In the new year January 1979 I finished making all my shifts on yard engine’s on January 2, I worked the 16:00 N. Industrial with yard foreman John MacLachlan, we had the 6714 for power and Ron Wilson was my locomotive engineer instructor.

The next day I worked the 15:30 S. Industrial with yard foreman Scotty Taylor, we had the 6717 for power and Bill Dixon was my locomotive engineer instructor.

On January 4, I worked the 09:00 Tramp at the General Yard Office, we had the 8102 for power and Bruce Hatton Senior was my locomotive engineer instructor, I had worked this assignment in December, and we switched piggyback trailers, and bad order cars off of outgoing trains. After lunch we would switch the Gulf Oil refinery in Inglewood.

In Pay Period No. 2 I worked six more yard engine assignments:

January 5, 07:00 Industrial (coach engine) 6717 foreman Ken Gray, engineer Stan McPhedran

January 8, 14:30 Industrial (coach engine) 6719 foreman Oscar Schwab foreman engineer Benny Maser

January 9, 09:15 Tramp (Western Cooperative Fertilizers & Canadian Industries Limited) the yard foreman was Pete Lotwin, our locomotive 8423 and my engineer instructor was Tom Craig. We would take a train full of rock phosphate from Alyth to the Western Cooperative Fertilizer plant to make fertilizer out of. Their plant was located halfway between Ogden and Shepard at Mile 169 on the Brooks Subdivision, we would also bring to Alyth any loads finished products, these would be covered hoppers loaded with fertilizer, and boxcars loaded with bags of fertilizer. We would also go to the Canadian Industries Limited this plant manufactured Nitroglycerin and Dynamite they would make batches of 10,000 pounds of Nitroglycerin and make Dynamite out of it, before we could enter the plants compound we would have to turn off all our portable walkie-talkie radios, and the radio on the locomotive, to prevent the radio signals from setting off blasting caps that they made there.

January 10, 10:00 N. Tramp 6714 foreman Kurt Sommers (Maple Leaf Mills, Calgary Brewing and Malting Brewery, and more warehouses out on the main track of the Red Deer Subdivision Engineer Ronnie Lamont

January 11, 09:00 Government foreman Gordon Engen 6717 (Switched Canada Malting Limited, Pillsbury Canada Limited, Alberta Distillers, and Iko Industries) my Engineer instructor was Elmer Benner. Going into switch Pillsbury Canada brought back memories, I had come a long way from the days I started working there loading boxcars with flour in the summer of 1968, when I was 19 years old. Now in 1979 I was taking all the loads out, and spotting up empties for loading, it was great talking to some of the old guys I used to work with.

January 12, 07:00 Pulldown Foreman George Clovechuk 8103, 8417 engineer Vince Watt, this was my last yard assignment.

On January 15, I made my first road trip on the Brooks Subdivision,

I phoned the Calling Bureau and asked which locomotive engineers took trainees, they told me Walter Guse did, and he was first out and lined up for train No. 952 a second-class train that ran daily, it was called the stock train, as it carried refrigerated loads of beef destined for Montréal and Toronto. I phoned Walter and introduced myself and asked him if I could go out with him on this trip, he said that it would be all right and I could meet him at the Alyth Diesel Shops booking out room. Walter H. Guse was born January 23, 1923 he entered the service of the CPR as a Wiper on February 21, 1943, when he was 20 years old, and was promoted to Locomotive Fireman on April 1, 1943.

The Calling Bureau phoned me at 17:15 for No. 952 at 19:15, I got down there just before 19:00, as locomotive engineers were paid on their trips 15 minutes Preparatory Time at the beginning of their trip, and 15 minutes Final Inspection at the end of their trip. Walter was a good-natured man, from the old school of engineers, his wife would wash, iron and starch his overalls, and railway cap, and he would wear a tie with his work shirt, we had three 3000 hp EMD SD-40 locomotives the 5613 was our lead locomotive followed by the 5716, and 5597. We read and signed the bulletin book, compared our Railway Approved Watches with the Seth Thomas No. 17 weight regulator. And marked the error of our watches in seconds on the Enginemen’s Booking Outward Sheet, the time signal was broadcast every morning at 11:00, and the crew dispatcher who looked after the clock would mark on the clocks comparison card its error in fast or slow in seconds. We then grabbed our grips and went out to the west end of Pit 3 for the shop staff had run our power outside.

Our head end brakeman had showed up, and he checked our flagging kit, to make sure it had a red flag, eight track torpedoes, and seven red fusees with matches. Walter and I walked through our locomotive consist, checking to make sure all the locomotives were online, and all the trailing control circuit breakers, for the dynamic brake, and air brake valves were in the correct position. Walking down the running boards between the locomotives we would check the water level for the radiators, the fuel filters, and the level of oil in the governors. We then did a visual of the running gear, and brake shoes on each side of the locomotive, with this done the head end brakeman would do a radio test with his portable walkie-talkie, and he would back us off the shop track.

We then phoned the Train Yard Coordinator to find out what track our train was in, we would then call the Car Department Planner and ask him if it was okay to couple on to our train in P-5. He would then call the Pulldown Supervisor for a route to get on to our train. I was running the locomotives and Walter would coach me on some of the features of the locomotive controls. One pointer he gave me was that the brake shoes on the locomotives had a tendency to ice up in winter weather, and working the power with a 10 pound reduction on the independent (locomotives) brakes would condition the brake shoes. The cabs of these large General Motors locomotives were very comfortable, with good seating for the locomotive engineer. When we were coupled on in P-5 the brakeman would cut in the air from our locomotives to the brake pipe, he would advise the CD Planner that we were on our train. The brakeman would then release the eight handbrakes that secured our train, and walked westward doing a visual inspection of the cars, his counterpart the tail end brakeman would be doing the same from the caboose, when they met they would crossover to the other side to inspect the cars. The conductor Mars Wolfe would show up on the crew bus, and gave us our train orders, and paperwork for our train.

We compared our Railway approved watches, and read our train orders, and checked our paperwork, tonight our gross tonnage was 4099, and we had 50 loads, 30 empties, for a total of 80 cars, so our train length was about 4100 feet. It was 20:15 when we were ready to leave the yard, we called the Pulldown supervisor, for a route out of Alyth he told us to go out P-1, we called the Interlocking Operator at 12th Street E. and told him we were ready to leave Alyth and wanted to go out P-1, he said he would notify the Brooks Sub Dispatcher, and would timeout a signal on the Bonnybrook bridge crossover, we watched and the dwarf signal turn from red to green, which indicated it was a slow clear signal, and meant that we could go 15 miles an hour through the crossover on the Bonnybrook bridge. We could then go track speed when we cleared the crossover. When our caboose cleared the crossover the tail end crew would notify us and the conductor would give us the timeout of the yard as 20:45.

I opened up the throttle and was going 55 mph when we left Ogden, Walter coached me on some of the physical characteristics of the Brooks sub, and like the independent brakes in the yard, it was important to use the automatic brake on the train periodically to keep their brake shoes conditioned from ice buildup. We were in CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) for the first 50 miles between Ogden Mile 171.1 and Gleichen Mile 124.8 this operating system is controlled by the Brooks Subdivision Dispatcher from his office in Calgary, he has a panel that controls all the signals, and the switches at all the sidings, the first East of Ogden was Shepard with a siding capacity of 128 cars about 7000 feet, at Mile 165.6. Leaving Shepard it was downhill a bit so I had to set the automatic brake on the train, while bailing off the independent brake on the locomotives, this kept the train stretched out, and I could use the throttle to control the speed. Next we passed through Indus, with no siding just an elevator track, where the track was fairly level, 3 miles West of Dalemead, another 128 car siding at Mile 152.5, the intermediate signal displayed Approach Signal (indicating yellow) this told me that the next double aspect signal at the West end switch at Dalemead could display Stop (red on both the top and bottom aspects) Approach (yellow over red) or Restricting (read over yellow) that would indicate I was take the siding at Dalemead. I applied the automatic brake about 2 miles out that started to slow down the train, I could see the home signal at the West switch displaying Restricting so I had to get my speed down to 15 miles an hour to go through the turnout into the siding, it was a good meet as the westbound was coming up the main, once I had cleared the West end, he would get a clear signal, and we would get a restricting signal out of the East end of the siding.

At Mile 147 there was a Hot Box Detector, a new technology that had been recently installed by the railway, it had heat detecting sensors near the rail on both sides of the track, and a large metal cabinet painted silver and full of the electronic equipment. On top was a large three number digital scoreboard. When the train went by it started counting the axles from the head end of our train. Our train had 80 cars times 4 = 320 axles, our 3 locomotives had 6 axles for a total of 18 axles added to the train gives us 338 axles, when the train had passed the detector the digital scoreboard would light up if there was a display of 000 that meant all was okay and the tail end crew on the caboose would radio the results. Now if the digital display red out 204 we would have to stop our train, and the tail end brakeman would have to walk up 33 cars and check the wheels and axles on 3 cars each side of the of the 33rd car, sometimes the problem would be simple, like partially applied handbrake, or a retainer valve left applied, if it was an overheated journal the tail end brakeman could change out the cotton lubricating pad, and add Galena grease to the journal, if this could not be corrected the car would have to be set out from the train at Carseland. Most of the cars by then had roller bearings, and were much more reliable than the old journal boxes, but when they overheated they could melt an axle off in a distance of 7 miles. This new technology, like the diesel locomotives that made the locomotive firemen’s redundant in the 1950s, this improvement was the first nail in the coffin that led to the eradication of the tail end brakeman’s in the summer of 1979, and eventually led to the elimination of the caboose. There were four others scanners one east of Gleichen at Mile 120.5, one east of Bassano at Mile 92.5, one east of Brooks at Mile 60.5 and one east of Alderson at Mile 30.9.

