Friday, September 20, 2019

Early-1960's CP Canadian, Part 1

It's been two years since I redneck-scanned the images in this two-part post. When I say redneck-scanned, I mean projecting the image on our hallway wall and taking a photo. These were not scanned in a proper slide scanner. OK, full disclosure over. These slides were shared with me by Reg Aitken. Three Kodak carousels, in fact. These images represent a two-way trip across Canada in 1962-64. The uncaptioned slides were given, by a lady who took them so many decades ago, to a photography club to which Reg belonged, and he knew I'd like to see them. More about Reg below. For now, we're crossing from Ontario into Quebec at Ottawa (top photo, likely taken from the Park car). Notice the road traffic in both directions on the bridge! This Part 1 post will take us from Ottawa to Calgary. Part 2 is Alberta into the Mountains! 
Many stops along this trip were documented with interesting platform views of the train, stations and servicing. A white-jacketed porter stands by on the eastward leg at Chalk River (above) as a passenger pays absolutely no attention to any approaching movements on the station track!
Sudbury's water tower looms on the lunar horizon as head-end traffic is handled on an adjacent track by fire engine-red CP baggage wagons. Manor and Park cars bring up the rear. There is a lot of boxcar red in these photos! Westward, the drumhead has some steamy subterfuge as stepboxes and porters line the platform.
Around Lake Superior. This westbound consist has two baggage-dormitories and three former U-series 14-section tourist sleeping cars on the head-end. Use of the U-series cars in the June-October high season lasted into 1965.
This is always the first glimpse of mighty Superior, and I had the same impulse in 1986, taking a photo of VIA's Canadian on this same curve.
 Thunder Bay/Fort William window-washing (above) and platform view (below).
Ignace, probably:

Cleaning the dome windows. No scissor-lift in use here (above). Winnipeg window-washing:
The train has been cut. Power is at right (above) and left (below). Looking west at Winnipeg, Park car and a couple of sleepers are in the distance:
Portage la Prairie, eastbound:
Calgary westbound, the sky filling with Dayliner smoke:
I had to wonder if the nuns make a habit of walking on the platform...
 Calgary, eastbound train view with Palliser Hotel in the background:
The oft-photographed Robin Hood Flour view to the west of the station. Forty-foot boxcars and Geep-led freight frame the scene:
  Sleeper views with Chateau Radisson in foreground:
One more tail-end glint view:

Reg Aitken was known in Kingston as a photographer, artist, and generally a gregarious guy. Reg died unexpectedly last week, and this post is some small tribute to his generosity. This was not the first time that Reg gave me photos to share on my blog. I published his photos in previous posts from 2015 and just last year. He also sent me a steady stream of those humorous emails and images - the last a mere five days before his untimely demise.

Years ago, Reg worked at the local Robinson-Holder photofinishing outlet - the one we patronized when it cost probably $25 to develop 24 prints. We were regulars. The staffers were John (Donovan), Terry (Gretzky) and Reg (the Explorer). John resembled the Donovan character on the Lou Grant TV series; Terry in a way, The Great One; and Reg with his ample frame and ample beard some early-Canadian explorer of Canada's Northwest. Or so we thought. My wife inadvertently called Terry by his nickname once, unwittingly thinking his surname was actually Gretzky!

Reg invariably ended his emails with four words. In some way, they still apply to Reg and I'll close with them, 

Keep well. Talk soon, Reg.


Anonymous said...

Martin doyle; love this blog. Hope to see even more photos and stories. Love the history. Its due time to relay the chalk river sub from mattawa to arnprior and reconnect these communities with passenger service!! As well interm reroute the canadian via northbay to sudbury reconnecting the northlander with torontonians and the rest of canada by rail as well as giving those communities that have more recently lost service some renewed hope of a better tmrw!!

Eric said...

Great to have you aboard, Martin. Thanks for your kind words about Trackside Treasure.

I share your enthusiasm for greater rail transportation linkages within Canada. We have given up many. Fortunately, there is great concern for the environment among most Canadians, and we can only hope our political leaders will tap into this and shape policy accordingly.

Thanks for your comment,

Steve Boyko said...

Fascinating views! Nice of Reg to share them - rest in peace.

I like that "redneck scan". For me a redneck scan is photographing something with my phone, rather than scanning it.

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve. Don't know how these views would ever see the light of day had Reg not shared them.

My scan method depends on the time available and the importance of the optimum image. In the case of these photos, there was a nice mix of Kingston, elsewhere in Canada and these Canadian shots. The redneck scans kept me from procrastinating! I did not have a slide scanner at that time.


Michael said...

I could point out a host of items in the Ottawa image that have changed, the biggest being that the tracks over the Alexandra Bridge are no longer there, obviously. Also, interesting to see logs on the river. Such an iconic view.

Sadly, the view of the Chateau Laurier could be about the change, as that hotel's owners are misguidedly trying to proceed with a modern extension on the rear of the hotel, which would really tarnish one of the few timeless aspects of that top photo that remains much the same today.

Eric said...

Glad you enjoyed the vintage view of Ottawa, Michael. Not knowing it nearly as well as you, I can only imagine the changes you quickly recognize. I trust those from different places pictured in those photos will enjoy their vintage views as well.

We stayed at the Chateau Laurier once and it is certainly memorable for us!
Thanks for your comments,

Anonymous said...

Am saddened looking at these glorious pics. How I wish one could do this journey in 2019, on THE same equipment !!

I am in the midst of trying to get my way from Vancouver to the CFL's "Grey Cup", this year hosted by the city of Calgary. I have thought of taking the VIA Rail to Edmonton (as I did last yr when THAT city hosted), then bussing down to Cowtown. I have also looked into taking Amtrak Everett to Shelby, Montana then making my way north thru Sweetgrass Mont and Lethbridge AB, returning by VIA Rail from Edm.

Both ways are a MAJOR hassel compared to the ease if the Canadian still took the southern (CP) route.

Oh well.....thanks for this wonderful "blast from the past" !


Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Bob. I certainly agree that rail travel options are severely limited these days. Many of us wish CP still operated through the mountains and across Canada!

Glad we're able to wallow in nostalgia nonetheless!

JasonPaulSailer said...

WOW!!! Very cool, great for your friend to share these great images with you.

Eric said...

Agreed, Jason. Definitely a huge wow factor the first time I viewed them!

Thanks for your comment,

JasonPaulSailer said...

Great content Eric, look forward to seeing more of this in the future!