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Old Time Trains

Grain Trains

Cliff Beagan

I probably hauled my first train of grain out of Owen Sound in 1951 with a 2200 class steam engine. Nine cars and the caboose, somewhere around 600 tons in all. Those wooden box cars with the exterior steel frame had a 'tare weight' somewhere near 20 tons and they held about 40 tons of wheat. The van weighed 20 tons too. All the grain was loaded by the CNR as the CP elevators had long ago burned down.

Most often (if we did not get by a certain level crossing near the top of the hill) we would stall, cut off 5 cars, and take them to Rockwood, (7 miles) and come back for the 'tail end'. We would then proceed to Saugeen Junction (34 miles) and set the 9 cars off, return to Owen Sound and do the same thing all over again. The 2200 would then be able to handle the 18 cars from there on to Toronto.

I first remember the 'brand spanking new' covered hoppers about 1956?
We hauled them from TH&B Hamilton (Stelco) empty to Toronto, then empty again to Port Mc.Nicoll. They had a Tare weight of 25 tons and would hold 75 tons of grain.

"HOT BOXES" ------They even got hot boxes when traveling empty to Port. And when pulling the train loaded, there was no slack in these new cars at all.
We would stall at the 'north end' of Tottenham with a trainload of those new cars. I would bet there was only about 2 feet of slack in the whole train.
But hot boxes, cinders, and the pounding of them old steam engines aside, I would do it all over again in a minute.

Great memories.

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