Friday, May 28, 2021
Friday, May 21, 2021
- Episode 1: The Great Lone Land. Sir John A's historic speech on February 1871 announces his intention to build the CPR.
- Episode 2: The Pacific Scandal. Charges of corruption are levelled against Macdonald's government and he is forced to resign drunken and dispirited.
- Episode 3: The Horrid B.C. Business. A national depression strikes, B.C. clamours for the railway, and Macdonald must rise from his own political ashes.
- Episode 4: The Great Debate. Back in power, Sir John A's government reailway bill finally passes in Parliament.
- Episode 5: The Railway General. [now it's getting good!] Construction in 1882-83 speeds up as W.C. Van Horne connects a nation.
- Episode 6: The Sea of Mountains. Andrew Onderdonk and Major A.B. Rogers push the rails slowly but surely through the Selkirks and Rockies.
- Episode 7: The Desperate Days. Macdonald fights the Metis Rebellion crisis through construction delays north of Lake Superior.
- Episode 8: The Last Spike! The national crisis is averted and Donald Smith hammers home the final spike.
Director Eric Till and producer Jim Murray assembled an ensemble cast, and who can forget that opening theme music composed by Louis Applebaum, with its haunting French horn opening? Some notable cast members:
- Sir John A. Macdonald - William Hutt who appeared in five episodes.
- William Cornelius Van Horne - John Colicos who appeared in three episodes.
- Sir Sandford Fleming - Tony Van Bridge
- Lord Dufferin, Governor-General - Paxton Whitehead
- Donald Smith - Chris Wiggins
- Lady Agnes Macdonald - Pat Galloway
- Chief Crowfoot - Joe Crowfoot, grandson of the Chief
- Major A.B. Rogers - Jonathan Welsh
- A homesick navvy looks longingly at a woman's photograph, "Aye, but women are a fine thing."
- Major Rogers is forced to abandon his perilous mountain survey, "It ain't right to have come so G*****ned far. Not so G*****ed far!"
- Macdonald's unparliamentary language as he and Donald Smith are physically separated during a particularly contentious debate, "I could lick him quicker than Hell could scorch a feather!"
- "Fraser Tunnel" - Hope, BC
- "Mountain area" - Penticton, Myra Canyon, Carmi Sub., Okanagan Lake, McCulloch, BC
- "Indian confrontation and Track laying" - Brooks, AB including actual CP Rail sectionmen
- "Craigellachie" - Caledon East, ON
- "Winter and the Last day of filming" - Havelock, ON
- "Parliament" and other studio work - Toronto, ON
- 4-4-0 136 leased from the Ontario Rail Association, with interchangeable smokestacks and numbers i.e. CPR 148 at the Craigellachie tableau.
- Boxcar 500 was plucked from Service use on the Alberta South Division.
- Coach 141 was built from two Dominion Atlantic Rly. Service cars (411577 and 411585) modified at Winnipeg Weston Shops.
- Baggage car from the Alberta Pioneer Railway Association in Edmonton.
- Construction flat car 221 was fabricated from scrapped cars at Calgary's Ogden Shops.
|133 years, 7 months & 172 hours to the day, and 90 degrees perpendicular!|
Saturday, May 15, 2021
Passenger Train Derailed
On Sunday, June 3rd, at 1:30 a.m. a VIA passenger train was derailed 60 miles west of Golden. The cause of the derailment was a mudslide across the tracks. While there were no injuries, it took crews until 7:00 p.m. to clean up the mess. Passengers were bussed to Kamloops and from there they were flown to Vancouver at the expense of the VIA.
The front page has a photo of CP 200-ton crane 414478 and another crane righting a baggage car with the rear of 1405 visible in the right of the picture. And the picture accompanying the article on page 24 has a photograph from the other direction with 1405's number clearly visible. No 1's train was 11 cars long, with a CP Geep as the second unit behind VIA 1405. The Geep, baggage car and trailing coach derailed but remained on the right-of-way. There were 240 passengers on board. The mudslide was cleared and the line was reopened at 1845 hours the same day.
Since this post was published, Steve Bradley kindly shared his photos taken at the site (six photos, below). The sectionmen are spiking, the foremen are conferring, and heavy equipment clears the slide remnants:
Saturday, May 8, 2021
In Part 1, I made my way west to enjoy some Portage railfanning and now it was time to head home. Before departing forty minutes late from Portage la Prairie at 1711 on June 24, No 2 made two station stops – one for the coach passengers and one me and two other passengers who had booked sleeper space. I was in roomette 4 of Chateau Rouville. The porter mentioned that the train had been three-and-a-half hours late in Saskatchewan. The fellow in roomette 3 was telling the porter about water seeping from his toilet. The porter assured him it would be looked at once we reached Winnipeg.
