Friday, January 25, 2013

CN's Hanley Spur, Along the Line

CN's Hanley Spur funnelled cars from the Kingston Sub mainline to customers located along the Cataraqui River along Kingston's waterfront near City Hall.  These industries, large and small, were an interesting mix of post-Industrial Revolution factories, warehouses and team tracks, many alive with waterfront activity.  Though I rarely made the cross-town pilgrimage to photograph the spur, here are some views from the line representing various eras. The first post on the Hanley Spur included aerial views, while this one takes us trackside. Be sure to check Hans Boldt's 1980 photos of his walk along the spur!
The Hanley spur extended 2.2 miles south from the Kingston Sub, crossing the CP at Mi 1.0, crossing Cataraqui Street at Mi 1.1, and sharing a mutual track with CP from Mi 1.8-1.9. CP had also achieved waterfront access with its own trackage, paralleling and crossing CN, sharing track then splitting again at City Hall. The connection from the old alignment of the Kingston Sub, from the present south track thence the Hanley Spur was still in place in April 1985. The Rail Changeout Unit was backing in, and a second track of cars is visible, from which tie plates and spikes will be unloaded by CN crane 50471.  The realigned curve through Kingston is visible in the foreground (above).
Vintage Kingston Facebook photo taken at Belle Park off Montreal Street, taken in 1973 Royal Train used by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Kingston for our tercentenary. Located nearby was local bottler Elder's Beverages.  OPP cruisers abound, and the smokestacks of the industries along the Cataraqui River, farther down the spur are visit in the background.
Doug Rickaby shared the above photo of the abandoned Davis Tannery, taken in the 1980's, with the CN track visible in foreground. An excellent article with views of this part of the line was written by former CP'er David Page and published in Bytown Railway Society's November 2005 Branchline.  Spotted at Quattrochi Produce is San Luis Central 232 bringing potatoes from Bath NB, that I photographed in April 1979.  The former CP track is in the foreground, approaching Montreal Street.  A switchlist from April 9/79 listed the following cars switched by CN:

-CP 51309 KH84 CP MT [MacCosham]
-CN 560943, CN 561758, CN 565038 KH10 Whig Paper
-CN 432047 KH15 Imperial Oil
-SLC 232 KH82 Quattrochi Spuds
A Whig-Standard photo from February 16, 1982 taken mere feet from the photo above shows CN 3661 at the intersection of Montreal and Railway Streets:
Gordon Smithson's book At the Bend in the Road Kingston includes excellent coverage of the Hanley Spur, including some 1976-80 photos of a CN train heading down to the waterfront, passing a weed-spraying truck on CP near the crossover. Here are some photos from 2001 of NGB Studios, the former National Grocers Building/Whig-Standard warehouse, now an artist colony on Cataraqui Street, photographed from the west side:
Photographed from the east side, large loading doors facing the former spur location are spaced along the three-storey building as well as the single-story portion of the warehouse:
At North Street, Imperial Oil used a unique limestone warehouse to distribute cases of petroleum products. Located along the CN, the warehouse is now the subject of restoration plans - the only industrial building designed by William Newlands - pegged at $1.5 million! A newly-built Rideaucrest Home looms on the horizon.
Taking a wrong turn while trying to reach Rideau Street, a transport truck has become hung up on the River Street bridge, shown in this March 9, 1993 news photo.  In the foreground was the CP crossing of the CN.
Anglin and Imperial Oil seemed to have received oil by tanker and tank car respectively. A Facebook page entitled Vintage Kingston included this 1973 view of CN yard, Canadian Dredge & Dock, with King Street and Place d'Armes in background:
CN boxcar at seed/feed operation south on Ontario Street, between Brock and Princess Streets - note the L-shaped dock configuration - current site of Holiday Inn. The telegraph line down the spur was removed in 1976, and the spur was thereafter truncated to the north making way for new developments such as the OHIP building, though the CE MacPherson spur was still in place in 1983.
Coal merchants once dotted Kingston's waterfront.  Selling mainly anthracite coal from the Scranton, Pennsylvania area, sales had declined by the late 1970's.  Anglin's was at the front of Bay St.; Crawford at the foot of Queen St; Soward's between Ontario St and Place d'Armes on the current site of Frontenac Village housing complex was purchased by Anglin in 1963, and its wooden, covered unloading trestle was still standing in 1973, ceased operation in 1979; Swift's at the foot of Johnson St near the Canadian Locomotive Co was sold to JP Hanley in 1926, and operated by members of the Hanley family until 1958.
December 30, 1976 Whig-Standard photo showing a CP Rail crew working to throw the switch to the Anglin/Soward coal yard (above). Ontario Street leads to the causeway spanning the Cataraqui River at left, with downtown at right and historic Fort Frontenac in the background. CPR 424 in 1953, in a photo purchased from Railway Memories Collection (below) chuffs between uniquely-shaped buildings around the CN/CP mutual track.  It's still possible to drive along the rear of these buildings, though it's now marked as a one-way private laneway:
In September, 1970 touring British locomotive Flying Scotsman, LNER 4472 trod these same rails to its display location. The last passenger train behind CPR 417 headed north from Kingston in 1957. City councillors brought in an anti-idling bylaw a few years ago to prevent tour buses from idling outside City Hall.  Imagine what their 21st century reaction would be to the cinder-spewing D-4! CPR 485 smokes it up on K&P mixed train M613 in 1953, photo purchased from Dave Shaw Collection.  
CPR S-11 6621 still switches CP freight traffic in front of City Hall in this August 1963 scanned slide, slightly less smoky.  L.C. Gagnon photo:
A CN pile driver drives 25-foot piles on the waterfront CN line, with CP boxcars visible on CP trackage in background, taken on February 18, 1960 photo purchased from the Queen's Archives.  The work was undertaken by Belleville B&B forces to repair the retaining wall at the foot of Clarence and Johnson Streets.  CN's line continued west past this point to reach the Canadian Locomotive Company, which would only last ten more years before being demolished. Its compact location is now home to ritzy waterfront condos, from which steel steeds once arose and steamed to ride the rails.
Running extra...

The results of the Pick(201)3 are in, with a diverse yet focussed winnowing of the field.  Watch for: CP Detours on the Kingston Sub, CN's Wainwright Sub, Car Tracing Accounts, Cars at CP Express and Queen's Interchange, Black Widows (sounds spooky but it's not, really!), 6060 Redux, CN's White Fleet, Other Portage-area Elevators, and the one-of-a-kind 1992 CP Hospital Train.  Thanks for your votes, suggestions, and ardent pleas for posting your favourites...soonest!

That post did not include a whole bunch of other bindered ideas that didn't make it to Post-it note status yet:  BN's Cryogenic Reefers, Weird Auto Rack Prototypes, Cisco and Flexi-Flo, Earning Your Stripes...ACI Labels, the Cox HO-scale Logging Set, The V.I.E.W. (Vancouver Iron & Engineering Works) covered hoppers, and last but not's Schnabel Time!

Welcome Lance Mindheim's layout design blog to the Excellent Train URL's section of the Trackside Treasure sidebar.  Also there are links to Lance's website and further resources.  Often featured in the model railroad press, Lance's ultra-realistic modelling and straightforward concept applications make interesting reading.

Poplar Point, Manitoba is celebrating one hundred years of hockey.  A big came featuring Detroit Red Wings alumni  is coming up on February 8.  Thanks to Vaughn Bend for this notice.  Game on!


Anonymous said...


I love these old Kingston shots. I'm a big K&P fan, and have been meaning to visit Kingston for some site visits, but your photos and captions are as good a history lesson as anything. Keep up the great blog


Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Andy. Glad to hear that this post helps with your understanding of the line, I know it did for me, though I do wish I'd gotten over there more while it was in service.