It was downhill towards Carseland another town with an elevator track, I kept my speed down and leaving there I had to slow down to 50 miles an hour on the curves between Mile 145 and Mile 134. The next 128 car siding was at Strangmuir at Mile 144.6 finally we approached Gleichen with its 128 car siding, and an open train order office on the east and where we would leave CTC and go into ABS (Automatic Block System where there were block signals much like the CTC system, but all the siding switches were hand thrown by the head end brakeman, and the tail end crew entering and leaving sidings) From here we would be governed by timetable and train order authority, so we had to look for the indication of the train order signal at the station, it could display green, (no train orders) yellow, (slow down to pick up train orders) or red (stop before fouling the siding switch if there was a conflicting movement, or the train orders were not ready)

In our case as we approached the station we can see the yellow light that showed up clearly in the night. The station operator is standing on the front platform and has a wooden hoop that he has clipped our train orders onto. I reduce our speed to 40 miles an hour, and our head end brakeman opens his window and sticks his gloved hand out the window to retrieve the hoop that they Operator has raised up to the height of the window. The brakeman than unclips the train orders and throws the hoop onto the ground for the Operator to retrieve later. The brakeman gives the orders to me to read over (The nickname for train orders is “Flimsies” as they are typed or written on onion skin thin paper as there are three carbon copies made) stapled on top is a Clearance Card that reads: Station Gleichen, January 15, 1979, Orders for your train are: and the numbers of all the train orders, there are a few orders that have four numbers and relate to track conditions, and other physical conditions on the subdivision. The more important orders have three numbers, and they give us time on opposing scheduled trains, train meets, and other pertinent orders that affect the running of our train for the next 125 miles to Medicine Hat. At the bottom of the Clearance Card is the time cleared and the three initials of the train dispatcher, along with the signature of the Operator, I read the orders and handed them over to Walter to peruse, he then gives them to the head end brakeman so we all have an understanding of what they contain, and making sure there are no errors. Another set of orders were hooped up to the caboose for the conductor and tail end brakeman. They radioed us that they have their orders so I could get the train speed back to 55 mph.

The next siding and elevator track was at Cluny, at Mile 117.2, with its 153 car siding, it was downhill through Cluny and then started uphill, then went
downhill to Crowfoot Creek Mile 110 then went uphill over to Crowfoot Mile 105.3 with its 151 car capacity and elevator track, next we went through Bassano Mile 97.5, there is a yard there and the siding holds 152 cars, it is also the junction for the Irricana and Bassano Subdivisions, and has an open train order office, its signal was clear so we high balled through, the next siding was Lathom at Mile 89.6 with its small siding that held 71 cars, next was Southesk at Mile 80.5 it had a 66 car siding that we had a train order on that it was out of service due to rough track. This was half way through our trip, and it was Walter’s policy with engineer trainees that they only work half of the subdivision, so he took over the controls and I watched and learned.

Walter took us through Cassils Mile 73.6 it had a 140 car siding, the next station was Brooks at Mile 66.8, it had a short siding that held 77 cars, it also had an open train order office, and the signal was yellow and we picked up some train orders, we had a meet with the westbound at Kininvie Mile 44.4 our train being superior by direction, we would hold the mainline and the westbound would take the siding. After Brooks was a new siding at Campbell mile 54.5 with the capacity of 153 cars, it was built to replace Bantry. The next station was Tilley with no siding just an elevator track, We Got to Kininvie and the westbound had not arrived, and he was stopped by the scanner at Mile 30.9. We pulled down to the east end, and our brakeman walked out and lined the main track switch so the westbound could enter the siding without stopping, Special Instruction U on Hot Box Detectors reads;

Special Instruction U – HOT BOX DETECTOR SYSTEM:
On Subdivisions where this Special Instruction applies the following will govern:
SCANNER – To avoid abnormal heat indication from a source other than defective equipment, enginemen should when practical avoid prolonged use of the train brakes approaching this point in any application of brakes while a portion of the train is passing the scanning equipment.
INDICATOR – This is the form of a WHITE LIGHT mounted on a mass and IS NOT A BLOCK SIGNAL. The last indication displayed will apply as follows:
STEADY BURNING or UNLIGHTED – stop before fouling switch at the inspection point and immediately communicate with the train dispatcher. If communication fails, perform standing train inspection.
FLASHING – No evidence of overheating.
The train dispatcher will provide information as to the location of overheating. The journal is to be inspected and if no evidence of overheating is found, that car and at least two cars on each side must be inspected for any condition which may be responsible for the abnormally heat condition, opening all journal box lids as part of the inspection. Before proceeding, the train dispatcher must be informed of the result of the inspection and any action taken.

New instructions had been bulletined for the new scoreboard type of Hot Box Detectors:

Special Instruction U does not apply. See Bulletined Instructions

Scanner and Direction Set off
Display Board of Travel Point

Mileage 30.9 Eastward Suffield
Westward Alderson

When display board indicates other than “All Clear” (Three Zeros) or “No Defects” stop must be made and inspection performed prior to proceeding to the set off point.

Luckily the problem was a sticking brake and they cut the brake out, and came westward through the siding, we had a 15 minute delay. If the defect required the crew to set the car off at Alderson, we would have been there at Kininvie for three quarters of an hour or more.

Our head end brakeman inspected the westbound for defects on the South side as the train entered the siding at Kininvie, and high balled the crew on the caboose, so they did not have to stop their train entering the siding, the crew on the caboose would inspect the North side of their train. When they cleared our brakeman lined the main track switch normal and we got a clear signal to proceed. The next siding was at Alderson Mile 35.3 it had a small 71 cars siding, and is elevators had been torn down many years ago, all that was left there of the town was some building foundations and the cemetery, before Alberta became a province in 1905 this was supposed to be the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, but this was changed and the Alberta and Saskatchewan border ended up being near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan about 50 miles East of Medicine Hat.

The next siding was at Suffield Mile 25.8, it siding capacity was 149 cars. It had an open train order office, and the train order signal was clear. The Suffield Subdivision ran 83.9 miles south westward to Lomand. On the North side were loading tracks, during World War II the British Army had a training base that is still there today, the Army moves its equipment by train and it is a very busy time when they come to do their training. It’s great for the Medicine Hat’s economy, as when the soldiers are on leave they call for taxis to take them there, where they left off a little steam in the local bars, and frequent the restaurants. Prince Harry was there one year in the 90s, and he got a limousine to take into Calgary to check out the city’s nightlife, membership in the Royal family does have its privileges. Leaving Suffield the track goes downhill steeply to Mile 22.5, then it goes uphill to Bowell at Mile 15.1 with its 153 car siding, the climb up to Bowell is the controlling grade for eastward trains on the Brooks subdivision, with our light train it was no problem but for heavier freight trains it can be a real struggle, and if you stall you have to double your train over to the siding, this involves cutting off of your train and take it over to the siding, and return for your tail end portion pull it up and pick up your head end portion, a very time-consuming chore, that is avoided if possible, but let’s say one of your locomotives quits and can’t be restarted you would end up doubling. Leaving Bowell it was all downhill to Redcliff Mile 6.8 with its 153 car siding, Redcliff had industries including the Dominion Glass plant that manufactured bottles. Medicine Hat sat on top of an enormous natural gas field, when Rudyard Kipling visited the community around the turn of the 20th century he made the remark “Medicine Hat the city with Hell for a basement” this attracted lots of industries there were potteries one called Medalta (an abbreviation for Medicine Hat – Alberta) they made stoneware crocks that are very popular with collectors, another pottery was Rycroft I have a couple of their commemorative ashtrays in my collection. When I moved to Medicine Hat in the winter of 1973 it was a boom time as many construction jobs building fertilizer plants, and a methanol plant. There were no apartments free to rent, and I had to live in a hotel the Assiniboia.

Leaving Redcliff was the start of a steep descent with grades of 1.4% down into the river valley of the South Saskatchewan River where the city of Medicine Hat was located. We radioed the yardmaster at Medicine Hat for yard being instructions, he told us to bring our train down the main track to the station to change crews. Walter showed me some high-speed techniques on bringing a train down the hill to the railway bridge across the river into the yard at Medicine Hat. Leaving Redcliff at 55 mph Walter would set up the air brakes at the West Mileboard for Cousins that had a Wye to service the fertilizer, and methanol plants on the North side of the main track this was at Mile 4.5, if you had made the right application of air the speed of the train would be 45 miles an hour when you past the East leg of the Wye at Cousins. At the intermediate signal at Mile 1.4 your speed would be down to 25 miles an hour, and down to 20 miles an hour at Mile 1, from here you could see the home signal on the bridge, it displayed clear and we stopped at the station to change crews.

We arrived at Medicine Hat at 00:15 and were off-duty at 00:30 we had made our run in 3 hours and 30 minutes, a good run as the actual running time to Medicine Hat was 3 hours and 10 minutes. We checked the line up and it looked like we would get a hotshot at around 06:00, so we would get a few hours sleep, the locomotive engineers bunkhouse in Medicine Hat was an old two-story frame house that had bedrooms for the Passenger locomotive engineers and firemen on the main floor, and eight bedrooms on the top floor. There was not enough room for the Enginemen Trainees, so we had reserved rooms in the Cecil Hotel a block north of the CPR station, it was not the most comfortable room on the top floor of the hotel, but I considered myself lucky, as the trainees would cook in these top floor rooms in the summer with no air-conditioning.

I told the crew clerk at the Medicine Hat station that I only needed a one-hour call, at 05:55 I was called for train No. 965 for 06:55, it was a run through, as opposed to off of the shop track. The coffee shop on the main floor opened at 06:00 so I had enough time for coffee and some breakfast before I went over to the station.

Our conductor was Joe Yuhas our units were 5702 on the head end and 4576 a Montréal Locomotive Works Alco, it was classed by the builder as a MLW M-630, and it was outshopped to the CPR on February 20, 1970 and was classed as a DRF-30f (Diesel Road Freight 3000 hp, subclass f). We had 33 loads and 6 empties, a total of 39 cars weighing 2584 tons. With 6000 hp and 39 cars I had no problem ascending up out of the river valley to Redcliff, in the steam locomotive days this was a pusher district, and pusher engines were assigned to push trains up westward on the Brooks’s subdivision, and eastward on the Maple Creek subdivision. Now it was common practice to have an extra diesel locomotive to act as a pusher out of Medicine Hat to Suffield where it would be set off for an eastbound freight to pick up and take back to Medicine Hat.

I quickly climbed up to Bowell, then down the dip to Mile 22.5 then uphill to Suffield, we passed a couple of eastbound Extras in the sidings at Campbell and Cassils, then Walter took over for the rest of the trip to Alyth. Approaching Strangmuir the intermediate westbound signal that was 3 miles out from the home signal) displayed yellow (An Approach Signal) Meaning that we were taking the siding. Walter showed me what to do, it was downhill from east of the intermediate signal and he applied the automatic brake to slow us down to 20 miles an hour, approaching the mile board he released the brake as the track started to ascend up to the east switch at Strangmuir and you could control your speed of 15 miles an hour using a low throttle position. Walter also told me that the same track configuration was at the east end of Shepard. Leaving Shepard we called the Train Yard Coordinator at Alyth for yarding Instructions, he told us to yard in P-6 and secure our train on the east end of the track, we called the Pulldown tower for a route, and he told us and the operator at 12th Street E. tower to bring us in P-1. We yarded and cut off our power asking the operator at 12th Street E for a route to the diesel shops in N yard, he told us to take the crossovers under the Blackfoot Trail overpass to N yard lead, and he would line us back to N-14. As we backed towards the Alyth diesel shop Walter told me it was my turn to play bellboy, as the locomotive engineers booking in and out room was on the West end of the Alyth diesel shop, and where we spotted our units on the fuel rack was quite a distance to carry our grips. Walter slowed down enough for me to get off, and I walked across to the booking in room, and waited for Walter to walk up from the fuel racks. I got him to fill out my report, and we called it is a day.

