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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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June
15
Posted on 15-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

I learned many skills the two years I worked at Ogden shops.  I became quite proficient in soldering sheet-metal and stainless steel with an iron, brazing, and welding with an Oxyacetylene torch.  I was able to draft patterns for elbows, square to rounds, and other shapes.  I could fabricate the above plus many other items that were requested such as toolboxes, stainless steel tea mugs, and battery charger boxes.  The toolboxes would be requested from the Stores Department, they might request 12 in their order, so when I was cutting the metal for these, it was easy to add 4 more for people who requested one for home.  I would cut out all the sheets of metal required, and use a scriber to lay out where the bends and notches were required.  The bends were made with a sheet-metal brake, and seeming machine, the notches were made with tin snips. The toolbox would consist of the bottom portion with two ends, and the lid with a handle and hasp and staple for security.  The body was laid out with locks on each end, and they end pieces were bent to fit in to the locks, and were then soldered in place.  The lid was then assembled, 2 slots were made in the middle of the top surface, these were for tabs of metal that were soldered in place on the inside of the lid, and were used for part of the handle assembly.  The handle itself was made from 1/4″ iron rod about 10 inches long, and a 5 inch piece of copper tubing with a 1/4″ inside diameter to slide over the iron rod, which was then bent up at right angles at the edge of the centered copper tubing.  Another right angle bend was made at about 21/2 inches, down from the first bend.  This would leave a 1/2″ length of rod to fit in the sheet-metal tabs that were formed around it and soldered to the inside of the lid.  The edges were finished my bending over a quarter inch seam, or by hammering over a half-inch seam around an iron wire, or welding rod, which worked good for this purpose.  The hinges were made of scraps of sheet-metal folded over and riveted to the back of the toolbox.  For the padlock scrap piece of band iron 3/4″ wide and about 1/8 of an inch thick was cut 2 inches long, and a 1/4″ hole was drilled in the center on one end and the other end wasn’t evident to the front of the toolbox, and a slot was cut in the lid so the bar could go through, and the padlock could be placed through the quarter inch hole.  This extracurricular work was called “Government Jobs” this terminology properly went back to the days of World War II when the locomotive shop was converted into a munitions plant for the British Ordnance; antiaircraft guns were manufactured here during the war.  I remember a lot of the lathes and shaping machines in the machine shop had brass plaques saying Property of the British Admiralty. The battery charger boxes were part of a joint effort between the tin shop, electrical shop, and the paint shop. The electricians would get transformers from old passenger coaches that were being scrapped, they would rebuild and rewind the armatures on these transformers making them so they could charge 6 and 12 volt automobile batteries, my job was to make cases from light gauge satin coat sheet metal, the same material used to make the toolboxes, the dimensions were about 10 inches long 5 inches wide and 7 inches high, 3 inch holes were cut in the ends and a piece of brass screening was soldered to the inside wall, holes were drilled for the power switch, 6 or 12 volt switch, a power indicator lamp, and for the power cord, the lid was fastened down the sheet metal screws, the boxes were then sent to the paint shop for painting, and then to the electrical shop for fitting in the electronics. The dimensions were small enough that they could be taken home inside of a lunchbox.

Some of the other store orders I worked on was making metal tags out of 26 gauge black iron stove pipe sheet metal that came in 2 foot square’s, I would cut them into 2 inch wide strips, then cut the strips into pieces 1 3/8 inch long, these were then marked in the top center with a punch, then drilled out with a 1/8 inch drill bit on the drill press, with a sheet-metal scriber I would mark the bottom corner at a 45° angle and cut a half-inch of the metal, I then took the pieces to the folding machine in
and folded over the bottom and two sides, a cardboard card could be inserted, and the tag could be hung on a nail, I made about 800 of these, not knowing what they were to be used for until eight years later.

I made many accessories for the control stands of locomotives; one of them was a piece of 12 gauge
black iron 5 inches long by 1 5/16 inches wide, two holes were drilled and countersunk on each end, and a standard stationery clip was tack welded to one end. These were fastened to the locomotive engineers control stand, and were used to hold train orders.