Watch for some future posts on the Outer Station and other rail-served industries and operations in Kingston.


Bryan said...

Hi Eric,

I'm way behind in checking this stuff out. I'm not sure if you go back this far in the comments, but I'll keep 'em coming.

I haven't seen this part of Kingston since around 2002. It's somehow a lot cleaner (and safer-looking) in your photos than I remember. What blows my mind is how much the Davis Tannery and NG Building look like they are straight out of an ATLAS model kit. Even more bizarre is how the photo of the NG warehouse from the early 2000's has a parking lot of old trucks outside making it look like the heyday of the 70ies.

Another sort of amazing thing is that you were able to collect and write up so much available information...with only a one sentence mention of the Canadian Locomotive Works! I like this though; it's the nitty-gritty local side of the railroad...the single cars full of potatoes and coal, and the guy freezing his hands off throwing a dockside switch in the winter.

I'll be hitting up the Outer Station posts next.


Eric said...

Well I wouldn't say I create posts by request, Bryan, but I would say some posts are created with certain people in mind...I'm glad you are enjoying this Kingston series.

Like a lot of former railway lands (think Spadina) the current version is definitely cleaner, if less interesting and less scary in some cases.

Frankly, I figured CLC was well-covered elsewhere, plus it was gone before my time. Also, notice the National Grocers sign still on the building. Now an artist colony!

It's never too late to comment, as they pop up in my Yahoo email!
Thanks for your comments,

Anonymous said...

Looking at the photo of the truck stuck on the bridge, what did truckers blame before they used GPS?

Steve Lucas.

Eric said...

Good question, Steve. Certainly there are not too many places to turn in that part of town. Seemed like a good idea at the time, maybe?

The bridge is gone now, so just a dim memory except for the occasional preserved news clipping!

Laura (Hanely) Roobol said...

Very interesting story. I am the great granddaughter of JP Hanley and I didn't know that the spur was named after the Hanley's. I did know the ticket office was Hanley Station. I have a great old picture of Hanley station with horses hitched-up outside of it, and the name JP Hanley visible on the wall!

Thanks for the info!

Laura said...

Oops, sorry, should not be an apostrophe in Hanleys!

Eric said...

Great to hear from you, Laura. My wife and I remember when the restaurant was called Hanley Station (though it used an image of a CP, not CN, steam locomotive in its logo!)

We just drove past the station/restaurant today and commented on its former identity, so your comment is very timely!


thatgirl said...

Hey Eric and Laura,

My name is Katie Brouillard and I am writing a paper about the Grand Trunk Railway, specifically the building that is now Frankie Pestos, formerly the Hanley Station. Laura, you said that you have a old photo of the building. Is it possible that you could send that to me? And if you know when it was taken and if it was published in a certain newspaper or any other publication, please include that. I would greatly appreciate the help! My email is

The Unknown is Joseph Peter Hanley, the grandson of JP Hanley for whom I'm named after. I'm known as J. Peter Hanley (called by my middle name Peter) and now live in Ottawa said...

Hello Katie/Eric/Laura....I too am a great grandson of J.P. Hanley. I grew up with the history of the Hanley Station and the Hanley Spur line as it was part of my family heritage. One can get a copy of old photos Circa 1890 & 1900 from the Queens University Archives. They are part of the Kingston Historical Society publication Volume #40 (January 1992) written by Gordon Smithson (now deceased). The title in the vol. is "The Hanley's of Kingston". Glad to share what I know.
Regards, Peter Hanley (Ottawa). My email address is

Eric said...

Thanks for your offer and comments, Peter. Great to make these connections with Hanley family members. Gordon Smithson was indeed a prolific author of all things local history.

Unknown said...

Love the Hanley spur.. I can remember a lot of the buildings along it well. This brings back so many fond memories for me! thanks for posting these!


Eric said...

Great to hear that this post brought back some memories, Richard. Thanks very much for your comment,