Sunday, 16 December 2012

Late 1960's Railway scenes from Summers in Milan

In summer 1969 even CP Rail had no inkling that twenty-five years later the railway would be pushing for abandonment of its eastern main line.

That summer, the Megantic Subdivision was undergoing major track rehabilitation. Machinery was removing ballast from beneath the track, sorting the displaced material and simultaneously replacing it or dumping the unwanted trailings beside the right-of-way. Following tie replacement, train loads of new ballast from the granite quarry near Scotstown were being spread over the track. Later still, more machines lifted and settled the track on top of the new stones.

The following photographs captured the activity of a three-way meet at Milan, Quebec, during the work in progress.

With the siding track in the foreground, eastbound second class train, 952, with RS-10s number 8575 in the motive power lash-up, is creeping along at a snail's pace. Freshly spread stones are visible beneath the trucks of CP8575. The Bytown Railway Society's Canadian Trackside Guide 1993 indicates that CP Rail's 32 RS-10s units numbered 8569-8600, built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1956, were all retired between 1976 and 1984.

With the work machinery safely waiting in the western end of the siding, westbound passenger train, 201, cleared the main line at the eastern end of the siding and waited there. Moments later, eastbound freight train, 952, carefully crawled by over the newly spread stones.

Box car CP81085. Canadian Pacific Railway's 80000series box cars were built for newsprint service; a newer rail car in the former green paint scheme. Notice the short ladders and the absence of a roof-walk. Also note the old-style open-rack, 3-tiered auto carrier trailing the box car. These open cars quickly gave way to the familiar closed autoracks we see today, owing mainly to the constant damage vehicles suffered from stones and other forms of vandalism.

After 952's caboose passed the eastern end of Milan, train 201 backed out of the siding over the eastern connection and then resumed its westward journey. Shortly after 201's departure and clear of the western end of the siding, the machinery exited the western end of the siding and returned to the work location.

With eastbound train 952 finally out of the way, train 201, a single rail diesel car and most likely CP9111, proceeds westward on the main line approaching the west end of Milan siding. The following summer, trains 201 and 206 would pass into history.

A track-work machine proceeds to exit the siding following train 201's departure.Waiting to be lifted and tamped, freshly spread ballast is visible on the main track which is on the other side of the machine.

The Oddblock Station Agent

Addendum April 21, 2014

Hard to believe! 

In summer 1969 someone else recorded a scene of CP9111 in service as Train 201.

Thank you Bill Linley!

Addendum January 2019

A pair of old photos taken in Milan, Quebec, summer 1966 or 67...

Early morning on what was a beautiful sunny summer day saw Train 952 rolling through Milan, Quebec, en route toward Megantic and points east. Five labouring locomotives were cresting the ascent from McLeod's crossing and heading into the sag through miles 14 and 13. Photo location was just east of the railway crossing in town.

Minutes after Train 952 had passed I was standing on the CPR mainline looking eastward toward Megantic.

The Oddblock Station Agent

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