Monday, January 21, 2008

Merger Madness? Changing Mile Posts!

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.

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