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Canadian Railroads > CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend


Date: 07/01/11 17:31
CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: eminence_grise

For ten years after the end of steam in Canada, CN kept at least one coal fired 4-8-4 operable for excursions in eastern Canada and the U.S. CN 6153 served briefly, followed by 6167 and finally 6218 did the honours.

Throughout my high school and college years, there was usually a steam excursion taking place out of Montreal or Toronto every long weekend. Looking back on the costs for a days train ride behind steam, the $15 to $30 fares of those days seems incredible now.

Finally, CN announced that Canada Day ,July 1st 1971 would see the end of steam excursions, and there was a number of excursions by a variety of organisations held just prior to and on the long weekend.

The first image shows CN 6218 climbing Vaudreuil hill west of Montreal at Cedars QC. with an excursion to Ottawa ON.on June 24th,1971

The following day, 6218 was back in Montreal to haul an excursion from Montreal to Victoriaville QC. A runpast was held on the Beloeil bridge over the Richelieu River.

On the return trip, the locomotive was serviced at Richmond QC.

A memorable event took place that day. It was very hot that day, and many of the train passengers decided to take a quick "refreshment break" at the Hotel Brunswick in the background. The bartender, seeing a sudden influx of patrons, quickly recruited a waitress from the restaurant to help serve the beer. She made a brave attempt, and soon had a full tray of draft beer balanced on one hand, ready to serve. However, she was unfamiliar with the bar, which had a step up to the floor. She tripped and launched the tray across the room. We were sitting under the arc of her throw, and got to watch the loaded tray fly over our heads.
The patrons two tables over got to wear the beer. No injuries to the patrons or the waitress.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/11 09:59 by eminence_grise.








Date: 07/01/11 17:45
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: rschonfelder

Were there any construction equipment Geunsels out to look at that crane loading the coal?

Rick



Date: 07/01/11 18:05
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: detiley

They sure ran great trips. I only made one, Hamilton to Stratford that I recall was with Buffalo Chapter, NRHS. The trip west up the escarpment was quite an experience but the real treat was the runby at Paris on the return. No runby I have ever seen matched the speed and raw power that CN put on that day.



Date: 07/01/11 19:10
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: eminence_grise

Throughout the 1960's, the Lake Ontario city of Belleville hosted "Railway Days" on the Canada Day weekend which offered short excursions to surrounding communities on the CN main and area branchlines. Before the final run to Toronto, 6218 made multiple trips for the local service clubs. On the evening of July 3rd,1971 , 6218 is shown beneath the signal bridges on the CN main at Belleville.

Earlier in the evening, the excursion train passed by a swamp on a branch line north of Belleville.

There was sadness that day, as it appeared to finally be the end of steam on the CN. By 1973, CN 6218 was placed on display outside in Fort Erie.ON.


In just a few years 4-8-2 6060 would be restored to service, and further CN excursions would operate.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/11 00:07 by eminence_grise.








Date: 07/01/11 20:08
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: spdaylight

Nice shots . . . those were the good old days when steam excursions didn't require diesel assistance . . . made for a far better looking train!!



Date: 07/02/11 07:05
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: YankeeDog

Great engine. At the end of steam there were a host of excursions that we, as kids, rode on. Engines that worked them were 6034, 6247, 6262, 6204, 6211. Rode the cab in three of them. CPR also ran a bunch using 5118, 5214, 1098, 1092, 2332, 22214, 2857.

Sad thing about 6218 is she is starting to rust away. One of the great mistakes made when putting a locomotive on exterior display is leaving the stack and coal bunker uncovered. These are usually full of coal residue and mixed with rain and snow will form acid which eats out the tender body and, in the case of 6218, the bottom of the smoke-box over the pilot deck.



Date: 07/02/11 09:23
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: skeezix91

I think CN should consider running a steam train again.

Brian H.



Date: 07/02/11 09:57
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: eminence_grise

One of the reasons CN ran fan trips out of Montreal was the ability to use the heavyweight coaches used on the rush hour commuter trains to Deux Montagnes and Ste.Hyacinthe during the weekend layover. Who need a vestibule when the cars have opening windows?

Most excursions were coach only, with perhaps a couple of cooler loads of soft drinks for refreshments.

