Friday, July 5, 2013

CN's Operations at Queens

CN's Kingston Sub was replete with interlockings, with crossovers between both main tracks bracketing either end of double-ended passing tracks located to the north and south of the double-track main line.  Some of these passing tracks (later called service tracks) included wyes, back tracks or industrial tracks running off them (all of the above in the case of Queens.)  In spring 1984, CN 3662 switches a bulkhead flat car (above). CN 9595-9488-4534 have just set out LRC coach 3358-CN transfer van 76687-CN caboose 79906 (the latter's cupola just visible at left of photo) in May 1985, its train on the south main, with welded rail deposited between the tracks.
Queens is between Queens East at Division Street, Mi 174 Kingston Sub and Queens West at Counter Street, Mi 176 with tracks from north, (shown left to right below): KL25 Queens 1 passing track, KL26 north (usually westbound) main, KL27 south (usually eastbound) main, KL28 Queens 4 passing track, then KL29 and KL30, 2400 and 1070  feet respectively, double-ended sidings added to Queens in the early 1970's.
Division Street is in the distance (above).  These undated views are taken from the Sir John A Macdonald Boulevard overpass. Looking west are tracks KL25 to KL28  with Counter Street and Kingston's VIA station in the distance.(right to left below):
Queens 1 led to CP's interchange.  Queens 4 led to a wye and the Aluminum Spur. CN 3744 was switching Queens on this day in 1985. CN GP9 4572 and caboose 79575 are switching Queens, as the trainman throws the electric lock switch at 1000 hours on a sunny May 5, 1979.
Queens 4 has been the most active track over the years.  KL29 and KL30 were usually full of cars, either setout by CN's overnight Montreal-Toronto maid-of-all-work freights No 317 and 318 for local industries, or left for them to lift.  Some of these cars were also stored at the Outer Station yard and switched by locally-assigned switchers, and were later handled by daily turns from Belleville, or Belleville-Brockville turns stopping in Kingston. Here's a typical lift message for five loads out of track KL29, sent to CN Extra 5576 West (extra symbol train CN No 319) at Brockville by the dispatcher in Belleville in December 1976:

BCIT boxcar 40909 and Sclair covered hopper DOCX 44613, likely held off-spot for later delivery to the Industrial Spur on Queens in November 1980.  On May 24 of the same year, transfer van CN 76555 awaits the passage of a freight train including CN government-rehabilitated boxcar 428701:
Switching took place at various times of the day as needed, and whenever the appropriate train was in town. Smoking it up in early 1985, RS18 3718 is just east of the under-construction Sir John A overpass, later heading east out of Queens 4 with an intriguing consist of Railboxes, CN black & white baggage car 73914, bulkhead flat cars, with more cars stored in the distance:

The above photo shows the CP line arriving in Kingston as a dark line, middle left of photo, with industrial park buildings then Highway 401 in the distance. Local trains could be conveniently stashed at Queens, especially when the local needed to make a quick run two miles west to the Cataraqui Spur, with its switch off the south main track. CN 3123, two covered hoppers and three tanks plus a caboose are making a dispatcher-sanctioned dash out of Queens West to the Cat Spur on a spring evening in 1985:
In June 2006, local train CN No 590's cars are reposing on KL29 while the train's locomotives tie on around the curve to the left, before heading for Belleville from Brockville.  CN stored tie cars are on Queens 1, with the two mainlines between.
Looking east, the switch ties to KL30 remain after this southernmost track was removed, with CN gons in KL29 in this November 2005 view.  Also removed was a direct connection from the west leg of the wye onto track KL29.
Queens had to be kept for clear if needed by the dispatcher for meets, and short VIA trains were occasionally run through the sidings around standing CN freight trains. Dimensional extra movements could also be stashed there so that passing trains were not on an adjacent track.    CN train No 317 has ducked into Queens 4 on a humid July 9, 2000 with several cars of dimensional loads in tow, including CN 667001 with large ductwork headed for High Level, Alberta:
Here's Ontario Hydro Schnabel car HEPX 200 and caboose HEPX 79640, a D-9R dimensional movement behind CN 9445 and five idler gondolas requiring daylight movements only.  Having arrived from Cornwall the previous evening, January 15, 2001 as CN train No 423, the movement later continued west as one of the few westbound freights this morning, arriving at the Bath Spur at 1330. VIA's Enterprise No 50's passengers have been bussed east: 6428-4121-Chateau Radisson-Yoho Park .  One of my few visits to the north side of Queens, this 0700 one rated a visit from a passing Kingston Police constable.  CN No 310 had derailed at Mallorytown, meaning all eastbound VIA trains had to be wyed at Queens to head west.  
Before it was removed, Queens 1 was used for empty autorack, flat car or gondola car storage, with its east switch dismantled before the whole track was removed.  Eighty-nine foot container flatcars are stored here as VIA No 65 Eng 6427 storms west on July 14, 1991.
All two-ended tracks at Queens could be used for storage of maintenance-of-way equipment, bad order cars could be left here for repairs, the latter sometimes having been dragged there for several miles. Road access to KL29 and KL30 was public for years, but is now gated and locked due to recent trespassing and thefts.  In March 2001, here's a welded rail train tailed by CN 77017 with both KL30 and KL29 still intact:
CN crane idler flat car 54511 was built in December 1918!  Crane 50367 and fuel boxcar 70725 bracket a White Fleet boarding unit being switched in the spring of 1985. Ian Cranstone kindly supplied some additional information on CN 54511. Thanks, Ian! Originally built by Eastern Car Company in 12/1918 for the Canadian Northern as CN 42147 (series CN 42101-42529), renumbered to CN 651483 during the 1920s (series CN 651460-651674), to CN 54511 in 1964 and removed from the roster in 10/1989.
Interestingly, local railfan Tim Reid photographed a boarding outfit that was shoved into the former CP interchange at Queens East. I noted but did not photograph the cars as 15 white fleet flat cars, four 40-foot OCS boxcars, CN 990721 orange fuel tank, two silver tank cars, CN 73200 flammable storage boxcar with slats, CN 73737 and 73743 with roll-up doors, gondolas, flats and track machines:
The role of Queens has diminished in recent years due to many factors: longer trains not fitting between siding switches, cabooseless operation, changes to operating practices, Kingston switching now being performed by Belleville-assigned power, relocation of the Counter Street team track to Gardiners Road, and generally fewer local rail-served industries.