We had January 17 off and were called on January 18 at 01:15 for No. 902 another second-class priority train, with two EMD units 5739 and 5522, our conductor was Kasper Houck, our train had 61 loads and 1 empty, and we had 2897 tons, we were out of the Alyth yard at 02:55. Walter ran the train to Cassils, and I took over and took my first train down the hill from Redcliff into Medicine Hat, I had learned from what Walter showed me last trip and had no problem running this train down into the river valley, of course I was lucky as it was a fairly light train. We had arrived at Medicine Hat at 06:15 and were off-duty at 06:30.

After a few hours rest we were called for No. 965 at 12:50 with units 5590 and 5620 with conductor Joe Greenstein, our train consisted of 57 loads and 6 empties with 3887 tons. Walter ran our train to Cassils and I took over from there to Alyth we were off-duty at 19:30, it was Walter’s turn to play bellboy and I spotted the units at the fuel racks east of the diesel shops.

I missed the next trip as I had an appointment with my dentist, so on January 20, I worked a yard shift on the 16:00 Hump with Yard Foreman Neil Cameron and Locomotive Engineer Pete Laing, we had the 8633 4460 8409 for power.

On January 22 we were called for No. 902 at 22:00, our conductor was G. Hogg and my locomotive engineer was Jimmy Miller who was working this trip of the locomotive engineer’s spare board as Walter had booked off. Jimmie E. Miller was born on August 22, 1923 and hired on the CPR as a wiper on September 18, 1947, and was promoted to locomotive fireman on December 5, 1947. We had 37 loads and 29 empties and our tonnage was 2946. For power we had MLW 4710 as our lead unit with 3020 as our trailing unit, the 4710 was classed by MLW as an M-636 and was outshoped to the CPR on December 18, 1969. The CPR classed this as a DRF-36 a (Diesel Road Freight 3600 hp class “a” the first in the series of these locomotives. At 3600 hp it was the most powerful locomotive in the CPR’s fleet. They were only run between Winnipeg and Alyth, as they were unreliable for the mountains as they were plagued with water leaks. It seemed like the Winnipeg shops dispatch these locomotives hoping they would break down and Alyth would have to fix them, Alyth did the same thing, so breakdowns on the road were quite frequent. The trailing unit 3020 was an EMD locomotive classed as a GP 38 it was outshoped to the CPR March 24, 1971 and was classed by the CPR as a DRS-20b (Diesel Road Switcher 2000 hp subclass b) the CPR ordered 20 of these locomotives 3000 to 3005 in 1970, and the balance of 15 locomotives in 1971. Jimmy let me run the train the whole trip, and it was quite an experience, these MLW diesel locomotives were notorious for their lateral movement. When I got the train up to 55 miles an hour the lateral movement got worse, it felt like the locomotive would rock right off the rails. They used to joke about them saying that you could read the numbers on the end of boxcars next to the unit as they swayed back and forth. I was glad to get off the train when we arrived at Medicine Hat; we were off-duty at 03:35.

On January 23 we had a long layover not being called until 19:15 for train No. 953 out of the yard. Jimmy ended up on held away which starts after 12 hours away from home, that started at 15:35 so he earned 3 hours and 40 minutes that works out to 45 miles pay. Being called out of the yard meant that we had to go to the Medicine Hat shop track to get our power; our train had been built in the yard. Our conductor was VG Moir we had 57 loads and 8 empties, and our tonnage was 6190, this was the heaviest train I had yet on the Brooks sub. We had two good SD 40 – 2 units 5726 and 5653 and we were able to make it out of Medicine Hat All right it was a long night and we were off-duty at 07:35.

On January 25 we were called for No. 952 at 19:15 with units 5572, 4505, and 5773. Our conductor was Elmer McCready, and we had 58 loads and 9 empties tonnage 4874. It was an uneventful trip, and we were off-duty at 00:30. After a good night’s rest we waited for our call, it was a dead head on the passenger train No. 1 for 13:10.

Whenever a crew was called to deadhead on the passenger train, the locomotive engineer would ride in the coaches, and as I was an enginemen trainee I was required to ride on the head end locomotive with the locomotive engineer and fireman. Our conductor was Stan Long and our locomotive engineer Reggie Avery, and the fireman was Garth Rosemond, we had locomotives 1400, 4475, and 8511, 1400 was built by GMD and classed as a FP7a, it was outshoped to the CPR April 30, 1953 CPR classed it as a DPA15a (Diesel Passenger A unit, 1500 hp and the first in subclass “a”) 4475 was built by GMD in class as a F9B (The “B” stands for Booster unit, it has no locomotive cab and can be only moved for hosteling and the operator has to look out one of the side portal windows.) It was outshoped to the CPR February 26, 1954 CPR class it as a DFB-17a (Diesel Freight B unit, 1700 hp and subclass a) it was changed 89 mph gearing at Alyth. 8511 was built by GMD and classed as a GP9R it was outshoped to the CPR on November 30, 1954 CPR classed it as a DRS-17a (Diesel Road Switcher 1700 Hp Subclass a) these units came equipped with 89 mph gearing for passenger service. They were dual service locomotives that could be used for freight and passenger service.

The train was heated with steam generators, and Garth would show me the duties required as a fireman. They were located at the back end of the CP 1400 A unit, on either end of the CP 4475 B unit, and inside the short front hatch dual service CP 8511 a Diesel Road Switcher.

The steam generators were made by Vapor Clarkson, in 1903 a Chicago businessman Egbert Gold introduced the “Vapor” car heating system which used low pressure saturated steam. When the railways of North America changed their motive power from steam to diesel electric locomotives an alternative for heating the passenger coaches became a problem as in the steam era there was enough steam from the locomotives to heat the passenger coaches. Gold’s company now known as the Vapor Car Heating Company came out with a compact water tube boiler that fitted in the rear portion of a diesel electric locomotive’s engine room. It used diesel fuel from the diesel locomotives fuel tank, and water from the locomotives cooling water tanks. The steam generator burned diesel fuel there are long spiral tubes, and coils nested in the center of the generator to form a single tube that is several hundreds of feet long water is pumped through, these were surrounded by flames and hot gases. The heat is provided by the combustion of diesel fuel is sprayed by compressed air through the atomizing nozzle, in the fuel spray head into the fire pot above the coils. Here the fine oil spray mixes with air supplied by the blower and is ignited by a continuous electric spark in the top of the unit. The fire and hot gases flow, first downward then outward through the nests of coils.

The supply of fuel is regulated to evaporate 90% to 95% of the water pumped through the coils. The excess water flushes scale and sludge and is carried over with the steam into the steam separator, where the water and the sludge are removed before the steam flows into the train line.

A motor drives the blower, water pump, and fuel pump at a constant speed. The water bypass regulator automatically controls the steam generator output by regulating the amount of water fed into the coils. Before entering the coils, the water passes through the servo-fuel control which admits spray to the fuel nozzle in direct proportion to the water entering the coils. The servo-fuel control also adjusts the damper to admit the proper amount of air for efficient combustion of the fuel.

The train line steam pressure is regulated by adjusting the handwheel on the on the water bypass regulator. The length of the train and the weather conditions determine the settings.


On the Okay 4625 Steam generators that the CPR used, the valves designated with odd numbers must be OPEN during normal operation of the steam generator. Valves designated with even numbers must be CLOSED during normal operation of the steam generator. The open valves are equipped with cross type handles; and the closed valves are equipped with round type handles. In addition the CPR had brass tags on the stems of the valve handles.

I.) The following valves must be OPEN during normal operation of the OK steam generator:
1 – Atomizing Air Shutoff Valve
3 – Coil Shutoff Valve
7 – Remote-Control Trainline Shutoff Valve
7a-Reset Lever
9 – Return Water Outlet Valve
11 – Steam Admission Valve to Trainline Pressure Gauge
13 – Steam Admission Valve to Water Bypass Regulator
15 – Stop and Check Valve (Closed during start or shutdown procedure)
17 – Three-Way Washout Valve
19 – Water Bypass Regulator Shutoff Valve
21 – Water Supply Stop Valve

2.) The following valves must be CLOSED during normal operation of the steam generator:
2 – Coil Blowdown Valve and Switch
4 – Fill Test Valve
6 – Layover Connection Shutoff Valve
8 – Manual Water Bypass Valve
10-Steam Admission Valve to Radiation (Open in cold weather)
12 – Steam Separator Blowdown Valve
14 – Washout Inlet Valve
16 – Washout Inlet Valve
18 – Water Pump Test Valve
20 – Water Suction Drain Valve
22 – Water Treatment Tank Drain Valve
56 – Return Line Valve (Standby)

It’s one thing learning about the OK Vapor Clarkson steam generators in the classroom, but the hands-on experience on the student trips were well worth the time, especially later on when you are on your own working as a locomotive firemen.

On January 28 we were called at 02:30 for a train of empty boxcars, and were run as 2nd 948 with locomotives 8622, 4461, and 8511. That trip we had Mars Wolfe as our conductor with 73 empties, and 2658 tons, a long night arriving at Medicine Hat at 11:35. After a good rest we were called that evening at 23:35 for 2nd 965 with locomotives 5627 and 5522. Going home we had conductor Charlie Patton with 44 loads 11 empties and 3018 tons this was a fast trip getting back to Alyth at 05:55.

On January 31 I was called to attend a class in the Train Dynamics Analyzer in the Alyth Back Shop with Road Foreman of Engines Steve Shapka, on the new Air Form Method for measuring brake pipe leakage when performing brake tests.

I had missed my turn so I worked an afternoon Yard Assignment the 15:30 S. Industrial with locomotive engineer Bill Dixon on the 6713 with yard foreman Scotty Taylor.

On February 4 Walter and I were called to deadhead at 20:45 on the Greyhound Bus to Medicine Hat, we booked outward at the Alyth Shops and we took a taxi to the Greyhound Depot downtown Calgary arriving at Medicine Hat at 01:30.

After a good night’s sleep we were called for No. 901 at 10:45 with units 5745, 5660, and 5528. Our conductor was Gary Ophiem our train consisted of 52 loads 2 empties and 2759 tons. It was an uneventful trip and we were back at Alyth and off-duty at 18:00. This was my last trip with Walter; I thanked him for taking me as a trainee, and was grateful for all I had learned from him. From now on I would not be playing bellboy every alternate trip.