Another project I was given was for the new General Motors SD-40 locomotives that the CPR was starting to buy they were numbered CP 5500 and up, on the control panel for the locomotive engineer they were many switches, one of them was a circuit breaker for dynamic brake that would trip from the voltage overload, the problem was that the circuit breaker switch was in a vulnerable position on the control panel and could be easily tripped inadvertently by the engineer, so they came up with an idea of making a cover for the circuit breaker that would shield it, and yet still be accessible by placing your finger underneath, we experimented and came up with an idea that I put into production they were made of 18 gauge black iron sheet-metal in the dimensions were 2 1/4 inches long 3/4 of an inch wide, and the height of the curved profile was 7/8 of an inch. To fabricate them strips of black iron were cut 2 1/4 quarter inches wide, and the strips were then cut into squares, additional strips were cut 7/8 of an inch wide by 1 inch, a flat pattern made out of lighter gauge sheet metal was cut out with tin snips and placed on top of the 2 1/4 squares of black iron and traced out with a scriber these were then taken to the Beverly Shear a bench mounted metal cutter with a long handle for leverage, and Blade’s about 4 inches long, they were used to cut out the curves for the side profiles, holes were drilled to mount the cover onto the control stand, and the center was cut out to allow the circuit breaker switch to stick through.  this was done by drilling a small in the four corners, and placing the blank on a large 3 ton steel table we had in the middle of our shop for fabricating, (it was very old, and had lots of scars from being used for punching out round circles and other types of work), I would use a cold chisel to cut out the rectangler opening, the rough edges would be finished on a vice using a file. The final job was to take the 7/8 x 1″ strip of black iron and curve it in our rollers, then it was welded on both sites using a small oxyacetylene torch, and welding rod

Illustrations 1.) Four photos of the toolbox that I made for myself, front view showing handle, band iron with 1/4 inch hole drilled for padlock. End view showing seams around the lid, and wire hinge on the back, also rivets used to support tool tray. Bottom view showing unpainted satin coat sheet metal that the toolbox was made from. Interior view of toolbox showing metal tabs soldered to the lid to hold the handle, supports for tool tray that was lost many years ago, originally the toolbox was painted black, but it got a little scuffed up so I had the paint shop redo it in gray. 2.) A photo of the tags showing front and back. 3.) A photo of the train order clip showing front and back. 4.) Four photos of dynamic brake circuit breaker cover, first one shows us site profile, you can see the 1 inch curved piece that was welded on, bottom view showing slot cut out for breaker switch, and holes drilled to fasten cover to control stand, top end view of cover with half hole drilled in to cover to accommodate a screwdriver for fastening to the control stand, bottom end view with large opening so a finger could be inserted to reset the breaker switch,. 5.) A photo showing the circuit breaker cover on a locomotive engineers control stand.

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June
15
Posted on 15-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

Picture of Scrap Dock and Stores Department

The Scrap Dock has an area of 4400 square feet. The Stores Department and Administrative Offices is a building is 262 feet by 60 feet for an area 30,240 square feet. The Scrap Dock was located in between the Locomotive Shop, and the Stores Department and there is a track that runs along the platform of the Stores dock, and there is another dock and track on the Westside of the Stores building. There is more trackage that runs between the locomotive shop, and the scrap dock crane, this takes you to the foundry, and two other plants located outside of the shops acreage. I remember working during summer shutdown, the month of July, in 1967. There was only a skeleton shift, and most of the employees were on holidays. This one particular day in July I will never forget. The CPR had purchased a number of Hydraulic Switchers in the early 1960s these locomotives had their cab in the middle, a diesel engine and transmission on each end. They were lightweight locomotives that the CPR hoped to use on some of their light branch lines, they were not too successful as they were not able to pull many loads, and they were constantly breaking down especially with two transmissions. A lot of them were sold off to lumber yards and other small plants. Ogden shops had one No.13 if my memory serves me right. Anyways on one day, the Assistant Works Manager Tony Kruk decided to play locomotive engineer and was running old No.13 from the Car Shops down to the Foundry. He was going a fair clip of about 30 mph when he was approaching the locomotive shop he did not notice that the track switch was lined for Pit One and not for the clear track that ran between the scrap dock crane and the locomotive shop. The results were disastrous, and there was a locomotive sitting outside of pit one and he ran into it with such force that it knocked the locomotive through the doors of pit one and in to another locomotive that was sitting inside. Fortunately, with summer shutdown and there was nobody working around this area sown there are no injuries that were reported.

Photograph CPR hydraulic switcher Number 17

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

I’ve posted a photograph taken at the Load Test this was a stub track located between the North side of the Locomotive Shop and the Foundry. When locomotives were rebuilt at Ogden they had to go through extensive testing before they were released back to active service. In a complete overhaul, the locomotive diesel engine would be completely overhauled and rebuilt, on the electrical side. The main generator and traction motors on each axle received the same restoration. The locomotive was started up and brought out to the Load Test and tested under simulated load conditions, by the machinists and electricians. The 7070 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1948, and in this photograph taken in 1961 is in its Canadian Pacific block lettering and Tuscan red, gray, and yellow paint scheme. The locomotive Model number was DS4-4-1000, which classed it as a Diesel Switcher 4 Wheels on one truck and 4 Wheels on the other truck, and rated at 1000 Hp. I have seen a photograph of her in active service at Port Coquitlam, British Columbia in May 1975 painted in the CP Rail color scheme. In the picture the 7070 has all hatch doors open and the Machinist Duane on the front end would be checking for any leaks from the diesel engine block. The engine would be run through all eight-throttle positions for hour after hour. I remember going out there one day on an engine being tested that did not have all the sheet metal reinstalled in the locomotive cab, we finished our work and left in short order. I sure wouldn’t want to work out there hour after hour with throttle in the eighth notch position.

I remember that they also did a road test, my best friend, Jimmy was a machinist apprentice and I went for a ride with him on a B unit one day. We traveled down to the north end of shops compound and out onto the yard lead that ran besides the shops. Jimmy had a flagging kit and stayed on the ground to protect this movement with a red flag, track torpedoes, and red fusees if necessary. B units have no operating cab, but they do have operating controls and the operator, usually a machinist foreman could look out the circular porthole window on the side of the locomotive. With the track clear ahead for three quarters of a mile the foreman could open up a throttle and see how locomotive performed going forward and backwards. This was a dangerous practice as there was quite a curve in the track and a yard movement, or a train coming in from the east could show up at any time. When the locomotive had passed all its tests it would be released to the shops at Alyth, and the switch crew from the yard would take the locomotive along with any other rolling stock lead had been released.

The switch crew started their daily duties inside the Ogden Shops there was a yardmaster who worked there and gave them their daily list of the duties they had to do. The crew consisted of a locomotive engineer, yard foreman, and helper. The duties were fairly light so the job went quite high on the seniority list. There was also a lucrative sideline they were engaged in, there was a working man’s bar called the Shamrock Hotel in East Calgary and a bookie worked out of there. The working men at the shops like to gamble on the horse races, so there was different places around the facility, where a boilermaker, machinist, electrician, or carman working a job in a stationary location would collect money for the bets. While one of the crew on the ground would do the work required with the locomotive engineer, the other crew member would go around and collect all the money for the bets and would go to the Shamrock early in the afternoon to see the bookie and place all the bets. This had been going on for many years on tell the city police busted the bookie and the game was over.

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In this photograph on the left side we can see the steel framework of the No.1 Car Shop with some service cars in the foreground, they were probably being used for offices and lunchrooms for the workers. This is where I would have went to serve part of my apprenticeship, they repaired cabooses and built service cars which involved a lot of sheet-metal work. In the middle we can see the fence on the eastern side of the property. And on the right side we can see the south end of the Planning Mill. The track, where the service cars are standing later became the Rip Track, Rip stands for “Repair in place” and was used for light repairs that could be done outside the Car Shop. The Farm is tracks in the yard north of the Car Shop; they were used for cutting up obsolete rolling stock, destined for the scrap yard. You can see this in the photograph of cars being cut up with a torch that I have posted above. I also posted a picture of a Royal Hudson heading for the scrap line.
The Farm photo by Walter Kot
Royal Hudson, 2864

Photos of farm and Royal Hudson, 2864 by Walter Kot

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

Here I’ve posted a photograph showing the Ogden Station, which looks to me not much more than a sectionmen’s bunkhouse with a train order signal on the roof. There is also an excellent view of the old Beanery and Apprentice School and that became the main gate into the shops. When I first started hanging out in Ogden we walked down the CPR’s main line a little further north from where this picture was taken and still standing was a derelict roadmaster’s house.

Ogden hotel. 1912

In the second picture I have posted shows a view of the Ogden Hotel under construction, with two floors showing. The building was finished with a third-floor and became a popular place to stay for people living in doing business in the Ogden area. During World War I, the hotel was donated for the war effort and became a convalescent hospital bill about 1919. It then reverted back to a hotel owned by the Calgary Brewery who owned many hotels in Alberta to distribute their product. In 1935, the building was taken over by the Alberta Government and became a Single Men’s Hostel until around 1969 when a new Hostel was opened downtown, and the building was sold. It was then renamed Alyth Lodge and rented out rooms by the month; there was a pool hall on the main floor, with a restaurant in the back run by a woman named Mabel.

A funny thing happened at the sandblast:

Here is a funny story I must tell you a couple of friends of mine worked at Ogden in the 1970s they were Jim Fielding and Dwight Mazie. They had a job sandblasting the interiors of hopper cars; this was done outside the South of the No. 2 Coachshop. They had to climb into the top of the cars through a hatchway on the roof. There was a ladder that descended into the bottom of the car down there they would drag a hose with a steel nozzle on the end and open a valve to sandblast the interior surface of the car that would be coated with the residue of the product they carried, such as cement and fertilizer. One would sandblast, and the other one would stay out side to feed sand into the compressor. They would take turns doing this during their shift, changing off every two hours, one day Dwight had a brilliant idea, why not tie the hose down at the top of the ladder turn on the nozzle, start up the compressor and let the hose do all the work. They tried it out the hose was swaying around like a serpent possessed, it worked great the two of them could then have a nap as they worked unsupervised and as long as their quota of cars were done for the day who cared. Then one afternoon, they awoke from their nap to find sand shooting out of the side of the car they were working on. The covered hopper car was made of steel 3/8 of an inch thick, what had happened was the hose got stuck in one of the rungs of the ladder and for two hours the sand was sprayed on the same spot, which eventually wore a hole through the steel. This was their last shift at Ogden.

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June
14
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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June
08
Posted on 08-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

Photo by Walter Kot

I have attached a picture of the Powerhouse that was taken in 1961; it shows the sheet metal pipe coming from the Planning Mill to feed shavings to the boilers. We worked in the Powerhouse doing maintenance; one job I remember was running an exhaust pipe from one of the compressors out the east wall of the compressor room. One day, our foreman Ed came up to me and my Journeyman Bob, and one other Apprentice named Rod. He took us outside of the tin shop, through the doors located at the middle of the north side of the shop. On the ground, beside the doors, was a sheet of metal door on the ground that opened up and there was a steel ladder that took us down to a tunnel. This tunnel ran underneath the Locomotive Shop to the south side, and northward to the Powerhouse it was 7 feet high and about 5 feet across. The tunnel contained an 8-inch steam pipe, a 5-inch water supply line, and a 3-inch airline from the compressors. The streamline was insulated with asbestos, and wrapped in cotton fabric. Our work assignment was to strip off all the old installation and renew it with new installation. We were given little masks made of plastic with renewable filters, and using a saw we cut through the old installation, and with a utility knife we cut through the cotton jacket around the installation. To renew the installation, we had boxes of new asbestos insulation that was profiled in the half circular sections to fit around the 8-inch steam pipe. We secured the installation with metal bands, and then wrapped the outside of the installation with cotton fabric that was glued and whitewashed. The first day we stripped and re-insulated about 30 feet of pipe. Our foreman, Ed came down the next day to see how we were progressing, he was quite surprised and did not expect us to have so much work done. So we took what he said, as a sign to slow down, which we did. We would wrap a few feet of pipe in the morning, and the rest of the day we relaxed. We had plywood boards that we set on top of the water line that ran about 18 inches off of the ground on the other side of the tunnel, there was a small concrete ledge that ran along the wall, so it made a perfect place to lie down. We also occupied our time by playing cards, reading books, or just sitting there shooting the breeze. We would come up for our half an hour lunch break, and told all our coworkers how hot and miserable. It was working down there. At the rate we went, the job took us three months to complete, this is the time that our foreman had been allotted to finish the assignment. The one thing I did notice on my mask at the end of the day, there were lots of small crystals of asbestos on the filter. That was over 40 years ago, and I am no worse for wear, my lungs are in great shape. There was one story we heard about the tunnel in the early years after the shop was built, there was an exit where we worked, but there was no way to get out on the south end by the electricians shop. They say there were workmen down there at that time. When the steam line burst, and there was no way for them to escape, when they were found after the steam was shut off they were cooked like chickens, so the legend goes.

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June
08
Posted on 08-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

View of East End of locomotive shop with lagging shed on the right-hand side.

Before I talk about the Powerhouse and Planning Mill there are two other structures. I wanted to mention first, on the north side of the Locomotive Shop there was a structure called the Lagging Shed. It was partially used for storage in its enclosed part, and the open timber beam part of a structure was used for storing the asbestos lagging they used for the boilers and the steam era. The other building is a three bay building and office that housed the shops Volunteer Fire Department, it was manned by workers who lived in the Ogden area, and if a fire broke out they would respond to whistle signals that came from the Powerhouse. The Powerhouse was located about a city block and one half north of Locomotive Shop. The Powerhouse has 9,865 square feet in area; it had a 200-foot concrete reinforced smokestack, and a 125,000-gallon water tank that was erected on a 75 foot steel tower. It began its life with five 350 hp boilers. In my time it had two boilers made by Babcock, and Wilcox, they supplied all the steam for the Locomotive Shop, Wheel Shop, No. 1 Car Shop, No.2 Coach Shop’s fan rooms. Steam radiators heated the rest of the buildings. It also had steam driven compressors to supply air for all the tools used in the shops. And of course, it had the Ogden Whistle, which was sounded at 8 a.m. when the day shift started, at lunchtime at 12 o’clock, and at the end of the day shift at 4 p.m. The Planning Mill was located about 200 feet north of the Powerhouse. It had all modern machinery installed for milling lumber, but was still in use in 1967. There was narrow gauge railway I’m guessing 1 1/2 feet across that brought all the rough lumber on carts that were brought to a the different machines located throughout the Mill where they would be planned, routed,shaped, tongue and grooved, drilled, and other milling that was required a pipe, about 18 inches in diameter that ran into one of the boilers in the powerhouse, so all the wood shavings were used to help supply heat to the boilers, which now ran on natural gas. I imagine the first boilers would have coal fired. More on the Powerhouse tomorrow.

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June
07
Posted on 07-06-2008
Filed Under (Calgary 1960s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

Here is an interesting photo of the foundry during its construction you can see the open roof trusses along with its smokestack, the building in the foreground is the stores department, with the administration offices on the left-hand side. The two story building on the right side in the background I have never seen before and have no idea what its purpose was, I don’t believe it was anything to do with the Ogden shops. The photo would have been taken from the CPR Main line looking eastwards.

The Pattern Shop and Foundry.

The Pattern Shop and Storage is a building 31′ x 162′ total square feet 5022. It was used in the steam era by Pattern Makers who made wooden patterns for the foundry. If a part of a steam locomotive needed replacing a wooden pattern of it would be made up by the pattern makers, and then sent to the foundry, where it would be placed in a box of sand which would be tamped around the pattern to take its shape. Molten cast-iron would be then poured into sand mold, and a replacement part would be made. In my time, the pattern shop was used for storage, and a lot of wooden patterns were still there. The Foundry is a building 80′ x 203′ total area in square feet 16,240 and as I mentioned before. It was used to make cast-iron, brass, and bronze components for the steam engines. During the diesel era it was converted to a shop, where diesel engines for Rail Diesel Cars, (RDC’s or Dayliners). It also had a department where meat hooks were plated with tin, which was tinsmith’s work. The meat hooks were used in refrigerated cars to hang meat from packing plants, and were steam cleaned and after each use. Eventually, the tin coating would peel off, and they would be sent to Ogden to be replated. To do this the hooks were given a bath in Hydrochloric Acid this would strip off the remaining tin and get down to the steel. There was a tank 3 feet long, 18 inches wide and 8 inches deep and that was heated underneath, and large ingots of pure tin were melted until the tank was full of molten metal. The cleaned meat hooks were then dipped into the molten tin and given a new coating, they were hung on rails till they cooled down and were then packed in special crates that were designed to carry them by forklift to the Stores Department. There were two shifts that worked in the hook shop a day shift from eight o’clock till four o’clock in the afternoon, and the midnight shift from midnight till eight in the morning. There was quite a scandal when I worked at the shops. The ingots of pure tin were brought to the hook shop from the Stores Department, one day, someone figured out they were using more tin to coat the hooks then usual. The CPR police were assigned to figure out what was going on. The CPR at that time owned a company called Western Rolling Mills that bought scrap metal, and they were buying lots of tin at that time. The CPR detectives were watching the person who was bringing in all the tin to the Rolling Mills, and identified him as a tinsmith helper who worked midnights in the hook shop. One morning when he came off shift, the detectives stopped him at the main gate. They interrogated him and found he was wearing a special vest under his overcoat, in this vest they found pieces of tin ingot. And he confessed to them that he was stealing from the CPR, on the night shift with no one around, he would melt ingots of tin and with a pair of tongs he would save the last inch of tin before it melted. He would then smuggle out the remnants of the ingots home. Ironically, he was selling his booty back to the CPR with out them noticing it. It was estimated that he had stolen about $15,000 worth of the metal, over $5,000 worth was found in his house. He went to court and was sentenced to two years in jail, and he lost his job with the CPR. I have attached a picture showing the Foundry under construction at the Pattern Shop is located on the other side of it, and the Stores Department is on the left.

Aerial photo showing Foundry and Pattern Shop on the left-hand side in the foreground in front of locomotive shop.

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