Friday, January 18, 2013

CN's Hanley Spur, From the Air

The Grand Trunk Railway (later CNR) built a line to its inner station at the foot of Johnson Street, which the Kingston & Pembroke (later CPR) had to cross to reach its 1885 station across from City Hall.  CN's line to downtown left the Toronto-Montreal Kingston Sub east of the outer station on Montreal Street.  CP's line to downtown crossed over the Kingston Sub via a steel bridge built in 1913.  The Railway Transport Committee granted CP permission to remove its Kingston Subdivision trackage between Mi 101.1 and 101.3 on February 18, 1974. The bridge was removed on March 29, 1974, as CN was realigning their sharp curve north, away from the outer station.  The industries served by the Hanley Spur are shown in this 1970's CN car control diagram, with the former CP line shown curving from left to right south of Elliott Avenue:
Some of the above CP-served spurs are shown numbered in an aerial photograph (below): 1. Anglin/Marker; 2. Coca-Cola; 3. George Weston; 4. MacCosham Van Lines; 5. Quattrochi Produce; 6. CE McPherson, 7. I Cohen/Pilkington Glass (long spur curving south to Joseph St); CN Outer Station and yard.  Elliott Avenue runs across the top, and Montreal Steet crosses up to the right, at bottom right corner of the aerial photo:
A 1984 CN car control map of the few remaining industries, all served by CN (former CP trackage shown as dotted line includes KH80 CE MacPherson, KH82 Quattrochi Produce, KH83 I Cohen, KH84 MacCosham Van Lines) and CN's KH05 Rosen Fuels (leased to Canfor), KH10 Kingston Whig-Standard newspaper (National Grocers) warehouse, KH15 Imperial Oil.
Paralleling marshland from its gently-curving alignment off the Kingston Sub (Outer Station is in top left corner-below), and Kingston's to-be garbage dump near Belle Park, the line straightened as it approached the Davis Tannery at bottom, in later years a 'brownfield' contaminated former industrial site.  CE MacPherson is the long building at extreme left, later served by a CP spur crossing Rideau Street near the River Street bridge.  Next three photos from 1924 aerial views, copied at Queen's Archives.
Meeting the CN Kingston Branch line, the CP paralleled it and Rideau Street, to the foot of North Street, site of CP's engine house (built in 1912) and small yard.  South of the River Street bridge, there was a semaphore controlling the crossing of the CP track across CN.  The next large building to the left of the track at the Cataraqui Street crossing became National Grocers, and to the east is the Woolen Mill, towards which two spurs diverge. On a 1924 insurance map, the Woolen Mill is listed as the Dominion Textile Co. Ltd. Kingston Branch Cotton Mill.
The line then bent around the CP engine house, past CN's freight house and 11-track team track yard. Near the throat of the yard were Anglin's substantial lumber operations, drydock and shipbuilding facilities. The sandy spur area at right once included a swing bridge.
Today the roadbed is barely visible along the water, with the OHIP building built on the site of the former railway facilities. Once the OHIP building construction began in 1981, CP's trackage in the area was removed.  Permission was granted to remove the following downtown trackage on the following dates:
  • Mi 101.3-101.6, Mi 102.5-103.26  May 21, 1980
  • Mi 101.6-101.85, Mi 102.09-102.5 January 31, 1983, and to transfer
  • Mi 100.28-101.1, Mi 101-85-102.09 to CN ownership prior to the 1986 abandonment of CP's Kingston Sub
'North St' label was location of former Imperial Oil tanks.  The small, 1908-built limestone Imperial Oil warehouse to right of label is now owned by the City of Kingston. Yellow and black tanks at top of photo are Anglin-owned. (Whig-Standard Neighbourhoods series aerial photo, spring 1995)
Buildings abutted the right-of-way near the waterfront, so CN and CP shared a mutual track approaching City Hall (red and blue dashed line below). Then CN (red) continued along the water to reach its station then the Canadian Locomotive Co., while CP (blue) branched to its station and small yard across from City Hall. Today, a few buildings remain with odd-angled rear walls marking the former path of the mutual track south of Ontario Street.  In this 1965 aerial photo, CN's Wellington Street freight shed is still standing (red box) as is the Soward/Anglin's coal structure and spur (green line).  At one time, the GTR line (dashed red line) continued over a swing bridge across Anglin Bay, and continued north along the waterfront.
In this later aerial photo, the line to City Hall is gone (yellow line is Brock Street) and the white 'W' marks the Wolfe Island Ferry Dock.  The CN freight house is no longer standing, but a boxcar (red arrow) is visible in the small yard.  Want to see more?  Check this page by David Page.
A 1920's aerial view shows the heavy industrial nature of the waterfront along Ontario Street between Clarence and Queen Streets: ships, sheds, and smokestacks (Vintage Kingston Facebook photo) plus CPR passenger cars at the CP passenger station and the odd-angled buildings facing the tracks:
The CP passenger station, freight station and yard tracks between Clarence Street and Brock Street, and CN Hanley Spur (at bottom) are shown in this 1950's aerial view (CSTM Collection MAT007635):
Another two views, from Vintage Kingston Facebook, shows activity on the CP, though the engine seems to be behind the the warehouse, which also hosts a boxcar nearest the coalpiles. This photo, based on tour boat Miss Kingston operating from the Brock Street dock, would be from 1959.
A second view, circa 1960, shows stacked CPR-lettering boxcars and passenger cars at the station:
A Canadian Locomotive Company advertisement from 1951, as posted on Vintage Kingston Facebook shows an aerial view of the plant taken over Lake Ontario:
Next in the series...CN's Hanley Spur, Along the Line.  Back on terra firma!
Running extra...

