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Old Time Trains


Riding The Dominion August 15, 1951

Ron Bearman

All photographs by the author.

In August of 1951 I was on vacation and came back from Vancouver to Moose Jaw riding No. 4 The Dominion on my father's pass taking these photographs. I had this trip well documented. I can even remember the camera I used, it was an ARGUS C 3, my very first brand new camera. I was prouder n' a peacock !!!

The Argus C3 was a low-priced rangefinder camera mass-produced from 1939 to 1966 by Argus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. The camera was the best-selling 35mm camera in the world for nearly three decades, and helped popularize the 35mm format. Wikipedia

No. 4 eastbound passing Glacier station and minutes away from the west portal of Connaught tunnel.
That is Ross Peak dominating the skyline. August 15, 1951

Crossing Stoney Creek bridge.

Station stop Field BC. That is Mount Stephen House. Closed in 1950 and torn down in the sixties. A very large building.
The actual station was in its own building just west of this. Beautiful lawns and flowers.

Station stop Field BC. Also crew change point. Lots of activity around the head end.
The Big Hill starts just past east switch 2.5 % grade to the Mount Stephen tunnel and 2.2 % to Lake Wapta.
The summit (Stephen) is about 16 air miles east and 1200 feet higher.
Note: The little white wagon may well have been used for drinking water ice.

Shortly out of Field and working that grade HARD !! That is Mount Field across the valley, in distance, Mount Ogden.

Entering the short tunnel just before Cathedral siding. Highways offered to blast this tunnel many years later
when they were doing major work to the Trans Canada which was just below this point. CP declined.

Lower crossing of the Kicking Horse River and about to enter Lower Spiral tunnel.

Note: The assist (helper) engine being a coal-fired stoker engine (P2 class 2-8-2) was cut in behind the road engine an oil-fired T1 class 2-10-4 Selkirk. This was standard practice to avoid discomfort to senior passenger engine crew in tunnels.

Lugging the heavyweights out of the Lower Spiral and about to cross the Kicking Horse River again. Dining car looks busy. Looking up the magnificent Yoho Valley. Note smoke (above rear of train) coming out of tunnel mouth.

Out of the Upper Spiral and looking back down the valley. That is the lower grade crossing with No.1 highway (long before it was called the Trans Canada). I believe that building just around curve, is the old Monarch Mine site. Across the valley would be the site of the Kicking Horse Mine.

Lake Wapta is the first level stretch since leaving Field. Across the lake there is Hector BC. (no longer exists) Obviously it was a water stop (probably for the helper engines). Hector was also a flag stop. Passengers detraining there would hop on a motor launch for the trip across the lake to Lake Wapta Lodge. This would also be the jumping off place for a trip south to Lake O'Hara Lodge one of the most beautifully sublime spots in all the Canadian Rockies. That is Mount Richardson and the Slate Range in the far distance.

Three weeks earlier on the way west to Vancouver to visit my mother's sister (Aunt Em) in Burnaby.

Ready to leave Lake Louise on the westbound No.7 The Dominion.
A short, but steep climb to Kicking Horse Pass summit.

Note: Gilpin was a 14 section ice air-conditioned Tourist sleeping car. Look at the reflection from the Porter's jacket.

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