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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