January
15
Posted on 15-01-2013
Filed Under (Alberta 1970s, Calgary 1970s, CPR, Many Jobs and Trades) by Broken Rail

1976 working as the helper on the 22:30 Pulldown with yard foreman Bill Armstrong, he got bumped and Vern Sinclair came on the job. I wrote my “B” card examination on January 8th. I was placed on the No. 12 Relief on January 14, and was bumped to the spare board on January 16th. On January 18, I was called for a road trip as the head end brakeman on a through freight North on the Red Deer Subdivision to Red Deer, Alberta 92 miles north of Calgary. My call was for No. 987 for 11:15 with unit CP 5521 and locomotive engineer Al Peters, the conductor was Clare Robinson it was a quick trip and we arrived in Red Deer and were off duty at 16:05. Our accommodation was at the Buffalo Hotel across the street from the station, I shared a room with the tail end brakeman whose name I don’t recall. We laid over and were not called until 20:15 the next day it was for No. 78 with locomotive CP 5651 with locomotive engineer Mickey Young, and conductor Stan McCormick a different crew that I had going up we arrived back at Alyth and were off duty at 02:15. I made 271 miles for the round-trip; the worst part was a layover being away from home 39 hours. The rest of the month, I only worked two shifts a 16:00 Extra, and the 24:00 Government with yard foreman George Mattern. February was slow I worked a 09:00 Tramp (Gulf oil.), 23:30 Tramp, 24:00 Pulldown, 23:30 N. Industrial, 15:45 Tramp, 14:30 Pulldown when I was placed on the No. 1 Relief, bumped again I went on the No. 12 Relief with yard foreman Ken Smith for a couple of days when I went back on the spare board February 16 were I worked another nine shifts until March 8 when I was placed on the 24:00 Government with yard foreman George Mattern, I remember one night working this job I was the engine follower, and the long fieldman was Donny Hayes (nicknamed “Half a Buck” as his father was an old-time conductor called “Buck” Hayes” we were flat switching a train on the west end of N-12, setting out some trailers and adding some empty tri decks back onto the train, Donny was on the east end of the cut in position to make a coupling onto the standing portion of the train about 30 car lengths away, I was up around the corner on the lead relaying signals to the engineer from our foreman George, who was making a coupling onto the cut of tri decks, we were switching without air and when George tied on the coupling didn’t make and the cars started rolling, Donny, oblivious to the fact jumped on the point to ride it down to a coupling, we were working with lanterns on that job, no radios, George was frantically waving his lamp at Donny to try to tell him we had not coupled on, finally in total disgust George through his lamp about 20 feet into the air, letting it crash to the ground, Donny in the meanwhile was giving lanterns signals to slow up for the coupling and giving car lengths, finally realizing that the cars were picking up speed and not slowing down, he bailed off as they crashed into the standing cars, no damage was done, but George really took a strip out of Donny when we got everything back together, just another night on the railway. George himself was a real character, he would wear old striped coveralls that were so dirty with grease and dirt, they looked like they would stand on their own when he took them off at home, he also wore a red hunters cap with the brim curled up in the front, it was pretty dirty too, he was fairly short and stout like a barrel, had long, unkempt hair with a grizzled beard, he didn’t really talk that much and what kind of grunt like a caveman, he drove an old 1 ton truck with a flat deck and a wrecking hoist on the back, a true character, but great guy once you got to know him. I lasted a couple weeks and then was back on the spare board into April.

