Friday, March 18, 2022
Pop-up Post: CN No 376/518/305, March 2022
Does 'E' sleeper Equity appear anywhere in your lists? I have found a very few references to it but for the most part it seems to have escaped the spotlight whereas others (Edmonton, Eldorado, Enfield for example) were seen frequently. One would thing that every one of them would have had an equal chance to be seen - one in 52. - Julian Bernard, Guelph, ON
[That's the first e-mail I received from Julian Bernard. I had previously seen several of his messages in the Canadian-Passenger-Rail Yahoogroup. All group members had to sign their posts, and his were always simply signed 'Julian Bernard Guelph, ON'. Julian noted that he and his daughter Lesley had gone through consists posted in the Bytown Railway Society Branchline newsletter, looking for CN/VIA E-series 8-4-4 sleeper Equity (numbered 1143), but had given away his entire accumulation to that point to a needy railfan upon moving to Guelph, so he could not go back and look again. I sent Julian a few observations I'd found...]
Thank you for your response. As there are so few references to Equity, every single one adds a little bit to its story. Just in case you happened to wonder why the interest in this car, our daughter owns it! It's not all that far from you, at Actinolite, and is listed in the Trackside Guide, perhaps now under Tweed - the car didn't move but the municipal boundaries did. It was a wholly impractical and unrealistic purchase but one has to give her credit for pulling it off. It was a weekend escape place for her for many years and I visited fairly frequently as well when we lived in Toronto but it's not quite as convenient since we moved west, and became older. In fact, I had often thought that sitting in Equity's open sections on a Saturday evening, drink in hand, enjoying the smooth ride and the view of the Skootamatta River outside, rail sounds coming from a CD player, was almost as good as it gets.
According to papers found in it, Equity seems to have made its last revenue trip eastbound from the west to Montreal late in 1989 or '90, I can't remember which, and was withdrawn for some mechanical deficiency. Its trucks were later swapped with those of another car, one of the ex U. S. stainless steel cars I believe, as part of the HEP2 rebuild program but that didn't preclude it being moved on its replacement set from MMC to Cedars, where it spent a couple of years, and then to Belleville, the latter move in a CN freight.
[In my third book, Trackside with VIA - Research & Recollections, Equity was listed as being moved in August, 1991 to Septa Rail in Coteau, QC along with 12 other E-series sleepers to donate their trucks for HEP-rebuilding of stainless steel cars that were obtained from U.S. railroads. In October, 1994 Equity was offered for sale by CANAC with 10 different E-series cars, one of which was Edmunston. Equity was moved to Actinolite in 1997. Julian continued...]
I don't understand why it was spotted so rarely - and it seems that it never had its photo taken - until it was in the "For Sale" lineup at MMC in the early 1990s which was where we visited it, coupled to Edmonton. Actually I did have Equity checked off on a list of observed cars that I kept, but without date or place, that bit of information wasn't too useful. Perhaps its real claim to fame is yet to come as it is one of the names chosen by Jason Shron (Rapido Trains) for the series he is now releasing. I think I'll spend $59 for a model which will be in the CN black and green paint.
A few years ago I sent a picture of Equity and Lesley's house/station in Actinolite to a railfan with a note that this was a current picture of the CN local, ready to leave Actinolite en route to Napanee via Yarker with the once a week through sleeping car for Montreal bringing up the rear. He didn't realize it was tongue-in-cheek and fell for it completely. That'll teach me to try to inject a bit of levity into rail fan messages!
November 22, 2012 - Reading your second volume, and never having taken many photos of my own at the time to remind me, I had forgotten what a mish-mash of motive power and passenger consists VIA had to assemble in the early years. I wish now that I had paid more attention to what I was riding in those days though I do recall some weird substitutions for Club cars (if that's what they were called then) on Toronto-Windsor trips in the early 1980s but never on trips east of Toronto. Perhaps this had something to do with shortcomings of the Tempo equipment which, in my memory, rode poorly at almost any speed over a brisk walking pace.
April 1, 2013 - Lesley did tell me recently that she had met you in Kingston and it was only at that point that I realized she also had acquired your books. Equity and 5407 are highlighted in my copies and probably in hers as well. She is so busy and works so hard that our communication tends to be sporadic at times. But our other two kids were here for Easter Sunday dinner, one from Toronto and one from Kemptville.
[I'd only emailed Julian, but I had the pleasure of meeting Lesley when she stopped by my book table at the 2013 Kingston Rail-o-Rama train show. To me, Lesley seemed to be someone who could and did get things done!]
