Tuesday, July 20, 2021

CN 6060 Fantrips 1973-1980

Canadian National sponsored an active steam program from the transition era until 1980. Several excursion engines became famous for their annual 'last chance' runs: CN 5107, 6153, 6167, 6218 and ultimately 6060. Fifty years ago, 6218 made its last runs from Belleville to Anson Junction, and afterwards it would be two more years until another Mountain-type, CN 6060 was brought from Jasper display and restored to operating status. This post documents the plethora of excursions pulled by CN's last fantrip queen (all photos by L.C. Gagnon unless otherwise noted).
Built at Montreal Locomotive Works in October 1944, 6060 operated in Ontario and Quebec before moving to the Prairies in the 1950's, and undergoing conversion to an oil-burner retaining its Vanderbilt tender. After retirement, spared from scrapping 6060 was put on display in Jasper from 1962 (above - over my head). Removed for overhaul, the replacement at Jasper was CN 6015 from the CRHA collection in Delson, still in place during our visit in June, 2019:
Sisters CN 6069 at Sarnia and 6077 at Capreol were three out of 20 U-1-f's preserved. The overhaul of 6060 was undertaken at CN's Pointe St. Charles shops (PSC) in Montreal between August 3, 1972 and June 26, 1973. Steam-up took place on July 6, 1973. Test runs were made, with display at Dorval station with CN business car Pacific, on September 8-9, and a test run was made to Coteau with 60 freight cars on Sept 11/73. The maiden fantrip for 6060, finally able to stretch its 73-inch drivers again, was from Montreal-Victoriaville return, leaving Central Station on Sept 15, 1973.

October 26, 1973 - 6060 led a baggage car, five coaches and Pacific on its second trip, an ambitious fantrip from Montreal to Toronto via Ottawa. Departing Montreal at 0700, 175 passengers were aboard, paying $24.50 for Montreal-Toronto or $18.50 for Ottawa-Toronto fares. Departing the National Museum of Science and Technology at 1130, the excursion arrived in Toronto at 1815. If you squint, you can just see the excursion on CN's Smiths Falls Sub as my Dad photographed it from the football field at Sydenham High School:
October 27, 1973 - CN carried 700 passengers from Toronto-Fort Erie return, for which the above fantrip was a ferry move:
July 6-7, 1974 - Two-day excursion to Portland, ME return.

July 14, 1974 - Montreal to Grand-Mere, QC return.

August 5, 1974 - Toronto to Orillia return.

August 14-23, 1974 - Toronto to Moncton (planned but not operated).

September 6,  1974  - Montreal to Toronto via Napanee and Ottawa, one way.

September 28, 1974 - Toronto-Lindsay-Haliburton return.

Oct 13, 1974 - Toronto to Hamilton return. Most of the fares for the 1974 season were set at $26.95, one-way.

1975 - due to shopping for a scored axle and overheated bearing at the end of 1974, the excursion schedule in Ontario and Quebec for this year was conservative.

August 14, 1976 - We rode VIA's Cavalier from Kingston to Toronto. There we boarded the Toronto-Niagara Falls return fantrip with side trip to Yager, ON. This was to become a regular summer excursion schedule operated by CN and VIA, carrying more than 10,000 passengers. Listed in the April 15, 1976 VIA timetable as Saturday train 6060, operating from June 12 to September 4.
May 20, 1976 - I recorded a deadhead run made by 6060 through Kingston at 1545. Such deadhead moves came as quite a surprise. We would hear the plaintive wail of 6060's whistle, shake our heads, then bike or drive up to the CN Kingston Sub to see if we could catch her!

May 30, 1976 - Excursion to Sherbrooke.

September 18, 1976 - Toronto: to Peterborough and Anson Junction.

September 26, 1976 - Montreal to Quebec City.

October 2, 1976 - Toronto to Gravenhurst/Washago.
Spring 1977 - Deadheading east (Bob Hunter photo - Trackside Treasure collection via Tim Reid) on Queens 4 at Kingston. 

