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Old Time Trains

CPR Facilities

Drake Street Roundhouse

Memories of Drake Street

7042 and 7117 sitting on the north service track just outside my office/enginemans
booking in room and leading to the turntable out of the picture to the right.
Andy Cassidy was working the 16-24 shift as the Assistant Locomotive Foreman at the time.

7118 was the last MLW S4. It was purchased in 1953. A decent running unit as I recall.






MLW S4's 7109 & 7114 on number 7& 8 pits in the roundhouse. You can see the punch clock in the background to the left.
The closed fire door leads to the Diesel Shop portion of the Roundhouse, pits 10 through 12.
Those fluorescent light fixtures sure made a BIG difference working in this place. They were surplus fixtures we got from
the old CP Station on the other side of downtown. It used to be so depressing working in that dimly lit roundhouse at night.


These things were huge! 12-3/4” Bore, and the stroke was 15-1/2”.
Slightly larger than the MLW 539 engines.

Injector test stand we had setup on the bench in the Diesel Shop portion of the roundhouse.
I think it was the most high tech thing we had there at the time.

Press we had in the machine shop portion of the roundhouse. It used air to pump water from a reservoir into the press cylinder. You can see the pump on the right side under the red jib hoist there. Primitive, but very effective.

A row of various machines on the East wall of the Machine Shop. The press in the last photo was on the left out of view.

The punch clock. As you can see, I only had five guys working that afternoon. A common practice back then was for a designated guy to punch the cards of all the guys during lunch breaks and on the way out at the end of the shift.
That is until the shop foreman decided to stand watch over the punching at random. Then they all hit the panic button.
They never took statements in those days, but guys used to get docked pay or got a good lecture at least.

The tool room. As you can see, it’s stocked with the most up-to-date equipment… There was a lot of stuff in there, but never anything that you needed it seemed. In earlier days it was tended to by an attendant, but at this time the job was long gone. Along with any sense of organization there.

This shows how primitive we operated. The pic is taken just outside the locker/lunch room area in the machine shop area of the roundhouse. Here you can see our first class washing machine. Better yet is the trough we used to clean up in. That’s the box on the left side, and you can see the stream of ice cold water that continuously flowed. There was no hot water there, and it was tough washing greasy hands and faces there let me tell you!!! My face is still numb from washing up there.
In the background is the big sheet metal roller used for boiler jackets.

Looking north through the Blacksmith area. You can see the Forge and Air Press straight ahead. Some boiler tubes to the right of the Anvil. And a pipe rack on the right. Reminds me of another good story. When I was first an apprentice, one day the Boiler Maker Apprentice Bob Williams calls me over to that rack. Sitting on the rack was a small freshly orange painted gismo that looked like some twisted circus trumpet. Bob tells me that this horn makes a sound that the General Locomotive Foreman of the day, Bill Silver, can’t stand. He says to blow it as hard as I can, then we’ll run like hell! Well, of course I fall for this and give this thing a Big Blow. Next thing I know, my eyes are full of flower, as I didn’t notice the two tubes pointed straight at my eyes amongst this maze of piping. Yelling obscenities, all I hear is the whole shop laughing. They were all hiding in the woodwork. In the mean time I’m running to that trough, described above, to dunk my head in to get that crap out of my eyes. That water was ice cold! I was some ticked off, let me tell you. In the end we all had a good chuckle over it. No hard feelings. Just part of the hazing rituals we all went through in those days.

Looking south towards the lunch room and the locker area.
Again you can see the washing machine and the trough by the support pillar.

Also a B&W shot of the locker & cleanup area. Here again we see the infamous Trough, with ice cold water for cleanup!
The washing machine, and wet floors to boot. All high tech you know!!

The big Brownboggs sheet metal shear we had in the shop. Wouldn’t want my fingers caught in that thing!

Our lunchroom. There is another table behind the pony wall on the left. Paintings are courtesy of the late Albert Derdowski. He was the first guy I worked with when I hired on as a Labourer there. I walked into the lunch room and went to put my lunchbox on the far table, (right side of the door). He was sitting at the spot where I’m taking the picture from against the North wall. He says to me, “If you want to get thrown out of here, leave the box there. Otherwise, come over to this table”.
In those days, there were defined class lines in the shops. A Labourer did not sit at the Tradesmen’s table unless they were invited. If you weren’t invited and you sat there, they’d throw you out the door! So I sat with Albert and he was my mentor from that point on. For some reason he liked me and we got along fine, but others didn’t and they hurled insults like no tomorrow at the poor guy. Of course, he threw back just as many and didn’t accept much guff. Albert started as a Labourer, then worked as a Machinist Helper in the summer vacation season, and eventually worked his way up to Machinist. Like a lot of the others that worked there, he has since passed away. Will always remember him and his antics.

Looking east from the Tinsmith's corner of the machine shop in the roundhouse.

Looking north past the Carpenter's area from the west main door area of the machine shop. You can see Machinist Alex Bondarchuk sitting in the far corner of the shop at the Tinsmith's bench. That’s where the pic above was taken from. I don’t have a good picture of the spot I’m standing at. That is track 6, and it ran right through the roundhouse into the machine shop, and out the west door.

These two photos are ones I had to take, as nobody would believe these were our facilities! These “Turkish”, or squat toilets as we called them, kept guys from wasting time. No sitting around reading newspapers on these thing. On day we had a new machinist working at the shop and he had to go. Well, one of the other fellows goes into the washroom only to find the first guy didn’t understand the concept of these toilets, as he was sitting on the floor with his legs sticking out from under the cubicle door! LOL! I used to go over to the coach yard, as they had conventional sit-down toilets. The only down side to them was they had no privacy. Just a modesty panel between each toilet, and a panel in front. This was so the foreman could walk in and walk the line of toilets to see if anybody was sitting there reading the newspaper. How things have changed.

Blacksmith area of the Machine Shop. Here you can see the press, anvil, and stack of boiler tubes, among other things.

Another view of the machine shop from over in the blacksmiths corner.
Here you can see the forge, press, anvil, jib hoist, and some boiler tubes, among other odds & sodds.

Small self-propelled crane used around the shop for many things.

Looking into the roundhouse from the Machine shop area on Track 6. This track ran right through the roundhouse and machine shop out to the west end. Inside the roundhouse is an S4 71xx I didn’t record the number of, and can’t see in the photo because of the glare off the number box glass. . To the right on track 5 is the Sperry Car.
From where I’m standing, the Blacksmith area is to the right in front of the Blue Chip Crane, and the Machine shop to the left.

North end of the Machine Shop. Here you can see some of the smaller power tools such as bench grinders and the small
drill press. In the foreground are some gear reduction drives and other parts for the Rabbits at the Coquitlam Car Shop.

Big power threader for doing the likes of Stay Bolts, etc.

The big Gilbert Drill Press. This machine was used constantly.

A couple of old pieces of equipment sitting in one corner of the machine shop. That being the base of the wheel jack for the
steam engines, and a portable air compressor. I don't ever recall having that compressor running, but it looked to be complete. That jack MAY have been a spare, as there was one in active use in the roundhouse up until the end.

Drake Street roundhouse, last days September 1981.

Drake Street closed in 1981 for redevelopment for EXPO 86.


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