After a decade of running trips, there were preferred destinations with a long enough turn around time that the passengers could find nearby restaurants.

By and large, most of the passengers were not railfans, alot were just families out for a day excursion. Montrealers are a fun loving lot, sometimes there were sing alongs and lively conversations. The "hard core" steam fans rode the open door baggage cars. There was strong competition for a spot at the baggage car door, often pre-empted for the entire trip by sound recording fans.

I note the trip to Ottawa was using regular CN air conditioned coaches. I don't recall ever seeing a diner , but cafe/bar cars were used occasionally.

The upcoming trips were advertised using postcards , the addresses were from a sign up list which was passed through the train.



Date: 07/02/11 11:54
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: TheCurator

Nice photos as usual, your eminence.

Back in '08 I paid 6218 a visit and considering she's out in the elements AND the public is allowed to crawl all over her, she's in decent shape.

I could've sworn I posted pics here of my visit but a search turned up nada, so...

Outside with van #76218 (matching last four #'s...coincidence?)

Front view. I managed to poke my camera lens into the hole at the bottom right of the smokebox door and came away with the next photo.

Inside the front of the smokebox.

On one of my backup discs I've got photos showing the inside of the firebox and tender. I'll dig them up and post them here. I've also got a short video clip (from my dad's 8mm Bell & Howell camera)of 6218 arriving in Hamilton during an excursion trip. If I can find it I'll post it as well.








Date: 07/02/11 11:58
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: TheCurator

And just as an FYI, the van's interior looks like it just came of the refurbishment shop.




Date: 07/02/11 14:28
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: eminence_grise

In the late 1960's, CN 6218 had smoke deflectors added, and a "crackerbox" CN symbol replaced the round CNR symbol on the Vanderbilt tender.

Here are some images taken before the changes. 6218 is shown at Richmond QC on the two day Montreal-Portland ME. excursion in the fall of 1966.

A popular destination was Garneau QC., north east of Montreal which involved several trestles on the former Quebec & Lake St.John Railway.

A CN engine crew is shown on 6218 on the same excursion. The CN vestibule cab was angled back, where the CP style was vertical. Note the emergency brake valve outside the cab, added to many Canadian steam locomotives after a broken sight glass filled a cab with steam making it impossible for the engineer to reach the brake valve inside the cab.

Wasn't 6218 the last locomotive repaired at CN's Stratford ON. shops?.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/11 14:32 by eminence_grise.








Date: 07/02/11 15:12
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: crs1026

That last look at the 6218 at Belleville is one of the most memorable days of my life...a real rite of passage for a 16-year-old railfan.

It began with a last ride on CP 338, the Windsor-Toronto RDC, which ceased operation that same weekend. Then, after a quick bus ride to Belleville, it was time to say good bye to the 18. The ride back to Toronto was a thrilling cab ride at 90mph in the third unit GP9 on the afternoon passenger train, thanks to the kindness of a CN hogger who told a friend and I, "If anyone asks, we never saw you".

Those were the days.

Here's 338's last arrival at West Toronto, and a shot of 6218 the previous fall on the Uxbridge Sub.

- Paul



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/11 15:13 by crs1026.






Date: 07/03/11 16:20
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: YankeeDog

6218 was the last steamer to be shopped at Stratford in summer of 1963. Before that the last four engines to be shopped at Stratford in January 1959 were 6221, 6001, 2721 and the very last 2-8-2 3552. As a young boy I had the pleasure of walking through the shops twice while they were rebuilding steam and once when they were scrapping steam. I think the building still exists.



Date: 07/04/11 20:28
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: RuleG

What great photos!! While my preference is the CPR over the CN, I feel the CN had some of the most attractive steam locomotives in North America and 6218 was one of the best-looking steam locomotives.

My only Canadian steam excursion was over the CN with, ironically, ex-CPR 1201.

Thanks so much for posting these.



Date: 07/05/11 14:16
Re: CN 6218's final runs, 40 years ago this weekend
Author: jbwest

Thanks for the memories and some nice pix in this thread. Very sad to see 6218 rusting away. I rode three trips with the 6218 in the late 60's, from Toronto to Gravenhurst and Niagara Falls, and out of Portland, ME. Here's my contribution to the picture parade, both from the trip to Gravenhurst.

JBWX






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