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Canadian Rail 316 1978

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Canadian Rail 316 1978

Canadian Rail

Following winter comes spring, and
with spring col!Es high water from
the winter run-off. Back in the early
fifties Jim Shaughnessy
caught this Central Vermont way­
freight tripping across the
Alburgh Trestle in up-state Ver­
mont probably en route to Rouses
Point N.Y.
This photograph was one of the 1
ast, if not THE LAST, taken of car
No. 39 when in service. It
was taken in Medicine Hat, Alberta in
1955 only one year prior to her
being retired from service. Twenty
three years have done little to
alter the outward appearance of
the car. Photo courtesy Canadian
Pacific Corporate Archives(P20286)
[SSN oooe -4SJ5
Published monthly by The Canadian
Railroad Historical Association
P.O. Box 22, Station B
Montreal Quebec Canada H3B 3J5
EDITOR: M. Peter Murphy
LAYOUT: Michel Paulet
L. M. Unwin, Secretary
1727 23rd Ave. N.W., Calgary Alberta T
2M 1V6
D. E. Stoltz, Secretary
P. 0. Box 141, Station A, Ottawa, Ontario
KlN 8Vl
R. Keillor, Secretary
P. 0. Box 1006, Station A, Vancouver
British Columbia V6C 2Pl
C. 11.. Hatcner, Secretary
P. 0. Box 6102, Station C, Edmonton
Alberta T5B 2NO
J. C. Kyle, Secretary
P. 0. Box 5849, Terminal A, Toronto Ontario
M5W 1 P3
R. Ballard, Sr., Secretary
300 Cabana Road East, Windsor,
Ontario N9G 1A2

This rare photograph of car 77 as it was first operated on the CPR is
presented through the courtesy of CP Corprate Archives and has prievously
appeared in Van Hornes Road by Omer Lavallee. Jim Brownlee who is hold­
ing the horse became Superintendent at a number of prairie division
points, R.R.Jamieson standing to the left of the car became General
Superintendent, Western Division and was also Mayor of Calgary for a
period of time.
No, this isnt one of your average, run of the mill, day
to day ghost stories, but I think that once you have read ft, you
will consider ft by comparison, no less believable than any so­
called ghost story you may have heard previously.
Once upon a time, long, long ago, the Canadian P~ciffc
Railway made a deal for the purchase of two old passenger cars from
The St. Lawrence and Ottawa Railway Company. The time, to be
exact, was 1882 and both cars dated back to the early 1870s. One
was a Parlour car known as the RIDEAU, believed built ca. 1872-75 and
also bearing the number 10 while in St. L & 0 services. It
set the C.P.R. back some $2,800.00 to purchase while the other, of
considerably less import as suggested by the price of $200.00, was
reported to be a sofa car, or possibly an early, rudimentary
form of sleeping car. Its reasonable price would suggest ft had
value simply as a source of parts and fittings. There was a sin­
gular purpose behind the acquisition of the cars, and ft was to
combine the two into a Private Car for the use of C.P.R.s re­
nowned General Manager, William Van Horne. Cobourg Car Works of
Cobourg, Ontario were contracted to perform this constructive sur­
gery and the car emerged in all her hand-carved oaken finery in
August of 1882. She was immediately shipped direct to Van Horne in Winnipeg.
The new car was given the number 10 and used by Van
Horne during his frequent inspection trips over the Western Divi­
sion during the summers of 1883 and 1884. These were, of course,
transcontinental line construction days. No. 10 was reserved for
his use at Winnipeg until the middle of 1885 when ft was turned
over to General Superintendent John M. Egan, Sir William Whytes
predecessor, and renumbered No. 77. Van Horne had by this time been
assigned his recently built pride and joy, the SASKATCHEWAN.
Serving various Company officials on C.P.R. Western Lines and
passing through numerous name and number changes in the process
(see summary at end) the Van Horne Car as it has come to be
called in the last year, was finally superannuated on August 17th,
1956. She was sold to Mr. F.S. Sharpe of Winnipeg, Manitoba and
there the story ends ••• or does it?

This is how car #39 looked soon after being to her new home at the
Fort La Reine Museum in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. The ensuing
years have done little to alter her outward appearance, even the
traces of the observation canopy are still visible. Photo courtesy
of the author.
Some twenty years were to pass and in the summer of
1976, so the story goes, a lineman with Manitoba Hydro was making a
routine disconnect of power from a farm building located on the
property of Mr. J.D. Love, some distance north of Portage La
Prairie, Manitoba. He happened to catch a glance of a strange
looking building posed in a shady grove at the edge of the
Delta Marsh at the south end of Lake Manitoba. News of the
strange discovery reached management of the Fort La Reine Museum
in Portage La Prairie, who subsequently identified the object as C.P.R.
Business Car No. 39 (her last designation) and commenced
corresponding with Mr. Sharpe who had become a resident of
Victoria, B.C. Donation of the car to the museum soon followed
and through the assistance of the Portage Rotary Club, Business
Car No. 39 (truly the ghost of that long ago No. 10), loomed
nearly intact from the mists of Delta Marsh to become a signifi­
cant, historical exhibit in the City of Portage La Prairie.
Canadian Pacific also displayed interest in the project and do­
nated a pair of rare six-wheel Burnett passenger car trucks; a set
of Sharon couplers, and an expert track force to prepare a section
of rail for the car at the museum site. The car has been cocoon­
ed for the winter in polyethylene sheeting, and awaits restora­
tive efforts this coming summer. If anything is certain however,
it is that No. 39 will never again return to the Delta where she so nobly
served her respecting owners as a hunting lodge for very
close to twenty years.
Mr. Sharpe and those who have used Car No. 39 since her
retirement from active service, deserve much credit for permitting
the car to survive in a state very close_to the original. OnJ~
minor alterations were made during this period. Some changes can
be seen in the two plans which accompany this article. Drawing #3377
l/7B shows the interior layout very much as ft is now, com­
plete with all loose furnishings. There are even remnants of the
old canvas observation awning fluttering in· the breeze. Never­
theless, the harsh prairie environment has taken its toll of the
old lady, playing havoc with the exterior, and in particular,
the roof. Much effort will have to be spent in terms of restora­
tive and preservative labours.
While there has been some damage by moisture to in­
terior portions of the walls and ceiling, the interior of the
car is, generally speaking, in excellent shape. Many of the ori­
ginal decorative clerestory windows are still intact, some hiding
behind interior wood sheathing, no doubt put up to keep the cold
winter air out. These windows, and those in the corridor doors,
contain very elaborate frosted glass designs. A fire axe mounted
in a glass framed box, still bears the C.P.R. employees initials
from its last in service inspection, and the date is in 1953.
Pintsch gas lines and brass fixtures are to be found in place
on the walls and ceilings along with numberous other brass fit­
Visiting the car as I did last fall, was the equivalent
of stepping into a Mtime capsule. Indeed, while sitting in the
lounge portion of the car, pondering the full impact of the dis­
covery of No. 39, I was certain that for just a second or two, I
smelled a trace of cigar smoke in the air. Come to think of ft,
wasnt Van Horne partial to good cigars?
DWG 154
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