Thursday, October 11, 2007

Prince Rupert Engine Servicing Facility

May, 1958. Three new massive diesel oil tanks dominate the Prince Rupert Engine Facility. Ball on the old wood stave octagon water tower shows almost full! Fuel, sand, water, and a stand-by steam generator car for the passenger trains. This is Canada’s “wild west.” The next major facility is hundreds of miles to the east. Two Geeps [GMD 4216 & GMD 4426 GP-9's 1750HP] are power for tonight’s time freight, which lifts off just after the passenger train 196. Prince Rupert was designated, with the Canadian Government's consent, a Seattle Sub-Port of Embarkation in March of 1942. Thousands of US Army support personnel swelled the town, and the massive transit pier in background, was built, which we called the Ocean Dock, along with large freight and storage facilities. A disappearing gun emplacement and a submarine net to guard the entrance to the third best deep-water port in Canada. The Ocean Dock burned down in a spectacular fire years ago.

But very recently, a new Chapter has been added to the Prince Rupert story, with the grand opening on September 12, 2007 of a $120m, 500,000 teu container ship facility. Closer to Asia by 500 miles, CN has launched an aggressive campaign to challenge Vancouver, Seattle, SF, and LA. CN improvements include upgrades to rail traffic control systems west of Prince George and extended sidings that will increase capacity in the corridor from Prince Rupert through to Memphis. CN has upgraded tunnels and bridges, bought out the the PGE (BC Rail) N-S route, built new intermodal terminals in Prince George and Edmonton, acquired 2250 platform cars and 50 new state-of-the-art locomotives specifically to serve this new venture. I've included a link to this magnificant re-birth of a city in my links.

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