Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Almost 1,000 miles of BC Rail


Overheard, in passing ...


Canadian Railroads. BC Rail: End of track, Fort Nelson BC

Date: 08/20/10 08:47
End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: eminence_grise

The farthest north that BC Rail reached was Fort Nelson BC, 978 miles from North Vancouver. To put that in perspective, that is the same distance as Vancouver to Winnipeg on the CP or CN, or Vancouver to San Francisco.

Built in 1971 north from Fort St.John, much of this line is remote from the parallel Alaska Highway.

On the day I visited in 1994, all was quiet around the yard at Fort Nelson. The furthest north point of BCR track was marked by a pair of "End of Track 100 Feet" signs and some survey tape.

Beyond that there is a wide valley. Visible across the valley is the wide swath through the trees marking the route of the Alaska Highway. Between Fort St.John and Fort Nelson BC on the highway is the now abandoned "Suicide Hill" which involved a very steep grade with tight curves to climb out of a river valley.

Should the Alaska and BC rail networks ever connect, the line to Fort Nelson is considered the more likely candidate than the incomplete "Dease Lake Extension" to the west.

Date: 08/20/10 09:58
Re: End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: BobE

"That'll do"......interesting that there's no bumper at the end of track. Guess they must not have had much cause to get that close.


[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 08/20/10 12:50
Re: End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: tomstp

From the looks of the end of track you could have another "suicide hill". The only time I was around BCR was in 1996. Very friendly crews and railroad as a whole. Hated to see that come to an end.

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 08/20/10 12:57
Re: End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: TCnR

Any action up there these days?

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 08/20/10 14:03
Re: End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: CANUCK

Is the world's largest chopstick factory still there?
Many years ago (in the late '80s) while living in Vancouver I was a member of the West Coast Railway Association and was a volunteer tour guide on their one week tour of the BC Rail System. I remember well the chopstick factory and how, at the time, it was BC Rail's largest inter-modal customer. By the way, that was a great way to see Beautiful BC.

Brian (in California now!)

[ Reply To This Message ] [ Quote ]
Date: 08/20/10 14:44
Re: End of track, Fort Nelson BC
Author: TCnR

Is the world's largest chopstick factory still

Googled and found this PR statement from Forrex including a quick mention of chopsticks related to Aspen trees:


BC Mary comment:  Wouldn't it be strange if model railroaders end up as the guardians of important aspects of the history of BC Rail, when other sources fail?                   . 

Centre-beam flat-cars are the subject of significant clauses in the BCRail-CN deal signed over 6 years ago -- remember that important deal which has never been fully revealed to the public? E.g., did CN ever buy the centre-beam flat-cars which were stipulated as part of the agreed price? It's only a rumour, but it's been said that CN didn't honour that commitment which -- if legal agreements mean anything at all -- is a default which could be a deal-breaker. In my view, we should have taken these things seriously at the stipulated 5th anniversary (July 14, 2009) ...  

This excerpt provides a good example of things like centre-beam flat-cars which we should never forget:


Remember this?

BC pleased cross-border rail service can expand

from the Office of the Premier

For Immediate Release
July 3, 2009
Office of the Premier
Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat

VICTORIA – The federal government’s announcement that it will help the expansion of US Amtrak passenger rail service to British Columbia is an important step towards helping boost cross-border travel and tourism, Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations Naomi Yamamoto said today.

 “The decision to move ahead for a trial seven-month period including the 2010 Winter Olympics is welcome,” said Yamamoto. “The Province is also hopeful that the popularity of this expanded service will keep it on the rails long past March 2010 ...” etc.



On a happier footnote ... the Royal Hudson Steam Train ... what it's been  doing in the old BC Rail Shops in North Vancouver ... and how's about the CN's "F-off mentality"? 

Sorry about the music, though. You'd think they'd use Gordon Lightfoot's "Canadian Railroad Trilogy", wouldn't you?  However, there are some delicious sights and sounds on the accompanying YouTube if you click HERE


Only 14 more days until September 13 when the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial gets under way again in BC Supreme Courtroom 54, Vancouver. Open to the public, of course.


at 13:58 on August 25, 2010, EDT.

Safety Board warns faulty part on rail cars could be catastrophic

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The Transportation Safety Board is warning of a potential catastrophe because thousands of rail cars carrying dangerous goods across Canada may be faulty.

The problem came to light after a Canadian National Rail accident near Dugald, Manitoba, when a faulty part on a car allowed a tank car loaded with more than 23,000 kilograms of flammable propylene to separate from the rest of the train.

The safety board's Rob Johnston says the train was only going six kilometres per hour and didn't derail, but had it been going faster the accident could have been much more serious.

An investigation found a faulty stub sill — a part that helps joins cars together — and the same part is used in 41,000 other tank cars.

Johnston says it's a major safety concern and the potential is for a catastrophic failure of a tank car, which could be carrying anything from chlorine to gasoline and many other dangerous goods.

He says the problem is especially concerning because trains are getting longer and heavier, and the stub sill problem may be more susceptible with more weight from the longer trains.
Many thanks, Curt.

I seem to recall reading that report quite some time ago.

Do you have a date for it?

I wonder if the stub sill problem has been fixed on all the tank cars.

From reading this article, today's date, I will assume that there is still a problem.
And there is this release today.

As much as it seems to be only an extension or "transmodal" connection to the Klappan area, and talks about not burdening the route to the port at Stewart, on the Alaskan boundary, IMO this extension is a precursor to some kind of overland connection into the Alaska Panhandle and the increased use of the northwest's lands and resources by Alaskan interests.....a puzzle with a few pieces left to find and fit into place, but this is part of a much larger continental integration scheme, and the NUMBER ONE territorial imperative of the US, in purely geopolitical-continental terms, would be "filling in" the "blank space" (BC) between Alaska and the Lower 48. This may only become evident in ten years time, but I think we'll see more indications of this in fairly short order.....

And about that chopsticks and aspen trees thing, somewhere back in the early Green Party years ('83...which is when I know I read this - in the Sun) there was a news item or op-ed which mentioned that 85% of the deciduous forests in the province's northeast were staked out for disposable chopstick production. I remember balsam and aspen being mentioned, I wouldn't know the rest of the forest species concerned....underline "disposable".....at the time I was wondering what the climatic disruption of the loss of so much living biomass from that area would look like; too many factors to calculate, but suffice to say that wherever was once forest and is now desert/vacant doesn't have the same thermal-hydrographic influence on climate than if that forest had been left standing....

I don't suppose any Albertans have comprehended that the smoke from BC forest fires, currently plaguing their usually-blue skies, is the direct result of global warming's effect on the bug population and also the greater driness of BC forests from less snow cover/precipitation....what ye sow so shall ye reap etc....

Many thanks ... today's report couldn't be more clear!

I'm going to send an inquiry to the federal minister of transportation.

It's difficult to express adequate appreciation for the comments you provide.

Really, your stuff is so worthwhile and unique. And it's so-o-o-o British Columbian!

So here's one more Thank You coming your way. I hope things are going well for you.
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