On Thursday, February 8 I was called for the Zone 3 Way freight with locomotive engineer Ed Anderson he was born on January 7, 1925 he hired on as a wiper when he was 22 years old on January 20, 1947 and was promoted as a fireman on May 3, 1947 we were called for 07:00 for power we had the 8833 and 8642, our conductor was Ernie Demers, tail end brakeman Bob Wright and head end brakeman Mel Derksen, we departed Alyth and ran to Shepard on the Brooks Subdivision where we picked up some tank cars from the second siding, we left the main track for the Strathmore Subdivision and ran 20 miles to Langdon, where we went northward on the Langdon subdivision, crossing over me automatic interlocking with the CNR and mileage 9.6 we went to Keoma where we spotted some grain empties at the Alberta Wheat Pool elevator, then on to Irricana, Beiseker, Acme spotting up the elevators and where we stop for lunch. After lunch we ran 2 miles North to Cosway the junction with the Acme subdivision, we then ran through Linden, Sunnyslope, Allingham, Torrington and Wimborne where we spotted up all the grain elevators, and then went on the Meers Spur 3 miles North to the Shell Oil gas plant where we switched out loads of sulfur tank cars, and spotted up empties. We were off-duty at 15:05, and started a new ticket and day and ran back to Cosway with our loads of sulfur and all the grain loads from the elevator tracks, these we took down to Acme and set them over to the second siding, we then ran back to Cosway and continued on down the Langdon subdivision where we spotted up the elevators at Carbon, Sharples, Hesketh, and Kirkpatrick we then got permission to enter the CNR’s Drumheller subdivision and registered our train, and got train orders from the operator to run down to Rosedale junction, where we went back onto the Langdon subdivision for a run to East Coulee, things changed since I had worked here in 1975, the wooden trestle truss bridge across the Red Deer River was no longer able to handle the weight of locomotives, and the Atlas Coal Mine had to run their loads of coal down to the bridge by gravity and pushed them onto the bridge with one of their front-end loader tractors where we could pick them up. We no longer stayed overnight in East Coulee but returned to Drumheller where we had rooms for the night in the local hotel. After a good night’s sleep we started back on the Langdon subdivision at 08:15 picking up the loads of grain along the way to Acme where we stopped for lunch, we then picked up our loads from the second siding and lifted the rest of the elevator tracks to Shepard and yarded at Alyth where we were off-duty at 19:45.

Ed was a practical joker; he would give me some basics about running the locomotives, like using a little bit of independent brake to slow us down. I had some experience running a locomotive when I was a brakeman working with Stan McPhedran. I remember after lunch at Acme Ed said that he was going to ride on the caboose for a while and left me and Mel on the head of the train, there were air gauges on the wall by the conductor’s desk that would show the air pressure on the brake pipe, Eddie would close the valve underneath and bleed the air pressure off and exclaim to Ernie who was a nervous guy to begin with that we had lost our air, Ernie would have a fit. Next Eddie would ride up in the cupola on the caboose where the radio was, and would shout up to me that I was killing them back there and to quit using the independent brake. I remember one trip back in 1974 when I was working the Zone 2 way freight as the head end brakeman, Eddie, who was a big man, got a trip with us of the locomotive engineers spare board, we ran the 72 miles East to Bassano, and Ed ate four sandwiches, then a can of salmon, and a bunch of candies. At Bassano we went over to the Chinese restaurant in the Imperial Hotel for lunch, Eddie would order a large entrée that he polished off; the waiter asked him if he would like any dessert, Ed replied no thanks I’m on a diet!

We had the weekend off and were called on Monday, February 12 at 09:15 with the 8545 and 8523 for power, Ernie Demers had booked off and Bob Wright was our conductor, this trip we went to Wimborne switched the Shell Oil gas plant and we were off-duty at 15:50, we doubled out and returned to Alyth and were off-duty at 00:10 on February 13.

I went back to training on the Brooks subdivision this time I went with
Fred Plotnikoff born March 4, 1926 he hired on as a wiper when he was 20 years old on December 9, 1946 and was promoted to fireman on February 3, 1947. Fred was working on a vacancy in the East pool I had worked with him many times in the yard at Alyth and we got along together good. We were called on Friday, February 16 at 08:30 for train No. 948 with three locomotives the 5903 an EMD SD-40-2, it was outshopped to the CPR on December 21, 1978 so it was only three months old. 4440 a DFB-15d another EMD outshopped to the CPR on February 29, 1952 and
DS-10e 7085 an Alco yard engine built by the Montréal Locomotive Works in 1949. We had conductor EJ Kline and a light train with 20 loads and 28 empties, tonnage 2490 we had a good trip and were off-duty at 16:50

We were called just after midnight on February 17 at 00:01 for train No. 965 with locomotives 3002, 3000, and 5525. Our conductor was AH (Al) Belangette and we had 40 loads, 30 empties, tonnage 3800 which we were able to go up the hill out of the Medicine Hat river valley with no problem; we were back at Alyth and off-duty at 07:25

We were off for a couple of days getting called February 19 at 20:45 for No. 952 the stock train, called this as it used to haul livestock cars eastward, it still carried refrigerator cars of processed meat for markets in Montréal. For power we had two SD 40 – 2’s 5707, 5757, and DFB-1500e 4468. Our conductor was Al Belangette again; we had 49 loads, 6 empties, tonnage 3700. We arrived at Medicine Hot and were off-duty at 03:00.

We doubled out at 03:00: for a hotshot train 2nd No. 901 with 2 SD-40-2’s 5769, 5680 plenty of horsepower for our train. Our conductor was George Mitchell we had 40 loads, 10 empties, tonnage 3224. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 09:30 that was a fast flip and we were okay duty for 12 hours and 45 minutes.

We were off for over 46 hours when we were called on February 22 at 07:45 for train No. 940 we had two EMD locomotives a SD-40-2 5740, and a SD-40 5553, with a DRS-17d 8686 outshopped to the CPR on August 20, 1957. Our conductor was Joe Yuhas we had 82 loads and 9 empties, tonnage 7049, a fairly heavy train with loads of lumber, cement, tank cars of liquid sulfur, so our big challenge was making it over the controlling grade of the Brooks Subdivision eastbound between Suffield and Bowell, our power worked well and we were able to make the grade arriving at Medicine Hat and off-duty at 15:10.

We had a chance to rest up and we were called for a hotshot train No. 901 after midnight at 01:05 we had good EMD power 5551, 5571, and 5642. Our conductor was Terry Van Clief and we had 60 loads and 10 empties, tonnage 3733. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 07:15.

We went back to work on February 24, being called again for No. 952 at 18:45 with EMD locomotives 5550, and 5642. Our conductor was Doug Van Riper and we had 40 loads, 7 empties, tonnage 3379. We arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 01:45

After a good night’s rest we were called at 11:30 with EMD 5661 and MLW 4730. Our conductor was Nick Romanuk we had 52 loads, 9 empties, tonnage 3965 we arrive at Alyth and were off-duty at 18:45.

We were off 48 hours and were called on February 27 once again for train No. 952 at 19:00 we had two MLW’s 4707, and 4770 with EMD 3016. Our conductor was Sid McClellan we had 47 loads, 15 empties, tonnage 4012. We arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 01:05.

After another good night in bed we were called at 08:00 for a work train with EMD 8689. Our conductor was HG Hamilton we had 15 loads, 2 empties, tonnage 716. Our train was loads of railway ties in old stock boxcars, and we had to spread them along the right-of-way between Medicine Hat and Redcliff this we did and we were finished and off-duty at 16:45. This left us first out and we took our call for 18:35 for train No. 965. This gave us time to have some dinner before going back to work. For power we had EMD SD-40-2’s 5600 and 5691. We had conductor HG Hamilton again 63 loads, 3 empties, tonnage 3857. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 00:20.

This was the last trip I worked with Fred as he got bumped off the vacancy he was working, I thanked Fred for taking the as his training, and I learned a lot more of different techniques for running trains. I took a few days off to look after some personal business.

I returned to work on March 6, getting called for train No. 954 at 02:15. I was now training with Doug Blacklaws he was born on November 24, 1925, he served in the Navy during World War II and he hired on as a wiper when he was 20 years old on July 9, 1946 and was promoted to fireman September 19, 1946. Doug was a quiet guy very soft-spoken, and that avid reader of books. For power this trip was 2 EMD SD-40-2’s 5711, and 5604. We had conductor CJ Aikins with 29 loads, 54 empties, and tonnage 4980.
It was a long night and we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 10:15.

We had a bit of rest and were called that afternoon at 15:30 for an Extra West a grain train, for power we had 4 EMD SD-40-2’s 5751, 5621, 5651, and 5790. We had conductor Al Belangette and a real heavy train with 93 loads, 2 empties, tonnage 10320. It was quite a struggle up out of Medicine Hat to Redcliff, but these good EMD locomotives did the job okay. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 02:25.

We were off until March 8, and were called for another night trip at 21:45 for train No. 98 with a consist of empty grain cars. We had for power 3 EMD locomotives 5589, 5705, and 8614. We had conductor Eric Stephenson with no loads and 68 empties, tonnage 2538. We arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 04:55.

We had a good rest and were off-duty over 12 hours when we were called at 17:20 for train No. 965 with 2 EMD SD-40’s 5557, and 5549. We had conductor Terry Van Clief we had 51 loads, 29 empties, tonnage 4456. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 23:00

I worked a yard shift the 23:59 IYO Tramp on March 12, with Ivan Miller as my instructor we had the 8115 for power.

The next trip was on March 14 we were called for No. 952 at 19:00, we had lots power with four EMD’s 5606, 5549, 5649, and 5672.We had conductor Gary Opheim with 53 loads, 14 empties, tonnage 4874 another fast trip we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 01:00.

We doubled out at 02:30 on train No. 901 with EMD’s 5790, and 5562 for power. We had EJ (Beans) Desharnais for our conductor with 41 loads, 43 empties, tonnage 5128 we arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 10:30

Doug took a trip off and I had a spare board locomotive engineer Ted ES Washbrook he was born on February 10, 1929 and hired on as a wiper in Lethbridge on December 5, 1947 and was promoted to locomotive fireman on March 29, 1948. Ted’s father was the locomotive engineer in Lethbridge. We were called for No. 940 Toronto Empties at 19:30 on March 17 we had lots of power with 3 EMD SD-40-2’s 5747, 5782, and 5659. We had conductor Beans Desharnais No loads, 66 empties, tonnage 2337 we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 01:45

We laid over for 12 hours and were called at 13:45 for train No. 967 with EMD’s 5709, and 5562 for power. Our conductor was Art Ressler and we had 51 loads, 1 empty, tonnage 4017. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 19:35

We were called on March 20 for train No. 940 at 15:45 for power we had an EMD 5672 and a MLW 4703. Our conductor was Doug Campbell and we had 73 loads, 10 empties, tonnage 6589 we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 23:45.

