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Canadian Rail 341 1980

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Canadian Rail 341 1980

Canadian Rail i
JUNE 1980

Published monthly by The Canadian
Railroad Historical Association
P.O. 80x 22, Station 8 Montreal
Quebec Canada H3B 3J5
EDITOR Fred r. Angus
CO-EDITOR M. Peter Murphy
LAYOUT: Michel Paulet
Train #2, the eastbound C.P. Rail Canadian,
pauses at Banff Al­berta
on August 5, 1978. With a
train of 14 cars and a full load, the
streamliner has brouqht its
passengers through one of the biggest
tourist attractions Canada
has to offer, our Canadian Rockies.
No. 1416, ar FP7A, leads the train
with two h~lpers behind. (John
A. Russe 11 )
THREE CARS (Nos. 5, 18, 20) of the
Edmonton Radial Railway appear in
this r81larkab1y clear photo taken
at Jasper Ave. and 101 Street in
Edmonton in September 1911.
(Gl enbow-A 1 berta Ins ti tu te,
McDermid Collection NC-6-62206)
L. M. Unwin, Secretary 60-6100 4th
Ave. NE
Calgary, Alberta T2A 5Z8
By town Railway Society.
Mr. Bruce Kerr. Secretary
P.O. Box 141. Station A Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 8Vl
.0. Box 11 62
Sa i nt John, N. B.
E2L 4G7
R. Keillor, Secretary
P. O. Box 1006, Station A. Vancouver
British Columbia V6C 2Pl
C. K. Hatcher, Secretary P.
O. 80x 6102, Stati on C, Edmonton
Alberta T58 2 NO
R. Ballard, Sr., Secretary •
300 Cabana Road East, Windsor
Ontario N9G 1A2
~1r. Ho 11 i c Loviry. Secreta ry P
.O. Box 5849, Terminal A, Toronto Ontario M
5W 1P3
Peter Warwick, Secretary
P~ O. Box 593
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2R 61~8
J. P. Chartrand, Secretary
P.O. Box 99
Ste. Dorothee, Quebec H7X 2T4
1908 to1979
On February 22,1904, contrOactor W.G.T. Tretheway approached
Edmonton City Council and proposed a thirty-year franchise to
operate a street-railway system, using standard gauge railway
track and electric power. The contract failed, and it took two
votes by rate-payers and a change in civic administration before
the City started building the line in 1908. Tracks were lai8
from Norwood Boulevard (now 111 Avenue) south on Kirkness Street
(95 Street) to Sutherland Street (106 Avenue), west to Nomayo
Avenue (97 street), and south to Jasper Avenue. The western
terminus was Wright Street (116 Street).
Trial runs of the streetcar system took place October 29,
1 908, us i n g Car No.2, the fir s t s t r e etc art 0 a r r i ve in E d m 0 n ton.
The Edmonton Radial Railway begon revenue service on November 9,
1908with six wooden double-ended streetcars, built by the Ottawa
Car Company. Each had a motorman, who operated the streetcar,
and a conductor, who collected the five-cent fares and insured
safe boarding and alighting of passengers. The street railway
and a light and power plant, as well as a new telephone system
by the end of 1908 served Edmontons population of 18,500.
An agreement with Strathcona, the city of 4,500 persons on
the south side of the North Soskatchewan River, sent trocks
ocross the Low Level Bridge and up Scona Hilt to Whyte Avenue.
Ridership numbered 142,409 in March 1909. One year later 11
streetcors recorde~ 257,607 rides.
Construction began in 1910 for two major structures, the
Legislative Building, and the High Level Bridge, both of I,hich
were completed in 1913. With the bridge, streetcars were able to
serve the west portion of Strathcona, and the Edmonton Radial
Railway continued its expansion. Specially built streetcars
were used to haul freight, and some routes led into industrial
sites. Edmonton and Strathcona amalgamated on February 1. 1912
and fifty-eight streetcars served a population of 67,243.
When streetcars started crossing the High Level Bridge on
August 11, 1913 the CPR train tracks went down the centre of the
bridge and the car lines travelled the outside. At first the car
doors opened on the outer edges of the tracks, but in 1917 the
streetcars began to switch from two-man to one-man operation and
the tracks were crossed so the doors would open onto the bridge
in case of emergency.
There was no heat in the early streetcars, nor were there
storm windows; however, individual electric heaters and later
coal-fired forced-air heaters were installed for passenger com­
A NOSTALGIC LINK WITH THE PAST I Edmonton street car No.1 1.S an
impressive sight as it crosses the High-level bridge with a load
of happy passengers during the 1979 celebrations. The beautifully­
restored condition of Old Faithful makes it seem incredable that
the car is 71 yeors old and has trovelled a distance e~ual to three
round trips to the moon.
