When service mattered, Connecting trains with Mail, Express, Parlours and Diners

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When service mattered, Connecting trains with Mail, Express, Parlours and Diners
Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 1:29 PM

Here we are on the CPR line between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie with the connecting service to the 'Dominion' and the  Soo Line to Minneapolis stateside. Typical of the CPR everything is tip top.

This run was down to a single RDC by the early '70's, sparsely patronized and connecting to nothing. It was soon discontinued after that.

The line itself is now Genesee and Wyoming and in extreme danger of total abondonment due to very poor track conditions and no funding in sight.

Number 27 engine 8471 westbound at Bruce. 

Trains 27/28 between Sudbury and the Soo provided through service connecting with The Dominion 7/8 
to and from Montreal as well as 3/4 The Dominion to and from Toronto including sleeping and parlor cars. 
All trains ran Daily. Also, connecting with SOO Line 7/8 to and from Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

No. 28 eng 1267 in USA

At the END!

9021 westbound at Blind River in March 1976. Wolf Kirchmeir 
A single RDC-3 was all that was needed for these daily runs.

No.428 9024 at Blind River eastbound from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury shortly before discontinuance. Wolf Kirchmeir 
Note: 
Originally shown in public time table as last run May 23, 1977 it was ordered by CTC continued until June 14th.

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 8:47 PM

Why this particular route and train for posting?... when the same sort of rapid decline from a solid well equipped connecting train with sleepers and parlours ended up being a lone RDC with no connections has occurred hundreds of times?

Well 1) I lived in the area, Sudbury, my first gig working at the Mines. The Sudbury station was visible from my 3rd floor apartment. I personally witnessed the last of the maroon cars, the real train, and saw the 'Dayliners' arrive. You know it's the end when a lone RDC takes over. It was unbelievable to me and tragic. Lamenting over what is lost is my thing. History is important. 

2) It really was an International train before the Budds took over and one often overlooked or not even known about.

3) The route is historic for the CPR. The bridges in the Sault, the DSS&A, the line into Manitoulin Island at Swift Current, the ruggedness of the Canadian Shield, the CPR's more Northern Route along Lake Superior into Thunder Bay ( Port Arthur/ Fort William) always in the limelight, keeping this line out of the spotlight.

4) Many are just ill informed about Railway operations up here and it's good to learn things. Knowledge is power and all that blah blah blah...Alvin Toffler

5) I can't believe you can go from Sudbury to Minneapolis directly, with sleeping accommodations no less, in fine fine civilized style. 

6) Its hard to think that all this is gone. The baggage cars, the RPO, the Express cars, all that beautiful maroon equipment that was built so well and for the ages. Why is this train, or any of them like it, not running today? If this was Europe it would be, if this was Japan it sure as heck would be and fabulous at that. Big mistake, big big big dumb mistake.

7) As I write the line is in jeopardy and it is almost a certainty it will be a goner. No government support to fix the roadbed, the ties, the rail. An area of great resource wealth and pffftt.. another CASO, yet another Northern line.

So a small part of the story should be told. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 9:02 PM

Railroads are economic beings.  When there isn't enough blood (traffic) being pumped through their arterys (tracks) they wither and die, just like us old pharts.

Unlike humans, with sufficient traffic volumes they continue to operate until their isn't sufficient traffic for their continued operation.  Our blood flows and arterys aren't so fortunate. 

         

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 9:40 PM

It seems this line's fate may have been sealed when WC bought Algoma Central and diverting thru traffic.

As far as passenger service, why would CP run a full train, if an RDC could handle it?  Did the passenger numbers decline with the opening of the TCH?

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 9:40 PM

Not in Europe or Japan and many other areas of the world. Rail transportation and excellent passenger services should never have been allowed to disappear like this. If it has to be a ward of the State, a Crown Coproration, anything along the lines of an arms length relationship with the powers that be but funded by taxpayers for the overall well being, security, travel and environmental concerns, including an optional and enjoyable form of travel then so be it. 

This cost, minus a portion coming back in ticket sales, perhaps some special freight as 'express' is a smaller % compared to the nonsense that goes on and is wasted. Seniors, teens, some families, special groups, others, need this service. It's a fabric of society, part of the cost  of life. However Big Oil, Big Rubber, Big Auto won the war and we on this side of the oceans have been throughly brainwashed. 

You, Balt, are the most vocal about the crony capitalists taking over CSX for their own nefarious needs. I see this issue in much the same light, not quite the same, but it's close. 

We could have had a network of fine trains with connections and service to everywhere. It would not bankrupt any Nation.

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Posted by Jones1945 on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 10:58 PM

Miningman

.......Its hard to think that all this is gone. The baggage cars, the RPO, the Express cars, all that beautiful maroon equipment that was built so well and for the ages. Why is this train, or any of them like it, not running today? If this was Europe it would be, if this was Japan it sure as heck would be and fabulous at that. Big mistake, big big big dumb mistake.

Remember the good old days when we still had penfriends, writing Christmas cards and waiting every day for a reply letter from my oversea lovers? Geeked Good things seldom last long, like the trains I talked about in another post, some of them existed for merely 7-8 years...... all because of the dark side of capitalism? 

