This past Saturday, I noticed a pair of CN Geeps working the Cataraqui Spur. Alternately known as Work 900 or Work 7027, engines 4130 and 7027 were drilling the team track area at the top of the Cataraqui Spur. Two cars were lifted, and 12 cars set out. What was "40070" and why was CN Car Control interested in it? IC 365549 was loaded and lifted. It was another visit to Kingston by some of the most interesting cars in CN's fleet today - scrap tie cars from predecessor roads. Each year, CN gangs replace ties and rails on the Kingston Sub, and the old ties are stacked for later removal. A boom truck, visible just to the right of CC 40070, was loading scrap ties into the cars on the right of this photo:
I'd seen such cars spotted in Kingston at least three times in years past, and each time I'm struck by the variety of not only car types and sizes, but the incredible variety of paint schemes, and representation of the plethora of predecessor roads that CN has absorbed. BLE, IC, CC, AC, BCOL, SSAM, and WC are the reporting marks these cars bear, but that's only part of the story. Sometimes the reporting marks don't match the paint scheme of the car they're on.
Chicago Central & Pacific operated former Illinois Central lines, and this rotary-dump hopper is a surprise on the Cat Spur. Some of these cars have been repainted in CN's website scheme. These cars were formerly used in coal service, and include a logo based on the Illinois Central logo of the 1930's:
Kansas City Power & Light operated a fleet of rotary-dump hoppers with KCLX reporting marks, just visible under the current SSAM 33294. This car was built by Pullman-Standard in May, 1976. It's still wearing its Automatic Car Identification striped label on the 'B' end.
It was nearly impossible to see the reporting marks on this faded/rusted/graffiti'd CN gondola. Fortunately, some helpful car checker had handwritten reporting marks on the side in chalk. It's CN 138638, built in October, 1969.
Algoma Central's finest. To me, these AC gons may well be the all-Canadian freight car. Instantly recognizable, with unique multipurpose design, size and heft and logo with bold lettering, I profiled WC 201178 in Kingston in 1998 in this post. AC 11358 was last reweighed on the AC in June, 1997.
CN 136266 (aka Monkey Nuts!) is next in the string of generally crappy-looking cars.
AC 11127 is next, still showing its "Home Shop For Repairs. Do Not Load" label.
The boom truck that was loading scrap ties and the huge tie pile made it difficult to see the other few cars at the west end of this cut. They were, west to east: BLE 50807 Blt 1/79, IC 387231 Blt 4/68, BLE 50926, IC 387497 Blt 5/69, Reblt 6/81, SSAM 33373 (ex-KCPL 8118) Blt 5/76, BLE 1663 Blt 2/79, and IC 387525 Blt 5/68, Reblt 6/81. Just a down-at-the-heels group of cars, but worth investigating and quite far removed from their past glories.
Kingston's 23rd Rail-O-Rama runs this weekend. The Ambassador Resort Hotel is an ideal venue, and the whole ballroom will be in use. Handy location for out-of-towners, fine dining on site, a spike's throw from VIA's Counter Street station and CN's Kingston Sub, and I'm looking forward to meeting lots of VIA Rail fans. I'll also be selling my TTC light-up subway route map - the show will be for the Yonge at heart, and will likely pass by in a Bloor of activity.
Best train show purchases: Patrick Dorin's seminal CN and CP Stories at the Gananoque show: "I'd rather sell them than pack them up to take home" said the seller, Peter Mumby's rolling stock 4x6 prints at the Picton show, and a ten-dollar junk box full of goodies and detail parts at the Kingston show, when it was still held at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour.
The Queen's Jubilee celebration tour has begun, celebrating her 60 years on the throne. Her arrival in Leicester was aboard a smart-looking royal blue, yellow and red East Midlands train. Steam still reigned when the Queen's reign began.