May 14, 1977 - Pierre Fournier reported in Classic Canadian National Facebook group, "On a trip from Montreal to Toronto we were stopped 2 hours at Belleville, and for some reason diverted through Campbellford and Lindsay, and got at Union Station at Midnight instead of 1800 hrs." Sam McLauchlan kindly his photo (top) of a westbound excursion crossing the bridge [I must have dug that mileboard out of the ditch, because it's in my collection now!] over the Rideau Canal at Kingston Mills in 1977, perhaps the same excursion. We waited for the same fantrip, seen here roaring through Collins Bay, ON past our 1976 bronze VW Beetle (below), likely on its way to Toronto for the June 24-September 25 Toronto to Niagara Falls excursion season:
The Toronto-Niagara Falls excursions were publicized by VIA, including various package trips and just the 56-mile Niagara Falls-Yager sidetrip for wyeing. An article appeared in the August, 1977 issue of Railfan magazine, in which editor Jim Boyd mentions going 80 mph near Port Credit! The 1977 Toronto excursions operated from June 4 to September 24.

Interestingly, CN commissioned a survey to gauge reaction to the second, mid-week excursion operated from July 4 to August 24 inclusive in the summer of 1977. Most fantrippers learned of the mid-week excursions from newspaper ads, with 23% finding out from friends or family. Sixty per-cent of Wednesday passengers arrived in Toronto by car with 52% living in Toronto, while 42% of Saturday passengers arrived by train, with 24% coming from Quebec. Passengers requested more time during the stopover in Niagara Falls for those not taking the Yager sidetrip, better food service on the train, and better descriptive literature.

September or October, 1977 - Montreal to Hawkesbury return fantrip, shown at Hawkesbury while we were driving to Lachute, QC to visit relatives:
October 1, 1977 Toronto-Gravenhurst-Washago return.

October 15, 1977 - Montreal to Toronto excursion via Ottawa. We met the train at Sydenham on CN Smiths Falls Sub during a water stop already profiled in this post.
November 27, 1977 at Whitby - Ross Wakefield kindly shared this deadhead-move photo:
Spring, 1978 - deadhead moves Toronto-Montreal and Montreal-Toronto:
Westbound deadhead move at Mi 182, Kingston Sub through Amherstview, ON (above and below):
Eastbound deadhead move, same location. One of these deadhead moves took place on Wednesday, May 17, 1978.
April 29, 1978 - Excursion to celebrate the opening of Richmond Hill GO Transit.

May 7, 1978 - Montreal to Grand-Mere, QC return.

May 14, 1978 - Montreal to Ottawa return for tulip festival:
May 21, 1978 - Toronto-Stouffville-Lindsay-Campbellford-Belleville circle tour fantrip for Belleville Centennial, Railway Days. 
We visited Belleville on Victoria Day, May 22 for Railway Days:
Your humble blogger posed with 6060 and her crew:
Ready to depart to another trip to Anson Junction, with L.C. Gagnon:
May 2x-September 23, 1978 - Toronto to Niagara Falls excursion season.

September 23, 1978 - Toronto-Stratford-Clinton via Guelph Sub, return.

October 14, 1978 - Montreal-Toronto fantrip with baggage car and three coaches. Reaching Kingston at 1220 with an awesome smokeshow, conditions were fog and rain! (Eric Gagnon photo)
June 2, 1979 - Toronto to Barrie with a CN GP9 assist and 14 cars.

September 29, 1979 -Toronto-Gravenhurst-Washago in Trackside Treasure's third-ever post.

July 12, 1980 - Montreal-Toronto six-car farewell fantrip was planned as 6060's final run, with fares of $99, but not operated. Fantrippers preferred to ride the CPR 1201 excursion to Maniwaki instead! It seemed that the excursion market for 'Bullet-Nosed Betty' had been saturated.

