Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mr. Cheng Ging Butt

Canadian Pacific Railway 8653, Kamloops BC, July 1958. Dad had loaded us in the family bus, and we drove from Prince Rupert to Seattle for a few weeks vacation. Most folk head south to north for a vacation! At any rate, we somehow ended up in Kamloops on our way south.

I’ve always enjoyed this 35mm slide, as it captures a friendly wave between a pedestrian and the engineer. Shot on 35mm Ektachrome positive, I had a heck of a time getting “the red out” of this 50 year old exposure!

Unlike the Canadian National Railways, CPR ran short nose forward. CNR crews preferred the perceived protection of running long nose forward, although as Geeps got rebuilt, better visibility overcame the fear of tripping over a rockslide!

Kamloops is a major city in the interior of British Columbia, and a division point for the Shuswap Subdivision to the north, heading toward the Rocky Mountains, and the Thompson Subdivision heading south toward Vancouver through Spence’s Bridge and North Bend.

"Kamloops" is the anglicized version of the Shuswap word "Tk'emlups", meaning 'meeting of the waters'. Shuswap is still actively spoken in the area by members of the Kamloops Indian Band.

In a memorable ceremony the Canadian Pacific designated the interchange just east of the CPR Station in Kamloops as “The
Cheng Interchange,” named in honor of Cheng Ging Butt, one of thousands of Chinese laborers who helped construct the Canadian Pacific Railway.

CPR Vice President Paul Clark is joined by a descendant of Mr. Butt, Kevan Jangze, representing the fourth generation of Chinese in BC. This is the only bi-lingual sign on the system.

The Cheng Interchange provides an efficient flow of rail cars from the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railways, a central junction point for freight and passenger rail service in Kamloops.

In addition to the Cheng Interchange, Canadian Pacific Railway announced that a special monument in honor of the thousands of Chinese rail workers who helped construct the transcontinental railroad would be placed in Kamloops.

I find it gratifying that the railroad has taken positive steps to recognize the Chinese Laborers. Take a look at the photos of the “Last Spike Ceremony” at Promontory Point. See any Chinese?

Railroad Stuff: CPR 8653, built as GP-9, 1750 hp at GMD London, Ontario 1957. sn: 1109. Final disposition unknown.

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