Saturday, July 27, 2013

Model the Prairies' Railway Environment


Railways were the raison d'etre for many Prairie towns. Towns would vie to have their place on the lines that radiated out from Winnipeg in the railway and settlement boom at the turn of the 20th century. Railway structures, their prominent placement, associated facilities and increased train traffic gave towns prestige and employment opportunities, as well as a way to grow as passengers and goods arrived at their doorstep. Still-active stockyards, CP Rail wooden and 'window' stock cars, grain elevator, and station at Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, seen from VIA's Park car on a rainy day in 1986 (below). Read more about the Prairies' Natural Environment and Built Environment.
The grandeur of structures was understandably lacking in many cases, as many towns' railway structures and facilities were built quickly, establishing the railways' presence seemingly overnight.
Preserved Duchess station, at Brooks & District Museum, 1986.
Major junctions and division points grew to include extensive railway infrastructure, including roundhouses, shops, yards, water towers and maintenance facilities. Sometimes these served several branchlines radiating out from a central point on the map. The CP operator in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba hoops up orders to an eastbound grain train powered by CP 5633-5756, Angus van 434539 with markers trails boxcar CP 267199 on July 6, 1976:
By the mid-1980's, when I took most of these photos, the Prairie branch line network was convulsing under the pressure of rationalization, the end of the Crow Rate, and simple geography and economics. Though efforts were still being made to serve the branchline network, many of these were temporary measures to appease farmers' groups, government agencies, railways' finances and the public, who were seeing their way of life morph and slip away.
Remnants of Canadian Pacific presence remain at Rignold, Manitoba (top) and MacGregor, Manitoba (above). Speeder sheds, one-room stations and related structures like privies can still be modelled on a 1980's layout. Needless to say, depending on the era modelled, the number and layout of tracks and lineside buildings would vary. An overhead view of CP's busy Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan yard in 1981 shows a mix of Soo Line cars passing through the yard, CP lumber cars and in the background, new Canadian government covered hoppers mixed with Alberta and Saskatchewan cars:
There's no comparing a small 30,000 bushel elevator with a two-car spot, to an inland terminal of today, capable of loading an entire train on multiple tracks. The former is served by a long, diverging CN siding at Shonts, Alberta as this vestibule view from VIA No 4 shows:
In the modern era, agricultural equipment still arrived at town unloading ramps, including combines, tractors and whatever else would fit on a flat car. John Deere pull-type combine and pickup headers on a Milwaukee Road flat car await unloading at the ramp on CN in Watrous, Saskatchewan:
More often than not, road builders chose to parallel established rail lines. The Trans-Canada Highway parallels the CP mainline in Saskatchewan (below). This closeness led to the lack of economic justification to maintain lightweight branchlines in the late 20th century where road service eventually usurped the railways' monopoly. It was responsible for the abandonment of large sections of the spidery branchline network of the Prairies, while subdivisions capable of supporting heavier cars were rehabilitated, though some of these were also later abandoned.
When it comes to modelling the trains of the Prairies, it's not all grain. Yes, large numbers of grain cars moved daily in grain extras to the Lakehead, Churchill or West Coast for export. Later, this traffic also moved to eastern Canada or south into the US as the Canadian railways expanded.  Unit trains of coal, sulphur, intermodal, lumber and general freight should also be prototypically modelled on mainlines. Branchline trains should include maintenance-of-way equipment, fuel, building materials, and farm machinery. You can find photos of these trains elsewhere on this blog. A CP ballast train heads north on the Minnedosa Sub on its way to rehabilitate a distant branchline, in September 1985:
In terms of locomotives and rolling stock, consider using appropriate prototypes for the trains mentioned above. The Prairies' ubiquitous Geeps and GMD-1's, F's and SD's should make an appearance. Beware of modelling single units trundling down branchlines in the diesel era. Turntables or wyes were needed to turn steam engines, but more often in the diesel era, multiple units and run-around tracks were used upon reaching the end of their run or the end-of-steel.

