Wednesday, March 31, 2021

CNR 6060 Stops in Sydenham, 1977

On Saturday, October 15, 1977 we were at Sydenham, ON to await CNR 6060 as it led the St. Lawrence Valley Steam Association's fall foliage excursion. The excursion was operating from Montreal to Toronto via Ottawa, here on CN's Smiths Falls Subdivision, part of an ambitious 14-hour trip itinerary. There were 325 passengers aboard six cars, and tickets were $75 each. Photos in this post by my Dad, L.C. Gagnon. He took a distant photo of an earlier excursion through Sydenham on October 26, 1973 just over one month after 6060's debut. As was his practice at the time, he captured the scene photographically with black & white print and colour slide formats.
Refuelling stops (and/or watering stops) were scheduled at Alexandria, Ottawa, Smiths Falls, Sydenham, Belleville and Port Hope. Things were so much easier when the railways maintained water and coaling towers! At least 6060 was an oil-burner. Now it fell to volunteer fire departments with hydrants, or in the case of Sydenham, a nearby lake that gave up 11,000 gallons! Hoses ran about 100 yards along George Street, to the CN level crossing (above) from Sydenham Lake (below): 
There were three steam-qualified engineers working the trip. This was less than two decades since steam ruled the rails, remember! Excitement, boredom, distraction or a low-flying seagull above your humble blogger:
Many villagers turned out for this one-time event. Not only the passage of a steam-powered train, but the train stopping right in town. It didn't hurt that this major road crossing north out of Sydenham was blocked, although workarounds/drive-arounds were available.
As the train was preparing to leave Sydenham, we drove along the road linking the Church Street and Boundary Road crossings, stopping at this spot between crossings with the tracks in a left-hand curve. Here we awaited the excursion as it made its way west to Napanee thence Toronto, photographing and recording it on cassette tape as it thundered up the grade towards Harrowsmith. 
Sunset was at 6:30 p.m. on this autumn evening. The excursion was operating two hours late, scheduled to arrive at Sydenham at 3:45 p.m. Remember that expression - late trains get later? Watch for an upcoming post on CNR 6060's busy few years after its 1973 restoration and debut fantrip.
Sam McLauchlan kindly shared his photo of the excursion crossing the Rideau Canal bridge at Smiths Falls earlier in the afternoon. Thanks, Sam!

Running extra...

A running gag became the '0909 Button'. This was a pin-back button  on sale during or after fantrips celebrating the newly-restored Mountain-type. If the pin, shaped like a number-plate, was unknowingly pinned upside down by an unsuspecting fan on their regalia, it looked as if they were celebrating renowned excursion locomotive 0909!

The popularity of vaccine-shopping in Canada right now is amazing. During this pandemic, folks have not only become informed, they've become experts! First, everyone was a Respiratory Therapist, knowing which ventilation would help COVID patients in ICU. Then, everyone was an Epidemiologist, knowing best how to prevent transmission. Now, everyone is a Vaccinologist, knowing which vaccine works best. What's next? Drug store flyers with weekly vaccine specials and coupons to clip?

Speaking of line-ups, I have named this structure backdrop phenomenon 'The Walthers Row' and it is often seen on model railway layouts. This arrangement is a creative one, yet so many layouts tick all the boxes on the 'buy one of each' list of Walthers structures!

For sale: the late home of noted Canadian rail enthusiast James A. Brown


Mike Galt said...

Another fine recollection. Do you still have the cassette tape and how did the recording sound? Thanks Mike

Eric said...

Thanks, Mike. I may still have that cassette. I'll have to check in the Archives!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Not only are people are vaccine experts, this week they are ship salvage experts too! Who needs an engineering degree?

Great series of shots... oh to be back in the days when railways ran excursions.

Eric said...

Twenty-Four Hour News Cycle Job Opening - We Need Talking Head Experts and Freelancers!

Researching an upcoming post on 6060 and final 1980 trip was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales. Fans preferred to ride 1201 instead! I hope that post has at least a 5050 chance of completion, Steve.

Thanks for your comment,

Eric May said...

First rail photo I've seen that uses a case of beer to anchor the image. This might start a trend...

Eric said...

Labatt's Blue. Just couldn't crop it out. Close, but no cigar to the local Brewers' Retail!

Thanks for your comment, Eric.