Sunday, September 16, 2018

Reg Shares Some More Photos

Every once in a while, Reg Aitken says, "I've been out doing some photography" and next thing I know, he's sending some interesting stuff my way. Reg 'The Explorer' likes to get out and explore what's rolling through Eastern Ontario. Not content to go back to the same old haunt, Reg rambles around. First stop, Smiths Falls, ON!
A remanufactured ECO unit was switching tanks and covered hoppers in the yard when VIA rolled through (top photo).
Reg worked an interesting 'carpet' of sky into this photo:
 Over at Smiths Falls'  VIA mini-station, this Ottawa-bound train pulls in:
Then a Brockville-bound counterpart. These photos were taken in 2017, hence the CANADA 150 wraps!
 That CP switcher gets around!
At the north side of Collins Bay, Reg positiioned himself on the north side of CN's Kingston Subdivision to catch VIA and CN trains. More CANADA 150 wraps...I kind of miss them!
Westbound CN freight with new power!
 Coloured, nearly mirror-image double-stacks among the bullrushes!
 Going monochrome, Maersk!
Heading west eight miles along the Kingston Sub, Reg was at the former Grand Trunk station at Ernestown that continues to weather itself, perhaps into obscurity:

This one found its way onto the disk. TIR 500 at the tour boat dock in Gananoque, ON before this little critter was moved just north of Highway 2 near the town hall.

Running extra:


The Associated Railroaders of Kingston (I'm one of their newest, most naive members) is holding its first train show this November. Besides a show website, the show is also advertised as widely as Railfan & Railroad events listing, thanks to the efforts of Paul Hunter and his team! 

I was also talking trains with Paul at the Picton train show this weekend. Watch for an upcoming post!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

CN's Hanley Spur - Industry History

Working our way south along CN's Hanley Spur, here are some capsule histories of the rail-served industries along the line (dropping red 'bottlecaps'* in the above photo). I intend to be modelling these in some form on my HO scale Hanley Spur layout. At the end of the post are some other buildings and industries, that while not necessarily rail-served, were parts of the scene and sweep of Kingston's industrial and marine heritage.
CN Express (CN)
CN's Wellington Street freight shed employees transferred to the Outer Station CN Express location when both operations were integrated in 1964-65. During the 1970's, inbound shipments transitioned from arriving in freight cars to arriving in Toronto-Peterboro Transport (TPT) transport trucks - a CN subsidiary. The operation was subsequently sold to a new trucking company in 1986 and employees went along with it. CN Building & Bridges forces used the building for storage thereafter (1994, photo above). Photos in this post are from my own, Googlemaps or Google search.
Gus Marker Cement (CP)
Augustus (Gus) Solberg Marker was a professional hockey player and a member of the 1935 Cup-winning Montreal Maroons. He began a brick, tile and cement block works in the 1940's, operating at the same location, east of Division Street below Elliott Avenue for several decades. Present-day site of the Kingston Police headquarters.

MacCosham Van Lines (CP)
Now Capital Movers & Storage, 56 Railway Street. CP spur access at left.

Coca-Cola Ltd (CP)
Present-day Googlemaps view (above). CP spur access was at rear.

Weston's Bakeries (CP)
Present-day Googlemaps view (above). CP spur access was at rear.

Pilkington Glass (CP) - TBA

Canfor Ltd. (CP) - TBA

Modern Delivery (CP) - TBA

Quattrocchi's Specialty Foods (CP)
Phil Quattrocchi moved to Kingston from Perth around 1955. Setting up a produce business originally at Bay & Montreal Streets in 1949, his better-known and final location was at Montreal & Railway Streets (April 2017 view - above). CP spur access was at left.

C. E. MacPherson (CP)
This steel manufacturing business began in 1913 on the west side of Rideau Street, currently operating as a division of Conrex Steel Ltd. producing head shields for pressure vessels and tanks, plus other specialty metal products. CP spur crossed Rideau Street to reach the plant.

I. Cohen Steel (CP)
Isaac Cohen, born in Lithuania, arrived in Kingston in 1898. His scrap dealings began in 1899 as the Kingston Rag & Metal Co., later moving to a location on Montreal St.

Davis Tannery (CN)
Opening as Ford & Son in the late 1860's, the tannery was taken over by Joseph Carrington in the 1890's and sold to Andrew Davis in 1903. By 1920, Davis Tannery was one of Canada's largest, producing 1,000 sides of upper leather and 1,500 splits per day. The plant closed in the late 1960's and was subsequently demolished and may be the site of a remediated brownsite residential development in the near future.

