Monday, April 28, 2008

Extra West 9060!

Canadian National Railways 9060, Mile Post 75, Skeena Subdivision, November 18, 1959. In a torrential downpour, we find Extra West 9060 scurrying west bound along the Skeena River, under cover of white flags, heading for Prince Rupert.

White Flags and white bullet lamps indicate a train running off the published Employee Time Table. This is TRAIN ORDER country, real railroading that runs on flimsies, an employee time table, corrected pocket watch, moxie, and reasoning ability!

In foreground is Trans-Canada Highway 16 - the Yellowhead Highway: 500 miles of gravel and dust in the summer; 500 miles of gravel and mud the rest of the year. Prince George is 500 miles − 500 miles east of this location! Directly behind me is the mighty Skeena River, one of the major rivers of North America. Tracks, highway and river share close company for many, many miles!

If one encountered a train at night, the drill was to stop and turn your eyes away from the locomotive. Even though crews would dim headlamp, turning away would protect your night vision. Log trains were especially scary, as bark, dirt and gravel would often fly off the logs.

Geeze, those were exhilarating days up there, from 1957 through 1959! And this is one of my final photo shoots, as within a few weeks, we will be moving back to Seattle.

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways 9060. Built by General Motors Division (GMD) London Ontario, as an F-7, 1,500 horse power, road class GFA-15c, December 1951, serial number A-330. Retired August 1971. Rebuilt and renumbered 9156, September 1972, modified for snow plow service in southern Ontario by providing removable steel grill for the windshield and covers for the roof-mounted radiator fans, retired December 1989.

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