East bound freight @ McCall - Wednesday July 19, 2006 12:47 PM

Motorcars, Speeders and Railcars

By Wayne Parsons

Southwest Railcar Ltd. - British Columbia 2006

CN main line west bound from Prince George to Burns Lake, BC

This event started on July 11th in Squamish, BC.  Original plans were modified when the track near Lillooet, BC was blocked by an accident investigation.  The group towed their speeders around the impasse to 100 Mile House, set-on again, and had been north to the coal region of Tumbler Ridge when I joined up in Prince George.  We left on Wednesday July 19th for the west coast port of Prince Rupert, BC.  Riding four days on the rail we arrived there on Saturday July 22nd, laid off a day, and returned to Prince George on Thursday July 27th.  The group then ran south two days to set-off at 100 Mile House.

Lay day July 18th in Prince George - Pete Wenk tightens his wheel while inspecting the car's alignment. 

Pat Coleman uses wheel profiles and a tape measure to check gauge on the car.


Inside the Prince George Railway & Forestry Museum shop, this F unit is getting a make over.

The Prince George lay day also finds Jim Spicer and Mark Sorensen doing a little maintenance in the shop.

Mark and Karen Werner work on a radio wiring problem while Karen's brother in law Bruce helps with trips to the parts store.  The insert shows the car's heavy steel gas tank that was salvaged from an old welder.

Wednesday July 19 - 6:55AM  After moving all the cars out of the shop and locking up, we're ready for departure.


Pete says we're going that way!

7:07AM - we back onto the bridge to clear the switch and enter the Prince George yard.  Above Car 14's door is "California Surfin" to match the surf board on top.


7:25AM - Mile 0 - Leaving Prince George yard.  Note the CTC sign indicating central traffic control for this track.  For every move we made the supervisors would call dispatch and "get a block."

8:17AM - First train meet of the day at Miworth MP 7.2.  Our escort for today, CN foreman Bruce Easton, is in the left of frame making a roll by inspection of the freight.


9:19AM - Second meet of the day.  The train and the motorcars are moving slowly as we pass each other at Nechako MP 16.4.  This happened several times and I can tell you that it is quite a thrill pass a train in this way!

10:52AM - Grain hoppers are parked on the siding at Hulatt, mile post 56.3.


11:52AM - The bee-hive burner doesn't see much use because today all scrap and sawdust is recovered and fed to pulp mills.  The yellow bars above the lumber cars on the siding support a safety wire for workers walking on top of the lumber bundles.

2:08PM - The insert shows the view from the bridge.


2:17PM - Passing mile post 98.5.  Look at the clouds!!  At MP 115 we leave the Nechako Sub and enter the Telkwa Sub for the last 35 miles to Burns Lake.

4:12PM - Watson at MP 17.8 has a 6400 foot siding.  The lumber bundles are marked "West Fraser - Export."   Empty cars, like the one in the center, provide a flat 9 X 12 meter surface that pushes the air creating a wind that blows by you at the speed of the train.   A loaded train is not as "windy."


4:47PM - Tintagel, about 8 miles from the town of Burns Lake.  We have entered the 6600 foot siding and moved down to the west switch just as the passenger train arrives.

5:10PM - Burns Lake appears at MP 32.


5:22PM - backing into the stub at Burns Lake to tie up for the night. 

CN rail host John Armstrong fuels the speeders from a "Tidy Tank" carried in the hy-rail.


5:55PM - Our hotel is right across the street from the stub the cars are parked on.  Our 150 mile day is over; the west bound freight is evidence that the railroad's day is not.

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Comments are welcome via e-mail wparsons@ix.netcom.com