1913 splice bar/85 lb rail on CP's Colonsay Subdivision (above); storm front along the CP main line west of Medicine Hat, AB (below)
"Onward the track moved, cutting the plains in two.  This had been the Great Lone Land, unfenced and unbridged, which the early explorers had described as if it were on the dark side of the moon.  The line of steel made Butler's phrase obsolete, for the land would never again be lonely.  All that summer it reverberated with the clang of sledge and anvil, the snorting of horses and mules, the hoarse puffing of great engines, the bellowing of section bosses, the curses of thousands of sweating men, and the universal song of the railroad navvies: 'Drill, ye tarriers, drill'." 
- Pierre Berton The National Dream/ The Last Spike
"Government land was free up to a limit of a quarter section; the homesteader who worked it for three years was given title to it and could in addition, pre-empt an adjoining quarter section.  Those immigrants who bought CPR land in the forty-eight-mile belt along the railway paid five dollars an acre.  As many as twenty-five hundred settlers left Winnipeg every week on trains with every car crammed.  The CPR by April was able to take them as far as the tent town of Moose Jaw, four hundred miles to the west.  Both Moose Jaw, with its 'bare, freckled and sunburnt buildings' and Medicine Hat, another canvas town in a coulee of that name, were in the same category: "See one, see all."  The North West of Canada, once so haunting and so mysterious, was being transformed by the onslaught of the rails."
-Pierre Berton  The National Dream / The Last Spike

Running extra...

Another week, another Trackside Treasure poll... 
Since we're looking at modelling the Prairies, would readers consider modelling this beautiful and wide-open part of Canada? Yes, apparently they would. If designing a new model railway, 31% of respondents said the Prairies would be their choice. Farther west, 18% favoured BC, and in the east, 6% each voted for Quebec and the Maritimes. Nobody chose Newfoundland, nor the fictional but ascendent, highly curvy fictional area named Helixland! Ontario squeaked by with the majority: 37%. Thanks to all those who participated.

Speaking of modelling Prairie motive power, Rapido Trains is sponsoring a nearly nationwide tour to promote their new GMD-1. After years of wandering in the wilderness of unsuitable motive power, having to use expensive brass or kitbashed oddities, Jason and the Rapido roustabouts are finally about to right this injustice. Go west, young man!

Welcome Trackside Treasure's newest reader, days-old Prince George of Cambridge! Does it seem like a coincidence to you that George was born at 4:24 pm (a la C-424) and that grandfather Prince Charles visited notable British steamer Mallard to celebrate its 75th anniversary? Here's a steamy photo.

Coming soon, Trackside Treasure's fifth anniversary! Woo-hoo! Along with the customary anniversary blog post, there will be cake in the shape of a blog, blog-shaped cookies, blogger party hats and....Oops, I did it again. I got carried away. There will be a contest however, with the prize being Library-in-a-Box (working title).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Model the Prairies' Built Environment

The geography of the Prairies, as well as its recent history can be instructive in realistically modelling them in scale. Manitoba's unique position led to its development as the gateway to the prairies while exploration, the railway and immigration proceeded westward. Over 30,000 Ukrainians arrived between 1896 and 1914.  In 1925, Manitoba Pool Elevators was formed, followed by the CCF in 1932, and United Grain Growers and Canadian Wheat Board establishing headquarters in Winnipeg. All eras of farm vehicles can be found on farmsteads and in towns, and many of these would make unique models specific to the region. (Above) Elevators and implements in Wiseton, Saskatchewan. (Below) Grain truck, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Read more about the Prairies' Natural Environment and Railway Environment.
Saskatchewan's population quintupled from 1901 to 1911.  I was amazed to find false-front shops, the town hotel, the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant, five-and-dime stores, and most surprisingly gravel roads still in existence in 1985! Montmartre, Saskatchewan:
The Depression hit the province hard, with wheat prices plummeting to their lowest level in 1932. Solid wood and brick buildings speak of better times, and can make fascinating models especially with today's laser-cut kits and other detailed building materials available to the scratchbuilder and kitbasher alike. Firehouse and United Church - Liberty, Saskatchewan:
Citizens of English and French origin were soon outnumbered by a host of European nationalities and sects, and the Byzantine domes of Ukrainian churches denoted the provinces's largest ethnic community. It's important to ensure that our modelled towns don't look like the brick storefronts of southern Ontario or Pennsylvania. Many of these buildings are much newer, built comparatively quickly of materials at hand, often wood, and arranged in a certain way. Many prairie towns had a distinct layout - with numbered streets laid out in a square pattern, perpendicular and parallel to the railway line.  Insulbrick, stamped tin, siding and wide streets in Milestone, Saskatchewan:
Depopulation of rural communities has occurred steadily, though some reversal has also occurred recently as the economic boom in the energy sector has helped the economies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. When I took these photos in 1985-86, big-box stores and concrete elevators were on the horizon. Small towns still had business activities on their main streets with telephone and power lines and streetlights, though the sidewalks were a little un-busy. Here are a few examples of some typical Saskatchewan towns.

