Friday, April 23, 2021
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Or mail order by train? No, I travelled west from Toronto aboard VIA Rail in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s to visit relatives in Western Canada. I was lucky to see grain trains switching grain cars, ride in RDC’s flashing past grain elevators, and enjoy the view of prairies and mountains from VIA’s dome cars. All in an era when stations were still manned by operators, while first- and second-generation CN and CP diesel locomotives and cabooses ruled the rails. I was able to systematically collect sets of discarded train orders while aboard VIA Rail in 1985. (Also documented in a previously-published two-post series.)
Prior to that, in 1983-84 I decided to send out letters to CN and CP operators at some locations that interested me. Would they have some discarded train orders to augment my collection, all for the asking? Yes!
CP Rail operator Tony Bonogofsky at Gleichen, Alberta responded on May 7, 1984, sending me 60 train orders and 15 clearances, plus 11 stapled sets of C-19’s, putting $1.70 in postage on the envelope (top photo). His note, “As requested, enclosed please find a supply of train orders.” The orders he sent were for CP Rail freights like First 84, Second 84, First 96, Second 96, Nos. 403, 404, 405, 415, 445, 482, First 948, 904 and 940. These trains were led by CP’s ubiquitous, large fleet of SD40-2’s, though GP-9’s were also addressed. VIA Rail’s Canadian, train No 2 is also represented, and I would ride aboard its westward counterpart, VIA No 1 the following year, passing through Gleichen:
CP Rail operator Kathy Todd at Field, British Columbia also sent me orders, on August 20, 1983. In fact, her $1.27 postage on a CP company envelope contained an interesting collection of orders. (below). The clearances were addressed to trains powered by CP’s newest locomotives, like Extra 6003 West and Extra 6033 East. Extra 5835 West received a stack of 17 orders with its clearance. Another clearance was addressed to Pusher Service at Rogers, care of Engineman C.S. Smith. This was the last remote pusher station on CP’s transcontinental punishing mountainous mainline. She wrote an accompanying note, “I hope these orders and clearances are a sufficient addition to your collection. It was good to hear from you. Good luck in your endeavours.”
I enjoy going back to these responses, still in their original envelopes, kindly sent by these operators at their lonely outposts in the mountains and prairies of Canada. This was in an era before e-mail. It was an era in which a letter received was usually responded to as a courtesy. Watch for an upcoming post on letters requesting information sent to railways' headquarters!
You didn't read that incorrectly. I've recently become aware of three local advertising slogans using Two Part. Slogans. But they go together. Let me illustrate: Gordon's Downsizing Services - "We Help. You Move On." Bennett's Furniture - "Feel Right. At Home." and they sell mattresses - "Sleep. First Class."
Winnipeg Slide Night by Zoom was this past Tuesday. Presentations by Glenn, Mark the Hoople, Ross, and Brian. Some amazing photography and subject material on display: nocturnal, British, Winnipeg flood of 1950, and interesting freight Loads. And your humble blogger presenting the prototype and model Hanley Spur.
With additional pandemic public health restrictions, I'm proud to announce that sitting on my sofa blogging is, so far, A-OK with our provincial government. It's one thing I can do with people outside my immediate household. And around the world!
Saturday, April 10, 2021
Eric Doubt was a vice-president of a B2B marketing agency specializing in health care in the 1970's. Establishing a Toronto office from Montreal in 1980 was a challenge for the agency as clients and prospects departed down Highway 401 to Toronto. Looking for something to deploy that was dramatic and noticeable, a partner read about the club of private railway car owners in the U.S. Did CN have any passenger cars for sale they could ride into town on?
CN was selling for price of scrap, in good shape, the former library car on the 1939 Royal Train then Governor-General Georges Vanier's car Metis from CN. The price was not cheap, but was below what was expected. Refurbishing, paint job and basic repairs could be managed. The car boasted a lounge, dining room with glass dining table, fully-equipped stainless-steel kitchen, three private bedrooms and bathrooms and was used for meetings, socializing and travel. Metis was returned to service and put into action for launch in Toronto, while there was still no office nor staff in Toronto. GHM-1 was the only privately-owned car in Canada at the time.
Jacques Pelletier, the former Governor-General's valet and chef came to work on the car. He cooked five-course meals while rolling through towns and villages or on the car's spur beneath the CN Tower. The firm received notice of its Agency of Record status from its first Toronto client while aboard the car. GHM-1 give the firm a foothold and presence in Toronto. Press coverage of the private car unfurled, and the firm the soon transferred its operations to a brick-and-mortar office.
The decision to buy GHM-1 parallels the current situation to beamed-up advertising during the pandemic. One recruiting firm just bought a spacious RV in which to meet and stay safe on highways. Imaginative and attention-getting ways to get to one's destination allows firms to stand out from the competition while making a statement.
-From the podcast by Eric Doubt of CA14 Integrated Marketing & Communications in Georgetown. (Top photo from CA14 website.)
Owners subsequent to CN:
- 1978 Michael Harris (GHM-1)
- 1981 JH Green of Texas Tank Car Works
- 1989 Jeff Hanley of Clarksville, AR named Mercedes
- 2004-2010 American Rail Excursions' MRLX 800341 Metis
- Thereafter New Brunswick Southern Metis as profiled by fellow blogger Steve Boyko.
