Canadian National Railways, Prince Rupert, May 1958.The coup d'etat was completed months earlier, when the last steam drawn passenger train left Prince Rupert, with diesels pulling in the next day. All that's left now is carting away the bodies.
CNR 5000 shown here has been placed into this evening’s eastbound freight. There was a “collection” area at Jasper, where she is headed. I’m looking at this shot wondering why in heck I didn’t take a screwdriver to that engine plate!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Canadian National Railways, Prince Rupert, May 1958.The coup d'etat was completed months earlier, when the last steam drawn passenger train left Prince Rupert, with diesels pulling in the next day. All that's left now is carting away the bodies.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Milwaukee Road, Enumclaw Washington, July 14, 1960. When we think of the Milwaukee Road we envision electric trains humming along on DC current at such locations Pipestone Pass, crossing the Columbia at Othello, Beverly, Washington, Black River Junction and Van Asselt Seattle.
But there was a big supporting cast of “yard goats” – switchers – that make and break tonnage for the stars to haul. They shuffle here and there, doing this and that, driven only by a “switch list.” And few photographers, if any, pay attention to them.
I captured one in, of all places, Enumclaw Washington, with the optional “church spire” exhaust stack!
Railroad Stuff: GMD SW1200, 1200hp, built as MILW 1639, 1/54, sn: 18760, Class 12ES. Renumbered 704, and then renumbered MILW 616 as seen here.
Monday, January 28, 2008
Canadian Pacific Railway. Place and date unknown. I’ve got several boxes of photos and negatives, mostly collected between 1957 and 1961. I was in college for two years, then the USAF. And in the intervening years, the Merger took place, and the 567C was replaced with the 645, so-on-and-so forth, and I found myself totally out of the loop!
If I do happen across a train today, I have no frigging idea of what I’m looking at. And since everything up here is BNSF, what’s the point! If I go up to Index, there is no GN, but BNSF. If I go to Auburn, there is no NP, but BNSF. If I go to South Tacoma, there is no Milwaukee, but BNSF. You get the idea.
Anyway, I’ve been digging through theses boxes of negatives, prints, and slides, and found a fist full of these negatives with a single sprocket – I have no idea what the “gage” it is, but they do fit into the 35mm film strip holder in my Microtek i900.
1. The are obviously very old, almost 50 years old, and
2. They capture some slices of time on the Canadian Pacific Railway.
The first is CPR 7034, an S3 running on AAR type trucks. The second is steam engine CPR 2402. Note the shark nosed Studebaker! If you can shed some light on where the photos were taken, please let me know! And if you have any idea what this film is, let me know!
See update here!
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Index: Help Wanted
Pacific Great Eastern Railway. Horseshoe Bay, BC, Mile Post 11.0, July 4, 1961. Fourth of July weekend, 1961. El Purington and I headed north of Seattle, and spent two days chasing down Pacific Great Eastern, Canadian National Railways and Canadian Pacific Railway power, snagging a few extras along the way!
So here we capture southbound Fourth Class Freight #28, PGE 591 leading PGE 583, passing us at Horseshoe Bay, on the final 10 miles to North Vancouver. Those ALCo 251’s sounded neat working at mid throttle - second only to EMD’s, of course.
Pacific Great Eastern strikes north of North Vancouver, and immediately enters a magnificent stretch of trackage along Howe Sound, beginning at Horseshoe Bay, running a 728.4 mile rollercoaster up the middle of British Columbia, terminating in the Peace River Country at Fort St. John.
It wasn’t always that way. Oddly enough, the railroad began at Squamish, BC, with car float connection to North Vancouver!
If you’d like to learn more about this fascinating railroad, check out this site, with many historic photos of the Pacific Great Eastern.
4th of July Part 1
4th of July Part 2
4th of July Part 3
Railroad Stuff: PGE 591 built Montreal Locomotive Works as RS-18, 1960, sn 83274, 1972, became BC Rail 605.