I have just posted a response to the fellow who wondered if I was using a CPR pass to ride #51 as he couldn't see any other reason for doing so. I didn't tell him that, if I had behaved myself a few years earlier, I suppose I might have had a career with CP. In the summer of 1947, I worked briefly for CP as a dining car pantryman (the lowest of the low) but, after two trips, was fired for insubordination. My crime was my refusal to end every sentence with "Sir" when speaking to the Steward who happened to be in charge on both of my trips. I wasn't at all rude to him but just didn't think he was of "sir" quality. After that I spent the rest of the summer until school re-started in the depths of Union Station in Toronto making ham and cheese sandwiches for the Canadian Railway News Company (which evolved into CARA). I got into trouble in that job as well when I was caught slipping the occasional extra slice of ham or cheese into the sandwich of a few lucky customers but managed to avoid being fired again. It's valuable teenage experiences like that which teach you what you do not want to do for the rest of your life.
April 2, 2013 - Eric, your correspondent refers to a man with a cart working the aisle - this sure dates me but I remember the newsy's wares being carried in a rectangular wicker basket! Another recollection, which I cannot date or place but it must have been during the war, was of a man coming down the aisle with a big, metal urn supported by a wide shoulder strap. A mate collected the money and toted the supply of cups while the urn carrier poured tea. It didn't matter how you liked your tea, it came with milk and sugar - no options and I don't remember coffee coming the same way. It was sweet, milky tea or nothing. I had never thought of the newsies reselling newspapers and magazines but can easily imagine it happening. Their lot in life cannot have been a particularly happy one.
That appears to be the last email I received from Julian.
I always appreciated Julian's online posts. They were remarkably full of detail; interesting snapshots of rail travel in earlier eras. Below, I've included some samples of the nearly 50 archived messages he posted to Canadian-Passenger-Rail Yahoogroup from 2002 to 2017. His Yahoo 'handle' was 'derwent1917':
October 22, 2002 - The Turbo did run between Montreal and Ottawa in the mid 1970s. I rode it in on a Saturday in September 1974 with my three children on #32 from Ottawa to Montreal. My recollection is that, because of the poorer track conditions, speed was not noticably different than that achieved by conventional equipment and the ride was not as good as it was between Toronto and Montreal which is another way of saying that it was rough. I cannot remember if we arrived on time. The rattling sounds from beneath the floor which were a feature of every Turbo ride were even more apparent that day. With the passage of time, my memories of several Turbo journeys, all but the one mentioned having been between Toronto and Montreal, are now quite fond ones although they may not have been back in those days when it was frequently late, and sometimes very late. Nevertheless, it was a brave and futuristic attempt.
May 11, 2006 - My wife traveled from Guelph to Toronto on #84 this morning and returned on #87 this evening. Shortly before boarding in Toronto she realized that her return ticket was nowhere to be found. Resigned to buying another one, she explained her problem to the ticket agent at Union Station who checked on the computer, reported that her ticket had been found, probably by one of the cleaning staff, and turned in. Within a couple of minutes she and the ticket were reunited and she is now back in Guelph. Kudos to VIA Rail which handled the situation very well indeed.
September 24, 2008 - On Friday, September 19th, my wife and I undertook a round trip from Guelph to Montreal where we were married in 1959. When picking up our tickets a few weeks earlier I had mentioned to the VIA agent in Guelph that September 19th would be our 49th anniversary. What I had not realized was that this bit of information was about to make its way on to the passenger manifest.
Our departure from Guelph on #86 was about 7 minutes late. Boarding from the VIA 1 Panorama Lounge began at 0905 with passengers for #42 for Ottawa being ushered out the back door to a gate on the east side of the concourse while those for #56 left by the front door for the west side (#42 and #56 formed a J-train with #42 leading). We had not yet even reached our seats before one of the on-board crew wished us a happy anniversary and that gave us an inkling that this might be a trip with a difference. As it turned out that was only the beginning. About 11 am the bar trolley started down the aisle and we were treated well, to say the least. The famous VIA1 chocolates, which I had thought were offered only in the evening, appeared. Later in the day an announcement was made that two passengers, Julian and Ann Bernard in seats 5A and B were that day celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary and a round of applause followed. And to top it off we were then presented with a bottle of Pelee Island Chardonnay, VIA 1's current white wine!