On April 3 I was called again for a road trip this time going west of Calgary to Field, British Columbia on the Laggan Subdivision. I was called for train Robot 603 with locomotive CP 5826 on the lead (These 5800 series General Motors locomotives were the only ones set up with the radio equipment to operate robot trains.), with locomotive engineer Bill Yeats, and conductor Eddie Pawlluk we were ordered for 22:15 and had 100 loads of sulfur, this train had come in from the Red Deer subdivision, they had brought in from the North towards the Calgary depot, and backed it into P yard, and we had to Robotize it at Alyth before going west. The CPR had pioneered robot controlled trains starting in the late 1960s, the system was called Locotrol, you would have a consist of six General Motors SD-40-2 3000 hp locomotives, and a robot car that contained sophisticated radio equipment. The procedure was to insert the robot car and two locomotives approximately two thirds of the way towards the tail end of the train, in this case behind about 60 cars, the consist was marshalled off of the Alyth diesel shop track with the four lead locomotive, followed by the robot car and the two slave locomotives. The lead locomotive CP 5826 with its special radio equipment could communicate back and forth with the remote consist through the robot car, the locomotive engineer via radio signals could communicate with the slave units, and could have the lead four units and throttle eight and the slave units and throttle two, or in dynamic braking, depending on the track profile, this made for smoother operation, and by having the extra horsepower towards the tail end of the train much more tonnage could be pulled with the locomotives more evenly distributed, another bonus was especially in cold winter weather conditions air could be pumped from the slaves in both directions towards the caboose, and they head of the train, this way the brake pipe, and reservoirs could be recharged much quicker them pumping all the air from the lead locomotives. I called the operator at 12th Street E. tower and told him we wanted to robotize our train that was in P-4, he gave us permission to come off the shop track and crossover the hump leads at the 11th Street E. roadway underpass, and to slave units into the pocket (a small run around track.) In front of 12th Street tower, I jumped off at the 11th Street crossovers and guided Bill back into the pocket in front of 12 Street, and asked him for permission to cut off the slave units, he did what was required on his part to isolate the units, and gave them permission to uncouple, I close the angle cock on our lead units, pulled the pin, and told him to go westward when we had gone far enough. I told him to stop, 12th Street tower lined us for P-yard running lead and I called Bill and told them it was okay to back up eastward 30 cars towards P-4 when we reached the east side of the Alyth overpass I brought them to a stop and lined a couple of switches, I radioed the Car Department Planner and asked for permission to couple on to our track, he give us permission and I brought Bill back to a coupling on P-4 and cut in the air, meanwhile the tail end brakeman had worked his way up from the caboose to the cut number, when Bill had sufficiently charged up the brake pipe the tail end brakeman made the cut and with permission from 12th Street E. tower we pulled westward on P-yard running lead to double over to slave units, I jumped off the head end just west of the pocket, and when Bill had pulled out far enough I brought him to a stop, when the operator at 12 Street E. tower had lined the switch . I brought Bill back 10 car lengths to a coupling on the slave units, I then got a stretch and cut back in the air, I proceeded eastward to the point of the slave units, and when Bill had everything set up, I asked 12 Street E. tower for a signal and line up out of the east end of the pocket, I got a restricting signal, and we proceeded eastward towards P-4 when we entered the west end of P-4, I called the tail end brakeman and said we were on our way back, he took over radio communication, and I bailed off to get on to the head end, with our train coupled up, we notified the Car Department Planner that we were ready for a brake test, in the meanwhile Eddie had arrived by crew bus to the head end with our paperwork and train orders, we compared watches, and I read out the train orders to the engineer, and we read over the paperwork we had 13,500 tons, Eddie took the crew bus back to the caboose, when we finished the brake test and the Carman signed our brake test forms, we were ready to go, I called the tail end and asked me if they were ready, they replied yes, I then called the operator at 12 Street E. tower telling him we were ready to depart westward out of P-4, he said he would get back to us, after a few minutes he called us and said it was okay for us to depart out of P-4 and that we would be crossing over to P-1 in front of the tower. So we went up P-1, by the IYO, through Depot 2, and across 14th Street West where we had a clear signal to leave the interlocking into CTC at Sunalta leaving the yard at 00:35 we started our trip 135 miles west to Field, BC, although it was dark this was a new experience for me, I had worked east of Calgary on the mainline all the way to Swift Current, Saskatchewan, this was usually high speed operation on the relatively flat prairie topography with the exception of the river valley in and out of Medicine Hat. This was different terrain starting out at the altitude of 3438 feet at Calgary and climbing through the foothills and into the east side the Rocky mountains range to the Continental divide at mile 122 at the altitude of 5280 feet, the highest pass of any railway in Canada, so we slogged along at a fair speed running parallel to the south side of the Bow River, by the siding of Brickburn and crossing the Bow River over the twin bridges at mile 7.6 & 7.7, west on the mainline through the storage yard at Keith mile 8.10 to 10.2, pass the siding at Bearspaw mile 14, and climbed up to the community of Cochrane, then downhill crossing the Bow River at mile 25.72, then climbing uphill past the siding at Radnor and Ghost Dam at mile 33.4, and picking up some speed through the Morley flats, by the siding at Ozada, and downhill past Mile 50.1 crossing the Bow River once again east of Kananaskis, then by the siding at Exshaw going past the massive Lafarge cement plant at mile 57, then through the Gap model 62 that had been relegated to a storage track, we then passed Canmore mile 68.7, a once thriving coal mining community, the mines were now shut down, but new development was just beginning for what became a major community being located outside of the Banff National Park movement, we went on our climb up around Tunnel mountain then downhill through the town of Banff where there was a descent to a level crossing just press the station at mile 82.2, we sojourned on through the Bow Valley Parkway by the sidings of Massive mile 92.7, the storage track at Castle Mountain mile 99.0 and Eldon at mile 106, then up to Lake Louise mile 116.6, altitude 5052 feet, where we climbed up the 1.8% grade to the Rocky Mountain Continental divide at Stephen Mile 122.2, where we tipped over downhill on our 2.2% descent, levelling off through Hector then it was all downhill past the siding at Partridge mile 128.0,

