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Steam locomotives
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A trip to yesteryear

The item is a promotional film from 1974. It depicts a steam train excursion from North Vancouver to Squamish with the Royal Hudson, operated by the BC Railway Company for the provincial government.

British Columbia Railway Company

Alex Matkoski interview

SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Experiences of a steam and diesel locomotive engineer PERIOD COVERED: 1956-1974 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1974-07-24 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Alex Matkoski describes the differences in the ride of steam and diesel locomotives. Gives an evaluation of Climax, Shay and Heisler locomotives. Maintenance procedure on a GM locomotive. Maintenance procedure on a steam engine. Interview was recorded on diesel engine #302 on the Canadian Forest Products Railway. [TRACK 2: blank; end of interview.]

[Alfred E. Booth footage : CBC sample reel]

Footage. Comprises eight unedited film items from the Alfred E. Booth collection.

  1. Cariboo scenes, ca. 1936: includes ranch scenes (Flying U Ranch?), river ferry, etc.
  2. B.C. interior scenes, ca. 1937-1945: includes buses, beer parlour interior, Kamloops Indian Residential School, fire trucks, steam train.
  3. Kelowna Regatta, ca. 1939: water sports, lifesaving class, "Ogopogo" replica, Okanagan scenery.
  4. Greenwood, ca. 1939: visiting baseball team on street with locals, mining scenes, old-timers, artist at work, scenery.
  5. Edgewood and Arrow Lakes area, ca. 1938: townsfolk, street scenes, etc.
  6. Cariboo scenes, ca. 1936 or 1939: guest ranch scenes (Flying U Ranch?), orchard, trail riding (or pack train?) scenes. 7. New Denver area scenes, ca. 1938-1939: ore refining [?], town scenes, fire hall, etc.
  7. Pier D fire, Vancouver, 27 July 1938: the fire (various angles), crowd of onlookers, fire crews and fireboats at work.

Andy Gray interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-10-30 SUMMARY: Andy Gray recalls in detail his career on the CPR. Born in Scotland, he came to Canada in 1890 and then to Vancouver 1892. He began work on the CPR in 1906 as a "wiper", then a fireman, and by 1911 as an engineer. He discusses his experience working with the trains in Revelstoke from 1909 to 1915; the Rogers Pass Slide of 1910 with the only survivor, Bill LaChance; train recollections throughout the province; Kootenay Central; and "Cranbrook Ed," who was one of the escaped elephants from a visiting circus at Cranbrook.

B.A. "Spike" Carson interview : [Turner, 1979]

CALL NUMBER: T3355:0001 RECORDED: Ladysmith (B.C.), 1979-01-16 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Spike Carson discusses his background and how he got into railroading: born in Port Alberni in 1913; quit school at 14; worked as a carpenter's helper, then at a sawmill, learned to drive a truck; 1930 he began working for E&N Railway; worked all over the Island for E&N; at first, he was just a 'wiper'; first fast ride on a locomotive; went to APL to do braking in 1938- then 'firing', then running; stories about his running days (running engines); biggest train he ever handled; working on spurs; describes the locomotives; story about Hap Murray; anecdote about meeting someone who had never seen a locomotive before; oil vs. coal in the running of locomotives; log dump for the APL line. TRACK 2: Spike Carson: night shift and day shift tasks; further description of engines; Pacific Coast shay; after Port Alberni was finished he decided to drive trucks; driving trucks down by Franklin River; hurting his leg and having to stop work; helping with a steam engine up in Nanaimo; more on grades of lines; anecdotes about running a train in the mid-twentieth century.

CALL NUMBER: T3355:0002 RECORDED: Ladysmith (B.C.), 1979-01-16 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Spike Carson discusses: bridging loads of lumber out of the mill; machinery used in railroading at this time; many scares when he was firing; handling trains on slippery grades; used to hills because of his work in coastal B.C. [TRACK 2: blank; end of interview.]

