Saturday, August 2, 2008


Canadian National Railways 55361, Prince Rupert, March 3, 1958. A fine looking piece of machinery – painted jet black, with red trim around windows and doors, and of course, a bright red rotary assembly. She’s all decked out with nowhere to go! Notice the extra water tank and tool car. Extra water was required as most of the water tanks were torn down with the advent of diesels takeover. And, she’s lined up ready to respond, with two geeps and a caboose completing the consist.

Prince Rupert does get some snow, with heavier showers sticking around for a few days, but being right on the North Pacific Coast, nothing requiring a rotary plow. However, just a few miles up the line; winter gets serious, with the Skeena River freezing over, and heavier snow as the line carves though the Coast Range Mountains.

In the three years we lived in Prince Rupert, I can only recall two or three times this machinery was activated. As I have mentioned before, our house was just a short distance from the Main Line, and from my second floor bedroom, I could watch departures and arrivals.

One evening, I heard the most god-awful moaning air horn, accompanied by a “chunkety-chunkety” rumbling sound. I rushed to my outpost, and observed the 55361, three massive headlamps piercing the darkness, being pushed east by a pair of Geeps. Oh, what a moaning air horn she had!

CNR 55361 is now on display at the ExpoRail
Canadian Railway Museum at Delson, Quebec.

Railroad Stuff: Canadian National Railways Rotary Plow 55361, built by Montreal Locomotive Works, December 1928, sn 67650.

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