We had the night in bed and were called for train No. 925 at 07:55 with EMD 5569 and MLW 4718. Our conductor was Dave Wesner and we had 81 loads, 13 empties, tonnage 6393 we arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 15:45

On March 23 we were called for No. 954 at 21:45 with lots of power all EMD 5547, 3014, 3012, 8409, 8530, and 8639. Our conductor was Wayne Gray and we had 14 loads, and 65 empties, tonnage 3336. Out of Gleichen we were ran as Second No. 98 so we had to put up the green flags and turned on the green classification lights. Here are the rules that governed us running as sections, in our case there were three sections.

We had a Form F (4) Train order that read:

Engs 5844 5547 and 8837
Run as First Second and Third No. 98
Gleichen to Medicine Hat

The first and second named engines will display
signals and run as directed. The third named
engine will run as directed but will not display signals.

UCOR Rule 20. All sections except the last will display two green flags and two green lights by day and night in the places provided for that purpose on the front end of the engine.

Engine Whistle Signals Rule 14 (k) – 0 0 (One long and two short blasts of the whistle) To call attention of an engine and train crews of trains on the same class in the same direction, inferior trains and trains affected by the signals at train order meeting, waiting, or passing points, to signals displayed for a following section, and must hear the answer 14 (k-a) o o – (Answer to 14 k) or stop and notify trains of signals displayed.

We had a. Form G Train Order that read like this:

Eng 1413 run as passenger extra
leaving Medicine Hat on Saturday
March 24th as follows with right
over all trains
Leave Medicine Hat two o’clock 02:00 am
Cousins two naught six 02:06 am
Redcliff two twelve 02:12 am
Bowell two nineteen 02:19 am
Suffield two thirty 02:30 am
Alderson two thirty-nine 02:39 am
Kininvie two forty-six 02:46 am
Tilley two fifty-five 02:55 am
Campbell two fifty-eight 02:58 am
Bantry three naught two 03:02 am
And all the stations West to Gleichen

Note: Words and figures which are to be pronounced and spelled in transmitting and repeating by telephone will be underlined, but will not appear in train orders. They will appear in the Train Dispatcher’s book. In our Form G (3) order 1413, Saturday, 24th, two o’clock, two six, two twelve, two nineteen, two thirty, two thirty-one, two forty-six, two fifty-five, two fifty-eight, and three naught two, will all be pronounced and spelled in transmitting and repeating the order.

The reason there was a passenger extra was that No. 1 The Canadian was running too late to run on its regular schedule. On its normal schedule it was due out of Medicine Hat at 12:20 and the schedule was only good for 12 hours, so in this case No.1 of March 23 was 13 hours and 20 minutes late on its scheduled time.

Looking at the passenger extra’s times we figured that we could make it to Bantry in time to clear the westbound in the siding. I set the brake approaching the west mile board coming up to Bantry, I miscalculated and we overrun the siding switch by six car lengths, fortunately the passenger extra had not arrived. I quickly released the air brakes and backed up to the siding switch that was lined and we took the siding. The passenger extra arrived with locomotive engineer Adam Lee and enginemen trainee Les Kosar. I blew the whistle signal 14 (k) and they acknowledged by blowing whistle signal 14 (k-a)

We arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 07:30.

After some rest we were called at 18:30 for an Extra West of Vancouver grain. Our power was 2 EMD’s and 2 MLW’s 5521, 4731, 4500, and 5645. Our conductor was Eldon Kastning we had 109 loads, 1 empty (the caboose) tonnage 10695. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 06:10 with his heavy train it was a long slow trip just under 12 hours on duty.

On March 27 we were called at 07:15 to deadhead by Greyhound bus to Medicine Hat our taxi from the Alyth diesel shops to the Greyhound depot was held up in traffic and we missed the bus so we were canceled and went home.

That afternoon we were called at 13:10 to deadhead on No.2 The Canadian passenger train, it had 1425, 1406 for power and I made a student trip with the locomotive engineer Homer Edwards, and the fireman Dean Barysien we arrived at Medicine Hat at 17:30.

We arrived and were first out to take a call for Second No. 965 at 18:00 for power we had 2 EMD’s and 1 MLW 5764, 4562, and 5545. Our conductor was Kasper Houck we had 66 loads, 34 empties, tonnage 5574. We arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 23:35. This was the last trip I worked with Doug and I thanked him for taking me as a trainee, and for what I had learned from him.

I was called at 14:45 on March 30 for train No. 940 my locomotive engineer instructor was Dennis Garrett, I knew him from working in the yard at Alyth he had a lot of seniority and he worked the 8:00 Hump assignment. Dennis grew up and lived in the Inglewood district in SE Calgary near the Alyth roundhouse he was born on January 21, 1925 he hired on as a wiper on August 19, 1941 when he was 16 years old, and was promoted as a fireman a year later on August 20, 1942.

March 30, we were called out of Alyth for No. 940 at 14:25 for power we had 5567 4753 5543. Our conductor was Ray Burns, we had a fairly heavy train with 63 loads and 13 empties, tonnage 6095, and we had a good trip arriving at Medicine Hat and off-duty at 22:45.

We had the night in bed and were called in the morning at 07:45 for an Extra Grain drag with units 5782, 5553, 8497, 5615, 8542 and dead yard engine 7085 our conductor was Jerry (Psycho) Metcalf and we had 97 loads, five empties, tonnage 10,725 the heaviest train I had to run since I started training on the road. I had two others weighing 10,695 10,320 training with Doug Blacklaws. We left Medicine Hat and got up the hill to Redcliff okay. We had a meet with an eastbound hotshot, and we had to take the siding at Kinninvie. I set the brake about 2 miles out, and we were close to the siding switch, when the amp meter went higher and the train went into emergency, I had put too much air into her, the head end brakeman walked back about 30 cars and said that I had got a knuckle (a knuckle is the hinged part of the coupling system that is on each end of railway rolling stock, and locomotives, it is connected to the drawbar assembly by a 2 inch round pin that it pivots on) the knuckle was like the weakest link in a chain and breaks in two, they are easily changed out by spare ones we carry on the locomotives and cabooses, we threw one off the lead locomotive and the brakeman closed the angle cock on the east end car and we were able to pump up the front portion with air and we pulled ahead 30 car lengths. Dennis got out and lined the siding switch, and the brakeman retrieved the 80 pound knuckle and brought me back to the joint where he replaced the broken knuckle and we put the train back together. The hotshot had arrived and was stopped at the east end of Kininvie. We cleared him in the siding and didn’t cause too much of a delay about 10 minutes, and we never heard about it. It was my first knuckle, and I was thankful that it was not a drawbar on the wrong end, or any end in this situation it would have created a longer delay. I have that East mile board from Kininvie in my collection to remind me of that trip.

The next trip was on April 2nd going down on No. 954 with units 5797, 5505 we were called at 11:45. Our conductor was Wilf Larson we had 30 loads and 35 empties tonnage 3321 we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 19:45 a good trip.

We returned home on April 3d on train No. 967 with units 4705, and 4723. Our conductor was Bobby Holmes we had 77 loads and 8 empties, tonnage 6742.

The last trip I made with Dennis was on April 5th going East on the stock train No. 952 called for 19:00 with 5751, 5561, 5541 for power. Our conductor was Nick Romananuk we had 47 loads and 9 empties, tonnage 4784 another good trip we arrived at Medicine Hat and were off-duty at 01:00.

Once again we had a night in bed and called at 10:45 for an Extra West of potash with conductor Hamilton with 94 loads, 1 empty, tonnage 10,480, I did better this trip and we arrived at Alyth and were off-duty at 18:30.

This was my last trip on the Brooks subdivision, not counting yard engines I had made 24 trips on freight, way freight, work train, and passenger trains. I moved down to the Laggan subdivision making my first trip on April 10, 1979


1.) West end of Alyth Diesel Shops taken, by me in the spring of 1975, from the Blackfoot Trail overpass. The locomotives on the right side of the photo are on the fast track used to move power from the east end of the shops to the west eng. To the left are Pits1,2, and 3 with out going locomotives sitting outside Pit 1, and 3. There is a sidewalk along the powerhouse and a set of stairs beside the second locomotive in Pit 3 that takes you to the Locomotive Engineers Booking Outward office. Out of sight behind the powerhouse to the left arm Pits 6, 7,8, and 9. Incoming locomotives off the road are spotted on the east end of the shops where they are refueled, sanded, and filled with water for coolant if necessary. The locomotives enter the shops from the east end and are inspected, and repairs are made, brake shoes changed if necessary.

2.) A night-time photo of the west end showing an EMD Diesel Road Switcher outside of Pit 1.

3.) An example of a Outward Report: Enginemen and Firemen this one came from the Passenger Train Booking Outward in downtown Calgary, the first column on the left is for the Number of Engine, followed by the train ( in this case it is No. 1) then the direction ( West), Time Ordered For (12:05) The Date ( September 8) Actual Time on Duty (11:50) Time Watch Compared with Standard Clock (11:50) Variation From Standard Time: Seconds (4) Fast or Slow (fast) Enginemen’s Signature (Glenn Chugg) Next Fireman’s Actual Time On Duty Date (September 8) Actual Time On Duty (12:00) Time Watch Compared with Standard Clock (12:00) Variation From Standard Time Seconds (3) Fast or Slow (Slow) Fireman’s Signature (Ed Anderson)

4.) Alyth Diesel Shops Enginemen’s Standard Seth Thomas No. 17 Regulator Comparison Clock.

5.) Seth Thomas No. 17 Regulator Comparison Clock dial with Roman Numerals from1 to 12, and Arabic Numerals from 13 to 24. In 1969 the page to Canadian Pacific Railroad Time Service Department changed all the clock dials across the system to silkscreen aluminum ones with Arabic numerals. The one at Alyth escaped this change.

6.) Seth Thomas No. 17 Regulator Comparison Clock from my collection with newer silkscreened dial, and Comparison Card that shows the clock is 2 seconds Slow.

7.) CP Rail Pacific Region Timetable 83 Taking Effect at 01:00 Mountain Standard Time, Sunday, October 25, 1978. The CPR changed timetables every six months on the last Sunday in October and April.

8.) CP Rail Timetable 83 Brooks Subdivision schedules that I worked under during my training from January 15, to April 3, 1979.