July 19, 1980 - Toronto-Niagara Falls return, the last steam excursion operated by the Upper Canada Railway Society.

July 24, 1980 - First of two fantrips for the NRHS convention in Toronto. Toronto to Niagara Falls with a VIA FP9A.

July 26, 1980 - Second NRHS convention fantrip to Washago, with an FPA4 in CN colours.

1980 - In April, my Dad instituted his own letter-writing campaign involving the Upper Canada Railway Society CRHA Saint Lawrence Valley Division, and CN President Robert Bandeen. CRHA Chapter President Stephen A. Wray responded, mentioning costs to operate mainline steam operations, as well as the generational loss of experienced steam operating and shop forces. UCRS President Peter F. Oehm also responded, amplifying my Dad's suggested pursuit of Federal government assistance in a letter to CN President Dr R.A.Bandeen, suggesting further operation as part of a tourism promotion program.
It became apparent 6060 was about to find a new home in Alberta. It was left to Office Assistant P. Downman (apt!) of  President's Office Administrative Officer Roy W. Lowry's staff to advise that 6060 had reached the end of its road in Ontario, on its way west on August 2 behind the power on CN train No 375. In Alberta, 6060 would present an incongruous image of pulling CP Rail single-level commuter coaches assisted by a CN switcher! An over-ambitious run to SteamExpo in 1986 with Alberta Heritage Fund grain cars led to a two-day-late arrival, after the much-anticipated parade of steam. Staying at the Royal Hudson steam shop from late 1987 to May, 1988

After several years of storage at the Alberta Railway Museum, 6060 was moved to Stettler, AB in 1998 to operate as Alberta Prairie Steam Tours. The Rocky Mountain Rail Society has been responsible for 6060 since 2009, and recently announced renewed efforts to restore and operate the historic locomotive following the receipt of government grants augmenting the society’s own fundraising efforts.

Lots o' links:
Running extra...

Speaking of steam and preservation, thanks to faithful Trackside Treasure Ken Wadden for sending me a photo of a model of CNR 46 at the Maine Narrow Gauge RR Co and Museum in Portland, ME. Along with the model is the prototype photo of CNR 46 at CN's big final steam exhibit at Montreal's Turcot Yard. On the running board is my paternal Grandfather and my brother. Merci, Ken!
Kingston Transit is hiring. I'd seen a graphic of a wrap and have been waiting for KT 2103 to roll past our home route. No dice. Until Monday's morning walk where I not only observed it, but due to its stop, had time to snap a quick photo! They won't just hire anyone - ya have to be driven! (Oh, stop. Bus-ted!)
CP was quick off the mark to refute remarks made by TSB Chair Kathy Fox. To paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Twins', "We did nothing wrong. The pavement was his enemy." In their defence, CP trotted out some useful-sounding fire prevention measures. Anyone who's been trackside in the last decade knows these things are just talking points for either Canadian Class 1 railway, and not wildfire-related:


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

CN Steam Fantrips 1960-1973

Steam fantrips began during the waning years of the steam era. The end of steam power was in sight and diesel-electric locomotives were the light at the end of the tunnel. While steam was still in use, there were excursions on rare mileage, revenue runs, fall foliage or winter carnival runs, official and unofficial runs using in-service steam power, before the advent of  'restored steam' or 'steam programs'. CN advertised its own excursions, or excursions were organized in conjunction with volunteer railway organizations: Toronto's Upper Canada Railway Society and Ontario Rail Association, and chapters of the Canadian Railway Historical Association. A flyer for a July, 1958 steam-era excursion led by a CN 5700:

An online listing of fantrips - steam, diesel, electric and transit - operated by the Upper Canada Railway Society out of Toronto is on Charles Cooper's Railway Pages in pdf form. It's issue 404 of June, 1983. There were over 60 UCRS steam fantrips, led by CN 6167 from 1960 - September 1964 and CN 6218 thereafter until 1971. (The UCRS also operated trips led by Temiskaming & Northern Ontario 137, not shown.) 

