Sunday, December 21, 2014

Southwest Manitoba Elevator Trip, Part 6 - Starting the Second Day

Napinka, Manitoba

Back in August 2014 I took two days (Aug 8-9) to photography every grain elevator in southwest Manitoba. Here's part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4 and part 5.

I arose bright and early on the morning of August 9, 2014 to continue photographing Manitoba's grain elevators. I left Melita and headed due east to Medora to photograph its remaining elevator.


This tiny town has one remaining grain elevator, an ex United Grain Growers (UGG) elevator.

The light blue lettering and roof is a give-away that it was UGG.

The other giveaway is the faded UGG logo on the side of the weathered wooden structure.

Under the UGG logo is a Sherritt logo. I'm not sure what this structure used to be but it sure has some nice weathering.

The elevator appears to be privately owned and in operation.

Next I headed to...


The town of Napinka, namesake for the CP Napinka subdivision, has two grain elevators. The left elevator is the former Pool "A" elevator and the right (an ex Ogilvie elevator) is the former Pool "B" elevator. The very end of the Napinka subdivision is visible between the horses and the elevators. There used to be a wye here with the CP Estevan subdivision but the west leg was removed some time ago.

Here's the former Pool "A" elevator.

The former Pool "B" elevator is an ex Ogilvie grain elevator.

The "POOL B" is faded on this side but more pronounced on the other side.

Those SOO hoppers are pretty beat up!

After that, it was off to one of my favourite towns from this trip, Tilston.

However, I'm going to skip over that town for now and come back to it in the next post. I think it's worthy of its own post.

After leaving Tilston, I came across a crop duster doing passes over some sunflower fields. It was quite interesting!

This was C-GYGV, a Cessna A188B built in 1975. The A188 was a purpose-built agricultural aircraft. Almost 4000 of these were built. You can see a video of an A188B planting rice to give you an idea of how low they fly.

With my telephoto lens (and a bit of driving to get in the right place) I was able to get some decent shots of the plane.

I left the wire in the shot to show how low the plane was flying. They have to fly low to minimize dispersion of the product. These pilots are highly skilled and I admire their work.

It was fun to watch him do his work but I had grain elevators to photograph! On to...


Sinclair, Manitoba has a single grain elevator, the former Manitoba Pool elevator.

I don't think it is in service any more. The siding is certainly overgrown and in fact the vast majority of the CP Arcola subdivision is slated for abandonment.

The rails are starting to grow rusty.

I was surprised to see an open convenience store in Sinclair, Wiebe's Corner Store. It was well stocked inside and I had a good chat with the owner, who graciously allowed me to take a photograph inside.

The store features a gift shop, the local post office, a Sears catalogue outlet and is a one-stop shop for the town. I assembled an impromptu lunch from the store to take with me. At this time it was 10:20 AM.

After leaving Sinclair, I headed over to:


The town of Reston's single grain elevator is now privately owned, by the Elliott Brothers.

I drove around the town to photograph the elevator from all sides.

This side is the most interesting to me.. not for the elevator but for what is in the foreground.

Check out that trailer!

What the heck is a Texas Mexican Railway trailer doing in a small town in Manitoba??

As I drove around the elevator, I stumbled across this little gem that I would have otherwise totally missed.

This is a 4-stall CPR roundhouse, built in 1906. I didn't approach closer as it is clearly on private property and possibly owned by Gray's Transfer. There is a sign on Highway 252 pointing to it, so perhaps access can be arranged. I decided on a Sunday morning that there was little chance of that, so I took my photos from the road and carried on.

As I mentioned earlier, the next post will be all about the town of Tilston, Manitoba. Stay tuned!

PS Bill Hooper has some great photos of Reston in his Flickr stream from the late 1950s. Check them out! I love the second photo of CPR's homemade weed killer train.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Southwest Manitoba Elevator Trip, Part 5 - The Bottom Left Corner

Back in August 2014 I took two days (Aug 8-9) to photography every grain elevator in southwest Manitoba. Here's part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4.

After taking a lot of time to take in Elva's two grain elevators, I carried on to complete the southwest corner of Manitoba. First up...


The town of Pierson has two grain elevators, an ex Manitoba Pool elevator and a Paterson elevator. Both are now owned by Paterson and are in operation.

The Paterson elevator has that characteristic square top that seems to grace most Patersons. You can see that bins were added on both sides for additional storage.

There is civic pride in many of these Prairie towns.

The former Manitoba Pool elevator has a small Paterson logo on it.

Check out the cool Paterson car by this elevator!

The elevator manager came out and we had a talk for a few minutes. He had a lot of pride in his elevators! Paterson is investing some money in repairs to their elevators to keep them going, which is good to hear.

Here's a view of Pierson from the west side. Pierson is on the CP Estevan subdivision.

After Pierson, I headed south to the most southwest grain elevator in Manitoba.


There is a single surviving elevator in Lyleton, the former Manitoba Pool elevator. Here it is with a grain truck in the foreground. Note the annex doesn't match the elevator... there must be a story there.

The cupola has a bit of a lean to it.

The office has an interesting addition.

I'm not talking about the satellite dish to the right. Note the big pipe running from the office roof to the driveway roof. I guess this was an addition to provide some heating to the driveway! I'm told it's actually for dust collection and draws the dust from the driveway into a collection system beside the office.

