Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Audience Participation

The train in the photograph on the front of this post card was so regularly run on its route that one could know exactly where it could be. It did this so often that one could see it in various locations over time. Coal is a major export from the area around the Crowsnest Pass in southern Alberta and British Columbia. Sparwood, British Columbia hosts a huge coal mine and railcar loading system. That is probably where this train originated. The train was so regular that the publisher and distributer of this post card decided to take
advantage of it and make it an audience participation event. In the upper left hand corner of the back of the post card there is a little map of the train route. To the right, there is a list of locations at which you could see the train as it passes by. The afore mentioned Sparwood is the first name on the list. The post card was printed by Alex Wilson Publications out of Dryden, Ontario.
My search on the internet did not turn up any good news about the business, so I will leave it alone. I tried to find the publisher, Kenneth R. Bell; that was fruitless. But, when I tried to find the Trading Post that distributed the post card I hit the jackpot. I found a picture of it. I looked in the business yellow pages on line for The Golden Eagle Trading Post in Radium Hot Springs, but found nothing. At least you can enjoy what the trading post used to look like.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

$8,000 Worth of Luxury

The train pictured on the front of this post card pictures one of the heights of luxury available in Canada. The Royal Canadian Pacific consists of 10 Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) 1920’s era business cars coupled to two 1950’s locomotives all of which have been restored to their original splendor. Period furniture, silver settings, brass accents, walnut paneling and open vestibules are the pinnacle of a bygone tradition of elegance. Subtly add modern amenities the discerning traveler would expect, complimented by gourmet cuisine, fine wines along with unsurpassed hospitality and you are presented with the Royal Canadian Pacific.
The Royal Canadian Pacific luxury train brings to life the nostalgia associated with the romance of rail travel. Life on board the Royal Canadian Pacific is relaxed, pampered…in short, fit for royalty. Stepping on board is akin to stepping back in time to an era of elegance, grace and classic luxury; a place where the view outside your window is unspoiled and timeless - oblivious to the rush of today’s world. Canadian Pacific’s passenger cars were custom built in Montreal at the CPR Angus Shops. This facility, initiated in 1902 by William Van Horne, then President of Canadian Pacific Railway, allowed CP to build their own rolling stock. The locomotive in the front (#1400) was built by General Motors Diesel, Ltd.[it is the Canadian arm of General Motors' Electro-Motive Division (GMD), which was established during the late 1940s] as FP7A #4099 (1953). It was sold to VIA (1978), became VIA #1400, and then renumbered by VIA to VIA #6550 (1981). Sold to Nebkota Railway (1994) and became #55. Acquired by CP (1998), repainted into the Maroon/Grey paint scheme and numbered CP #1400, used in "Royal Canadian Pacific” train service. It was retired on December 14, 2011 and replaced by FP9u units #4106-4107. After it was cosmetically restored (2018). It was put on display with CP #29 steam locomotive at Ogden Park, Ogden, and Calgary AB. The passenger cars that make up the Royal Canadian Pacific are beautifully re-finished and fully restored to their original splendour. The Mount Stephen car, named after CPR’s first president, was originally built as the CPR Director’s day car. This car was also used to host a number of Royalty and dignitaries for Canadian tours. The locomotives that took the place of 1400 and 1401 were also built by GMD as CN FP9A #6515 (1/1957). They were also sold to VIA (1978), became VIA #6515. After being remanufactured at Pointe St. Charles, Montreal QC (7/1984) they were renumbered to VIA #6307. Eventually they were sold to Ohio Central (4/2002). It was then acquired by CP for its Royal Canadian Pacific train service (2006). It was repainted in the Maroon/Grey "Script" paint scheme at NRE, Capreol, ON. (4/2007). Then it was used in Royal Canadian Pacific train excursions as well as special occasions. Today, as the tail-end lounge or “observation” car, the Mount Stephen is the hub of activity for Royal Canadian Pacific. The Craigellachie dining car, a refurbished 1931 sleeper, was named for the location of the driving of the last spike of the transcontinental railway. This beautifully finished car seats a maximum of thirty-two guests for meal service, and can be configured as a meeting room for corporate clients. The Strathcona, Van Horne and Royal Wentworth were all business cars built by Canadian Pacific expressly for its senior executives in 1926 and 1927. These cars feature a lounge area, a dining area, staterooms and open vestibules. The Banffshire (1926) and the N.R. Crump (1930) sleepers provide Royal Canadian Pacific guests with luxury accommodation in private staterooms. Royal Canadian Pacific has partnered with some of Canada's most elite tourism experiences at various destinations throughout our excursions. These off-train activities include golf at some of the world's most renowned championship courses, fly-fishing on Canada's pristine rivers and lakes, and interpretive tours that share Canada’s unique heritage. The average per person price of a Royal Canadian Pacific six day/five night luxury rail cruise is CAD $8,000 plus 5% GST. You can read more about this luxury train on their website: The post card was published by Steamscenes. I don't know any more about them this week than I did last week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Steam, On the Way Out