The terms fantrip and excursion are used here interchangeably. Somewhat less professional was the term 'daisy-pickers' or 'day-trippers', signifying less rabid rail enthusiasts who enjoyed the ride just as much as the unique motive power. Baggage cars with power outlets for plug-in, bulky tape recorders and open doors, as well as open-window coaches allowed for sound recording, photography, and cinders-in-eyes, all fantrip staples. At pre-determined locations, the train would unload, back up then storm forward for a runpast. Well-intentioned car hosts or most-rabid railfans would yell "Form a photo line!" to corral the daisy-pickers. After backing up the train to the detraining spot, the passengers would reboard.

This combined list shows fantrips operated from Montreal and Toronto by year, date, locomotive, origin-route-destination, remarks. All fantrips are return trips unless otherwise indicated.

1960
July 10 CN 6167 Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara Falls 

1961
June 4 CN 6167 Toronto-Guelph-Paris
July 8 CN 6167 Toronto-Oshawa
July 9 CN 6167 Toronto-Belleville-Lindsay
July 22 CN 6153 Montreal-Victoriaville photographed by L.C. Gagnon (below) about to cross Victoria Bridge over St. Lawrence River to the South Shore.
October 1 CN 6167 Toronto-Gravenhurst

1962
January 28 CN 6167 Toronto-Lindsay
March 4 CN 6167 Toronto-Niagara Falls
June 10 CN 6167 Toronto-South Parry
June 24 CN 6153-5107 doubleheader Montreal-Garneau 
July 15 Toronto-Niagara Falls
August 12 CN 6167 Toronto-Orillia for Mariposa Festival
August 18 CN 6153 Montreal-Joliette sponsored by NMRA
August 26 CN 6167 Toronto-Picton
September 30 CN 6167 Toronto-St. Thomas
October 13 CN 5107 Montreal-Sherbrooke
October 14 CN 6153-5107 doubleheader Montreal-Coteau-Cantic:

1963
January 27 CN 6167 Toronto-Orillia
February 27 CN 6167 Toronto-Niagara Falls
May 11 CN 6167 Toronto-Oshawa
June 9 CN 6167 Toronto-Stratford
July 6 CN 6167 Toronto-Aurora-Bradford for Aurora Centennial
September 13-15 CN 6167 Toronto-Ottawa-North Bay, with ONR diesel power North Bay-Temagami
September 28 CN 6167 Toronto-Lindsay, CN GMD-1's Lindsay-Haliburton
September 29 CN 6167 Toronto-Midland
October 27 CN 6167 Montreal-Victoriaville. (Only operable steam engine in Canada AND only fantrip in Quebec for 1963. This and following Montreal fantrips all sponsored by CRHA unless otherwise noted. CN 6218 was overhauled at Stratford shops in November, 1963 before the shops closed)

1964
 
February 15 Toronto-Guelph
February 16 Toronto-Barrie for Winter Carnival
March 7 Toronto-Blackwater Junction
March 8 Toronto-Niagara Falls
June 20 Toronto-Lindsay-Belleville
September 26 Toronto-Scotia Junction-Barrie doubleheader with 6167 (first UCRS run of 6218)
September 27 Toronto-Paris doubleheader with 6167, last run of 6167
October 3 CN 6218 Montreal-Grand'Mere (first CRHA run of 6218 - before servicing at Garneau, L.C. Gagnon top photo, scanned by David Gagnon)
October 4 CN 6218 Montreal-Coteau-Cantic:

1965
(all further trips with CN 6218 unless otherwise noted) 

January 30 Toronto-Doncaster-Burlington
May 30 Montreal-Ottawa for Tulipfest
June 5 Toronto-Kingston
September 11-12 Montreal-Portland
September 25 Toronto-Stratford-London
September 26 Toronto-Lindsay, CN GMD-1's Lindsay-Haliburton