Seth Partridge was a Calgary locomotive fireman who became a hero on August 9, 1925, it was a hot night when a landslide came down the mountains and Seth, and his engineer noticed some rock coming down an early warning, he showed his heroism by leaving his train at this location and running down hill to where off duty sectionmen were sleeping in their bunkhouse at Yoho station, he was able to warn them before the catastrophic slide wiped out the buildings they were sleeping in. He received many awards, and had the siding named after him, something that is usually more reserved for high-ranking company officials, surveyors, or large stockholders. He was also promoted as a Road Foreman of Engines, which he did for a while, but eventually went back to running steam locomotives, and the first diesels on the Laggan Subdivision.

We then headed westward started into the 3255 feet long No.1 upper spiral tunnel making a 48 foot descent, and turning 288° inside Mount Cathedral emerging in a northwest direction, passing the storage track at Yoho mile 129.8 and entering the 2922 feet long No.2 spiral tunnel making another 50 foot descent, and turning 226° in the bowels of Mount Ogden to emerge going westward and crossing over a bridge on the Kicking Horse River, then passing by the siding at Cathedral mile 134.2 going through some snow sheds and a small tunnel on the edge of Mount Stephen and arriving at the bottom of the mountain valley at the village of Field, British Columbia mile 136.6 altitude 4200 feet where we stopped at the station and changed off with a crew from Revelstoke, British Columbia who would take the train through the mountains and the Rogers Pass, we were off duty at 07:10.

