Monday, 30 September 2013

Vancouver or Bust


Canadian Pacific Railway's eastbound Train 2 crossing the famed Stoney Creek bridge east of Rogers Pass. Borrowed from the internet, this photo had no details, however, the image appears to be the Nicholas Morant photo that graced CPR public timetable covers in the 1950's.


If the calendar below looks at all familiar, then it is probably because CNR came up with the same tiered-fare concept ten years earlier in a more colourful manner known as, "Red, White and Blue"

My life-long dream at that time was to travel across Canada on CPR's famous train, "The Canadian" and something that I had planned for years. 

When one is young, a few years does seem like a definition of forever, but now...



This is the back of CP Rail's April 29, 1973, passenger train system timetable.


$76.00 was the cost of a one-way coach seat from Montreal to Vancouver on CP Rail's premier train "The Canadian" but meals not included. 


The cost may not seem high today but in 1973, $76.00 was more than a summer student's minimum wage, week's salary before taxes.

Although the date was not recorded, my train journey across Canada started on September 19, 1973, to take advantage of the lower fare for Wednesday departure and to arrive in Vancouver on Saturday, September 22, so that someone could meet me upon arrival.

The return trip on a "gray" date in October was less at $58.00.


In 1973, CP Rail tickets did not come with copies or a receipt.


This undated gray ticket receipt was issued by the train's originating conductor when my ticket was lifted. During the journey and after departing from crew-change stations, the relieving conductors would re-check lifted tickets against the receipts....and yes, even in the middle of the night.

Serving as home for 3 days and nights, Seat 18 in Car 173 was in the forward coach section of the skyline dome car. Today, Via Rail's skyline dome cars (inherited from CP Rail) no longer have a forward coach section. Also today, Via Rail runs the skylines cars in reverse direction in their trains.





Inside the April 29, 1973, pocket schedule for "The Canadian" included with the ticket and  ticket folder.


One significant change over the last 40 years is that most of the 435.3 miles of the Canadian Pacific Railway between Montreal and Sudbury no longer exist; first traffic changes, then abandonments and finally scrappers eventually taking their toll.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum July 15, 2014


By chance I came across this image on the internet and the scene depicted reminded me of my first arrival into Vancouver on this train in September 1973... including the gray sky.

Circa early 1970's - CP Rail's Train 1 - "The Canadian" arrived at Vancouver.   (M.S. Horne photo)






Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Montreal "B" Folder

What was a Montreal "B" folder?

Nothing more than Canadian Pacific Railway's smaller, pocket-sized, train schedules for their passenger train services that originated from Montreal.

I personally picked up two copies of this particular schedule at Windsor Station in Montreal back in 1968. Being the train-nut that I was, for six months I carried one copy of schedule around with me almost all the time. It wore out. 

45 years later I still have this other one and sometimes wonder why.






Needless to say, Table 4 was the most studied of these schedules, and over everything else too. Had I studied that diligently in high school instead, then perhaps I would have done well academically. No regrets though.


The Canadian railway world has certainly changed much over the decades.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Update and additions: 

In the late 1960's and early 1970's, the Canadian Pacific Railway/CP Rail Montreal to Riguad commuter service was operating close to break-even. 

In April 1970, CP Rail placed their then new double-deck commuter equipment into revenue service.

A new "Lakeshore" schedule, separate from the Montreal "B" folder, was issued for the time change on April 26, 1970.




The Monday to Friday trains.


As was advertised - the look of the new CP Rail commuter passenger cars.


A CPR 10-trip commuter ticket issued in 1969. Good for travel in either direction between Montreal and Cedar Park, for the grand total of $5.55. When the new CP Rail image came in, this card gave way to a strip of 10 separate tear-off tickets.


A cash fare receipt issued for $0.70, the cost of a single trip between the same two stations; Montreal and Cedar Park.