1966 
January 23 Toronto-Paris 
May 22 Montreal-Essex Junction
September 24 Toronto-Lindsay, CN GMD-1's Lindsay-Haliburton
September 25 Toronto-Niagara Falls
October 1-2 Montreal-Portland

1967
February 19 Barrie-Toronto one-way, was diesel power Toronto-Barrie
May 13 Toronto-Gravenhurst
June 24 Montreal-Garneau
July 1 Montreal-Ottawa
July 2 Montreal-Victoriaville
September 30 Toronto-Lindsay, CN diesel power Lindsay-Haliburton
October 1 Toronto-Fort Erie
October 7 Montreal-Sherbrooke

1968
January 28 Toronto-Washago
June 1 Toronto-Stratford-Palmerston, runpast beside preserved 6167 at Guelph
July 6 Toronto-Montreal (joint excursion with Illini Railroad Club)
July 13 Montreal-Toronto (joint with Illini)
September 28 Toronto-Niagara Falls
October 27 Toronto-Belleville-Lindsay
November 20 Chicago-South Bend, IN sponsored by Illini Railroad Club

1969
January 26 Toronto-Guelph
July 5 Toronto-South Parry
September 20 Montreal-Ottawa sponsored by Iron Horse Tours (below)
October 11 Montreal-Quebec City 
October 25 Toronto-St Thomas (two other Toronto autumn trips scheduled but cancelled)

1970
January 25 Toronto-Stratford
February 21 Montreal-Sherbrooke sponsored by Iron Horse Tours
April 25 Toronto-Lindsay
June 20 Montreal-Coteau-Cantic
July 4 Toronto-Gravenhurst
September 20 Toronto-Guelph
October 17 Toronto-Lindsay, CN diesel power Lindsay-Haliburton

1971 
January 24 Toronto-Orillia 
March 20 Toronto-London
March 21 Toronto-Paris Junction (last UCRS fantrip with 6218)
June 26 Montreal-Ottawa (CN Countdown 6218, last Quebec-originating fantrips with 6218)
June 27 Montreal to Victoriaville (CN Countdown 6218)
July 3-4 Belleville to Anson Junction (Farewell 6218)

In the next post, the torch is passed from CN 6218 to CN 6060 - brought from static display in Jasper, AB to Montreal for restoration to operating condition in 1973.

THE FALL OF FANTRIPS

Eventually, a combination of factors would doom fantrips: high insurance costs, caravanners/chasers not buying tickets, and volunteer organizations having to provide excursion coaches and volunteers. Railways cited operational constraints: lack of adequate fuelling facilities and qualified or willing staff, expense of operating steam programs, mainline capacity, loss of operable branchlines, and simple railway intransigence. Railways looked to the volunteer organizations to provide plug-and-play services, and woe betide a breakdown of an excursion steam locomotive on a busy mainline. Only when railways like CP and UP operated steam programs as a budget line item and revenue-generator could mainline steam still be found in operation. Dedicated groups such as Winnipeg's Vintage Locomotive Society and Ottawa's Bytown Railway Society proved it could be done. Time marches on, and steam power is now seen as quaint and anachronistic as most people no longer identify with railway employment or day-to-day operations.

Running extra...

With the disastrous forest fires in British Columbia, VIA is turning No 1 at Kamloops, and a plethora of Park cars for No 2 have propagated at Vancouver's Pacific Central Station since pandemic restrictions led to the suspension of Nos 1 and 2 until recently. CN is back in business as of July 13: 
During this protracted pandemic, so many of us have wanted to have the 'hug the grandchildren' moment. but because of prudent precautions, we've held that moment at bay for over a year. Until last Saturday. Completely unprompted, James gave his grandmother a hug goodbye, and I was able to get a quick photo of it. Then he ran over and gave me mine, though no image of it exists, except the vivid one in my mind.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Train Orders - Manitoba

I don't really like using the name ephemera for a couple of reasons, primarily because no-one ever knows what ephemera means. How about railroadiana, or railway paper items? No matter what term you use, I've realized that my days of collecting endless model railway equipment, heavy pieces of prototype railway equipment, and even big, thick books are pretty much over. I need something to collect that is more easily jettisoned when my good wife someday has to deal with it. And recyclable! That's it, railway paper! ("Ephemera!", echoes an ever-so-small ethereal voice!)