We scooped a 110-car CN grain train led by a trio of Geeps: 4317-4326-4318 which had arrived at Portage when No 2 should have! A CN boxcar of lumber was being unloaded at Newton, and six CN 40-foot grain boxcars were spotted at the Manitoba Pool elevator at Elie. The mileboards showed a steady 60 mph gait that was hard to gauge as the fields bordering the tracks were so large! Nine grain cars were spotted at the Mile 10.6 elevator. Long-stored CN equipment at Fort Rouge, with olive & black CN 10664 at centre:
Piggypackers were at work as we passed CN’s Winnipeg intermodal terminal as were CN switchers 7176, 7157, 7177 and 1252 as we neared the station. BNML Geep 2 had about 15 cars in tow at Portage Junction before our arrival 25 minutes late at 1825. Our consist at Portage, Winnipeg and Kingston:
A two-hour layover in Winnipeg included a change of locomotives and train servicing. The amount of food loaded on board the two diners was truly amazing! All windows were cleaned by a four-man crew. VIA needs to know that clean windows make happy passengers. We departed 20 minutes late at 2029 and dinner was served immediately upon departure. We were soon passing Terminal Cut-Off at 2033, a ‘Prairie Rocket’ consist being wyed, then orders hooped up to us by a female operator at Manson. We were running left-main on double track near Molson.
We met three CP westbounds before reaching Kenora: a three-Century freight of empty lumber cars, an autorack train and another westbound freight. The lights of Kenora glimmered as moonlight silhouetted Husky the Muskie along Kenora Bay. We arrived fifteen minutes early but left on time. Thunder Bay on the morning of June 25 was a slow go as CP’s yard switchers went to work: 6563, 6580, 6567, 6606, 8120, 8114, 8122 and chop-nosed Geeps 1529, 1530 and 1542. Vessels Lake Manitoba, Algosea and Ontario Power were in the harbour, the latter being sent off the lakes that year before scrapping in Taiwan in 1987. CN GMD-1’s 1914, 1900, 1906 also shepherded grain cars around, turning them into empties for return to western elevators. Our train on a curve east of Terrace Bay, possibly near Moberley Bay:
We reached Schreiber on time at 1105, where switcher 6549 and end-cupola van 437147 were on duty. The Dayliner was still there! We passed an eastbound roadswitcher led by Century 4557 at Steel, a hi-rail crane in the siding at Coldwell, and a bay full of logs near Marathon at 1228 before the track swung away from the lake.
We stopped briefly at Mobert before reaching White River at 1412, where a new siding was being installed. CP road units 4501-5755 were switching and I walked up to the head-end but was not granted a cab ride - train orders would have to suffice! Algoma Central gondolas but no trains awaited our passage through Franz at 1540. We met a westbound four-unit CP piggyback freight at Missanabie, where a metal water tower had a bricked-in shaft and an old station building set back from the tracks was being used as a hardware store. Supper was Pork Chops Polynesian. Could I possibly have digested eight dinner rolls, as my notes seem to suggest? Reaching Chapleau fourteen minutes early, a CP westbound behind 5938-4705-5745 was setting out CP business car 7. I took this photo from a few steps behind No 2’s Park car at Chapleau, on June 25:
An easy 55 mph out of Chapleau included an entire field of sawdust from a trackside mill at Kormak easily 20 feet high, seen from the dome of Prince Albert Park. We took the siding waiting for a westbound hotshot freight with 5973-4553 and 64 cars at Sultan. CP work trains were in back tracks at Ramsey and Roberts on this stretch of CP’s Nemegos Subdivision.
A vestibule visit while waiting for an eastbound 2 miles from Stralak brought evening sounds of white-throated sparrows serenading us beside a very still lake. The fast freight passed at 2123 behind 5534-5548-4710- 4713 trailed by van 434564. No big wins came my way at the after-dinner bingo. I returned to my roomette at Azilda at 2230 but stayed awake to visit the head-end for train orders and a view of our train from the Paris Street overpass at Sudbury during our 2240-2335 servicing stop. Bedding down for the night with CP 7107, 7108 and 8158 outside my window, I awoke to CN 3150 and VIA 6917 completing the view at Toronto, on June 26!
During my two-hour layover, I made my way to Spadina to add to my train-order collection, observing an Amtrak train led by ATK 347 and tailed by short baggage 1370 (above). Quebec, North Shore & Labrador Geeps 147, 167, 157, 169 and 133 were at CP’s John Street facilities (below), along with CP business cars Ontario and Lacombe. Spadina hosted VIA RDC-9 6004 with yellow ends but a black letterboard.
Our consist changed in Toronto: new power, the addition of four Corridor cars and the removal of I-series crew sleeper, second diner and four E-series sleepers. Departing from Toronto, we passed the Toronto Transit Commission shops at 0911, Danforth at 0914, GO Scarborough at 0917, GO Eglinton at 0919, GO Guildwood at 0923 and GO Pickering at 0932. Switchers at Oshawa included CN 1211, 1351, and 7173.
Chop-nosed CN Geep 4005, just rebuilt from GP9 4468, was leading an 88-car westbound freight which we scooped at Mi 277 of CN’s Kingston Subdivision. We had been running left-main since leaving Toronto. Belleville brought lots of US-road boxcars, including Southern, Family Lines and Seaboard Coast Line. The new underpass just west of Napanee station had been completed - when the ribbon cutting was photographed for the local paper, the Corridor Canadian was obligingly in the background!