Scenes from an old Smith-Victor box: November 23, 1974

Forty years ago this morning, a friend and I set out in his 1967 Falcon station wagon with a full tank of gas, a few rolls of Kodachrome and high hopes. We had no particular agenda, no hot leads, no inside information, but our timing was good. We arrived at Galt just minutes ahead of CP train No. 74, a hot eastbound freight normally through well before dawn. We had just enough time to set up at the Grand River bridge to photograph the train, led by SD40 5541, the last CP SD left in Tuscan and grey. A meet with the London Pickup at Killean slowed the train just enough for us to rocket across town and country for a second photograph of the train at "old Killean."

The Pickup, normally powered by a trio of 8100-series SW1200s, had another treat in store; trailing behind pups 8130 and 8164 was western Canada-assigned GP9 8518, a boiler-equipped Geep still in Tuscan and grey and equipped with its original garbage-can headlight.

We stuck with the Pickup as far as the Highway 97 overpass west of Galt, then worked our way through Paris and London (the Ontario versions, I mean) and St. Thomas. The cold rain that moved in while we enjoyed a late dinner called for a change of plans. Instead of starting for home, we broke out the tripods for time exposures at CP's Quebec Street roundhouse and CN Stratford. Cold, wet and happy, we called it a day and a night after lingering in the company of the RS18s, Geeps and MLW switchers gathered at the roundhouse.

CP 5541, the last SD40 left in the script, leads No. 74 across the Grand River bridge at Galt, Ontario.

A frantic chase in the old Falcon netted one more view of No. 74 as it rolled through "old Killean" east of Galt.

The relatively new Highway 8 overpass provides an overhead look as the London Pickup returns to its train after setting off at Galt. Pups 8130 and 8164 are regulars, GP9 8518 is far from is usual western Canada haunts.

Extra 8130 West, the London Pickup, approaches the Highway 97 overpass west of Galt.

The head end brakeman rides CN C630M 2042 as train 404, the Sarnia-Paris turn, wyes its power at Paris Junction before lifting its train to return west as No. 403. Sarnia guys always dressed the part.

Mixed traffic: Extra 5038 West, lead by SD40 5038 and RS18 3739, wheels through Paris Junction with a mixed freight that includes a dimensional load, stock car and piggybacks.

Just out of the paint shop, brand-new CP SD40-2 5801 catches some rays behind its birthplace, the General Motors Diesel plant on London's east end.

Fire-damaged CN GP40-2L 9478 is parked behind the Rectory Street roundhouse awaiting return to GMD for warranty repairs.

End of the line. S3 8490 is next-in-line on the scrap track at the London Reclamation yard.

Freshly overhauled at the Penn central's former Michigan Central shop in St. Thomas, SW1 8462 is testing on the evening yard job before returning to its assignment in Detroit. The pristine EMD scooted away before I could unlock the cable release. 

Glistening in the rain, CP 8518 and RS10 8580 await a late-night call at the Quebec Street roundhouse in London, Ontario.

CN RDC1 6116 leads No. 664 as the London-Toronto train makes its station stop at Stratford, Ontario, on a rainy night.

Calling it a night: CN 3734 at the Stratford roundhouse.