9.) Approaching scoreboard type Hot Box Detector on Brooks Subdivision

10.) A Close-Up view of the Hot Box Detector, the sign in the foreground with the two black circles, warns snowplow operators to lift up the points of the snowplow, and to retract the wings in order to avoid tearing out the hot box detector’s sensors that sit between the tracks. The silver painted mast holds up the black scoreboard above the hot box detectors electronics bungalow.

11.) Medicine Hat train station built in 1906 and doubled in size in 1912. It is built out of red brick and sandstone with a cedar shingle roof. The three windows on the ground floor on the left-hand side was the passenger waiting room. To the right of the first turret our doors that lead to the operators office where we get our train orders, and there is a Seth Thomas No. 17 weight regulator Comparison Clock. There are bulletin books, a train register, and Enginemen’s Booking Outward, and Booking Inward registers, the crew dispatcher has his office here. There are other clerks with desks that are part of the Customer Service Center. To the right are locker rooms for all the trainmen and conductors working on the terminal. To the right of the second turret on the ground floor is the yard crew’s lunchroom. On the second floor our offices for the Assistant Superintendent, and Safety Officer, there are also classrooms for rules instruction.

12.) Locomotive Engineer’s Bunk House, this two-story wooden framed building facing North Railway Street, was originally a boarding house located on the South side of the yard. The CPR bought the structure and moved it to where it sits now. It has nine bedrooms on the second floor for the through freight locomotive engineers, and on the West side of the ground floor of four bedrooms for the passenger locomotive engineers and firemen. There is a front room with television and a large table for eating meals, and there is a kitchen on the East side of the ground floor.

13.) The Cecil Hotel at Medicine Hat built in 1912 it had seen better days; this is where enginemen trainees stayed as there was not enough room in the bunkhouse. It was a block away from the station, and had a coffee shop and restaurant on the ground floor left of the entrance doors.

14.) A photo I took from the third floor bedroom that I stayed in, you can see the CPR station, and to the right of the tree the Assiniboia Hotel that I stayed in during the winter of 1973. I was happy to stay in the Cecil during the winter, and felt sorry for the poor trainees that would have to say here in the summer, there was no air-conditioning, and Medicine Hat had very hot summers

15.) The East end of the Alyth Diesel Shops, where we would spot our locomotives on the fuel rack and walk up to the Booking Inward office for our trip started. In the foreground on the left where there is a railway track switch, you can see a pathway; the locomotive engineers fought for this improvement, and saved them from having to walk alongside the tracks where there was crater grease on the ground that would make a hell of a mess if you got some on your work boots. The Maintenance of Way employees made this path out of old railway ties with fine gravel to walk on right up to the concrete apron outside the diesel shops doors.

16.) Another photo looking to the East with other locomotives waiting to be serviced, the large tank on the right-hand side was full of diesel fuel for the locomotives.

17.) CPR Passenger Conductor Stan Long does the time honored tradition and compares his Railway Approved Pocket watch with Seth Thomas No. 17 Comparison Clock at Medicine Hat at the start of his tour of duty.

18.) Schematic diagrams of a Diesel Passenger A unit showing the location of the Vapor Clarkson steam generator.

19.) Steam Generators controls on the left-hand side of the Diesel Passenger A unit. The push button on left-hand side top is for blowing down the steam generators separator valve, looking backward while pushing the button you can see the steam and condensates boring outward at the rear of the locomotive. If it does not work properly, the fireman will have to go back into the engine room and blow the steam generator separator valve manually by stepping on a foot pedal. Below the blowdown button is an emergency shutdown switch shielded by a cover so it is not pressed inadvertently. To the right is a circuit breaker, then a steam gauge showing what the steam generators pressure is.

20.) A side view of a Vapor Clarkson steam generator showing the steam generators pressure gauge, and atomizer gauge on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side is the servo regulator (nicknamed the bow tie because of its shape) it automatically controls the steam generator output by regulating the amount of water fed into the coils. Before entering the coils the water passes through the servo-fuel control, which admits fuel to the spray nozzle in direct proportion to the amount of water entering the coils. The servo fuel control also adjusts the damper to admit the proper amount of air for efficient combustion of the fuel. Underneath that is the Return Water Flow Indicator Glass when operating normally the return water will flow 4 to 12 times a minute.

21.) Diagrams of Vapor Clarkson OK 4625 steam generators, showing the names of the components.

22.) A schematic diagram of the Vapor Clarkson steam generator color-coded to show feedwater in gray, return water in blue, steam in yellow, fuel oil in red, air in white, and washout in green.

23.) Vapor Clarkson Corp. builders plates showing Serial No. 7912. Stating to Use This Number When Reporting to ICC (Interstate Commerce Commission.) This would only apply in the United States.

24.) Owners plate from the Canadian Pacific Railway showing Serial No. SG 207, and MAWP Maximum Allowable Working Pressure of 300 pounds. And Date Built August 1956.

25.) Approaching East Coulee on the Langdon Subdivision in February 1979.

26.) Zone 3 Way freight caboose hop at East Coulee February 1970 with EMT Diesel Road Switchers 8642 and 8833.

27.) View of East Coulee’s yard tracks. The track to the right of the locomotive has a wooden platform made of bridge beams for unloading flat cars of farm machinery and other equipment loaded on flat cars.

28.) Old derelict service station in East Coulee, Alberta

29.) Abandon coal miner’s shacks at East Coulee.

30.) Some more coal miner’s cabins at East Coulee.

31.) A real estate sign for a property in the ghost town of East Coulee.

32.) An advertising brochure for the modern computerized andyard at Alyth from 1971, the photo on the top left corner shows Dennis Garrett at the controls of the 08:00 hump locomotives.

33.) A photo of the front coupler of a locomotive, you can see the knuckle in the closed position, and the steel pin that it pivots on. The steel rod to the left of the coupler is used to unlock it so the knuckle can be opened to couple on to other cars.

34.) The East Mile Board of Kininvie that was located at mile 43 of the Brooks Subdivision.

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Here is a photo of the Ogden Hotel it was originally owned and operated by the Calgary Breweries Ltd. until after World War II when it was made into a convalescent hospital for the veterans returning from World War I as you can see in the picture there are patients and nurses standing in front of the building. When it wasn’t required as a hospital anymore the Calgary Breweries Ltd. took it over again until the 1930s when it was sold to the Alberta Government and made into a Single Men’s Hostel which It remained untill 1969 when a new Hostel was built in downtown Calgary. The building then ended up in private hands and was renamed Alyth Lodge and became a rooming house.

In the spring of 1966, I developed some health problems with rheumatoid arthritis; I ended up in the Calgary General Hospital for about three months. I was away from work for about five months total, and was covered by benefits from the Sun Life Insurance let the CPR provided us with as part of our collective agreement between the railway and the Sheet-Metal Workers International Association. The first few months I worked at Ogden I lived at home and road the Calgary Transit System buses to work, to do this. I had to get up at 06:00 in the morning have breakfast that my mother prepared, and walk three blocks to the bus stop on 33rd Ave. SW to catch the South Calgary bus Route 7 downtown to 1st St SW in front of the Hudson Bay Store and cross the street to catch the Ogden bus Route 24 that took me to the front gates of the Ogden shops. I learned from one of my coworkers Gary, who lived in Altadore of a carpool he rode in. Eric, who was a foreman on the Rip track, drove the car; he drove a 1959 Chevy and charged three of us a dollar a week to pay for gas. I’d tell you, this guy was really cheap, he had clear plastic seat covers to protect the upholstery, and in the cold winter weather you just about froze your butt off sitting on the seats, as he never turned the heater on. He would turn the heater on, only enough to defrost the windshield, he had some kind of perverted idea that if you used your heater the battery would wear out sooner.

I finally had enough of carpooling, and I moved to Ogden, a friend of mine John Blackstock who was a machinist apprentice lived at home in Lynnwood, and his mother and father Stanley, who worked as a machinist helper on the scrap dock, had room for a boarder. This was great way only lived about eight blocks from the shops so I could walk there in the morning in about 15 minutes. I never was a morning person, and remember going to work and being about a block away from the shop gates when the 08:00 whistle blew, also at this time the CPR’s Dominion would arrive from the East. The Dominion was the CPR’s second transcontinental train, it looked pretty sharp in it’s CPR livery of the units in their color scheme of gravy, yellow, and Tuscan red, followed by the baggage car, day coaches, dining car, and sleepers all finished in Tuscan red. Unfortunately like me, this trains days were numbered.

When I started working at Ogden Shops in 1965. I was paid $1.35 an hour, Journeyman made $2.70 an hour. Tradesmen working in construction were making about $5.00 an hour. A case of beer was $2.75; cigarettes were $.36 for a package of 20, and $.45 for a package of 25. You could throw one dollar in your gas tank and drive around all night. My first car was a 1947 Dodge four-door sedan, complete with suicide doors, when it wore out. I bought a 1955 Chevrolet, two-door sedan.

I had two years service in when it happened in November 1967, business was slow them on the CPR and this resulted in a reduction in staff. I had my two years, and I figured I would be safe from the layoffs, but I was wrong. It looked like our griever would have to work midnights in the hook shop, so he arranged it for me to get laid-off so he could stay on day shift in the locomotive shop. So in November of 1967 I left the service of the CPR due to a reduction in staff. The layoff looked like it would last for about three months and hopefully I would return then, but fate had other ideas for my future.