One more look at a CP Rail commuter train in the 1970's. A westbound train having just departed from the Montreal West station heading toward next station Sortin. This photo appears to have been taken from the tracks of CP Rail's Adirondack Subdivision looking northward. The road bridge in the background would be Westminter Avenue. (Massey F. Jones photo borrowed from internet)


Surprise! Surprise!

Look what turned up on the internet.


A single trip ticket for travel on CP Rail's "Lakeshore" commuter trains. The CP Rail 10-trip ticket strip (mentioned above) was almost the same format except pale green in colouring.








Wednesday, 18 September 2013

WHY?


VIA train and Ottawa city bus collide during morning commute, six dead







National Post Staff | 18/09/13 | Last Updated: 18/09/13 11:49 AM ET
More from National Post Staff

Six people are dead and about 30 were injured after a Via Rail train and an Ottawa city bus collided in the city’s southwest end Wednesday morning, officials have confirmed. Witnesses say the bus appeared to run through warning symbols at a train crossing.

The accident occurred just outside a suburban Via Rail station. The train tracks cross both a major city street and a transit line for buses.

Via Train 51 left for Toronto from Ottawa Station, shortly after 8:30 a.m. The train originated from Montreal.

Eleven people were rushed to hospital in critical condition.

“People started screaming, ‘Stop, stop!’ because they could see the train coming down the track,” Tanner Trepaniere, who was sitting on the top level of the bus, said.

The front end of the double-decker OC Transpo bus is severely damaged, images from the scene near Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road show. Witnesses say the front part of the bus was ripped off by the impact, which occurred in the middle of the morning commute, at about 8:50 a.m.

OC Transpo general manager John Manconi said they are investigating and do not know the cause of the collision.

Robert Kurtenbach, who was on the top level of the bus, told the Ottawa Citizen that the bus didn’t appear to slow down at all as the train went through the crossing.

He was thrown forward by the impact and twisted his leg, but said he wasn’t seriously injured.

“I could see bodies lying there,” he said. He said he could see “more than two or three” people that were severely injured and he could not see the driver at all.

Pascal Lolgis, who witnessed the crash, told The Canadian Press the bus drove through a lowered crossing barrier.

“Boom! It went into the train like that,” Lolgis said. “He didn’t stop. He must have lost his brakes. Or he had an … attack or whatever.

“He just didn’t stop. He just keep going like that. Then he get hit.”

The front end of Train 51 on the ground. The side of the locomotive cab was struck by the bus. The head end crew must have seen what was coming and they were powerless to do anything to prevent the collision. Nonetheless the locomotive crew has to live and bear with the burden of consequences beyond their control.


Gregory Mech, who was on top-level the bus, told CBC News that passengers were screaming for the driver to stop after he took a nearby turn.

“It just didn’t feel right,” he said. He said he thought there were about 10 people who were dead or severely injured.

“I could see there were bodies on the train tracks. It was horrible.” 

Fire services said at least two or three of the train’s cars are off the tracks, and that all of the casualties are on the bus, with no injuries on the train. The train came to a halt about 100 metres west of the accident site.

The double-decker buses can hold up to 82 people.

A number of the injured have been taken to the Ottawa Hospital. At least three people where admitted to the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital in critical condition, the Ottawa Citizen reports. 



Fire Services spokesperson Marc Messier said he not believe any children were among those involved in the accident.

Emergency services are working to clear the roadway. The Transportation Safety Board are en route to the scene. Air ambulances have been dispatched in Toronto.

Ottawa’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated, Mayor Jim Watson tweeted. The city’s flags have been ordered to half-mast.

“A number of agencies will be looking into what transpired this morning, including the Ottawa Police, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Coroner, but our focus as a City today is to care for those families who have lost a loved one as well as ensure we provide the best possible care for those who have been injured and affected by the accident,” Watson said in a statement.

All trains on the Ottawa-Toronto route are cancelled for the day. Chartered buses will run the route for the rest of the day, VIA Rail said.


