Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wintertime in Brockville

I was in Brockville earlier in January, with time on my hands. Of course, I beetled trackside! At the Park Street crossing, just east of the William Street overpass and VIA station, No 149 was approaching (above) westbound at 1000 behind 5558-5697. I had just missed VIA No 52. Pulling into the VIA station parking lot, the lighting was not in my favour. Long, blue shadows fell towards me, and any photography would have been blindingly bad. This was my opportunity to head up to the William Street overpass. CN No 106 was approaching, roadswitcher No 532 was eager to do some work on the main, and there had to be more VIA trains out there, so up I went!
Being up on an overpass not only gives a unique viewpoint, it also reduces the chances of getting 'skunked' when there is a lot of activity. The same was true of my railfanning at Portage la Prairie, MB where more than one railway and several tracks were involved. Before any trains came through, looking west I was able to check out a nice string of CN boxcars, awaiting spotting at the CN metals distribution warehouse across from the station: CNA 415393, CN 412249, BCOL 100375, CN 415267, CN 414650, CN 415268, CNA 413088, and CN 411231 had been on-spot since Monday. Carrying metal products from Arvida, QC (thanks, Chris!), all but these two would soon be spotted on one of two tracks inside the warehouse:
Unintelligible graffiti and a surviving large CN logo (above). Brockville railfanning did not bores (sic) me, (below):
Foreman James Reader was hi-railing west just before No 106 blew through at 1105 with 2410 leading and 2540 (I think) trailing. Compare a similar view west in the VIA/CN era. CP's loop line and freight house, plus the pocket track used by VIA are of course now gone. Watch for an upcoming post. In the meantime, open up the link and toggle back and forth to melt away the years.
Soon afterward, 532 emerged from the yard light power. "We're being watched..." But a friendly wave from your blogger perched on his aerie allayed any fears of snoopervision.
Looking east, with CP's Brockville Sub branching off to the left with two interchange tracks, Geeps 7083-4139 spotted all but last two boxcars indoors, before skedaddling east to switch industries at Mi 118 and Mi 114 Kingston Sub. Toggle time - compare a similar view east in the CN/VIA era. Howard Travel's bus garage still promotes Canadian Airlines' 1987 logo.
But first, an amply-powered No 369 arrives to make a setout of more metals traffic at the west end of yard, north side: 5740-2514-5641-2442 wearing the North America scheme-5613 at 1130.
CN's 618xxx-series ingot flat car fleet has been supplanted recently by lease HPJX short-bulkhead flat cars. The sun was a-glintin' of the metal's metallic finish aboard HPJX 52222:
I don't know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but you can count how many metal signs could be bolted to one post, under the overpass. I was, however, 'walking on water' as the two inch-thick crust of ice from December's ice storm had not melted. CP's line to Smiths Falls branches off through the interlocking at left, with CN's Kingston Sub double-track mainline heading east to Montreal at right. The right-hand signal mast controls movements into the third (station) track at Brockville.
Another trip to Brockville last September netted VIA 6459 eastbound, having been renumbered from its original number 6403. It seemed only fitting that the crisp Canadian tenner tender that I received in change at Timmy's would feature the same locomotive. F is for freezing, F is for frothy coffee, F is for fake F40 numbering!
VIA No 64 (901-8621-4009-4118-4102-4101-4112) made its station stop, then crossed over to the north track to head east to Montreal. The sun was still at a difficult angle, but I still managed to finagle an Adam Walkeresque Kingston Sub mileage marker into the frame. The signals look yellow but they are actually red.
Departing east,
even more east, through the switch heater-equipped crossover switch from the station track to the north track of the Kingston Sub:
not nearly as west as it used to be,
then trundling vers l'est, a La Belle Province.
Here's a view of the station from the west end, looking  north-east that I took during a trip to Brockville last summer. VIA No 42 914-3 LRC cars was eastbound at 1510, not stopping in Brockville.

Running Extra...

Mark Perry's 365 Project has gone to the 'test pattern' now that 2013 is but a memory. I had asked Mark if he would consider making it a two-year, 730 Project. No, he replied that he'd leave it to someone else. In its place, another cool blog partner has joined Trackside Treasure's sidebar - Oddblock Station Agent's Extra Train Stuff, Etc. Check out his profile to connect to his other neat blogs.

I linked to Andrew's Berwick Railfan site in my recent Central Vermont white box cars post. He has an excellent collection of photos from Pennsylvania, home of the BFF plant in which the unique cars were built. Feeling stressed-out? Try his colouring pages...hey, why should kids have all the fun?

Train Reaction (oh, like chain reaction, I get it now) was featured on the news tonight. Not into the bar scene, these musicians drop into the next New Rocket to do some guitar-strummin', djembe-drummin' and crowd participation to engender TTC commuter community. And if they don't feel the vibe on one train, they hop off and hop on another two minutes later. Seems like fare play to me.


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Interesting Post, Eric. The signal view caught my attention: If you were accidentally running a CN train, the "CP" annotation would certainly get your attention ...

Allison said...

I really like the latest in the series of artistic shots of Timmy's coffee...complete with the new mylar (I think) $10 bill with train (which, of course, I'd not yet noticed..!)
My baby bro' has a lot of enterprising things going on...but one of my friends noted (when I shared his previous coffee shot on my FB page) that his work might be attractive to that corporation too!
Go Eric, Go! Amazing, all the things you do!

Eric said...

Hi Robert,
Thanks for your comment! A sign might as well be posted reading: "You are now entering The Other Railway" or as it's sometimes called "The Leaky Roof Railway".

I recently read a Transportation Safety Report from 1991 in which a CP crew ventured onto CN rails in Smiths Falls, ON. You may have seen the Youtube LRC approaches the CP locos and the crew bales! The CP crew had absolutely no signs to tell them where CN's trackage began. Perhaps therefore the sign at Brockville!


Eric said...

I am not in any way associated or affiliated with Tim Hortons, although I do occasionally (obviously) consume their coffee products and many, many baked goods.

During today's visit to the credit union, I asked for as many tenners in cash as I could get. Four F40's!

Did you know that Teavana and Starbucks are under the same corporate umbrella? A little EMG bird just told me!

GP9Rm4108 said...

3 of those boxcars are still in town and have yet to be unloaded! There are a total of 17 cars (2 Caraustar, 15 ingot) in town right now for the warehouse. I wonder what is going on!

On another note, a small gathering of the CN 618--- series ingot flats are gathering in town and seem to be in storage.

Eric said...

Thanks for that Brockville car traffic information, Chris. Do trucks ever transload out of the warehouse? Not that I've seen, but I'm not often there. I realize each car wouldn't carry many ingots due to weight.

The 618-series cars seem to be on the way out? The HPJX cars seem to be taking their place.

Thanks for your comments,

GP9Rm4108 said...

When they unload cars they do in in a big whopping fleet. A whole whack load of trucks will show up and start taking the product out. The same trucking company that ships the big blocks that come in on the flats takes the small ones as well.

The flats and the boxes would both have a similar weight capacity so there really isn't much difference. Just imagine 1 big one = 10 small ones (or something like that).

I am not sure who Caraustar uses to ship their stuff from Brockville to Kingston.

As I have mentioned before there is still no outbound product ... same with Wills and Kriska.

Eric said...

Thanks, Chris. I wouldn't have missed that much action if it was happening! RailTran trucking co. mentions the Hubbell St (north side of yard) and Perth St (metals distribution warehouse near station) on their website, and this photo shows one of those rebuilt and repainted GT boxcars in the background: