Believe it or not, this is the 10th Thanksgiving for Oil-Electric. The notion of writing a Blog running this long, was something I never planned. It just happened!
Coming from a long career in audio-visual communication, I got frustrated with the Worlds Number One Posting site. It’s fine for their website model. But that format just wasn’t the right fit to allow me to “express” myself.
I was airing my frustration to someone who recommended “Blogging” as being the perfect outlet for my creativity. I discovered a Blog is whatever you want it to be. Self-publishing made simple!
And I get to screen - approve - the photographs!
Now, almost 800 articles "in the can." Life events resulted in a slow down. But many interesting articles " are in the oven."
My sister and I were brought up to celebrate Thanksgiving every day, not just during the official holiday. One of the many things I am grateful for is this Blog and cadre of faithful readers.
The Blog is the perfect outlet for sharing my modest railroad photo collection. Several readers have asked me if I have a “favorite” photograph. Yes I do. While it isn’t dramatic, it evokes a rush of memories and feelings about my early days of “railroading.” And it captures for me, the essence of three years living in Prince Rupert. (1957 - 1959)
Realizing I only had only a few months left before we move back to Seattle, I begin to focus on capturing "memory shots."
This was my favorite spot, out at Pillsbury Point, south of the Government Grain Elevator, where my Dad's rail barge was processed. You can see the lead down to the barge bridge in the foreground.
I was 14 years old when I snapped this shot south of Prince Rupert, at Mile Post 118.5 on the Skeena Subdivision, with my hand-me-down Kodak folding 120 camera.
I title this photo, “Running Out the Slack.” It was taken in late evening, August 4, 1959. Fourth Class Freight 922 drifting eastward out of Prince Rupert with 9700 tons. Pulling at a slow speed, 567C’s issued an anxious, raspy exhaust. Those V-16's were anxious to pull!
It was on this stretch of track where freighters began "winding up." The last rays of sundown reflect off the stainless steel grills of the lead unit.
CNR 9116 was built by General Motors Division (GMD) in London, Ontario. She was out-shopped in November 1952. Her assistant, CNR 4807, rolled off the erection floor at GMD in October 1953.
When the crew car clears the yard lead, the conductor will signal the engineer with two short blasts of the communication whistle. The engineer responds, sending two long blasts into the evening. The anxiety of the motors changes to a commanding roar as the throttles are nudged in steps to run eight. Time Freight 922 has cast off into the darkening wilderness, along the Skeena River to Pacific, 118.5 miles to the east.
A trainman gives me a friendly wave. They were used to seeing me with my camera. He pulls up the cupola window. The crew car gently rocks from side to side down the line. Gradually, the sound of the working V-16's fade.
There is a chill in the air. I pick up the pace walking between the rails toward home. I wished I had worn a jacket.
Only the sounds of ballast crunching beneath my feet and a "CAW!" from the leader of an unkindness of ravens, as I approached them, feasting on grain at the government elevator.
I realize how much I am going to miss Prince Rupert ...
Related Posting: "Boxcars Go to Sea."