Borden freight car shots – April 1988?

I found these photos in amongst a collection of pictures I took from a tour bus as my grade eight class was leaving on a class trip to New Brunswick. Ever the geek with camera in hand I took these as our bus rolled through the Borden ferry terminal and onto the ferry.

Tool cars - Borden April 1988

My friends from western PEI will be able to fill me in on the blanks and the rest of what I have to say about this shot is all based on treasured assumptions. Emerald Junction and Borden were unique in that they both had a pair of old 40′ box cars stationed as tool sheds up until the end of rail service. Emerald’s actually left on the last train. These are Borden’s in all their friction-bearing trucked glory.

Fuel car - Borden April 1988

This is one of what must be my favourite freight cars. Marine Atlantic (?) had these two cars stationed in Borden to fuel the ferry’s. I’m not sure what role they played in this capacity and always assumed that they would be filled with fuel, then rolled down to the ferry for unloading on the boat. Any ideas? Anyway there were two. In addition to being favourite cars these are also the subject matter for one of my favourite memories of PEI’s railroading curiousities: I had been watching trains arriving in, and departing from Charlottetown, as often as I could. I started to notice that some trains were arriving with these two tank cars in tow. Often the idler flat cars from the ferry terminal were also “along for the ride”. Since it didn’t make any sense to me why these were there I figured I’d just ask someone from the train. Apparently CN had a rule about needing five cars to “run a train”. Near the end only one car would actually need to be delivered to Charlottetown (the propane cars, one at a time) so the crew would grab the other four from the Borden yard and take them Charlottetown – and there you go, five cars in and five out. I loved it. My own HO scale railroad adopted a similar operation. The tank cars you could easily model using the Life-Like train set (there wasn’t any Proto 2000, 1000, etc. then) 10,000 gallon tank cars painted blue with no lettering and the flat cars, well I improvised with some re-painted and re-lettered Tyco cars ressurected from a GI Joe train set I had purchased on sale at Towers.

For what it’s worth, the tank cars are still around. You can easily see them in their final resting place alongside the trail just after the Sherwood Road crossing. They are on the Island Paving site. On one of the last trips out of Charlottetown, these two cars were pushed down along the siding and then over the end and onto the ground. They are still there today. Here’s the map:

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