After a good sleep, I had some lunch in the bunkhouse cafeteria that was open 24 hours a day, I then had opportunity to walk around Field for some sightseeing, we were called for No. 902 a hot shot freight at 17:35 with locomotive CP 5685, and 89 cars, we made a great trip home, climbing up to Stephen, then it was downhill pretty well all the way into Calgary and Alyth and off duty at 22:50 a little over five hours, we were only gone 24 hours and 35 min. and I made 338 miles a lot better than that trip to Red Deer where I only made 271 miles and was away from home for 39 hours. It was also nice working a whole subdivision in CTC, not like the Red Deer that was dark territory, meaning there are no signals, and all switches are hand controlled. The rest of the month of April was pretty slow I only got three more shifts for the month, May was another story. I got another trip west on the Laggan subdivision getting called On May 1st for the Coquitlam Empties at 17:40 we had locomotive CP 5589 with 73 car the conductor was Eddie Pawluk and we were in and off duty at 00:30. We doubled out on the Boxes 6 (Empty grain loading boxcars.) at 03:00, we had 113 cars with locomotive 5826 the same lead locomotive I had for my first trip west in April we arrived back at Alyth at 11:05 and were off duty at 11:30 making the round trip 17 hours and 50 min. making 342 miles, this was another good trip, I had a chance to rest up at work the, 24:00 Pulldown that evening the spare board was really busy, that was away it always was being either feast or famine, April was the latter and May the former working every day on the first pay half from April 30, to May 13. I made a road trip west, 11 yard shifts at straight time, and 2 yard shifts at overtime, the second pay half was just as good making 10 regular yard shifts, 2 at overtime, and one eight hour statutory holiday for Victoria day, between May 14, and May 26. On May 27 I was placed on the No.13 Relief with locomotive engineer Jimmy Duncan and yard foreman Kenny Hauser, on my days off I was called for a road trip east on the Zone 2 Wayfreight with locomotive engineer Bob. Palser, and conductor John Mandzie we had CP locomotive 8823 and were called for 11:45 and arrived at Brooks and were off duty at 22:30, on June 3 we went to work at 06:45 going west to Bassano, then making a Standard turn on the Irricana subdivision arriving at Alyth and off duty at 23:00 making 503 miles, another good pay half.

Wrote my rules and “A” examination, and was promoted on June 1, 1976, which qualified me to work as a Conductor and Yard Foreman. Went on 10 days annual vacation between June 14, and 27 I traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia to visit my sister, at the time they were hiring brakemen for the British Columbia Railway, so I went up to North Vancouver, took my medical, and wrote my examinations with the plan of asking for a leave of absence from the CPR, and try out railroading in British Columbia, on my return from vacation I asked the General Yard Master about a leave of absence, but he would not give it to me as I had just written up for my promotion, and they would be short of Yard Foreman during the summer holiday time, so that finished my opportunity to try out railroading in British Columbia. On June 30 I took a day vacancy on the 09:00 Government with Cecil Head as the Foreman and locomotive engineer Bruce Hatton, I was bumped and went on a vacancy working the 10:00 E. Calgary assignment that worked out of IYO with locomotive engineer Vic Currie, Yard Foreman Alec Montgomery (nicknamed “Monty”) he was quite a character, a World War II veteran who lived downtown and spent a lot of time at the No.1 Legion, never drove a car just walked to work he was tall and lanky about 6 foot 3″ with bright red curly hair this assignment looked after all the customers on L and LA leads that ran alongside the North mainline in the yard on the Cushing and Brewery leads This included many customers on the South side Cushing lead there was Standard Brands that made yeast, Tiger chemicals, a couple of lumber yards, a Simpsons Sears warehouse, and Hector steel, on the North side was a concrete plant, the Calgary Brewery, and Maple Leaf Mills that had a flour mill and a feed plant. We also looked after customers on the North mainline there was a dog food plant called Dr. Ballard’s they made “Perky” a brand of dog food that I fed my cocker spaniel Wimpy when I was a youngster. They were some other warehouses, to spot, at one time the large Union Packing Plant was near here but it shut down in the 1960s. We also looked after the short “M’s” on the Mayland Heights industrial lead working after Spurs from M-4 to M-29 these included in Inmont ink that received tank cars of printing ink, M-8 National Cable Co. M-9 Bridge Brand produce, and Woodward’s furniture warehouse, a lumberyard, National Cable Ltd. warehouse, a plastic factory that got hopper cars of plastic pellets, and M-29 Nabob Spice Co., I was bumped again and worked a couple of shifts on the 07:30 South Industrial with Yard Foreman Harold MacLeod, and locomotive engineer Barney Martin, I then went on the No.3 Relief assignment with Yard Foreman Jack Boden, and locomotive engineer Norman Case with locomotive CP 6610 on the first shift, this job worked the 07:00 Industrial (called the coach engine as it did passenger work.) On Wednesday and Thursday’s, the 07:30 North Industrial on Fridays and Saturdays, and the 06:30 Industrial Tramp on Sundays. I see on July 21, we had the CP 6578 on the coach engine.