(Photo by the Edmonton Journal).
By 1913 the Cromdale Car Barns were completed. They included
a maintenance shop where the 58 streetcars could be fully serviced
within Edmonton. Two sprinkler cars, two sweepers and one sond
car were also in use. Special cars equipped with rotating brooms
kept all streetcar tracks clear of snow. Cars No.1 to 7 were
two-tone brown, after that the lower portions were green with dark
red around the windows. In 1925 the Edmonton Radial Railway
colour scheme became crimson and cream, retained until the last
streetcars stopped running in 1951. Streetcars in earlier colours
were repainted when in the barns for body repairs.
Early streetcars sat 40 passengers who paid a cash fare of five
cents, or bought five tickets for twenty-five cents or 26 tickets
for a dollar. During the winter of 1919,0 sight-seeing car was
built, an open streetcar in white and gold, to offer scenic tours
of Edmonton. Carrying 42 passengers on hourly tours for a fare
of 25 cents for adults, and 15 cents for children, it operated
during the summers until 1925.
Another unique vehicle came into service 1n 1941. A Library
streetcar became the first mobile library in the world. It operated
in outlying districts as part of the Edmonton Public Librarys
Five light-weight steel streetcars were purchased from Ottawa
Car Company in 1930. These front-entrance, centre-exit vehicles
on October 29 1908. This is a sister car to No.1 which took part
in the recent celebrations.
(Provincial Archives of Alberta. Earnest Brown Collection, B5785a).
PASSENGERS A-PLENTY for Edmonton street car No. 11 at City Park.
The year was about 1913.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute, Byron-May Collection NA-1328-64585) •
were the lost world in comfort, with deep-upholstered leather
seats and automated jerk-free acceleration.
Changing times were catching up with the streetcar system:
tracks were worn down by increased vehicular traffic. Most
streetcar vehicles were obsolete in design, but becaUse of the
Depression, there was insufficient capitol for required repairs.
As they wo~e out after a million miles each, trolley buses and
motorbuses replaced them.
One lost fling for the streetcar in Edmonton was the unpre­
cedented passenger traffic carried during World War II. The news­
paper said the war has been on unparalleled boom to Edmontons
street railway system. Its problem is no longer how to draw pa­
tronage, but how to handle the business that swamps it during rush
hours •
Trackless electric tolley buses were purchased, and increasing
numbers of motorbuses doomed the streetcar. Edmontons streetcar
era ended September 2, 1951 with the final run of Cor No.1.
The modern equivalent of the aectric streetcar is the Light
Rail Transit (LRT) vehicle. In October, 1979 riders in Edmonton
have the opportunity to ride both OLD FAITHFUL, Car No.1, and
the LRT trains.
THE LAST RUN (Well, the lost for 28 years that is). Old No. 1 making
its farewell trip in September 1951 after a million-and-a-half miles
of service. Few people present dreamed that in 1979 this car would
run again~ ~
(Edmonton Transit, Eric M. Smith Collection).
Streetcar No.1 started operating November 9, 1908. After
43 years of service, running an estimated 1.5 million miles on
Edmonton streets, it retired September 2, 1951. On that day,
decorated with flowers and ridden by civic and provincial dign­
itaries, Car No. 1 made the last streetcar trip across the High
Level Bridge.
Car No.1 had already been rebuilt during World War II. Its
wooden chassis and motor parts eventually wore out. Following
its last trip. Car No. 1 loy behind the Cromdale Car Barns,
damaged by vandals and ravaged by weather.
In the early 1960 s a group of transit enthusiasts lovingly
repaired the woodwork and made new windows. Partially restored,
Car No. 1 became a commemorative float in the Centennial Day
Parade in 1967. Afterwards, it again languished in tre Cromdale
Car Barns until Edmontons 75th Anniversary.
Restored to full operating condition by volunteers from
Edmonton Transit, Car No.1 returns for three brief days in
October, 1979 to carry passengers across the High Level Bridge
as it did for 38 years.
Edmonton Transit is grateful to all those transit enthusiasts
involved for assistance in finding parts and materials for the
By Lon Marsh
Years ago as the traveler went along the road from Edmonton
to St.Albert, we would have seen what appeared to be stretches of
abandoned railway grade. These forlorn mounds af earth were a
ghostly reminder when 60 years ago, it was a highly important
enterprising venture –the Inter~rban railway from Edmonton to
St.Albert. This lay in the fields near the Dunvegan Railway
170 R A I L
.. .
