Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winds of Change - Kitimat

Port Townsend, today. An associate Blogger in Prince Rupert, Scott Duffus, sent along a series of photos of the Canadian National Railway station in Kitimat, B.C.

Absolutely knocked the wind out of me.

I have written a couple of articles about Kitimat, which was built as a company town supporting a massive aluminum smelter. This is the way I would prefer to remember Kitimat:

CNR 5000 (4-6-2) on one of her final runs with Fourth Class Mixed Train at Kitimat, 1958

The Station was painted a muted green and gray combination, which really looked nice in its wilderness site, 38 miles south of Terrace, B.C. Unfortunately, my 35mm slides, less-than-Kodachrome, are fading.

Completed in 1955, Kitimat Station was known as a Special Floor Plan #100-356, incorporating passenger and package freight. Built at a cost of $92,142, the asbestos siding and roofing would be considered an absolute "no-no" in this era!

Most of the ingots cast at the smelter were shipped out by freighter. The line was serviced by a mixed freight, which served several logging shows. With a speed limit of 25 on the entire length, it was faster to drive your motor vehicle to Kitimat!

Almost dead center between Kitimat and Terrace (MP 13.4 timetable below,) a beautiful lake, Lakelse. My Mom and Sister decided they would do the Mother-Daughter Bonding Wilderness Experience there for a week in mid-1958. On the way, we stopped in Terrace and picked my buddy Ron Dolphin. (It was with Ron that I stayed on my overnght train rides to Terrace.)

Ron helped Dad and I set up camp for the ladies, and and bid them "fair thee well," planning on retrieving them the following weekend. My Dad was chuckling all the way back. He told Ron and I that by the time we got home, we would have received word begging us to come and get them!

We dropped Ron off in Terrace and continued back to Prince Rupert.

A week later, Dad and I drove up to retrieve the Happy Campers. Dad was chuckling all the way back to Lakelse. He said we would find them all packed up, sitting on the side of the highway, ready to come home.

Such was not the case. They claimed they wished they could have stayed longer! But knowing my Sister as I do, I never believed a word of it!

"Thanks" to Scott for sending his photos along. It has been interesting comparing and contrasting his current view of Prince Rupert, expressed through his blog, to the three years my family lived there, from 1957 through 1959.

See also:
Terrace, British Columbia

2 Comments - Click here: said...

Thanks for pictures of our camp site- Mom was a real outdoorswoman, and we always had warm cozy bunks and she made me put firewood at the foot of my sleeping bag- We always had a roaring fire in the morning and the men in the area came by to ask her how she did it. It was one of the best experiences of my time with her-Glad you had pictures of the 'real' Kitimat station., Sis

Anonymous said...

That's how things are taken care of in Kitimat. It's shameful, this town has no sense of heritage. Many buildings from the 1950's stand in ruins having been unused for decades.

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