On July 24 I was set up as the Yard Foreman on the No.9 Relief assignment with locomotive engineer Jimmy Jones my helper was Emil Kinch we worked the 14:30 Hump on Friday and Saturday’s, the 16:00 Hump on Sunday on Mondays, and the, 15:00 Industrial on Tuesdays was bumped after a week and went on a vacancy on the 10:00 E. Calgary with locomotive engineer Vic Currie and Yard Foreman O.J. Hudson (Ole) a big Swede. I was then placed as Yard Foreman on the 16:00 Pulldown, assignment with locomotive engineer Vince Griffiths I worked this job until August 11 when I was bumped I then went on a vacancy on the 07:00 Industrial with Yard Foreman Bill Hermann, and locomotive engineer Norman Case work this job until August 23 when I was bumped and went and worked the No.13 Relief assignment this job worked the 16:00 “B” Tramp on Fridays, the 09:00 Gulf Oil on Saturdays and Sundays, and the 22:30 Pulldown on Mondays and Tuesdays the Yard Foreman was Ken Hauser, and the locomotive engineer Ben Maser, pulled Out of Service from October 16 to the 19th, and received 10 demerits for not being on duty when required, thereby delaying the starting time of the yard assignment. I had not booked off my assignment, and was unavailable were called, so a spare man was called out and took a to hour call that he was entitled to, causing the delay to the assignment.

Looking to expand my horizons, I saw a bulletin in the bid book asking for qualified yard foremen to apply for the position of Relief Car Retarder Operator, there was to successful applicants a senior foreman Harry Shunamon, and myself, I trained on my own time, coming in a couple of hours at a time and trained with the day shift Operator Nick Nikiford, the afternoon shift operator Gordon Mikkelson, the night operator Gordon Searight, and the relief operator Adolph Wirachowski and qualified as a relief Car Retarder Operator on October 25, 1976, Harry didn’t finish training and dropped out, so I became the No.2 Relief Car Retarder Operator behind Tommy Arnott, this would require me to work each Friday on the midnight shift, when Tommy was working holiday vacancies, and for men that were off sick.

I was bumped that day and worked the No.12 Relief assignment, but was pulled to work as the Yard Foreman on two Extra Yard assignments at the GYO on October 27, and 28, at 24:00 with locomotive engineer Fred Plotnikoff these extra jobs were crappy and you never got much of a break we worked our butts off the first shift, and got off with a 15 minute quit (quit was a railway term, most assignments in the yard were given they productivity bonus of getting off early from their shift when all the work listed was completed.) Most jobs were finished between one and two hours earlier, the next night we thought to ourselves were not going to let this happen again, our supervisor was Toby Frewin who was the Deputy General Yard Master those shifts. We did our usual work switching cabooses on the west end of the yard, spotting some trailers at the piggyback ramps, had our coffee break, then did more flat switching on the west end setting some bad orders off of outgoing trains, we then took the bad order cars and set them on to the west end of V-9 a track that was used to hold cars to be repaired in the one spot car repair shop, we then spotted our engine on the west end of “Y” yard and went on had our lunch break in the GYO lunchroom, after beans (railroad slang for lunch.) Toby give us another list with a pile of work we did some are flat switching and spotted some piggyback trailers, our last move was to dig a car out of the track in “P” yard and when the hump had finished doubling V-3 to V-4 use one of the clear tracks to take the car to the east end of the yard, and take it out to the East Foothills Industrial district, located behind the Ogden shops adjacent to the CNR Sarcee yard were there were industrial spurs that both railways looked after. We would then spot the car at a warehouse as it was a hot car that the customer needed to unload in the morning, so once again it looked like we weren’t going to get much of a break. When we went to go take the car to the east end of the yard we realized that the hump hadn’t even started to double the tracks together, I was about to phone the yard master and find an alternative clear track, when Fred suggested that we just follow instructions and do what we were listed with, so we sat and waited in the dark until, after about an hour the hump finally started to double the two tracks over by the time they had cleared the way we had waited another 40 min. then we slowly went down to the east end of the yard, by then it was 07:30 Toby then called us on the radio asking if we were on our way back from East Foothills, to which we replied that we hadn’t even left the yard yet, he said what delayed you so long, I told him we had to wait for the hump, for a clear track to run down as listed, he wasn’t too happy and grumbled why didn’t you call for a clear track, I said I do what’s listed. We had him this time and ended up making an hour’s overtime by the time we got back, we also benefited with a extra hours overtime that the old-timers called “The Golden Hour” this was from a local agreement made up in 1970, when the newly yard was being built at Alyth, at the time our local contract allowed us a second “beans” lunch break after working one hours overtime, with other shifts coming on duty an agreement was made to pay the extra power overtime to avoid tying up the yard engine so the next shift could use it. The customer was happy as you got his car just on time, and I never heard anything else about it.

