The old vehicles and odd bits of metal we’ll exploring this day are part of the Crowsnest Collection but separate from the main storage yard a few clicks to the east. No less interesting however, just smaller in scale, there’s all kinds of stuff here to make a photographer giddy. We’ll see old pickups, quarry trucks in retirement, scrap rail cars, twisted metal, parts of this and that, ancient machinery and so on. For those who shoot this type of stuff, so meaning us, it’s a literal treasure trove. It’s a playground!
The owner reminds us, this place is private property and not open to visitors. Also it should be said, no vehicles seen here are for sale. Not that people haven’t tried, oh goodness they’ve tried. Some of the trucks seen are in the owner’s collection, others once worked for his construction firm and have been put out to pasture if you will. The scrap metal, well you know how that accumulates in these places. It’ll get sold off when the time comes. If it ever comes.
This is not a full inventory of what’s in the yard, rather just what inspired us at the time. Still, we captured most of it. Great Googly Moogly, the light was awfully flat this day. Oh well, roll with the punches.
Enough of the talk here, lets get on to the fun…
1) An International KB Series, 1947-1949 model year. This was the firm’s first new post-war offering, even if it was sort of a warmed-over version of the earlier but similar K Series which it replaced. This make was always quite popular on the Canadian Plains – buy your truck where you bought you tractor. The KB was replaced by the new model in 1949.
2) A look inside a Dodge Power Wagon. This model was in production with little change from the 1950s to the 1970s. There was two visually distinct models, this the more “military” looking version. Simple, rugged, capable, these are today quite collectible. All Power Wagons were four wheel drive.
3) The most modern truck in the yard, an early 1990s Mack.
4) Here’s the a Fargo Power Wagon. This Chrysler make was the “truck” companion to the Plymouth Line here in Canada and outside some badging were indistinguishable from their Dodge brethren. Fargos were not sold in the US and given the small Canadian market are rather rare overall when you count the total numbers made. This is the “truck” Power Wagon, the second version we spoke of earlier and visually is quite different from the “military” looking ones. But they have the same name. This would be a 1962-65 model. The mountains of the Crowsnest Pass make a fine backdrop.
5) A Dodge Town Wagon, part truck, part station wagon, and in many ways an early SUV. It could come in two wheel or four wheel drive. Not terribly common, this one, based on the grill, appears to be a 1958 model. Collectors snap these up like no one’s business.
6) Another military style Power Wagon, or rather what’s left of it. Just some body parts here and little else.
7) Two of our favourite things, old trucks and passing trains. Does it get much better? Nice of the guy to have his yard so close to the rail line. Seen is the interior of the Town Wagon we looked at earlier.
8) Town Wagon again and it has an interesting lineage. Seen on it’s side, the faded sign reads “US Government, for official use only”.
9) The Power Wagon we looked inside earlier. Note the huge winch, a common feature of these trucks. In production for decades, the design even early on had a dated look, albeit one that was ALL business. No one ever could say the truck wasn’t capable. That’s where it shone. But modern, well, not so much.
10) A Fargo tailgate and other scrap bits.
11) Our old friend, the International KB and beside, a Chevrolet “Advance-Design” (is it me, or does that moniker not flow off the tongue well). This model was in production from 1947-1955 and along with the near identical GMC version was probability the most common pickup of the era. We see an endless parade of them in our travels.
12) The International KB again. Love the patina.
13) A truck sold by Sorge’s of Pincher Creek Alberta (just east down the highway). This company seems to have gone out of business or changed names some time ago. We found a brief reference to the firm in the 1960s but that’s it. Any locals know more?
14) A TimberJack Log Skidder. It was used to drag or “skid” logs from where cut to the landing area where they then get loaded onto trucks for the final trip to the mill. This one, based on some distinguishing features, appears to be a late 1960s example. But we can’t say that with absolute certainty.
15) Quite the simple machine when compared to modern skidders (we seen some new ones). There was little in the way of creature comforts and safety features seemed almost an afterthought back then.
16) Not sure. Looks to be a commercial tractor that was repowered or something. We looked over it and found no identifying marks. But then we’ve always struggled to identify these machines. Experts, we’re looking at you!
17) The solid rubber tires makes this a real oldie, like 1920s era or before. While you’ll never get a flat, the ride on these was incredibly rough. All that’s left of the truck, the frame and back axle, have been made into a trailer of sorts. If you know what make it was, we’d love to hear from you. It’s must be the oldest thing in the yard.
18) An old sleeper plopped on its side.
19) A closer look at one of the solid tires. These were common on larger trucks well into the 1920s, and perhaps even a bit beyond, before balloon tires were more widely adopted for this service. In behind and a backdrop for many photos to come, Crowsnest Mountain.
20) A Euclid Dump that once worked in the owner’s quarry. This is a 1980s model. It’s of course off road service only.
21) The rest of his fleet of “Eucs” (in the old days their drivers were called ”Euc Skinners”). While giant, these are some of the smaller trucks the Euclid firm made and have capacities in the 20-35 ton range. The big ones can carry several hundred and would tower over these, their little brothers.
22) Connie’s handiwork. Not completely sure what it is but I liked the strange composition. And since I’m the boss here…well, you get the picture.
23) A 1970s Euclid. These monster haven’t moved for some time. They were purchased used, but no one at the firm seemed to know from where and when. They told us, “they’ve always been there”.
24) Is that a railway tank car in the rear view? It is. There’s a number of scrap railway cars on the property. You had us a old rail car.
25) A 1970s era International PayStar. This model was the firm’s heavy duty vocational model. Tough as nails, they could handle near anything thrown at them. Hood and fenders were steel, making them heavy but near indestructible. On most trucks fibreglass was used in these parts.
26) Euclids were used to move mountains. In back, one that survived. There’s Crowsnest Mountain again. This make was named after the town the firm once operated in, Euclid Ohio, near Cleveland. The company has a very storied history, one that could fill volumes and volumes. The last Eulids were made about a dozen years ago. Probably the most prolific maker ever, many are still hard at work today.
27) Try as we might, we could not find the meaning behind the Euclid Logo. Any experts care to chime in?
28) Another CPR train passes, destined for the US border southwest of Cranbrook BC. This line, the CPR’s Crowsnest Line, sees a moderate number of freights per day, most headed to and from the international border or the many coal mines just west of the Pass. The coupler from a scrap tank car (which appears to have been in a wreck) is seen above. Other junk scattered about. This is how I like to photograph trains with lots of visual interest to help complete the scene.
29) Rail wheels and truck (bogie) side frames in jumbled pile. Crowsnest Mountain…called it!
30) More of the same railcar scrap, and other metal bits. Looks like junk to many, but to us is a treasure. The strange relationship with what is a gritty metal boneyard and the contrasting wonders of nature behind, the peak, we find inspiring.
If you wish more information on what you’ve seen here, by all means contact us!
Date: September, 2016.
Location: Crowsnest Pass, AB.
Article references and thanks: Ed D, AllPar.com, Sweptline.com, TownWagon.com, ConstructionEquipment.com, Hank’s Truck Forums.
This site is private property and BIGDoer.com visited with permission.