Sunday, July 12, 2009

Switching Winnipeg's St James Industrial Park

CN SW-8 7183 kicks cars in an industry support yard, with Winnipeg's skyline in the background. The little switcher is gathering the cars needed for industries in Winnipeg's St James Industrial Park. Today's setouts:

1.CN 290480/ Insulated box/ Merchandise/ Great Northern Industries
2.BN 376650/50-foot box/ Merchandise/ Great Northern Industries
3.CP 415213/ Flat/ Car for Scrapping/ Mandak Metals
4.BN 566180/ Gon/ Ety to load/ Mandak Metals
5.GTW 101197/ Coil car/ Ety to load/ Manitoba Rolling Mills
6.BN 467120/ Covered hopper/ Cement/ Permacon

Today's lifts:

7.UP 300620/ 50-foot box/ Great Northern Industries/ Ety to BN
8.MP 367526/ 50-foot box/ Great Northern Industries/ Ety to BN
9.AC 718/ Gon/ Mandak Metals/ Scrap to CP **Weigh**

This is all happening in HO scale on my Winnipeg Terminals layout in my nice, cool basement, not the baking heat of a Winnipeg summer afternoon.

Speaking of cool, those CN reefers will soon be sent over to Maple Leaf Meats in St Boniface, but that's another post, about another switch job, for another day. The crew is still working hard to assemble their train. That UP car is headed for scrapping. Looks like it was involved in a derailment (actually it was baked in a too-hot hobby shop window). 7183 has tiptoed outside the yard to lift two empties at Great Northern Industries. This compact warehouse represents the acres of warehouses in Winnipeg's west end that used to be worked by CN out of their St James yard. Predictably, most of that traffic is now truck-hauled.

Now leaving the yard, 7183 is hauling that BN hopper to Permacon Concrete, the only track served by this job that has a facing-point switch. Remnants of Winnipeg's nineteenth-century building boom are still standing, if only to provide roosts for pigeons:

A trainman is protecting the back-and-forth movements of the switcher at an automatically-protected crossing, to prevent impatient truckers from disregarding the flashing red lights. Just visible at right is BN 376650, one of the two cars just spotted at Great Northern Industries.

BN 467210 reaches its final destination, just as the Permacon workers are calling it a day. Notice that this side of the car is a heck of a lot cleaner than the other side, shown in the previous shot:

Returning the short distance to the yard, 7183 picks up its trailing-point setouts and leaves three cars at Mandak. The trainman has hopped on at the crossing, and is riding the rear of the movement, so that MTS line truck will soon be free to go.

The CN sectionmen are out to give that rough-looking crossing some attention, as Reimer Express prepares to take that trailer away from Great Northern. Every car Great Northern receives is simply "merchandise". I've left this purposely vague, as everything from beans to bullets arrives in Winnipeg in its role as Western Canada's distribution centre. Mandak receives retired rolling stock for scrapping, some inbound scrap, outbound scrap and cars of steel from Manitoba Rolling Mills. The real Mandak is located in East Selkirk, miles away from St James, except on my layout.

7183 has returned with one gon full of scrap. Outbound loads such as this have to be weighed before being sent off-line, so Algoma Central 718 is spotted on the track scale. Soon that scrap will become razor blades, structural steel, or Fords. The car shop lead diverges to the left, and the yard ladder track is at the right:

That scale track also provides a handy run-around track when not weighing cars, as it runs parallel to the yard lead. 7183 has coupled on to those two empties from Great Northern after running around them. The highball can't be too far off. That GT gon at the car shop has a twisted frame, so it's car shop queen until the head-office types decide its fate...Mandak perhaps?

7183 has plucked caboose 79607 out of the yard, tacked it on the tail end, and the lifts are ready to highball over to Symington. With no other Symingon-bound cars to lift out of the yard, this train should be a quick trip. Unless of course the dispatcher has traffic to handle on the main.

Running extra...
This model railroad post is a first for Trackside Treasure, but not the last. Patient prototype fans can check in my sidebar for some upcoming posts. My railfanning and modelling are entwined - the prototype and model worlds are combined, like Reese's peanut butter and chocolate.
The livin' is indeed easy in summertime, as I've found out, just returning to work from a week's vacation. Have you ever watched CBC's The National in summertime? All the experts that comment on various stories are usually filmed on their backyard decks, not at their computers in their offices as is usually the case. They are still told, "OK, walk towards the camera" as the news producer's desperately attempt to infuse movement and visual drama into otherwise dry footage.
Just started listening to Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals on CD. The book begins in Harper's Ferry VA, where they're celebrating the sesquicentennial of John Brown's raid. This is the scenic site of two railroad bridges across the Potomac River. Jeff Daniels stars as a serious actor in the movie based on the book, playing Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain. This definitely elevated his career after wallowing in comedies like the ridiculous 101 Dalmatians (oh, and the delightfully doltish Dumb & Dumber).


Manny in Manitoba said...

Hi Eric, congratulations on your appearance in the last CRM including even the cover shot! Nice to see your efforts and obvious affinity for Manitoba be published. I see you also had an orange Winnipeg Transit bus in the cover shot. Too bad that is going away. Since 2002 we have been painting our buses boring white and the older orange buses are being retired monthly as newer white ones come.

Eric said...

Hi Manny, thanks for your kind words. That new Wpg bus paint scheme sounds boring. In Ontario the OPP went back to B&W for their cars after painting them white for some years. My Manitoba affinity is definitely showing, eh? Loved the photos of the CP units in your article which also appeared in that CRM issue.

Zartok-35 said...

Nice models, Eric! I don't havey anyhting quite so glamorous right now, but I have plans. I also have a make-shift setup of the Saskatoon Interchange in my basment, though.
I like your Charlie Van! Care to share it's origins?

Eric said...

Hi Elijah, that CN caboose started out as an inexpensive (Model Power?) car that I reworked. The side windows are still square, but the modified end handrails with CN logo make it look a lot better. I have a Sylvan resin PSC kit, still unassembled years later and 79607 has logged many miles on my layout. Thanks for your comments, Eric