PGE 583, built Montreal Locomotive Works as RS-10, 1956, sn 81541, 1973 became BC Rail 601, rebuilt to 2,000hp.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
A tiny pinpoint of light indicates an approaching trio of SD45’s gasping for air in run 8. When these photos were taken 1971, logging clear cuts provided wide vistas of trains snaking over the Pass. Access to these areas was made possible by the Forest Service haul roads – narrow gravel roads created with sight distance turnouts, and not for the faint of heart during logging operations. I only visited this area on weekends to avoid conflicts.
The arrow points to the 50, 000 gallon water tank on the slope above the roadbed I have no idea if it is still standing, but it was listed as a historical landmark. The elevation at this point is 4,072 feet.
My wife and I spent many hours exploring the maze of haul roads, enjoying picnics with the sounds of working locomotives filling the canyons all afternoon. On our first exploration, my wife had not realized that the helpers would be manned.
After the head end cleared, she resumed sunbathing — topless. An appreciative helper crew gave her a big wave and tattoo on the horn, as they roared past!
Twin SD45 helpers dive into Tunnel 5, pushing and shoving the final 8 miles to the Cascade Summit at 4,885 feet! (1,489 meters.)
See Also: Natron Cutoff #1
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Georgia-Pacific, Samoa, California, September 1959. Hammond Lumber Company was sold to Georgia-Pacific in 1956. Georgia-Pacific discontinued rail operations in 1961, two years after this photo was taken. Georgia-Pacific sold out to Simpson Timber Company in 1998.
In 2004, the buildings and property at Samoa were sold to a private developer. Since there are several surviving locomotives, and the 100+ year old shops are “salvageable” there was some talk of restoring this property.
Here is a comprehensive collection of blueprints for cottages and structures comprising the company town of Samoa.
And here is the complete history of this Northern California logging operation.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Great Northern, Seattle, August 13, 1960. What a visual delight, from the hogger’s great big friendly smile, to the “carriage lamp” classification lights! Here we find GN 83 and sister GN 77 in transfer service, having picked up cars from the Milwaukee Road (Van Asselt), Union Pacific (Argo), and Northern Pacific (Stacy Street) leisurely humming north along Alaska Way (that’s Alaska Steam Ship masts in background.)
I don’t remember the logistics of this shoot, but we did get ahead of this consist in time to catch them, horn blatting, bell ringing northbound on Alaska Way, passing the Canadian Pacific Dock, Pier 64, at the foot of Lenora Street. A wonderful mixture of salt air, seagulls and railroading!
This transfer run takes Great Northern bound cars to Interbay Yard. Again, what a visual feast this shot provides – from an era when a car was a car – not a Nike-shoe-all-look-alikes. See how many vehicles you can identify. Gotta love those hood ornaments!
In the background is the vehicle entrance into the CPR dock, Seattle being part of the famous Triangle Run; Seattle, Victoria, Vancouver, on some of the smartest steams to every ply the Puget Sound!
Railroad Stuff: Both engines EMC SW-1’s, 600hp. GN 83, built EMC 1/50, sn: 11025. Became BN 83, and was retired in 1983.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Canadian National Railways, Terrace BC, Mile Post 28.4, Skeena Subdivision, June 20, 1959. As if locomotive re-numberings aren’t bad enough (see “Merger Madness,”) how about when a Division Point gets moved, and your entire photo references by Mile Post are trashed!
That happened here. When this photo was taken, the Division Point for the Skeena Subdivision was at Pacific – 28.4 miles to the east of Terrace up the Skeena River. I never went up there, training and de-training in Terrace. And for a good reason, Pacific was in the middle of no-where, no road access, on the opposite side of the Skeena River from the Yellowhead highway!
But with Time Table 1, taking effect at 24.01 Sunday October 25th, 1959, Terrace, 28.4 miles west of Pacific, became Mile Post 0.0 for the Skeena Subdivision, and shortened the Skeena Subdivision to 94.6 miles. And all my references to “MP” on my photographs went down the drain!
Here we have the CNR 1279 with Jordan Ditcher 50192 departing Terrace westbound under cover of white flags, with a cut of Western Air Dump ballast cars. Since these locomotives were designed to run long nose first, there were no flag holders on the “front” of the cab!
