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Just a few minutes prior to this photo, I was taking pictures of an Edmonton bound loaded sulphur train. As the caboose went by, in the distance you could see the section men were following close behind (it was after 12:30 and time for a dinner stop at Gibbons). Glad I waited for a photo as the fellows inside gave me a nice clear "rabbit ears" through the window. These new speeders were not many years old at this time. But, just like the yard cabs I made mention of in a previous caption, they did not last long. Trucks became the norm for traveling the rails. I have made a few trips myself in a speeder and comfortable they are not. I'm sure most enjoyed the move to truck cabs, certainly more comfy, quiet and warm. Photo taken just east of the highway overpass at Gibbons.
Copyright Notice: This image ©L. Parks all rights reserved.



Caption: Just a few minutes prior to this photo, I was taking pictures of an Edmonton bound loaded sulphur train. As the caboose went by, in the distance you could see the section men were following close behind (it was after 12:30 and time for a dinner stop at Gibbons). Glad I waited for a photo as the fellows inside gave me a nice clear "rabbit ears" through the window. These new speeders were not many years old at this time. But, just like the yard cabs I made mention of in a previous caption, they did not last long. Trucks became the norm for traveling the rails. I have made a few trips myself in a speeder and comfortable they are not. I'm sure most enjoyed the move to truck cabs, certainly more comfy, quiet and warm. Photo taken just east of the highway overpass at Gibbons.

Photographer:
L. Parks [113] (more) (contact)
Date: 05/25/1989 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 176-16 (search)
Train Symbol: Speeder (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Coronado Sub. (search)
City/Town: Gibbons (search)
Province: Alberta (search)
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Photo ID: 38834

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9 Comments
  1. Hi Larry. My recent posting of a CN Woodings motor car has prompted me to make a correction to my January 16, 2020 comment to your above photo. The car you photographed is a Woodings Railcar model CBL (4-man section car), and not a model CBI (2-man inspection car. You can tell by the double hinged, extra wide two-piece side door it is a slightly larger car. CN track motor cars were numbered as follows (during my tenure at HQ)
    CN 130-xx through CN 149-xx 2-man inspection cars
    CN 150-xx through CN 179-xx 4-man section cars
    CN 180-xx through CN 195-xx 8-man gang cars
    There were some exceptions to this numbering system throughout the years such as CN Telecommunications motor cars having numbers in the CN 100-xx range.

  2. Does anyone know if this speeder still exists? Lots of surplus CN equipment has been sold off including lots of Fairmonts and Woodings cars.

  3. Larry, great to see you back!! Another set of fantastic pictures, you have any of the freights at Gibbons?

  4. Thanks Larry. FYI, I started my railway career in 1969 as a CN extra gang labourer in northern Ontario during the summer school break. I hired on full time with CN in 1971 as a sectionman in Jarvis, ON then transferred to the Work Equipment Department in the fall of 1972 in Toronto, ON. I spent the next 18 years in work equipment, in various locations, in a variety of increasingly responsible positions. From 1979 to 1982 I was at CN System H.Q. in Montreal with responsibility for specification writing and the acquisition of new work equipment system wide. I left CN at the end of 1990 and worked the next 28 years in the railway supply industry representing major work equipment manufacturers to the industry. I retired in March of 2018 after 49 years in the railway industry. As for the Woodings track motor cars (speeders as you say), I conducted inspections and testing on them in the early 80′s when they were first produced, so I have a little first-hand knowledge. :-)

  5. Thanks Paul. I was hoping you would leave an informed comment on these, at the time, new speeders. You must have access to a small library of books on rail equipment and such. Your generosity in sharing is very appreciated. :-)

  6. This particular track motor car is a Woodings Railcar model CBI 2-man inspection car. They were manufactured in Alexandria, ON in the 1980′s. For a very brief time Woodings attempted to be the competition to Fairmont Railway Motors for the supply of inspection & section type motor cars, but, hi-rail vehicles would slowly put an end to era of these noisy, cramped vehicles.

  7. I cannot argue that the vehicles used today have many benefits. As a track side observer, I do miss the speeders and the little wagons they pulled. They were a very integral part of railroading. The section crews were a part of my scanning system in those days. If you saw them out working on the track, no trains at the present time. When they came zipping back into town, something was up and their radio’s were easy to be overheard, letting you know exactly what was coming or going to happen. Thanks for your comments guys. :-)

  8. That looks like fun to ride, and a chiropractor’s dream.

  9. I wondered when someone was going to post a picture of one of these hot rods!! :o )
    Looks good!

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