THE EDMONTON INTERURBAN CAR HOUSE and lead tracks with a group of
workers outside, photographed in October 1913. Car No.1, complete
with headlight and white flags, appears as if ready to go into
service. There is no trolley wire since the car is gas-electric.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute NC6-499).

Groal Rd, ~
12 fPl St.
– –1————-

/t ~:
o~ .;
4 ::;-
~ ~
. ~
.. ~
… .-; ___ –4—–
L __ ~
135 Ih 51.
I!,! ~ S~
171 R A I L


lim I t
N. A. R.
The citizens were very optimistic in those days when the
Interurban was first thought of. The land boom was at an all
time high as were real estate values, etc. The city had a popu­
lation of 70,000 or more and everybody was stepping out. Words
like depression were virtually unknown altogether.
The linking of Edmonton with St. Albert by the Interurban
railway was originally to transform the little town situated on
the Sturgeon River into a charming suburb of the city. There,
businessmen could have their modest chalets, or those more
fortunate, a white marble palace on the scenic banks of the wind­
ing stream. An actual commencement with this project was made in
1912, when a right of way was secured from the town of St.Albert
to the city.
As this railway was to be associated with real estate develop­
ment along the route, the interest of those who owned adjacent
property was fully secured and agreements were concluded in their
co-operating to financing the project.
This venture almost never made it. The city was trying very
hard to prevent the railway from using the streetcar tracks to
enter the city. The Interurban Co. wanted to operate an electric
line into Edmonton, and along different streets, but this was
with very strong opposition from city council. The City did
not want any competition with the municipal street car line ~ithin
the city itself.
The Corporation had a charter to build lines radiating from
the city to an extent of more than 80 miles. This charter covered
lines to St. Albert, Morinville, Athabasca Landing, Fort Assiniboine
Fort Saskatchewan, and other points which were tributary to Edmon­
ton. The Incorporators were Messrs. Brutinel de Sieves and Scott
A HANDCAR ON ONE OF THE YARD tracks of the Edmonton Interurban Ln 1913.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute NC6-501).
PILES OF NEW TIES IN THE YARD of the Edmonton Interurban during the
construction of the line in October, 1913.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute NC6-500).
MEN DIGGING THE DRAINAGE DITCH beside the cleared right-of-way.
October 1913.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute NC6-498).
of Edmonton. It was believed that a syndicate of Montreal capit­
alists were also behind the Co. They had already secured exclusive
running rights over all the streets in St. Albert. However, an
agreement was finally reached whereby the Interurban Co. were
allowed to construct tracks in the city. These had stretched from
the end of the city lines at 124 st. to Alberta Ave. (118th) to
127th street and on to the city limits. The railway went the 7
miles cross country to St. Albert. From there it had run from
Piron and St. Anne St. back to Edmonton. The city street car fares
were not more than 5¢ a ticket; the Interurban set thei~ own rates.
By September of 1913, the tracks were near completion; the
car barns were erected at Queen Mary Park (137th Ave. and 124St.)
on Sept. 30th, 1913, the first green colored gas electric car to
b~ run by the railway arrived from the Drake Co. of Chicago.
There were 2 more on order from them plus 2 more from the McEwan
Pratt Co. of London, Eng. Initially four cars were to be operated.
Two capable of hauling freight at $25,000 each and the other two
at $28,000 each. By Dec. 1913, there was a full schedule of 5
round trips a day.
This huge venture had invested approximately $180,000. In
those days, the local papers carried Large ads for real estate
development, e.g. along the railway route. The town of Summerland
on 127th Street was described as having the most brilliantly lit
street in the district: as many as 20 houses in construction.
But what happened~ The bottom dropped out of the real estate
boom and with it came the first pre war depression, followed by
World War I. People began leaving the district and those that
¥emoined had very little work or money left.
car house. October, 1913.
(Glenbow-Alberto Institute NC6-502).
token late in 1913. The town of St. Albert appears in the background
just above the automobile.
(Glenbow-Alberta Institute NC6-441).
For two years, operations were carried on but no new cars
were added as the full nuota of new e~uipment never materialized.
In 1915, tragedy struck when fire destroyed the barns at the Queen
Mary Park, including the railways entire stock. The total loss
was estimated at $25,000, partially covered by insurance. The fire
was said to have started when an employee was pouring gasoline
into the tank.
As the operation had proved to be a failure, the city in 1916
obtained running rights over the Companys tracks from 118th Ave.,
to 127 Ave. In 1920, the Companys tracks were completely bought
out by the city. All the other steel was taken up by the railway,
and some of it was disposed of during the war period when steel
was at a very high premium.
This was the end of an interesting project which if fate
had been kinder, it might have been a greater factor in building
a delightful and prosperous town and district. As one passes by
these sights today, one would never know such a project was ever
started so many decades ago.