There was extensive re-ballasting over the entire Skeena Subdivision in 1959, and the SW1200RS’s were perfectly suited for the job, as long as the gravel didn’t get too deep, having a short-lived existence as prime movers on the passenger trains!
I was all of 16 years old when I took this shot. I was very fortunate to have parents who embraced my budding photography, and love of the trains. That’s them exchanging greetings with the train crew – my mutt isn’t paying a bit of attention!
Railroad Stuff: CNR 1279, GMD London Ontario, SW1200RS, 1,200hp, built 9/57, sn: A-1175, Class GR-12k, retired in the early 1990’s.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Milwaukee Road had 24 of these units. This unit was orginally numbered 2214.
Immediately you notice the lack of dynamic brake blisters – which can be seen on the unit immediately behind her. Strange for a railroad that had some challenging grades in Washington, Idaho, and Montana!
Railroad Stuff: MILW 514, GM SD-7, 1,500 hp, built 6/52 sn: 19643.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Canadian Pacific Railway, Port Coquitlam, BC, July 4, 1961. Our 4th of July odyssey continues. Pacific Great Eastern movements will come later in the afternoon, so we head east of Vancouver to Port Coquitlam, on the confluence of the Pitt and Fraser Rivers, to the largest Canadian Pacific Railway yard in BC.
The name “Coquitlam” comes from the First Nation’s Salish word "Kwayhquitlum," meaning "red fish in the river," referring to the river’s annual salmon spawning run.
The Canadian Pacific Railway moved its freight operations from Vancouver to Port Coquitlam in 1911. The city was incorporated in 1913.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Pacific Great Eastern, North Vancouver, BC, July 4, 1961. My train-chasing buddy El Purington and I have made a two-day 4th of July trek north out of Seattle to do some serious train sound recording and photography in Vancouver, BC.
Vancouver offered, in those days, the Canadian National Railways, Canadian Pacific Railway, Great Northern, the Pacific Great Eastern, plus the likes of Pacific Coast Terminals.
The “Prince George Eventually” ran what has to have been one of the most scenic runs in North America, from North Vancouver, BC to Prince George BC, some 462.5 miles. Beginning at tidewater, running the length of Howe Sound, thence up and over the Coast Range Mountains into the Caribou Country, a diversity of wild scenery.
Here we see the “Cariboo Dayliner #1” awaiting her 7AM departure (daily) at the North Vancouver depot. Elwin and I appealed (read that, pleaded as "railfans from Seattle") to the train crew to make sure they leaned on those wonderful air horns as they approached us near the Capilino River.
No soap. Both North Vancouver and West Vancouver had noise restrictions, which allowed them to blow the horns ONLY in the event of a potential accident.
The crews jaws dropped when we entered the cab (boy – could you get away with this today?) We explained to them we were from Seattle, doing some sound recording, yadda-yadda.
No soap. The Cities of North Vancouver and West Vancouver had noise restrictions, so-on and so-forth.
So we hurried back to our location, in between the Lions Gate Bridge and the Capilino River, getting set up none too soon. I was standing up on the roadbed, whilst Elwin and his stereo microphones were back to the west about 150 feet, to get good "separation."
The “Cariboo Dayliner” whistled off at exactly 7AM, and blew crossing signals all the way up to us, and over the Capilino River into West Vancouver, with an extra double tap as they past us! Wow, what a recording!
A few minutes later, the freighter whistled off, and as the Montreal Locomotive Works coffee grinders approached us, the fireman leaned out the window, and you can clearly hear him say “We’ll just get past you so it won’t be so loud!”
Then the hogger cracked the throttles open, and let loose on the air horn out across the Capilino River Bridge and into West Vancouver!
We got a double whammy! And it’s a sound I can still hear all these years later! The chortling 4-cycles clearing their throats, and those magnificiant PGE air horns! As we enjoyed breakfast at Denny’s later in the morning, we started to laugh about the phones that would be lighting up at City Hall!
