On September 12, 1989, we did a quick trip between Regina, Moose Jaw and Portage la Prairie,
running close to the international boundary for a good part of the trip.
We had hoped to visit Aneroid - the hometown of one of my bosses at the time.
However, early on we determined that this side trip would make the day too long.
It turned out to be a very long (but good) day anyway.
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NOTE: I tend to use the 'historical present' tense when describing our trips. This post will be read by visitors in 2018 and beyond ... so to identify features existing at the time of writing, I usually state 'in 2018 this feature still exists'.
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Below are a couple of images from an April 1945 CPR public timetable.
We are heading south from Moose Jaw, through Assiniboia and east via Big Beaver.
If you enjoy puzzles, you might like to try deciphering the Assiniboia-related passenger train schedules above.
Probably, local people taking trains on prairie branchlines would work through their friendly
local station agent rather than using a system timetable.
... But then, how could residents of small quiet western towns
not be fully aware of the habitual comings and goings of steam locomotives?
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Map from 1981
|Atlas of Canada; 1981; Reader's Digest.|
The 1981 map above shows the roads and railways almost the way we saw them in 1989. We'd started the day in Regina, rolled through Moose Jaw and past the Canadian Forces Base which was home to the Snowbirds. We followed Highway 2 south through Assiniboia. This post ends at Rockglen, but next time you'll see photos from Big Beaver!* * *
At 0930hr, about 30 minutes south of Moose Jaw on Highway 2,
we came upon this picturesque vista.
Near Congress, Saskatchewan, looking north.
Congress, mile 55.5 on the Expanse Sub, looking southwest at about 10hr.
The next few photos were taken at Assiniboia - a centre of branch line operations for the CPR.
Here is the former Assiniboia station, the camera is facing timetable west.
Taken a little farther to the east, here is the main line switch at Assiniboia.
Track forces have been dropping some ballast.
At 1030hr, here is the former roundhouse/shop - now a livestock sale barn.
I counted 17 units in the yard - generally four-axle power.
This view looks southwest.
(My grainy fast film - for typical 'vacation weather' - doesn't like being on the wrong side of the sun.)
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Subdivisions at Assiniboia
To illustrate the role of Assiniboia near the end of the steam era,
I have included timetable pages which show the subdivisions which radiated from it.
I have reproduced full pages because the subdivision footnotes are interesting ... as are the other local lines.
For each sheet below, my title points out the subdivision name and its position relative to Assiniboia.
Assiniboia Sub - to the east
Expanse Sub - to the north
Shaunavon Sub - to the west
Fife Lake Sub - to the south, then east at Rockglen
Wood Mountain Sub & Colony Sub originate on the Fife Lake Sub - to the west
Considering all of our vacations spent in western Canada, this was one of the few times we saw a combine in action up close.
We probably experienced more springtime stubble burning than harvesting over the years.
At any rate, in this little field south of Assiniboia you can see a genuine Massey Ferguson working.
Notice how short the stalks are.
If a plant puts less energy into growing a stalk, there is theoretically more energy for developing the grain itself.
Long-stalked grain plants are susceptible to being hammered into the ground by heavy winds and rain.
This may result in the stalk being broken and the plant dying before it reaches maturity.
And, combines have difficulty picking up seed heads lying flat on the ground.
Next, we see the Fife Lake Sub - this is looking north.
I noted that the rail was 80 lb Algoma from 1905.
This location is Rockglen, mile 36.3 on the Fife Lake Sub.
Here are the elevators at Rockglen.
You can see that the land is becoming dryer and less inviting for grain crops.
I read Trackside Treasure so I know that the tilt of the elevator at the far right is within acceptable limits.
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The last image below is detail from one of the maps shown in previous posts.
It shows township (each square is a township) population density in 1911.
Assiniboia is seen at the left margin.
A number of the railway lines shown above had not yet been constructed.
It seems that our travels will take us over land which is not well-suited to farming.
Next: On to Big Beaver! ...