B&O

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Posted by Miningman on Wednesday, August 01, 2018 11:17 PM

Not about anti- capitalism. Are roads, airports, seaways, the Postal Servce, the whole entirety of the Military, education and so much more based on profit. Of course not. They make capitalism possible. 

Passenger services should have been a seperate break away part of the railways, perhaps run by the carriers themselves but paid for from soup to nuts by government and held to a high level of service and reliability. This should have been done by 1950 or so as a reward to the railroads for their magnificient performance and service during the War combined with the understanding of the need for strong intervention.  The only major stipulation being that passenger trains retain all priorities over the track. I'm sure our society today would have benefitted in many ways from the environment to attitudes and perhaps a less hurried and frantic life. 

It has no parallel to Christmas Cards, pen pals or anything of that sort. Trains in Japan are beyond beautiful, function and need. They have advanced considerably. This could have happened here. 

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Posted by Enzoamps on Thursday, August 02, 2018 8:00 PM

We don't live in Japan or Europe, our cuture is very different, our society is very different, our land is FAR larger and spread out, our resources are huge.  People in Japan largely do not have a house on a quarter acre of land and an SUV in the driveway.  Railroad passenger service thrives in JApan because it fits their society in ways it does not fit ours.

If the government nationalizes the railroads and puts empty trains on the tracks, all the people who were siphoned away by airlines and highways won't be flocking back.  I like leisurely train travel, but most people would rather get there promptly and rapidly.

I flew out to Las Vegas to get married years ago.  I flew, and it was a three day trip.  If I took the train it would take over a week.  MAny Americans can wrangle a three day weekend, but a week away from work is harder for many.

Markets don't magically appear.

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Posted by Enzoamps on Thursday, August 02, 2018 9:18 PM

Just for reference, population densities in people per square kilometer:

Japan - 336

Netherlands - 393

Germany - 233

USA - 30

Eastern USA - 31

Western USA - 19

Ontario - 14

 

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, August 02, 2018 9:40 PM

Enzoamps-- Thanks for your input. It is appreciated. I don't expect many to agree with me. The momentum has long disappeared and has been long lost. For a brief moment post WW2 we had it all, and it was destroyed. What I'm pointing out is that the destruction was deliberate and came from outside the railroad world. The fix was in, big time, and it's too bad because to have it intact today as an option and an acceptable part of our society would be a great thing. It's not an all or nothing. It could have co-existed along with what is today. That cannot happen now, however I do believe it will again in the future, and in a very classy and beautiful way. 

May I point out that you missed out on an incredible thing by not having your wedding night onboard a sleeper bedroom. 

I did, and to Niagara Falls at that! It was winter though, late December, but that fact did not matter when you are young. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, August 02, 2018 9:41 PM

My understanding is that in Europe and Japan, passenger rail was a priority to the point of freight going to other modes.  North America has the best freight rail system.

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, August 02, 2018 10:19 PM

Midland Mike --Thats an interesting take, but both freight and passenger were no problem during the war, long before that and into the post years. It is only when we ripped up so much track and lost so much capacity that those problems would arise. 

Added on comment- your earlier inquiry about the effect of building the TransCanada Highway ( TCH reference for those out of loop) .... this train was essentialy done for when the Dominion was discontinued. I'm sure the opening of the TCH had an effect on many trains. The 60's were not kind to the passenger train. The CPR had massive train offs early 60's. The big board in Union Station Toronto went from over 20 routes to 3 in one fell swoop. This occurred systemwide as well. The train became a local only and CPR finally got it killed after several attempts. The freight continued of course and was plied by mostly FA's in maroon and grey.   

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, August 03, 2018 9:45 PM

Miningman
Midland Mike --Thats an interesting take, but both freight and passenger were no problem during the war, long before that and into the post years. It is only when we ripped up so much track and lost so much capacity that those problems would arise. 

Added on comment- your earlier inquiry about the effect of building the TransCanada Highway ( TCH reference for those out of loop) .... this train was essentialy done for when the Dominion was discontinued. I'm sure the opening of the TCH had an effect on many trains. The 60's were not kind to the passenger train. The CPR had massive train offs early 60's. The big board in Union Station Toronto went from over 20 routes to 3 in one fell swoop. This occurred systemwide as well. The train became a local only and CPR finally got it killed after several attempts. The freight continued of course and was plied by mostly FA's in maroon and grey.   

Back in the day - railroad passenger service operated on the Tree & Roots model.  All the locals that operated between Nowhere and Somewhere brought in passengers and traffic for the Tree - the main line trains.  As long as the roots brought in nutrients (passengers, mail & expresss) the roots and the Tree thrived.

When the roots started dying the tree became ill and the only way to keep it alive was make is a semi-governmental operation (as both VIA and Amtrak are).

         

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, August 03, 2018 10:01 PM

Miningman,  the point I was trying to make is that the Europe/Japan railroads seem to have sacraficed freight to concentrate on Passenger.  I don't see the loss of NA passenger service as a capacity issue, but a lack of riders issue.

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