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Friday, April 5, 2013

What Goes Up, Must Come Down!

Finally!! A train that is not going up the Kicking Horse Canyon, but down! This is a Byron Harmon post card - the words at the bottom blend into the white foreground very well. But, I can read that he has written, "966. Lower Spiral Tunnel" onto the picture.

The engine that we are looking at is carrying a train about 3,000 feet long. The Lower Spiral Tunnel is just short of 1,000 yards long and this train is sticking out on both ends of the tunnel.(P.S. Notice that observation car at the back of train, again.) This is one strong steam engine. It is a Selkirk. It was built to do exactly what it is pictured here doing. They ran trains from Taft, British Columbia to Calgary, Alberta. I picked up the following information from the Wikipedia website.

The Selkirk locomotives were 36 steam locomotives of the 2-10-4 wheel arrangement built for Canadian Pacific Railway by Montreal Locomotive Works, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They were named after the Selkirk range of mountains that they crossed.

The first of these was built in July 1929. Altogether, twenty were constructed before the end of this year bearing numbers 5900 to 5919. All of the Selkirk locomotives (5900 through 5935) were initially assigned to handle both freight as well as passenger trains between the major division points of Calgary and Revelstoke a distance of 262 miles. They were also used for 23 miles in pusher service from Revelstoke west (uphill) to the wye at Taft, assisting the road engines of both freight as well as passenger trains up the steep grade to this location. The Laggan Subdivision covered the Eastern portion of their assigned territory 137 miles and included the Field Hill and the famous Spiral Tunnels while the Western portion of their territory consisted of the Mountain Subdivision which covered the remaining 126 miles and included the famous Rogers Pass, the Connaught Tunnel and Stoney Creek Bridge. The grades encountered had a maximum of 2.2 per cent with curves of 12 degrees or 480 feet (150 m) radius. Rated at 78,000 pounds-force tractive effort, on the lesser grades they could haul 1,050 short tons unassisted and without the booster cut-in. The booster engine added an additional 12,000 pounds of tractive effort up to a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour. Due to their extreme weight, they could not proceed west of Taft to Vancouver.

The Canadian Pacific Railway's classification was T1a. Montreal Locomotive Works built another ten of these successful mountain locomotives during November and December 1938. The Canadian Pacific Railway assigned them T1b class. They were numbered from 5920 to 5929. Modifications led the T1b to be ten tons lighter while increasing steam pressure from 275 to 285 pounds per square inch. A further six Selkirks, classed T1c, were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works shop in 1949. They were the last standard gauge steam locomotives built in Canada for a Canadian railroad.

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