Saturday, July 15, 2017

How CNR Dropped Its 'Railway' in 1960 and Excited Little Kids

Using articles from CNR publications circa 1960, 
this post considers the care taken by Canadian National Railways 
in selecting their new public image.

The symbolic maple leaf which served all Canada had become part of CNR history. The final retirement of steam locomotives and all the related changes in modern railway work which this entailed became an opportunity to reintroduce North America's longest railway system to the public.

An artist who made a remarkable contribution to the field of Canadian graphic design was behind CN's symbol - which has now been in use considerably longer than he originally envisaged. There was also a concentrated effort to test new paint schemes in prototype. With a large fleet of rolling stock to put through a costly 'rebranding', and with hell to pay in public - in Parliament - if a poor, expensive design was chosen for the CNR crown corporation ... you'll understand why several less attractive or less practical experimental schemes were discarded in the process.

Perhaps to identify an example of what not to do, an enthusiast (one who is not related to me) commented that CPR's 1997 golden beaver design may have looked good printed on paper in the boardroom, but that it had not transferred well to full-sized locomotives. But who cares? ... Today's dominant perspective is that an attractive paint scheme improves neither tractive effort nor net quarterly earnings. Of course this was equally true in the 1960s ... but the minds of CNR's leaders were not consumed by Wall Street's meaningless accounting confections back then.

To Canadians, the most craved and appreciated compliments have often come after our accomplishments are 'noticed' (usually after much bloodshed and loss of life) by 'The Mother Country' or, more recently, by our collocated 'Senior Instructor'. Accordingly, near the end of this post, a noted US railroad journalist praises CNR's work as a model to be followed. 

Finally, Phineas Taylor Barnum's quote 
'I don't care what they say about me, just make sure they spell my name right!
 renders a minor indignity when it is ignored by our local paper in the last article.

*  *  *

In the December 1960/January 1961 edition of CNR's magazine was this article.

*  *  *

A month later, in CN's Keeping Track, the topic was continued.

*  *  *

Two months later,
financial results (not including the usual government top-up) are presented,
along with more on the practical considerations and symbology of the new paint scheme.

Corrected for inflation, employee 'average annual earnings' of $4600 in 1960 (below) would equal about $39,000 in 2017.

Perhaps a coat of fresh paint on a train brings out the 'little kid' in all of us? ...

*  *  *

June 1961 - some American praise.

Note: Corrected for inflation, a billion dollar overhaul would be $8.3 billion in 2017.

*  *  *

The 'Oval' - corporate magazine of Canadian Industries Limited (CIL)
provided an account of Canadian industrial and transportation progress,
but did not delve into CN's colour scheme in particular.

My father carefully 'stitched' these two images together with Scotch Tape.
The pigments on the image to the left have aged differently.

from: CIL Oval; April 1962.

*  *  *


from: Kingston Whig Standard. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

CPR 1950 Prairies to Banff

My father's September 1950 'Third Vacation' while working for the CPR (at this point in the office of the Auditor of Passenger Receipts) took him across Canada via the CPR, and down the west coast to Portland, Oregon via the Great Northern. 

A previous post looked at his daytime photos on No 7, Kenora to Broadview .

*  *  *

This post covers part of the next day of his trip - from somewhere near Gleichan (GLEE shan) to Banff (Ban-F-F sorry). The improvement in weather, the distinctive prairie landscape, and his first contact with the Cordillerans resulted in his taking a great number of photos. 

I have chosen to exclude many photos which show only individual mountains. Today's trackside mountain views are virtually unchanged from what we photographed in the 1980s ... 

In the old days, things were always better. As an example I know, west of Banff, Castle Mountain was started in 1858. It was replaced by Mount Eisenhauer in 1946. But, in 1979, they moved the Castle Mountain back. Maybe this was done because Mount Eisenhauer wasn't getting 'likes'. History Reasons: I think he worked as a general in The War and The Hippies didn't like it.

It is unclear whether the two photos above are before sunset after Broadview
between sunrise and Calgary.

*  *  *

The establishment above is particularly picturesque, with its two wind-driven well pumps.
They could also watch steam-powered trains passing all day.

There is a photo defect to the right near the horizon.
However, the trailing clouds of smoke are from the locomotive.

Carseland, September 1950.

Carseland, October 2014; from Google.

On Tuesday, September 12, 1950 the grain stooks await the threshing machine.

Just east of Calgary, these storage tanks and refinery towers seem to be on the north side of the tracks.

*  *  *

The Calgary Terminals employee timetable is from the same 'time change' period as my father's trip and passenger timetable.

" Train 3 from Toronto (ahead of Train 7) was about to leave. 
Stopover included replacement of a Hudson by a Selkirk "

As you can see above, the timetable allotted 30 minutes for the Calgary stop.

The front of  CPR's Calgary station.
My father's Train 7 may be at the left.

CPR 5429 pulls an eastbound past my father's just-added open observation car with a nice, clean stack.

CPR 7910, Vancouver, July 1952; Stan Styles. Collection of LC Gagnon.
The CPR had 16 open observation cars in this class and they could not be interchanged with US railroads.
Most of the trains listed below had them regularly in their consists.

Above and below: 
" 1232 with No 4 "

*  *  *

West of Calgary

CPR 5440 eastbound.

The grill is a cattleguard. In old photos from eastern Canada, you'll notice that railway-built wooden cattleguards and fences were present across the sides of many rural crossings to block off the right-of-way to crossing cattle. 

Cattle would have a natural aversion to stepping on an unnatural, difficult, potentially painful footing.

Before internal combustion vehicles were commonly available to transport large livestock ... driving herds along a road would be the most common method of getting them from point A to point B. 

In the early 1960s (from personal knowledge), some dairy cattle in Quebec were still driven to barn from pastures for twice-daily milkings via a public road.

Today cattleguards are no longer necessary at rail crossings. The cattle find it more convenient to work their way through the railway right-of-way fencing.

" Bow River "

The field in the foreground may be in summer fallow.

My father in silhouette.

The photo above is not labelled.

Here is the Laggan Sub so you can check the meets as they occur.


" The Three Sisters "

Still on the Bow River.

The fence at the left seems to be designed to discourage deer and other Cervidae.

*  *  *

Station stop at Banff.

You'll notice significant interest by both engine and train crew members in the front left running gear here and farther below.

No 7's crew is signing for some form 31 orders here.
Note the 'dome bus'.

The photographer is photographed.


The 'aerial' on the cab is part of the water spout equipment.
A similar man with a light suit was present the last time my father had his picture taken, above.

" The track ahead "

Neither in the old UCOR nor in the subdivision footnotes could I find an explanation for the silver poles with 'signal style' finials. They may mark the fouling points for track circuits.