Wednesday, February 19, 2014

CN's Kingston Sub in the 1950's, Part 1

The John W Barriger III National Railroad Library is a unique collection that I became aware of only recently, part of the University of Missouri - St Louis Mercantile Library. Barriger (1899-1976) was an MIT graduate, responsible for loans to railways during the Great Depression. After World War Two, he became President of the Monon Railroad, moving on to leadership roles at P&LE, M-K-T, B&M, NYNH&H and Rock Island. A collector and historian, Barriger amassed a huge collection of books, photographs and documents exceeding 26 tons in all! Many of the photographs in the collection, taken all over North America, focus on railroad engineering and trackage. Over 350 Canadian National photographs are available online - scans of copy negatives made from the original nitrates in the 1990's. Though these are uncaptioned as to location, I was able to find several from the CN Kingston Subdivision, taken in the 1940s and 1950s.
The photos available online are lightbox views (top photo) that include a white ink notation on the photo border listed in photo caption in [brackets], and that's all. Many such photos are taken from onboard a train, and as such include lots of trackside treasure - buildings, yards, signs, signals, and railway facilities. Some are purely scenic. In locating Kingston Sub images, I looked for recognizable, double-track scenes that I could identify. With the image formatted, it's easier to focus on the railway elements of the scene. The Turcot Yard [308] steam engine facility ready track (above) includes 1910-built H-6-d 1325, suburban tank engine, electric, caboose hop and elephant ear-equipped road power. Even though these photos were likely taken from the tail-end while heading east, let's imagine we're on the head-end of a westbound heading from Montreal to Toronto.
At Ste Anne de Bellevue, [305] we are leaving the westernmost point on the island of Montreal (above), about to cross onto Ile Perrot. CN's station and still-standing municipal water tower are south of the double-track main line, while CP's line west from Montreal is visible at right. In Cornwall [303] we are on the outskirts of town, though the line has been relocated and this area is now built up. Tenth Street is on the right, CP's Cornwall Sub then McConnell Avenue crosses the two-track main line (now the end of CN's Cornwall Spur), and the Cornwall Electric Railway electrified line runs from the CN exchange yard to the Courtaulds plant in Cornwall's east end at left.
Paved paradise and put up a parking lot [303] (below). Closer to Cornwall station, the Cornwall Electric Railway is at left, currently the site of a Canadian Tire store parking lot. A water tower in the distance and a water plug at the end of the platform are visible:
West of Brockville station, just west of the Perth Street level crossing [301] the 216 foot-long Grand Trunk-built 600-ton coaling tower was in place from 1904-55. Its accompanying inclined trestle looms in the distance, marking the east end of Manitoba Yard (named for the adjacent Manitoba Street), as an ABS signal mast sign north of the main lines indicates Mi 125.7 miles west from Montreal.
We hop off the train at Kingston [299] to look over some remarkably (not uncommonly) cindered, empty yard tracks across from the Outer Station on Montreal Street. Stock cars are spotted at the stock pens at left, and the station train-order signal and steel water tower are visible at right.
On the north side of the yard at Kingston [300] are four flat car loads that certainly caught the photographer's eye. These are not North American locomotives. Rather, they're metre-gauge export locomotives built by the Canadian Locomotive Co. on Kingston's waterfront. Chained aboard CN flat cars, these locomotives are part of a large order of locomotives destined for India. Based on their shipping date of May, 1950, we can date these photos at Kingston.
Best of the bunch. Napanee [237] looking east on a summer evening shows a fantastic maze of trackage, with CN's Smiths Falls sub diverging to left, freight house lead at right. Watch for an upcoming post on Napanee's rail-served industries, and yes, the Nabisco factory behind the Quonset hut is still standing today!
There are very few locations on the Kingston Sub where one railway crosses another. I believe this one [237] shows the west side of the Shannonville bridge that carries CP's Belleville Sub over the CN. Belleville yard is next.
We'll end this first part of our Kingston Sub journey at the division point of Belleville. At Belleville East [454], site of the current yard office, a concrete behemoth coaling tower stands guard; nearby are a water tower and sand house. Note the unloading track for coal hopper cars (including one PRR car) and water tower at right.
Pointe St Charles-built P-5-h 8393 is working a long cut of cars [453], including wood reefers and boxcars:
A modern-day view of the yard looking west shows that it's common to see a double-stack intermodal train taking the length of the yard. Though the yard tracks to the south of the main line are largely gone [452], additional through trackage has been added to expedite CN and VIA trains through Belleville, still a crew-change point.
Looking east, a last shot back at the coaling tower [240]
The west end of Belleville yard [241] is a busy place on this evening, with two yard goats working, a road engine in line with the water tower, MoW boxcars at right and a B&O wagon-top boxcar in line with the smokestack.
Approaching Belleville station [242] where baggage carts line the station platform and the train-order signal is up; a combine with six-wheel trucks reposes at right. The Moira River bridge, just visible in the distance and Part 2 will take us westward to Toronto.

