Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Do Not Hump"

Canadian National Railways 4412, Prince Rupert, March 1959. Winter has once again taken its toll on the Prince Rupert Extension, Skeena Subdivision. I found Geep 4412 marshalling Jordan Spreader CNR 50970 and a cut of Western Air Dump cars, heading out of town under white flags as Work Extra 4412.

Judging by the rock in the Western Air Dumps, there will be some shoring up of an embankment somewhere up the line.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been up close and explored a Western Air dump car. Two large pistons mounted underneath the car body push up either the left or right sides of the car with the side doors flipping open to release the payload.

A sign mounted conspicuously on the ends of the car bears the admonition “Do Not Hump.” Hum. So you know what follows, yes?

I had been up to Terrace and back one Saturday, riding in the cab of the log train – see previous blog entry. It was late afternoon as we drifted into the yard at Prince Rupert; a flagger brought us to a stop, and directed us onto a particular yard lead. He climbed up into the cab with us, and pointed out the fever pitched activity in the middle of the yard.

Apparently the switch crew, making up a ballast train, gave a loaded Western Air Dump car a vigorous kick, and when she met up with her mates with a “bang,” there was heard a sudden “whoosh!” and the stimulated dump car dumped a full load of ballast off her starboard side, partially burying two box cars on the very adjacent track, containing the evening Time Table governed freighter!

Generator driven lights were brought in, and since the space was so confined, it was all backbreaking shovel work by hand to clear the mess. I would love to have been a fly on the wall down at the Super’s office to hear the explanation from the switch crew!

You’ve got to be in the right place at the right time to see these cars in action. When that body lifts up, it is damn impressive! This shot of a car dumping sideways will give you an idea as to what the MOW crew was up against – literally – freeing the adjacent cars and track!

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways 4412, nee 1736, built by General Motors Diesel (GMD) London Ontario, as GP-9, 1,750 horsepower, March 1955, serial number A-655. Renumbered 4412 in 1956. Rebuilt St Charles Shops as GP-9RM 7070, road class GS-418c, in 1992. Apparently alive and well as of June, 2008.

1 Comments - Click here:

SDP45 said...

What a pain for the crew that must have been!


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