Thursday, June 28, 2018

Canada Day 2018

As part of our annual Canada Day devotion to the Dominion, I'm featuring selected excerpts from Canada  by Mike Myers. Roughly the same age, we share similar cultural references and I enjoyed reading his book, detailing his career and his world view. For previous years' Canada Day posts dating back to the first in 2009, click here. I've included photos from my Canadiana collection with the excerpts. Now look up, look way up...

The central conflict of much of our literature is man versus nature. That sort of conflict breeds co-operation more than it breeds rugged individualism. It breeds caution more than it breeds entrepreneneurialism. It's cold here. So cold it can make you cry. It's so cold you want your dad to come pick you up.
In the Canadian acccent, there is a tonal rise a the end of each sentence, until the last sentence, which returns to the Canadian monotone. The rise at the end of each sentence is an indication that the speaker intends to continue. The end of the final sentence has no rise, which tells the listener, "Now it's your turn to speak." Essentially, we Canadians have encoded "after you" into our speech patterns - it's subliminal etiquette.
Milk is sold in plastic bags that require a specially-made pitcher. One places the unopened bag inside the pitcher and then cuts one corner of the milk bag to allow pouring. If you cut the corner too much, you get a milk tsunami. Too little, and it's a dribble.
I love the old Hockey Night in Canada logo, the side-stick one. I always wanted to bet a powder blue HNIC blazer with the side-stick logo embroidered on the pocket. I love Danny Gallivan with his 'cannonading drives', 'scintillating saves' and 'Savardian spin-o-ramas'.
Another CBC show, Coming Up Rosie (1975) starred the great Canadians Dan Aykroyd and Catherine O'Hara, both of whom were not yet famous. [Ed. Note: I haven't found my Coming Up Rosie cast B&W 8x11 photo but when I do, it'll go here]
In 1971, the great Canadian historian Pierre Berton captured the fervour surrounding the Next Great Nation era with his smash hit book, The Last Spike. I used to love hearing him talk about the otherwise dry story of Canada in such an interesting way. He was...caring.
We were all taken to the gym to watch Game 8 of the '72 series on three Canadian-made Electrohome televisions that were on these tall, wheeled stands. The gym was packed.
The Friendly Giant had a one-panel set with a window where he could talk to Jerome the Giraffe, and a bag on the wall where he could talk to Rusty the Rooster. Rusty was a bit of a prick. He was argumentative and contrary, whereas Jerome was affable to a fault.
Canada may not have put a man on the moon, but it's been awfully nice to the man on Earth. And perhaps that will be Canada's greatest legacy.
- Wise sentiments all, from the chamber of sober second thought -
Happy Canada Day! 
- Eric
Running extra...

Nobody is more inspired by Dominion Day, er, Canada Day, than Portage modeller Randy O'Brien. Thanks to Randy for this celebratory Canada Day card linking our two great transportation systems. No, that's not just-in-time legalized cannabis on the left-hand flag, it's a bouquet of beautiful X2F couplers!
Randy is a valued contributor to my Trains & Grains two-volume book project, now entering its second print run. Manitoba's Matt Tolton sent this photo from June 2016 with his maple leaf-red ride and the riotously-red soon-to-slide-to-the-ground Pioneer elevator in Davidson, SK dated June, 2016. Compare and contrast with my more bountiful view of the same location's elevator row in 1986 (below):