In closing I must add this incident that happened just before the layoff:
In early fall 1967 I came to work Friday morning with a bit of a hangover from drinking some cheap wine the night before, celebrating payday as most of us young apprentices used to do. My mate at the time was journeyman tinsmith Les Jeffries, we worked together at the bench until 9 AM when he said why don’t you go sleep it off for a while and come back at lunchtime, which I thought was not too bad an idea. I was walking around the shop when I run into two friends of mine that were labourers, Johnny Green, and Stephen Chalmers, they were being laid off that day and were not too enthusiastic about doing their job of sweeping up around the locomotive shop, so they readily agreed to accompany me for some rest. We wandered outside of the southwest corner of the locomotive shop, and went over towards the south end of the stores department, where there was a string of empty box cars south of the loading platform. We found a nice clean boxcar and found some clean cardboard, and rags for bedding, and soon drifted off to sleep. At 12 noon the steam whistle from the powerhouse blew announcing that it was lunch time. We headed back towards the locomotive shop going by the machinists washroom on the southwest corner of the building, a window opens up and my friend machinist apprentice Jimmy Hartwick called us over, and said to us where the hell it you guys been, the supervisors of been looking all over for you. With this prior warning we proceeded down along the outside of the locomotive shop towards the middle of the building, where there was a pair of double open doors that lead into the electrical shop, I looked into the doors in the darkness of the shop I could see six of our suited supervisors looking out from the smoky gloom towards us, there was Assistant Works Manager Tony Kruk, Locomotive Shop Foreman Jimmy Sumner, Electric Shop Foreman Ed Carey, Machine Shop Foreman Chuck Ogilvy, Diesel Shop Foreman Frank Olejas, and the Labour Foreman. They spotted us at the same time and the chase was on, it was right out of the Keystone cops, us young fleet of foot workers, and the portly supervisors dressed in their best suits, ties, and hats on the chase. They were no match for us and we soon outran them. I ran like hell around the east end of the locomotive shop, and into the boilermaker’s washroom on the north side, I proceeded to wash up for lunch, and went back to the tin shop to have some. We had 30 minutes for lunch, and in the middle of our lunch break I went over to the tuck shop, a caged enclosure that was opened during lunch hour where you could buy cigarettes, chocolate bars, chips, and soft drinks from a labourer, he also ran another one near the front gate that was opened in the morning providing the same services. I got in line and who was in front of me none other than Jimmy Sumner the Locomotive Shop Foreman, Jimmy always wore dark suits, and a fedora, he was slim with a pencil thin mustache, and chain-smoked cigarettes from a black cigarette holder. When he was in front of the line buying some cigarettes, Max the labourer asked him about the commotion that morning, he said that they had caught the two labourers and fired them on the spot, and it was only a matter of time before they found the third one, and looking back right at me he said I know exactly what he looks like so it shouldn’t take too long. My friends didn’t care as they were being laid off that day, and had other job prospects lined up, it just gave them Friday afternoon off. The third man was never found!

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Posted on 14-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades, Uncategorized) by Broken Rail

Here is a picture of a No. 2 Coach Shop when it was under construction, to the east outside of the fence surrounding the shops you can see tents were the construction workers lived. It looks like there is a gate where the workers could access the construction site of the structure. The shop has 15 bays to work on the CPR’s fleet of passenger coaches; the structure with the smoke coming out of its chimney is a temporary structure that was probably used by the construction engineers and draftsmen. To the east of this building and past the railway gondola to the end of shop, a transfer table was built. Coaches entering the shop came onto the table on the center track where the gondola is sitting, and from there the transfer table traveled on rails to any doorway, and the coach would be moved in to the shop for its overhaul. The coaches would be stripped of paint, and seats would be removed for reupholstering, and any other repairs would be done to the running gear and air brakes. The coaches would be repainted, and refurbished, and moved out of the shop on the transfer table to return to service. At the time I worked at Ogden, the passenger era was in its twilight, many passenger trains were abolished, for lack of business. The automobile and airlines had taken their toll on these trains, and many jobs were lost.

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Posted on 06-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades, Uncategorized) by Broken Rail

Ogden Shops History

The CPR was looking for a location to build a repair shop complex in the West. To complement their main shops at Montreal (Angus) and Winnipeg (Weston). Many communities were vying to have the shops built in their community. The CPR finally chose Calgary, as it was close to the mountains and had lots of real estate, southeast of the city. That was flat and an ideal location for the shops and the town that would house many of the employees. The city of Calgary also built a streetcar line to Ogden for employees living in the city. The shops at Ogden were named after a CPR President I. G. Ogden. Construction started on April 1, 1912 and was finished in less than a year in the middle of March 1913. I have some early postcards on the shops, construction.

The Locomotive Shop was the biggest building of the 12 in the complex, it measured 307 feet X 773 feet, taller than the Calgary Tower by over 150 feet it had a total area of 238,864 square feet. And it included the Air Brake, Blacksmith, Boiler, Carpenter, Electrical, Erecting, Machine, Maintenance, Paint, and Sheet Metal Departments. Steam locomotives were rebuilt and overhauled here on tells the last one was out shopped in 1957. By that time, the CPR had completely dieselised their fleet of motive power and Ogden’s Locomotive Shop was converted for rebuilding and overhauling diesel locomotives. This was the era. I worked in when I started there in 1965. When you entered the building from the Northwest corner and walked down the left-hand bay you found the blacksmith department which extended halfway down the shop, there they built and rebuilt locomotive springs, they also repaired and manufactured Maintenance of Way tools, such as crowbars, lining bars, spike pullers, and adzes. They also made railway spikes, track bolts, whistle posts, and other railway signs. They have a large steam hammer that they used for heavy castings. Next, we came to the Pipe Shop one of the smaller departments. It had bins to store the air brake pipes that were stripped from locomotives that were being overhauled. They also add threading machines for cutting threads in iron pipe, and benches with vices for soldering copper air brake pipes. The next department was the Sheet Metal Shop where I worked we had benches to work on light sheet metal with bending machines to make locks for projects we were assembling like toolboxes. There was a table with an acetylene and oxygen flame where soldering irons were heated. One bench was dedicated to the repairing of air filters by braising with an oxygen acetylene torch. These filters came from the doors of the locomotive hatches on diesels with had outside walkways select, and from the louvers of the units that were covered in. We had a big area, where we dismantled radiators and soldered them; we then reassembled them and tested them under air pressure in a big tank of water where we looked for leaks. We had a sheet-metal sheer that would cut a sheet of metal up to 16 gauge and 8 feet long. We had bending breaks that could put a right angle bend on sheet-metal 8 feet long. We also had tools for punching holes, and running beads on circular sheet-metal to form elbows, and other sheet-metal fabrications. The next shop was the Boilermakers department where they worked on heavier metal 1/8 of an inch; they had a hydraulic brake that could bend metal. Up to three quarters of an inch thick. They also had large shears to cut thick metal, and a large punch to put holes in the material being worked. These were old machines that probably date back to the opening of the shops in the steam era. There was also a test rack where 2 steam generators could be rebuilt and tested, the steam generators were used on the passenger diesels to heat the train, as the coaches were still equipped with steam heating pipes and appliances. The next department was the maintenance bench here a couple of Carpenters and Pipefitters worked at maintaining the buildings in the shops. The final department was the Paint Shop here, they painted the locomotive hatches, station name signs, toolboxes and any other projects that needed paint. There was some real craftsman here that could do gold leaf painting, which went back to the days of the elegant railway coaches painted Tuscan Red and gold leaf numbers and names to identify them.

Now if we cross over to the southeast corner of the building. We find a door that will take you to wheel shop, which I will talk more about later. This side of the locomotive shop contained the Electrical department that was up to ran halfway up the building on the East end there was a big degreasing tank that used Chlorothene Nu to degrease the diesel locomotives main generators and traction motors. We used to go here to degrease oil filters that had to be soldered, the machinists were here quite regularly on Fridays to clean their tools. We would watch from around the walls of the tank, it looked like a big cloud inside, until something that was covered in grease was lowered into the tank with the overhead electric crane that traveled the length of the shop, from the cloud will emerge the chemicals that removed the grease, it looked like a rainstorm coming out of the cloud to strip the grease off of the object in the tank. When removed, the item was spotless, no grease, and quite hot from the reaction. Further up the shop floor the Electricians worked at rebuilding the main generators, and traction motors for the diesel electric locomotives. The rest of this side of the shop was divided between the Machinists and Air Brake department, the machinists had all their lathes, milling machines, shapers, and drill presses. The Air Brake department had a room there, where they did laping on some of the more delicate parts of the air brake valves, they also made air brake hoses for coupling between cars. That concludes the two side bays of the Locomotive Shop, and as I mentioned previously, the apprentice school was above the fan room in the northwest corner of the shop, further down were the offices for the Boiler Shop, Pipe Shop, and Sheet-Metal foremen, underneath their offices was the Blue Room where machinists worked on Governors for the diesel engines. In the southeast corner by the degreaser was the First Aid Office and further up this side were offices for the Electrical department, and further up offices for the Machinists and Air Brake supervisors. The center bay had 36 pits where the locomotives were worked on look first two pits on the west end of the building were where locomotives were brought in to the shop, there was a huge electric crane that could pick up loads of 250 tons and was used strictly for picking up the locomotives with their wheels disconnected and moving them down the shop to another pit, where they were lowered onto blocking that supported them, and they were ready to be stripped. Also part of the shop floor near the middle was an area where the Diesel Mechanics rebuilt the diesel engines. At the east end there was a large lye tank where other large components were brought for cleaning by a character named lye tank Andy.

The Tender Shop.

The Tender and Wheelshop is a L-shaped building 80 feet by 263 x 80 x 180 feet, total area 35,480 ft.². In the steam days it was used to rebuild the steam locomotives tender (the car behind the locomotive that carried its fuel and water) and the wheel shop is where they bring wheel sets from the locomotive and car departments for inspection and reshaping. The thickness of the wheels tread was measured and checked for defects and flat spots, if they had enough tread left they were machined on large lathes that could do both wheels on their axle. Axles were also checked for wear on their bearing surfaces. Rejected wheels and axles were pressed off and loaded into gondolas for scrapping. In my time there were no more locomotive tenders to overhaul, but they did use the bays for rebuilding maintenance of the way machinery such as snowplows, spreaders, ditch diggers, and cranes. I remember one time; they brought in a crane that still had a steam boiler. It was stripped down and totally rebuilt, a new diesel engine replaced the boiler, and the cab was renovated and painted. When the job was finished after six months, the switch crew, who moved equipment in and out of came to pick up the rebuilt crane, they have a hold of three flat cars and use these to reach in and couple up and pull the crane out of the shop. Unfortunately, nobody noticed that there was a shop crane mounted to one of the steel pillars of the building, and its boom was sitting foul of the crane being moved. The boom pierced through the rebuilt cab of the crane and tore it off. So they shoved the crane back into the shop, and it took another four months to rebuild it. Besides working on maintenance equipment and wheel sets, there was a toolroom in the southeast corner of the building were machinists and blacksmiths manufactured tools for the railway. They made cold chisels, spanners, rivet sets, tinsmiths hammers and other tools.

1.) Main Locomotive Shop (includes Erecting, Blacksmith, Boiler, Machine, Air Brake, Pipe,

Electrical, Sheet Metal, Paint, Maintenance, and Carpenter Departments 307 X 773 total area 238,864 ft.²

2.) Tender and Wheelshop (L shaped building) 80 feet by 263 by 80 x 180 total square feet. 35,480

3.) Pattern Shop and Storage 31 feet by 162 feet total square feet 5,022.

4.) Foundry 80′ x 203′ total square feet 16,240.

5.) Stores Department and Offices (2 stories), 60 feet by 252 feet total square feet. 30,240.

6.) Oil House, 4,328.

7.) Coach Shop (Has electric traveling transfer table conveying coaches to and from the.

15 repair tracks 146 feet by 362 file feet total square feet. 52,892.

