Saturday, September 27, 2008

Canadian National's Consolidations

Canadian National Railways 2514, Smithers Division, Skeena Subdivision, Port Edward, June 1957. My buddy Mike took these photos of Consolidations in action in mid 1957. We did not arrive in Prince Rupert until September 1957, and I had not yet experienced my epiphany and subsequent transformation into a ferroequinologist.

Be that as it may, these three photographs are probably the last pictures taken of these magnificent machines in Prince Rupert, as diesel power was creeping ominously into the lineup. Diesel replaced all freight first, then yard and finally - varnish.

These engines represent 2 of the 48 sub-classes of Canadian National Railways 2-8-0 Consolidations that ran as “heavy freight” engines – more classes if you count the permutations of many of each sub-class. As an example, CNR 2514, show here working eastbound through Port Edward Cannery with passenger train 196, was in road class N-2-b.

“Heavy Freight” was the description of this wheel arrangement first introduced in 1866. Who knew that “Big Boy” would become the standard by which “Heavy Freight” would be judged!

The “Consolidation” type locomotive – 2-8-0 – went through an interesting permutation known as a
“camel back” locomotive. I am curious as to how the engineer and fireman communicated, as the only blueberries in those days were of the edible type!

By the time the last 2-8-0s were delivered in the 1940s, more than 33,000 had been delivered - more than any other type of steam locomotive built, indisputable testimony as to the versatility and reliability of the design.

The locomotives pictured here were originally built as coal burners. Four of the N-2-b’s had a “Brakeman’s Cabin” facing aft on the tender, which was removed during the conversion to oil burning.

Near Red Pass Junction, the Canadian National Railways main line turned south heading for Vancouver. The rail laid out westbound in the early 1900’s from Red Pass Junction some 676.8 miles to tidewater at Prince Rupert, was later classified as branch line due to weight of rail.


Indeed, as late as the 1960’s passenger train speed top limits were only 40 miles per hour. With the arrival of the diesels, the Geep Seven’s and Geep Nine’s were all fitted out with small capacity fuel tanks and lightweight Flexicoil trucks.

I do recall seeing CNR 4304, a 2-10-2 Santa Fe in town once. There was a chuckle around the engine facility that she was sent out west to straighten some restrictive curvatures!

Here is another of the very rare photos, taken by my rail fan buddy Mike, of the CNR 2515 working east bound on the Skeena Subdivision through Fairview Cannery, just south of Prince Rupert, in the twilight year 1957.

That’s Mike’s motor vehicle. Can you identify it?

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways 2513 / 2514, 2-8-0 Consolidation,
road class N-2-b. 50 in this class built by Montreal Locomotive Works, 1918. 63” drivers.

Canadian National Railways 2515, 2-8-0 Consolidation, road class N-4-b. 52 in this class built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1906. 63” drivers.

2 Comments - Click here:

adrian said...

The car is a 1950's era Morris Oxford

William Gruff said...

the car is a Morris Minor

Post a Comment

"Comment" is for sharing information related to this article. "Anonymous" comments are not published.