Rest assured, these rail-served industries will stay alive here on Trackside Treasure! Looking west from Queens East, Queens 1's home signal searchlights have been removed from the gantry, as has the north-to-south main crossover (behind me at above location), Queens 1 and years earlier the CN-CP interchange. Lift gang track machines are seen in left background on track KL29.

Glory days...this online auction site photo shows Queens in its hey-day. CN No 518 Engs 3733-3727 is westbound on the south main track on July 6, 1981, likely heading west from Gananoque to Belleville. . Another freight's headlight is visible in Queens 4, at extreme right.
Mere minutes later, in a second similar photo, the headlight becomes CN No 519 Eng 4528, proceeding west through Queens track 4, also in July, 1981. Dig those Southern, IC, New Orleans Public Belt, Seaboard Coast Line and Chessie System boxcars in tow!

Running extra...

I updated the CP detours on CN's Kingston Sub post to include some more photos. The additional photos were taken in the Trenton area in 1995, and seemed to indicate that CN was handling CP's trains in one direction only!

Coming soon to a bus stop near me...five of ten new Kingston Transit Kingston Express buses, set to begin 15-minute peak service in Kingston's west end - Andre Gerow Facebook photo, note the protective plastic still on the windshield:


Bryan said...

Hi Eric,

I enjoyed this post because of those ALCO (!!) shots and because it brought back some of my memories of this trainwatching spot. I didn't go there as much (preferred the station), but I agree that the north side of the track was better (although it did require some tramping around in the bush and the north track was often occupied when I was there). Overall though I didn't like the curvature which made it hard to see oncoming trains, although you could usually hear the horn at Counter St. or sometimes an underpowered train doing a notch-8 climb up from the Cataraqui River...depending on the wind...

My favourite moment at Queens is probably a tie between seeing an almost three-way meet where a CN freight took the south service track to allow two VIAs through; and the time when, after seeing nothing for an hour, I decided to respond to the call of the wild under the Sir John A underpass...right in time for a WB VIA to roll through.


Eric said...

Thanks for your comments and memories, Bryan. I had a visit from the Kingston Police, you had a runpast by...a whole train of passengers! I only went to the north side because after tracking HEPX 200, having it in the immediate area was a have-to-have.

I always like the end of Rigney Street - not too overgrown, good lighting, as you mentioned, at least a little warning of approaching trains.

Sounds like another post I should work on...nifty dispatching at Queens. No doubt RTC Tim Ball (TJB) was responsible for many such moves.

Here's one of Tim's quotes from this post:

-366 facing an approach signal at Mi 179 asks "Are you going to be holding us at Queens?"
Just a minute and I'll pound the snot out of it.


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Eric: You need a separate comment section for your ever changing header photos! The ALCo T-6 #46 was originally built for Northern Pacific Terminals of Portland Oregon later known as Portland Terminals. They bought two #46 & #47. "T" designated "transfer" which was a higher gearing than a yard engine, designed to move stings from yard to yard quickly. She was built in 1968, sold to Neptune Terminals up in North Van (where I was born,) in 1984.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, Robert.

To take up your suggestion regarding more header photo information, in the interest of being democratic, or at least a benevolent despot, I have taken your question to Trackside Treasure readers in a sidebar poll.

Always good to hear from you,

GP9Rm4108 said...

Loved this!!

Eric said...

Thanks, Chris. Another source of photos and text on CN's operations of a similar vintage is Keith Hansen's books Last Trains from Lindsay.

We still have a roadswitcher turn out of Belleville, now with back-to-back 4100's or other Geeps. Watch for a future post...when M420's prowled the Cataraqui Spur! Even a SD40-2W got in on the act.

But it's hard to beat a smokin' RS18!

Thanks for your comment,