Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Major Program Announcement for North American Railroads!

MARCH 30, 2016
North America's Class 1 railroads, in conjunction with the Railway Association of Canada, the Association of American Railroads and Transport Canada, have just joined in the signing of a landmark agreement which frees railroads operating in North America from a requirement to factory-paint or shop-repaint their equipment. According to program chair A.P Rilfuls at today's bi-national news conference, many recent developments led to the introduction of this ground-breaking program:
  • capitalizing on recent improvements in wayside AEI tag readers and computer databases quickly read and transmit rolling stock data.
  • abandoning archaic 19th-century railroad practices requiring display of rolling stock data on the sides of the car itself.
  • reducing the sky-rocketing cost of applying paint and lettering to thousands of pieces of rolling stock.
  • mitigating the environmental impact of large quantities of harmful paint and other petroleum-based chemicals exposed to the environment in all weather.
  • resolving the continuing scourge of trackside graffiti vandals covering up rolling stock data.
VIA Rail has already released its first no-paint-scheme passenger car (above). The chairman explained,
"Let's face it - the general public no longer cares about trains. Except when they're stuck at a grade crossing waiting for one to go by. Railroad public relations efforts are minimal. Brand-recognition in the already-crowded visual brand universe is difficult to achieve. Today's trains operate in obscurity, no longer exposing their lively liveries to uncaring eyes; their long-lost visual legacies lost in the lingering glare of public indifference." Who really needs paint schemes, anyway?
The chairman then announced another exciting new program,
"The Canada Council for the Arts and the Smithsonian Institution will be participating in a new bi-national visual arts program, with the working title 'Tag This!' which will encourage trackside visual artists to fully express their artistic rights by creatively decorating these large, steel rolling canvasses." And besides, when is the last time you heard someone exclaim, "hey, it's a Monon boxcar!"
As part of a pilot project, various railroads' General Electric locomotives have been displaying no-paint-scheme appearance in the area of their turbochargers for some time now (above). The new regulation takes effect at noon April 1, 2016. The railroads - always searching for cost savings - have already begun applying the no-logo, no-paint-scheme as shown on this Canadian National freight train: 

****APRIL 1 UPDATE****
Since running this press release, there has been considerable online reaction through Facebook and Yahoo. Perhaps a firestorm. Well, maybe just a roaring bonfire. No, more like a smoldering roll of toilet paper burning itself out. Here's what I'm talking about:
 If it's intended to be an April fool's joke, releasing it two days early is a bit of a faux pas.

Its so old a joke you could almost smell it in thru your computer screen.
The last one was over the CN-noodle.

Google is your friend. It'd take a 3 second search to realize that 8007 indeed has no noodle on the nose as is the same with many other CN units.

Yes, I have heard, that CN/CP are not returning some paint-n-logo stuff on their loco’s.

I find this Press Release  suspicious.The background is that of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.The person in the centre is that of Ms. Kathy Fox, Chair of The Transportation Safety Board of Canada. There is no Press Release posted on the Government of Canada  site.This action is outside of the T.S.B's  jurisdiction.

This could almost be an actual news release.
Yea railways have not cared for a long time about their image 

Running extra...

VIA Rail has just outfitted two of its surplus baggage cars for unique onboard experiences. The first is a 'Northern Experience' car for use on its Winnipeg-Churchill trains. Passengers can access the car en route, imagining they are in a fur trading post. Costumed interpreters will add to the experience, dispensing complimentary soapstone carvings, whiskey and maple syrup.
The second converted baggage car will operate on the Canadian as 'Canadian Personal Coach on a Coach' or 'Train Transcontinentally on the Train' and features personal training, rock wall, cardio and cross-fit as you roll towards your destination. No more climbing the walls as your train waits.  Now train with weights AND climb the walls! VIA has announced their intention to similarly convert at least one Prestige Skyline car with these fitness features. By removing dome seating and using the greater height of the Skyline, passengers will be able to climb several feet higher.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Postscript: Vancouver Wharves in B&W

A couple of months ago I posted an afternoon of switching on my HO scale Vancouver Wharves layout. I took some photos down at track level which I didn't include in the first post. Being a bit indecisive, (or am I?)(I guess I am) I converted the colour images to black & white, I liked the effect. Though I also liked the colour versions...well, you decide!
Two switch jobs meet:

Discussing their next move:

Joining forces: 

Stuck in the middle with you:

Running extra...
Speaking of photography effects and CP modelling, The Fallowfield Effect is huge right now. Though Bob Fallowfield is a creative modeller, I get the impression he's a humble guy and would prefer his photographed modelling to speak for him. Hunter Hughson, Trevor Marshall, John Longhurst and Trevor Marshall again have blogged about Bob's modelling, and (forgive the rampant Rapido hucksterism) even Rapido Trains has video'd their upcoming RDC release on Bob's layout. Though I've only seen a couple of pages in RMC, and not a trackplan, Bob's major presence is on Facebook, where he shares shoulder-height layout photos taken with an iPad! iLike!
Bob has already seen these photos, christening them "The Good Old Days". My Dad photographed me photographing a CP westbound at Shannonville Road crossing, just east of Belleville on November 10, 1979.
Class unit CP 4200 leads leased C&O GP-30 3014, with end-cupola steel van CP 434054 on the tail end, passing the 'three bubbles - no trouble' hotbox detector.
Speaking of Ontario ingenuity, the Cardboard Carferry System is a brand-new system to transport your favourite model rolling stock. Sounds like a must for serious modellers who visit others' layouts, train shows, or just like to drive around with boxes of rolling stock in their cars, secure and safely-packed.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, March 2016

A Kingston to Toronto trip aboard VIA Rail began on March 6. I was waiting for VIA No 47, but first to appear was VIA No 65 at 1433: 6416-3463Ren-3321R-3334-3318-3303R. Then CN began the Festival of Freight. CN No 376  was eastbound 12 minutes later, with 2921 leading and 2920 as DPU:  
Ten minutes after that, it was CN No 369 behind 8841-2001 with DPU 2338.
The timing was right! I knew about approaching eastbound CN No 730 - the third unit potash train from Alwinsal SK to Saint John NB this season which put in an appearance at 1500. View it on Youtube from the headend with 3001-2893 and tailend! VIA gave it a 'C':
Four sets of reporting marks made up the all-Canpotex train i.e. CEFX 302702, PTEX 21525, CNPX 3347, 7030 and 150260 and CITX 151828:
A near-consecutive set of newer cars had it made in the shade: CNPX 150260, 150255, 150256, 150257, 150258, 150259, 150263 with larger Canpotex lettering:
A tail-end DPU, CN 2903, is unusual for the Kingston Sub. Apparently the waiting passengers thought so, too. They are not really that interested in Distributed Power, they're looking down the track waiting for the approaching lights of VIA No 47:
My train, VIA No 47 arrived nearly 20 minutes late as a result: 913 with dual Business Class cars 3472 (not in service) and my car 3464 plus four 33xx-series coaches. This consist was 50/50 seating. Not much to photograph on the way to Toronto except for the emptiness that is Belleville yard. Millhaven was plugged with tank cars, including PROX 39831 from Gibson Gas, four cement cars in the Bath Spur wye, CN No 369 in emergency with a post-DPU separation near Marysville, CN 7000-7025 at Belleville, one car at the P&H elevator at Trenton Junction, meeting CN No 306 at Cobourg, a rail gang in the north service track at Clarke, and GO 616 with a consist at Oshawa. The Hogtown skyline beckoned beyond:
And on March 9, prior to boarding VIA No 48 but after a brief transit trip aboard the TTC on subways and CLRV, there was another skyline view, looking east at Bathurst Street: 
The buds of spring sprouted on this 20 degree Celsius-day:
Intermodal: Bombardier Flexity articulated streetcar (no wonder TTC streetcars went to Proof-of-Payment!) and GO below: 
GO 563 led ten cars east with 558 on the tailend at 1713:
There was one reason to be at the end of the Skywalk bridge...the tantalizing prospect of seeing one of GO's new Bombardier Thunder Bay-built 300-series cab cars. happened. GO 310 was on the end of a ten-car consist behind GO 622:

The price-reduced Union-Pearson Express 1012-3003 was just departing west:
Followed by not one, but two VIA trainsets arriving from Mimico after UP had gotten out of the way:
First was 918-4002-4108-4105-4112 (above) then 6415-3462-3305 and two more 3300's. Shimmering shades of Spadina...
Japanese-Canadian. UP 3004-1010:
What's better than a GO 300-series cab car? How about a whole dang trainset in the Metrolinx scheme? Salient satisfaction sprung as my spring sojourn sizzled:
It just kept getting better - an eastbound doubleheader behind GO 657-660 meeting the all-Metrolinx consist: 307-2855-2844-2xxx-24xx-2418-2560-2402-2856-2442-2843-615:
And Metrolinx meeting Metrolinx! That's 2455 greeting its gregarious gator-green gangmates:

Running extra...

Though the new 50/50 VIA seating may make end-of-run operations 'easier', I'm not a fan of riding backwards nor of getting-to-know-you-European-compartment-style. However, I am a big fan of the new, bigger Business Class china coffee cups!

Happy Easter to Trackside Treasure readers! I enjoyed FOX TV's The Passion featuring Tyler Perry, Trisha Yearwood, Seal and Chris Daughtry as Judas. The modern-era betrayal scene, grittingly and grindingly believable, in a garden in the shadow of New Orleans' Crescent City Bridge, instantly brought the greatest story ever told to the present-day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Alcan Covered Hoppers

Bright-yellow Alcan covered hoppers travelled between Arvida, QC and Cleveland, OH, with part of their journey on CN's Kingston Sub. Alcan USLX 5214-5211 were eastbound at Belleville on the tailend of CN train No 366 on August 16, 2000 (top photo) and a Peter Mumby photo of USLX 5213 and one other (below). In both cases, we scored a nice, bilingual view of two of the cars together!
Alcan (Aluminum Company of Canada) leased two series of covered hoppers from Procor Ltd.:
  • UNPX 121500-121569 70 cars built by Pullman-Standard, 4750 cu ft, 55'3" internal length, 60' external length. Built 9-74 for dry bulk commodities, nee PTLX 15219-15243. Interestingly, these cars have eight 30-inch hatches that open at 45 degrees to the car centreline, visible in Peter's photo. New reporting marks USLX 52xx-series beginning in 1995.
  • UNPX 121400-121499 3800 cu ft, 54' external length, cylindrical body for dry bulk commodities.
Both series of cars had bilingual lettering, English 'Chemical Products' on one side, French 'Produits Chimiques' the other. Here's a Bill Grandin undated photo shared by Jim Parker showing UNPX 121547:

My Alcan car observations, with date, car and CN train on:
Apr 27/91 (None other than the aforementioned!) UNPX 121547
Oct 10/91 121414
Nov 9/91 121564
Jul 6/96 121414
Nov 23/96 USLX 5205-5206
May 24/97 USLX 5212 "patched reporting marks"
Aug 9/97 5209 "patched reporting marks" placed at Cleveland/Collingwood OH Conrail on Aug 14
Oct 5/97 UNPX 121448
Nov 27/97 USLX 5208 on CN No 335
Jan 2/98 USLX 5208-5209 dest. Arvida ety to Roberval & Saguenay interchange
Mar 28/98 5200 on No 335
Apr 5/99 USLX 5201 on No 367
Sep 4/99 5212 on No 369
Apr 3/00 5214 on No 379
Aug 16/00 5214-5211 on No 366
Jun 4/03 5202 on No 368
Sep 6/03 5203 on No 369
Mar 8/05 5204
Apr 12/07 5214
Sep 30/10 5212

Lots o' links:
  • UNPX 121554 at Scarborough in 1976.
  • UNPX 121414 scroll a bit, undated. Try not to snicker when you read 'fahrt'.
  • UNPX 121448 at Belleville in May, 2009
  • USLX 5200's - just scroll down to Covered Hoppers portion of USLX listing
Intermountain's version of UNPX 121540 in HO scale. Unlike the prototype, both sides of this yellow beauty are en anglais seulement. Ten-dollar train show bargain bin NIB man's junk...

Running extra...

Speaking of train shows, Kingston's annual Rail-O-Rama was held this past weekend. Some highlights:

  • Bytown Railway Society's sales table where I picked up the Companion to CNR Passenger Equipment to go with the main volume - matched set!
  • Paul Hunter's CN and VIA HO-scale layout, where we agreed that real modellers can model VIA on a budget - with great results!
  • Liz Reid's table, where I got an envelope full of Tim Reid's prints in three formats, including some views of the local CN-CP interchange - at Queens!
  • Dave Cool's Canadian Express Line, where I picked up John Riddell's Canadian Pacific Freight and Passenger Equipment Volume 2 - script, multimark and more!
  • Ron Barrett's RPO exhibit - now including VIA baggage tags from coast to coast!
  • attending the show with my great-nephew - who later declared, "It was fun. Thanks!" 
    Every Rail-O-Rama is followed by a traditional trip to  Kingston's VIA station!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

DuPont Sclair Covered Hoppers

DuPont Canada's St Clair River site in Corunna, ON produced SCLAIR polyethylene resin, a revolutionary product developed in the late 1960's. A very visible, outwardly orange and winter white covered hopper car fleet plied the rails of North America publicizing the product for nearly forty years, such as NCLX 46548 on CN No 369 at Kingston on December 12, 2015 (above). According to a recent online report, there are only three cars from this formerly 140+ car fleet still seeing service: 46544, 46548 and 46551. Slightly smaller ones in 44600-series have been gone for a few years now, though fellow blogger Michael Hammond snapped one in Corunna, ON in 1993. Another online report places a line of Sclair cars in Norfolk Southern's Etna yard, near Pittsburgh's Azcon Scrap in 2006. Dead line!

DuPont Canada Inc rostered two series of cars of the same length, though the smaller cubic foot cars were of a lower external height:
  • DOCX 44601-44680 with an external length of 53'2" and capacity of 4460 cu ft. blt 1965 by American Car & Foundry.
  • DOCX 46501-46564 with an external length of 54'7" and a capacity of 4650 cu ft, blt 1969.
The fleet was sold to Nova Chemicals, receiving NCLX reporting marks in 1995-1997 after the patented SCLAIRTECH line was acquired from DuPont Canada Inc. in mid-1994, significantly enhancing Nova's production while DuPont reshuffled their non-strategic product lines.

Way back in 1981, DOCX 44627 was off-spot for the Northern Telecom plant, which was served by CN's Industrial Spur and could have one to three Sclair cars spotted at any one time. Shown at the siding at the top end of the Cataraqui Spur, this photo usually engenders lots of interest due to these cars being equipped with friction bearing trucks:
In November 1980, friction bearing-equipped DOCX 44613 was also off-spot, held on Queens track 4, about four miles east of the Industrial Spur:
NCLX 44608 off-spot at Kingston's Industrial Spur which served the 1971-built Northern Telecom (later Nortel and Nordx/CDT) plant on Gardiners Road, June 2000:
Before the plant closed in mid-2003, CN 4115-4118 are ready to leave the plant and re-enter the CN Kingston Sub, on August 9, 2000 (below). Sclair car NCLX 44612 is behind the units, having just been pulled. NCLX 44627, 44603, 44622 and 44623 were still on the plant's three tracks.
The Avens facility in Brockville still received shipments in occasional Sclair cars, like NCLX 46548 on October 9, 2012:

This undated train show-acquired photo shows NCLX 44674, undated:
My Sclair car observations: date, car number, CN train on, remarks:
Jan 20/80 DOCX 44611
Jun 7/83 DOCX 44623 on CN's Industrial Spur
Jun 22/84 DOCX 44605
Jul 6/84 DOCX 44623
Mar 30/92 DOCX 44612 to CN's Industrial Spur (with VIA 6312 in consist of local freight)
Jan 24/94 DOCX 44613 from Industrial Spur
Aug 9/87 NCLX 44687
Dec 6/97 NCLX 46556 on tailend of No 363
May 31/98 NCLX 44658 on No 318
Sep 12/98 NCLX 46527-46515
Apr 30/99 NCLX 44674 plus two more on No 306
Sep 28/99 NCLX 44675 in Don Yard, Toronto
May 17/00 NCLX 44601 to Industrial Spur
May 20/00 NCLX 44732 (could be Sclair?) on No 308 dest Moncton NB
Apr 29/01 NCLX 46557-44714 on No 306
Oct 2/01 NCLX 44604 for Industrial Spur
Nov 30/01 NCLX 44627 on Industrial Spur
Sep 6/03 NCLX 44747(sic) on No 369
Nov 22/03 NCLX 44644 on No 308
Jun 15/06 NCLX 46548 on No 309
Jun 23/06 NCLX 46548 on No 369
Aug 11/11 NCLX 46544 at Belleville
Sep 2/11 NCLX 46xxx at Avens, Brockville
Dec 3/16 NCLX 46544 on No 376

One more...NCLX 46551 eastbound at Kingston on CN No 376 on August 6, 2016:
Eye-catching SCLAIR covered hopper models were produced in O scale by Weaver. 
Lots o' links;
SCLAIR fun fact: Alberta's Ben Alain passed along the location of an extant SCLAIR car - NCLX 46558 at the Joffre, AB (not Quebec!) NOVA refinery. Ben notes that the car is filled with a defined amount of concrete and used as a scale test car. Found it from my satellite! Pan around if you like.
More satellite view research! Google map view of the NOVA St Clair River site reveals two SCLAIR hoppers in the yard and one within the plant (all circled):

NOVEMBER 2016 update: NCLX 46548 four cars in on CN No 369 at Kingston. Thanks, Logan! 
JANUARY 2017 update: Logan had an eye for Sclair again and Jake Earle snapped this Sclair (most likely NCLX 46544) in Brockville yard with CN SD70M-2 8938, noting that Sclair cars are often handled by CN Nos 585/586:
January 2018 Update**** NCLX 46548 eastbound at Belleville during the free Railstream railcam preview period.
February 2018 Update****  NCLX 46551 eastbound at Napanee on CN No 368 reported by Malcolm Peakman.
April 2018 Update**** NCLX 46544 link sent by Chris de Vries through Brockville on April 8
and Logan Cadue snapped NCLX 46548 eastbound at Kingston on April 20:

Running extra...

Graphics guru Randy O'Brien shared his version of the NOTROPHY trophy. Lost the thread there...but noticed the spikes!

On the buses! Facebook friend Richard Sun snapped Kingston Transit 1502 - unique! The only KT-scheme NOVA bus in the fleet - all others in the 1500-series wear the beautiful blue Kingston Express livery.
How to spot trains. British version. 

Winnipeg's Isaac Raymond snapped a perfectly mundane CN intermodal train photo this week. Unique angle, eh? 
RDC-1 RPDX (ex-VIA) 6133 travelled from Moncton, NB to Toronto's MacMillan Yard on March 2 second-last in the consist of CN No 305. Snapped along its route by many including Michael Delic in Whitby. On its way to preservation, the redolent RDC shared the train with a Canadian Forces Leopard 2 tank!