Saturday, November 10, 2012

Autumn in Shannonville

On November 3 I had the opportunity to head to a favourite railfan location - the CP crossing of CN's Kingston Sub at Shannonville, Ontario.  As in most of my earlier visits, CP saw fit to keep its freights at a safe distance away.  That is not to say there was absolutely no CP traffic.  The unmistakable high-pitched song of a hi-rail truck announced the arrival of a CP foreman with a TOP inspecting his territory (below).  Meanwhile, someone at CN proved the undeniable connection between fast food and trains.  On the back of one of their Track Occupancy Permits, a CN worker had drawn a map of notable local eateries: Domino's Pizza and Tim Hortons.  It was windy this day, so I used a sawed-off piece of rail as a photo prop paperweight (above).
Of course, I do not advocate standing around on railway property, much less on a bridge. However, the foreman's inspection meant that this was my chance to record the juxtaposition of CP (left, looking east, with CN's now triple-track mainline, at right) from CP's bridge:
and looking west, CP at left with CN's newest, northernmost track at right:
The bleat of VIA P42DC 915's horn announced the eastbound's passage, transiting Foreman Free's Rule 42 limits between Mile 221 to Mile 211, cleared from his sentinel position atop an earthen berm east of Belleville.  Trains were operating on south track only between Marysville and Quinte.  CN Work 900 Eng 5937 was dropping ballast within these limits at Mitchell Side Road.  Quite a difference between June and November, looking west from the bridge in the following two views, plus third track now tamped into place.  The profile and alignment of the third track is a little different from the previous two tracks, made necessary by the position of CP's bridge abutments.

Two Industrial Rail Services-refurbished LRC cars tailed the train east at Mi 214 Kingston Sub.  CP's northernmost bridge abutment is visible extreme left, with CN's new third track in foreground.  Quite a change since double-track only in September 2009.
Update on third-tracking from VIA engineer Chris Diddy: The new track 1 has been cut in to the old North track at mile 215.  The third track has been added on north and south sides: north side Mile 209-215, south side Mile 215 -217 (new Quinte) south side with old track 4 reconstructed to Moira also on the south side. In addition, track 1 has been in service from Napanee to Marysville for a couple of weeks.  Sounding like a weedeater on rails, a CN ballast regulator hove into view from the east.
The northernmost milepost 214 had at is base a small pile of ballast regulator rubber broom hoses stacked against it. Trackside at many locations west of Marysville, crews were holding safety briefings before going out to work on the ballast.  Contractors were working east of Belleville on crossings, signal installations all along the Kingston Sub - very Union Pacific-like! CN 8828 West passes through the limits, handling D-5 dimensional loads on the headend - mobile homes looking like wrapped loads on BCR bulkhead flatcars - doors, windows and siding all facing the south side (darn).
A large cut of ballast cars, soon set-out for the triple-tracking project in Belleville yard, likely loaded in Drummondville, Quebec.  You'll see more of those interesting green former BC Rail ballast cars in the next post.  An eastbound Continuous Welded Rail train trod this section of track in September 2008.
Looking like a propane tank car-mounted giant bagel, this tank car hatch caught my eye.  Carman?
Mid-train Distributed Power Unit 2311 leads the rear half of the train.  Reminiscent of my previous post on was followed by...AUTORACKS! In March 2011, only the sub-roadbed for the third track was in place here.
Graffiti is art.  Graffiti is vandalism. Discuss.
An earlier visit in April 2009 was the original post from this location - Springtime in Shannonville. I've heard of rails-to-trails, but this is trails near rails...CP's use of a ballast undercutter, concurrent with application with tons of new grey ballast has given us a CP Belleville Sub-side trail, visible behind the whistle sign:
The fields and all things in them shall be joyful...all the trees of the wood rejoice - Psalm 96:12.
Belleville's station soars cathedral-like even above a double-stacked CN No 149.  In part 2, I'll provide more coverage at Belleville, including a rare double DPU.

Running extra...

U.S. election fun fact:  If Mitt Romney had become president, he would have been only the second president in history to be named after an article of clothing.  The first being Teddy (Roosevelt).  

Seven ways to make the U.S. election more fun:
1. Make it shorter. Much shorter.  Six weeks here in Canada.
2. Tell high school kids how they can get scholarships to this Electoral College.
3. Need more political reporters with great names like Poppy Harlow, Chip Reid and Wolf Blitzer.
4. What's with the donkey and elephant symbols?  How about a squirrel and a badger?  Or ferocious, duelling eagles.  An armadillo and possum?  The almighty buck, and lots of doe?  Discuss.
5. What's with red states and blue states? They all look greyish-green from a few miles up.
6. Get a third party.  Less rhetoric, more exciting.  Alex, I'll take coalition governments for 400?
7. Ballot format simplification.  A Florida ballot I saw looked like a daily newspaper or perhaps a book.

The first week of sales of my new VIA books has been very encouraging.  I'd like to thank the many customers who bought my first book and have returned for more.  You'll find the second book quite a departure - as one customer said, more of a 'read' than its predecessor.  That's for sure.  Books are on their way to Washington and New York, to Victoria and Newfoundland!


GP9Rm4108 said...

I feel I should update your train list.

Throw me an email at

I grew up in Brockville and am now in Winnipeg working for CN. I still pay very close attention to what goes on on the Kingston sub.

Eric said...

I think you should too, if it could use some updating. Thanks for your comment and your suggestion at continuous improvement for Trackside Treasure!