- March 22/79 tailing the Cavalier, VIA No 58
Lots o' links:
- PPCX 800341 Metis painted in CN green-black as of 2004.
- Metis was an attendee at AAPRCO conventions 2003+, and as GHM-1 in 1980 at White Sulphur Springs, VA.
Running extra...sung during the 2011 wedding of William and Kate.
CNN announced changes to its weekday morning and daytime, now taking effect:
Laura Jarrett and Christine Romans will continue to anchor Early Start from 5-6 am.
John Berman and Brianna Keilar will anchor New Day from 6-9 am, weekdays. Keilar most recently anchored CNN Right Now from 1-3pm weekdays. Prior to that, she was CNN’s White House correspondent during the Obama Administration. Berman has been co-anchor of New Day for the last two and a half years.
Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto will continue to anchor CNN Newsroom from 9-11 am.
Kate Bolduan will continue to anchor At this Hour from 11am-noon.
John King will continue to anchor Inside Politics with John King weekdays from noon-1pm. The network’s Chief National Correspondent, he will also continue to have a key role in all political coverage.
Ana Cabrera, who has anchored CNN’s weekend newscasts for the last four years, will now anchor CNN Newsroom weekdays from 1-2 pm.
Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell will now anchor CNN’s afternoon Newsroom coverage from 2-4 pm. Camerota has anchored CNN’s morning program, New Day, for the last six years, the longest tenure of any weekday morning show anchor in recent CNN history, and, along with Berman, has led CNN to its largest audiences ever in the morning. Blackwell has anchored CNN’s Weekend New Day for the last nine years.
With the move of Cabrera and Blackwell to CNN’s weekday lineup, CNN also finalized its new weekend lineup:
Boris Sanchez will join Christi Paul as co-anchor of Weekend New Day on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sanchez previously served as a CNN White House correspondent.
Fredricka Whitfield will continue to anchor CNN Newsroom’s midday coverage on Saturdays and Sundays.
Jim Acosta will anchor CNN Newsroom on Saturdays and Sundays from 3-6pm. As previously announced, Acosta has also been named the network’s chief domestic correspondent. Prior to this new role, he covered the White House for CNN for the past seven years, having served as Chief White House Correspondent since 2018. That role is now filled by Kaitlan Collins.
As previously announced, Pamela Brown now anchors CNN Newsroom on Saturdays and Sundays from 6-9pm. She also serves as Senior Washington Correspondent for CNN.
[Was this announcement as long as the post it followed? Film at 11!]
Friday, April 2, 2021
Chalk marks, usually at the end of car sides, was used as a communications device for car routing. Chalk marks indicated marshalling instructions, the car's general destination, setting out, lifting, outbound train number and other miscellaneous messages. This was in the era before paper "journals" or computer-generated train manifests.
Chalk was bought in quantities by the railway. Canadia Pacific purchased boxes 1x4-inch sticks named Chalkall from Binney & Smith by the gross. Division points were common places for chalk marks to be applied, indicating switching or marshalling instructions for the next division yard, or a particular town on the route - "shorts". Even more specific marks were for individiual tracks on which the car was to be set-out, or the car's commodity.
These marks were not meant to be permanent. They could be 'rubbed out' as if on a blackboard, when no longer relevant or needed. Early graffiti, including hobo marks, was also made with chalk.
CHALK MARKS IN THE DIESEL ERA
There may have been some old heads that still used chalk marks when they were no longer necessary, made obsolete by technology. The advent of ACI labels and the introduction of computers in car routing made these redundant.
CHALK MARKS OR GRAFFITI?
Chalk marks are not graffiti. For graffiti, I've done the odd 'Bozo Texino' or 'Pepe', someone's name or a city name. Once rattle cans of spray paint came along, the game changed. Many modern freight cars are nearly covered with graffiti. Modelling 1970, nominally, I don't have to contend with this scourge, ethically, legally or in my modelling. Here's a sample online discussion showing how quickly such discussions devolve, between two guys named Bob and John, "There are no great tags, there's only vandalism/ In your fu opinion/Not an opinion, a fact/Foamer fact, railroader wannabe/You know, it is entirely possible to disagree without being a dick about it. Just sayin'.../For the most part I agree. I hate tagging, especially on an old or fallen flag car. But there ARE some true artists. Technically it’s vandalism but his work is a thing of beauty and shows incredible talent."
MODELLING CHALK MARKS
I use a white gel pen to make my HO scale chalk marks. The resulting lettering is really vivid and bright. It catches my eye when I bring a car onto the layout. In future, I may weather some of the chalk marks with some dilute craft paint overbrushed to dull them. I also add weathering and ACI labels, and I still have remnants of Consolidated stencils, re-weigh re-stencils and occasional U-1 wheel dots.
Due to frequent car handling on and off the layout, I will probably never be the cut lever and roofwalk replacement kind of modeller. I've found that adding this type of detail enhances the realism of my rolling stock fleet and it's something that I can't dislodge by accident!
- Ian Wilson's CN steam-era post
- Ray Kennedy's chalk marks list
- Clover House decals (also in top photo)
- On the Southern Pacific in HO scale
- Citrus Belt prototype examples