Sunday, December 8, 2019

Black Friday 2019, Syracuse NY

Retail therapy and railroad therapy? The Black Friday phenomenon continues to spread, first throughout the U.S. and now into Canada, as Canadian merchants finally try to stem the tide of shoppers heading to our neighbour to the south. Previous New York Black Friday visit in 2014 (with previous years' links in the post) and Canadian one in 2016. This year found us in DeWitt, NY near Syracuse. I found the ideal way to keep my wife from over-spending at the mall - I dropped her off (unknowingly) at a mall that had been vacated except for a LensCrafters and a cineplex!
After the drop-off, it was over to DeWitt. CSX was quiet this day, but Amtrak at least participated. First through was a westbound Amfleet consist (top two photos) behind Amtrak P32 703. There are several photos here of the 703 through Syracuse - it received this Phase III paint scheme in 2018, including the Empire Service decal behind the cab door. Repainting costs were shared by Amtrak and the State of New York. See it in motion - Youtube video here. Ten minutes later, this eastbound behind Amtrak P42 97 passed through. Also in motion - Youtube video here.
The CSX yard seemed oddly quiet. I noticed some earthen berms and construction equipment plus  double-stack container cars nearby. It remains a clear and publicly-accessible railfanning location with good southern-exposure lighting! And waaaay in the distance was that yard engine:
It turns out that the yard is being redeveloped as an inland port. Increased security may account for the retrenching of the sprawled-out yard facilities. The next day, it was north to Watertown. At the Afgritech feed mill, these two covered hoppers were spotted past the mill after unloading. FURX 855261 and BRIX 97307:
The crossing leading back to Arsenal Street has been removed, with concrete blocks making the point. The Afgritech mill seems to still be busy (industry profile here) .
Modelling opportunity...this house across the track from the mill. Dartboard and all!

Running extra...

Black Friday was not a cornucopia of crockpots, nor was it a larder of large-screen TV's or even a cavalcade of Cabbage Patch Kids for me. A few modelling supplies, though, including a mirrored cellphone case (John Allen-like treatment of my Hanley Spur drydock). And that green scenic mat thing is the poor-man's static grass applicator! Those 12x12-inch papers are for pavement, road treatments or flat roofs. Er, rooves?
Up on the housetop, ladders squawk/Let's make that Christmas display really rock/Wait till it's freezing cold and then/risk your life freeze your fingers...again/Ho ho ho who wouldn't go/ho ho ho to the recliner I go/down from the aluminum ladder leverage/just in time for a festive beverage!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Kingston Invista Adds a New Track

Kingston's Invista nylon plant, located at the south end of CN's Cataraqui Spur, used to unload tank cars of hexmethylenediamine in the 'middle' of the plant. That unloading function was moved to the east side of the plant in 2001, and apparently Invista wanted another track at that site. Likely to allow CN to spot more cars for unloading. The first indication that change was afoot was the installation of a chain-link fence around the single unloading track (top photo) on September  2, 2015.
The single unloading track, designated KM28 (above and below) built in late-2001, amid the new construction (workers installing fence at right).
On October 27, 2015, the new second track is being installed within the newly-built fence. Notice how the grass got more brown and the foliage turned:
This new track was designated KM27. Discussion at the end of the work day, with tampers on the new track:
"I bet somebody will be blogging about this four years from now, Jimmy!"

This was a long discussion. A nice fall day, and the guys kept talking as I kept snapping!
Oil Well Service might seem like an odd name for a track construction outfit, but it seems this arm of their business grew out of serving the petrochemical industry. 
These days, both tracks are in use. CN typically brings 3-6 tank cars when the Belleville-Kingston turn serves the Invista plant, thrice weekly.

Running extra...

Business Insider two-part series on the Canadian by Rachel Askinasi. Worth reading - I recognized and utilized several of the same locations and views in my own photography this past June. Thanks to faithful Trackside Treasure reader Bill Staiger for the heads-up:

Black Friday! A stop at CSX's yard in DeWitt, NY yielded no freights but two Amtrak trains. Here is Amtrak 703 leading a westbound Amfleet consist. Watch for more Black Friday coverage in an upcoming post.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Brockville Rail-Served Industries

Paul Charland labelled an aerial photo of Brockville to show CP-served industries. This was initially posted to Facebook, with considerable input from Steve Hunter, Philip Jago and Chris DeVries. Having been to Brockville only occasionally during the heyday during the 1970's-1980's, I'm interested in trying to document the busy rail activity there. Like Kingston, much of this rail service is gone, likely never to return, and seems worth preserving.

1 Clarke Transfer. Shipped LCL freight in CP 40-foot boxcars, after the wye was removed the shipped some reels of cable for Philips in gondolas. Received the occasional foreign boxcars, some that come to mind are C&O and B&O cars for Black and Decker, CV, GB&W, and odd CNW car.

2 The pallet mill, received BCOL bulkhead flats and 50-foot combination door boxcar of lumber on the southern most siding. The used Taggart Transport to move finished pallets to local industries but occasionally shipped boxcar load out.

3 The Dominion (now Giant Tiger) store. The last time I saw a car in there was in the early seventies, a freshly repainted CP 40-foot insulated boxcar. The siding was removed by the time I moved here in 1977.

4 The Ramp, off the south end of the passing siding at the Field. 

5 The Field, passing siding, run-around and team track. Master Feed in Addison received feed in 40 foot boxcars. In the mid-80's Motor Coil had a contract with CP to rebuild traction motors and received them in covered gondolas.

6 Nestle Canada received food in CN and CP insulated boxcars and reefers. Occasionally there would be a C&NW car there as well.

7 Coca-Cola, received syrup in 40-foot tankcars, bottles and cans in CN 50-foot boxcars.

8 Electrolux Canada, only cars I saw in their siding were CP gons collecting scrap metal.

The Coca-Cola and Electrolux siding had a diamond near the mainline and both had rather tight curves leading to the buildings.

9 Henderson-Barwick, made corrugated culverts. Legend has it that the first time they shipped by rail the car was heading to the west coast. Their car or one of the adjacent cars developed a hotbox and the group of cars was set off in a mountain siding. Before the car was repaired the straps snapped on the loaded flatcar, sending the culverts down an embankment. Henderson-Barwick was told that they loaded the car so recovering the load was their problem, Henderson-Barwick said CP's car had the hotbox and if that hadn't happened that car would have completed it's journey. They never came to an amicable settlement and that was the first and last time Henderson-Barwick shipped by rail.

10 MacDonald's took liquid sugar and transformed it into carmel coloring that breweries use to color beer, other food industries use it too but the breweries were theur big customers. They received liquid sugar in 50-foot tankcars and shipped the finished product in CN 50-foot insulated boxcars. Both types of cars usually sat in their siding for a week.

11 Selkirk Metalbestos, maker of metal chimney's for fireplaces, shipped coast to coast but I believe a lot of smaller orders were shipped through Clarke's.

12 Alcan Canada. I talked to the general manager one day about a year after they opened (1985ish). She said the received 6 CN PD covered hoppers a year from Jonquiere PQ and shipped six carloads to Kingston. They have since added a second siding and I'd imagine they are using the railway more.

13 Proctor and Gamble, first four tracks are two bulk terminal tracks receiving tankcars and covered hoppers. Mostly CP covered hoppers but occasionally CN and even talc off the GMRC in private cars.

14 Also P&G, two tracks entered the building, they could put four 50-foot boxcar inside the building on each track and close the overhead door. When I was in it it looked like a ton of Tide boxes had been unloaded and were on the shipping dock.

15 Shell Canada... don't know a lot about this one, lots of tankcars sitting around.

Between the Shell sidings and Proctor and Gamble sits three sidings that appear from a modern Google Earth shot to be a trailer loading facility, but I'm not really sure to be honest.

On the CN side, Phillips Cables received cars of copper, the team track in the yard received loads of lumber and more, Hodgins Lumber later Beaver Lumber, and Selkirk Chimneys was also served by CN.

Running extra...

Thanks to Erika and Dustin for Finding this Fine F-unit Fortuitously at Bed Bath & Beyond! (above).It came in handy while replacing couplers on a small fleet of freight cars I picked up at last Saturday's Kingston Railfair 2019. More coverage on the show here. Marc and the elves did a nice job on the Christmas layout:
Regal Eagle-Eye! Where I parked (yellow rectangle) across Montreal Street from the show venue was mere steps on the red carpet from where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's train waited while the Royal Couple visited Kingston in 1973 (Vintage Kingston Facebook photo):

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

VIA Trains on the Kingston Sub, 1986-1995

VIA 6787 at Markham Road, Scarborough June 8, 1986
A fellow VIAphile kindly shared these views with me. And now I'm sharing them with Trackside Treasure readers. These photos represent various locations west of Kingston, from the penultimate, sunset period of VIA F-units and the dawn of the F40 era. I've simply captioned each one with the slide mount information.
VIA 6557 at Guildwood, July 31, 1986

VIA 6763 at Brimley Road, Scarborough, Oct 5, 1986
VIA 6921 at Cobourg, January 6, 1989

VIA 6434 at Oshawa, April 19, 1990

VIA Park car at Pickering GO station, September 26, 1991

VIA 6420 at Mi 184, County Road 6, April 24, 1994
VIA 8613 at Parliament Street, June 19, 1994

VIA 6416 at Danforth, June 19, 1994
VIA 6425 with another unit and 13 cars at Midland Avenue, August 7, 1994

VIA 6401 at Newtonville Road, October 20, 1994

VIA 6405 at Port Hope, October 21, 1994

VIA 6917 at Kingston, April 24, 1995
Trackside Treasure links arising from the above photos. Further reading if you like:

Running extra...

What the F-Unit? Mark Carleton has done design work for ORO and Highball Graphics. Check out creative and complete Canadian, CP, CN, ONR and VIA covered wagon cab unit transitions that he has kindly shared. Perhaps we forget, now that they're gone, the amazing breadth of railways and services these units covered for decades on Canadian railways!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Autumn at the Station, November 2019

A gloomy but snow-free early November got me trackside to further record the transition from VIA 40 Years/Ans (F) wraps to 'love the way' and Remembrance Day poppies. I think it's fairly safe to say that I simply cannot get me enough 'love the way' (L) wrap photos. This three-word (four words in French) slogan is like photographic potato chips to me - I can always enjoy one more! On November 5, VIA No 60/50 pulled in to Kingston station with 910L leading five cars, then 904L-919L nose-to nose (top photo)! Pass the dip!
Three days earlier on November 2, VIA No 53 was punctuated by baggage car 8623. I noticed a darker shade of blue on the 'letter band'. Compare with the more usual blue hue seen on the top of the baggage door! Also on the same train was roller-painted darker-blue band LRC car 3368. Who says VIA trainwatching is boring? The VIAriety is where you find it. I found some further examples two days earlier on November 3. I was trackside waiting for the passage of CN No 305 with its roaming Centurion tank, and in the preceding 15 minutes, two VIA trains were headed by assorted locomotives.
First, at 1345 was poppy-bearing 916, having lost its Forty wrap, got the poppy logo as VIA 906 and 913 did the previous year, between their Canada 150 and F wraps! Five minutes later, 6436F headed west, interestingly the last of five wrapped 6400's in the silver scheme to receive its L wrap, having been in Manitoba service for quite awhile:
Heading east on Kingston's Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, I stopped at this wide-open spot just west of the Princess Street overpass to catch this westbound, with 918L leading and poppy-wearing 900 bringing up the paddle:
Back to November 5 and that breeding pair of P42's, shown here with their location showing:
Just one more chip! A view from the west:
Fifteen minutes later, lounge car Glenfraser (F) trailed this westbound:
CN was a little skimpy with freights this morning, sending No 305 west with 3801-Citirail CREX 1505 west at 0948, then an hour later No 148 with 2343-5291-5770:
Trackside at Queens East, a welcome text from Malcolm Peakman in Napanee alerted me to eastbound grain train CN No 874. CN 2340-8842 led an amazing amalgam of grain covered hoppers: CC, WC, GTW, IC ex-Rock, CNA and more east at 1423:
Best and brightest was a new one to me, ex-Lake Erie, Franklin & Clarion patched DWC 384971! Late afternoon southern exposure, slow speed and the valuably varied variety of this consist made photography a plethoric pleasure!
As the sun sank into the autumn cloud bank, VIA 917 led train 644 east at Queens East at 1555:
On November 6, a serious but not fatal MVC at Bath Road near Vista Drive was being dealt with by emergency services while CN No 368 Eng 8016 plodded east at 0925:
At 1439, CN No 369 was setting out cars (or possibly a bad-ordered car) at Queens. Having put its train back together, it marched west across John Counter Boulevard crossing being bridged by an overpass project, with five cars of aluminum ingots on the head-end behind CN 8815-5759-2178, meeting VIA 6416L on an eastbound just departing after completing a wheelchair lift:
The bag is almost empty, but one more chip comprises stopped poppy-emblazoned 916 leading this VIA westbound at 1330:
As the sun set again, on November 6th, a surprise trailing this VIA eastbound at 1557 was Skyline 8509 behind 6410-3469-4117-4104-4122 at Queens East. It is NOT headed for service on the Ocean out of Montreal.
Snow and the first daytime minus-temperature would come on November 7th, the 134th anniversary of the Driving of the Last Spike of the CPR at Craigellachie, BC.


...that is the sound-bite from nominees who don't win the big award heard on televised award ceremonies. It's a means of saving face and keeping a career alive. When I received a call from the ever-genial Bob Fallowfield, asking me to participate in the Platforum Christmas Special podcast this December, taped adjacent to CN's Kingston Sub, it really was an honour!

When I then found out who I'll be sharing the Platforum platform with, a huge 'wow' factor flourished: VIA locomotive engineer Jordan "Hollywood" McCallum, uberVIAphile Jason "Edmunston" Shron, and our holidays-host, Bob "No Trackplan" Fallowfield. Sipping cocoa, swapping stories of Christmas trains and memories, and wallowing knee-deep in nostalgia (if not snow) with these three will be a blast (hoping not an icy one) from the past.

Bob, as well as passing CN and VIA trains, will keep us on track's an honour just to be on the same platform!