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

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

The Pattern Shop and Foundry.

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

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

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