By Lon Marsh
THE EDMONTON INCLINE RAILWAY is pictured here in two views; one token
during construction in 1907, and the other soon after it was opened in
(City of Edmonton Archives, Photos EA-10-1828 and EA-10-2378).
The Incline Railway was a very interesting feature of its
day. Opened in 1908, its franchise covered operations from the
foot of 101st St. to a point halfway down the hillside (where
the Choteau Lacombe stands today) toward the community of Rossdale.
It was a cross between on outdoor elevator and a Son Fransisco
coble cor. The 101st St. steam hoist, as it was also called, was
erected at a cost of over $30,000.00. Extensive studies were mode by a
man named Jos. Dostyn, who hod visited Hamilton and New York
to obtain the latest ideas along the lines of lifts which were
quite similar to the one built in Edmonton.
The Incline Railway was built by a company of prominent
citizens who were: Mr. Donald Ross, Joseph Kostyn, H. J. Dawson,
Richard Secord, F. B. Hobson, P. Anderson and G. P. Blythe.
A well known citizen who ran the best commercial horses in
town was W.H. Sheppard of the Edmonton Brewery. The Brewery was
in the red brick building by the north end of the low level
bridge which still stands today. The Brewery had the reddest,
brightest wagons in the citYi with the biggest Perc herons to pull
them. The lift was the greatest boom to the horses who could
enjoy the two minute ride to the top, and the customers would
enjoy faster delivery of their goods and products. The lift
also saved around 15-20 minutes of strenuous toil for the horses
pulling heavy loads up the steep grade of McDougall hill.
The Incline Railway was 290 feet long and 44 feet wide. The
sides were enclosed by brick walls which ranged from ten to fifteen
feet high. The rails for the cars ran up the hill at a 45 degree
angle. The two cars running on the lift were perched on stilts,
one set short enough so that the floors were horizontal. They
ran into pits at the bottom where the platforms had come to rest
level quite even with the road. Due to counter-motion, when one
car was at the top of the incline, its partner was at the bottom.
The cars were hoisted or lowered by heavy cables.
Besides the bed for the double tracks up the hillside, there
was als~ a landing stage at the bottom and the draw-works, toll
gate and shelter were at the top of the hill what was then coIled
College Ave. The cars were each 30 feet by 20 feet with a passenger
section 4 feet by 20 feet on each side. The gates on either end
worked automatically. This meant the exit on the lower end would
only open when the car reached the bottom, and the exit on the
upper end when the car had reached the top. This also prevented
any possibility 0 P the cars end being opened while in tronsi t.
The pit at the top of the hoist was 32 feet deep and 32 feet sq.
In this was the massive machinery used in the operation of the hoist.
Safety Appliances
The cables which held the cars were 1t thick and were
attached to drums each of which had weighed 8 tons. The main
gear wheel in the centre weighed 4 tons and the 3 were on a
pulley 32 feet long and 10 feet in diameter. The operating engine
was 80 horse power with the boiler at 100 horse power. The lift
was originally to have run on electric power, but the city had
refused to supply the current as their system was alre~dy over­
loaded at that time. It had meant a change of plans and an
increase of the cost which was estimated $5000.00.
In addition to the two operating cables, there were also
2 safety cables that were attached to each car and which were
li thick. Under ordinary conditions, these ran lose. Should
the other cable have slipped for any reason, the safety immediately
stopped the car by means of an automatic mechanism. There were
also 2 emergency brakes and a working brake on the engine which
allowed for additional safety. The hoist was operated by Frank
Morris who was an old C.N.R. engineer. The hours of operation
were from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with extra runs for sporting events
down on the Rossdale Flats.
THIS RARE PHOTO shows the Edmonton Incline in service in 1912, a
year before it was abandoned. Notice the two waggons on the lower
car. The McDougall church is in the background.
(City of Edmonton Archives. Photo No. EA-10-1392).
The fare for horse teams was 15¢ a trip and 5¢ for foot
passengers. The fares were reasonable but the thri~ty pedestrian
had a free stairway for use only a few feet from the railway.
Also the drayman, who was halfl,ay up the hill by the time hed
have reached the lower loading platform, would prefer to go the
rest of the way by road and save the toll. In rain or snow, the
horse-drawn traffic which used the railway, would be heavy. Many
contractors used the lift because it saved time and effort for
their horse teams which were hauling gravel and sand from the
river bed to various projects up the hill.
The lift did a good business, but it was such a large operation
that it had worn out before the builders ever recovered their
$30,000.00 investment. When the high level bridge was completed
in 1913, it had put Edmontons Incline Railway into the history
books. There was no longer any need for the lift, when horse teams
could cross the river valley over the High level bridge and never
had to go down to the valley at all.