Speaking of the driveway, I took a peek (NOT a "peak" - sheesh) through the open door.

The town of Lyleton has the usual closed stores along the main street. This looks like it was a garage.
Note the dead car behind it.

Lyleton was the terminus of the CP Lyleton subdivision. Lyleton, Coulter and Cameron lost their rail service in 1976 due to a washout between Dalny and Coulter.

So that was Lyleton.


I admit, I had a hard time finding this one. Apparently I had the wrong GPS coordinates. I had to call my father-in-law to look it up on my Manitoba grain elevator map. Once I drew close to the coordinates he gave me, I spotted it and it was all good.

It's hard to believe there was ever a town here. Maybe there wasn't... I've only seen references to "Cameron Siding". The nearest house was barely in sight. I drove up a road leading to one of the many oil wells around.

It was great to see another Lake of the Woods elevator.

It doesn't seem to be in use. I didn't get close to it because I didn't want to tromp across someone's field.

Check out the other name on the elevator!

Five Roses Flour was a brand of the Lake of the Woods company, much like Royal Household was an Ogilvie brand and Purity was a Western Canada Flour Mills brand.

You can see the shadows were getting long, so it was time to get to the final town of the night.


It was getting pretty close to dark by the time I arrived in Melita. The town was bustling with Bakken oil business and I had a hard time finding a place to stay. I called around and ended up at a brand-new hotel in town, the Western Star All-Suites. It was more hotel than I wanted. When I was packing the car, I was prepared to sleep in my car, but after a long day's photography in the heat, I was feeling pretty gross and sweaty and desperately wanted to shower, so I coughed up the cash and booked a room.

The above photo shows the two elevators in Melita. The nearest is an ex-Manitoba Pool elevator and the farthest is ex-UGG. Both closed on July 31 2000, 5 days after the concrete Elva elevator opened. They were owned by Tilbury Farm and Trucking in 2008 and presumably still are. The UGG elevator got a new roof in February 2005. Wayne Tilbury was quoted in an article on the spring 2011 flood and the Melita motel was submerged. It is still out of service.

Here's a couple of views of the ex-Manitoba Pool elevator.

You can see the shadows were getting long.

Now the ex UGG elevator. This photo was actually taken on the 9th so it is better lit than my other photos in town.

Note the plane buzzing around the elevator. There was some kind of summer fair going on and this crop duster was flying around at an alarmingly low altitude. The plane was flying lower than the tops of the elevators, a bit too low in town if you ask me!

Melita has a caboose in town, oddly ex-CN 79256. I say "oddly" because CN never went through Melita.. just the CP Estevan subdivision, as it still does.

Melita also has a giant banana. Yes, you read that right.

Apparently this was installed in 2010 to represent Melita's location in the so-called Banana Belt of Manitoba, the southern "warm" section.

I hit the sack shortly before midnight, and I was just about asleep when a train rolled by. I took this photo of the oil train out of my hotel window before going back to bed.

In part 6... Medora, Napinka, Tilston and beyond. It's hard to believe the 5 posts to date were from just one (long) day.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Southwest Manitoba Elevator Trip, Part 4 - Able Was I Ere I Saw Elva

Back in August 2014 I took two days (Aug 8-9) to photograph every grain elevator in southwest Manitoba. Here's part 1 and part 2 and part 3.

In part 3 I followed the former CP Lyleton subdivision to photograph grain elevators at Deloraine, Waskada, Dalny and Coulter. Since I was ahead of schedule, I deviated from my trip plan to visit Elva... home of probably the oldest grain elevator in Manitoba.

On my way there, I saw the modern Cargill grain elevator outside of Elva. This monstrosity can hold 24,500 tonnes of grain. It was built by Agricore in 2000 and purchased by Cargill in 2007 and recently expanded to its present capacity.

I hope you noticed the locomotive there!
CRGX 573 is an SD38-3, originally a Louisville and Nashville SD40 built in 1971. It's a sharp looking engine!

Elva received rail service in 1892 and was initially served by a portable train station until a permanent station was built in the early 1920s. Apparently it was closed in 1950 and moved to Melita, where it is a private residence today.

Elva initially had a water tank and coal dock but the local water was unsuitable. It had a stock yard until it was demolished in 1962, and the loading platform and passing track were removed in 1964. Today Elva can watch the CP trains roll by on the CP Estevan subdivision but there is no siding in town.

Elva never had more than about 150 people. By the 1960s it was in decline and in 1974 the school was closed, usually the death-knell of Prairie towns. The general store and post office closed in 1980. In 1982 the population of Elva was 43 and I dare say it is less today. Thanks to Our First Century - Town of Melita and Municipality of Arthur for most of this information.

Elva currently has two grain elevators, a Lake of the Woods elevator and a United Grain Growers elevator. I love that Lake of the Woods elevator.

This is an elevator with a lot of character! It is thought to be the oldest grain elevator in Canada, having been built sometime between 1892 and 1899.

Note the distant Cargill elevator.

The UGG elevator looks .. not bad on this side.

However, a look at the far side reveals a different story.

The gaping holes in the elevator don't bode well for this old sentinel.

One last look at the Lake of the Woods elevator before moving on..

In part 5 we finish our tour of the former CP Lyleton subdivison by visiting Cameron and Lyleton, and also visit Pierson before tying up in Melita for the night.