Wednesday, June 13, 2018

CNR 1981 Kingston: M-630 Locomotives


During hot summer days in the 1980s, Alco Century Series 6-axle units were a favourite locomotive to spot and photograph. With some of the smoking external 'personality' of steam locomotives, they were particularly interesting to watch as they lifted heavy trains.


Diagrams come from this January 1970 operating manual ...
which made many trips along the north shore of Lake Superior with Rolly Martin.



Before the widespread provision, and company mandated use of dynamic brakes on Canadian railways, train air brakes were generally used for train control when descending grades and/or preparing to clear in sidings. Above, brake smoke blends with summer haze as an eastbound approaches the Kingston VIA station in 1981.



A time-honoured practice was to put freights into sidings for peak periods of VIA traffic. Before the 1986 Commission of Inquiry, Hinton Train Collision this was done through CTC signalling with very little 'sharing' from the Belleville-based dispatcher on the master plan evolving at his desk.

The tailend crew would advise the engineer when they were in the clear.

Above, Alco-MLW thoroughbred power supplements the summer heat at the east end of Kingston's Queens track 4.

Italics denote archaic railway terms.



Getting underway, the trailing unit - an M-636 - is putting on a show.







An earlier effort to look at M-636 power can be seen here:

CNR 2300s in June 1982 at Kingston



The evening summer sun in 1981 does a nice job of lighting elements of the brake system on the loaded boxcar above.
Probably no railroader mourned the extinction of roof-mounted hand brakes and 'plain' bearings.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

CPR 1950 Connaught Tunnel to Victoria - and Seattle



LC Gagnon's Company pass trip west reaches the coast with this installment. 
Additional CPR assets take him over to Victoria and then it's off to Seattle!



The first view is the Columbia River, west of Golden BC.
The characteristic steam locomotive smudge is produced by the heavy oil burning in the firebox.



What seems to be a disused sawmill is seen near Rogers, BC.



Usually I plumb up the photos, but detail would be lost on this one.

To the right, the absolute block signal semaphore arm is rising to provide a clear signal into the Connaught Tunnel ...
now that this train has cleared the circuit.

Left-hand (back then it was double tracked) running gave engineers a view ahead of trains or railway personnel in the tunnel.

The tunnel ventilation fans (two 'squirrel cages' between the white buildings) were operated by diesel motors.
Perhaps there is a tank car on the short spur at the right which was used for fuel cars.
The back of a searchlight signal can be seen. It would have governed movements returning to the main track.

If Number 7 is on time ... you can confirm on the employee timetable, below, that these are shadows from about 1700hr.





With one of the Connaught Tunnel's white fan buildings still visible around the curve, the train is departing Glacier.
A local citizen is leaning against the baggage wagon.
A water standpipe can be seen at the end of the platform.



A nice piece of tangent track west of Glacier.

If you've ever spent many hours at a time in a dome car
or at an open dutch door in a vestibule ...
you'll probably remember a point at which you experienced 'sensory overload'.

As rare and wonderful as the experience is, you just want to hole-up in your accommodation and rest for a while.
... Maybe get some hot food too.

My 23 year old (future) father has been hanging out, off and on, in the hayrack observation car since Calgary.
The next photos are from Vancouver.



The Princess Kathleen and Princess Marguerite were the finest of the CPR's coastal steamers.
With a displacement of 5875 tons, they were completed in 1925 and could steam at 22 knots.
They were designed for the fast 'triangle' run connecting Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle.



My father travelled from Vancouver (shown above) on the Princess Marguerite to Victoria.



... probably enough lifeboats to hold everybody.



Private sector coastal services existed before the establishment of the provincial BC Ferries in 1960.



'Entering the inner harbour at Victoria.'

If you look at the flat white warehouse to the right of the terminal elevator,
I think you'll see 'Canadian National ... ' written on it.



LC Gagnon stayed overnight at the Empress Hotel ... within walking distance of the dock!







At the left, in the distance, you can see a Hudson's Bay Company store - it did have a sign like that.
It is not clear home many of the sidewalk people are 'computer generated'.



The photo above was taken on September 14, 1950 ...
as the Princess Marguerite approached Vancouver's Lions Gate Bridge.

It looks like a good example of a box camera manual time exposure.



When in Vancouver, you too can stay at the Hotel Georgia.
In front is the BCE trolley bus for the Davie Route.
That is not advertising on the front, it is the red BCE logo and the bus' road number.



This sight was seen from the Great Northern train my father took between Vancouver and Portland, Oregon.
It remains slightly askew to get as much of that tower's detail as possible.
The chain link fence seems to have extra strands of barbed wire mounted at an angle.

The photo is captioned 'Coastal fog'.



Seattle, Washington and Mount Rainier.

'I did not see Mount Rainier because of the fog.'



LC Gagnon snapped this Northern Pacific locomotive through a coach window near the Seattle station.

I think it is a Baldwin VO-660.