From what I understand, the name “Cariboo Dayliner” was changed to “Cariboo Prospector” in 1972 when Pacific Great Eastern became BC Rail. And that service was discontinued on October 31, 2002, ending nearly a half-century of passenger service through some pretty – and lonely – territory!
It is sad to see so much railroad history slip into oblivion. That's why I do these postings, trying to preserve as much history as I can.
Railroad Stuff: PGE, BC-30, Budd RDC-3, built 9/56, sn: 6508, 2 x 300hp Detroit Diesels, became BC Rail #30 in 1972. Sold to Milford Bennington Railroad, New Hampshire, 2002, operating on the Wilton Scenic. The railroad's founder, Stuart Draper of Wilton, died of a heart attack on January 31, 2006. In October 2006, the railroad's two cars were sold to the
They started a new service in 2007, and at last report, running under the banner of the Islander Touring Train, our 50+ year old lady is still running strong!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Northern Pacific, Stacy Street Yard, Seattle, July 1958. I was all of 15 years old when I tripped over an entire line of deadlined steam, at Stacy Street. We were still living in Prince Rupert, but had journeyed to Seattle for “vacation” and do some serious shopping at Sears-Roebuck (Sears Tower in background.)
1957-1958 seemed to be the defining time for Northern Pacific and Great Northern to put steam out to pasture. This group is just months away from the cutters torch. There were at least four 0-6-0’s and three 4-8-4’s including the famous Timken Roller Bearing “Four Aces,” in this "death row."
I ran across an interesting reference to this 0-6-0 switcher as being “6-coupled SW.” Apparently this has to do with the rolling friction of the locomotive. At any rate, I am unfamiliar with the true meaning of this designation. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me!
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Natron Cutoff, Milepost 561, June 24, 1971. SP8954 and her partner are straining on the dynamics to hold back following TOFC from California. Back up the train, a trio of SD45’s are helping her fight the law of gravity!
She'll pass us, duck through one more tunnel, crossing over Salt Creek and US 58 dropping down into Oakridge, Oregon.
From there, a pleasing down slope run through Oakridge, Springfield, taking a breather in Eugene.
In 1926, the Southern Pacific completed its north – south trek over the Cascade Mountains -Willamette Pass - connecting Natron, Lane County, Oregon, with Black Butte, Siskiyou County, California.
This route shortened, by 25 miles, the run from Eugene to Sacramento, compared to the Siskiyou Line, which, by the way, was the scene of the last great armed train robbery in the USA. But that’s something you can look up in Google.
A fellow by the name of Joel Ashcroft, who works for the railroad, has placed a very complete, competent and easy read history of the Natron Cutoff, including a detailed strip maps, construction photos, cab photos, and profiles. Under "Structures," a photographic tour of the Natron Cutoff, that takes you over the entire landscape.
For those of you who have the computer horsepower to run “Google Earth,” enter “Oakridge, Oregon” in the search engine. Zoom in until you can make out the railroad grade, and follow it over its magnificent landscape to the Cascade Summit.
The Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record details the entire route, and is a fascinating historical record of the Natron Cutoff.
Here is a fascinating analysis of the effect of the “Natron Cutoff!”
Next to Rogers Pass up in British Columbia, I consider this the second most impressive rail mountain crossing in North America. What I refer to as “Big Time Railroading!”
While the Saluda Grade is steep and the “darling of east coast railroaders,” the fact is it is only three miles long, and “peaks out” at all of 600 feet and inches!
However, the Natron Cutoff is at least four times as long, with two massive horseshoe curves, more than a dozen tunnels and snow sheds, peaking out at almost five time the elevation at 4, 885 feet elevation and the trains still have to get over Grass Lake summit south of Klamath Falls near Black Butte, at 5,122 feet elevation, before rejoining the Siskiyou Line main to Sacramento.
Ruling grade north bound is 2.2%; 1.8% south bound.
As you view the Grass Lake virtual panorama, when you scan to point where you can see Mt. Shasta in the background, in the foreground you can see the SP rail alignment, just behind the truck trailer, at 5,122 feet elevation, almost a mile high!