February 9, 2009 - My own memories of earlier rail travel include sleeping very well for two nights in a 13-section Tourist sleeper on CP's #51, the `Great West' from Winnipeg to Edmonton in 1951. The leisurely pace, an average speed of about 25 mph, likely had quite a bit to do with the sleeping experience. My recollection is that usually the heavyweight equipment rode more smoothly but, as someone on this list has observed, often the heavyweight cars were not moving as fast. This was the experience travelling comfortably in a lower berth in a heavyweight Pullman Company sleeper from Toronto to Noranda in 1950.
Overnight service between Toronto and Ottawa in the mid-1970s was a mixed experience with the most restful part by far being between Napanee and Ottawa when the Canadian Northern routing via Yarker was still being used, only 112 miles and plenty of time in which to cover it, quietly, slowly and smoothly. Ex-FEC sleepers Manitou and Windigo were encountered most often on these trains. I don't know if they qualified as lightweight but, generally, they rode well. They were also unusual in their variety of accommodation – four sections, four roomettes, one compartment and five double bedrooms, a bit of almost everything which made them useful for that run as normally, there was only the single sleeping car on the train but a variety of accommodation could be offered.
March 25, 2010 - Some of my favourite passenger memorabilia, among many items in my office: Two heavy VIA/CN double bedroom folding chairs, not quite identical to each other, but both in a brown check pattern – often occupied by one or two cats. A photo over my desk of CN 4-6-0 1134 in Moncton. A replica of a C.P. Chateau Lake Louise poster on another wall. And in one of the bedrooms, a Canadian Government Railways sleeping car blanket, with C.G.R. logo. A bit threadbare in spots, not too surprising after close to a century.
October 9, 2011 - That first, 1938 trip did originate in Walkerville but on the CN, 1.6 miles from the downtown Windsor station. As for the riding qualities of the heavyweight cars, I have experienced those but whether it was on the Ocean Limited or the Scotian I'm not sure. One occasion was on a 12 section, one DR car, both during daylight hours and at night. My recollection is that the ride was smooth and very quiet, that I had the section to myself, that I slept very well and that "it can't get much better than this". Six wheel trucks probably had as much to do with it as weight. But I also recall what was probably the worst night ever in a sleeping car. It was on an overnight CN train from Toronto to Montreal in one of the then new 24 duplex roomette `I' series cars, Indigo, the first one of the series, I think. My initial reaction was favorable when viewing how so much had been fitted into such a small space but, in the middle of the night when moving at the right combination of high speed and rough track, the bed begin to rattle and the walls vibrated and drummed at a volume guaranteed to waken the most sound sleeper. Because of the noise, the experience was as bad if not worse than the Tempo cars under the same conditions, but I am not trying here to reignite the recent debate about the Tempo qualities.
I'm glad to hear confirmation from Derek Thompson [Derek was another inveterate train rider and a fervent and faithful supporter of mine. I believe that Julian, Derek and I were all members of the Upper Canada Railway Society, where we each had bylines on items published in their long-running newsletter] that my experience with CN's 24 Duplex Roomette "I" cars was not just a bad dream. And on six-wheel trucks, too which I had thought almost guaranteed a better ride. At its worst, the drumming effect even became hard on the ears. After that early experience I tried to avoid the "I" cars. Duplex roomettes in other configurations on CN, CP and VIA did not offer any of these challenges other than whether it was better to be in an upper unit (less track noise, perhaps a bit more sway and a Murphy bed to contend with) or a lower unit (more track noise, possibly a slightly more stable ride and a slide-out bed, usually easier to pull out and stow away).
Funny you should single out the "I" series CN sleepers as being rough, Julian. I endured the same experience many moons ago. [Derek responding to Julian's post!] These cars, in their duplex roomette iteration rode on six-wheel trucks which I expected would give them a superior ride. I have no idea what caused the roughness, but there are at least two of us who can attest to its existence.
December 19, 2011 - I rode the C> gas-electric car from Mont Joli to Matane in 1955. My recollection is that the trailer was not being used that day - certainly it was not needed as the passenger load was sparse. The car's New York Central origins were very obvious, extending even to the step stool which bore a NYC logo. The C> also had a former Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad parlor car, used by the South Shore in extra-fare luxury service, which the C> acquired in 1945. Whether that car became the trailer sometimes hauled by the gas-electric or was a third piece of equipment I'm not sure. The last I heard was that the parlor car was back in Indiana awaiting restoration. Also not to be overlooked were the through sleeping cars which CN and C> ran between Montreal and Metis Beach on summer weekends for many years.
