Sunday, January 9, 2011

CWR Trains on the Kingston Sub, 2008

A caboose in CN's Belleville Yard on September 2, 2008 was an unusual sight. It was in use as a rider car on Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) train 900 Eng 8841. The air on the train was pumping, so its departure eastward looked imminent. Caboose 79707 had been hit by spraybomb-toting taggers since I'd seen it previously in Napanee on another work train in 1998.
We paced the train out of the yard at about 25 mph with its heavy load of rail from Transcona in Winnipeg:
Anytime I'd been to the Salmon River bridge, just east of Shannonville, there'd been no trains to photograph. This slow-moving CWR train provided the perfect opportunity. Set up under the spreading limbs of trees along the riverside, the train eventually made its tortoise-like arrival, crossing the venerable limestone and girder bridge:

Caboose 79707 and fuel boxcar 73115 cross the bridge, with its handrails added for head-end crews to walk a train, once cabooseless operations began in 1990:
Easily outpaced again, the train passed us again at Wyman's Road crossing in Marysville, Mi 209 Kingston Sub:

A frigid November 22, 2008 found another train 900, this time with Eng 5707 operating east of Napanee on the Kingston Sub. Caboose 79707 and fuel car 73115 were again on the tail-end. Stopping at the top of the hill at Mi 178, one string of CWR was winched off the uppermost deck, sounding like a Star Wars light-sabre duel in the chill air.
Once the rail was secured, 5707 started backing the train up, reaching about 15 mph as the rail slithered off the train and onto the south side of the south track. This sounded like thirteen laughing witches on Hallowe'en night!
A foreman walked the catwalk, checking the progress of the CWR string, while the rest of the unloading crew huddled in the cab of CN 44297 behind the engine.
Train 900 then departed east to its next drop with 79707 bringing up the rear:
Back in 1980, jointed rail was replaced with CWR on the Kingston Sub. The Canron Rail Change Out (RCO) did the honours. The RCO is unique because in the cantilevered centre section of the unit, the new CWR is threaded onto the ties, the old rail is pushed aside and in that brief moment, no rail remains on the ties. In 2008, as only segments of rail are replaced, so the CWR dropped on this day will be replaced by a steel gang with hi-rail cranes and track machines in the spring.
RCO and its support train resting for the night near Mi 178 in June 1980 (above). This was the same location as the November 2008 train, before the Cataraqui Spur switch was relocated east of Gardiners Road. Note CN Chevy Nova and crew bus.

Running Extra...

Yesterday we enjoyed a coffee and McMuffin in the McDonald's built near the location of the 1980 photo above. CN 590 slowly headed east between two 7000's, with tank cars and covered hoppers for Invista and a car of steel for Kimco. Gee, watching that CWR train would've been warmer inside, but I'd miss the awesome sound effects.

CBS series Undercover Boss is profiling linen company UniFirst's CEO Ron Croatti. As he heads out on the road, he leaves behind his wife and model railway. How much rolling stock can a CEO buy? A lot, based on the intro to the episode. Now, just why is the whistle of that BNSF GE sounding like a steam engine?


Zartok-35 said...

Those are some pretty interesting noises for a rail train to make.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, Elijah. It's hard to describe the sounds made by steel-on-steel when the rail was unloaded...caffeinated Banshee? Distressed mountain lion? Improperly operating bandsaw?

Usually these CWR trains whip by on the Kingston Sub as train No 480, on their way someplace else. It was interesting the see the unloading process right at my location.