Saturday, June 17, 2017

CN International Service Cabooses

With the advent of U.S. Federal Railroad Administration Safety Glazing Standard Part 223 for cabooses operating in the United States, CN modified some of its 1970-74 built Pointe St Charles cabooses for international service, many drawn from the 793xx and 794xx ranks. Beginning in December 1982, CN glazed the windows of thirty cabooses, renumbered 78100-78129 to denote this new service. The FRA standard required such equipped cabooses to be modified by a June 30, 1984 target date. Later, CN 78130-78135 were also converted in 1987, followed by 78135-78140 (including 78139) in 1989. Visually, the cabooses were made instantly identifiable (and tempting targets for trackside photographers!) by painting the cupolas yellow and adding International Service lettering on or around the cupola.  CN 78106 tails a westbound freight at Kingston on June 30, 1983 (top photo by L.C. Gagnon)

Specific testing requirements for side- and end-facing glazing involved a 22 calibre long rifle projectile moving at 960 feet per second and a 24-lb cinder block impact! "Good morning America, how are you!?" The cabooses were used in service across the border to Maine, Massachusetts, and Minnesota; often seen in terminals like Sarnia, Montreal, Winnipeg, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie.

CN 78118-78120 were modified to fit through the tunnel between Sarnia, ON and Port Huron, MI. Operating thence on GTW between Port Huron and Chicago, the trains were cabooseless. (Also, CN 79719 shows similar, perhaps earlier modification.) Some of the International Service cabooses were equipped with central red marker lights, likely flashing, and the centrally-lettered road number moved to one side of the roof end. Some cupolas bore horizontal white striping.

Interestingly, CN 79549, 79550 and unknown others were lettered International Service with partially-yellow cupolas as early as 1976, for service on the DW&P. As time went by, and with the phasing-out of cabooses in the 1990's, these specially-equipped cabooses were found on regular freights and locals, such as CN 4136-78132 at Kitchener (below), and eventually even work trains into the new millennium.

My CN International Service caboose sightings with date, car number and remarks:

May x/83 CN 78100 and 78120
Aug 31/83 CN 79550 which I noted as 'Ex-I.S.'
Mar 9/84 CN 78108 on an eastbound freight at Dorval -- ironically on one of the last trains I photographed with my Kodak Hawkeye!)
Sep 18/84 CN 78111 at Symington Yard, Winnipeg
Sep 20/84 CN 78112 on a westbound freight at Portage la Prairie, MB
Feb 9/89 CN 78121 on a wayfreight switching Kingston's DuPont nylon plant
Jul 16/89 CN 79549 on westbound freight
Aug 25/92 CN 78132 at Kitchener
Jan x/94 and Jul 8/94 CN 78109 on wayfreight at Kingston
Oct 13/95 CN 78100 derailment on wayfreight at Kingston
Nov 5/95 CN 78100 on wayfreight at Kingston
Apr x/96 CN 78100 on wayfreight at Belleville

Additional photos:

CN 78100 at Bayview Junction in August 1983 from an online auction photo site:
Oops! Online auction site photo of CN 78133 in January 1988 at London:
Online auction site photo of CN 78138 in October 1989:
Online auction site photo CN 78120 trailing intermodal traffic in 1985 at Bayview Junction:

Running extra...

CANADA 150 is on, and July 1 is coming soon. Watch for Trackside Treasure's annual Canada Day post...150 great things about Canadian railways. Or if I get lazy in the nice weather, the consist of a passing 150-car CN freight! Thank goodness VIA did something, because corporate Canada constituents seems to be doing their own thing, virtually at the last minute! Kingston, being Canada's short-lived first capital city, features City Hall's clock tower:
There are expensive commemmorative coins and stamps being issued. For Canada's Centennial, my Dad reused the cardboard from an old Kleenex box to make his own presentation set box for each of us. A cotton-batten lined lower half contained the minted Centennial coins, while the upper section displayed the Centennial stamp issues. On the cover, our name emblazoned in commemmorative pencil on masking tape!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

CN Nova Scotia Gypsum Shipments to Ontario

A fleet of CN open triple hoppers carried Nova Scotia gypsum to Woodstock in southwestern Ontario for several years. My observations were in the ten years 1993-2002. It's possible that CP carried this business pre-1992. The cars were usually seen on Halifax-Toronto train Nos 307-308, singly or in small groups. CN 328215 was eastbound at Belleville, ON on CN train No 308 August 4, 2001 (above).