 Simpson, Saskatchewan:

Wiseton, Saskatchewan
I tried to take a pickup truck view of each streetscape. Most towns still have a prominent hotel, likely from the pioneer days when travellers needed somewhere to stay when arriving by train. Notice the parked vehicles; a mix of cars and pickups, but very little traffic.
Allan, Saskatchewan:

Imperial, Saskatchewan:

Watrous, Saskatchewan:
As early as 1881, the Canadian government permitted leasing of areas up to 100,000 to ranchers at a rate of one cent per acre per year, though the cattle rancher's activities tended to discourage the wheat farmer. Large-scale irrigation projects were undertaken, including the CPR Irrigation Department centred on Strathmore and Brooks, organized by the CPR in 1902.  CPR had a freight monopoly in and out of Alberta until 1905.  Over 100,000 km of pipeline is buried in Alberta. Banks held all the cards and were able to project a substantial presence on prime real estate in town - Bank of Commerce, Milestone, Saskatchewan:
The larger the town, the more services were located there. Often, towns were referred to by the number of grain elevators located they hosted. In later years, farm implement dealers and fertilizer dealers would sell their wares in larger towns. Hardware, gravity gas pump, phone booth and Canada Post in Osage, Saskatchewan:
Even the smallest town needed services related to daily life and agriculture. Houses, church, machine shop and CN speeder at Colfax, Saskatchewan:
Weather-beaten schoolhouse and classic car at Young, Saskatchewan:
"Just before the town the river took a wide loop and entered at the eastern edge.  Inhabited now by some eighteen hundred souls, it had grown up on either side of the river from the seed of one homesteader's sod hut built in the spring of eighteen seventy-five.  It was made up largely of frame buildings with high, peaked roofs, each with an expanse of lawn in front and a garden in the back; they lined avenues with prairie names: Bison, Riel, Qu'Appelle, Blackfoot, Fort.  Cement sidewalks extended from First Street to Sixth Street at MacTaggart's Corner; from that point to the prairie a boardwalk ran." 
-W.O Mitchell Who Has Seen the Wind
 ``As we pass near towns and cities, the crosses and spires and onion-shaped cupolas of various churches stand out as signs of God`s ever-present blessing over the land.  And the handiwork of man is manifest in the houses of every shape and size, buildings large and small, factories and refineries, huge oil tanks, highways and rail carriers of multicoloured automobiles.  The landscape is dotted with grain elevators and farm equipment galore.  Grain storage bins glitter in abundance``
-Teresina McNeil, aboard VIA Rail Edmonton to Antigonish NS

Imperial, Saskatchewan (above). Elevators loom large (literally) in town design, but remember to leave space between them for several cars to be loaded and moved past the loading spout. There's more land on the Prairies than on a layout, I realize, but try to give the elements room to 'breathe'. Three photos from 1988 and 1989 Manitoba Pool Elevators calendars show some typical Manitoba town layouts. Many have a farm implement dealer, machine shops or garages to service farm vehicles and equipment.
Brunkild:
Try to imagine how many feet of benchwork it would take to do these towns justice! I wouldn't use the overworked term 'selective compression' here, rather 'selective omission'. Something has to give, so for a layout I would suggest some lineside industries and select nearby town buildings. Mature shade trees would make a great transition to a backdrop.
Elie:
Dunrea:

Running extra...

With Robert MacDonald's suggestion in mind, I took the issue of Trackside Treasure's blog header photo to the people. Thanks to all who responded, and more importantly, for paying attention! I have a habitually short attention span for header photos - usually the photo is something I've seen that catches my eye, and I trust it'll catch yours, too. I just can't keep the same photo up there for more than a few days' run. Whenever I ask the photographer for permission, appropriate credit is always given. Either way, I'll provide more detail whenever I can in the welcome message that follows the photo. If I can't, I'll make something up.

