Short Canada career for car
Jim Shaughnessy' s "Mohawk Valley Doodlebug" ["The Shaughnessy Files," pages 66-69] reminded me of when I was researching an article for Railway Society's Branchline magazine in 1993. The subject was Manitoba Hydro's 13-mile Kelsey spur in northern Manitoba, an "access line" from Canadian National's Thicket Subdivision at Mile 255 (from The Pas on the line to Churchill) northwest through the bush to the mighty Nelson River, where Hy-dro was building the 102-kilowatt Kelsey power dam in the late 1950's.
In April 1960, Manitoba Hydro pur-chased, through Toronto dealer Andrew Merrilees, the car in the article, the former Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville Brill model 300 doodlebug 340, to haul workers. At Winnipeg, the car was overhauled, painted a dark green, renumbered 61, and sent up to Kelsey. It suffered a serious engine-room fire on July 1, 1960, though, and was sent back to Winnipeg for repairs. It returned to Kelsey in April 1961 but was shortly withdrawn from service when it was determined the fire had seriously damaged the underframe air-brake piping. The car was left at Kelsey to deteriorate, not cut up until the '70's. The remains weren't moved out of Kelsey to a scrapyard until the late '90's.
When I was
doing my research, Manitoba Hydro put me in touch with Allen Dales of Winnipeg, a retired Hydro superintendent who had worked at Kelsey in the early '60's. One snowy evening in January '93, he welcomed me into his home and told me that he'd taken some photos of the rail equipment at Kelsey. Expecting small prints, I was pleasantly surprised when he pulled out 10 Kodachrome slides of the car and a Mack AB Railbus. He was not a railfan. He was merely documenting his place of employment, but he offered me the slides to keep, saying he was thinking about throwing them out. My Christmas surely came a couple of weeks late that season!
Mark A. Perry, Dauphin, Manitoba