Dyeco (CP)
Located on the corner of River and Orchard streets, between the Davis Tannery and the Woolen Mill, Dyeco was a rail-served manufacturer of food colourings and other chemicals. Interestingly, still operating on the same location as Sensient Technologies.

Woolen Mill (CP)
Known locally as the Woolen Mill, this four-storey 1882 enterprise was known as the Dominion Textile Co. A single-storey extension was added in 1883, and there are 12- and 16-inch pine beams throughout the windowed structure. The mill produced cloth, most notably for the armed forces during wartime on its 3.6-acre site. Shuttered by the Great Depression, it was later known as Hield Bros. operating under that name for 35 years until closure in 1966, due to declining demand and the rise of newer textile technology. The building has successfully passed between various owners becoming home to several businesses including the Kingston Whig-Standard. (Present-day view - above).

National Grocers (CN)
Built in the first quarter of the 20th century (not shown in the 1911 fire insurance map above), this building was owned by the Weston Corporation from 1936-1976. It shared a joint lead with the Kingston Whig-Standard. Today, the building is still in use as the NGB craftsman colony, just across the former Hanley Spur right-of-way from the Woolen Mill.

Imperial Oil (CN)
The Queen City Oil Co. began operation of this unique limestone warehouse in 1909. Later owned by Imperial Oil, the warehouse is currently being rebuilt by Doornekamp Construction, fenced off in August 2014 (above). Bulk tankers unloaded oil into a pipeline connected to the nearby oil tanks while docked at the end of the K&P spile docks, near Knapp Boats. Bollards still mark the site of four large-diameter steel unloading pipes that led to the tanks. 

Kingston Whig-Standard (CN)
Receiving shipments of newsprint for printing, newsprint was received near Millard & Lumb in later years.

Grand Trunk Freight Shed (CN)
All lots in the Place d'Armes-Wellington Street area were purchased by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1912, formerly the location of the City of Kingston hay and wood market and weigh scale (1911 fire insurance map above). The long, one-storey unheated building, with its office nearest Place d'Armes, served as CN's main Kingston freight depot from 1923 until the mid-60's. Several sidings, including a wooden vehicle-loading ramp at the corner of King & Place d'Armes were in operation as team tracks and the ramp remained until after the shed was demolished. Operations were relocated to the Outer Station site and the shed was demolished in 1970.

Sowards Coal (CN/CP)
James Sowards established his coal business in 1889 on a large, open tact of land at the north end of Ontario Street at Place d'Armes. One of several successful Kingston coal merchants including Crawford, Anglin and Swift. Coal boats unloaded coal at the site, with remnants of coal piles visible on the site even in to the 1970's. Operated by successive members of the Sowards family until taken over by Anglin Fuel & Lumber Co, Anglin operated the former Sowards Coal yard as Anglin Coal until 1979. An elevated rail spur with enclosed roof served via the mutual track along Ontario Street was demolished in the late 1970's.

Other Waterfront Industries (while we're in the area) in no particular geographic order:

Bajus Brewery
A brewery was first built on this site in 1794, purchased by Philip Wenz in 1826 then joined in business by his nephew Jacob Bajus, whose name the business was known by. In operation until 1922, the current stone structure replaced an original wooden structure that was torn down to make way for the construction of Wellington St. Stone additions were built in 1857 and 1861, designed by noted local architect Wm. Coverdale. After the brewery ceased operation, the building was used as warehouse space for local businesses, currently residential space.

Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Lrd. (CN)
Centred on the dry dock, later the site of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, this operation was locally known as the Kingston Shipyards. Located just past the Canadian Locomotive Co., it operated from 1910-1968 on Mississauga Point at the foot of Gore Street, a location known for shipbuilding since the days of the United Empire Loyalists. McAllister Towing and Salvage operated from this site.

Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. (CP)
The Davis Dry Dock Co. was established in 1867, with its dry dock built in 1900 and operating under that name until 1928, becoming CD&D. A towering 70-foot crane and the derelict dredge Primrose (partially sunken in 1985 and scrapped shortly thereafter) dominated the Inner Harbour skyline for many years, with a bevy of tugs, scows and workboats floating nearby. CD&D was the only dry dock for large boats between Montreal and St. Catharines when it closed its 2.4-acre site, still home to a boatbuilding operation - MetalCraft Marine.

