June 20, 1974 (only yesterday)

Forty years ago today, June 20, 1974, I struck out from Lethbridge, Alberta, to Crowsnest, B.C., on the first full day of a 10-day expedition in search of CP CLCs on the Kootenay Division. Day one, which included Trainmasters on the hump at Alyth, and an FPA2 and RS10 leading the eastbound Canadian out of town was none too shabby, but this, the first real day, was one for the ages. It seems like yesterday.

No. 78, with CP 8537 and 8724, performs its brake test at Lethbridge before departing for the BN connection at Coutts.

Flying green, First 70 departs Coalhurst with CP 8659, PNC 144 and CP 4433 hauling ballast hoppers. The headlights of two following east bounds are visible alongside the Alberta Pool elevator on the horizon.

An Angus-built steel van brings up the markers as First 70 rattles eastward from Coalhurst, Alberta, June 20, 1974.

The conductor on Extra 5611 West is out on the rear platform of wooden van 436891 as his train rounds a curve west of Brocket, Alberta.

Extra 8632 West slipping wildly on the approach to Cowley, Alberta, on June 20, 1974. Three-builder lash-up includes far-from-home RS18 8760 bracketed by FMs 8555 and 4065. The sound was incredible, but the best was yet to come.

Gravity and wet rail defeated Extra 8632 West on the climb to Frank. Doubling the hill, C-line 4065 leads the way as the crew departs Frank for the second half of the train.

Tracing the Crowsnest River, No. 72 rolls east of Coleman, headed for a meet with Extra 8632 West at Blairmore.

No. 980 struggling on the climb from McGillvray to Crowsnest with M630 4511 leading a trio of CLCs: H16-44s 8714 and 8603 followed by CPA16-4 4105. This was one of the most incredible sound shows I've ever experienced. My kingdom for a tape recorder.