January 27, 2012 - In the mid 1970s I was working in Ottawa and was periodically called to appear at meetings in Toronto. On one occasion, probably in 1976 or '77, two of us were summoned - the manager (me) and the assistant manager. I made my usual arrangement, a roomette on the overnight Cavalier, but my assistant airily dismissed that idea as old fashioned and said he would catch an early flight from Ottawa the next morning. At 9 am, having groped my way through a pea soup fog from Union Station to the office, I was in my seat at the boardroom table. "Where's So-and-so?" was the first question. "Probably sitting in Ottawa airport" was my response. "Then how did you get here?" was the next question. I explained but received only puzzled looks. Nobody had a smartass comeback for that one because none of them had any idea the Cavalier existed. And a few months later, So-and-so was transferred.
January 29, 2017 - I took a trip on #36 from Toronto to Montreal in the summer of 1945. Departure from Toronto Union was scheduled for 9.30 am and boarding began about 9.10 am. The ticket checker looked at my ticket and told me I was in the wrong lineup and if I hurried, I could catch CN’s 9.15 am Pool train which would reach Montreal two hours earlier. I assured him my choice of trains was intentional and that I was quite happy to arrive in Montreal at 7.30 pm. He shrugged and let me board.
Recollections are of riding in a heavyweight steel coach with exceedingly comfortable, overstuffed, blue upholstery. Meals were offered in a Buffet-Parlor car. At Sharbot Lake, the north and southbound Kingston - Renfrew trains were both waiting, northbound #613 at the platform while southbound #612 was stopped short on the north side of the diamond crossing. At Finch we crossed the New York Central’s Cornwall – Ottawa branch where a northbound NYC train was waiting but, as far as I can recall, no passengers were exchanged.
Particularly leaving Toronto, passenger loads were moderately heavy but diminished gradually throughout the day so that there were perhaps only half the number aboard on arriving in Montreal. Whether anyone else was nutty enough to make the entire trip, I cannot recall; well, the Toronto ticket checker thought I had a screw loose.
Julian had a nice collection of his rail and transit photos posted to Railpictures. This is from the profile information he posted there:
About Julian Bernard - My first train ride was in 1938, on CN, from Windsor to Toronto. Obviously I wasn’t instantly captivated because the only lingering memory of that journey is of seeing a gantry crane just as we left Windsor which, immediately on arriving home, I rushed to model in Meccano, a nuts, bolts and metal strips building toy. But a July, 1943 journey from Toronto to Gaspé, Quebec, which took 24 hours longer than scheduled, turned out to be my awakening, instilling in me a fondness both for trains and for CN’s 1100 series of ten-wheelers beginning with 1134, the first number recorded in the notebook which I kept for years. Joining the Upper Canada Railway Society in 1947 introduced me to many people sharing similar interests and afforded an opportunity to become aware of and ride much of the dense network of CN and CP branch lines which then covered southern Ontario as well as the last of the electric interurban operations. Subsequently, career and family diverted my attention but I always tried to stay abreast of the railway world. Since that early start I have ridden on rails, long distance, local and urban, throughout Canada and in many different parts of the world but, except for the very occasional trip on VIA Rail, those days are now well behind me. Photography was never one of my strengths and most of my photos have been given away to others. However a number of Canadian electric line photos dating from the 1940s and 50s have survived and, as worthy ones are identified, they will be posted. Now thoroughly retired, I live in Guelph, Ontario.
Top photo in this post showing combine CN 7145 trailing Thousand Islands Railway 500 at the Gananoque, ON waterfront was taken by Julian in May, 1956.
Julian Rollit Bernard was born in Toronto on July 25 1929, son of George Clarens Bernard and (Mary) Monica Rollit. A happy childhood was spent in Toronto. Wartime vacations were taken in East Farnham or Iberville with grandparents. Later wartime travelling was to HMCS Fort Ramsey in Gaspe which initiated Julian’s lifelong passion for trains and railways. After leaving school, he was employed by the Business Development Corporation where he remained until he retired.
