Tuesday, January 13, 2009

4th of July

Canadian National Railways 6534, New Westminster, July 3 1961. 
El Purington and I have spent two days over the Forth of July “train chasing” up in Vancouver, and this is our final shooting site, at the Fraser River crossing of the Canadian National Railways over to the south bank of the river. 

Since this was the fourth of July in Canada, everyone was working!

The “Super Continental” with lead unit 6534 and her sister’s 6612B and 6632B are leading the varnish out of town, tiptoeing at restricted speed across a marvelous wood trestle. The precise geometry of wood trestles have always held a fascination for me, going back to the rugged structures found on ancient logging railroads.

The timetable from 1958 indicates this train will be in Montreal in 70 hours.

In the bottom right corner, you can see Elwin with his earphones on, monitoring the sound of this trio. His microphone stands are clearly visible. At this time, El was using a Wollensak reel-to-reel recorder, having made the major jump from his wire recorders.

As I said, this is the end of our two days of recording audiotapes, with me doing the stills in rail-rich Vancouver. We saw power packs from the Pacific Great Eastern, Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Pacific Coast Terminals and the Great Northern.

While we saw some neat power, I for one was glad to be heading home. At 6’0”, sleeping on the backseat of a Corvair with my feet hanging out the window was damned uncomfortable!

In a move similar to the establishment of Amtrak here in the States,
VIA became a Crown Corporation taking over the running of Canadian passenger trains in 1978.

Railroad Stuff:
Canadian National Railways 6534, built by General Motors Division (GMD) London Ontario as an FP-9, 1,750 horsepower May 1958. Ownership transferred to VIA in March 1978. Rebuilt at Pointe St. Charles Shops and renumbered VIA 6301. Stored in the 1990’s and retired in 2001.

For articles relating to this trip, put "4th of July" in Google search engine.

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