Bill La Chance interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1965-03-09 SUMMARY: Mr. E.W. (Bill) LaChance recalls his experiences working as an locomotive fireman and engineer for the CPR, based in Revelstoke. This interview mainly relates his story as the sole survivor of the Rogers Pass Snow slide of 1910, in which fifty-eight railroad workers were killed.

Bob Winthrope interview

RECORDED: Nanaimo (B.C.), 1979-06-28 SUMMARY: One in a series of interviews about the history of Vancouver Island's coal mining industry and mining communities. Assembling trips; driving in mine locomotive; mules; timber cracking.;

Brian Nicol collection of railroad and ship sounds

The item consists of copies of recorded sounds of railroad locomotives, ships, and their acoustic environments, originally recorded on Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland between 1966 and 1978. It includes several sounds which have since become "extinct;". These tape copies are compilations condensed from the donor's originals and copied in 1981. Includes recordings of the Royal Hudson #2860 steam locomotive (T3848:0001-0003); railway yard switching and freight trains, North Vancouver (T3848:0003); Provincial Museum train steam locomotive #1077, steam donkey engine, steam locomotive #3716, and locomotives at the Cowichan Forest Museum (T3848:0003); shipyard sounds, various B.C. Ferries in Active Pass, the steamship "Princess Marguerite", and various ship's whistles at First Narrows and in Burrard Inlet (T3848:0004).

Nicol, Brian R.

[British Columbia Forest Branch / Forest Service collection, reel 38]

Footage. B.C. Interior scenes: loading logs onto truck. A portable tie mill on a sled. Truckload of sawn ties. Moving the mill. Men unloading logs from truck with peaveys. Skidding logs with a team of horses. Unloading logs into water. Falling and bucking. Horses yarding. Truckload of logs on plank road. B.C. coast scenes: logging camp. Steam donkey and A-frame on float. Building a Davis raft. Locomotive. Trestle with locomotive and long train of logs.

[British Columbia Indians, ca. 1941]

Amateur film. Miscellaneous footage taken during the time that Miss Gerry worked as a nurse for the federal Dept. of Indian and Northern Affairs. Includes footage of Indian reserves and villages, celebrations and school children; a First Communion procession at St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church in North Vancouver; hospital and clinic scenes; residential schools and Coqualeetza Indian School and Hospital; Cariboo highway and scenery; Williams Lake Stampede; etc. Also includes OUR CARIBOO NEIGHBORS, a discrete two-reel film that depicts a 1941 automobile journey to visit Indian reserves and missions in the Cariboo. For a detailed content summary of OUR CARIBOO NEIGHBORS, see item description AAAA5215.

Canadian heritage series, volume 1 : Sounds of steam

SUMMARY: Field recordings of two steam locomotives. TRACK 1: Former Canadian Pacific Railway Class H1e, No. 2860 (Royal Hudson class). Built at Montreal, 1940; retired in 1958. Purchased by B.C. government in; 1974, and used for excursion traffic on the British Columbia Railway between North Vancouver and Squamish. TRACK 2: Former Canadian Pacific Railway Class N2b, No. 3716. Built in Montreal 1912; retired in 1958. Puchased by the B.C. government in 1974 and used on the British Columbia Museum Train, for private rail excursions, and in motion pictures.

Charlie Midnight interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], [197-?] SUMMARY: An oral history interview with Charlie Midnight, who worked for 52 years on the PGE as an engine driver. He talks about having Princess Margaret as a passenger in 1958 (including RCMP security), steam engines, snowslides, derailments, Prince George arrival, parties and whisky.

[CHEK-TV news film -- celebrity interviews and other footage]

Stock shots. 1. Public Service Alliance meeting - unidentified speaker. 2. Air Canada plane arrives. 3. Airport interior with Oriental family. 4. Unidentified (First Nations?) couple in apartment. 5. John Wayne - on his boat in Inner Harbour. 6. David Suzuki - interview. 7. Rolf Harris - at a school, Monday, February 9, 1981. 8. [Unidentified.] 9. [Unidentified.] 10. Peter C. Newman. 11. Pierre Berton. 12. School exterior. 13. Large tree fallen on power lines. 14. Storm damage. 15. Damaged vehicles. 16. Truck being pulled out of the Inner Harbour. 17. Overturned fuel truck in ditch. 18. Garbage on roadside - garbage truck in ditch. 19. The Snowbirds - planes flying in formation. 20. MLAs in the legislature. 21. The ferry "Queen of Prince Rupert". 22. Free bus. 23. Front-end loader. 24. Steam engine #4012.