Thanks to Chris Granger and Don McQueen for assistance in the production of this post.

Running extra...

A nice blog tribute to Canadian Super-G skier Jan Hudec by CBC's Scott Russell.
Ted Nolan trick play results in a breakaway goal. A Latvian scintillating spinnerama!

Pin this! Trackside Treasure's fledgling Pinterest page. Giving a home to photos I want to save, though I frankly don't know what to do with. Except pin them for future reference. Can Facebook be next?

8 comments:

GP9Rm4108 said...

Blown away again. That Brockville shot will be added to my collection.

BA railsystem said...

Great finds Eric. Your ability to glean information and photos from the furthest corners of the internet never ceases to amaze me. Fantastic bunch of photos. Barriger's 26 ton information collection must have been a sight to behold. I know the Trackside Treasure collection is very large but he must have had you beat by a few ton?

Thanks for the read.

Ben

Eric said...

I knew you'd like the Brockville photo, Chris! I found it a bit difficult to place, not seeing any streets or crossings, but the mammoth coaling facility made its presence known!

I'm really just happy to share these photos, the link to which someone had previously shared as well. A neat resource, unlike many private collections with no online, public access!
Thanks for your comment,
Eric

Eric said...

Thanks, Ben. Who doesn't like cool Canadian stuff when we come across it? I know I do.

Barriger does indeed have some overtonnage compared to my modest collection. But frankly, he was an old guy.

Since he wasn't able to take it with him, as none of us can, I'm sure glad it's been shared!

Good to hear from you,
Eric

Nick said...

Thanks for enjoying these! We're all really happy that people are making use of the images and enjoying them. We'll be adding more as we go through the scrapbook pages. What you are seeing now are scans of the copy negatives made in the 1990's from the original nitrates. The prints are of much better quality.

Take Care
-Nick Fry
Curator
John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library

Eric said...

It is great to have you aboard on this post, Nick! Thanks very much for commenting.

I present the CN Kingston Subdivision photos from the Barriger Library with great pleasure, but also great reverence and respect for their subject matter, their quality, their provenance as well as gratitude that they have been made available to all.

I intend to produce another post that takes us on the rest of our 'journey' from Belleville, ON west into Toronto. I have to credit some discussion group members who publicized the link and got me interested in the photos.

I left the photos that I included in the post clickable and of fairly large image size, to encourage better viewing of the detail in each.

Please feel free to get in touch when more images are available. My email is mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca.

Thanks also for the link, which I'll be including in the second part of the series.

On behalf of Trackside Treasure readers, thank you!
Eric

chris mears said...

Really terrific post, Eric. I had seen a reference to the collection online but have only just started to sift through the images.

The images are of terrific quality.

What I like more is your effort to stitch them together into a story and background. Often when researching railway history the challenge is great enough just looking for the raw data, let alone in identifying those individuals who can weave it together into something that brings the raw data to life.

Thanks for assembling this and sharing it with the rest of us.

I need to sit down, coffee in hand, and sort through this collection. I wonder what cool commuter stuff might appear?

Eric said...

I appreciate your comments, Chris. I would love to open up each image on the Barriger Flickr CN page, but there are just too many good ones. So, I just looked for the low-hanging fruit of the Kingston Sub.

Be prepared to be amazed. Barriger Library Curator Nick Fry has assured me that more images will be added in future.

Eric