8.) Planing Mill, 80′ x 303′ total square feet. 24,240

9.) Power House 9,865 ft.².

10.) Freight Car Heavy Repair Shop 231′ x 303′ total square feet 69,993

11.) Mess Hall, and Apprentice Classroom, and Mess Hall Staff.

Quarters 31 feet by 269 feet total square feet 8582

12.) Scrap Dock total square feet 4400

Total square feet of buildings, 499,808

Total acres for buildings, 11.5 plus 2 acres for miscellaneous buildings, total 13.5 acres.

Approximate area of the yard housing all buildings, trackage etc. total 213 acres

The construction started on April 1, 1912 and was finished by March 15, 1913. An estimated 1200 to 1500 men were engaged on the shops construction job.

The Powerhouse had a 200 foot reinforced concrete smokestack and six 350 hp boilers to supply steam heat and steam power to drive a large heating fans installed in all shops except the main offices, oil house, mess hall, scrap dock, and other outlying smaller buildings which were equipped with steam radiators. The powerhouse also ahead, three electrically driven air compressors to provide high-pressure air to power tools used throughout the various shops. Close by was a 125,000 gallon water tank placed on a steel 70 foot tower. The planing mill, too required a lot of expensive woodworking machinery.

Advertisement from Railway Age 1913 by Westinghouse Church Kerr & Co. Engineers and Contractors 37 Wall St New York who built the Ogden Shop complex. Good view showing East end of Locomotive Shop and Lagging Shed on right hand side.

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Posted on 02-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades, Uncategorized) by Broken Rail

The above photograph shows the Ogden Shops complex the Locomotive Shop is the long building running horizontally in the foreground.

It was now November, and winter had set in, I decided to try to get an apprenticeship at the CPR’s Ogden shops. To do this, you had to go to the main gate and talk to the CPR Police officer on duty, he would give you permission to go down to the apprentice classroom in the Locomotive Shop. You then walked down the ramp, passing the administration office, and stores department and enter the Locomotive Shop through a doorway on the northwest corner of the building. You were now at, the West End of the blacksmiths shop, and it was quite a contrast from the winter weather outside, to walk through this department with its men and machinery that looked like they came out of the last century, at least it was nice and warm with all of their blacksmith’s fires. The apprentice school was up above a fan room that circulated heat through that quarter of the shop. The apprentice room teacher was Austin Case, and he gave you an exam on mathematics and physics to see your proficiency in these topics. If you passed the exam, which I did, you were then sent to the main administration office to get the paperwork you needed before you could start working. This included taking a medical, and seeing that I was 16 years old. I had to get and indenture document signed by my parents to enter an apprenticeship. The most popular trades, offered at Ogden were Machinist, Diesel Mechanic and Electrician these were all filled, there was vacancies in the other trades of Boilermaker, Blacksmith, Pipefitter, Sheet Metal Worker, and Carman. I decided to become a sheet metal worker or tinsmith apprentice. I would be working in a main Locomotive Shop which was a huge building with all the trades mentioned except Carmen who worked in the No.1 Car Repair Shop where boxcars, gondolas, flatcars and other freight rolling stock were fixed, and the No.2 Coach Shop were passenger cars were refurbished and repaired. My first day of work I met my Foreman Ed Barraclogh a gray-haired gentleman with glasses who wore a gray suit and hat he made me feel welcome and I was assigned to a journeyman named John, who was my mate. John was from Rhodesia where he had worked for the railway there. This shop complex was built in 1913 to overhaul steam locomotives, the last steam engine out shopped from here was in 1957, since then, diesel locomotives were overhauled. The tinsmiths duties with the locomotives were to look after, all sheet-metal in the cabs of the locomotives, and the grillwork on the sides of passenger locomotives, repair radiators, and any other sheet-metal work on the locomotives, we also did all the stainless steel sheet metal work on Dayliners that were involved in collisions. We also did it a lot of work for the stores department, making toolboxes, traction motors shims, funnels and oil cans. Our other duties involved maintenance of the shop buildings, and insulating pipes, this goes back to the steam era when tinsmiths insulated the boilers of steam engines with asbestos lagging, and maintained the outer sheet-metal jacket of the engine. I will write more tomorrow on the history of the shops.

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Posted on 02-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1950s, Uncategorized) by Broken Rail

This picture was taken in front of King Edward School 1720, 30th Ave., S.W. in June of 1956.
King Edward School, Grade 1 photo 1955-56
Front row: (Left to Right) Jamie, unknown, Don Hardie, Ross Berg, unknown, unknown, unknown,
Second row: (Left to Right) unknown, unknown, unknown, John Turner, unknown, unknown, unknown, Grace Lackey
Third row: (Left to Right.) Unknown, unknown, unknown, Grace Gauley, unknown, unknown, Judy McAuley, unknown.
Back row: (Left to Right) Rusty Austin, unknown, Dave Cobb, Larry Buchan, Earl Wagner, Philip Risby, Ole Olson, Glenn
back row forth from the left hand King Edward School was built in 1912, one of 19 sandstone schools built in Calgary between 1894 and 1914. It is in the district of South Calgary, my uncle Fred, and my dad’s best friend, Jim Atkinson went to school here the first year it was opened. My father attended the second year. I was in school here from grade 1 until grade 9 in the summer of 1964. The school was a block and a half from my home so it was a short walk to school for me. Due to declining enrollment in the school was closed in 2001, and it looks like it will be torn down. With the real estate of one city block it will probably be developed for housing, unless someone comes to the rescue and finds another use for the building. The school as I mentioned was built of sandstone, a popular building material for many of the buildings in Calgary in that era, Calgary was called the “Sandstone City” but sadly many of these buildings have faced the wrecking ball, and are no more. I have also attached a picture by Alison Jackson showing the back of the school on 29th Ave. The girls side on the left, and the boys side on the right. During the summer holidays the top of the fire escape made an excellent viewpoint to watch the fireworks from the Calgary Stampede, a rodeo and fair, that is held in early July.
King Edward School from 29th Avenue Southwest, the right-hand side of the school contained a playroom in the basement on the back side for recess when the weather was bad. My Grade 6 classroom was in the front of the basement covered by the portable classroom trailer, my Grade 9 classroom was above it. Between the fire escapes on the right-hand side in the basement was the boiler room for heating the school, on the left-hand side was my grade 5 classroom, my grade 8 classroom was on the second floor above it. In the 1970s this part of the building started to fall away from the main part of the school and was torn down, along with the fire escape.
A Photo of the front of the school taken in the 1920s from 30th Avenue Southwest, showing what it looked like before the modern auditorium was built circa 1956-57
This front view of King Edward School from the 1920s clearly shows how it looked when I started there in 1955, not much had changed, and my grade one classroom was inside the front entrance on the right-hand side. It was a more modern classroom with brown linoleum floors, individual tables that would seat six students sitting across from each other on small chairs, my first traumatic experience was getting slapped on the wrists by my teacher Miss Down for copying my classmates work, which I was innocent of, to get their we had to go in through the BOYS entrance in the back on the right-hand side, and climb one flight of stairs and cross through the double doors of the auditorium that was located to the left of the entrance doors with the stage on the North side if my memory serves me correct, this all changed when the new auditorium, with industrial art shops, and home economics classrooms, with an auxiliary gymnasium in the basement were built around 1956. My grade 2 and 3 classrooms were side-by-side on the second floor in the left wing Miss. Black taught grade 2 above the stairs on the GIRLS entrance and Miss Watt taught grade 3 next to her they were to old maid teachers with granny glasses, and button up black leather shoes, Miss Black were short and stout, and Miss Watt Was tall and skinny and looked a lot like my grandmother, both my older sisters were taught by them seven years previous to my arrival, the classrooms were ancient, and had probably not changed a bit since the school opened, they had unpolished hardwood floors, and cast-iron desks with fold up seats, the blackboards were made of black slate, with dark hardwood framing, here we learn to print with pencils and in grade 3 to start writing, Miss Watt even had a windup gramophone for playing records, I remember her clearly telling us about world events like the launch of the Sputnik that started the space race on October 4, 1957, when a contrast from this old school room. My grade 4 class was on the second floor to the left of the entrance with Mrs. Campbell we started writing with pen and ink, the small double windowed rooms above the entrance were teacher lounges, and the other small double windowed rooms in the wings were used as the nurses room, and for other functions, across from the main entrance was the vice principal’s office on the North side. My grade 5 classroom with Mr. Norton was in the basement facing northward on the right-hand side the boiler room and mechanical heating was on the left-hand side, and the boys washroom was in the basement left of the main entrance, and the girls on the right-hand side. My grade 6 classroom was in the basement in the left-hand side wing with Mr. Houghton there were two basement playrooms on the north side of each wing where we would go for recess in inclement weather. In 1961, I started junior high school in grade 7, my teacher Mrs. Kellogh classroom was on the third floor on the left-hand side, this is when we started going to other classrooms to take courses, Mrs. K taught us art, next to her was Mrs. Cheal the music teacher, across the hall from us was Mr. Kennedy then, grade 9 science teacher, I can’t recall what the other classroom was in the north east corner of this floor, I remember Mr. Kennedy was quite involved with the church playing and restoring pipe organs, he had a bunch of parts stored in the attic of the roof of the left-hand wing. My grade 8 class with Miss Bales was on the second floor on the right side facing northwards, and finally my grade 9 class with Mr. Longair are Vice Principal at the time was on the top of the stairs in the left wing in the front, we took literature from Mrs. Murray on the second floor in the classroom west of my grade 8 classroom, the old auditorium was made into a library to the right of the entrance, and Miss Cochlan’s English classroom faced northwards. The next picture was taken before Christmas 1958. It shows my King Edward School Grade 4 photo 1958-59.
Front row: (Left to Right) Margaret Deesman, Jerry Dobos, Philip Risby, Milton Meehan, unknown twin sisters, Judy McAuley, Kyra Jojonek, Ole Olson, unknown, Don Hardie.
Middle row: Celia, unknown, Herbie Grey, Wayne Yarjau, Carol Lauderoutte, Grace Wiley, Dave Chibry, Warwick Gray, unknown, unknown, Sherry Meehan, Don Kennedy, Dave Cobb.
Back row: (Left to Right) Grace Lackey, Margaret Lund, Alice Jones, Brian McCreary, Gary, Tony Kraft, Barbara Dunphy, Edward “Butch” Taylor, Rusty Austin, Winston Mitchell, Larry Buchan. The other picture is the view of our backyard at 1921 30th Ave. SW. this was a very old house built before World War I, and many additions were added to it in the 1930s, my parents bought the house in 1945 after the end of World War II.
King Edward School from 29th Ave.
Homestead 1921 30 Ave. SW

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