Sunday, May 31, 2009

Work Train

Canadian National Railways 4809, Skeena Subdivision Mile Post 67.5, January 1959. Constant exposure to soggy elements keeps track crews busy year round. This area is where the Skeena River knives through the Coast Range Mountains, which receive upwards of 200 inches of rain per year.

The winter of 1958 - 1959 saw more than it’s share of rock slide severing the Canadian National Prince Rupert Extension. This crew working with a string of Western Air Dump cars and Type A Jordan Spreader 51070 working out a waterlogged stretch of track between Salvus and Kwinitsa on the Skeena Subdivision.

With only six trains a day, most running through this area at night, crews were unimpeded in completing their assigned tasks. Nevertheless, there is no radio communication in this part of the world, so flaggers with a fist full of torpedoes and flares sit it out at each end of the work zone, trying to keep warm.

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways 4809, nee 7564 built in London Ontario by General Motors Division in October 1953, serial number A-543, as a GP7, 1,500 horsepower. Renumbered 1709 9/54, renumbered 4359 6/56, renumbered 4809 in August 1957. Leased to Northern Alberta Railroad from November 1967 thru January 1968. In a wreck in 1971 and declared a constructive loss, ending up in the junk yard at Transcona Shops in 1981.

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