Thursday, July 16, 2020

Dome View of Alberta and Saskatchewan, 1985

Arriving into Edmonton on September 26, 1985 one hour late from Prince Rupert, I left on VIA No 4 at 1423. The coach was packed - perhaps two were needed. My seatmate was a Dutch traveller who rarely took her gaze from the window as she surveyed our wide-open country and followed along carefully on her map. Holden (top photo), Mi 205.9 CN Wainwright Sub was named for a member of the Alberta Legislature, and we passed through Bruce, named for a manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific (GTP) Telegraph Co. at 1529 at Mi. 196.7:
Viking, at Mi 184.5 at 1535, named for the area's Scandinavian settlers, had a significant elevator row, though each had only a three- or four-car spot. Inadequate by today's loop track High-Through-Put (HTP) elevator standards! 
A second track has been added for the large concrete elevator, pioneered by Cargill at the genesis of the HTP era. 
Irma was named in honour of a daughter of W. Wainwright, GTP manager.
CN boarding cars are in the west end of the elevator track. We're at Mi 157.7:
The scenic highlight of this part of the country was the Fabyan bridge. Interestingly, Fabyan is named after a place in New Hampshire! Crops are being harvested as we look down at Mi 149.4 at 1608:
An especially clean shot of the Fabyan Alberta Wheat Pool (AWP) elevator at Mi. 146.6.
Meeting a westbound three unit freight at Wainwright, a vice-president of the GTP. It's 1620 and we're at Mi 140.1. Wainwright has an AWP and two United Grain Growers (UGG) elevators:
The cloudiness continues, as we pass through Edgerton at 1655, Mi 121.2 where there are two AWP elevators, one UGG and one Pioneer. It's 1655 - suppertime? My Dutch seatmate secured a berth for the night. If sleeper space was available, the sleeping car conductor would make his way through the coach, charging the additional fare to coach passengers so they could stretch out for the night. In my case, this resulted in two coach seats for me to stretch out on for the night!
I had to clear some standing covered hoppers on the adjoining track to get a shot of elevator row from the east end.
Ribstone at 1703. Look at that classic old Federal elevator, operated at this time by AWP:
Chauvin at Mi 106.9 is named for GTP director George von Chauvin, just two minutes east of Ribstone.
Nearing the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, AWP's Butze elevator is barely holding on:
While on the other side of the border, the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (SWP) elevator at Artland, Mi 96.5, is no longer operating. Reflections on tray-tables!
Unity's SWP and Cargill elevators each had 11-car spots. Interestingly, Unity was the name of the Wisconsin home of some of the first settlers. It's 1755. This Federal-lettered elevator is operated by Cargill:
SWP's two elevators at Mi 57.9 bracket the SWP's seed plant.
Check out those 20-foot ISO containers in use by section forces (above) and Cargill's newly-enlarged, open-top elevators with a classic annex:
Lots to photograph here, including a westbound freight:
Raining at Scott, Mi 42.7 at 1810. Frank Scott was a GTP treasurer back east in Montreal. Remember next time you're baking a cake to Use Pool Co-Op Flour!
Six short minutes later, we're passing Reford's recently-enlarged SWP elevator, with its 10-hopper car spot. This photo proves that Alberta cars did NOT have to be loaded in Alberta!
SWP's Landis 'A' elevator had a fifteen-hopper car spot. Remember that flour!
The other end of Landis at Mi 22.6, showing UGG's impressive plant and SWP's two:
From here it was on into Winnipeg for a 13-hour layover, then west to the Regina area for more grain elevator photography. An uneventful overnight coach ride to Regina, except for a guy telling a young woman all his hard-luck romance stories, and keeping the seat light on!

Running extra...
Watch for an upcoming post on the 2020 Front Porch Layout! S is for...Switching, S-3 and Squirrels. While working on the layout, I have continued to try to match wits with squirrels and their feeling of entitlement to our birdfeeder's bird seed. You know, seed for birds? Anyway, I don't mind adding to the  squirrels' caloric intake, but if I wanted to feed squirrels, I would just throw seed on the ground for them! So if you're reading this, squirrels, I will win. You see'd it here first.