The No.12 Relief worked the 24:00 Government on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the 23:00 “B” Tramp Fridays and Saturdays, and the 24:00 Tramp on Sundays, my Yard Foreman was Ken Smith and the locomotive engineer was Martin Blanchard I moved on to a vacancy on November 1 on the No.2 Relief that worked the 22:30 Pusher on Thursdays, the 24:00 Hump on Fridays and Saturdays, and the 22:30 Hump on Sundays and Mondays, the Yard Foreman was Andy Anderson, and the locomotive engineer was Pete Laing. On November 2,3,5, and 6th I worked my first pay shifts as a car retarder operator on afternoon, 2 midnights, and one day shift. I went back on the No.13 Relief working as the Yard Foreman the first two nights, and with Ken Hauser the rest of the week. On November 17 I went on an afternoon job the, 15:45 Tramp with Yard Foreman Jake Surette, and locomotive engineer Vic Currie, I worked one more midnight shift as a car retarder operator on November 25th, then moved on to a vacancy on the No.8 Relief. This job worked the 22:30 Pusher on Fridays and made a shortchange working the 14:30 Pusher on Saturdays and Sundays, making another shortchange and working the 06:30 Pusher on Mondays and Tuesdays, this was a good job as a week went really fast finishing on Tuesday afternoon about 13:30 and not having to return until 2230 on Friday it was like having three days off. One thing about being promoted and having your Yard Foreman’s ticket is that if you are working a regular assignment, you can be pulled off at your starting time to work any assignment that’s Yard Foreman is booked off, or called for an Extra yard assignment. This happened the next two days on Saturday. I was called as the Yard Foreman on the 14:30 Pulldown with locomotive engineer Lloyd Erb, and on the Sunday I was called as the Yard Foreman on a 10:00 Extra with locomotive engineer George Carra, I finally worked the 06:30 Pusher on the Monday and Tuesday with Yard Foreman, Donn Parker, and locomotive engineer Larry Letourneau on November 30. I jumped on a vacancy on the 07:00 Industrial (coach engine.) For a week with Yard Foreman Jack Boden and locomotive engineer Ron Lamont then I worked the 14:30 Industrial (coach engine.) With Yard Foreman Ron Niblett, and locomotive engineer Ralph Teters finished the year working the Relief Bleeder assignment

Appendix:

1.) CP Rail Internal Correspondence:

Date: Calgary, March 24, 1976 Files: 059.01
010.5 C&T
From: J.M. White

To: Yardman R.D. Band Trainman D.L. Jamieson
Yardman M.G. Showers Trainman R.G. Baril
Yardman L.T. Murphy Trainman D.M. Sanford.
Yardman W.J. Avery Trainman A.T. Kuzmicz
c/o General Yardmaster, Trainman R.J. Schmick
Alyth. c/o General Yardmaster,
Trainman L.F. Boissonneault Alyth.
Trainman L.S. Buchan

In accordance with Article 7 clauses (b) of the U.T.U. (T)
Yard Agreement and Article 35 clause (b) of the Road.
Agreement you are required to take examination in the
U.C.O.R. for promotion to Yard Foreman and/or Conductor.