************************************************

Only yesterday I had received Via Rail's "Crazy Tuesdays" e-mail offering very low fares between Toronto and various destinations. I had actually pondered taking advantage of the $26.00 one-way fares offered to make a same-day return train trip to Ottawa today. 


That idea was quickly dismissed as travel to a destination too far, on a day too soon in case of unexpected health issues, (recovering from a heart attack) never considering the possibilities of other things going wrong.


If I had chosen to go, then of course I would not have been on either the train or bus involved in the accident, however, I would certainly have been on one of the trains delayed or cancelled en route.



The Oddblock Station Agent




Monday, 16 September 2013

More Railway Art


North American Railways seem to go out of their way to make their freight cars as plain and anonymous looking as possible. In a way, small wonder that drab looking rail cars idling away and rusting in rail yards attract the artists.

If I did not see this stuff passing by, I would never believe art work like this could exist. 

To be honest, I am not out there looking for this stuff. Train photos are what I'm really after. The art work just happens to be there, and in the way sometimes.

These artists are certainly not reaching world audiences through traditional and stuffy, maybe even pretentious, mainstream art channels. Here's another sampling of their art for art's sake. 

One can only wonder what goes through the minds of the creative individuals who live in these different sub-cultures that populate and stalk railway yards in search of another "steel canvas" to cover.




DARK SPICE - need anything else be said? Yeah! Maybe! What is dark spice?


CREATIVE - The door's locking bars have been incorporated into the painting. I have no idea what the remainder means. Any suggestions out there?


2nd LOOK - You just gotta love these two guys behind bars.


BAD CONTRAST - Difficult to see and I have no idea what message may be behind this one. Pink rhymes with stink, and this entry does. Call this a case study in how not to paint.


SOMEONE - It took me a while to figure this one out but it looks just looks like someone; I just don't know who though.
 

MTL PUNKS - One can only wonder what message the artist wishes to convey, however, is it possible that MTL means Montreal? Did this artist travel on the rails only to end up in Montreal? I suppose we'll hear a tantrum from Pauline "Mauvais" Marios ranting that the painting was done in English only should we ever learn the art work originated in Quebec.


QUOI?? - on the subject of Quebec politics, this message makes about as much sense if not more.



HONOURABLE MENTION - for good use of colours but I wish I could figure out what it means.


GRAND PRIZE - Grand prize this week goes to this one for clarity. How can anyone look at Charlie Brown and not wonder whether or not he shall at last catch that fly ball? Well done!




























The Oddblock Station Agent


Cab Ride on GO Train 166


July 15, 1994

Since moving into our new home about a year and a half ago, I have regularly watched and sporadically photographed the GO trains on GO Transit’s Milton Line (CP Rail’s Galt Subdivision) near Erindale Station. While not situated too close to the tracks, I can see the trains and station from my back yard. 


Milton GO Train schedule effective from April 26 1994




On the last day of my July vacation, I managed to talk Kie into accompanying me on a series of short rides between Milton and Union Station that I had worked out from the schedule. A day pass for unlimited travel from Union Station to Milton is a bargain at $12.10 per person. Two round trips can be accomplished on the afternoon/evening trains alone.


Ticket to ride...but only on the date shown


Our journey started at Erindale Station on Train 164 which pulled out exactly on time at 16:08. Twenty-nine minutes later at 16:37 we were on the platform in Union Station, slightly ahead of the schedule’s indicated 16:40 arrival time. This allowed us to make a very brief pause in the station concourse to pick up a snack and newspaper as we circled around from GO’s boarding area through to Via Rail’s boarding area to catch the next westbound train, GO 159 slated for a 16:50 departure. The Milton GO Trains board passengers at Via Rail’s gate 13.

We rode GO 159 as far as Meadowvale. My plan was to wait at Meadowvale for train 161 which was following twenty minutes behind. The short wait gave me a chance to choose the best possible photo location on the platform.