[Coquihalla lodge, fishing, miscellaneous railway shots]

Amateur film footage. The beginning and middle of this film reel contain shots taken from trains leaving or arriving in Vancouver on the CPR main line. The balance of the reel includes: views along the Kettle Valley Railway; activities at the rail station of Coquihalla and nearby Lil-Joe Lodge; CPR steam locomotives 3628 and 3652; Sperry Rail Services rail detector car SRS 130; clearing of land, horse logging, and construction of log buildings for the lodge; a pack train; and row boats and trout fishing on the Coquihalla Lakes.

[Fraser Canyon motoring] : [footage and out-takes]

Footage. This is a compilation of footage showing motoring through the Fraser Canyon from Hope to near Lytton. Depicted at length are the canyon gorges and the turbulent Fraser River, as well as the highway and railway routes along the steep canyon walls. Also shows motorists' accommodations en route: Fort Hope Tavern, All Hallow's Lodge (Yale), and Alexandra Lodge.

From nowhere to . . .

The item is a promotional film from 1977. "This short feature covers the railway from its birth in 1912 to the final spike. . . . Many old scenes of early railroading mixed with good footage of the modern railway." The historical material largely comprises old stills, along with some b&w archival footage of steam train operations.

George H. Williamson interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1964-11-10 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. G.H. Williamson recalls his 40 year career with the CPR. Born in Toronto, he moved to Donald, B.C., in 1892 and started with the railways. By 1900 he was working as an engineer. He discusses the community of Donald, the town, and the CPR facilities. He provides descriptions of railway equipment, engines, train mechanics, rails and grades. This portion of the tape concludes with descriptions of the Rogers Pass rail service and snow slides.

TRACK 2: Mr. Williamson continues with recollections of his railway career, the Rogers Pass area, the destruction of the original Roger's Pass Station and facilities in an 1898 slide, the Rogers Pass Slide of 1910, the construction of the railway tunnels in the Field area, railway accidents and the dismantling of the Donald CPR shop which was moved to Revelstoke.

George Lutz and Jack Vetleson interview

CALL NUMBER: T0538:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): George Lutz and Jack Vetleson: a logger's life, 1930s-1970s PERIOD COVERED: 1943-1948 RECORDED: Beaver Cove (B.C.), 1974-07-25 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Lutz and Vetleson came to Nimpkish Valley, 1943-44. Story of Lutz's arrival, 1943. Description of Englewood B.C. ca. 1943. Bunkhouse conditions, 1940s. Description of Immigrant labourers. Hiring practices and anecdotes about hiring practices. Holiday shut downs. Anecdotes about loggers and alcohol. Attitudes toward loggers. "Spending sprees". Loggers' salaries. Falling techniques and early chain saws. "Eight Day Wilson" and other legendary loggers. "Mancatchers" and other anecdotes. TRACK 2: Anecdotes about drinking. "Mancatcher" story (cont'd). Vancouver "hangouts" of loggers. Black's (a loggers' agency). Working conditions in tough camps. Loggers' financial problems. Problems with coastal travel and transportation. Ship schedules to Englewood. Anecdotes about loggers' games and competitions. Description of railway logging. Bringing in a locomotive to the Englewood area and re-building the railway line, ca. 1946. More on railway logging (methods and techniques). CALL NUMBER: T0538:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): George Lutz and Jack Vetleson: a logger's life, 1930s-1970s PERIOD COVERED: 1943-1948 RECORDED: Beaver Cove (B.C.), 1974-07-25 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Learning how to run different types of equipment (grapples, cat-sides). Duties of the Equalizer (foreman). Uses of the steam locomotives and laying track. Moving a skyline, by hand. Lack of concern for minor injuries. Anecdotes about card playing, movies and recreation. Laying track, runaways, accidents while working on the railway. Anecdotes about working on the railway. Replacing the steam locomotives. Anecdotes about the camp sanitation facilities. Rough-housing in the camp. TRACK 2: Community life in Woss. Laying in and cutting wood supplies for the winter. Superintendent McEachern, C. Hunter and railway anecdotes. The process of building the railway. The track laying machine built at Englewood. The many uses of powder and blasting. The innovative nature of loggers. Sam Madill equipment manufacturer. Using old logging equipment. Superintendent Russell Mills. Making logger's punch. Safety concerns in the 1940s. Introduction of hardhats, 1952-53. CALL NUMBER: T0538:0003 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): George Lutz and Jack Vetleson: a logger's life, 1930s-1970s PERIOD COVERED: 1943-1948 RECORDED: Beaver Cove (B.C.), 1974-07-25 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Work safety, 1940s through 1970s. Establishment of first safety committee in the Nimpkish Valley, 1948-50. Problems enforcing safety regulations, 1970s. Safety rallies in 1950s-60s. Working in the winter, 1940s. Camp pets, anecdotes. First aid men, 1940s and 1970s. Single men and married men in camp. Choosing supervisory personnel, 1970s. TRACK 2: Supervisors in 1949. Worker advancement in the 1940s. Management of loggers in 1940s and 1970s. (End of interview)