The Incline Railway had made its very last run in 1913, after
which it was dismantled and hauled away. An interesting note is
that the large engine is still buried inside the hill where it was
put back in 1908. For many years afterwards, the ancrete anchor
blocks could still be seen at the top of the hill. These soon
disappeared though when the Bellamy hill project had begun a few
years later. The.brow of the hill had been altered to accomodate
the new artery connecting with the 105 st bridge.
How 65 years later, there is only the rare photograph to
remind people of Edmontons Incline Railway–as many people prefer­
red to call it JOE HOSTYNs HOIST.
Mr. and a
Five Million Mile
DATE: Lethbridge, September 27,1979
TO: CONDUCTOR, The Canadian, #2, Medicine Hat, Alberta. May 12,1979
ENGINEER, The Canadian, #2, Medicine Hat, Alberta. May 12,1979
Dear Sir:
This letter will introduce Mr. Patrick Webb who has asked
permission to ride the head end of your train from Medicine Hat
to Swift Current on Saturday, ——————-
The dull rumble of the arriving Canadian undulated under
the disco beat jolting me into the realization that I was in
danger of missing ~ train for the second time in my life. After
a leisurely hundred mile drive on a warm overcast May afternoon
the hospitality of a friend had momentarily erased time and the
need to be on the platform early. Mumbling apologies I staggered
the half block to the station, my sons overstuffed fat albert
bag hobbling me at every step. I t occurred to me that I wasnt
exactly the picture of cool, rather the stoics in the dome saw a
hayseed lugging his collection of 78 s as two cameras swung over
the Colombo coat draped over a shoulder while I police-fleeced
my pockets for my ticket, release, courtesy letter, and simul tan­
eously searched for the Chateau Iberville and the conductor. At
least I knew where the front end was!
All photos by the author except as noted.
Twoyears old
The 4064 idles oway on ofternoon at Medicine Hat in August,
1953 two years before the inauguration of the Canadian.
Formerly demonstrator 7005, the other City of Kingston awaits
ossignment to the connecting train to Lethbridge and the
B.C. interior.
(Collection of D. Forster)
(Jack Moyer)
Jack Moyer at the throttle of FP7A 1400 near Walsh, Alberta.
On the platform he could have been mistaken for an academic on
Near Medicine Hat, the entire consist of No.2 is visible as the train
rounds a curve.
Business was to take me to Winnipeg for the third time in
14 months and with some advance planning I decided to forego the
delights of the dome, at least for three hours, and ride the cab.
The conductor welcomed me and moments later I was comfortably
settled in the middle seat of No. 1400 flanked by veterans engineer
Jack Moyer and Fireman Pat Hanna. Their assistance and patience
over the next three hours was to be as warm as the letter of intro­
We were due out on time at 17: 15; punctually the conductor
cleared Jack and our mix of stainless steel yellow and blue obed­
iently trailed the FP7A -FP9B combination toward the east yard
limit where the 250 foot vertical climb out of the South Saskatchewan
Valley would begin. F~~ the moment at least, the growling of the
567 s precluded any conversation. The hill is sufficiently steep
to require a helper on ~e occasional drag as far as Dunmore but
the F s took it in stride, climbing at a steody 25 mph through the
curves where early in the century crews had twice swept by ghost
trains days before a fatal head-on collision occurred.
Seven miles east the Dunmore op was out and waiting for
us underneath the twin semaphores -Pat cranked down his window
and took the orders on the fly. Five meets lay ahead
over the 144 mile Maple Creek Sun all single track ABS terri­
tory and though we were the superior train we could expect
(GP9 on the point)
GP98684 on the point of a grain extra. The MLW century, the
second unit back betrays her presence with a feather of black
exhaust. Out train was scanned by both front end and rear end
delays. The timetable called for a deceptively, leisurely
two hours and fifteen minutes with a miximum 75 permissable
however Pat was 0uick to point out that 18 slow order locations
faced us and our B Unit, 1965, was geared for only a miximum 65.
Despite the reasonably flat country the line snaked its way
eastward bending between the low undulating Middle Sand Hills
but at least twice the dynamic would cut in. While it wasnt
a race track, it would renuire some sprints to stay on time
and an experienced hand on ~e train brake as the dining car
crew attempted to serve a meal through first, second and last
calls. I was about to observe what appears so disarmingly
simple from back in the dome and Jack was a master at it.
The miles began to slide by punctuated by a series of
green searchlights and passing tracks marked only by name
boards and the crews who remember them by an accident, a
particular engine, or a character and event that occurred there.
