Friday, February 22, 2013

CN's Kingston Outer Station, Part 1

The original alignment of the Grand Trunk Railway's double-track mainline through Kingston (eventually CN's Kingston Sub) included a sharp curve at the site of the 'Outer Station' on Montreal Street.  The 'Inner Station' was located on Ontario Street at the end of the Hanley spur.  Aerial photo (below) from Queen's University Archives shows: 1-CP line to industries north of Outer Station - this line originally crossed the GT(CN) west of the station yard via a diamond, before being relocated to an overpass near Division Street, 2-Gould Battery and Frontenac Floor & Wall Tile Co., 3-engine house, 4-Outer Station, 5-stock pens, 6-Montreal Street underpass below Kingston Sub, 7-Hanley Spur.
Another George Lilley view, this one taken from the north-east in 1948:
A 1951 Vintage Kingston view of two CNR passenger trains meeting at the west end of the station trackage, looking toward Elliott Avenue. Interestingly, Mike Hamer posted a series of Kingston Outer Station photos in 2013 including this one. These photos had been left to Mike by his father in a booklet.
The original limestone one-and-a-half storey section was built in 1855, with its ashlar surface and cutstone quoins, albeit without its mansard roof which was added sometime between 1875 and 1885.  A second section, one hundred feet to the east, was built between 1895 and 1898, to increase the station's functional capability. The two were later joined by a single-storey wooden shelter built in 1939. This Canadian Science & Technology Museum photo CN001091 shows both main tracks, with cars in the yard at left in 1974:
The obviously dangerous curve, with a 30 mph speed restriction, caused at least one train to leave the rails (CNR 5702 in 1947), before CN successfully realigned its main line through a deep limestone cut north of Elliott Avenue between Division Street and Montreal Street, in October 1974.  A westbound freight behind 3625-3108, including penultimate Penn Central covered hopper PC 888173 and caboose 79471 rode the welded rail and concrete ties on February 21, 1976, photographed from Montreal Street:
Concurrent with the realignment, CN moved its station functions to a new location off Counter Street near Princess Street  where I've photographed some interesting Kingston platform scenes over the years. CSTM photo CN005133:
On June 27, 1973 RMC cadets and Kingston's Canadian Forces Vimy Band await the arrival of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, arriving to celebrate Kingston's Tercentenary (L.C. Gagnon photos, below).  In 1984, the Royal Train arrived at the new station.
This interesting photo, from the archives of the City of Montreal, shows a train of VIP's arriving from Montreal at the Outer Station. Met by City of Kingston Police patrol cars, the visitors will take part in preliminary planning for the 1976 Summer Olympics sailing events that were based at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour:
Another rear view of the station taken in 1972, with a CN AMC Hornet in the foreground, and CN passenger train stopped at the station, from Vintage Kingston Facebook:
In March, 1974 this online auction site photo shows an eastbound CN passenger train making its station stop. Note the DuPont maroon-coloured covered hoppers at right:
CN 810454 is a former stock car in MOW gang service. Coupled to a rebuilt boxcar purpose-built to carry flammables, the slats provide ventilation in this previous iteration. This online auction site photo is captioned 1983. The cars are a few tracks over from the occupied boarding cars. The Outer Station is visible in the background:
Though I vaguely recall some visits to the Outer Station to meet CN passenger trains, I mainly remember it being a stub-ended yard, with the westward yard lead joining the main on the south track of the Kingston Sub immediately east of Division Street. An eastward view of the yard in 1978 reveals a local switcher with a CP boxcar (CSTM Collection MAT006979)
And a corresponding westward view shows the CN express building, mainenance-of-way cars, track machines, covered hoppers likely destined Northern telecom, and 40-foot CN boxcars.  In both views, the former south main track, nearest the station, has been removed. (CSTM Collection MAT006980)
The 1910 Montreal Street underpass was removed in March, 1976 severing the eastward connection to the Kingston Sub. Even after stub-ending, the station area provided CN with a small yard from which to serve local industries.  The yard also held the late evening passenger equipment overnight for the morning run to Toronto, as seen in these photos taken by Doug Rickaby at 0545 on a summer morning in July 1985:

The yard also provided a maintenance base for vehicles and rail equipment, including CN crane 50367, its idler cars, and covered hoppers for Northern Telecom, in January 1980.
The Pandrol-Jackson RMS13 rail-grinding train has arrived, on July 8, 1994.  Very few tracks remain.
Possibly the last use of the the station trackage: Kingston Rail Safety Days in June, 1995. CN Mobile hazmat response trucks, boom truck, snowplow and caboose are on display.
Over 700 area schoolchildren toured the displays over three days.
Now the station is a political football, uncared for by CN, its roof removed and walls stabilized by order of the city. A far cry from its heyday, including an 1872 campaign visit by Sir John A Macdonald, including an elegant oyster supper! In the second Outer Station post, we'll see what happens when you decide to kick a caboose.  Hard.

Running extra:

I just finished listening to Regis Philbin's How I Got This Way.  An engrossing tale of Regis' showbiz life, including his self-doubt, successes and stories of stars like Bing Crosby, his famous female cohosts, and the inimitable Don Rickles.  Don: "Go ahead Frank [Sinatra], make yourself at home.  Hit somebody!"  The book made me talk like Regis for awhile.  IS THIS GUY NUTS OR WHAT?  I MEAN, REALLY!

And the Oscar goes to...Will Ferrell and Zach Whatsisnamakis for this hilarious bit of cymbalism from the 2012 Awards.  

Modelling Winnipeg?  Here are some cool retro scenes from the 1950's to the 1970's. Watch for the towering Ogilvie Flour Mill at the 3:07 mark.  Got BC Rail?  Check out these amazing track geometry car scenes.  Dave: thanks for the latter link!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Postscript: CP's Portage Switchers

Ready for some more switching at Portage, in addition to my first post?  While I know I have a 1976 black & white photo of 6569 somewhere, I think I removed it from my album page for a modelling project.  The next-oldest I have is one I took on August 18, 1978 (above).  An eastbound is approaching Portage's CP station, and the head-end trainman is on the front porch ready to pick up orders.  SD's 5762-5533 lead the train, and there's some TOFC visible on the head-end. Simmering nearby is 6569, waiting patiently.  Note the lighting and platform for the convenience of the Canadian's passengers, before it switched to CN lines through Portage.  Here are some excellent views of 6569 in July 1982, taken by Brian Schuff:
In its shady glen across from the CP station, north side, looking west (above) with a CN freight just visible to the left of the shed, in the background.  Also on the switcher's north side, looking east, with the CP yard visible in the background (below):
Brian also caught the unit in Winnipeg where it worked in the spring and summer of 1986 before heading east for scrapping, photographed here on March 14, 1986:
I should have expected instant interest in Portage switching operations from Trackside Treasure's ardent readers.  I aim to please, especially easy upon finding another interesting view of the Campbell's Soup train:
(These 3 photos by D.J. Gagnon taken on September 13, 1989).  Above: 6719, with a couple of insulated boxcars, and a big, honking 86-foot CN hi-cube ahead of the end-cupola van are making a run to Campbell's.
More power!  Two westbound CP freights wait just east of Eighth Street. In the rear, 5658-3032 lead a couple more insulated boxcars on the head-end.  What are the chances they were just lifted from the yard?  In the foreground, with at least three units isolated, is this monster power consist: 5596-5566-5582-5680-5563-5670-6039.  So you're saying, where is the Portage switcher?  It soon appears, reversing past the two freights to the yard, with a blue CN hicube on the head-end.
Railfanning from Campbell's...here's a view of a 1+ hour late Super Continental on August 22, 1978 taken from the front steps of the Campbell's plant.  We'd just finished our tour of the plant, where I should have taken some photos of the car loading. A mix of VIA and CN-painted equipment in this view that shows you just how far north-west the plant was on Portage's periphery:
And another view, through-the-links this time, showing CP 3106 in July 2011 in its fenced-in enclosure (Manny Jacob photo):
Here's another take on 3106 last summer...or as we say in Kingston, "Lockdown".  (Mark Perry photo)
All this Portage switching material has led to my drawing up a schematic of Portage trackage east of the Tupper Street bridge.  This matches my schematic west of the bridge, already posted. And here's an idea that's looming large on the Trackside Treasure horizon...a trackplan to appeal to those who prefer CP, or CN, or who can't decide and want to model both.  Rest assured, it will be linear, just as the prototype trackage is in Portage.  Sales of S-3's like 6569 will skyrocket!