Saturday, June 23, 2018

KFC, 6060 and Me

On September 29, 1979 we rode a Upper Canada Railway Society fantrip behind CNR 6060 Toronto-Gravenhurst, return. The fall colours were bright even though the day was mostly overcast. Little did I know what waited at the end of the trip....fried chicken. Read on! Walking up to the engine during a watering stop at Bradford at 0910:
Upon arrival at Gravenhurst, 6060 was uncoupled to run around the train and haul it on the sidetrip to Washago. Watch the firehose, follow the smoke, Dad!
More watering took place at Gravenhurst. No wonder the railways were so keen to convert to diesels!
During the sidetrip to Washago. I perched on a signal, to get 6060 backing up. It wyed itself and UCRS solarium car Cape Race. Looking very steam era-ish:
The marker lamps from the last VIA Dayniter coming from Gravenhurst were placed on the rear of UCRS Cape Race, which would be the last car when returning to Toronto:
Back at Gravehurst, as the consist was re-marshalled, (top photo) supper was spotted. See that white, peaked-roof building straight down the track in the centre of the photo, below?
Here's a close-up, showing a fatigued but otherwise happy 15 year-old future blogger bee-bopping along the ballast with two types of true trackside treasure - a bag of KFC and some discovered discarded railway documents in hand, better showing the KFC which appeared like a desert oasis. Not a dessert oasis, though. Chicken, man, there must be chicken there!!
I published a Trackside Treasure post (the fifth one ever!) on the trip and make a brief mention of supper during the layover from the just-down-the-track Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet. It was in a good location - visible to three hungry railfans!  To quote the caption accompanying my Dad's photos of me, "We were lucky to have time to walk down the track to buy a supply of Colonel Sanders' Kentucky Fried Chicken".  Now with cassette tape recorder in hand, 6060 is seen tacking Cape Race on the tail-end:        
For a long time, and based on many epicurean encounters, I've considered KFC up as the ultimate trainwatching (or train-riding!) fast food meal. Maybe it's no coincidence that KFC restaurants are usually located near train tracks. It's one transportation gustation inspiration for starting my Fast Food And Trains (FFAT!!) blog. Notice that signal bridge in the 1979 and 2016 photos...
We returned to Gravenhurst in September, 2016 (CN trackage - above). 'Pilgrimage' is perhaps too poetic a word to describe our drive-by. "You can't go home again" is more apt. Where was the tall KFC bucket on a pole? Slightly upscale, a caricatured Colonel Sanders loomed out from the store's squared-off roofline. There was no panting steam locomotive nearby. No happy throng of tired 'daisy-pickers' weary and ready to return to Toronto after a day in Muskoka. TrainSim enthusiasts have included this KFC location, albeit in an earlier design iteration, in their virtual version of the line, with assistance from GoogleEarth.
Posted to an online photo auction site...two Gravenhurst KFC photos by Bram Bailey. In 1978, it's the ONR Northlander beneath the bucket.
Earlier, on July 25, 1976 it was CN 5047. The red and white pole stripes were a little less faded and check out that fenceline! Both photos just edge out the nearby natural gas installation. Did somebody say gas? Well, it is a fried chicken place. 

Running extra...

Book contributor and fellow blogger Steve Boyko kindly posted the first review of Trains & Grains. Thanks for your support, Steve! Also for posing your paged progeny in front of La Salle, Manitoba's Paterson elevator (above). I'm happy to add that the books are now entering a second print run. And between filling orders, I finally had time for a 'family portrait':
The front patio layout is in process. Had a few incidents and accidents. It's good to get outside in the fresh air. Early stages...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Treasure of June Sale!

Check out these unique items! 
A useful and diverse group of books, periodicals, manuals, photos and collectibles that are surplus to my collection. The items in in each photo are being sold as a lot. I can't break up lots - these items have to go! Shipping will be actual Canada Post postage. The first email indicating interest  in each lot to mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca makes the item yours! I can now accept Interac e-transfer as well as cheque or money order! Please refer to each lot by the LOT# in your email. Happy shopping! Click each photo for a better view. Items already sold are marked: ****SOLD****

****SOLD****LOT 1 (top photo): Morning Sun Books Canadian Pacific Facilities Volume 1 and Prairie Cinders by Lawrence Stuckey $37.
LOT 2 (below):Three unique paperbacks! All Aboard - Railways of Nova Scotia published 1972, Canadian Locomotive Co. 1955 CPA-16a and CPB-16b operator's manual and Iron Roads- Cape Breton Railway published 1974 $20.
****SOLD****LOT 3: Passenger Train Periodicals: Passenger Train Journal December 1977 Super Continental Diary article, Model Railroader May 1982 Modeling VIA, Branchline Nov-Dec/2017 VIA VMC $7.
LOT 4: Plastic car-slide numbers and VIA piggybank $17:

LOT 5 (above and below): CN Wyoming, ON steam-era Train Register Sep-Oct 1940 $23:
 LOT 6: CP Rail 100th anniversary historic timeline and annual report 1980-81 $5:
Photo prints ideal for prototype fans, modellers and collectors alike. Prints are 4x6 inches with a few 5x7's. Quantity shown for each lot is a minimum -  many lots have more photos than indicated. Occasional duplication not counted in quantity. 
The photos are in 8 lots with sample prints (above and below) with quantity and price:
LOT 7 CN locomotives (40) $12
LOT 8 CP locomotives (20) $6
LOT 9 Shortline and US locomotives (60) $18
****SOLD****LOT 10 Passenger and CP service cars (20) $6
****SOLD****LOT 11 CP Rolling stock and detail (20) $6
LOT 12 Misc. Rolling stock (20) $6
LOT 13 CN Rolling stock (30) $9
LOT 14 Preserved rolling stock, structures and detail (50) $15
Thanks for checking out my Treasure of June Sale! I trust you found some books to ballast your bookshelf, photos to phan your enthusiasm and trinkets for your train room.