New, two consecutive yellows told us that we were running up
the rear end of First 78 East. Jack stretched out the train
and dropped our speed to a fast walk until the third signal
win ked g r e en. Min ute s 1 ate r we we reb yap air 0 f S D -40 s
sulking in the hold, hel by a restrictive red.
The long tangents west of Walsh allowed us to sprint with
the traffic on the adjacent TransCanada who paced us curiously
as I had so often -the F s at speed are impressive. But how
much longer can they last? Built in 1953, 1400 was pushing five
mill ion mil e s • The cab in t e rio r s till be fi t tin g her as i g n men t,
denied her 26 years. The seats were comfortable ond clean, the
pale green interior paint, peeling in places, was the aging of
a dowager and an ashtray gave an otherwise missing touch of elan.
With 12 cars tied on behind the 3250 H.P., the units didnt show
the acceleration of an Amtrak E9 with 6 cars on the Seattle­
Portland run but nor could they be compared with the lugging SD s I had
recently ridden. At 263,000 lb., 4 axle trucks on ribbon
rail, clocking 65 mph wos one helluva experience: Later, Pat
and I were to work our way to the rear of 1965 to check an
asthmatic generator. The B units V16 had recently been rebuilt,
and was still an immaculate grey. It was hot, noisy, and the
floor slippery but the similarity to cutaway drawings was uncanny.
Ahead, the visibility from the cab of an F is superb, better
than that of the low nose hoods -trying to film the train
behind us was another story. Pat vacated his seat while I
leaned as far out as I could with knees braced, first insuring
that there were no track side obstacles ahead. The units werent
built for switching service:
We braked to 45 for the Walsh Sink, a permanent soft spot
in the track with the invisible Saskatchewan border ahead.
Paralleling us were miles of the original roadbed, long since
relocated, but still naked and fully visible in the arid country.
Halton, Maple Creek, Piapot, slid by each of its skyscrapers
neatly bisecting a universe of prairie and sky. Western Saska­
tchewan is an empty land of disarmingly distant horizons known
for its antelope, sage, tumbleweed, outsized jack rabbits, vicious
winters, occasional chinooks and always the wind, relentlessly
searching a way across its unmarked expanse. Loneliness is its
particular disease. A weed-grown siding and a lone straggling
maple marked the foundation of a station long since gone where
Slow to get out of the way of number 2, first 78 sulks facing
a red searchlight near Irvine in south eastern Alberta. Freights
on the Maple Creek Sub are restricted to a maximum of 55 mph and
with the heavy traffic over the 144 miles, movements can become
( 1400)
Built in 1953, FP7A. 1400 poses at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan,
May 12, 1979. The unit was built for passenger service and
geared for a maximum speed of 89 mph. Though in her old paint
scheme, this could soon change.
depression and suicide overtook the wife of a station agent. For
the entire 144 miles the preshistoric Cypress Hills skulk along
the southern horizon brooding over their tales of the Wolfers
massacre and Sitting Bull a century ago and yet the scattered
people who live in the area wouldnt live anywhere else.
Jack gave the F s a prod after a meet with a pair of GP9 s on
the point of a grain extra. His casual academic-like appear­
ance belied his profession and 38 years of service a day before
his 64th birthday. In that time he had ridden the cab of just
about every class of engine used in Alberta and British Columbia
but his most vivid and warmest memories were of helper service in
B.C. Sitting in the right hand seat was the only thing he had
ever wanted to do and when he reminisced aver some of those years
I couldnt help but notice his enthusiasm, a prescription which
obviously kept him looking a youthful 50. Between Pat and him­
self there was better than 60 years experience.
The horn had alerted a dog and on cue out came the mutt
for a race he inevitably loses, a trick he does only with the
twice-daily passing of the Canadian, never with a drag. Ante­
lope scattered across the track, splashed through the ditch, did
a standing high jump over the fence, and easily outdistanced us.
(Car at Crossing)
A full red brought us to a stop at the west end of Tompkins,
at the same moment a car hurtled across in front of us, the
first of two who would race us.
Gull Lake -the site of the last great snowfight which
Canadian Pacific lost so ignominously in the winter of 1978.
The company had obviously had enough and vindictively had sheared
the shoulders from every major cut on the Sub.
To my chagrin and the crews humor, the Medicine Hat
hospitality finally caught up with me as I commented on the
absence of a disposal bag on the metal frame which serves
a dual purpose under such circumstances. Needless to say
improvization became the mother of invention as I prayed in
the small nose area that at sixty we didnt play tag with
a farm truck.
We were now scanning the low hills for Tompkins, 49.5
miles from Swift Current where we were to meet Number One
but wait for her if she were further delayed. This proved
of some concern to the crew as seven slow orders and another
meet still lay ahead -any delay now would put us in late.