Westbound GO Train 161 arriving on the north track at the Meadowvale station. Only the north track has a platform for passengers. GO Trains on the “Milton Line” operate push-pull; eastbound morning trains are hauled by the locomotive whereas the westbound evening trains are pushed. Kie is the person sitting on the bench.


At 17:52 we boarded train 161 for the quick downhill dash between Meadowvale and Milton. We rode in the first car and I watched the track from the doorway window. The train’s consist was being pushed from the rear by an F59PH. The profile of CP Rail’s double track mainline is almost identical to the profile of the nearby Highway 401 stretch between Erin Mills Parkway and James Snow Parkway interchanges; not surprising since the rail and road routes are almost parallel to each other.

The Milton GO Station is literally in the middle of nowhere and quite a way out of the town. This of course may change in the years ahead as city sprawl and housing development catches up. While I took photographs of the head end of terminated Train 161, the CP Rail crew was preparing the parked equipment for a return run as Train 166.



Westbound Go Train 161, stopped at Milton, has completed its run. The engineer already left the control cab of car 203 and the crew is preparing the consist to return to Union Station as GO Train 166


F59PH-2 numbered 545 will be pulling Go Train 166 eastbound to Union Station, making all regular stops. Just after this scene was recorded, I boarded the train and was then invited to ride in the cab of 545 to Erindale.


After capturing a couple of frames on film, Kie and I walked the platform to the opposite end. I also wanted a shot of the F59PH-2. Unit 545 would be pulling Train 166 to Union Station. A few moments later we boarded the train. As soon as we were seated, I noticed a man on the platform motioning me to come over to the door.

“How far are you going?” he asked

“Erindale.” I replied.

“Do you want a ride up in the cab?” he offered.

He was the engineer and I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. For me, this was one of those rare invitations of a lifetime. Momentarily returning to Kie, I informed her that I was going to be riding in the engine for our return trip to Erindale. I also wanted to assure her that I would exit the train there. 


The north track in Milton as seen from the cab of F59PH-2 numbered 545. The crew of Train 166 is ready, waiting for 18:15, and the final authorization to depart.


Upon entering the cab through a pair of steel doors, I heard the conductor repeating back train orders to the dispatcher over the radio. A few moments later at 18:15, Train 166 pulled out of Milton on the north track, slowly rounded the curve and approached a crossover just beyond the curve. The signal aspects were displaying red, flashing yellow and red from the top of the signal mast down.

Limited to stop
“Limited to stop.” the conductor called out.

“Limited to stop.” The engineer called out also.

Both men read aloud their interpretations of the signal indication displayed to verify they both had the same understanding. Train 166 moved through the crossover from the north track to the south track for the train’s uphill charge over the main line’s wave-like profile. Train 166's consist quickly gained speed while proceeding to the next signal, in spite of the previous signal having informed us that the next signal would be instructing our train to stop. The crew knows well every detail of their route. Looking up the miles of straight track ahead, I was unable to see the aspects of the next signal.

In the distance I saw the headlights of an approaching train. Westbound GO Train 163 was charging downhill toward Milton for its 18:22 arrival time. From far away it was impossible for me to determine which track the approaching train was on. A lot of faith was being placed in the information the signals had been telling us.

Train 166 slowed as the glowing aspects of the signal mast came into view. All three lights were displaying red. Our train was almost stopped when the top lamp flickered and changed from red to green; thus giving us a clear track over which to continue.

“Clear.” The conductor called out.

“Clear” the engineer confirmed. 

When he pushed the throttle forward, the floor vibrated as all cylinders in the engine behind the cab’s rear wall thundered. The F59PH-2 worked quickly to pull the following string of bi-level cars uphill toward Meadowvale. Repeatedly engine 545’s horn blasted for crossing just beyond the signal masts, yelling at impatient drivers to stop. Finally cars yielded the right of way to 166.

Upon approaching the next signal the conductor called out, “Limited to clear.”

