Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fourth Class 922

Canadian National Railways 9076 + 4800. Departure track, Prince Rupert, Skeena Subdivision, August 12, 1959. It's a late summer evening, just about 9:30. Gardner-Denver's are pumping air. Carmen walk the train doing last minute departure checks on Fourth Class Freight 922.

This was a ritual I loved to watch and listen. To this day, more than 50 years later, I can still hear those magnificent General Motors V-16’s chanting quietly, with the occasional “pfist-pfist” of the air system.

We lived about three blocks from where this photo was taken, and my second floor bedroom window overlooked the Yard.  See red arrow above.

In the wintertime when it got dark really early, and the wind and rain were pelting my window, I would open it just enough to hear the units pumping air, the sound undulating with the wind.

The distant grain elevator was torn down in 1987, replaced with a larger modern facility at Ridley Island, 10 miles east. 

Then when pocket watches hit 21:30, the head light would switch into high beam, carving a hole in the rain drenched darkness, the brakes would release and the throttles eased up to run two, creating a “thump thump thump” ripple down the length of the train as slack was eased out.

Once the crew car cleared onto the main, the engineer would whistle off the high ball, and those magnificent motors would roar into life into the night.

With 65 cars in tow, they are heading for dark, lonely, north Canadian wilderness. Next civilization is 100 miles to the east up the mighty Skeena River.

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways 9076, F-7, built by GMD, London Ontario, as road class GFA-15d, 1,500 hp, August 1952, serial number A-358, remanufactured as an F7Au in December 1972, damaged in a wreck on the Nechako subdivision in 1976, and received a “new” nose from retired 9046. Retired in 1989, and scrapped at Sidbeck-Feruni in May 1994.

Canadian National Railways 4800, GP-7, built as 7555 by GMD, London Ontario, as road class Y-5-a, 1,500 hp, August 1953, serial number A-534, reclassified as GR-15a in 1954 and renumbered 1700, renumbered 4350 in 1956, and renumbered 4800 in August 1957. Wrecked with sister 4808 in a rock slide at MP 40.7, Skeena Subdivision in February 1967 and retired as a constructive loss in June, 1967.

2 Comments - Click here:

Unknown said...

A wonderfully descriptive story of the past. Thank you.

LinesWest said...

Very nice O-E. I have spent only a night in Prince Rupert but reember it well. It was a pleasant summer evening, my father and I had just arrived on Via's "Skeena" and the amazing summer light lasted until 11 at night. Thanks for bringing that back to mind.


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