Thursday, December 13, 2007


Skeena Subdivision, February 15, 1959. East bound Fourth Class 922, which we called the "Log Train," has picked up empty log bunks at the Columbia Cellulose plant at Port Edward, and is clipping along eastbound at maximum permitted speed of 30 mph! The empty log bunks will be dropped off the Columbia Cellulose Kitsumkalum Reload, just west of Terrace, BC.

After the crew had dropped off the empty log bunks at the reload, completed switching duties in the Terrace Yard, and enjoyed lunch, they will return to the reload, and pull loaded bunks westward to the Port Edward mill, completing the turn that afternoon, tying up back in Prince Rupert. This was the run I rode with most often, and loved it for it's variety and because it was only a day trip.

All of this is history. The reload, the log train, the pulp mill.

Kitsumkalum is a First Nations tribe. In the traditional Tsimshian system, all Kitsumkalum members belonged to one of four clans: Killer whales/Blackfish, Eagles, Ravens, or Wolves.

At the conclusion of the Second World War, there was a great demand for lumber and large-scale industrial logging started in 1950 with the award of permits to Columbia Cellulose, Limited.

Over-legal Pacific log trucks brought the timber from the Nass River country on over-legal log trucks to the re-load, for the final 100-mile rail trip to the mill. Shown here is an "off-road" Kenworth out of Seattle.

Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and Prince George, 500 miles to the east, was a two lane - sometimes - gravel an pot hole experience. Most bridges were single lane with "yield" warning signs. In the summer time, you could see an approaching motor vehicle by the dust cloud approaching in the distance, giving you sufficient warning to roll up the windows and anticipate a flurry of gravel!

In the winter time, you had your choice of mud or snow and ice. My Dad wrapped several layers of canvas around the fuel tank of our Chrysler New Yorker, to protect against fuel tank punctures. After only a few trips, the canvas was shredded, but no fuel tank punctures!

And inattention to speed and the lack of guard rails often spelled disaster. Indeed, the cook on my Dad's tug met his demise on the Skeena in his big Packard.

Because the CNR and road were very adjacent to each other, even a passing train could raise a dust cloud! July, 1958. Can you recall being "dusted" by a train?

As an aside, note my train-chasing buddies "upside-down bath tub" Nash - nick-named "LuLuBelle."

2 Comments - Click here:

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

I liked reading this, the bottom picture made me remember my Cab Ride I talk about in my blog for my Dad's trains. This looks like a long train, about how long ago was this picture taken.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

This was taken from the CNR Special 11 cars including baggage (beer) car, Prince Rupert to Terrace - to see HRH Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. They made a fuel stop in Terrace on their way to the Yukon Territory (1959).
My buddie and I were riding in the second GP9 when I took this shot. Stay tuned, there will be an entire series eastbound and westbound of this trip.

Be sure to let your network know about !

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