Main Line Running
Operation of a railroad in the age of steam was a complicated process. For the
Canadian Pacific Railway heavy traffic on the grades in the mountains of
British Columbia required a complex assignment of locomotives and crews.
The greatest problem was the climb over the Selkirk Mountains since this
section combined both steep ascending and descending grades. Steep grades
make locomotives less efficient and more expensive to operate. An uphill-
bound locomotive is only 33% efficient on a 1 percent grade and only 16
percent efficient on a 2.2% grade. The average grade approaching Rogers Pass
from the east was 1.7% and that from the west 1.2%, But the ruling (steepest)
grade from the east was 2.2%, the maximum allowed the Canadian Pacific
Railway under the terms of its contract with the Federal Government.
The largest and most powerful locomotives available to the Canadian Pacific
Railway in the late 1930s were the 2-10-4 Selkirks. Since the tonnage capacity
of one of the Selkirk locomotives over the Selkirk Mountains was 1,050 tons
(1066 tonnes), trains were normally made up in units based on the capacity of
the locomotive, with helpers added as required. As many as four locomotives
were required on some trains. Usually, the road locomotive was placed at the
head of the train and then two helpers were cut into the middle of the train
while the forth locomotive ran just ahead of the caboose. This permitted an
even distribution of the train weight among the locomotives: the lead
locomotive pulling its full tonnage rating, the second locomotive pushing, the
third locomotive pulling and the fourth pushing.
On the severe grades, extra locomotives were required both for their pulling
power and braking capacity. Braking the heavily loaded trains on the long
descending grades was as critical an operation as lifting the tonnage over the
mountains. A moving train has incredible momentum, and can run away on a
downhill grade of just 1 percent. Crews regularly tested the air brakes on the
trains and before a long descent was begun the brakes were applied and
inspected. They were then released and re-examined and the retainers set (to
maintain constant brake shoe pressure). Only then was a train ready to begin
moving downgrade. On long grades, stops were required for brake inspections
and to allow the wheels and brake shoes to cool off.
Dispatchers had to take care not to have a buildup of power at a terminal
coming in from one direction. Such a situation could leave insufficient crews
and locomotives at key locations to handle the traffic on the line. This could
be a particular problem with westbound traffic because it required more
locomotives than did eastbound tonnage. Crews could build up at Revelstoke
when they were needed to the east. To overcome this problem, it was
sometimes necessary to run helper locomotives back over the line without
tonnage. This was an essential, if sometimes inefficient, part of keeping trains
moving through the mountains.
Time required to complete: Approximately 1 hour 35 minutes.
From file JM-12RR.rrw:
Select locomotive CP 4115 at Revelstoke and proceed with passenger train
to station track at Clanwilliam.
Select locomotive CP 1172 at Kamloops and proceed with passenger train
to Taft, then on to Clanwilliam with a stop to cool brakes and meet CP 4115.
Select locomotive 4113 and proceed to passing siding at Glacier.
Select locomotive CP 4115 at Clanwilliam and proceed with passenger train
to Kamloops with a station stop at Taft.
Select locomotive CP 1172 at Clanwilliam and proceed with passenger train
to Revelstoke station track.
Select locomotive CP 4131 at Taft and proceed to Clanwilliam.
Pick up cars CP 221935, CP 221934, CP 221856 and CP 221852 and
Proceed to the through freight track at Revelstoke.
Proceed with CP 1172 passenger train to Field.
Replace CP 4112 with CP 4111 and CP 4114 and CP 4131 with CP 4128
for the climb up the Illecillewaet Valley.
hopper cars in train CP 4113.
Proceed with CP 4128 to Field, and CP 4113 to the through freight track
Move CP 4111, CP 4114 and CP 4113 to the servicing yard at Revelstoke.
(Note: TrainPlayer can get mixed up as to orientation of locomotive and
tender and running direction, i.e. forward and backward. If this has occurred
with CP 4111 and CP 4114, presumably as a result of having been coupled
opposite CP 4112 in the consist, trash CP 4111 and CP 4114 and recreate and
Save file as JM-13RR.rrw