Friday, July 13, 2012

Still Springtime in Shannonville

A late spring trip to Shannonville on June 16 took me trackside at the site of the CP crossing over the CN Kingston Sub, just west of Shannonville Road. Here, a third track is being installed north of the current north track.  South of the current south track, an earthen berm is provided for visiting rail photographers.  This is where I photographed CN No 369, approaching Belleville yard at 1055.  Locomotives 2655-8802 are just cresting the grade approaching Mi 214 Kingston Sub (above).
Lots of metals traffic on this train, such as CNIS 621259 and 622230 with coils of steel wire rod, held in by bunks built onto the side sills of CN bulkhead flat cars (above) and aluminum ingots on new HPJX 52213 (below).  These new Helm-Pacific Leasing cars are replacing older CN flat cars in this service.
More aluminum, this time carried by CN 188000-series covered gondolas.  These unique gondolas, developed by CN for Alcan traffic now have the Alcan logos painted out on the car lids, and the Arvida operation is run by Rio Tinto.  CN 188447 and 188422 are accompanied by GTW coil cars 188155 and 187791:
CN supplied hi-cube boxcars for the paper mill in Port Hawkesbury, NS.  The mill has closed and had trouble reopening since, and these cars, notable for their bold Canadian National lettering and reporting marks have been relettered with GTW reporting marks. In some cases, the CN logo and lettering has been painted out, and they are now in service originating in northern Quebec.  I refer to them as 'Ports' boxcars, and GTW 406474 and 406381 head west on today's 369.

Magor-built Aluminum Company of America AOCX 2218 reminds me of a model railroader's quick repainting and relettering job.  Chris van der Heide's Canadian Freight Car Gallery shows AOCX 2217 at Brockville in May 2012. Interestingly, the car ended up on a flat car in June!
I walked west along the wobbly third track alignment, eventually reaching the CP bridge. As in previous visits to the site, including just over a year ago in March 2011, CP is stingy with the trains this day.  The piers for the bridge allow for the additional track (and one to the south someday?) and a retaining wall and tons of gravel have been added.  Looking timetable west (above) and timetable east (below) the third track still needs surfacing and alignment.
An earlier visit to the site in September 2009 showed the bridge from a different angle. As I enjoyed a breeze from the shade of the bridge deck, VIA 6454 East was contacting Foreman Robitaille who was manning his Rule 42 between Mi 211 and Mi 221, from atop another berm just east of Belleville yard.  To the east, Foreman Ken McDonald was the next Rule 42 foreman on their list, with limits between Mi 199 and Mi 209.  Third track construction between Napanee West and Belleville will mean these limits will be in force for some time.
Renaissance scheme 6454 leads her four cars east, passing a new signal gantry not visible during earlier visits, then passing the Mi 214 milepost:
Taking a page from Adam Walker's use of wayside signs photographed to record his railfan visits, I searched in vain for a convenient signal bungalow at this location.  There was none. Instead, the sweat poured down my forehead as I scoured the ditches for some items with which to construct a suitable marker.  Bent and unbent spikes, a track bolt, and random pieces of wood would have to do:
Heading back to the car, No 149 blew a 14(l) for the Shannonville Road crossing, led by BCOL 4623-2516, doing a comfortable 62 mph past the berm at 1210.  No 149 later departed Belleville at 1240 after a crew change.
Construction of VIA's Brobdingnagian Belleville station continues apace.  Exterior materials are added to the pedestrian overpass, and the historic Grand Trunk station is fenced off.  The station garden grows on out-of-reach outside the enclosure, as poseys of poppies pose for passing passengers, hostas are held hostage and chives chime in to produce some colour, all bravely disregarding the DANGER sign above their heads.
Compared to the state of the station project in August 2011 the street side of the station actually looks pretty good.  Am I to believe that this monolith is increasing VIA's Belleville ridership, while at the same time providing a measly ten additional seats in the glassed-in foreground waiting room?
CN yard power soaks up the sun at the east end of the yard: 7039-4131.
A hi-rail boom truck shuffles tie cars nearby.  High-sided IC 102019 is a long way from Casey Jones-land.
Coming soon to Kimco is BNSF 545649 loaded with I-beams, part of an eastbound set-out which also included cars for Belleville industries, Kingston's Invista nylon plant and Bath's Lafarge cement plant.
Running extra...

Private car Pacific, the piece de resistance of the Mother Parker's Remembers campaign heads for Toronto on July 4, tailing VIA No 59 at Kingston's Counter Street crossing.
The train scoots west past the Kingston station parking lot.  Trackside Treasure chase vehicle at right, and is that a camper beyond?  Where are we, at a Wal-Mart?
Chris Diddy kindly sent some photos of Pacific set out at another monster of a station, Ottawa.  It was 0630, and Chris hot-footed over to the car to capture Pacific in all its high-gloss glory on his camera phone before departing Ottawa westward.  A view I was unable to get at Kingston.  Thanks, Chris!


Anonymous said...

That is a really nice looking station in Belleville. It's hard to believe that VIA is behind something like that. Every other VIA-built or renovated station I can think of always came out looking like it was done on the cheap, with tacky designs, inadequate facilities and an overall feeling that passenger rail is totally irrelevant in this country.

However, Belleville's station hearkens back to the optimism of the 60s, when CN was building impressively modern stations and were a sign that Canada still took passenger trains seriously. Maybe that era is returning, at least in the corridor.

Eric said...

You're right about the station looking new, and who can complain about investment in passenger rail in Canada? Fortunately there is room for the station's large footprint and pedestrian overpass. Next time when I have more time, I'll have to go in and check out the new interior. I bet it has that 'new station' smell.

Thanks for your comments, A.,

Anonymous said...

The reason that you don't see many trains on the CPR is that they all seem to run at night. Around midnight one night a few months ago, the CPR dispatch screen showed no less than ten trains between Agincourt and Smiths Falls.

Steve Lucas.

Eric said...

Hi Steve, welcome aboard, and thanks for your comment.

I'll have to change CP's nickname from the Leaky Roof Railway to the Nocturnal Railway. When I'm in Shannonville, my wife is visiting Ecstasy Crafts nearby, and they're only open during daytime, so my visits coincide with that. Who knows, I still might see one...if I'm lucky.


Al said...

An earthern berm for railroad photographers ??? If so, probably the only one I've ever heard of. Maybe they do things differently in Canada. In the US we're just barely tolerated. Wonderful photos, color and clarity are superb. Regards, Al

Eric said...

Well, not just for photographers, Al. There was a lot of excavation during the third-tracking, and some earth was piled up to provide a berm between the tracks and some nearby houses.

By my October 2013 visit, weeds had grown up, to the point of needing a weed-whacker to achieve the same vantage point:

We are subject to the standard rules about trespassing, which I do my best to follow, but response from all concerned is usually friendly.

Thanks for your kind comments.