Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cataraqui Spur Power

CN's Cataraqui Spur has hosted CN roadswitcher power since I can remember, usually in the form of a single GP-9 or RS-18 in my earlier railfanning years, when the train serving the spur originated in Kingston. CN 4487 is leading a few cars for Kingston's grain elevator, and has stopped behind the Frontenac Mall off Bath Road while the crew grabs a quick lunch, on January 7, 1986. On February 10, 3732 is working the (then) DuPont nylon plant:
Once CN's Kingston-based operations wound down, the train serving the Cataraqui Spur originated in Belleville (or Brockville) and CN began assigning two locomotives due to the considerable mainline run of 50 miles. By this time, CN had chop-nosed its GP-9 fleet, and usually two GP9RM's would power the train. But there were exceptions! CN 4119 brings tank cars east from DuPont to Queens on April 24, 1993, at Kingston station: 

Fellow Kingston railfan Ron Barrett kindly shared some photos showing such exceptional power. CN 3504-4118 crossed Front Road and are about to reach the plant road (above - undated). Another such locomotive consist, 3561-4110 were backing to DuPont on the trestle on August 17, 1996:
CN 4117-3567 back out of the Cat Spur at Mi 178 Kingston Sub to proceed east to Brockville on the south track as my son looks on (below). Within a month, 3567 would be retired. A cold February 21, 1998 at 0840:
Ron photographed GP38-2's 4717-4727, the latter with a unique hybrid paint scheme, on their way past Kingston's VIA station (below - undated):
Two more sets of twin Geeps: 4701-4717 at CN's grassy Belleville, ON yard in June, 2008. I also observed these units on the Cat Spur in July of that year:
Tim Reid snapped 4710-4717 storming out of Queens on the south track, undated:
 Regular cab/wide cab 4710-4810 (leading) are switching tanks in the summer of 2006:
Two schemes of chop-nosed Geeps are along Front Road - CN 4124-4018 - the latter being in the CN North America scheme (Ron Barrett photo - below).
Ron also photographed CN 4122-4126-4120 - a Cat Spur tripleheader:
Another pair of tripleheaders that I photographed...4717-4143-4112 are on the plant crossing, heading for Front Road on April 30, 2006:
And two units arrived on May 29, 1999 with train, lifting a third unit CN 4140 and VIA coach 4121 here on the tail-end. The third Geep and coach had been spotted at the plant as part of a rail safety campaign:
And elephant-style Geeps 7027-4132 bask in the sun while hog-lawed at the plant, awaiting a new crew at 1630 on April 29, 2010. The 7000's maintain their long hood-forward controls:
Occasionally, something really weird and different shows up!
Ron photographed two CN 3500's crossing the trestle north of Bath Road (above) while repairs were underway, likely in the summer of 1996. On May 31, 2006 Tim Reid caught 5353 leading the train north on the trestle. Though it's not visible in the photo, I believe 4710 was along for the ride, too, as I observed the two units together again on June 2.
Speaking of SD's, this one completely got past me! Paul Hunter works in the area and snapped CN-GTW SD40-3 5953 along Front Road, and posed the photo with his HO scale model:
In the last few years, CN has been adding GMD-1's to its roadswitcher pool in Southern Ontario. In January 2003, Tim Reid snapped 7059-1431 along Front Road:
In 2014, Ron captured CN 1437 (with wonky cab side numbers) in the company of a GP9RM at the Invista plant. The WC gondola is from KIMCO Steel located on John Counter Boulevard.
Thanks to Ron Barrett, Liz Reid and Paul Hunter for their kind assistance with this post. In this postscript, I've included a listing of Cat Spur power from 1976-2013 as I observed it - passing the DuPont/Invista plant daily heading to work (AKA lifer), I've observed quite a few interesting locomotive consists though they may have remained un-photographed. I'll also take a stab at summarizing the variety of operating patterns by which the Cataraqui Spur has been served by CN.

Running extra...
Speaking of variety on the Cataraqui Spur, fellow Kingston rail enthusiast and HO scale modeller Paul Hunter caught two shrink-wrapped and trailered Bombardier monorail cars for export to Saudi Arabia lifted from Millhaven and taken down the Cat Spur before furtherance east from Belleville yard. Thanks, Paul for sharing the photos of these unique loads!
Just north of Front Road (above with 7069) and on the plant lead (Invista in background below):
And if you have an hour and 27 minutes to spare, I suggest watching this Toronto-Vancouver trip in HD aboard VIA's Canadian. Leaving Winnipeg at the 32-minute mark!

Last but not least, remaining items in my Spring Sale (previous post) are now 25% off. Just mention the mysterious key words "Eric make it 25% off, dude!" 


Bryan said...

Nice collection. Note that it looks like a WC gon in that picture. Also, what was that movement from Bombardier? The 590 (or whatever) picked them up from Millhaven first and had them along for switching at Invista? I always wondered if Bombardier actually had any rail service. Interesting...


Eric said...

Thanks, Bryan. Yes, CN 518 lifted the monorail cars before coming to Invista, then returned with them to Belleville yard.

Though Bombardier is rumoured to have had rail service in the past, I have no proof. These loads were loaded at an ad hoc ramp on the track to the former Celanese plant - watch for more in an upcoming post!