As if on cue the next searchlight threw yellow in our face
(Close-up of 1410)
The fireman on number one cranks down his window and waves
as the two Canadians have a rare meet at Tompkins, Saskatchewan.
Her front end livery was the exact reverse of ours, 1410 in VIA
colors on the point, trailed by a B unit still in CP Rail livery
with a mixture trailing.
followed by a full red a mile later. With relief Pat com­
mented that she was there at least, pride underscoring the
comment as he looked at his watch because we were on time to
the second. Apparently a washout at White River, Ontario,
had delayed the westbound varnish more than eight hours.
Jack notched her out the instant the block cleared while
simultaneously Number Ones conductor came on the air to let
us know he was clear. We could now see her headlight winking
through the still bare trees separating the tracks from the
towns one and only main street. The lead unit was in VIA
colors her consist being even more varied than ours (leading
to a discussion about VIAs choice of colors as opposed to
The elevatars of Webb, still hull-down on the horizon,
were the only indication of our next meet but the green ap­
proach and then the headlight confirmed that extra 4501 West
was stuffed into the 112 car passing track. Though we were
still battling the time card, we again slowed, drifting by
while the three of us scanned the freight. Fifteen cars from
the rear a piece of timber protruded like a battering ram,
sliding by a foot under our number board. Jack immediatly
went on the radio, their crew acknowledging within seconds
then again minutes later to report they were securing it.
Despite CTC, ABS, and all the other innovations, radio prob­
ably remains the most versatile tool in railroadings arsenal
of enuipment. (A month later we monitored a train crews
communications after their spotting the beginning of a forest
fire above one of Burlington Northerns snowsheds in Montanas
Glacier Park -critical time would have been lost otherwise).
A trace of black exhaust rolled over the F s as Jack
notched out the throttle leaving Seward, 20.9 miles out.
Almost immediately we began the gentle descent to Java, the
spring switch there aligning us for a left hand approach on
the station track. With some concern on my part but with
a casualness born of experience on theirs, we watched for a
second time as a van slalomed around the lowered crossing
gates almost under our headlight, a race the crews commonly
experience but dont mind losing. Nine years earlier I had
witnessed the effect on the crew when in a dead heat a GP9
at 45 cut a Chev. to pieces.
Exactly on time we eased to a stop as Jack glanced at
his watch with obvious satisfaction. As I was returning
the following Thursday I had been invited to rejoin the crew,
however a Master Mechanic was to pull rank relegating me to
my usual rear dome seat. The 144 miles this time had just a
little more significance.
The·· …. ~.
business car
are both RS-1 s rood numbers 204 and 211. No. 204 was in the
old black and yellow paint scheme while no. 211 is in the
newer green and yellow scheme. Both have been sold to the New
Jersey shartline Block River and Western. S-l no. 61 is also up
for sale. Representatives from a large western Canadian potash
company were looking her over this week.
The Devco Railway has ordered four (4) more GP-38-2 s from
Diesel Division General Motors of Canada. T~are scheduled for
delivery in March or April 1981. I am told that these units will
not have the built in generotors (for the coal mines).
The railway is also modernizing their maintenance of way
enuipment. Eauipment such as Perribone 4 wheel highway-railway
vehicle, and purchased last year a CANRON Rail Group electomatic
tamper Mark 2 with torsion beam. This enuipment will come in handy
this summer as Devca replaces all their main tracks with new 115 lb.
rail, also when they build the new line to the new Donkin mine when work
starts on this enterprise.
of the Cape Breton Development Corporation, Steve Rankin,
made this announcement yesterday.
He said that the Devco Board had reluctantly decided that
the train is not attracting enough passengers to justify its cost.
The locomotive Old Number 42, as it has been affectionately
knownto Cope Bretoners, will be returned to Mr. Bob Tibbetts, who
loaned it to Devco.
Mr. Rankin thanked the crews who have manned the railway.
They have been magnificent ambassadors for the coal mining towns,
he said.
Six years ago the introduction of the steam train played a
crucial part in increasing and diversifying interest in Tourism on
Cape Breton. Until that time the island offered few known tourist
attractions except the Cabot Trail. Now other resources, notably
the Fortress of Louisbourg, have been greatly developed; and many
new attractions of various kinds have been created.
The Corporation has done its best to make the railway operation
sustainable, Mr. Rankin said; but the Board had to note that,
while steam railways are being continued as major tourist attrac­
tions in some parts of the world, they are financially feasible only
because much of the work is done by volunteer enthusiasts for little
or no pay.
