Spring is here in the form of a bright, cloudless morning. My son says "Dad, if you're going trainwatching in the morning, you can take my new camera". The coffee cup says It's going to be a good day. The elements seem to be in alignment to discover some early Saturday morning trackside treasure. At 0621, the tailend of CN intermodal train 106 is on the north track heading into the sunrise behind brand-new 8887-2309:Train 309 with 2257-2202 running "wrong main" is framed by a telegraph pole at 0637, hauling several Central Soya covered hoppers, CN 89-foot flatcars of rail, Portbec lumber, and 40 empty trilevels on the tail-end:
There's time for a few sips of coffee and a read-through of this morning's newspaper before the morning VIA train to Toronto trundles west at a leisurely 46 mph, behind 919 at 0656. At 0725 it's No 368 behind 2532-IC 1003, with empty paper cars, empty flats and former Alcan covered gons for the smelter at Arvida, plus WC, IC and B&LE gons and hoppers loaded with scrap ties.
The private crossing where I'm standing used to lead to three houses located on the north side of the Kingston Sub. In an effort to reduce the number of unsignalled crossings, as well as to make way for a new housing development, the crossing was closed after the houses gave their all to train Kingston Fire & Rescue volunteers. Heading into the sun:
That's just the way I roll - CN 49258 is loaded with new axles for a car shop somewhere in Quebec. Later, 89-foot wheel car CN 48990 will be going the other way on No 371 with axles, on the next westbound. To paraphrase Marvin, "ain't nothing like the wheel thing, baby".
Car may fall over. Warning. Avoid tipping accident. Instructions - Chargement. Dire bilingual warnings are stencilled on the bulkheads of these 73-foot centre-beam cars as they head east for more wooden wares.
The rails are silent for 10 minutes. Red-winged blackbirds "chaak" and traffic on Bath Road picks up as citizens load their trailers with accumulated winter detritus for disposal, stop by the drive-thru at Country Style, or head out to No Frills for a few groceries. The heavy ballast and welded rail here under the Bayridge Drive overpass look pretty good in the low, glinting sunlight.
Train 369 behind 5761-9530-9576 at 0738 is next. It's unusual to find a GP40-2L in road service these days, much less two of them. These two units had just headed east on train 368, and were now online and earning their keep. Aluminum loads, hydrogen peroxide tankcars likely lifted at Brockville, Arbec, Abitibi and Kruger lumber, loaded paper cars and CN "Rail the Environmental Mode" covered hopper 382022 follow.
CN has bought 35 surplus standard-cab ex-UP exx-CNW C41-8's, to be numbered in the CN 2100-series, formerly assigned to Draper Tapers. Also, 60 ex-BNSF C40-8W's which were lease returns. Power-hungry? Economic upswing? "Gee. No, GE."
Locomotives are somewhat interesting, but rolling stock like those leftover B&LE and IC hoppers? That's way more interesting. Bessemer logos, plus IC cars formerly in Nova Scotia gypsum service, now stencilled with the CN website address. Maybe no longer fit for interchange service, CN is maximizing the assets to haul scrap ties.
A tie-in...(why knot?) I bought a few classic tie clips at last week's bluegrass concert. Monroe Crossing dressed in vintage-30's garb, and sold CD's and classic ties and clips at their sales table. Their Silver Dollar City all-request live CD is a great listen. Patsy Cline meets the Soggy Bottom Boys.