Julian left us on March 5, 2022. Here are some messages from the Canadian-Passenger-Rail groups.io, the successor platform from Yahoogroups in the days after:
I had the chance to meet Julian and Ann in September 2008, while they were staying at the Hilton Bonaventure, enjoying a two days getaway in Montreal. He not only gave us nice pictures, he gave us great memories. He will never be forgotten. - MR
We spent a pleasant afternoon - the only time we met in person, but we occasionally communicated by e-mail after then. I have nothing but happy memories of my interactions with Julian. -TB
Having met with Julian and spent time with him some years back while I was working on a project, it was a pleasure to have known the man and I appreciated his generosity. - SH
Julian was, in some subconscious way, another 'version' of my father. He was born, and married, two years earlier, was an inveterate railfan and train rider, one who recalled the steam era and was a writer and chronicler of train rides, presented in a detailed, concise yet genial manner. Julian lived six years longer - though this is not a competition - and one could weigh two decades' living with Parkinson's and Dying with Dignity to living a few years in long-term care with physical limitations and dementia. I'd rather not have to choose either option! I prefer instead chronicle these memories I have of Julian and share them with Trackside Treasure's readers as a record-of-the-rails that we can all appreciate and enjoy.
February 2023 postscript:
After publishing a post on the bridges of Yarker, I heard from Lesley Bernard and she kindly sent a photo of the first bridge. I added the photo to the post, then shared this post with Lesley
Equity never seemed to have a notable career. I have found a few photos and in consists. I believe it was in service till about mid Dec 1989 and a steam heat line burst between Roomette 6 and the locker behind it. There were wads of sheets and towels jammed under the seat and around the pipe. With the VIA cuts coming 4 weeks later, that was it for Equity. Yes, Equity did get a truck swap from a ex-NYC car (trucks have NYC cast on them) and, I think, from what would become 8136 (since wrecked and retired) based on other grease pencil scribblings on the trucks. We have done some bodywork and photo attached is from about 2 years ago. "Wholly impractical and unrealistic" is a way to put it as railcars are a huge project. And no, it is not practical to try to live in one, I know, I have tried!
Dad was a regular visitor here in the late 90s/early 00s (moved Equity here in Feb 97) and claimed a favourite roomette. Dad's last visit was in 2016. "Derwent 1917" is an interesting story, too. It refers to HMS Derwent, a British destroyer sunk by a mine in 1917. My grandfather lied about his age and joined the Royal Navy in 1916, at the age of 16. He was assigned to the Derwent. Fifty-eight of the crew of 70 did not survive - my grandfather was lucky. After coming to Canada, he joined the Naval Reserve here and during World War II was assigned to Fort Ramsay in Gaspe.
Lesley closed by saying she is starting a blog! Another star in the blogosphere has been lit!
Friday, March 11, 2022
Operations on My Hanley Spur Layout
I've done about three years of research and book-creating on Kingston's waterfront and its industrial and transportation history. On my Hanley Spur blog I've published lots of posts on modelling the Kingston industrial waterfront's structures and scenery, but my HO scale layout is, at its heart, an operating model railway. The research I've done is to try to learn more about the prototype and how it worked in 1970, nominally.
I've published very few posts on how my layout operates, and now that a reliable and tested operating pattern is in place, let's look at how this wondrously wistful view of CN and CP in Kingston gets cars where they're going. Bear with me - I often find reading other modellers' operating schemes very difficult if too much detail is presented. I'm not publishing a trackplan because it doesn't really add much to this post, and I'm following the inimitable Bob Fallowfield's lead by keeping the trackplan my secret-sauce.
All car movements are documented using car cards. This same system has lasted through four layout iterations when my modelled locales were: Winnipeg, Vancouver, Vermont and now Kingston. When it's time to serve the industries, I pull inbound cars and designate ladings on cards. I don't use four-part car cards because I find my system is flexible and not the same-cars-same-industries all the time. That would be too monotonous!
This is my CN industry list, roughly listed from north to south on the prototype CN Hanley Spur. All the modelled industries in my CN and CP industry lists had rail service by the respective prototype railway.
CN OPERATIONS - OUTER STATION YARD
CN operations begin at Kingston's Outer Station yard. This is where cars destined to Kingston industries or outbound cars are marshalled. The photos (top and above) show a CN roadswitcher working the yard. Once CN stopped basing a locomotive at the Outer Station, blocks were lifted and set out at Queens by passing trains instead, and a switcher from Belleville performed the yardswitching for remaining industries. If I need more cars or more room in the yard, cars are taken to and from the yard to two interchange tracks at 'Queens'. Once brought to the yard, the cars' cards are placed in the 'Yard' file.
I generally switch three different sectors of the CN waterfront trackage in rotation, starting with cars at the top of the 'CN Industries' file (i.e. the least-recently switched). I then gather the car cards for those industries from the 'CN Yard' file, then switch the three sectors profiled below. Once set-out at an industry, the cars are added to the CN Industries file.
CN OPERATIONS - HANLEY SPUR SOUTH END