Railroad Stuff. SP 8954, EMD SD45, 645E3 V-20 motor rated at 3,600, built 1968.
See Also: Natron Cutoff #2
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Woodland Park, Seattle, August 1959. Great Northern’s colorful age of steam came to an end in August 1957. Three-dozen engines were laid up through the winter of 1957, but were never fired up. At its peak in 1920, GN had 1,428 steam engines on the books. Shown here is GN Class F-8 Consolidation, presented to the City of Seattle on July 18, 1953 and displayed at Woodland Park.
This beautiful 2-8-0 was class F-8, built by Rogers Locomotive Works, in 1907. She was an oil burner with Stephenson valve gear, and tractive effort of 41,540 pounds.
Great Northern donated several locomotives to various communities, including
Number 1, “William Crooks,” St. Paul Depot, June 1954
Number 1355, 4-6-2, Sioux City Iowa
Number 1147, 2-8-0, Wenatchee City Park
Number 3059, 2-8-2, Williston North Dakota
In the 1980’s the City of Seattle sold GN 1246 to some fellow down near Klamath Falls, who was supposed to restore her. But this is what was located in a field 20 years later, in 2002. Hardly looks like a “restored” locomotive. I cannot find any information later than that posting.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Milwaukee Road, South Tacoma, May 29, 1960. What a remarkable piece of machinery! More than 40 years old when I took this shot at South Tacoma Shops, and still moaning and groaning over the Cascade Pass!
Those fellows down at South Tacoma really took pride in answering questions about these units. From them I learned that when the electric trains ran down hill, they used regenerative braking – similar concept to diesel dynamic braking – and actually pumped current back in the communities they passed through!
I had the opportunity to ride one of these units from Black River Junction to VanAsselt and return. The first thing that struck me was the cramped cab. Then the smell of ozone, and finally the moaning and groaning of those big electrics.
In 1954, two EF-1 locomotives, E22A/B and E23A/B were converted back into passenger service as class EP-1A to help the ageing Bi-Polars on the Puget Sound Extension. Both received "streamlined" cab fronts.
They were repainted into the Union Pacific Railroad scheme of Armour Yellow with Harbor Mist Gray roofs, and red dividing lines. These two locomotives served until March 1961 in this role; at which time, the E23A and E23B were renumbered E22D and E22C
Railroad Stuff: Built as 10208A, by Alco/General Electric, April 8, 1916. A+B 6,880 hp. Renumbered 10505A, November 6, 1936, renumbered E28A, March 17, 1939, and renumbered to present E23A August 14, 1953. Reclassified EP-1, August 27, (streamlined cab) at South Tacoma Shops, August 27, 1953.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Port Townsend, today. Update to a recent article “Canadian Pacific on Vancouver Island” posted January 3rd 2008. - CPR 15. Discovered this photo “line up” of “15” and her sisters. And discovered they are 44-tonners.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Date and Location, unknown. I shot this in the mid-70’s sometime just after “The Merger.” And like many of you, I didn’t make a damn mark on the print except the engine number – Northern Pacific 4081.
Or is it?
This is a perfect example of the “merger madness” confusion that followed the formation of the Burlington Northern, which swallowed up the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Spokane, Portland and Seattle, in March 1970.
This unit was originally built for the NP, as unit number 857. But she is wearing her newly assigned post-merger number of 4081 – a Burlington Northern number. Took me a while to sort this out, because when I looked up NP4081, I found they never issued that road number!
So, on a hunch, went to the Burlington Northern Roster (following the merger), and sure enough, there she was 4081, nee 857! And if I had been paying attention, as I am 35 years latter, upon careful observation, you can detect white block style numbers painted on the cab, as opposed to the classic NP numbers.
Here’s what she looked like when they finally got around to painting her the Cascade Green scheme.
That same day, I shot Burlington Northern 668, born GN 454A. I rest my case about how dingy the Cascade Green scheme looks with a little road dirt!
As if these mergers weren't enough grief for rail photographers, especially if they blinked, it took a while to sort things out, particularly when the unit is sporting her former colors, although with the GN unit, it looks like a belt sander was used to try and at least eliminate the carrier name.