Running extra...
It's a very busy time here at Trackside Treasure. Preparations are being made for:
  • Tenth Anniversary Celebration. Where have the years gone?
  • Canada Day festivities. Now with a 25% tariff!
  • Front-patio layout. You asked, I constructed!
  • Shipping out copies of Trains & Grains across North America. This week's departures to Lethbridge, Calgary, Winnipeg, Washington state and Carstairs!

Friday, June 8, 2018

First Visit to Portage, July 1976

It was July, 1976. It was Portage la Prairie, MB. We'd just arrived from the east and this was a whole new world of trains to be explored. As my Dad and I headed down to the CN and CP stations to find two SD40-2W's idling on the team track: Recently posted five years later, some additional photos including colour views in this post.
CN caboose 79610 accompanied the two units. They idled their for 4 days! All these photos, taken in 'retro' 126-format black & white print film, lead off Volume 1 - Trackside Observations in Manitoba 1976-1986. The first of nearly 10 years of visits, this visit was memorable due to its novelty, despite its brevity. Try to find railfan photos of Portage in 1976. Well, you can find them here on Trackside Treasure (see sidebar at right for more Portage posts), and in Volume 1. Nearly 10 years ago, I planned to scan and share these photos on my blog. Who knew they'd appear in print? Over 700 of them in the two volumes. Back to those idling units...
Also on the team track was this CN tamper, with Portage Pool 'B; elevator in the background on a sunny Portage morning:
The introduction to my Trains & Grains books begins this way...
My first memories of being trackside on the Prairies were made on a sunlit evening trackside in Portage, during that 'golden hour'. The last of the day's sunrays glinted off CNWX-lettered Government of Canada aluminum covered hoppers, not far from the towering shadows of Portage's elevators. The nearness and number of freight trains on CN and CP made a huge impression on me. 
New CNWX silver and yellow aluminum covered hoppers with some of their first loads. In Portage yard, July 4:
CN 1074-1068 in the yard with a westbound, as an eastbound train's caboose enters the yard at left. 1905 July 4.
CN 5144 leads 116 cars westward solo past the tamper, with CP's station in between them. My Dad's frugal compositional talent for including as many subjects as possible in one photo! The crew gets its orders from the Portage operator at 1500 on July 5:
Tailend crew on CN 79585 also receive orders:
CN 9524-9629-5274-5148 led this eastbound, whose tailend crew on CN 79243 are both out to get the orders. CN boxcar 440551 is on the adjacent mainline. July 4 at 2000:
Orders for CP, too. The operator has just had the hoop snagged out of his hand! CP 437140 leads 434445 past the CP station at 1934 on July 4:
Slabside and cylindrical covered hoppers being loaded at Portage's United Grain Growers elevator just west of the CN station. A ballast train backs toward the yard, at right:
CN boxcars being loaded, wooden grain doors and all, at Portage Pool 'B' as a CN boxcar and gondola repose on the team track:
CP 6569 cab-end view. Responsible for switching local industries once or twice a day, this switcher was a constant sight at Portage. Idling in front of the CP station. It spent its nights in the wooded copse across from the station. 
CP 5633-5756 head east with grain loads for Thunder Bay at 1432, July 6. Those are CP's speeder sheds. Note the looming Portage Pool 'C' which later burned down, just to the right of the cab:
Orders for crew are hooped up to van CP 434359 from the CP operator. Note the train order signal at left:
Four elevators are visible as CN 9420-9566 head east with seven CN ballast hoppers and caboose 79650, approaching the CN station from the west on July 5:
Eastbound CP freight in the yard, tailed by van CP 434507 at  1440 on July 6. Tail end crewman was out for a pull-by:
Even today, these photos remind me of the scintillating, sunlit sizzle of Portage railfanning at its zenith.

Running extra...

Summer is essentially upon us. That means it's time to complain about the heat, the humidity, the bugs and construction. And politicians, especially in the wake of a provincial election. The Liberals did not win, we didn't go down the Horwath path, and we're test-driving a Ford. And we all know what the FORD logo stands for...Fix Or Repair Daily!

We're approaching Trackside Treasure's tenth anniversary. Now, how to mark that?

We're marking the two-week anniversary of grandparenthood...with a first road trip for the little armful and his parents to visit the homestead, celebrate with ribs, potato salad, cole slaw and tabouli. And a realization that that Gold Peak iced tea tastes about the same as the no-name brand!