A 93-car westbound CN freight derailed at 2200 hours, Thursday, May 13, 1993 just west of Kingston, Ontario. The derailment was in an interesting location, at Mi 180 Kingston Sub: at the Collins Bay Road level crossing, bordering the playground of Collins Bay Public School. Four loaded auto racks derailed from the north track, across the south track and into the trackside pole line and schoolyard fence. CAUTION tape was deployed, and wrapped around two track wrenches that had been driven into the schoolyard. This kept the young students away from the site at recess, but we could still hear them yelling "Mister, get away from the train! It's going to crash! It's going to explode!" No doubt merely an expression of youthful, enthusiastic hyperbole. Arriving at the derailment site, three auto racks had already been rerailed, with CN 711931 remaining. The Toronto Auxiliary was at the scene:Consist of the Toronto Auxiliary:
CN 5358 (NA map scheme) -5355 - 250-ton auxiliary crane 50008 - idler car 60329 - tool (ex-baggage) car 60337 - hazmat boxcar 57948 - generator boxcar 43621 - crew sleeper 72909 - ?coach - ?coach - 3 flatcars with panel track - gondola 59110 with spare trucks - 60305 - flatcar 57935 - flatcar 57551 with portable lights - caboose 79902. The auxiliary worked the west end of the lift, while Kershaw road-rail crane CN078836 worked the east end. A 20 mph slow order was in effect between Mileages 179-182, with trains passing the derailment site at no more than 10 m.p.h. The auxiliary's outriggers have been blocked with timbers sledge-hammered into place, and a freight car truck rolled into place for the lift of the errant auto rack:
The auxiliary train's consist had been re-marshalled placing 50008 was at the east end, with the idler car, tool car and boxcar ahead of the power. As the Kershaw crane held the east end of the car steady, the west end was lifted up and over the south track, shown in this series of photos:
Once rerailed, the timber blocking was lifted by the crane onto the adjacent idler car:
A CN hi-rail truck brought some additional rails to the site, and VIA train 60 passed at 1100, 6902-3461-3346-3368:
The auxiliary's boom was lowered, and the auto rack chained to its east end coupler for the trip to Ernestown, to be set out there (below and top photo). There, the train was likely re-marshalled before returning to Toronto via Belleville. CN 50008 was the Belleville auxiliary in 1961, rerailing 23 cars that derailed into the Trent Canal near Trenton Junction.
More trains continued by after the auxiliary left. As often happens once the track is fully open, the floodgates open and trains start to flow through as fast as the dispatcher can get them going, with passenger trains and high-priority freights having precedence:
1402 EB VIA: 6428-3468-3362-3360
First freight past the site: WB CN Laser 9570-9526-9441-77 platforms
1420 EB VIA train 42: 6429-3475-3371-3329
1440: EB CN freight 9425-2317-2333 - 71 cars
1505 WB VIA train 65: 6407 - 4 LRC cars
1508 EB VIA train 64: 6414-3339-3366-3350-3331-3471-8622
1517 WB CN train 391: 6001 - exCNW NRE 882 - 5031
1533 EB CN freight: 9443-2324-3548
A newspaper photo from the Kingston Whig-Standard (above) shows an early morning view of the accident scene, while Kingston This Week (below) shows the Kershaw crane at work, later in the day. 50008's boom is visible in the background, while the road-rail crane is blocked and in position.
One day before the accident, a crossing accident fatality occurred one mile east, at Mile 179. This was the ninth crossing accident in the Kingston area in seven years. The private crossing was in use by a mechanic who was going to work on a car located at the house on the north side of the double-track mainline, when his Olds Cutlass was demolished by VIA train 68. This crossing, two other private crossings between Mi 179-180, and Hillview Road crossing were subsequently removed.
Lots of speculative discussion online this week after VIA's train 692 took some last-minute measures to clear the track for CN train 853 on CN's Togo Sub in Manitoba. Only those involved know for sure what happened, but it reminded me of the events leading to the CN-VIA Hinton, Alberta collision/derailment twenty-five years ago. Fortunately, no such calamitous event ensued.
I still can't believe a Canadian senator suggested replacing the beaver with the polar bear as Canada's national animal emblem. Is this some kind of an ONR (polar bear) vs. CPR (beaver) competition? While the polar bear is a majestic ursine animal citizen of Canada, there's no animal as clever, resourceful, family-minded and handy as the Canadian beaver. (No wonder it's the emblem of the Canadian Forces engineering branch.) A dam dumb idea if you ask me.
Remember Canada's fallen this coming week - John 15:13. The average age of surviving World War Two veterans is 85 years of age, with the average Korean War veteran being 76 years of age. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them. Nous nous souviendrons d'eux.