There are lots of different types of railway paper to collect. Rule books and union agreements are dense but dry, timetables a little more enticing, but I really like train orders because each one, like a train consist gives us a lot of information: a time, a place, events of the day, even who was working on that shift. And of course train numbers, engine numbers, mileages, and other pertinent facts all included together on tissue-thin pieces of paper. The importance of train orders far outweighs their diminutive proportions - they literally can mean the difference between life and death, safe passage or disaster. In this post, I'll share some of these Manitoba missives from my train order collection. 
The wartime CP order (top photo) includes more stations and times than most orders, pertaining to a run across Manitoba in 1944. The above order was delivered at East Tower in 1950. The CN operator position there was abolished in 1964 with the advent of Centralized Traffic Control.
Written when Fort Rouge was a terminal (above).
A trip through northern Manitoba, with many of those place names being so interesting and imbued with much history, like Gillam (above) and just northwest of Portage la Prairie, Gladstone (below - belying a Century west of Winnipeg!):
As far north as you can get without hearing a 'splash', Churchill:
CP Neepawa, 1971:
Dauphin:
Flin Flon (below). Also at Flin Flon in September 1972, Eng 4253 run extra from Flin Flon to Chisel Lake, and in June, 1972 Work Extra 50419 protected against Extra 1073 South between Cranberry Portage and Simonhouse.
Grandview (below). Also at Grandview in September, 1983 was No 832 Eng 5363 meeting Extra 5205 West and Extra 5564 West at Togo; Extra 5582 West meeting No 832 Eng 5024 at Kamsack; and No 830 Eng 5591 at Meharry,
International Boundary, on the way to Duluth. Note the power, CN M-636 2336. As the Tragically Hip sang, "Ahead by a century":
CP La Riviere: 
CP Minnedosa. Interestingly, classmate CP 4038 is preserved there: 
CP Molson:
Morris, note the GMD-1 for power:
Sifton:
CP Souris:
Thicket Portage:
Thompson (below). No 95 Eng 9151 had southward trains waiting until it arrived at Thompson Jct in a Form 19R accompanying this clearance. A further 19R had southward trains waiting at Sipiwesk until No 95 arrived at Gillam; then a Form 19Y allowing No 95 to leave Thompson Jct without registering; a slow order; then cars in siding: Thicket Portage 1, Pikwitonei 1, and Ilford 19.
CP Reston:
And we'll end the post the same way we began, with an order from Portage copied by CP operator Jack Corbett. My aunt and uncle from Portage knew Jack Corbett. He was a Mason and referred to my uncle as 'Doc'. He also had a large collection of Lionel trains!
It's interesting to have these paper snapshots of history. It's neat to see place-names and stations on the railway that are no longer manned, or no longer exist! In the form of train orders, they live on. Watch for upcoming posts from out West and down East!

Running extra...

It's great to be working with John More-Curran at Our Lakes e-magazine, a newsy e-publication focusing on South Frontenac Township and its lakes. The July Issue includes my inaugural 'Rails & Lakes' column about the Kingston & Pembroke Railway, and August will be the Canadian Northern Railway's turn. Now, when's that deadline? Oh, and did somebody say 'sweets'?
The fast-moving Canada Day fire in Lytton, BC claimed much of the deck of the CN bridge over the Thompson River there. In fact, Lytton marks the confluence of the Fraser and Thompson Rivers, and both CN and CP pass through on their way to the West Coast. It's expected the CN bridge is out of commission for one week: