Saturday, November 8, 2008

Boxcars Go to Sea - Vancouver Island

Foss Tug & Barge, Sandra Foss, Pier 27, Seattle, date unknown. In an earlier blog entry, I related the brief history of rail operations on the Quimper and Olympic Peninsulas. This afternoon, whilst sorting through my late Dad’s large maritime collection, I tripped over this gem – the “Sandra Foss” with a Milwaukee Road car float at Pier 27 in Seattle. This was the loading site for car float service to Port Townsend and Shelton.

Beside tug and barge combinations, there is a variety of pure rail car vessels and combination rail car vessels, mostly in service between the British Columbia mainland and Vancouver Island. There was plenty of activity when you remember that the Canadian National Railways, Canadian Pacific Railway, and a score of logging and coal railroads were active on Vancouver Island!

I remember as a kid riding on the Canadian Pacific “Princess of Vancouver.” Our car was parked menacingly close to a sting of boxcars. She was built to carry 120 motor vehicles AND up to 28 rail cars. For stability, the rail cars were loaded abreast the center-line, whilst automobiles were loaded, space available, on the outer lanes.

This trip was particularly dramatic as the crossing from Nanimo to Vancouver was at night, and the Gulf of Georgia was not in a good mood!

Such vessels such as the “Carrier Princess” and her identical twin –
“Princess Superior,” serviced the Canadian Pacific Railroad operations on Vancouver Island. My late Dad took this photograph of the “Carrier Princess,” as she was on her maiden voyage outbound under the Lions Gate Bridge, with a load of passenger cars in May 1973.

She was commissioned in May 1973, as a multiple purpose Roll on Roll off (RoRo) vessel licensed to carry 150 motor vehicles, or 50 truck trailers, or 30 rail cars. In addition, she was certified to carry 358 foot passengers. Vehicle operators were included in the certification.

The “Carrier Princess,” “Princess Superior,” and a third vessel, “Coastal Spirit” are operational, under the ownership of Seaspan Coastal Intermodual, operating out of Delta, British Columbia, up on the Fraser River.

1 Comments - Click here:

bob browne said...

I have been looking for info on a shipment of 9 gondola cars carrying 7 1/2 miles of Submarine Power Cable from New Jersey to Pier 28 in Seattle for reshipment to Anecortes. Here is a link I found re Pier 27, the Milw Rail Barge.

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