Old Canadian Railways
Robot Cars


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In former days, long trains required several steam locomotives and each required its own crew. Speed had to be constant and everything fairly well synchronized for smooth operation. Diesel locomotives were fairly well restricted to what they could pull and, if the load was greater, it required an extra diesel and its crew.

Coal extracted in Southern Alberta and Southern BC as well as wheat from the Prairies required longer trains to transport
them more economically through the Rockies, particularly the CP Mountain Sub between Field and Revelstoke BC. Around 1967, a solution was found by having the lead unit send out remote signals to other motive units within the train, by a system called "Locotrol"  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locotrol

Housed in a converted boxcar or in some cases, inside the shell of a discarded B (cabless) units and signals would be sent
from the master to all the slave units, ensuring that they kept up to the speed selected by the control unit, including speed 
and braking application.

Several tests determined that the best place for the slave unit was mid-train. Average 1970s motive power through the 
Rockies was 2 or 3 (and up to 5) SD-40s on the point, followed by freight cars; then  a Locotrol Robot car mid train, 
followed by two SD-40s then more freight cars and finally a caboose, for an average train length of just under a mile.

With improvement in solid state technology, Locotrol equipment took less space. By about 1983, CP had started to
place Locotrol equipment into the nose of its newer SD40-2 units as standard equipment and all the ROBOT cars were
gradually phased out. More than 8500 locomotives worldwide are now equipped with Locotrol. http://www.getransportation.com/rail/rail-products/locomotives/on-board-systems/l.html
These trains were actually well over 3000 feet long and many, well over 40,000 tons. 

The first Robot car ( Robot-1) was put in service in November 1967. It was painted in the CPR tuscan and grey scheme. 
After a long period of testing four more were built in 1968. They got the then current blue with multi-mark paint scheme,
and were numbered from 1002 to 1005. More followed.

A typical setup of the late 80s, with two SD40s  and ROBOT car spliced mid-train. 

The body of water in front it, Wapta Lake and the photo is taken around May. Temperature still hovers around the 0 Celsius in April.
Water on the lake only starts to thaw out about July. It is the source of the Kicking Horse River further west and its water comes directly from glaciers in the area. 

Wapta Lake is situated a few miles west of Lake Louise and is the beginning of about a 12-mile descent for cars on the Trans-Canada Highway.
One that is also made by westbound CPR trains to Field BC, through the Spiral Tunnels.
More about the Spiral Tunnels  at: http://yourrailwaypictures.com/Tunnels/

Photo: Massey F. Jones


 


CP Robot Car #1019 at Revelstoke BC, July 1988
This Robot car was built from Ex-baggage car #4465
and used in 1967, together with SD40 #5557,
This Locotrol setup needed Robot cars to store
the radio equipment and data processing equipment,
needed to communicate between the lead and slave
units. They carried the Receiver equipment for Locotro
l I. Locotrol was the first version of what's called 
DPU these days. CP Rail put the equipment
in the Robot Cars instead of putting it into locomotives
so that they could use it with any locomotive that had
MU capability.
This picture was taken and submitted by Jim Booth, Willingdon AB
BCR RCC-7 Robot car with CP 6057 at Port Coquitlam BC, 
May 1987
This picture was taken and submitted by Jim Booth, Willingdon AB
The other end of RCC 7 at Alyth Yard; May 6, 1989. 
This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
Robot-32 is pictured here at Alyth Yard (Calgary) 
on May 6, 1989.

The car was built in 1977 from CP Boxcar #204200 
repainted with the CP Multimark and end safety
stripes. It was owned by owned by Ontario Hydro, sub-lettered CPHX #1032 and retired in May 1991. 

In the early 70s, Locotrol had to fit on a large panel
inside a boxcar. Read all about Locotrol at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locotrol and view what 
the GE Locotrol tm system looks like today at: http://www.ecomagination.com/portfolio/locotrol-
system

 

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
Robot -21 was Alyth Yard (Calgary) on May 5th, 1989.

It was built in the east-end Montreal's CP Angus in 
1974 and numbered 1021 and like many other ROBOT
cars, was retired in May 1991, when the Locotrol 
system installed in the nose of its SD40 locomotives,
became the regular mode of communication between 
the lead locomotive and all others in the consist. 
The purpose is explained in another caption on
this page.

 

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
ROBOT 25 near Ogden (Calgary) , September 1985.
This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
ROBOT 18 at the CPR Alyth Yard on May 5th, 1989.

It was built in 1974 by Canadian Pacific’s Angus Shops 
in Montreal from a boxcar, along with some others 
(Robots 1017 – 1031).  The purpose of the ROBOT 
cars is described in another caption.

1018 was retired in May 1991.

 

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
Robot 32 spliced between 8830 and another yard
switcher at Alyth Yard;  May 6, 1989.

Shortly thereafter, 8830 had its high nose chopped 
and was renumbered 8249. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx
?id=550324

Notice the RCC7 and RCC106 in the background
at the far left.

 

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
CPR 1011 (Robot 11), entering CPR Tunnel No 1, at
Yale BC in the mid-70s. This tunnel was the very first, 
hand drilled and blasted through solid rock by navvies 
in the early 1880s, in order to link Montreal to 
Vancouver. The lead unit for this train (already in the
tunnel) is Extra West CP 5809, shown
about mid-page at http://yourrailwaypictures.com/OldDiesels/index-
CP_Freight.html

Robot 11 is the former Fairbanks Morse CP 4450, 
built in 1952 (Ser# 2687) by the Canadian Locomotive Company if Kingston, Ontario as a CFB 16-4 (cabless) 
unit and converted to a Robot by CP in 1972 before
being retired in October 1984.

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
Another view of the CPR 1011 (Robot 11), exiting the
Yale No 2 Tunnel in the Fraser canyon westbound. 
The tunnel was also constructed in the early 1800s. 
CP5571 behind the Robot is mid-train unit working off 
Robot 11. Lead unit CP 5809 is already into No 1 Tunnel 
and the train is travelling westbound to Vancouver.

CP 5571 was retired in August 1999 and sold to First 
Union Rail, becoming FURX 3004 and modeled 
"ready-to-run" in HO by Athern. http://www.athearn.com/Products/Default.aspx?
ProdID=ATH8005

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones
RCC 106 was built by EMD as an F7B for the
Great Northern Railroad (GN #307B) in October 1950. 
Following a railway merger it was eventually converted
from an F7B unit to Robot Control Car RCU 106, and
then renamed RCC 106 on the Burlington 
Northern roster. 

In March 1980, RCC 106 was sold to BC Rail, who 
subsequently leased it to CP Rail where it was
supposed to become RCC-5 but was never renumbered. 
The unit was sold or retired sometime in the 1990s.

 

This picture was taken and submitted by Massey F. Jones

 
 
 
 The Steam Engines of the CNR
 The Steam Engines of the CPR
Old Canadian Diesels
   

 
 
Canadian Train Stations
The Grain Elevators
of Western Canada
Canadian Railway Tunnels
with a detailed look at the
CPR Spiral Tunnels
     
Cabooses 
Canadian Railway Artifacts
Train Bridges and Trestles
The Scrap Yard
Old Canadian Rolling Stock
 Passenger Cars
Canadian Old Logging Equipment
and Steam and Diesel Locomotives
 
 Electric Locomotives and Street Cars
 Old Canadian Rolling Stock
 Freight Cars
 Industrial and on Site Diesel 
Locomotives
 
The Newfoundland Railway
 

Two site worth looking at.

The Memory Lane Railway Museum in Middleton, Nova Scotia.
The only exclusive Dominion Atlantic Railway museum in the world

Welcome to the DAR DPI
A web community initiative intent on digitally preserving
the history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway


Links
Visit our Home in Summerville Nova Scotia. This house was built in 1873.
Where we live and what we do
A Nova Scotia Snow Storm Hits Summerville
A Nova Scotia Snow Storm Hits Summerville
The Steam Locomotives of the CPR
The Steam Engines of the CNR
Train Bridges and Trestles
Canadian Railway Tunnels with a detailed look 
at the CPR Spiral Tunnels
Old Canadian Diesels
The Grain Elevators of Western Canada
Canadian National Railways Motive Power Statistics Index
Jerry Barnes' Garden Railway, The SCRR
The Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society
The Nova Scotia Railway Heritage Society
Historic Aircraft Pictures
Visit John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
The Yard Limit's page on the 
Windsor & Hantsport Railway (WHRC)
CN Pensioners' Association
The Stanley Steamer

For all you steam fans, this page is a must

Visit Lonnie Hedgepeth's 
of Rocky Mount, North Carolina site.
He has used the plans provided on Covered Bridge Plans  webpage and is 
building a Covered Bridge for his Live Steam train.
Many new pictures have been added including pictures of his Live Steam Engine
The building trades class at Darlington HS in Darlington, Wisconsin built this covered bridge for a local business man
 Tour the 64 remaining Covered Bridges
 of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges that once
dotted Nova Scotia.
Lilies From the Valley
A Vast selection of Oriental and Asiatic previously cut commercially grown bulbs ready for shipment anywhere in Canada
Visit my Jeep page
A Picture Review of the Jeeps
from 1940 to the present
A Picture Review of the 
Nash, Hudson
and the cars of American Motors
A Picture Review of the Hudsons and Terraplanes
that were found in Australia
A Picture Review Studebaker
A Picture review of the Packard
A Picture Review of the
Pickup Truck from 1940 to 1969
A Picture review of the Volkswagen
A Picture Tour of the Kaiser Frazer
A Picture Tour of the
A Picture Tour of the Henry J
A Picture Tour of the Crosley
A Picture Review of the Chevrolet
from 1916 tto 1970
A Picture Review of the Ford
from 1908 to 1969
The Chrysler Airflow
View some of John Evan's  Artwork
View some of
John' Evan's Artwork
This site has quite a collections
of John's artwork.
View these old cars as you haven't before.
Eric Gordon's Kaiser Rebuild
There are many pictures showing the
details of this Rebuild
E Mail

 
 

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