Motorcars, Speeders and Railcars

By Wayne Parsons

Southwest Railcar Ltd. - British Columbia 2005

Coordinator: Tom Phair  -  CN Rail Host: John Armstrong

Prince George, BC to McBride, BC and return

August 10 & 11, 2005

This building was a CN shop that has been donated to the Prince George Forestry and Railway Museum (located just across River Road).  In the left bay is an open pit used to inspect the motorcars during set on Tuesday Aug. 9th.  Now on departure day, and seemingly without any humans present, the excited cars are making their way onto the tracks!

The excited humans gather for morning coffee and donuts.  The blue car in the background is a BC Rail passenger coach being reconditioned by the museum volunteers.  On the right, Assistant Meet Coordinator Tom Ferrier talks with Debbie Armstrong, wife of our CN Rail Host.



Bo & Joyce Johansen, Anne Parsons, Bernie Leadon and Bud Stych gather for the morning safety meeting.

Departing the Railway Museum shop, the new four lane car bridge over the Fraser River is visible on the right.



The Fraser river railway bridge sees frequent use.  Each time we entered or left the yard one or two trains would traverse the bridge ahead of our group.  It is over 800 meters long and has a lift section once used for riverboat traffic.  On the left and right outside of the support beams are roadways used by cars until the new bridge was built.

The train crew gets a wave from the group on the first of many train meets.  The motorcar operators and passengers are all on the "dead" side of the cars away from the oncoming train and well back.  The two man safety watch checks every motorcar as the train approaches to make sure everyone is in a safe position.



Wayne Parsons and his mother Anne strike a pose at the morning rest stop.  The step box Anne is standing on doubles as a tool box.

Car #11 crossing a bridge on the way to McBride.



Much of the time distant views like this one are obscured by rail side trees and brush.

The group is passing a long siding under construction.  It's a hard choice to pick which to watch: the men and equipment at work or the distant scenery.



Anne Parsons fastens her seat belt.  Seat belts were required by the railroad for this trip.  Note the Les King window that permits flagging without opening the door.

Bridge at MP 64 on the way to McBride.



Every car was required to have a radio.  The strangest safety warning may have been "Buffalo loose on the left!"

Two of the wooly Buffalo are outside the gate.  Buffalo, cattle, and a mixed bred called "Beefalo" (no kidding) are raised in this area.



Waiting for transportation from the McBride hotel on Thursday morning Aug. 11th.  Many folks got brown bag lunches from the next door restaurant.

We backed out of the McBride yard to a crossing to turn our cars.  With the use of a floor jack and a pretty level crossing surface, the A car gets turned.  Look out for the jack handle because, it will give your chins a good whack!



CN Rail Host John Armstrong (white hat) gave a safety briefing every morning.  He and his wife Debbie ran a daily trivia quiz with questions like "How many states are there in the United States?"  To answer correctly you must deduct the number of Commonwealths.

On Thursday we stopped at Hansaid MP 100 for a tour of the crew cars parked on the siding.



The crew cars include small individual bedrooms and this combination dining and kitchen car.  The lady cook (center) stays with the crew train even when no work crew is in residence.  She put on much welcome coffee and Danish pastry for us.

Our last Thursday rest stop was at this lake with waist high marsh grass hard by the tracks.  Margaret Hope is walking her dog.



This lumber mill is being dismantled because all the near-by timber has been cut.  The owners stopped hauling logs here because the trains were passing other mills with usable capacity.  If it were in operation, incoming logs would be stacked in the foreground and enter the mill on the right side red platform.  The tan cylinder on the left is a burner that uses a cyclone like flow of air to prevent sparks and cinders.  This replaces the old bee-hive burners of yesterday.

On returning to the museum shop, we discovered that a CN operator had left this mower blocking our way.  The two cutting arms, seen here in the forward traveling position, are swung to the sides to cut grass and small trees off the right of way.  Our meet coordinator, a man of many talents, knew how to operate the machine and moved it when the CN operator could not be found!

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