Thursday, September 2, 2021

Vintage Railway Views of Portage la Prairie

Royal Train arriving at CN station, 1939.

My uncle recently had a photo of himself posted by a group member of the Portage la Prairie Memories Facebook page. He only knew it had been posted because someone pointed it out to him. In the photo, he's seated on a bench that's dedicated to his late wife, my aunt. Adam the Cat is by his side, and the photo was taken by his brother. Comments poured in, as they rightly should, for a couple so well-known and well-respected in the community. That got me poking around for Portage train photos in the same group. I did not push away from the laptop disappointed:
The Royal Couple returning to the Royal Train, 1939.

RCMP and open-car motorcade at the CN station, 1939.

Portage Pool 'C' fire, August 1976

Construction of the Skyline Bridge overpass. 1964
An 1888 bird's eye view of Portage

Delta Beach Hotel and turntable pit

Delta Beach turntable

CNR 6043 powering the last steam-hauled passenger train in the West

Two aerial views of CN station and fuel dealers. Undated.

Tony's on Third St N.E. Undated.

Delta station

Tom Sherrit B/A Fuels tank view. Undated.
CN passenger train and station, large crowd. Undated.

Princess Anne receiving line at CP station, 1982 - platform removed in 1978

Portage Cartage on Trenton Avenue. Undated.

Contemporary view of Portage Cartage warehouse.

Parade over the Skyline bridge with Pool B at right. Undated.

School trip on CN, showing oil dealership spur at right. Undated.

Running extra...

That photo of Tony's (above) was taken in a very similar spot to a view I took in 1984. So, I matched up those two plus a current Googlemaps view for this retrospective: 

CN Montreal-Chicago intermodal train No 149 and Brockville-Prescott turn No 532 collided in the service track north of the mainline in Prescott on the morning of September 2. One employee with minor injuries, all sent to hospital for evaluation. Multiple cars and all locomotives derailed. Social media is alight, aflame and afoam with theories, causes, and 'insider' information. VIA trains were detoured Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto and the south track was reopened on September 3 around suppertime.

Here is Kingston's Third Crossing bridge over the Great Cataraqui River linking John Counter Boulevard on the west shore and Gore Road on the east shore:


  1. These are some interesting historical pictures, Eric. The time series pictures of Portage Cartage and of Tony’s show how although things change over time, the changes themselves have been incremental.

    The Pool ‘C’ fire must have been quite a blaze. The only actions the fire department could have taken was to try to keep it from spreading to other nearby buildings.

    I used to pass by Portage la Prairie on my trips between Regina and Winnipeg, although I never managed to get into the town itself. The only thing I really knew about Portage was that it was a good idea to ease up a little with the right foot in order to avoid getting a demonstration of the RCMP’s velocity verification techniques.

  2. They certainly caught my eye, Brian. We just missed the Pool 'C' fire just before our first visit to Portage in 1976.

    I really enjoyed the centre of town (railway centre, not Saskatchewan Avenue!!) with elevators, gravel roads, fuel dealers and both mainlines. It was quite a new world for this Ontario kid! Those changes were also incremental - the elevators did not all disappear overnight. Like most such towns, once a bypass was built, it was easy to bypass it!

    Thanks for your comment,


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