The Devco President said that it simply is not possible to
cover full operating costs of the railway. The number of passen­
gers for the train has not grown in the way that was at first indi­
cated; and the difficulties of operation are bound to get greater
as the locomotive and other enuipment age and as fewer people with
experience of steam operation and maintenance survive.
In these circumstances Devco has had to decide that, in
competition with other development renuirements, the economic
benefits of the railway cannot continue to match its financial
(those coloured polka-dot planues which for a few years adorned,
by decree, all freight cars, many passenger cars, and even
some locomotives) a replacement system was needed. CP Rail have de­
veloped a TV system, but one with a substantial difference. The
Closed Circuit Television Corporation of Montreal, a subsidiary of
ADT Security Systems, worked to CP specifications in developing the
system which features trains which always appear to the clerk to
be moving at 6 to 8 miles per hour. This is accomplished by the use
of a special videotape techninue which records a series of frames,
rather than a continuous image. When the tape is played back, an
apparent speed of 6 to 8 miles per hour is used, and the clerk has
the ability to stop completely on any car which is indistinct. The
system is claimed to be 95% effective at any speed. This rate is
better than previous TV systems, and even superior to that of a
clerk standing at track side. In one test, a 100 car train leaving
Agincourt Yard in Toronto, a track-side checker missed four car
numbers, the old TV system and clerk missed four, and the new system
and clerk missed only one – a number which was acknowledged to be
badly worn away.
In addition to improving accuracy, the system is expected to
reduce delays since there is no need to delay a freight departure
or arrival until a yard clerk is available. The system will record
all arrivals or departures and the tape can be reviewed at a conv­
enient time.
DEVCO RAILWAY RS-27 No. 214 when new, outside roundhouse at Glace
Bay N.S. in March 1975. Engine is ex-Alco demonstrator, later
Union Pacific R.R. No. 675 derated from 2400 to 2000 H.P. by MlW.
(Photographed by Barrie Macleod).
being delivered in 1981. Aside from Flyer Industries, severol
other Conadian and severol overseas ~onufocturers hove been
invit~ bid. Tenders ore due to be opened this month (April).
When the 100 orrive, the fleet will sland Qt 137 units, the largest
ever. The implications of lhis ore interesting -this will give
Transit sufficient capacity to operate all existing electriFied
roules fully with trolleys, as well as being able to extend so~e
routes and add entirely new ones. PIons call for extending the number 3 olong 118 Avenue to 156
Street and then south to the Jasper Ploce
Ter~inol. The number 2 would be easily converted since most of the wire w
ork already ~xi$ts. Would th~ nu~ber 7, originally proposed os t
rolley but operoted by diesel, see the e~isting ~ire on 107th
Avenue for the number 3 extend~d west? These are all possibilities. Wi
th the extension o~ the nu~ber 3 through Groot Road to 142nd
Avenue and the reworking of the 102nd Avenue and Stony Plain Rood
interse~tion areo with it~ interesting ~urves using K&M overhead,
Transit is finding the trolleys run very well on maintained ~odern
overhead. K&M has the ability to make most curves into a soft
curve while Ohio Brass ~akes all curves hard -thot is a c
ombination of 30
and 45
a a
ngles, with straight stretches in bet_
ween. K&M overhead also gives a foster run on the straightaways. T
ransit is leaning towards K&M on all except hard (right or left
turn) ~urves.
Some of the options to be ~ansidered an the new buses ore two_and_one seo
ting. and double front doors -could the 1-48 be
olive again? Power steering is another possibility.
More wire work proposed is on e~ergency loop into the new Mi
tchell Garage at 156 Street and 118 Avenue. This garage is now
under construction. The Oliver Loop, farflled by Jasper Avenue, 124
Street, and 102nd Avenue, .oy be reworked to ollow it to be used
from either direction. At the same lo~otion a right turn fro.
southbound 124 Street to 102nd Avenue westbound will permit buses
entering service from Westwood Garage to get to Jasper Place without
the $o~ewhot unconventional ond interesting gyrations practised on ono
ottosian by the APRA: A right turn at 124 Street northbound
onto 107 Avenue easbound is also planned to permit return to West­
wood. Tne Gorneou loop at 109 Street and 83 Avenue will be removed
in May ond .oved to on os yet unspecified nearby site. A rework
if the 101 Street -103 Avenue intersection will a~co … odate right
and left turns at Edmonton Centre. Also in the fvture is a vogue p
lan to e~tend tho number 1 to Abbotsfield.
New doesnt all that start a trolley_buffs pulse running?
Back Cover.
Sister engine to 1400, 1437 and FP7A built three years eorlier,
awaits a call at Medicine Hat in the summer of 1953, however
unlike the newer engine, she wa. geored for 0 .oximum speed of
65 mph.
(Collection of D. forster)

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