Running extra...
Today marks my dad's 86th birthday!  To read about his influence and the involvement of others in my family in this peculiar but fascinating hobby, check out this 2011 Father's Day post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CP's Portage Switchers

Each morning in Portage la Prairie, a diminutive diesel coughed to life.  Emerging from a tree-lined grove in the 2x4-framed, green-fenced former CP station garden, it crossed Third Street NE to the yard paralleling the CP Carberry Sub.  Grabbing a cut of cars, it was REV-STOP-KICK, REV-STOP-KICK until the cut was switched out.  Tying onto a wooden end-cupola van, our little train pulled out of the yard and wandered west to the Campbell's Soup plant located northwest of town, off CP's Minnedosa Sub, at 500 15th Street NW.
I first happened upon S-3 6569 in June, 1976.  During my visits to Portage over the next several years, it remained the assigned switcher. 6569 was working the yard in 1982 (above) as a westbound grain empties extra pulled in behind CP 5760-5709 and set off two reefers. Can you spot 6569?  Far right, heading past the UGG elevator near West Tower, ducking behind CN's section car shed:
One of CP's last five S-3's, disposed of in June 1986, 6569 could be seen in Winnipeg between March and August, 1986. Passing through Smiths Falls, Ontario on September 24, 1986, the unit was interchanged to CN in October en route to scrapping in Contrecoeur, Quebec.  On June 13, 1982 a westbound coal empties train behind 5792-5533 cross Third Street NE, passing that shady station garden to drop off 6599 after 6569 had been lifted the day before, likely for maintenance in Winnipeg:
Before 1976, CP's switcher in Portage was 6513 now stuffed and mounted in Brandon, and before that a 1957-built DTC (Diesel Torque Converter). DTC's were the last locomotives built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston.  These little pullers weighed in at 44 tons, thus obviating the then-need for a firemen while in light yard service.  Though this was before my time, it would have been neat to see this mighty mouse's siderods spin! Ken Goslett's undated photo from Bill Linley's Morning Sun Books CP Western Lines volume, showing Campbell's water tower behind the script-lettered van:
Besides Campbell's Soup. the Portage switcher tended industries west of the station: UGG and MPE elevators, Cominco Elephant and Engro fertilizer dealerships, and the small storage yard north of the main line.  East of the station, there was the team track/ramp, CN interchange, and McCallister Pea and Seed. Portage-assigned end-cupola vans included 437179 in 1976, 437103 in 1979, 437000 in 1981 and 437182 in 1986.  Brian Schuff photo of CP 437000:
In June 1982, an eastbound 129-car freight behind CP 5918-5552 meets a westbound extra behind 5778-8618.  In the yard with insulated car CN 286527 (not visible in this photo) are Portage's end-cupola van and script-letter Controlled Temperature refrigerator car:
A view from Third Street NE north of the CP mainline shows a westbound freight, cuts of grain cars, and the local's van and cars deeper in the yard, at left. (Following colour photos by D.J. Gagnon)  Note the characteristic tall CP switchstand, equipped with reflective marker but target-less, and shorter yard switchstands.
Most commonly seen heading for Campbell's in the morning and afternoon, here are some of the short consists from 1976, mostly CP and CN 40-foot/50-ton and 50-foot/70-ton insulated boxcars.  A major distribution centre for western Canada, Campbell's loaded CP and CN cars, with the latter interchanged to CN in the Portage yard:
  • July 5: CN 291287 canned goods to Saskatoon
  • July 5 1522 WB: 6569-CN 286144-CP 165292-NAHX 166513-CP 437179
  • July 5 1615 EB: 6569-CN 291694-CN 286166-CP 166086-CP 166581-CN 291267-CP 437179
  • July 6 1522 WB: 6569-CP 165055-CP 165190-CN 291635-CN 286523-CP 437179
In summer 1986, SW900 6719 had taken over for 6569, switching grain cars in the yard (above) and departing with van 437182 black-lined for disposition, in tow for Campbell's (below):
In June 1987, 6719 was still at work towing insulated cars around:
CN 86-foot hi-cube boxcars likely brought in canstock to Campbell's. A westbound train of grain empties approaches as CP ore cars fill the small storage yard.  I had the opportunity to tour the plant in 1978.  Free soup!  Campbell's was incorporated in Canada in 1930, the Portage plant opened in 1961, before closing in 1991 as distribution patterns changed.  Though a typical grocery store contains 17,850 different items, a typical Canadian household still contains eight cans of Campbell's soup.
Brian Schuff photographed SW900's 6714 and 6719 across from the CP station. Brian recalls 6569 having a hot-start electrical plug-in as opposed to the more common oil-fuelled watchman heater, as well as a provincial psychiatric facility in Portage's north end that received shipments of coal for heating, that had been switched by CP.

