Friday, July 11, 2014

Summertime at the Station, July 2014

Our great-nephew visited for a couple of days in early July. He always wants to visit Kingston's VIA station. This request, along with similar requests to visit the train room, play Legos, eat Kentucky Fried Chicken and other snack food trackside make him my favourite great-nephew. Arriving early on July 2, our first train is No 641 from Ottawa: 906-3601-3305-3357-3367-3350 at 0742. A plethora of passengers, at least two wearing their Jays T-shirts mob the platform. Kingston's station attendants position themselves between the madding crowds and incoming train to encourage safety, answer questions and give (not their fault) sometimes conflicting information as to which car number to board.
Eastbound J-train consist No 50/60 arrives at 0910 on Track 2: No 50/60 6451-3475Ren-3360-3334-3351-3600-6409-3472-3319Ren-3352
Mid-train boarding and replenishment procedures (above) and whistling off at John Counter Blvd (below):
Back on Track 1 it's another morning westbound, No 43 at 0915: 913-3451Ren-3332Ren-3312-3368. While it's technically possible to have an all Renaissance-scheme consist, at this point it's more likely to happen with a shorter consist!
We returned to the station the same evening. Notice the weird oil slick along the north track. VIA crankcase oil? Trivia - at Belleville station, this slick, inside the rails and coating the ties, is on the south track. Sounds like a westbound VIA train that crossed over to the south track for its station stop at Belleville:
Great-nephew looks on as an eastbound arrives at 1740 (above and below):  906-3601-3305-3357-3367-3350-3362Ren-910 in the low evening sunlight.
Working, not working. 910 on the tail end was at idle.
At this point, my camera battery was exhausted (heck, so was I) but we were still treated to more VIA trains eastbound at 1757: 6432-5 LRC to Ottawa; westbound at 1828: 907-4000-4104-4101; plus No 67, non-stop eastbound at 1834 (recalling the days of LRC express that time these were the only trains that didn't stop at Kingston) 6418-4 LRC cars; finally an eastbound CN freight at 1803: 8834-5713-DPU 8929.
Who doesn't like roster shots? I don't, but I do enjoy the surrounding environment that one can sometimes make out in a roster-type photo. Note: VIA has not added tiny Canadian flag hats to its coaches - the tower of Kingston's station is the only real context in these photos of Ren Business Class (or if you're a little older, VIA 1, or if you're really old, club car 3472 below) and 3319 (above). Railfanning hint: while noting LRC consists from the platform or while boarding, make use of the car numbers on the ends of the car!
A VIA engineer contacted me recently for older photos I might have of a combination disc/shoe brake-equipped LRC coach truck. The only ones I had from the early days of the LRC were not the best. I wondered why I hadn't exhaustively documented some LRC's in detail, perhaps the 1981 demo consist, or perhaps when they peripatetically entered service. To make up for lost time, I took a photo of a current truck, perhaps to satisfy the curiosity of a requester in future years?
This Just In: CN freight train No 310 derailed at the west end of Brockville yard on Thursday, July 10. Watch for an upcoming post about my ride aboard the only VIA train on CN's Kingston Sub that day. A lucky train!

Running extra...

Harvards Above  is the title of a just-published local historical book by Gananoque, ON resident Geraldine Chase. Chronicling the 100-strong fleet of Harvard trainers that served at 31 Service Flying Training School (31 SFTS) at Kingston, as well as satellite operations at Gananoque and Sandhurst, this is a fine work that I highly recommend. Geraldine is 86 (I didn't ask, she told me) and at that age I will be lucky to put two words together, never mind a project of this scope. When you read it, you will hear the characteristic, radial engine groan of Harvards passing overhead. You can read the book online, or better yet buy a copy for your bookshelf. It's available at Novel Idea in Kingston.

"Their shoulders held the sky suspended; They stood, and earth's foundations stay." So reads the inscription on the Memorial Gates at CFB Trenton, given to Canada by her wartime partners in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), under which 31 SFTS operated. Here's a cool link to a fellow clan member: Mosquito pilot Eugene Gagnon, DFC. More links:

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