Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ode to a Stack Train

I once heard that a good story begins in the middle, and with that in mind...
No whistle to hear, singing rails make train appear,
No air horns at this crossing, let tracks do the talking,
CN Number 149, westward daily 'round this time,
Two units plugging, stack cars lugging,
Profile-hugging, effortless tugging,
Well, well, well cars on the centre track we go,
Keeping the centre of gravity low,
Back-hauling to China we now disappear,
For another load of goods we used to make here,
Initials: MSC CMA CGM TTX,
Short stacks of cans, one car after the next
ETU flashing, midday peace crashing,
Now restored. Westward you go,
Westward you go.
And now the beginning of the story...
On October 15, I found myself in Shannonville once again. A westbound CP hi-rail truck let it be known there would be little traffic on the Road of the Golden Rodent, so I concentrated on CN and VIA. Since my last visit, the earthen berm just south of the CN triple-track has grown up in waist-high weeds, so I stayed closer to trackside. A headlight far to the east on the undulating hog-back profile of the Kingston Sub, east of Belleville looked like a long freight. CN No 149 soon popped over the Shannonville Road crossing, where whistling is prohibited.

My usual thought process kicked in: stack train = boring. But with a digital camera, I can merrily shoot pictures all day with no consequences, which is what I did. In case I never print these photos, I'll share them here. Since I don't want to subject Trackside Treasure readers to "Here's a bunch of random, uncaptioned stack train photos I took", I decided to put a modicum of energy into it and caption the photos as prose - not my first attempt at doing so, but not something you'll see a lot of.

So, now I've finished the story. Thankfully, CN is not overloaded with stack trains as some of the US railroads are, running one manifest per day each way on certain service lanes. Here it's just the opposite - we have many more manifests than intermodal trains.

Running Extra:

Bryan Martyniuk of Thunder Bay has a .pdf list of timetables for CN and CP, ACR pamphlet schedules and a small variety of railway publications, primarily CN marketing - free to a good home! You can email Bryan at bryanm@tbaytel.net to see what he has on offer.
There is slightly more ex-CP Budd stainless steel equipment in Kingston than there is in Thunder Bay. Three cars more on Sunday the 20th when 8608-8505-Evangeline Park deadheaded west on the tailend of train No 659. Dome lights on! Just like previous years' domes on the Kingston Sub! Non-tripod platform view (above) and non-time exposure flash photo (below). That's not a third marker, it's the 'ping-pong paddle' in the coupler.
Thanks to Chris for the heads-up! Chris' early-evening photo at Ottawa also shows 659's classy conclusion:


Bryan said...

Great lighting in those shots.

Also, I like your header photo...especially the cheap gas!!

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, Bryan. Yes, it was a nice, sunny fall day with the low sun making for nice photography and a nice walk, too.

The gas price and gun? Both definitely blasts from the past! Pete's shot shows the gun on its way to a restoration. You can find just about anything on a flat car.

Now I have to get to work on that post about Canadian agricultural equipment on flat cars...more Canadian agrarian than American artillery!


Michael said...

Yes, the streamliners are back in Ottawa these days. I shot some today over lunch and was surprised by what I found at the Ottawa station -- a P42 and a F40PH, both facing the same way, heading up a Montreal bound string of Renaissance cars. I will share next week.

Eric said...

Hi Michael,

I may just miss the Rens - at least they provided some variety here on CN's Kingston Sub.

It's always nice to see a double-header. Chris Lyon just posted one on his Lyon Valley Northern 'Fall Railfan Afternoon. I look forward to your post on the Beachburg Sub!

Thanks for your comment,

Allison said...

My bro'...the only photographer I know who can make photos of railway cars works of art...and then add poetic words to accompany them! ;-)

Eric said...

Yo, sis' this digital camera business is the best way to endlessly snap photos of the passing show. No-regrets photography.

Now if only we could delete other things in life so easily that we didn't care to keep. Oh well, live life forwards, understand it backwards. Unaccustomed to plumbing the philosophical depths here on the blog as I am.

Coming Soon...
Dirty Locomotive Limericks!

Thanks for stoppin' by that other blog that features "CP".