The job was going to be an easy one and a great opportunity to spend some time with an old friend who really loved railroading, even though he had been a truck driver until recently. The job was called with just a conductor and an engineer, aka C & E. Today, we were moving motive power around from one yard to another within the Greater Vancouver Terminal, so there would be no need to have any additional crew members to do the work that would be required of this assignment. There were four yard switchers (SW1200RS’s, GR12’s, yard engines or goats…what ever you want to call them) on the shop track that we had to take to Vancouver’s Main Yard, a distance of about 20 miles. Then we were to pick up four similar units and take them to Vancouver’s Waterfront Yard, a further three miles, and couple them up to four more GR12’s and bring all eight back to Port Mann. Easy.
After the Conductor and I had ‘booked out’ on our respective train register books, we read all the applicable train bulletins and notices that are posted almost daily in a large book in the office. The Train Order Operator was copying orders from the Burlington Northern Dispatcher in New Westminster/Sapperton that would allow us to proceed from the north end of the Fraser River Bridge all the way to Vancouver, so the conductor and I checked our watches against the standard railway clock on the wall behind the Operator’s desk. The Conductor made a couple of phone calls to the yardmasters in Vancouver and the Waterfront yard to find out if the ‘return power’ was ready to be picked up. It was. As soon as the Operator had completed copying our orders and had stapled them together, we would be ready to go out to the shop track and find the locomotives we would take to Vancouver.
It was a nice day; bright, with a high overcast sky, a light breeze coming from the east and balmy temperatures.
From my collection....not exactly Piper Avenue, but a railfan nonetheless!
Photo Credit R.A. Matthews.
Taken on the Alberta Coal Branch. Similar open top hoppers to sulphur cars.
The smoke in this case is hot brake-shoe smoke.
Photo Credit RBH
Bob Huen, the on-duty Utility Man managed to get all the switches lined up for us, and with low throttle, pulled the burning train into the yard.
Photo Courtesy Barrie Sanford from his book Royal Metal, Story of the New Westminster Rail Bridge