“Limited to clear.” The engineer called out in confirmation. 

Train 166 slowed and crossed back over to the north track. The station at Meadowvale does not have a platform on the south track. Our consist passed a speaking detector which faithfully reported on the status of our train’s wheel sets, “CP detector, mile twenty-five naught zero, Galt Sub, north track, four naught zero axles, no alarm.” and then concluded with, “Detector out”

“Is that reporting on our train?” I questioned, just to confirm it was.

“Yes it is.” The engineer replied.

The cab’s large digital speedometer was displaying 40 miles per hour as the already slowing train reached the west end of the platform. The engine was just clear of the east end of the platform by the time the speedometer displayed zero; a perfect stop that could only have been perfected through years of experience.

A few moments later and out of Meadowvale, Train 166 rounded a curve and approached the small yard at Streetsville Junction at 67 miles per hour. Streetsville Junction is the location where the Orangeville Subdivision joins the Galt Subdivision. A pair of SW units was switching cars on the adjacent north track and our train’s lead, 545, sounded the bell as a warning to the crew of the opposing movement.

Less than a minute later Train 166 neared Tannery Road in Streetsville. A little more than a month earlier, this road crossing of the CPR tracks was the location of a tragic death. A young lady in her mid teens, who had been waiting for a westbound train to pass, accidentally stepped into the path of an eastbound container train traveling on the second track. The unfortunate train crew was powerless to change the outcome but those men will have to live with the consequences nonetheless. Today, no persons or vehicles were waiting at the Tannery Road crossing as eastbound 166 commenced slowing for the Streetsville station.

While leaving the station the train gingerly approached the Mississauga Road crossing through the banked sharp curve. Not long ago at this crossing, a stopped car was rear-ended by another vehicle and shoved into the passing freight train. Miraculously, nobody was killed nor the train derailed in that incident. As soon as the crossing protection gates were seen to be down and all road traffic stopped and waiting, the engineer nudged the throttle a notch or two higher.

“Limited to limited.” Our conductor called out.

“Limited to limited.” The engineer confirmed upon approaching the next signal.



The Erindale GO station is just around the curve. After passing the signal mast, Train 166 will cross over highway 403 on the bridge at the start of the curve. The unprotected crossing shown is a location where I have photographed trains from trackside.



A signal mast is located near the north end of CP Rail’s bridge over Highway 403. Seeing one of my favourite train watching/photo locations from the locomotive cab rather than trackside was a treat. Today, to make the stop at Erindale, Train 166 would diverge and enter the third track.

When the train was stopped I exited the cab of GO’s unit 545 and descended to the ballast beside the right of way. The engineer looked down from the cab to ensure that I was safely off the train and out of the way. He gave me a thumbs-up and I gratefully returned his signal. I waited for Train 166 to departed and watched as the green and white consist disappeared around the curve en route to its destination at Toronto’s Union Station.

That was my first cab ride in the head end of a CP Rail train traveling over mainline tracks. My initial observation was how deceptive the feeling of a lack of speed could be from high above the track. At times the train did not feel to be moving all that quickly, but glances at the speedometer, which was visible to all in the cab, easily confirmed that Train 166 was often traveling at more than 60 miles per hour and a few times touched the maximum 75 miles per hour permitted over the GO Train territory of CP Rail’s Galt Subdivision.

The men who pilot these trains day after day are professionals and they take their work and responsibilities very seriously. First-hand I have witnessed their work and practices. I am very grateful for their kindness for allowing me this ride up front and brief glimpse into their on-duty activities. When I ride the GO Trains on the “Milton Line” (CP Rail’s Galt Subdivision) I have no doubt whatsoever that I shall arrive safely at my destination.

Thank you head-end crew of Train 166. This was one of those few rare gifts of a lifetime and a wonderful conclusion to my vacation. Again, thank you.


Written in 1994
The Oddblock Station Agent



Monday, 2 September 2013

The Most Profound of Train Books


The following train book was rediscovered a few months ago while I was searching for something else.

