Like most secondary operations, the former H&NW line would be home to CN’s well maintained wooden caboose long after modern steel end of train cabins had been introduced. Time did eventually catch up with the legendary wooden vans (van; ‘Canadian’ for caboose) and starting in the mid 1970’s they began to be supplanted by steel bodied successors. While it’s possible that a Hawker Siddeley Transport (HST) built caboose did traverse the line, it was the well-known Pointe St. Charles (PSC) that singularly plied the line until the end of service in 1993.
Details of the PSC caboose are well-known; between 1970 and 1977 CN’s Montreal based repair/rebuild facility would transform some five hundred and forty eight 1937 built 472000 series forty-foot boxcars into very well appointed crew cabins (CN 79350 – 79897). Exterior features included;
· Welded cupola with upward tilted end windows equipped with windshield wipers
· Large carbody end picture windows equipped with windshield wipers
· Large carbody side picture windows
· Red/green marker lights on roof end
· Clear end sill mounted backup lights
· Axle driven generators and battery boxes
Above: CN 79866 was constructed in 1977. Based on a guess of a spring 1978 photo date the shiny orange and black crew cabin is but a few months old. Note the positioning of the smoke jacks and the air vent directly below the ‘6’, not included in prior construction (see CN 79444 above). Sadly, CN 79866 was destroyed in a rear end collision on the Dundas subdivision on May 4th, 1984. CN GP9 No. 4513 was also destroyed (http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=17206). Tragically, a crew member in CN 79866 suffered a severe leg injury.