Category Archives: CN

03 Jun

Open House at CN Transcona Shops

Yesterday, I attended the first-ever open house at the CN Transcona Shops, put on as part of Transcona’s centennial celebrations taking place this weekend.
I wasn’t alone. There was a long lineup along Pandora Avenue West in advance of the 9:00 opening and I was among the first wave of people through the gates.

After getting past the table where they were giving away little toy foam trains, I made my way to the line for the shop tour.

I was in the second group where CN mechanics Julien and Lars took us around the complex over the course of the next hour and a half.

Our first stop was the building where they repair the cars.

Next, we toured the electrical shop.

On our way to the next building, Julien pointed out the devil that looks over them as they work.

Inside their break room, they had a display of artifacts comparable to what I’ve found at the Winnipeg Railway Museum in Union Station.

The highlight of the tour was seeing all the locomotives on display.

Everything was nicely set up for us to get a true “behind the scenes” look at what they do and all that goes into keeping their trains up and running. There was one locomotive that was open and we were allowed to climb up and go inside. To my surprise, the door was in front and the area in front that one might suspect holds the engine instead is a tiny storage compartment.

Nothing is wasted and everything comes back for repair, even this locomotive that was sideswiped:

This is how they get underneath the engines:

On our way out, they showed us other areas of the shop, including the engine wash.

They lift the engine into this contraption, seal it up, and let it run for four hours.

After the shop tour, there was a lot more to see, including a series of passenger cars and another locomotive. The lines were long and since I had already been inside one moments earlier, I passed on it.

I appreciated the extremely informative tour and I was very glad I made the effort to attend. I was also impressed by the enthusiasm and pride that the shop employees had in their work. It’s not a job for everyone, but they obviously enjoy what they do and it showed.