Wednesday, March 5, 2008

4th of July, 1961. Part 5 - Canadian Version of ALCo DL-701

Pacific Great Eastern 589, North Vancouver, July 3, 1961. We first saw this unit as part of the asthmatic power pack on northbound fourth-class freight #26, dropping anchor to sign paper work in Quesnel BC, November 1959.

And again, I have to admire the Conductor’s jaunty cap, and the youth in him and the fireman, who obviously was embarrassed by the mess he’d made on the side of the cab of the lead unit. Why? Because he never made eye contact with me!

These young men must have experienced great pride in running on a railroad that defied many obstacles. Now a thread of the CN, Canadian National, I am blessed to have seen this road the “way it was.”

Until you’ve heard a gaggle of 4-cycle motors throttling up, you haven’t lived! Whist the GM 567 series “roared” at throttle up, 4-cycle motors, generally running in and out of sync, were frightening! Sounded like the rods were about to depart the engine block!

“Modern” locomotives don’t hold a candle to what us “old timers” shared.

Two years later, my rail-chasing buddy El Purington and I spent the 4th of
July Weekend, 1961, “change-tracing” as we referred to “train-chasing” in Vancouver BC, a cornucopia of locomotive power on the Pacific Great Eastern, Canadian National Railways, Canadian Pacific Railway, and several terminal lines such as West Coast Terminals.

Fans of the “X Files” will recognize locales around North Vancouver, including the destruction of a PGE Budd RDC-2, BC Rail 23, nee CP 9112, blown up November 15, 1995, in one of Mulder’s adventures.

Other connects with North Vancouver? Indeed I connect! I was born at North Vancouver Hospital in 1943, whilst my late Dad was an Engineer on a North Vancouver Ferry!

Railroad Stuff: PGE 589, RS-18 (Canadian Version, Montreal Locomotive Works version of the ALCo DL-701,) 1,800hp, built 1958, SN 82509 renumbered BC Rail 603.

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