Please obtain an “A” Book from the General Yardmaster at
Alyth, completed as per instructions in the front cover.
And turn it into the Assistant Superintendent’s office.
For correction. This book must be completed and corrected.
Before examination is taken in the Rules car.

Please present yourself to the Supervisor of Rules Instruction.
In the Rules car on its next day in Calgary. Bulletin notice.
Of instruction times and dates will be published.

Signed J.M. White
Assistant Superintendent

2.) CP Rail Internal Correspondence:

Date: Calgary, May 28, 1976 Files: 059.01
010.3 C&T
From: J.M. White

To: Yardman R.D. Band Trainman D.L. Jamieson
Yardman M.G. Showers Trainman R.G. Baril
Yardman L.T. Murphy Trainman D.M. Sanford.
Yardman W.J. Avery Trainman A.T. Kuzmicz
c/o General Yardmaster, Trainman R.J. Schmick
Alyth. c/o General Yardmaster,
Trainman L.F. Boissonneault Alyth.
Trainman L.S. Buchan

This is a reminder of my letter of March 24th, 1976
instructing you to complete an “A” Book and present
yourself for instruction in examination for promotion
to Yard Foreman and/or Conductor in the Rules Car.

You will note bulletin No. 114 dated May 26th, 1976
outlines and dates of instruction and re-examination.

You are also reminded to familiarize yourself with the
contents of Articles 35 of the Collective Agreement for
trainman and Article 7 for yardman.

To date I have received only one written up “A” Book

Signed J.M. White
Assistant Superintendent

cc: Mr. P. Lens, Calgary
Mr. H. Duby, Calgary
Mr. R.W. Fulton, Calgary
Mr. H.E. McAfee.
Mr. J.B. Kershaw, Edmonton

3.) CP Rail BULLETIN B 37-131. October 13, 1976
To: YARDFOREMAN, RETARDER OPERATORS At: Alyth.

RE MY BULLETIN B 37-129 DATED OCT. 7, 1976 SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS FOR
RELIEF RETARDER OPERATORS POSITION ARE H. SHUNAMON, L.S. BUCHAN

H. SHUNAMON PLEASE FAMILARIZE YOURSELVES WITH THE POSITION AS PER
L.S. BUCHAN ARTICLE 27 OF THE UTU COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT PRIOR TO
OCTOBER 25/76

H.E. MCAFEE.
GENERAL YARDMASTER

CC H. SHUNAMON, L.S. BUCHAN, P. LENS, HEM.

Illustrations:

1.) My Rules Examination “B” Card dated on January 8, 1976 that requalified me as a Yardman-Trainman signed by Rules Examiner J.B. (Bernie) Kershaw, who was formerly a Train Dispatcher from Edmonton, Alberta.
1-1.) CPR Rules Instruction Car No. 54, this photo was taken by me at the east end of the Calgary passenger depot in 1979, the old converted passenger coach was made into a rules instruction car, with a classroom for 25 students were desks were set up on each side with a walkway down the middle with teachers desk and blackboard, at one and, it also had living quarters for the rules instructor J.B. Kershaw, he would travel around Alberta and teach rules, and employees would write there periodical rules examination, when not on the road it was stationed here in Calgary in the East stub track that was used to store extra passenger coaches, and was connected to steam heat in the winter.
2.) George Mattern at retirement party.
3.) Don Hayes (Half a Buck) 2003.
4.) CP 5826 photo taken by A. Patenaude in Montréal in 1986, this General Motors SD-40-2 3000 horse power locomotive was our lead unit on my first road trip West of Calgary on April 3, 1976 on sulfur train No. 603, 10 years before.
5.) East mile board for Partridge siding taken circa 1965, photo taken by Nicholas Morant the CPR’s photographer.
6.) A photo of the rock slide at Yoho station on August 10, 1925 from the CPR corporate archives.
7.) Another photo taken by the CPR’s photographer Nick Morant in the 1940s showing Seth Partridge on the right and his fireman reading over their train orders, these photos were published in John Garden’s Canadian Pacific featuring Nicholas Morant’s work.
8.) My Rules Examination “A” Card dated on June 1, 1976 for my promotion to Conductor-Yardforeman once again signed by Rules Examiner J.B. Kershaw, this now allowed me to work as a conductor on the road, and a yardforeman in the yard. If I accumulated too many demerits I could be demoted back to a trainman or yardman.
9.) Photo of locomotive engineer Fred Plotnikoff, Fred hired on at the Alyth roundhouse as an engine wiper on December 9, 1946 and was promoted as locomotive firemen on February 3, 1947. He was working the locomotive engineer’s spareboard when we were called to work an extra yard on October 28th.
10.) This photo was taken on the sixth floor of the control tower of the General Yard Office. This is the Train Yard Coordinator’s (TYC’s) control panel of the yard, at the helm with his back to us is Harold N. Frewin (Toby) he started with the CPR as a clerk and October 29, 1956 was his seniority date as a yardmaster he was No. 13 on the 1970 Yardmaster Seniority List for Calgary, yardmaster’s were taken from the ranks of clerk’s and yardmen who applied for bulletined positions. Toby was the GYM on October 28, 1976 when I worked as the Foreman on the extra yard with Fred Plotnikoff
11.) Below Toby on the seniority list in position No. 14 was M M Stroick (Mike) who started as a yardman in 1952, and became a yardmaster June 30, 1958, in 1975 he rose up into the ranks to the position of Superintendent, Alberta Region
12.) CPR Form 104 signed by Superintendent M M Stroick debiting my record with 10 demerits for not being available for duty on October 16, 1976
13.) Gordon Mickelson at control panel of Retarder Operators room on the third floor of the General Yard Office, he is watching the two CRT monitors that have a computer list of the cars coming off of and class yard track destinations, the two doors on the right-hand side were used to bring in all the large equipment for the computer room that occupies most of the floor behind him, the retarder operators room overhung the main floor of the building, but was poorly designed with the cement pillar in front of Gordon that obscured his view of the class yard, Gordon hired on August 31, 1948 as a Yardman, he was No. 2 on the seniority list of the six original whose seniority dates were March 30, 1970 when the new hump started operations.
14.) A photo of me at the control panel on midnight shift taken in 1976, there are many changes from the previous photo, the operators panel was moved over two feet to the left, improving visibility of the class yard, and the two CRT monitors have been replaced with a single monitor mounted on the cement pillar underneath the weather station, the telephone is gone, replaced by a direct system with a rotary dial on the control panel just above the newspaper on the table, and you could communicate directly through the boom microphone, many of the phones in the tower were connected to the system through the toggle switches on the panel above the rotary dial. There was a foot pedal to step on when he wanted to reply, and by lifting your foot off you could hear the other party talk through the intercom, lights above the toggle switches indicated when someone was calling in, the intercom system was also tied into outside speakers mounted on poles outside of the hump shack on the hill, and beside each set of group rechargers down in the bowl of the yard.
15.) General Yard Office control tower looking North towards hump, the master retarder is visible to the left of the double aspect signal mast that showed the status of the humping operations, with a loaded grain hopper entering group retarder, retarder operator’s control room is visible above Canada on the hopper, it is on the third floor of the building, above on the fourth floor was the Deputy General Yardmaster’s office, the fifth floor was used by the Car Department Planner, and the sixth floor was used by the Train Yard Coordinator, the TYC clerk, and the West End Yardmaster.
16.) A photo view of five of the six group retarders in the bowl of the classification yard, and five of the groups of eight tracks from 1 to 40, the telephone poles down the middle divide C-24 and C-25.

















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Comments

Chris Doering on 16 January, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

Wow, another great story Larry. I always eagerly await your next blog post.


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