Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Let's GO!

Prince Rupert, July, 1958. Crew members on motive power for fourth class train 922 (GMD GP-9L's 4205+4236+4415) look back to see what's holding up the departure of first class train 196 (GMD SW1200RS's 1279+1280+Steam Generator Car). They need the main to run out to their train.

After pumping air and a brake check, they'll follow about an hour behind 196 up the Skeena River. Long shadows are forming just after 1900 hours on a balmy evening in 1958.

So this is what is holding everyone up! Here we see time honored ritual of the conductor and engineer comparing timepieces and train order sets. This is real railroading; time tables, train orders, communication whistle signals. Nothing hi-tek. The SW1200RS unit has full m.u. connectors, oversize number boards and weight reducing Flexicoil trucks.

The ditch lights are not yet a factory option. They were bolted to the hand rails, adjusted so the beams, as I recall, crossed 50 feet ahead of unit. Heat and juice for passenger cars provided by the steam generator car behind 1279. Top speed on the Skeena Sub was 45 for passenger trains.

Because of the short wheelbase, engines lurched and yawed and crews disliked them. I rode several times in second unit, and it was dramatic! After some months, Geep's, wired with remote control panels for operating the steam generator cars, took over the varnish.

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