The two locomotives on the front of this post card are a very good
demonstration of the how the old steam locomotives worked right along side the new diesel locomotives until the latter completely took over. These two are both working Canadian Pacific Railway passenger routes. They were photographed by J. F. Orem at the Drake Street roundhouse in Vancouver, British Columbia. The steamer is number 2862, an Hle-class "Royal Hudson" 4-6-4. It, along with three other Hudsons, has just brought the "Dominion" train in from Revelstoke, B.C. The other engine is an FP7, number 1418. The FP7 is on display at a riverside park in Medicine Hat, Alberta today. Their paint is faded and rust is bubbling up here and there, but these fine old engines still impress. It was built in 1952 at the General Motors Diesel plant in London, Ontario. This picture was taken in May of 1956; the last steam locomotive used by the CPR (a Selkirk 4-10-4) was delivered to them in 1949. The last Selkirk was taken out of commission ten years later. Some information about the FP7 was taken from this website:>
The post card was published by Steamscenes out of West Vancouver, British Columbia. They do seem to still exist. I can find all sorts of businesses selling the Steamscenes 2021 Calendars. But, I cannot find any corporate information on line. I am not sure if this is a parent company or another company in the U.K. with a similar name:

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

This Budd is for You!

The picture on the front of this post card is of a "Budd" car passing the O'Keefe Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The O'Keefe Centre is a concert hall, so I hope that the Budd Card slips past quietly. The car is an RDC-2, built in 1956.
It is being used to shuttle Canadian Pacific Railway employees from the John Street Coach Yard to Agincourt Yard. The following information about Budd Cars was taken from this website: The Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC) or Buddliner is a self-propelled diesel multiple unit (DMU) railcar. Between 1949 and 1962, 398 RDCs were built by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The cars were primarily adopted for passenger service in rural areas with low traffic density or in short-haul commuter service, and were less expensive to operate in this context than a traditional diesel locomotive-drawn train with coaches. The cars could be used singly or coupled together in train sets and controlled from the cab of the front unit. The RDC was one of the few DMU trains to achieve commercial success in North America. RDC trains were an early example of self-contained diesel multiple unit trains, an arrangement now in common use by railways all over the world. Budd RDCs were sold to operators in North America, South America, Asia, and Australia. They saw extensive use in the Northeast United States, both on branch lines and in commuter service. As passenger service declined in the United States the RDC was often the last surviving conveyor of passengers on a particular route. Most RDCs were retired by the 1980s. In Canada, RDCs have remained in continuous use since their introduction in the 1950s. The RDC inspired several derivatives, including the unsuccessful Budd SPV-2000. The New York Central Railroad strapped two jet engines to an RDC in 1966 and set a United States speed record of 184 mph (296 km/h), although this experimental configuration was never used in regular service.
The Peter Dickinson-designed O'Keefe Centre at 1 Front Street East with the angled, bulb-filled canopy has seen a steady parade of musicals, ballets and symphonies since its movie palace-style doors first opened on October 1st, 1960. Back in the 1960s, when hockey fans actually saw the Leafs sipping out of Lord Stanley's mug, O'Keefe Ale was one of Canada's best-selling beers and a logical initial sponsor of this eventual landmark. From 1960 until 1996, it was known as the O'Keefe Centre, and a number of high-profile tours chose to make their Toronto stop there due to its superior architectural acoustics. To this day, the venue prides itself as being Canada's largest soft seat theatre.The venue seemed to possess a certain majesty that is rooted in its unique combination of downtown convenience, gorgeously striking architecture and a healthy dash of glitz, topped off by a deceptively rich music history created by a parade of entertainers who have a genuine respect for the legacy they have helped build. These are qualities that a great deal of other venues throughout Toronto would kill for. The information in the above section about the O'Keefe Centre was taken from this website: The post card was published by JBC Visuals out of Toronto, Ontario. The photo credit goes to Ted Wickson. The photo was taken on April 20th, 1968.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Not Quite Twins