And the whole rotten mess started all over again, when Burlington Northern combined with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, in December 1998, to create the Burlington Northern Santa Fe – BNSF!
And then there is the Union Pacific - Southern Pacific meger. Nah! I'm not going there!
Railroad Stuff: NP 857, Alco RS-3 (1,600hp), built March 1955, serial number 81154, post merger BN 4081, retired August 1978.
Great Northern 454A, GM F7A, 1,500 hp, built April 1950, serial number 9544, post merger number BN 668. Retired, stripped of motor, now located at Jackson Street facility, Minnesota Transportation Museum, in St. Paul Minnesota.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Coos Bay, Oregon. April 29, 1994. What a terrible ending for a magnificent machine! This unit was apparently in a group of 30 or so that Espee designated heavy yard switchers - GP-9E. As compared to the glory days on the erection floor at La Grange, this is obscene.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Prince Rupert, September 1, 1959. Well, the ballasting gang has just ruined their day! Canadian National Railways SW1200RS 1275 and 1277, set up for a push-pull operation were pushing a bottom dump ballast car (far right in photo) around the wye, laying out new ballast, when things got a little out of hand, and 1275 “is on the ground!”
Here is the gang, in a torrential downpour (Prince Rupert averages about 8 feet of rain per year) digging out the trucks between the two units, to prepare for the laying of the re-railing frog. The fellow in the fedora hat on the gangway already muttered something about me trespassing, but undaunted, I continue shooting!
Railroad Stuff: CNR 1275 & 1277, GMD SW1200RS, Road Class GR-12k, both built 9/57, sn 1275 A-1171, 1277 A-1173.
Friday, January 4, 2008
This unit was part of an order for 78 GP-9's, 200-277. In the 1970’s Milwaukee Road up graded many GP-9’s to GP-20m.
Railroad Stuff: Originally built as MILW 2443, built 6/54, sn 19606. Rebuilt May, 1973 as GP20m, upgraded to 2,000 hp, and renumbered 977.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Point Ellice Yard, Victoria, BC, July 16, 1960. Canadian Pacific Railway 15 diesel-hydraulic sits it out at Point Ellice yard, waiting for a new assignment. A deceivingly short bridge joins downtown Victoria with “the west end.” And it turns out to be the scene of one of Canada’s worst disasters! This link provides newspaper coverage of the accident.
Canadian Locomotive Works in Kingston, Ontario, built a lot of locomotives under license from Fairbanks, Morse and Company.
Diesel-hydraulic locomotives us the same principle of power transmission to the driving wheels as is used in an automobile automatic transmission. Since there is no rigid connection between the diesel engine and the wheels, possible damage to the transmission and diesel engine is eliminated.
I know my way around Victoria, as my Grandparents on my mother’s side lived on Bay Street – and yes, their house still stands! My sister and I would ride the CPR Princess passenger ships to Victoria every summer, to spend a month with our Grand Parents.
My Grandpa worked for the City, and in those days, he’d drive by the house for lunch! One day, he opened up the back of the truck he was driving, and showed us kids an Electric Chair!
He worked on the huge breakwater that protects the approaches to Victoria from the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Railroad Stuff: CPR 15, CLC 44-H-44-A2, built March 1958, sn 2993, 2x250 Cat diesel motors.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Prince George BC, Mile Post 465.9 November 25, 1959. Route of the “Cariboo Dayliner” North bound Number 1 leaves North Vancouver at 8am, arrives 2nd day at 12:35am – a tenth of a mile short of 466 miles – here in Prince George.
The “Cariboo Dayliner” – a lash up of Budd RDC cars – featured reserved seating, steward service, complimentary meals, reclining lounge seats, air conditioning and view-windows!
In a feature article on the “Prince George Eventually” Trains Magazine described the route as a “roller coaster” and indeed brake shoe changes were frequent. Grades up to 2.2% we commonplace, as the line drove northward up the gut of British Columbia.
Note the ‘60’s station design, with the old-fashioned big-wheel baggage cart maintaining a sense of perspective!
It’s all gone now.