This unique book was created by my daughter in 1991 when she was nine years old.

Nothing else need be said by me.

 


























TheOddblock Station Agent







Sunday, 1 September 2013

Railway Ramblings...About Trains of Course!


A few more words from the writer to add to the already more than a few too many words on this subject, but added nonetheless.

The original volume was nothing more than a scrap book filled with scraps of paper (what else would you expect?) together with scraps of memories; some eroded and fouled by the passing of too many years.

The unfortunate part about recording railway history, and/or details concerning related train stuff, is that too many of the trains, tracks and scenes have been scrapped by circumstances brought about by the relentless passing of time and change.

The first page of a new chapter, and what better way than to begin with a photograph of my favourite railway?


A CP Rail freight train in the Canadian Rockies - minus the caption and critical details.

These pages, I hope, shall also answer, or at least address, another dilemma which has plagues me for years - what is to be done with all these train pictures? Many I don't want to keep simply because of practicality; insufficient space in which to keep everything. Having said this, some photographs I would like to possibly revisit again at some indefinite time in the future...maybe.


Only the Slowly

First, my apology to the late Roy Orbison, but the title fits.

A few scenes clipped from an old Delaware Otsego Corp. annual report.


NYSW/NS inspection train meets train 257 at Buffalo, NY, on November 11, 1994.

Susquehana was part of the Delaware Otsego Corp. I can recall when the stock for this company was traded on NASDAQ for $8.10 per share. I thought about taking a flyer on 100 shares but in the end did not buy. Only weeks later the price jumped above $21.00 per share. Norfolk Southern and CSX bought out the Delaware Otsego Corp. to preempt CP Rail doing the same. 

The CSX-NS Conrail split completely rearranged the railway map in the US northeast and CP Rail ultimately acquired its access into New York City anyway.


Intermodal - ya gotta hate to love this business...or love to hate it.


Intermodal, COFC, TOFC, piggyback or whatever you may want to call it, is the ultimate love-hate situation in my life. My employer is one of the global marine container lines (not pictured) and I truly do not like working in this type of business. I detest the problems associated in moving these urgent metal boxes crammed full of stuff we really do not need and may not even want.

Do you really believe that lifting a container off or on a rail car is simple and efficient? Do not believe it for a minute!! All those containers loaded up on the rail cars (top left for an example) may have been waiting for days just to move from the ground to the rail cars, or vice versa.

Freight carrier customers that rely on transportation systems just do not understand transportation. Yes you read this correctly. Carrier customers do not understand the operational complexities of trying to balance cost controls against transportation efficiency. And why should customers understand transportation limitations? They just want their junk in the boxes.

Now, as for balancing costs and efficiency, what do you think? 

My answer - there is no such thing! 

Yes, you read this correctly too. Why? Because transportation efficiency and cost control are two diametrical conflicting concepts even though management experts would have you believe differently. Cost control does not improve efficiency. Cost control hampers efficiency. Conversely, efficiency is not the result of cost control. Reality is an equilibrium eventually achieved at the expense of both cost control and efficiency - and this mediocre state is what we accept as efficient and cost effective transportation but, in truth, is neither.

Customers, the bottom line is this: containers won't be there before they get there only because they get there when they get there but they will still be there after they get there simply because they got there. Got it? Then go and pick up your container you urgently wanted yesterday.

This obviously presents the hate side of my love-hate relationship with intermodal. While I may not like working in this business as a career, I am fascinated by the way intermodal transportation systems function, or for that matter, do not function as well as they should...assuming they could.

So where is the logic in all of this? I do not know.


Containers and trailers on the move

Now this is what I call an interesting photo to further expand upon my previous comments. 

I shall be surprised if the intermodal train pictured above was travelling any faster than 30 miles per hour. Now look at the trucks on the adjacent highway. I shall be surprised if any of the trucks were travelling at or less than 55 miles per hour.

