Two Thousand Words

CN 1800 in Halifax, NS, July 1975. Photographer unknown, collection of Steve Boyko.
CN 1800 in Halifax, NS, July 1975. Photographer unknown, collection of Steve Boyko.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are two slides; 2×1000=2,000. I can still do math!

I put the two photos at the top so you could interpret them yourself. My comments are below. Yours are welcomed!

Lead Photo

There’s a lot to see in the top photo. I bought the slide because of CN 1800, one of the four oddball RSC-24 locomotives that CN owned. These peculiar units were built in 1959 by Montreal Locomotive Works on a switcher frame, and used cantankerous model 244 diesel engines removed from MLW FPA-2 locomotives. These four locomotives served in eastern Canada and ended their career on the former Halifax & Southwestern lines in southern Nova Scotia.

1800 is coupled to a flatcar with a Caravan truck on it, while RSC-14 CN 1774 is in the foreground.

I’m not entirely sure where this is in Halifax. I thought it was in Fairview initially but the more I think about it, the more I’m not convinced.

Bottom Photo

I think this photo is even more interesting. Here we have 1800 with three other units behind it – a steam generator car (with riveted sides!), a “B” unit, and maybe an RSC-14. A crewman is doing something to the steam generator car.

In behind the four units one can catch a glimpse of two heavyweight passenger cars in dull brown, probably used by CN maintenance-of-way crews. A few boxcars and spare wheels can be glimpsed at far right. I feel pretty confident that this must be Fairview Yard if it’s Halifax.

1800 looks like it has a winterization hatch on top of the long hood, which seems odd for July. Maybe that’s not what it is.

Slides like these are like time machines to me. They take you back to a time and place, and allow you to glimpse what the photographer was seeing. They also lead to mystery – it can be fun, or maddening, to try to interpret what the photo is showing.

5 thoughts on “Two Thousand Words”

  1. Those RCS-24’s are oddballs alright! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a loco with a length of only 46′ with six axles, albeit with only four powered.
    Interesting to say the least Steve!

  2. I’d say the first one could well be Fairview, didn’t it have a piggy back unloading track along the back?

    I love the RSC-24s, if someone gets me a drawing I’ll design one!

    • Hi James, I thought Fairview but the cemetery / hill should be visible in the back and I don’t see it. Maybe it’s there and I’m just not looking at it right.

      Send me your email address ( and we’ll see what we can do!


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