Sunday, 1 July 2012

On where CPR stores hopper cars

I left the B&B I had been sharing with a family from Denmark I understand at a reasonable hour this morning. The day was hot and sunny. Lovely for 1st of July parties but less desirable for biking. I went through a lot of fluids today.

I also had some tension to deal with as I couldn't seem to get my iPhone to call the motel in Treherne I had my eye on in order to confirm a bed for the night. Cellphone coverage is a bit spotty in these parts.

This only added insult to injury as the coverage in Saskatchewan caused me some headaches. Saskatchewan is technically in the Central Time zone, the same as Manitoba. However, they don't have daylight savings time there, so for most of the year they have the same time as Alberta. This arrange apparently confuses cellphones as when I crossed into Saskatchewan my iPhone jumped ahead an hour despite the fact it shouldn't have. It later corrected itself but the thing bore double checking. Still later as I neared the Manitoba border it began to prematurely set itself ahead by an hour. Finally, when I was in Souris, it set itself back an hour! Currently, it is behaving itself.

In the town Holland, the last one before Treherne, I finally made contact with the Motel who indeed had a room available. This was just as well as I later found out that my backup place in Holland was closed for holiday.

Leaving Holland for the last 14 kms to Treherne, I saw the end of a what I thought was a long grain train stationary on the the CPR branch line that ran beside the highway. In order to pass the time, I decided I would measure the length of the train using my bike computer. Except it was exactly a train. It was instead where CPR is storing currently unneeded hopper cars. How do I know this? First of all, the line of cars extended nearly 10 kms, which I believe is longer than the longest train ever. Second, there were no locomotives around. Thirdly, the line of cars was broken in about a half dozen places to allow road traffic through. To top it off, crossing the track in Treherne, I am pretty sure I saw more of the same on the other of the town!

The cars themselves make an interesting study as they bore a wide range of makings from their owners. There were cars from CPR, the governments of Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan (but oddly not Manitoba) as well as the Soo Line, the Canadian Wheat Board and Pilsbury. As in the Pilsbury Dough Boy. Even amongst the cars of a single owner, there were cars in liveries of several eras in corporate branding. I counted at least 4 from CPR alone, 2 of them using the name CP Rail.

As I walked from my motel to find some supper at the Ho Wah Gardens restaurant and lounge, I was diverted to Treherne's main tourist attraction, namely a set of buildings made of bottles. There was a house, church, a working outhouse with a flush toilet and a wishing well. A volunteer who happened to be painting a door gave me the tour. They had been built in the early 1980s by a local farmer. They were given to and moved into town around 2006. Rather neat really.

Tomorrow, I am going to try to get up early to beat the heat and make my way into Winnipeg. I will be at least a day ahead of schedule thanks to the wind on Wednesday. Forecast is for hot and muggy with a chance of a thunderstorm.

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