Now, without further Mon Dieu! to the poll results:
  • A whopping 90% requested more info on the photo! We want it! Give it to us!
  • A small-piece-of-pie 28% agreed on changing every few days, you know, like I do my socks.
  • A diminutive 23% suggested changes to the frequency, either more or less.
  • A mere 9% wish to comment on photos. Just email me instead, 'cause I'm not sure how to set this up.
  • A thirsty 28% would like a cool drink. (Not surprising, given the time of year. We call this a 'check question' in the biz, and it's just to see if you were paying attention. Heck, 28% of you were! Drink!
Thanks to all for your participation!
Eric

Friday, July 12, 2013

Model the Prairies' Natural Environment

To convincingly model the Canadian prairies, it's best to understand the land. Though Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are Prairie provinces, they're farm from uniformly flat!  You cannot see the entire province from atop a chair! You cannot watch your dog run away for a week! You cannot see next month on the horizon! Now that we've got that most common misconception out of the way, let's look at some of the landforms of the Prairies, as well as some of their natural vegetation and natural history. I've illustrated this series of posts with various non-train photos I took in the West in the 1980's.  I trust they will be useful to those wishing to model this expansive, beautiful and often-overlooked region of our country. CN mainline at Bradwell, Saskatchewan (top). Read more about the Built Environment and Railway Environment.
Not surprisingly, the Prairies are often referred to as Canada's breadbasket.  A New Holland combine make short work of a field of grain near Headingley, Manitoba in 1985. Did you know that only one-quarter of Manitoba is habitable? The northern and eastern portions are underlain by Precambrian rock of the massive Canadian Shield, arguably Canada's most prevalent landform region. About 50 miles east of Winnipeg, the Shield becomes grassland.  Suddenly.  Blink and you'll miss it.  I photographed it from the Super Continental on CN lines in 1982.  Notice a few spruce trees that remain among the now flat grassland:
The First Prairie level in southwest Manitoba includes the glacial deposits and rich soil of Lake Agassiz. The expansive grasslands, as well as those of Dundurn in Saskatchewan and Suffield in Alberta are favoured by Canadian and British armies as training grounds.  In pre-9/11 days, we were able to photograph German Marder armoured personnel carriers and Leopard main battle tanks from a country road near CFB Shilo, Manitoba: 
The Second Prairie Level is divided from the first by the Manitoba Escarpment.  As I said, definitely not flat! Originally a trestle partially replaced with fill, the Treesbank railway bridge is visible across a tilled field and much vegetation:
Turtle, Riding, Duck and Porcupine Mountains, plus an elaborate river system: the Red, Assiniboine, Seine, Shell and Minnedosa Rivers combine to prove that Manitoba is only partially flat.  The Treesbank ferry was still operating across the Assiniboine River in 1984, but closed in 1989 after a bridge was opened nearby. Who knew there were ferries operating in the Prairie provinces?  A short but necessary link across a natural barrier.
Manitoba's arable land includes special crops such as sunflowers, flax, sugar beets as well as grain. Farms that dot the landscape continue to grow larger, as do the road and rail infrastructure and equipment used to move their harvests. The Trans-Canada Highway's eastbound and westbound lanes are well-separated, seen here in 1984 as a Reimer cab-over heads east from Brandon (below). The openness of the landscape shapes the land, repositioning dust or topsoil at the whim of the wind. The sky rises from the horizon as a limitless dome.
The only truly large, completely flat parts of Manitoba range from Elma on the CN and Oakbank on the CP through Portage la Prairie to the vicinity of MacGregor. Portage la Prairie has long been known as a centre of vegetable production, including potatoes and onions, also strawberries.  Shelterbelts of trees protect farms from the wind, providing shade and demarcating individual settlements on the vast surrounding fields. A farm just west of West Tower:
Saskatchewan's short-grass prairie in the southwest experiences evaporation that exceeds precipitation during the growing season. Near Estlin in September 1985, this parked Massey-Ferguson combine had little to harvest due to a poor growing season and locust infestation.  In fact, their tiny bodies could be seen everywhere, on roads, fields and on the combine itself.  Another natural phenomenon that can affect the livelihoods of those who rely on the land. Drought stunts natural vegetation and crops alike.
The bald prairie is actually the flat bottom of glacial lakes, including potholes filled with rain and melting snow forming prairie oases or "sloughs" some fed with salt by groundwater.  The Cypress Hills represent the highest elevations in Canada between Labrador and the Rocky Mountains.  The North and Saskatchewan Rivers and the prominent watercourses of Saskatchewan.  Over 140 prairie grass species have been documented, including root systems as deep as nine feet! Veritable land-oceans of grass, like green waves lap at the CN roadbed in Forgan, Saskatchewan:
Saskatchewan contains nearly one-half of Canada's productive farmland.  Saskatchewan potash mining is responsibile for up to 40% of world production, and is used for fertilizer production.  While riding VIA No 2 near Holden, Alberta, trackside water, swamp and elevators and distant trees are representative of Alberta grain and pasture lands, and remind us of the importance of a dramatically cloud-laden layout backdrop:
Alberta's southeast is prairie, then parkland with aspen forests in the central region approaching the foothills and then the Rockies.  Ten miles east of Irma, the CN Fabyan Viaduct bridges the Battle River is 200 feet above the river valley below and a field of straw or hay (can't tell from this altitude - see, not flat!):
The last glaciers receded over 10,000 years ago, though traces of them still survive in the mountains. Wheat farming extends from the US border to northwest Alberta's Peace River Valley.  Nearly two-thirds of Alberta is covered by forests, with natural gas and oil being produced as early as 1886.   Alberta has the most coal deposits of any province, estimated at 46 billion tons. As the above photos remind us, there are hundreds of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water in the Prairies!

