Thursday, November 24, 2016

Belleville TOFC ramp

Someone asked recently about extant piggyback ramps. I knew there was one in Belleville, across from the VIA station. Since I've christened this The Year of Photographing the Blisteringly Mundane, I knew where I was going next! There is nothing more mundane than a broken, disused ramp, is there?
When CN actively marketed its own Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) service, it provided loading ramps at its major terminals to facilitate onsite loading and subsequent pickup of the loaded flat cars. Online auction site photo of early circus-loading from a CN timber ramp.
And here's a view of Belleville's piggyback area in July, 1971 during the final trips of CNR 6218:
Since each piggyback car was equipped with a bridge plate on the right-hand side, so that when coupled to another car, tractor-trailers could load their trailers 'circus-style'. 
From the days of circus trains travelling by rail, circus wagons would be loaded one after another onto strings of waiting flat cars to move to the next town. This involved driving or backing across several cars to load the most distant one first. Likewise, ramps also provided a right-hand bridge plate to facilitate such loading.
While some ramps would be timber or concrete, the Belleville one is a concrete retaining wall backed by gravel up to flat car deck height. The bridge plate hardware is bolted to it, and recesses are built into the concrete to allow for couplers.
 Tire's eye view:
Looking west toward the VIA station, the piggyback tracks would have been located here.  Today this area is largely forgotten, with CN having sold off its maintenance buildings in the area, creating other businesses and vacant lots as its Belleville footprint shrunk. Today, loads travel along Highway 401 to reach Toronto or Montreal. And those are racks carrying containers that are lifted into well cars, not trailers requiring these loading facilities! 

Running extra...

Put 'em up close to the Derail. Not sure what transpired at Kingston's Invista plant on Tuesday, but SRLX 45132 was on the ground yesterday. Road-building for road crane access was underway. Re-railing took place today. A similar derailment took place in February, 2015.
Heed that blue flag message!
SRLX 45132 is one of the cars that Invista is loading with outbound product, usually one at a time. All other cars at the plant bring in feedstock material for nylon production.


GP9Rm4108 said...

When I was back home, I noticed the dock in the Brockville yard had been completely torn out.

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Eric: Please REMOVE references to from your site. There is something offensive and arrogant about listing my site as "Things in the bottom Sidebar."

Eric said...

Done, as requested, Robert.

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

Love the mundane! Those little things that many overlook, or see as insignificant or not worthy of a second glance, I find most interesting. Come across similar loading ramps all the time and always stop to check them out.

Eric said...

Yes, Chris. Mundane is in! I would imagine there are lots such ramps extant in the West. Here they are hard to find. Gotta make a point of searching this stuff out. I drove around Belleville last week and thought of at least three buildings I photographed there that are now gone!

Thanks very much for your comment,

Unknown said...

Thanks for this. I am about to model the summer of 53 Southern Pacific and had never seen a TOFC ramp!

Eric said...

Glad to be of service, Richard. When modelling, I need to have some prototype photos handy for multiple checks.
Thanks for your comment,