Built by Hawker-Siddeley in Trenton, NS in the summer of 1964, these cars were 39 feet long with a 3000 cubic foot capacity. Previously numbered in the 326000-series, and originally in the 111100-series, the cars were renumbered into the 328000-series in 1985-86. The CN logo always looked a little higher than usual on these diminutive cars, and the lettering block font was unique. As the CN cars aged out, reaching the end of their service lives, Illinois Central hoppers were in use. The gypsum traffic ended in 2006.

An article by Craig Dunn in Canadian Railway Modeller Train 13 Track 5 (December 2004-January 2005) profiles the gypsum rock discharge pit that these cars were destined for - north of the CN mainline between Woodstock and Ingersoll. The pit operated from May to October, with four cars being spotted by CN at night. The gypsum was dropped into the pit, from which a front-end loader transferred the gypsum to waiting tandem trucks. The author notes that any cars he noted being unloaded entered service in 1964. Visible in an article photo is CN 328045 and three others.

CN 328208 at Rockingham/Halifax NS July 28, 2002 Matt Keoughan photo:
  • A CP covered hopper on the unloading track, on the north end of Tecumseh Street near the overpass in Woodstock, now filled in.
  • CN 328085 interior view of gypsum dust
  • Later life as CN 91302
My Kingston observations, with date, car number, CN train on, remarks:

Jun 23/92 CN 328592, 328609, 328620 **black hoppers (ex-C&O purchased in 1988)
Jun 26/92 CN 328623, 328614, 328638, 328651 **black hoppers
Aug 9/92 CN 328523, 328556, 328519 **black hoppers
Mar 25/93 CN 330011, 330181 new hoppers
Oct 14/93 CN 330159, 330226 white covered hoppers
Aug 17/97 CN 328081 and 3 others, No 307
Sep 13/97 CN 328213, 328208 No 308
Sep 21/97 CN 328227, 328177 Dest Woodstock, ON ,No 307
Feb 8/98 CN 328225, No 307
May 31/98 CN 328004, 328178, 328120, 328230 Dest Windsor, NS empty, No 308
Jul 29/98 CN 328004, 328230, 328110 and 1 other, No 307
Aug 1/98 CN 328178, No 308 and CN 328037 on No 307
Aug 16/98 CN 328029, 328209 and 2 others, No 307
Jun 24/99 CN 328209 and 5 others, No 305
Jul 18/99 CN 328213, 328010, 328183 Dest Woodstock, ON
Aug 14/99 CN 328118, 328124, 328110, 328227, No 308
Dec 12/99 CN 328188 on No 321
Mar 13/00 CN 328209, 328128 on No 311
Mar 24/00 CN 328199 eastbound
Apr 9/00 CN 328290, 328124, 328110 on No 321
Apr 23/00 CN 328136
May 20/00 CN 328215, No 308
Aug 27/00 CN 328227, 328278, 328199, 328203, Dest Windsor NS, No 306
Jun 24/01 CN 328208, 328037 on No 307
Aug 4/01 CN 328215, 328027, 328177, 328186, 328201, No 308
Aug 25/01 CN 328110, 328230 and 4 others, No 307
Jun/02 CN 328178, 328180 and 2 others
Jul 28/02 CN 328194, 328215 and 7 others, No 307
Sep 30/06 IC 387027, 387221 and 2 others, No 308
Aug 3/08 IC 389289, 389529, No 305

I painted up a no-longer-justifiable former Ontario Northland Playart hopper as CN 328157 in HO scale:
Thanks to the ebullient Bob Fallowfield for his assistance with this post! Bob took a trip out the disused gypsum pit site and captured the site as it is today. Nature takes over the scene quickly! Thanks, Bob!
The unloading area (above) with safety railing.
 Looking in both directions along the CN mainline (above and below).
  The grown-over dumping pit, showing the same safety railing as above.

