Thursday, 14 June 2018

Throwback Thursday - 1490 McKeen Ave.

On a fine summer day in 1989 Remote Control Locomotive 688 poses for its portrait in the BC Rail yard in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
By Peter Mumby
Sometimes when we take a roster shot of a piece of railroad equipment it pays to step back a pace or two and establish a bit of context.  In this photo, taken within the confines of the BC Rail yard in North Vancouver on July 06/89, some interesting signage appears on the building behind the locomotive.  Some thoughtful individual decided it would be instructive to include the street address of the structure; if only the postal code had been added, I could have sent them a thank you note! The purpose of the building is also clearly outlined.  The line "Budd Stores" alone indicated that BC Rail was unusual among North American railways not only in still operating a passenger service at this date, but in using RDC cars exclusively.

The star of the show, of course, was unit RCL-688, the last of eight units occupying class MFB 20.  This MLW M-420B came out of the Montreal erecting shops in July of 1975.  These were the first B units built in Canada since the F units of the 1950s.  The "RCL" stood for "Radio Control Locomotive," meaning that the unit was equipped with a "Locotrol" control receiver and would operate as a mid-train slave.  The locomotive could be shuffled around in the yard employing a hostler's cab and control stand.

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