The two trains pictured on these post cards are both part of Canadian National Railways’ (CNR) flagship the Super Continental.
It was a transcontinental Canadian passenger train operated by the CNR from 1955 until 1977. Via Rail took over the train in 1977 and operated it until the train was cancelled in 1981. Service was restored in 1985 but was again eliminated in 1990. The original CNR train had a Montreal–Ottawa–Toronto-Winnipeg–Saskatoon–Edmonton–Jasper–Vancouver routing with daily service.
CNR waited until April 24, 1955, to introduce its new transcontinental flagship to replace its former flagship, the Continental Limited; this was the same date that competitor Canadian Pacific Railway introduced its new streamlined transcontinental train The Canadian. The two routes competed with each other until 1990 when Via Rail cancelled the Continental Limited. The Super Continental route was advertised as the longest single run of a diesel locomotive powered train in North America without changing locomotives. Even though Canadian National Railways had not yet completely switched from steam to diesel power, the Super Continental was always hauled by a variety of diesel locomotives, including Montreal Locomotive Works FP-2s and FP-4s. I have written about the AFP-4s in the last few posts.
On the backs of the post cards it mentions that these trains are part of Canadian National Railways’ “Super Continental”. Notice that they say Canadian National Railways (possessive). That was the official name of CNR until they dropped the final “s” in 1960. CNR started because the Canadian government amalgamated several struggling regional railways into one large corporation back in the early twentieth century. That is why it was called the Canadian National Railways with and “s” at the end. This fact tells me that both of these post cards were published in the 1950s. The bottom post card was printed and published by Smith Lithograph Company, Ltd. out of Vancouver. It was distributed by Harry Rowed, O’Neill and Associates out of Jasper, Alberta. This post card has a date of 1958 in the bottom right hand corner. The first post card simply informs us that this is the “Super Continental” in the Fraser Valley, near Hope, British Columbia and that it was printed in Canada. Even though they do look so similar, I am not sure that they are the same photograph.
The train in the second picture is shorter than the first. However, the snow in the mountains in both pictures is the same. It is possible that the top one is the original and someone removed the spectator in the white shirt and took off a couple of cars before reprinting it. If that is the case, the second publisher copyrighted the picture. There is no indication of a copyright on the top one. On the other hand, I could be completely wrong. The back of the top card still reminds us that the message goes on the left side and the address goes on the right-hand side of the post card. This could be left over from when they started to allow both items on the same side of the card. Although, that did happen back in 1907.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Another Unique Locomotive (sort of)

The train on the front of this post card shows the “Rapido” passing through Dorian, Quebec on October 15, 1972. On the open track the “Rapido” will speed along at 90 miles per hour. This is Canadian National Railway’s train number 61. It is being pulled by a sister locomotive to the one that I wrote about last week. It is another FPA-4. The following was taken from this website; it is a series of newletters published by: Canadian Rail_no171_1965 - On the Montreal - Toronto line, the abolition of the "pool" was the signal for CN to take up the speed war where it was left off in 1932. Spearheaded by re-geared GM diesel units, instead of high-wheeled Hudsons, the "Rapido" was inaugurated by the Mayors of its terminal cities over closed-circuit TV with high CN officials in attendance. Champagne bottles were broken over the locomotive fronts (what a waste) and corsages were given to the passengers, along with other souvenirs, free photographs, menus, etc. The first "Rapido" trains consisted of three diesel units, three coaches, one dining car and two parlor cars, the latter having 2-and-l reclining seats. First and last cars carried the word "Rapido" in black on the white lower panel. The trains are scheduled in 4 hours, 59 minutes, with two brief stops to change engine crews at Brockville & Belleville Yard.
The post card was published by Audio Visual Designs out of Earlton, New York. The photo credit goes to Carl H Sturner.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Talk About Different!

The locomotive on the front of this post card is extremely unique. It is an FPA-4. What makes it unique is that this is a Canadian National Railway (CNR) locomotive and the FPA-4s were built exclusively for the CNR. It is pulling a train on a route that no longer operates.
This was part of a weekend service between Toronto and North Bay, Ontario. The route is 350 miles long. Today, VIA Rail operates passenger services in Canada and they no longer make this run. One must to to Sudbury and hope to make some sort of connection using other transportation to get to North Bay. A part of this train is a bullet-end observation car built in 1937 for Reading Railroad’s “Crusader”. It was then given to the CNR for their luxurious “Champlain” route between Montreal and Quebec City. This picture was taken in August of 1977. The information below was taken from this website: In 1940, General Electric (GE) and American Locomotive Co. (Alco) concluded a sales and marketing agreement to manufacture diesel locomotives under the Alco-GE label. While World War Two prevented immediate building, the Alco-GE planning efforts continued. In the 1940s, EMD's (General Motors’ locomotive division) success with their "FT" freight diesels drove Alco to develop their own streamlined freight locomotives. These diesels were developed around Alco's new turbo-charged "244" prime mover, GE electrical systems and AAR type B trucks. As a result, the first FA/FB set was delivered to the Gulf Mobile &Ohio Railroad in 1946. The 1500-h.p. FA1s and FB1s sold quickly, and were succeeded in 1950 by the up-powered FA2s and FB2s. Also in 1946, Alco delivered their first streamlined passenger diesels to the Santa Fe. These 2000 h.p. units in cab/booster configuration were later designated the PA/PB-1 type. Upgrades in 1950 resulted in the PA/PB-2 type. Some units were later rebuilt and popularly called PA/PB-4s. In 1950, Alco upgraded their specifications to DL-212 (cab) and DL-213 (booster). Since these units were designed for dual freight/passenger service. To accommodate steam generators, both units were lengthened, cabs to 53'6" and boosters to 52'8". These units were rated at 1500 h.p. The cab units were 51'6" long and the boosters were 50'6" long, leaving no room for steam generator equipment. All DL-208/209 units went to the Gulf Mobile & Ohio. Units built to later specifications (DL-208A/209A, DL-208B/209B and DL-208C/209C) were more widely distributed. Units with steam generators installed were designated FPA-2 and FPB-2. In 1951 through 1953, the Montreal Locomotive Works produced FA-2s and FB-2s under Alco specifications ME1600FA and ME1600FB. These were produced for Canadian National Railways and Canadian Pacific Railway in 1951-1953. Alco FA-2s and FB-2s built with steam generators installed were designated FPA-2 and FPB-2. Only the Missouri Pacific and some Mexican railroads had FP models built at the Schenectady plant. All other FPs were built by the Montreal Locomotive Works produced FA-2s and FB-2s under Alco specifications ME1600FA and ME1600FB. These were produced for Canadian National Railways, Canadian Pacific Railway, and National de Mexico in 1953-1955. Montreal Locomotive Works also produced the FPA-4 and FPB-4, under Alco specifications DL218 and DL219. Not only were the engines uprated to 1600 h.p., car bodies were stretched to 54'0" (cab) and 53'2" (booster). The locomotive on the front of this post card is one of those locomotives. They were produced exclusively for the CNR.
The post card was published by JBC Visuals out of Totonto. The photo credit is given to Ted Wickson.