Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ray-Mont Transload Facility in Montreal

Just west of Montreal's Central station, passengers on the north side had an interesting operation to take in, that is if they found it as interesting as I did! I'm aboard the Canadian departing Montreal for Ottawa thence the West Coast on September 16, 1985 (above). Offices, grain-handling facilities, trucks, ex-NRUC and Ontario Northland boxcars, distinctive CN VI&E covered hoppers and the facility's characteristic orange warehouse are all visible!(above) Arriving in Montreal on August 22, 1996, I snapped the warehouse and grain-handling equipment with the since-demolished Grand Trunk brick office building just visible at extreme right. VIA Carleton Club is being used as an air-conditioned office alongside two CN boxcars, on this site were former VIA cars were privately scrapped:
Formerly called the 'Wabash'. A CN publicity photo of eight-hatch reefer CN 209500 at Montreal in 1939 looks to be taken at this exact location. The office building is under the arrow, with early Montreal skyscrapers (#1) on the horizon and that curving road (#2) along the embankment:                             
Operated by Ray-Mont Logistics, lumber and grain are unloaded here, and the container stacks, while impressive, seem to be for storage, though there may be some local drayage. It's a great downtown location! The next six photos were taken from aboard VIA Rail, on April 19, 2011. Nearly five years ago, someone shared them with me, though I don't have a record of whom. If they're yours, let me know and I will add appropriate credit! The photos show the Ray-Mont facility in several views:
Between Rue Wellington and the CN main, up to Rue Bridge, is this current container repair and transload facility.
Stacked twenty-foot cans and transport tractors with grain-handling equipment visible in the background (above) and a little farther west, the two tracks that become one are just visible. CN designates the two tracks PG09 and PG10, with a total capacity of 32 cars.
A closer view of the covered unloading shed with the site's Trackmobile visible on the east end, two tracks, and other car-moving equipment just visible at right:
I haven't seen any flat cars or well cars at the site, so there's a good chance the containers arrive by truck. Looking back, the city skyline beckons beyond the containers, and the single tail track is visible at the bottom of the embankment.
Another view of the Trackmobile tied onto three cylindrical grain cars, with the orange warehouse visible in front of the apartments in the background:
Looking back again, a boxcar at left, Canada Coke can coverd hopper and shed appear trackside:
Looks like there's been some pad paving done recently. And, there was controversy when Ray-Mont demolished the former CN office building on the site. A close-up of the ex-CN, exx-GTR building located at the corner of Wellington and Bridge. We made another trip to Montreal aboard VIA! The orange warehouse looms again, but look more closely: CN flatbed trailers, CN covered hoppers, and one-of-a-kind articulated grain car at the end of the cut - CN 398000. Taken from aboard VIA on February 1, 1992:
In August 2011, Marc Caya shared several photos which he took at the site in October, 2009. The idea for this post has been incubating for awhile! Ah, the sometimes gratingly glacial gait of Trackside Treasure blog post production! Telephoto through the site - the orange warehouse is still visible - now at left:
Also looking through the site, a dual-P42 Renaissance consist is led towards Central Station. These shots are a gold mine of information for modellers looking for a compact and plausible downtown industry. And imagine - you can convincingly run VIA trains fast past the site, in the very shadow of soaring skyscrapers!
Another broadside view of the site. Five more dwarf signals and we'd have seven dwarfs!
VIA P42 901 leads a mix of HEP2 and LRC cars west, with Montreal harbour's Five Roses Flour elevator in background, and the Ray-Mont grain unloading shed and a covered hopper also visible:
A wide shot from a similar angle, with tracks leading to CN's Pointe St Charles yard in the foreground:
Looking down Wellington Street towards downtown:
Fellow blogger Michael Hammond posted photos to his fine The Beachburg Sub blog from a recent trip from Ottawa to Montreal aboard VIA Rail. The site also caught Michael's eye, leading him to snap several photos and suggest that it would be at home on a model railway, too! Michael's shot captures a container being placed on a trailer, plus check out the coupler on that bucket loader plus a distant grain car:

Marc Caya created and kindly shared a labelled satellite photo of the site (blue outline) and its juxtaposition to CN's Pointe St Charles yard (red outline), which serves nearby industries along the waterfront, and CN's former Pointe St Charles shop (yellow outline). Merci, Marc!

Running extra...
"Mandy and I were on our way to rehearsal and our car broke down. We figured we could use your place to rehearse" deadpanned Tony Randall. A tenor-ranged, emotion-tinged musical smorgasbord follows: Somewhere over the Rainbow, Brother can you spare a Dime, Rock-a-bye your baby with a Dixie melody, Swanee, Something's Coming, Somewhere (reprise). Impresario Tony Randall distributes the scores to the band, then critically assesses the performance before running out to a side door with the knapsack-totin' Patinkin. Enjoy!

My first train of 2016 was VIA No 55 Eng 6401 at Kingston station, arriving a few minutes late at 1715 this January 1.
Blue skies smiling at me (above) and a standard shot of passengers boarding, also in a blue shade, led to an interesting impressionist still-life when I 'zoomed into' and recolourized the image (bottom photo):
As passengers mill on the platform, one passenger is more than ready to get out of the cold and into the cozy confines of LRC coach 3350. Let's get going! The same is true for Trackside Treasure. All aboard for what promises to be an exciting year of post potential possibility!


Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

What a fascinating industry. Modelling possibility!

Eric said...

Thanks for your comment, Chris. Indeed! Easily-modelled, plus not as much of a space gobbler as a traditional intermodal yard. Size isn't everything, but it does matter!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Eric for demystifying what that industry is. I always thought it was something crooked that operated there with all the containers present and the decrepid building visible from Wellington. Wonder if the place wasn't a CN freight shed or express facility back in the day.

Mark Charlebois

Eric said...

I hope the only thing crooked is the curving track in the very shade of the embankment. I didn't research that far back historically, but I'm sure those in the know will know that this has been some sort of a freight shed for quite awhile!

Thanks very much for your comment, Mark.