Montreal Transportation Co. Grain Elevator
Located on the waterfront at 281-289 Ontario Street, this 800,000 bushel elevator with two marine legs ceased operations in 1919. (1908 fire insurance map above) Kingston's  Canada Steamship Lines terminal was then built on the pier which is now the Wolfe Island ferry terminal.
James Richardson & Sons Grain Elevator (CN)
Richardson's grain trade began in Kingstonin 1857, with the 250,000 bushel rail-served elevator built around 1898. Destroyed by fire on December 23, 1941 the pier now hosts Kingston's Holiday Inn hotel. 

Hanley Station (CN)
Built by Mr. Thomas Hanley in 1882 at the corner of Johnson and Ontario Streets, this tiny terminal was designed by noted local architect George Newlands. A ticket office for Grand Trunk Railway and steamship lines, the GTR then entered into an agreement to use the building as their downtown Kingston passenger depot. A suburban train service, later including the provision of sleeping cars, served the site from 1885-1930. The building is currently a restaurant.

Millard & Lumb
Both men for whom the business is named were foremen at the Canadian Locomotive Co. Investing in the new-found process of welding, replacing riveting, the building served the marine industry for decades. It still stands at the corner of King Street and Place d'Armes, its prime three-quarter-acre site having sold in 1988 for $750,000, now looking considerably less-industrial. Surrounded by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan building, arena, Frontenac Village and Fort Frontenac.

Elder's Beverages
Local bottler located at 671 Montreal Street, near the Outer Station.

Canadian Locomotive Co. (CN)
Locomotive builders from 1854 until 1969, this long-time Kingston employer had also been known as the Canadian Engine & Machinery Co. then the Canadian Locomotive & Engine Co. before being named CLC in 1901. Eventually entering the diesel-electric market, CLC successfully partnered with Fairbanks-Morse. Metre-gauge CLC-built steam locomotives for export to India at the Outer Station in 1950 (above).

Knapp Boats
Located just north of the LaSalle Causeway on the west side of the Inner Harbour, this marina site was used for a time by the Department of National Defence to refurbish wooden boats.

S. Anglin Co.
As early as 1845, the business begun by Samuel Anglin and his brother at Bay & Wellington Streets was a sawmill established in 1865 before expanding to coal, lumber, bricks, cement and woodwork shipments via rail sidings and wharves.
A planing mill and sash-and-door operation and coal shed were added in 1875, with the woodwork operation continuing until 1979. Anglin's sold as much as 250,000 tons of coal per year, supplying large customers such as Queen's University and Strathcona Paper. Coal piles could be seen in the early-1900's then several large, white oil tanks at Rideau & North Streets in the 1950's as oil replaced coal. A secondary yard at 771 Division Street operated until 1969, near Gus Marker's brick yard (see third photo above). Moving to 525 Counter Street in 1989, the sprawling Frontenac Village multi-unit residential community was built on the site. Anglin was sold to Triheat in 1997 before its purchase by Rosen Heating.

Rosen Fuels Ltd.
Entering business as Harry Rosen Coal Supply in 1937 at 130 Rideau Street then 5 Cataraqui Street, the north side of this busy operation abutted Rideau Street. Tanks capable of holding 3.5 million gallons of oil were built on the eight-acre site, and the name changed to Rosen Fuels Ltd. The slogan on the back of the company's fuel trucks said, "Don't Wait Till You're Half Frozen, Buy Your Fuel from Harry Rosen". The six oil tanks were removed in 1983, though fuel distribution continued. Loading stand on River Street on K&P Urban Trail, spring 2018 (above).

Presland Iron & Steel (CN/CP)
Located on Maple Street, the last remaining industrial building just north of the Outer Station (Googlemaps view - above).

Running extra...
Summer reading fun facts:
  • Drones can indeed be controlled worldwide by operators sitting in a shipping container in the Nevada desert, but it still takes a local pilot and groundcrew to launch, recover and maintain the drones.
  • Rules of Engagement for US Marines in Afghanistan were tightly-controlled, with military lawyers standing by. *Patrols dropped waterbottle caps along trails for the last man to pick up.
  • ...still making my way up the Rideau Canal from Kingston...
  • Private military contractors operate on the edge in conflicts, including the Benghazi embassy episode in this book.
A combination of warm weather, comfortable chair and good reads means...there's a nap for that.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Kingston Platform Tie Renewal, May 1995

