Thursday 29 February 2024

Throwback Thursday - Idler Car


CN 1371 and its associated idler car are working the Sarnia boat yard on April 23, 1994.
By Peter Mumby.

The St Clair River separates Port Huron, Michigan from Sarnia, Ontario.  The original Grand Trunk Railway tunnel under the river was opened in 1891, and was able to accommodate most existing rolling stock for the next seventy years or so.  In the last several decades of the twentieth century cars such as autoracks and high cube boxcars were introduced which exceeded the clearances of the tunnel.  Car ferries had to be used to transfer these cars across the river, adding a lot of extra effort and expense to the movement of this type of freight.  In 1993 construction started on a new tunnel which would handle these types of high cars.  The new tunnel was opened in late 1994 and the use of the car ferries was terminated.  

CN 665361 was an idler car which allowed locomotives such as the 1371 to reach the traffic on a car ferry without placing its weight on the apron which spanned the space between the deck and the ground.  The park bench and the extra hand holds are thoughtful additions for the comfort and safety of the crew members working in the Sarnia boat yard.

1 comment:

  1. Great picture, Peter ! I certainly remember that bench being on the flatcar. I wish that ferry operation was still going. So much more interesting.