Thursday 3 December 2015

Throwback Thursday #24 - CP RS18 #8773 at Hamilton, ON in October 1978

CP RS18 #8773, still with it's 5" stripes on the cab face, pauses at Hamilton, ON in October 1978 with a rather unusual consist. Uncredited Kodachrome, author's collection.

Tonight’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to October 1978, at Hamilton, ON. We’re at the classic art-deco TH&B station, located near the downtown core on Hunter Street. Today it is a hub of GO Transit activity, but back on this day in 1978 it played host to a rather unusual train consisting of CP RS18 #8773, a CP steel caboose #434257, an Amtrak sleeper/combination car, and a TH&B heavyweight passenger car. What was this strange train doing at the station? Good question. There was no information on the slide mount, however the sequence of shots from this day shows the train at Toronto Union Station, here at Hamilton, and finally at the TH&B yard in Welland. At Welland, the engine and van were wyed and coupled to the back of an Amtrak train. While the reason for this odd operation may be lost to history, it may have been a director’s special of some sort. The Toronto-Hamilton-Welland routing is interesting, as it the mix of equipment – perhaps a joint effort by the TH&B’s parent companies, CP and Penn Central? Hopefully at least one other railfan was out that day and made notes on this train – this was of course, long before the days of email or facebook, where sharing of railfan information involved actually talking to someone else, in person or over the phone.

Interestingly, except perhaps for the station building, not much from this scene remains today. CP 8773, constructed in 1958 at MLW, was later rebuilt to RS-18u #1827 in 1985 at the company’s Angus shops in Montreal. The unit operated until 1992 when it was destroyed in a wreck at Mile 35.3 of CP’s Sherbrooke subdivision. Retirement followed in 1993, and finally scrapping at Winnipeg, MB in June 1994. Likewise, it’s probable that the CP van, Amtrak sleeper, and the TH&B heavyweight coach have all likely met the same fate. But at least we have this recollection of another one of those oddities that always seem to happen on cloudy days.

‘Til next time,


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