Some interesting links:
Scale Model Plans hosts a nice assortment of unique structures.  Thanks to Tom Carson for featuring my VIA Rail books on his news page.

CNW Modelling is full of cool data pertaining to freight cars, the shipments they contain and possibilities for modelling them, centering on Milwaukee, WI in 1957.

Vintage Railroad Audio has an extensive CD listing by Jay Winn.  I'm currently listening to some of Jay's CN and CP action, and have three more discs to listen to.  

Super Connie Sim is not about a female Asian comic book hero.  Are you interested in transportation-based mockups, simulators and stuff?  Then this Super Constellation simulator may be for you.  A beautiful aircraft.


Bryan said...

Ah yes, you know I've been waiting for this one for a long time. Great stuff; this would be right at home at R.L.Kennedy's Old Time trains. I'm going to have to go over this one a few times before I can properly comment.

I remember back when I lived in Kingston, it was the strangest thing to go down "Railway Street" completely devoid of railroads. Now it (and that whole part of the city) makes a lot more sense. I also see why there was so much hemming and hawing over the brownfields redevelopment. I had no idea there were former tank farms and a lead smelter there. I found an online study detailing just how incredibly contaminated Kingston's Inner Harbour was (is?).

I also remember reading a letter posted to the Whig (I think) bemoaning the loss of Kingston's downtown rail history. It would make for a good accompanying read, but I can't seem to find it on the web these days. If I come across it, I'll post the link.


Eric said...

Hi Bryan,

Well, this post and the next one were certainly created with your interest in the area in mind!

I remember the letter to the Whig you're mentioning, though it was not too detailed from a railway point of view. From what I've read so far, there was nothing touristy or particularly attractive about Kingston's inner harbour years ago. It was used for heavy industry, with all kinds of stuff dumped in there. Blecch. I've collected quite a bit of newspaper content from the Whig on this part of town and its checkered history. There is an air of optimism, perhaps unclouded by reality, regarding its future.

Please digest this post at your leisure, and let me know if there's anything I can add or clarify.


Eric said...

One more thing, Bryan. I meant to add that your comment on the previous Ice Storm post came in just as I was changing the header photo to the CPR City Hall shot.

Five minutes later, I posted the Hanley Spur post. It's no wonder you were curious about why that photo suddenly appeared!


Drew Makepeace said...

Another interesting read. The air photos are extremely interesting. I'm not sure how much railway activity was still occurring downtown when I moved to Kingston in 1968, at the age of four. I do remember noticing, as a little kid, that the tracks ran right along the middle of Ontario St. I thought that was cool for some reason.

Drew Makepeace said...

I should have said I moved to the "Kingston area" at the age of four. In fact we moved to Amherstview, but Kingston was city we seemed to identify with.

Eric said...

Thanks, Drew. I wanted to centralize/organize what I knew about this area of Kingston. Like you, I knew about it but rarely got over there to make photes of the activity, which was probably difficult to catch at the best of times - sporadic in later years.

We did catch the British Flying Scotsman steam locomotive tour train at City Hall, when trackage was still in place. Now I'm playing catch-up, years later, documenting!

Trevor said...

Hi Eric:
A friend is interested in the Hanley Spur as the potential subject for a model railway. Do you know what CNR was using, power wise, in the 1970s on this spur? Any chance they ran SW1200RS units down the line? Rapido's announcement of these models in HO scale could be the thing that makes my friend take the plunge...
Thanks in advance!
- Trevor :: Port Rowan in 1:64

Eric said...

Great question and thanks for asking it, Trevor. Though I lived in Kingston throughout the 1970's, I rarely if ever made it to the Hanley Spur. HOwever, I believe the answer to your question would be yes.

I base this on the fact that I observed CN red-cab SW1200RS's on the Cataraqui Spur in 1980, plus the late Keith Hansen's photos of black-cabbed SW1200RS's based at Kingston's Outer Station in 1970, all from Trackside Treasure.

My experience with Kingston switchers was RS18's and GP-9's, albeit mostly in the 1980's!

Having said that, a SW in front of Imperial Oil's limestone warehouse on the Spur would make a great scene.

Fun fact: You're slated to appear in my upcoming 150 Things about Canadian Railroading post!


Trevor said...

Thanks for the info, Eric. Much appreciated!
- Trevor
PS: Ooo... am I 1/150th of a "thing" about Canadian railroading? :-)