Horace Hinton interview

CALL NUMBER: T0500:0001 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Horace Hinton : life in the Nimpkish Valley, 1919-1962 PERIOD COVERED: 1919-1962 RECORDED: Delta (B.C.), 1974-07-09 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Hinton discusses early logging experience: move to Nimpkish Valley from Washington State, 1919; description of English Logging Company Camp #1; railroad personnel; aspects of railway logging; problems of isolation; logging camp life; life in Englewood, ca. 1926. TRACK 2: Mr. Hinton comments on: Shay and Climax engines; Japanese mill workers at Englewood; life in the logging camps during the 1930s; railway logging in Nimpkish Valley, 1930-70; railway maintenance and accidents, 1930-70. CALL NUMBER: T0500:0002 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Horace Hinton : life in the Nimpkish Valley, 1919-1962 PERIOD COVERED: 1920-1956 RECORDED: Delta (B.C.), 1974-10-03 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Hinton discusses: Japanese mill workers at Englewood, 1920-40; Chinese mill workers at Nimpkish Lake; floating camps (description and conditions); repairing logging equipment particularly steam locomotives. TRACK 2: Mr. Hinton discusses: repairing locomotives (cont'd); working hours of locomotive engineers, 1920-40; the change from steam to diesel locomotives, 1951-52; registration of locomotives at Nimpkish; farms in the Nimpkish River area, 1920s; recreation and holidays from the camp, 1920s; travel on the union steamship line along the B.C. coast, 1930-40; description of company personnel, Frank Coleman and Russell Mills. CALL NUMBER: T0500:0003 SUPPLIED TITLE OF TAPE(S): Horace Hinton : life in the Nimpkish Valley, 1919-1962 PERIOD COVERED: 1920-1974 RECORDED: Delta (B.C.), 1974-10-03 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Mr. Hinton discusses: company personnel (cont'd); Eli Tibiff, 1920s; mechanical training of Hinton, 1930s; description of William "Bill" McMahon. (End of interview)

Jim Wolverton interview

RECORDED: [location unknown], 1978-11-08 SUMMARY: In an interview with Robert Turner, Jim Wolverton discusses his experiences in railroading: started in 1913 at 16 years of age; started firing on a 23 ton, then a 40 ton shay for the Puget Sound Northern Timber Company; burned coal in those days; became an engineer when his supervisor retired; no exams in logging in those days; paid $110 a month as an engineer in the beginning; long and tiring hours; stayed at Port Angeles from 1913 to 1920. [Remainder of interview not transcribed.]

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