds me of the time when my family was taking the train to Quebec City in 1983 and we saw an old CN painted passenger train in Toronto. I recall being disappointed that we weren't going on it. Thanks for sharing these photos.

Eric said...

Don't worry, Michael. I'm working on a Christmas post when we travelled to Montreal on just such a CN-painted train. I think. I don't have any photos of the trip, but lots of notes taken by a budding 12 year-old railfan.

All I can think of when I look at some of those Spadina photos is...soil remediation!
Thanks for your comment,