Facebook Page
Old Time Trains

CPR Drake Street Shops

Andy Cassidy

Looking SE from the Drake Street crossing to the main gate and the Stores building on the left. As you can see, tracks have been lifted in the Centre Yard. Directly behind the archway is the Freight Claims building, and to the left of the crossbuck is the Electrical shop below and the old Upholstery shop above. The spot I’m standing at is now Pacific Boulevard.

Looking north at the Stores building from in front of the Electrical shop in the above pic. The upper floor of the Stores building is occupied by Marathon Realty. To the right of the main stores building is the Stores platform and outside warehouse area.

Looking over the Stores platform/warehouse area where the heavier bulk stuff was kept,
and the Stores boxcars were loaded and unloaded from.

In the back section of the warehouse. The Stores had a few different sections. This portion was just to the east of the main building and part of the open platform construction. However, this piece was walled in. I think it was originally for storing drums of oil. I could be wrong, as there is a separate oil room at the very east end of the complex that looked to be an addition to me. You can see a rad cooling fan sitting in a crate at the back of what looks to be a flammable storage locker.

Inside the small parts area of Stores looking towards the back of the building.

Inside the small parts area of Stores but looking at the Storemans’ work area. No computers in those days. Everything was done with paper requisitions etc. Tommy Boyd was the reigning Storeman at this point. I always liked the guy, and we got along well, but many did not. Those Stores guys could be real nasty if you did something wrong, or if they got out of bed on the wrong side that morning. Tommy was white as a ghost. I think he lived in the basement there.! LOL! To the right of this area was the Stores Main Office area. At this point in time, J.J.Sayer was the Stores Supervisor. At an earlier time there was an army of clerks working in that office. I think there were only a couple left when I took this shot. Things had really downsized with only the one passenger train running daily.

Looking at the Electrical Shop. The Freight Claims building is to the right of the passage. Through the passage you can see the west end of the Coach Yard building. There is a trailer blocking some of the view of the building, but the section you see is the Battery Charging Room below, and the Coach Cleaners Locker/Lunch Room upstairs. Looking again at the Electrical Shop, you can see a new doorway has been punched in on the left. That was put in because we moved the Locomotive Foreman’s office into the old Electrical Foreman’s office, as they had taken down the original office shack that was out back of the roundhouse at this time. My office was right in the corner of the building next to the passageway. The second floor of this building was the old Upholstery Shop that had long since vacated that spot. They moved their downsized operation over to the Coach Yard.

Electrical Shop again but looking South Eastward. Here you can see further along the building to the Roundhouse. That’s my car sitting ahead of the doorway, and it’s right in front of the General Locomotive Foreman’s Office. Pete Cross was the General Locomotive Foreman at this time. Prior to that it was Bill Silver. Next to that office was the Auto Mechanics garage. They looked after the servicing and repairs of most of the road vehicles. Eric Nichol, or maybe Nichols, was the supervisor there. Further along and to the roundhouse itself was another section that I am quite sure was occupied by guys from CP Transport. Directly behind the General Locomotive Foreman's office was the old Apprentice Classroom. When it rained the place was soaked with water. Ted Ladd was the Instructor earlier on, and he was also the Stationary Engineer for the Powerhouse. After he retired the Instructors duties went to Al Brander. I never took a photo of that classroom… Why not??

A spooky shot of the old stairwell landing upstairs in the old upholstery shop. I didn’t like going up there as it freaked me out. Guess I’m just afraid of the dark. The place was just scattered with old junk. Below Just going up the stairs bugged me. With the noise they made, I always wondered if it would be a one-way trip.

Photo taken from the west end of the Stores building looking east towards the Roundhouse. Here you can see the Roundhouse Machine Shop. The big doors you see behind the parked cars are Track 6 that went directly through the Machine Shop into the Roundhouse. To the left you see the Stores Track and platform. And on the right is the Mechanics Shop etc.

Now for those who pay attention to detail, if you look to the very end of the Stores platform you can see through to the Service Track Oil House, and just behind it is sitting an MLW switcher. Another story here. Take note of that tapered ramp at the very end of the Stores platform. That ramp was in two sections. One went straight off the end toward that switcher, (not in view here), and the other that is in view was 90 degrees right of the platform. There is a roadway around these ramps that goes past the Roundhouse to the service area out back, but it does not go beyond that point. Being downtown there were always people driving into the property and making their way around there trying to find a short-cut to the Marina on False Creek. One night I’m on shift and these two clowns come roaring down Drake Street into the property and down through the parking lot, around the Ramps and Roundhouse, past my office and ending up by the Oil House you see in the photo, which is just past my office. I go out to see what these guys are doing, and they cop a U-Turn and hightail it back out the way they came. Being somewhat over the legal limit, they go gum-booting it past the Roundhouse and out to that parking area in the photo. The only problem was that the driver didn’t remember that ramp was there! So he hits the side of the end ramp with his right front tire, goes up in the air and the car does a left twist and face plant into the side of the other ramp you see in the photo. Well, I heard this great crash and went over to check it out only to see these idiots staggering around the area wondering what the hell happened. I called the cops and they dragged them and the “Totaled” car out of there. Just another night on the job!

This is a shot taken from the Drake Street Crossing looking SW towards the RIP Track shed. In the foreground there are two Stores boxcars either coming or going. Behind is the building that was being used by the Freight Claims Dept. However, the west end of this building was used by the Car Shops, and there was an above ground wheel lathe there they used to true passenger car wheels with. That was used in conjunction with the drop table that is under the shed behind the left boxcar, as I recall. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it. Those boxcars remind me just how painfully slow it was getting material at times. These days everything is JIT (Just In Time) delivery, overnight, etc. Back then, we didn’t use trucks much, and for the most part everything got delivered from the main shops by boxcar. Also, all the Bad Order material went back in the same cars. You’d put in a requisition for some part and three months later it might show up. Then I’d be scratching my head wondering what I ordered this gizmo for. Pretty sad when you think about it, being a transportation company, and we can’t even get our own stuff moved around effectively and on a timely basis.

A view of the RIP track and the Stores boxcars from the SW corner of the Stores building. The track on the right is for the Stores platform. The ATCO trailer was set up for the contractors that were ripping up track in the yard north of the Stores.

Showing the dismantling of Q-Yard trackage. This shot is taken from the North end of the Drake Street crossing and is facing East. Off in the distance is the old Cambie Street Bridge. To the right is the Stores building, and to the left are some of the Yale Town warehouses that these torn-up track used to serve.

Another picture of the Q-Yard trackage being torn up, but this shot is facing West, and you can see the Granville Street bridge in the background here. The warehouse district is to the right, and is served by this high track. Well, not any more.
The trackage to the left was part of the interchange for the BC Hydro Railway that accessed this end of the yard via the Kitsilano Trestle, that was removed in December of 1982. The whole section of trackage that serviced various industries up through the Arbutus Corridor to Marpole is now out of service. However the line is still in place.

Closer shot of the Machine Shop from the outside at night.

Night shot of a row of spare wheelsets for the MLW’s and Baldwins we kept on one of the stub tracks next to the Diesel Shop. Good old friction bearings!

A night shot of the turntable as seen facing south towards the CP Transport side of the Roundhouse. I’m standing on Track 12 in front of the Diesel Shop portion of the roundhouse. The tracks south of Pit 1, (which is in the middle of the roundhouse), have been lifted so the CP transport guys can drive vehicles in and out. They have the ten stalls you see here. The turntable was air powered and very touchy re balance. You had to have the locomotives just at the tipping point of centre to get it to move. What a pain in the butt when it was icy or snowing out. We’d all be out there pushing, heaving, and creating hernias, trying to get a unit from one track to the next.

I can’t remember who took the shot, but it was one of the guys in our department at the time. It was late spring of 1973. We are standing just outside the back door of the Electrical Shop. The windows behind are on the end of the Freight Claims building. A well dressed team we were! That’s Jack Dhillman on the left, Bill Seeley in the middle, and yours truly on the right. (I’d pay to have that hair back now. LOL!). That Jack was some character! A bit heavy on the Gin, but very smart at electrical troubleshooting. You never lent him a tool if you could help it, as he would hand it off to the first guy he’d see when he was done with it. I lost more flashlights and pliers to this guy! Also, whenever we had to remove any kind of inspection cover from an electrical cabinet or a brush access port, it only went back on with two or maybe four bolts. Even if it came off with a dozen holding it in place. Easier next time he’d say.

Back (Use your browser Back button)

Old Time Trains © 2010