Overriding Speed Tapes

When I started as a train order operator on CP's Smiths Falls Division on January 1, 1965, one of our jobs was to weigh trains at Quyon (pronounced Kwee-oh), Quebec, on the Waltham Sub. at mileage 30.6. This was a weigh-in-motion scale installed in the late-1950s to weigh hoppers of pelletized iron ore from Hilton Mines, Quebec, which was on a 4-mile spur south off the Waltham Sub. at Wyman, 4 miles west of Quyon. This mine used triple hoppers, but in a jam would used longitudinals (360000 and 361000 series).

The iron ore was very hot when dumped into these cars, and many of the cars corroded very early in their lives, and would also bulge on occasion from the heat. The pellets would go to Stelco in Hamilton, Ontario, and also to many US smelters, like Jones and Laughlin in Pittsburgh. We would bill these cars at Quyon until the Customer Service Centres showed up.

There was one train a day to Hilton Mines at the outset, #51 in the morning, ordered at Walkley Yard in Ottawa about 0600, returning about 1800. Towards the end of the mine's life, we'd run a 2nd 51, just a work extra on train orders. #51 was a 3rd class train, returning #52 was a 4th class train.
Hilton Mine was off the main line, so a train crew on the main line would get paid 12½ cents a mile, as per usual. In the mine, they got time and a half, 18
½ cents per mile. In previous vignettes I wrote about a fast passenger engineer. Bill Austin. You should watch him in Hilton Mines; molasses flowed faster in January when he worked there.

We also had a gravel pit at mileage 39.0 called Franceschini Pit. They would load sand and gravel for two cement plants in the city of Ottawa. Plant 10 was on Moodie Drive on the Carleton Place Sub., and Plant 8 was on the CNR near Russell Road off the old NYC. A CP yard engine would take the cars out from Walkley Yard on the Walkley Line, onto the Beachburg Sub., then onto the Carleton Place Sub. for spotting at Plant 10. The Plant 8 cars would be given to the CN right at Walkley Yard, and they would spot them, and bring the empties back the next day. This pit job mostly used the twin hoppers. They were getting pretty old and rusty. If enough twins couldn't be found, we'd send "longs" and "triples" to the pit.

This train was usually ordered in Walkley Yard Ottawa about 1900, out at 2000, arrived at the pit about 2200, left at 0001, Quyon 0045 or so, weigh the train, leave and arrive Ottawa 0230 or so. He would get an order to run from Wamo (Junction of the old Waltham and M(&)O Sub.) to Morehead (2.8 miles west of Franceschini Pit) and return to Wamo with right over westward extra trains. But when we ran that 2nd 51, he'd also get a running order to Wyman, and both guys had to protect against each other, and get a wait order on the following day's #51. Quite a handful of orders.

Anyway, the night in question, the pit train came in, I weighed it, and checked each car for overweights after both sets of trucks got off the scales, and all seemed in order. He left, I got back to the station, OS'd the train to the train dispatcher in Smiths Falls, and drove home to Ottawa. This was a Friday night. On Saturday and Sunday, I worked the day shift, and there was no afternoon guy as the pit train only ran Monday to Friday.

As I'm driving to Quyon (I'm about 5 minutes late for my 1000 shift), I look south towards the Waltham Sub. at Parker siding, mileage 22.8, and see a twin hopper cracked in half, with the centre of the car on the rails. So I step on the gas a little, get to work at 1003, and the dispatcher's phone is ringing steadily. The Assistant Superintendent is on the phone, asking what the weight and capacity of 354xxx is. I had the tapes, and thank goodness the car was not overweight, it had just given up with age. That might have been the end of my career on the CPR.

It must have been a fine trip for the pit job skidding that car into the siding. I never did hear where it collapsed west of Parker. I believe that the poor unloved sectionmen had to come up, unload the car by hand, and then some scrapper came in to cut it up.

At the end, I recall while dispatching in Smiths Falls that a CWR train from the CWR plant in Smiths Falls would have a 354000/357000 twin hopper next to the units and the caboose in case a wayward welded rail decided not to stop when the train did and instead of puncturing a unit or van it would puncture a twin hopper full of ???

The twin bay hoppers were built between 1936 and 1941. I don't believe that any of them made it into the CP Rail scheme introduced in the 1960s. Towards the end of their career they were used mostly in O.C.S. (on company service) as they had a smaller capacity than the 3 bay hoppers. Typical use would be for coal going to a steam heating plant such as at shops or major stations.

Ah, the good old days........ 

Bytown Railway Society,  Branchline, November 2009, page 20.

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