Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thunder Bay (and Cochrane) 1979, Part 2

During our 1979 Thunder Bay visit - Part 1 and itinerary here, we visited a terminal grain elevator at the harbour. The view toward the yard throat (above) is near the dumper shed looking west between Sask Pool elevators 7A and 7B. Inside, a grain inspector described the grading and inspection process for us:
Ever seen a grain boxcar unloaded on the unique, tilting car shaker? Here is an interior view of the grain leaving a CN boxcar. The C.N. initials are on the inside of the car door, while the wooden grain door and paper lining can be seen emerging from the far side of the car interior as the grain is unloaded.
For reference, here's another photo of a boxcar being emptied in Prince Rupert one year earlier. Covered hoppers relieved the industry of the upkeep of these expensive, dangerous unloading methods. In their own time, I suppose they were an improvement on shovelling the car out, but a rolling hopper bottom discharging into a grate is a lot more efficient and safer, too. Docked alongside the elevator in Thunder Bay was a bulk carrier lake boat, likely one of the Hall ships of the HALCO fleet. This is between Sask Pool 7A and the Thunder Bay McCabe elevator, later UGG 'M'. It's April, it's Thunder Bay, so there's still some ice in the harbour!
We toured the Mount McKay Scenic Lookout on the Fort William Indian Reserve. I took this photo due to the subtle railway content - a transfer movement with CN GMD-1's leads grain cars along the Mission Spur from the Cargill elevator, as well as ore cars, alongside City Road, approaching the James Street swing bridge.  CP's Westfort yard is at right centre. The white Paterson elevator's silos, along the Kaministiquia River, are almost demolished. Fantastically, our hosts told us one elevator was destroyed with dynamite due to a huge rat infestation. Chew on that!
On our way home, taken from the bus window in Longlac, CP woodchip gons (and one CN car at extreme right) were alongside.
What would you do during a main street supper stop in Cochrane, ON. Why not hotfoot it down to the CN-ONR station? We did, finding 1803 idling:
Then, 1401 emerged from the yard with an 'Ontario's Development Road' green boxcar and trainman riding the footboard.
This particular RS-10 was the last of ONR's still in service as late as 1985, having been one of four acquired in 1955-57. Still soldiering on, here negotiating yard tracks:
I snapped the slightly forlorn, Temiskaming & Northern Ontario museum train languishing behind snowbanks:
Thanks to Phil McGinn and Brian Martyniuk for assistance with this post. Watch for an upcoming post with some of Brian's early VIA era photos from the Lakehead.

Running extra...

This week I came across a nice selection of western Canadian photos, including Alberta grain elevators. Many of these photos were taken in the late 1980's before the classic wooden elevators started coming down in large numbers.

Having attended the Skate Canada national championships in Kingston this weekend, I'm reflecting on what a truly Canadian event it was (though you can be born in Japan, Alaska or Russia and still compete). The scrape of skate blades on clean, fresh ice is something that really resonates, be it figure skaters or hockey players displaying grace, sportsmanship and athleticism. Canadian Tire was a major sponsor, distributing Flawless Routine! cardboard signs. I think I can repurpose mine into a sign that reads Flawless Poutine!

Canadian Tire is innovating...a 60-foot intermodal container, already government-approved and then tested by CP at its Vaughan, ON terminal. Will this container push intermodal car builders into a new era with longer cars to accommodate these massive boxes that can be filled with boxes of hockey tape, extension cords, coffee makers and other must-have items?


Jason Sailer said...

Neat post Eric! Enjoyed seeing the grain terminals in action! Especially loading grain boxcars!

Eric said...

Thanks, Jason. That unloading rig was (as I recall) a big metal guide arm that was inserted into either end of the car to guide the grain into the bin, once the grain door had been punctured.

Lots of work for the cleaners to remove the leftover lumber/paper/strapping.