Thursday 2 July 2020

Throwback Thursday - Coming and Going

ONT 1987 leads train 121 at Gravenhurst on the CN Newmarket Subdivision.  If schedules are being met, the time is shortly after 14:00 on this sunny July 22 of 1988.
By Peter Mumby.
The Northlander was an Ontario Northland Railway train which operated between Toronto and Cochrane. The Toronto/North Bay segment used CN rails, while the North Bay/Cochrane portion was over ONR trackage.  In 1977 ONR acquired several sets of TEE Train equipment (Trans-Europe Express)  to use on this route.  Built by Werkspoor/Schweizerische Industries Gesellschaft, the locomotives did not perform well under Canadian conditions.  Rumour has it that ONR shop personnel referred to them as "works poor" locomotives.  At any rate, the cars were retained, while the locomotives were scrapped in 1984.  Their replacements were 1952-vintage GMD FP7 locomotives which were rebuilt to FP7Am status to operate with the semi-permanently coupled train sets. 

The tail end of each train set featured a control cab along with a passenger-carrying section.  Designed for push-pull operation, the ONR decided not to run the trains control cab-first.  Level crossing accidents could simply be too lethal with passengers occupying the first unit of the train set.  Given this limitation, each set had to be turned at the end of its run.

This is how the tail end of the north-bound train looked at Gravenhurst.

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