So what is my point?

Those double stacked containers will be delivered days later whereas the trucks will be there, wherever the destinations may be, in a matter of hours. Highway trailers can move whenever the loads are ready to go to wherever they need to go. Containers and trailers moving by rail only move when there is a sufficient volume to justify originating a train - perhaps once a day on a busy container lane so far as a short line rail carrier is concerned - and only to the railway's end point which is not the ultimate destinations.

Trucking costs are much higher, but end-to-end movement is accomplished much faster. Conversely train movement is less expensive on a per trailer or per container basis, but the end-to-end transportation is accomplished far slower. The cost/time trade off is usually hours versus days.

Is anything going to change?

Most likely not but only slowly if it does.


Train time, rail cars included, is any time, anywhere.

The original intent of this volume was to fill it with photographs and not with me spouting on about the inefficiencies of intermodal transportation. 

This next scene reveals what is often a problem when scanning a photo clipped from a magazine or other publication; what the eye does not perceive the scanner does. The end result is a much poorer image.


CN freight train in the Canadian Rockies. Original caption details missing.

CN - the other railway which I used to have little or no interest in for no other reason than it was not CP Rail. Today, any railway is okay and Canadian even better. My bias of course. Today the Canadian rail carriers remain Canadian but one can only wonder how long this may continue if another round of rail mergers ever get off the ground again.


At Lennoxville, Quebec, on August 01, 1997. CN Locomotive numbered 9466 was leading St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad's southbound intermodal destined for Auburn, Maine, over the former CN Sherbrooke Subdivision.

This scene above was recorded by chance, simply by being in the right place at the right time. My family and I were returning home from vacationing in Maine and New Hampshire via the Eastern Townships. The crossing protection signals started flashing with bells ringing and the vehicles in front stopped. I pulled off to the side of the road, grabbed the camera, got out of the car and managed to obtain this one picture.


August 17, 1997, heading north on the Algoma Central Railway

Algoma Central Railway's northbound Agawa Canyon tour train crossing the Montreal River. While I liked enjoying the train ride and watching the scenery, Kie liked photographing the front of the train on a curve. Opportunity abounds! No shortage of curved track on the ACR!



Sault Ste. Marie on October 01, 1994. Grimy covered hoppers in CP Rail paint but showing Algoma Steel Corp. reporting marks.

What possible glamour is there in a string of dirty, forlorn-looking covered hopper cars parked in a steel mill?

Some railway scenes will never be magazine cover material and may not even be worth preserving, as with these two scenes. In places like this is where many freight cars in main line freight trains start out or end up.


Rail cars lined up waiting to be utilized for work... eventually.


Freight cars are designed to carry freight - all kinds of freight - there is no other reason for their existence. Dirty, beat-up, and scruffy-looking means that the rail cars have been dutifully doing what they are supposed to be doing even if they do spend most of their lives sitting on rusted rails waiting to be pulled or shoved somehere else.

Anyway, these two images of the rail cars at Algoma Steel Corp. mill in Sault Ste. Marie, were taken from a boat cruising the St. Mary's River locks. Again, unexpectedly being in the right place at the right time to record a railway scene.


A final word on intermodal transportation.

If trucks can travel on rails, then maybe rail cars can move on trucks... I don't think so.


Some ideas will not get off the ground and other ideas should never become airborne, or truckborne either. 

One thing is certain; should the above concept ever happen you'll never find me driving behind something like this on a highway.


Just one more...


Somewhere in Europe: 2 x 20FT containers joined to make a bridge

As soon as you think that you've seen everything concerning a particular subject, invariably something new will show up. I think that prevents life from becoming predictable and monotonous.

Normally marine containers go on board ships, however, in this instant a rowboat is passing beneath these containers. No doubt designed for pedestrian traffic, can this made-from-containers covered bridge be considered a form of intermodal transportation?

I shall leave this question for you the reader to decide.


The Oddblock Station Agent