I'm no neurologist. I'm no numerologist. But I dabble in both, and at the 1:14 minute mark of this video, you'll see uberVIAphile and soon-to-be-dad Mark Sampson say the car number "114". (If there's one thing I've learned, it's that there are three kinds of people in this world...those who can count and those who, um, can't.)

Our region of Ontario moved to Phase III of the COVID precautions. 
This is excellent news for our daughter and son-in-law's upcoming wedding. 
I hope things are as good or better where you are. 
By all pulling in the same direction, it's possible to hold this virus at bay.


Jason Sailer said...

Great shots! Love the step back in time with the elevators!

Eric said...

We didn't know how good we had it, Jason. They'd always be there.
But we knew they were starting to fall, even then.
Thanks for your comment,

Tyler said...

In addition to the Alberta car being loaded in Saskatchewan, you've captured a few Saskatchewan cars being loaded in Alberta. Not to mention the round-hatch CN cylindrical being loaded in Unity... not just for potash! Plus there are lots of the yellow/aluminum "branchline" hoppers being loaded at mainline elevators. Very interesting!

Steve Boyko said...

I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard to post... so many classic elevators!

That Landis UGG elevator had to be almost brand new.

Eric said...

Quick! Paper towels! Glad to hear it, Steve. I was able to photograph a few of those UGG newbies and it was a nice, striking design. I have the plans somewhere!

Thanks for your comment,

Robert Archer said...

A nice ramble across the prairies ...thanks for taking us along.

Eric said...

Too good a trip not to share, Robert. Glad you enjoyed the trip.

Not sure what it is that speaks to me about these elevators, but it was fairly shouting that day, even in light of the greasy weather!

Thanks for your comment,

chris mears said...

Exactly as Steve said: "I had to wipe the drool off my keyboard to post".

I've been to (most often through if not to) the Fabyan in New Hampshire many times. Interesting to think it has a Canadian twin. Strange to compare the one I know, perched in the mountains, to one in our prairie.

Interesting too the elevator in Fabyan. I usually assume that grain elevators and their sidings were quite far back from the mainline. In the 1980's, I indulged in building a prairie based layout based based mostly on assumptions and a few pre-internet resources. Not knowing better I just put sidings in close to the mainline but then discovered photos showing a different arrangement. What appears in Fabyan is a lot of like what I had and it feels good to think I wasn't completely wrong in my guessing.

Interesting to see the number of elevators in this post with only a single car on spot. I guess I always expect a few more. This too makes for very layout-friendly content.

That photo of the white Alberta elevator at Edgerton. That whole scene is just beautiful. Certainly one I'll bookmark as being wonderfully inspirational.


Eric said...

I've seen quite a range of 'social distancing' elevator tracks from the main, Chris. Perhaps it had to do with railway real estate/tax concerns.

I think a respectful distance that allows us to appreciate the grain cars, whether box or covered hopper, while trains are passing is good way to approach it, in terms of siting the elevator track in layout-land!

Thanks for your comment,

Brian said...

Simply spectacular Eric.

The photograph of Bruce, AB is fascinating. It captures the wide open space of the prairies. The dark clouds suggest that the entire scene is likely soon to change. After the rain passes, the scene will change yet again, highlighting the ongoing dynamic of a seemingly quiet place.

I am very familiar with the Saskatchewan half of your post having been through the area countless times, although not for quite some time. My travels were always on highway 14 though, which is within sight of the CN main for much of the way. I had kind of forgotten just how many wooden elevators there were along this line at one time.

Thanks for the memories.

Eric said...

Glad to bring back some memories, Brian! Those clouds, indeed.

I really like those little elevators. The first one I built in HO scale was one like that - actually a US prototype, in MPE colours. Needless to say, I Still Have It!

Watch for an upcoming post covering some of the same trackage. It will be a little...biggar.

Thanks for your comment,