Consider the above when setting out to model Western Canada. There are some excellent scenery products available to help you believably represent the Prairie provinces in scale! This is part one of a three-part series; part two will deal with modelling the Built Environment, and part three the Railway Environment. Someone else who shares my interest in the geography and history of the Prairies (and other parts of Canada, too) is Dave Winter. Check out Dave's three expansive Proto-File pages for some great photos and thought-provoking thoughts on modelling interesting scenes he has photographed. Prairie modeller Randy O'Brien has also posted some perfect train meets prairie photos.

"The wind was persistent now, a steady urgency upon his straight back, smoking up the dust from the road along the walk, lifting it and carrying it out to the prairie beyond.  He looked up to find that the street had stopped.  Ahead lay the sudden emptiness of the prairie.  For the first time in his four years of life he was alone on the prairie.  He had seen it often, from the veranda of his uncle's farmhouse, or at the end of a long street, but till now he had never heard it.  The hum of telephone wires along the road, the ring of hidden crickets, the stitching sound of grasshoppers, the sudden relief of a meadow lark's song, were deliciously strange to him."  
-W.O Mitchell Who Has Seen the Wind
On the road between Fillmore and Cedoux, Saskatchewan
"A land of geese, snipe, and wild ducks, fragrant in the soft evenings with the scent of willow and balsam. Acres of yellow daisies, tiger lilies, purple sage, and briar rose.  Pastures of tall buffalo grass, green hay meadows, which in the spring were shallowed ponds, a country of memories and old bones - furrowed trails fashioned decades before by thousands of bison, vast fields of withered herbage, dead lakes rimmed with tell-tale crusts of alkali."  
-Pierre Berton  The National Dream / The Last Spike
On the road between Wawanesa and Shilo, Manitoba
Running extra...
A new show on TLC: Railfan Sisters! My sister stopped at a level crossing in Charlotte, Vermont while driving east. A southbound Vermont Railway freight on former Rutland RR Burlington-Rutland VT line rolled through with an interesting mix of motive power: CP SD40-2 6069, a second CP SD, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern SD40-3 6083 (ex-CP SD-40 5503) and Vermont Railway GP40-2W 310 (ex-CN 9650). The train comprised Herzog ballast cars and tank cars. She made good use of her cell phone camera to capture these images while waiting for the train to pass. Tune in for the next, all-new episode: Amtrak in Westport NY.




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.
An optimal operational option, Queens' role has certainly diminished in recent years, due to longer road trains not fitting between crossovers, 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.

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: