Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Portage la Prairie, November 1980

Recently, my email inbox was graced by the arrival of a fine series of photos by the late Bill Grandin, kindly shared by James Parker and included in this post with his permission. Bill took these photos on Nov 26, 1980, according to their captions. I believe Bill was a Winnipeg resident, but this was the first time I recall him photographing Portage, roughly 55 miles to the west. I'd been there twice that year - in June  and in October. While I don't often share other photographers' photos on Trackside Treasure these are too good not to post, knowing that there are many others who railfan or model Portage that will enjoy them as much as I did!
One operation that I wish I'd checked out more was McCallister Pea & Seed Cleaners. McCallister was just north of the CP yard but far enough from the mainlines that I never wanted to miss the action there. Not so for Bill. His morning photos from the west (top photo) and east (above) show the various buildings that made up this agribusiness agglomeration. Note that the transport truck on the drive shed ramp, blocks the spur while a CP Rail multimark boxcar (being loaded?) is just past it. So it must have been retractable.

Moving farther west, Bill photographed the northeast (above) and southeast (below) sides of the United Grain Growers elevator, as it overshadows the off-hand Sherritt Fertilizers elevator. In the second photo, a CP grain train is passing by and CN in foreground.
Moving east along Fisher Avenue, Bill photographed the Elephant Fertilizers and Portage Pool A elevators:
Portage Pool A and its annex, served by CP, with CN mainlines in the foreground:
Approaching the Skyline bridge, we see the Portage Pool B and UGG (formerly Victoria) elevators and CN (VIA) station at right:
Portage Pool B was served by CP on the north side and CN spur on the south side. Wooden grain doors can be seen stacked at the east end of the drive shed.Nice leafless view of the Pool B annexes:
What was likely VIA No 90 arrives behind VIA 6502, wearing its 60-degree slanted yellow nose paint scheme applied in April, 1978, pulls in to Portage at Eighth Street:
Apparently this is a last run for one of the head-end crew, based on the banner tied to 6502's nose:
Stopped at the CN station, with CP station at right:
A westbound CN freight is switching and/or departing the yard westbound. Note the CN boxcars on CP rails on the Northan American Can of Canada Ltd. spur.

Then, in Winnipeg it's VIA Sceneramic Fraser still in CN paint in CN's East Yard, ignominiously coupled to a CN boxcar:

Running extra...

Fellow ARK member Paul Hunter presented on CN's peripatetic, provincial Turbo at our February club meeting. I tagged on some rare-mileage coverage of that famous 25 mph collision with the meat truck at Kingston. Don't you hate it when you show up somewhere and someone is wearing the same thing as you - an original red-and-white 'Turbo' button. Paul and I experienced that!

Blockades have sprung up like mushrooms in manure and CN has staged freights across the system, many east and west of here on the now-rusty rails of its Kingston Sub. Rail-based commerce has ground to a halt, and VIA passengers are caught up in the logistics logjam.

When trains were running...check out combination-door CN 598140 in a rare, small-CN 'website' scheme - a video capture from the Platforum Episode 5 with the irrascibly inimitable Jason Shron. Watch it here, if you dare!


Robert Archer said...

Ok; I can make some comments with a small degree of certainty.
Note the first picture - TransX.
They were a small company that built into a big company and were bought in 2018 by CN.
That looks to be an early terminal in Portage. The tractor with the trailer backed into the dock is a GMC.
The other truck picture appears to be an Arnold Bros with a set of grain pups. Arnold Bros did a lot of intra-Manitoba work.
Great set of pictures.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, Robert!

Yes, we would even see Arnold Bros. trucks here in Kingston. Sometimes with farm equipment.

I'm very pleased to be able to share these. Sometimes B&W shows as much or more detail than colour. It also sparks our imaginations!


Tyler said...

Fantastic pictures! Very helpful in figuring out how all the components of McCallister came together. Not to mention all the other elevators and fertilizer sheds in Portage at the time!

Eric said...

They are indeed fantastic, aren't they, Tyler? Especially to Portage fans like us. So much is gone and so much has changed. It was so common to see grain trucks coming and going along those Portage streets. Just another part of the Portage railfanning scene of, can it be, 40 years ago!

Thanks for your comment,

Zartok-35 said...

Yellowheads, Hellcats, and classic semi tractors; it seems all good things congregated at Portage in the late 1970s/early 1980s. Bill took allot of great pictures, also of exotic farm machinery loads and CN RS18s on rare mileage tours. I most certainly appreciate you sharing them, lots of great projects!

In other news, I just got VIA Kootenay Park for my 1981 Super Continental. I will be running it with a CN 3100 RS18 in the consist at the train show next week.

Eric said...

Agreed, Elijah. These were just too good not to share!

Too many projects, too little time. Just like - too many blog posts, too little time!

But we keep plugging along with our respective projects. We'll have to be judicious picking our favourites and wallowing in nostalgia!


Allison said...

All things being well, I’ll have a day in PlaP with Uncle Wilf next Sunday...anything I could check out on your behalf, in the spirit of Railfan Sisters?!?

Eric said...

Not that I can think of, Railfan Sis. As this post illustrates, sooooooooooo much has changed. Wilf was on-duty recently to snap the VIA consist that had derailed just northwest of there and that was a good 'spot news' photo that I shared on here.

Thanks for your comment,
Railfan Bro'

JasonPaulSailer said...

Great photos of the elevators and fertilizer/freight bins! Was something to see I bet in its prime!

Eric said...

Yes, these photos were a nice trip down memory lane of the Portage that was.
Thanks for your comment, Jason.