In June, 1988 former Brandon switcher (1983-1986) SW900 6714 was approaching Campbell's:
The SW900's were in turn dealt away by CP after 1990, with 6714 toiling at IPSCO in Regina, Sask.
6719 sans multimark:
Since the last SW's were swept out of town, a CP Geep living behind a chainlink fence enclosure in the yard emerge to switch Portage's large industries west of town: Can-Oat and Simplot as well as the McCain plant, while hauling a windows-welded-over Angus van rider platform.  Here's CP 3106 safely ensconced (Manny Jacob photograph) and well-weathered:
There's more on Portage switchers, potently posted in this postscript.

Running Extra...

Just finished listening to former CNN national security analyst Peter L. Bergen's book Manhunt which tells the story of the years-long hunt for Osama.  This recording would have been better if read by the author, yet tells a ripping good yarn about the back-burnered yet eventually successful operation.  

Best story from the book?  Obama chiding a top military official for not packing a measuring tape to ensure it was six-foot-four Osama's body.  You crashed a sixty million-dollar helicopter in the compound and you couldn't spend $1.99 on a tape measure??  The official was later presented with a gold-painted tape measure mounted on a wall plaque for his oversight.

On a Yahoogroup I belong to, today someone asked the following question..."Does anyone still buy horn-hook couplers or does everyone just throw them out?"  Dude, some of us still use them on our layouts.  Watch for an upcoming post on this very productive and prolific black plastic paradigm. To me,  McHenry is a prototype McDonald's chocolate bar, and Kadees refer to boxes of Kraft dinner.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Company Photographer

Remember the age of the railway company photographer?  He was paid to portray the railway as a business-like, industrious, modern and friendly corporate presence in Canada. Situations always looked way more serious in the black & white preserved-for-prosperity portrayal of everyday events.  Canadian National, Canadian Pacific, Great Northern, Northern Pacific and many other railway companies maintained photo collections and used photographs extensively in advertising, company publications and newsstand periodicals.  Many people photos used actual railway employees but were obviously posed for the photographer. To lighten things up, I've captioned the photos in this post with some light-hearted captions.

I just have to wander into the world of model railroading and its nexus with the prototype:





Okay, so I'm not the first to use this approach.  You may remember TRAINS magazine's use of similar photos with humourous captions.  Each double-page spread inevitably showed a photo of some smiling running trades crew looking down from the cab with a caption like "David P. Who wants a cab ride?"  Here's my version:


I hope you've enjoyed this whimsical, waggish walk through the world of the company photographer! Now, even more to enjoy - check out the Company Photographer Returns!