Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brockville to Morrisburg, June 2013

On June 15, I had the pleasure of being invited by the Seaway Valley Model Railroaders to speak at their annual banquet evening in Morrisburg, Ontario. I enjoyed sharing some VIA history, the creation of my VIA books, and inspired the group and their spouses to consider creating their own book, to write what they know and enjoy! Starting my trip east on Highway 2 in Brockville, there was a paucity of passenger trains at the triple-tracked VIA station (above).
Any time I am driving on Parkedale Avenue West, I check out the spur into Wills Transfer Limited, off the Canadian Pacific line north to Smiths Falls. Last visit there were three boxcars, but this day there was only one, a graffiti'd 50-foot CN boxcar (above). Just east of Brockville at Maitland, the Dyno Nobel Nitrogen trackage leaves the north track of CN's Kingston Sub (the telegraph poles in background), then loops east, north then west around the plant property, which is just west of the former DuPont Maitland plant.  Looks like a switch has been removed:
There were many chip trucks along the highway.  Knowing that a buffet was being laid on in Morrisburg, I wisely abstained. Reaching Prescott, I headed north on Lawrence Street to Railway Avenue to find the former Grand Trunk Railway station.  An eastbound VIA train behind two P42's rocketed east as I approached.  The station hosts the Grenville County Historical Society, though its platform has been fenced for safety reasons, looking west:
Looking west from the same spot on the platform, the CN foreman's truck spends the weekend.

Several times during this trip, I was put in mind of CN Winnipeg hogger Mark Perry's 365 Project.  This photographic journey through 2013 hosts a photo per day, consisting of whatever's in front of Mark's cameras that day.   I asked Mark to suggest some captions for these photos, and I'll include the ones that popped into my mind too.  Working independently, sometimes it's like we shared the same brain! [Mark: "Copy 19Y" Mine: "Old Girl"]
At the Prescott Canadian Coast Guard base on the St Lawrence River, CCGS Griffon and CCGS Tracy were docked, along with several smaller boats and scows, plus the old buoys club:
Looking to the east at the same waterfront location, St Lawrence Cruise Lines' Canadian canal/river cruise ship 'Canadian Empress' awaited its passengers, with the Prescott-Ogdensburg International Bridge in the background.
The Port of Prescott includes a massive 389-silo terminal grain elevator seen here from Highway 2:
Finally, a ship that I'd been following from east of Brockville hove into view.  Federal Hunter is seen here downbound in ballast, photographed from the old (pre-Seaway) Galop Canal park:
Just east of Cardinal, the ship passed symbols of the two great nations that share the Seaway, allowing marine commerce to pass freely into the heart of our shared continent. [Mark: Free trade on the high seas. Mine: Dual Flags Scheme]
At Cardinal, the Ingredion (formerly Canada Starch/Casco) corn sweeteners wet-milling plant on the water is served by a private spur running through the town northward to the interchange along the south track of CN's Kingston Sub. [Mine: End of Steel. Mark End of the Yellow Road]
Zooming in, several tank cars and covered hoppers are on the interchange and run-around tracks off Station Road. 
In Cardinal, between the recreational centre, water tower and Highway 2, Ingredion stores three tracks of cars just north of Highway 2, parallel to Dishaw Street with their spur passing between them:
The old song goes '...the railroad runs through the middle of the house..." and just about through God's house in this case. Imagine the Ingredion GMD-1 trundling along here.
[Mark: Storage, Grand Trunk style. Mine: Grand Trunk Wet-Dry] just west of Morrisburg, an enterprising homeowner has used a Grand Trunk coil car lid to provide some behind-the-house.  I literally had to turn the car around and drive back to photograph this unique structure!
Just south of Highway 401 off Ottawa Street on Jones Road, CN's former station at Morrisburg is now a maintenance base. A piggyback ramp and express building is located farther east, more clearly visible in this CN image from decades ago.
[Mine: Something National Railways. Mark: We seem to be missing a "C"] On the west side of the station, a relic in relief:

Running extra...

It was great to meet the avid model railroaders of the Seaway Valley club, and I really appreciated their hospitality at the McIntosh Country Inn.  It was a great evening of dining, photos and talking trains.  Even the spouses participated, asking some great questions! Thanks to  Gary Baillargeon for inviting me and to the club for their warm welcome. The club is doing some great modelling and participates actively in community events. My section forces are checking out the new arrival in my yard:

I just finished listening to Traffic - Why We Drive the Way We Do by Tom Vanderbilt. I learned that it's best to be a late merger, that 350 Americans die every year entering the interstate going the wrong way, that at a yellow light, stepping on the brakes causes more accidents. Just yesterday I saw a female driver eating a yogurt while driving on a local major thoroughfare! With both hands!

Trackside Treasure welcomes Ottawa blogger Michael Hammond.  Michael's Beachburg Sub blog covers a variety of Ontario railway subjects both modern and retro, blended with his family's railway history and railfanning.  You can find Michael's blog in the UCOR Second Section in the right sidebar.  Great to have you aboard, Michael and keep on blogging!

Just in time for Canada Day! Shoreline Productions' singing bridge performs O Canada.  Featuring Kingston's own Lasalle Causeway, historically known as the penny bridge. Hum along!


Andy said...

Great entry - very familiar locations as my family did railfanning in Brockville and went to Iroquois Lock for shipwatching! Brings back memories....thanks for sharing Eric!

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Andy. I could have spent three days there, instead of three hours! I stopped in at the Iroquois lock, but it was closed due to perhaps a bluegrass festival (great combination, bluegrass music and shipwatching!)

One thing is for sure...if anyone thinks trainwatching is a slow process (which it's not) then shipwatching is even slower!


GP9Rm4108 said...

I keep track of 532's doings every time I go to work.

If you ever have any questions on what's going down in the industries from Brockville to Morrisburg let me know.

Did you see the Ingredion cars stored at the old Dyno Nobel plant? When it shut down CN pulled out the run around (that switch you said was gone).

Ingredion is not keeping their overflow in Brockville anymore so I would assume they bought the old DN trackage as that's where they store them now.


Eric said...

Thanks for your offer, Chris. Please do send a synopsis of how CN switches east of Brockville, including how far they go.

I did notice some cars, but short of conducting some illegal industrial espionage, couldn't see what they were. That helps.

I need three days, not three hours to railfan that part of the Kingston Sub! Any info appreciated, either in a comment or to my email.

Thanks for your comments,

CarlB said...

The Penny Bridge is not the Lasalle Causeway.

The Penny Bridge is an earlier bridge at the same location which was replaced by the Lasalle Causeway during the Great War.

Eric said...

Of course Carl, hence the 'historically' in the original post. Thanks for that additional information. Did it really cost a penny to cross the penny bridge?