Running extra...
VIA's CANADA 150 wraps program may be complete, but now the hustle to hostle has begun. This past week, a quartet has been running the length of the Corridor in Ontario: 6437 leading anagramatic 3476 with coaches 3357 and 3343, with Ren coach 3332 trailing. Thanks to heads-ups from Jesse and John, I caught the consist on June 5. Railfans, to the ramparts! Tally ho trackside!

The City of Kingston's K&P Trail Urban Launch is today. This recently completed rail-to-trail extension runs from downtown Kingston to Highway 401. Parts of CN's Hanley Spur and CP's ex-Kingston & Pembroke line into Kingston are now under pavement. A May pre-launch stroll past Quattrocchi's Produce at Montreal and Railway Streets gave me pause for a before-and-after:
Where once San Luis Central carloads of spuds were spotted, now a black drainage pipe and trail roadbed run. When I transit the trail, thoughts of lone engine-led several car consists switching these spurs are top-of-mind. Highly modellable!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Algoma Central gondolas

Algoma Central Railway was well known for its well-travelled workhorse fleet of gondola cars. Four hundred 61-footers with a 2900 cu ft capacity, originally numbered AC 1000-1400, built 1964-67 by NSC. For over 30 years, I've recorded observations and photographed these very Canadian cars on their travels along CN's Kingston Sub. It's probably a safe assumption that most of these observations were carloads of sheet and tube steel from Algoma Steel's mill in Sault Ste Marie, ON. In fact, the link to WC 201178, in the list below, shows it carrying loads from the Sault to Quebec, Ontario, Winnipeg and Alberta in 1998-99. These gondolas were also used for pulpwood and lumber shipments in Northern Ontario.

When Wisconsin Central then CN took over Algoma Central, the cars were aging and some remaining gons were used in CN scrap tie service. Some were given an additional digit '1' to their existing numbers. AC 11270 and CN 'Flatside' boxcar CN 416257 present themselves outside our window aboard VIA No 24 at St Lambert, QC  on June 19, 2008 (top photo). CN No 321 was in emergency at Mi 182 Kingston Sub on March 16, 2006, so starting the train up-grade made sitting ducks of AC 11119 and 11145:
 Peter Mumby captured a fine roster shot of AC 11179 in August, 2006:
Here are a couple of online auction site photos:
 AC 11115 (above) and AC 11344 (below) both taken in Edmonton in 2002. Survivors!
My AC gon observations at Kingston, unless otherwise noted. With date, car number and remarks:

Mar 21/83 AC 1019, 1074
Jun 8/83 AC 1212, 1220
Jun 6/84 AC 1120 at Portage la Prairie, MB
Jun 8/84 AC 1064 at Barrie, ON
Jun 23/85 AC 1078, 1110, 1228
May 18/86 AC 1134
Jul 7/86 AC 1282
Sep 25/87 AC 1092
Jan 29/89 AC 711, 1350
Mar 10/89 AC 1030, 1142, 1295
Jan 15/90 AC 1359
Jun 7/91 AC 1215 at Counter Street team track
Sep 17/91 AC 1212 at Counter Street team track
Nov 9/91 AC 1211 with telephone pole load
Nov 15/91 AC 1119
Oct 23/92 AC 1153
Feb 7/94 AC 1341 at Ottawa, ON
May 7/94 AC 1120
May 11/95 AC 1251 at Counter Street team track
Aug 24/95 AC 1308, 1316
Jun 25/96 AC 1304, 1308, 1347
Jun 26/96 AC 1161
Sep 14/96 AC 1366
Nov 3/96 AC 1128
Nov 10/96 AC 1187
Nov 29/96 AC 1119, 1154
Mar 25/97 AC 1174, 11193, 11252, 11288, 11340
May 15/97 AC 1295
Jun 14/97 AC 1322
Jul 11/97 AC 1331
Aug 9/97 AC 1119
Aug 20/97 AC 1213
Jan 17/98 AC 11181
Feb/98 WC 201178 reporting marks, AC lettering
Feb 14/98 AC 1286
Mar 31/98 AC 1396
Aug 16/98 AC 1322
Sep 1/98 AC 1231, 11134
Sep 29/98 AC 1289, 1350
Oct 29/98 AC 11340
Nov 20/98 AC 1303
Apr 5/99 AC 1269, 1281, 11394
Jun 24/99 AC 11154
Jul 18/99 AC 1289
Aug 2/99 AC 11208
Aug 19/99 AC 11206
Jul 2/00 AC 903 with covers*
Oct 1/00 AC 903 with covers*
Aug 9/00 AC 916 with covers*
                                               *(900-series 52-footers in steel coil service)
Mar 16/06 AC 11145, 11179
Nov 10/07 AC 11182
Jul 19/08 AC 11270, 11391
Sep 11/10 AC 11118
Mar 10/12 AC 11227, 11358 in scrap tie service
Aug 29/13 AC 11340 in scrap tie service

Running extra...

Kingston Transit Rider Appreciation Day saw sincere Mayor Paterson and affable transit boss Jeremy DaCosta handing out pens and bananas at my morning stop. Thanks! It was only later that Monty Python's Self-Defence Against Fresh Fruit sketch entered my consciousness: 
On TLC Railfan Sisters upcoming CANADA 150 episode: VIA No 65 at Kingston with an 'MSBS':
and VIA No 66 RGBV:
HJGE anyone?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Postscript: VIA Rail's CANADA 150 Wraps

In early February, VIA announced an ambitious program of applying wraps to its equipment to celebrate Canada's Sesquicentennial. Combining colourful station city names with large VIA logos, the CANADA 150 logo would also be applied. Long after photographing my first wraps on February 11 and 22 and publishing them in my first CANADA 150 wrap post just over three months ago, it's time for a good news update. With the wrapping of VIA P42 920, first reported on May 19, it would appear the four-month wrap program has been completed! A day after the last P42 wrap was reported, VIA No 64 was eastbound at Mi 178.5 Kingston Sub with wrapped 906 and a stainless steel consist (top).
At VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre (TMC) on March 28, I photographed Glenfraser from above (above). Though I often call this a 'one-of-a-kind' wrap, wise readers have pointed out that it is very similar to that also applied to LRC Business Class car 3476 (see below). There are, however, subtle differences in the dimensions of the car and wrap Below - this is not drone footage! Trackside Techies. It's called an overpass!
I have resisted the strong temptation to do a rostershoterama of every wrapped piece of equipment. Do you really want to look at 80+ similar photos? But somebody did a compendium of wrapped locomotives. Conspiracy theorists - this proves that both sides of CANADA 150 cars have different station names on each side. VIA 3350 at TMC from the Islington Avenue overpass:
VIA announced 17 LRC coaches, 17 P42's, 5 F40's, one Business Class car and lounge Glenfraser would be wrapped. VIA also posted a list of station city names to be applied. For the most part, the list was accurate, though Capreol, Sudbury and Guildwood were listed but not used. At the east end of the TMC yard back on March 28, VIA 916 leads four HEP cars towards Union Station thence Kingston, from which it had originated on my No 651 earlier that morning.
Several nicknames have been suggested for this yellow-silver scheme, but it occurred to me that it resembles hometown No Frills stores:
At Kingston, VIA 3329, a hometown coach makes an appearance:
Terry Muirhead shared this view of VIA 6454 leading No 1 on its first visit to the West Coast on March 25. Thanks, Terry!
Cornwall likes its wrapped cars. But it's crickets here in Kingston. Speaking of Kingston, tips from Mike L, Logan and Paul got me trackside just in time to see VIA 6454 pass through Kingston eastward after its trip on the Canadian: Leading a four-car non-stop No 68 at 1915 hours, 6454 blasts through Mi 179 Kingston Sub:

Same location, April 17. With a tip from Malcolm, I was trackside in time to see several pieces of CANADA 150 rolling stock on VIA No 52/62, not the least of which being VIA 3476 in its leaves scheme:
These are video captures.
And here's a Flickr group dedicated to these silver sesquicentennials. Two-unit F40-led Canadian consists have headed to the West Coast and return. There have been Corridor J-trains with nose-to-nose wrapped P42's. Even a rare P42 doubleheader. Plus 913 having gone to ground and observed by almost no-one! (Wrapped March 25, observed on a double-header No 668 on April 5, and a 'locomotive test' video with 913 and two cars at Dorval on May 24.) On April 5, fellow Kingston railfan Paul Hunter photographed side-by-side wrapped power: VIA 919 eastbound and VIA 906 trailing westbound at Kingston station. Thanks, Paul! 
Now it's difficult, but not impossible, to find a VIA LRC consist in the Corridor which doesn't have an LRC coach right after Business Class. A trip to Kingston station on May 22 included a CANADA 150 twofer:
VIA No 63 Eng 900 met VIA No 52/62, with 900 stopping opposite a fellow wrappee;
And VIA has used the colourful graphics on station signage and baggage tags:

Although Blogger doesn't work well with Word documents or Excel spreadsheets, I've collated the wrap rolling stock as jpeg format and they appear below. Each is listed by number, date reported/observed (could be day or days earlier, hence the '<' sign before some dates) and station city names. As information became available, I added it to a Word table. 

Not as easy to work with as an Excel spreadsheet, which would allow sorting by road number! But I felt that having the date each wrap entered service was more informative than simply listing by the road number. There are several pairs of cars/locomotives that 'appear' when reviewing all the wraps. This first jpeg shows wraps done in approximately the first two months, from mid-January to mid-March:

Wrapping sped up apparently, with the following wraps being completed in one month: 
And the final four, from the month of May

If you are more of a numbers person, here we go:
P42DC: 900, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 908, 909 ,910, 911, 912, 913, 914, 916, 918, 919, 920.
F40PH-2D: 6402, 6416, 6436, 6437, 6454.
LRC coaches: 3316, 3329, 3338, 3343, 3350, 3351, 3352, 3353, 3355, 3356, 3357, 3359, 3360, 3361, 3364, 3365, 3366.
LRC Business Class: 3476
Lounge: 1750 Glenfraser

My thanks to Jonathan Barton, Lance Gleich, Paul Hunter, and Malcolm Peakman for their assistance in the production of this post. Special thanks to Logan Cadue for sharing much timely information and photos!

Running extra...

I have been truly displeased at the amount of dissatisfaction, disagreement, disdain, discord, discontent and just plain dis-ing of the CANADA 150 wraps. Folks say provincial flags, Canadian flags, and all sorts of other Canadiana should have been applied. Hey, why not a different Don Cherry haberdashery on each car? Thankfully and on the positive side, I have heard just as many folks saying that VIA is interesting again, and these wraps are getting them out trackside! Wherefore art thou, Centennial year?
I'm surprised the TTC doesn't have a wrap. After all, I've seen lots of commercials featuring wraps at Subway. Is that a thing? Even the Union-Pearson Express has a CANADA 150 wrap, albeit paid for by CIBC. Where is the widespread use of the CANADA 150 logo? Herzog? Herzog?
Speaking of hockey, tonight could be Ottawa's last game of the post-season. They truly are Canada's hardest-working senators. Is it a 'thing' that hockey is being played in June? Move over and make way for the Toronto June Jays big bats, rink-rats!