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This photo was taken by my Dad in the summer (July?) of 1963 (thank goodness for dates stamped on Kodak slides). The exact location is not firmly known. Hells Gate gives easy access to the tracks from the highway and there is a tunnel entrance located right there. Thus I feel fairly confident that this is the picture location. Looking on Google Earth, there doesn't seem to be any other points offering a Dad an easy route while he leaves the family in the car. The 9124 was built in Nov./52 and 3 years later (March/66) it will be involved in a rock slide wreck. Oddly enough, this wreck was only several miles north of here at Boothroyd. It was retired shortly afterwards.
Copyright Notice: This image ©S. Priest all rights reserved.



Caption: This photo was taken by my Dad in the summer (July?) of 1963 (thank goodness for dates stamped on Kodak slides). The exact location is not firmly known. Hells Gate gives easy access to the tracks from the highway and there is a tunnel entrance located right there. Thus I feel fairly confident that this is the picture location. Looking on Google Earth, there doesn't seem to be any other points offering a Dad an easy route while he leaves the family in the car. The 9124 was built in Nov./52 and 3 years later (March/66) it will be involved in a rock slide wreck. Oddly enough, this wreck was only several miles north of here at Boothroyd. It was retired shortly afterwards.

Photographer:
S. Priest [143] (more) (contact)
Date: Summer 1963 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 9124 (search)
Train Symbol: Unknown (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Yale Sub. (search)
City/Town: Hells Gate? (search)
Province: British Columbia (search)
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Photo ID: 42262

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6 Comments
  1. Sorry for the clumsy wording. It sounds like 3 years after 1952 this unit met it’s demise. When actually it was 3 years after this photo date of 1963.
    Loco info from the CNRHA website.

  2. Larry – You can only walk down that switchback road to the river at Hell’s Gate these days. Possibly back in ’63 there was vehicle access? It’s quite a long walk both ways. If the train is a westbound it would make sense. Otherwise, China Bar, just north of Hell’s Gate could be another potential location with a shorter walk to the tunnel from the freeway. That would make your train an eastbound though. Knowing the direction would solve it. Would like to hear from others on this one. An interesting puzzle.

  3. Hi there Joe. :-)
    I was thinking of you when posting it last night. Pretty sure it is westbound. I didn’t want to get too wordy with my caption, left a few things out. Myself being about 10 at the time, I cannot recall all the details. I do remember sporting a Hells Gate bumper sticker on our car during the one summer vacation. You are right, it is a long walk down to the gorge. We will have parked up above. My line of thinking, my Dad would not have left us all parked on the side of the highway while he went off taking a picture at the other tunnel locations. Which makes the Gate a very likely spot for catching a photo as well as keeping the family entertained. He did not leave any notes with his slides, so I cannot be firm but this scenario does seem likely. Remembering we had a bumper sticker on the car (green 1956 Plymouth Fury) this morning helped a lot. Takes a few head scratches sometimes to activate those old memories. :-D
    Thanks for your thoughts and help.

  4. Interesting story Larry. The Canyon is a great place to explore. You have me planning a walk in the spring now. It’s unfortunate that the trains are directional running now. Bit of a challenge I guess.:)

  5. Nice shot! Looking at the ditch lights on the front, it seems they are not mounted to the locomotive. Do you know if these were the temporary ditch lights used on some units in the early years when ditch lights were first introduced?

  6. Thanks for your comment Matthew. I do believe those are the mountable style of ditch light. On the original photo the wires are more easily seen that run across the front and then plug in to a receptacle by the little louvers left of the lights. Another good photo showing this, which also shows the little brackets the lights mount on, can be found at rrpicturearchives.net of CN 9132 in green and gold. :-)

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