Tie replacement is normally done by large, mechanized track gangs with lots of track machines. What if the ties are in a tricky position like a bridge or a station platform? Such was the case in 1995 when CN decided it was time to replace the ties on its Kingston Subdivision between the fence and the platform at Kingston's VIA station. So on the morning of Tuesday, May 29 heavy equipment came to call, the south track ties having been renewed over the previous two weeks. First, spikes were pulled and a Pettibone SpeedSwing started lifting the rails. Tie-plate hangers-on were removed by a sectionman (top photo) and welds were severed.
We dropped by on the morning of May 29. A front-end loader scooped 15-20 tired-out ties at a time, depositing them at the ends of the platform. CN 5301-5314 were eastbound at 1002, passing the cordoned-off area on the north track, in front of the station. Blow that whistle, engineer, blow that whistle!
We returned in the afternoon on May 29. The platform was cordoned off with caution tape as the rail lifting continued. Passing trains used the south track, like CN 5338-5319-5338-EMD 813 at 1343, the first three units in the CN North America scheme passed new ties stacked at the end of the station parking lot as they plowed eastward:
My Dad came back with us to see the progress. Trains that afternoon: 
  • 1322 VIA No 42 6921-3471-3371-3321-3374
  • 1347 VIA No 43 6401-3472-3345-3330-3321-3339
  • 1432 WB VIA 6423-3456-3356-33xx-3322-3338
  • 1457 WB VIA 6405-3302-3314-3372-3361-3306-3458-8623
  • 1515 EB CN 2117-exUP 6103    
The crews worked 12 hour days. Approaching trains called a foreman on the radio for permission to pass through the worksite. The foreman sounded a pocket airhorn (seen on his belt, below as the other foreman confers on a big ol' cellphone during a passing freight) three times for eastbounds and four times for westbounds. Telling the crews whether a freight of passenger train was approaching, work stopped. Grubbing out the top 18 inches of old ballast, with both rails piled on the platform. An excavator on the right-of-way loads banged-up ballast into two waiting dumptrucks on the platform:
New ties are distributed. The SpeedSwing brings bundles of new ties to be laid out by sectionmen. The excavator operator is returning to his machine:
Tie tongs and shovels are used. Tie plates were lightly spiked. Local noted rail author and photographer Bill Thomson stops by, in red shirt and ball cap at left of photo, along with my Dad:
Returning on Friday, June 2 a yellow tamper was working in the morning. At 1800, CN 9549-5048 and 25 ballast cars were dropping ballast. A ballast regulator and another tamper were working, with the north track out of service until Monday. A messy platform with ballast dumped over the rails/ties but not tamped:
Trains that evening: 
  • 1820 WB VIA 6413 and 3 cars
  • 1846 EB VIA 6406 and 3 cars
  • 1909 WB CN 5369-9629 and 113 cars
CN tamper 651-17, operated remotely by its operator seen standing on the platform on the evening of June 2:
My son stands at attention! The evening express, which was non-stop through Kingston: VIA 6902 with three coaches passing eastbound at reduced speed at 1900 while the tamper operator slowly works his way west:
On Sunday, June 4 the ballast regulator and tamper were still working. Three freights in less than 30 minutes:
  • 1445 EB CN 5322-GTW 6213-CNNA 6416 intermodal
  • 1502 EB CN 9406-5303 25 cars
  • 1509 WB CNNA 5359-2028-3528-CNNA 2437 from Queens south track
The north track was open, and a few trains used it. Then it was closed again and the machines gave the track a final going-over. The machines had to be in Cobourg on Monday morning!

Running extra...
Forty-nine thousand screaming and singing-along teens, their moms and grandmothers packed the dome-open Rogers Centre on August 30 for the first of two Ed Sheeran concerts. Perfect, (I was Thinking Out Loud). A chance to take a Photograph or two while waiting for the show to let out. I couldn't have been Happier while taking this time exposure of Union-Pearson Express and GO Transit trains passing the venue while on the Spadina Street bridge. Where only thirty-some years ago I'd stood pointing a camera at FPA4's and much older green-and-white GO Transit steeds.
The fenced-in Canada Malting elevator still stands on the Harbourfront at Bathurst. What can be done with a former terminal elevator? Apparently not much! Speaking of doing things with things, check out this ghostly image of your humble blogger on the steps of Portage la Prairie's CN station:
Graphics guru and Portage modeller Randy O'Brien took Mark Perry's speed-filled westbound DPU shot taken at one of my favourite trainwatching spots in all Canada, and added a 1984 'me' to the scene. Yep, that's where it all happened. Thanks, Randy!