Saturday, April 28, 2018

CN No 518 Lifts a Boxcar!

But not just any boxcar. Stay with me here - first, some set-up. On the way home from work, I noticed CN No 518 at the Invista plant on CN's Cataraqui Spur. Granted, not exactly news. It happens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon. Arriving home aboard the Kingston Express bus, I was on my way to an oil change for our van, with a few extra minutes on the clock. I headed to the Tanner Drive crossing, guessing I might miss the train after negotiating various Sunday drivers on Wednesday, traffic lights and all. But no. The train was approaching and about to cross one of two trestles east of Tanner Drive (top photo). Approaching very slowly.
Then, I heard a loud noise. Was it a crash or a whoosh? Bear in mind I was standing out in the drizzle, trying to keep my camera (and me if I could) dry. Traffic was passing over the nearby Tanner Drive crossing. Was this train ever going to get within shooting distance? Taking its time. But look closely (above). That whoosh was the train being uncoupled from the power!
Between crossings and at the bottom of a sag, the power only continued uphill. Watch the 68-second video! Yelling and pointing, "Hey guys, you lost your train!" crossed my mind. Where were they headed next? Well, the trainman lined the switch and they headed for the runaround/team track at the top of the Cataraqui Spur, just east of Gardiners Road, that's where! But why?
To lift a boxcar! But not just any boxcar. An empty boxcar. But not just any empty boxcar. This one had been spotted here months ago. Maybe a year ago, maybe even two years! Faithful Trackside Treasure reader Chris de Vries had noted that the car was billed to contain 'personal effects' and we guessed a CN employee was moving to the area. I hadn't even bothered to walk in and take a photo because surely one of these days it was just going to be gone. Or not.
The power nosed up to the car (above). The conductor and trainman checked under the car. A lot. Several times. Well, if you were going to lift a car that had been there for that long, wouldn't you? Much crouching and headscratching. In the rain. Finally, the conclusion was reached...let's get back to Belleville. The power coupled on and started to push east towards my Tanner Drive vantage point. Watch the 19-second video!
Looking east, the train was still there! Three empty flatcars from KIMCO and covered hoppers plus tank cars from Invista (above). The conductor boarded the boxcar to ride back to the cars in the sag. The trainman's role was now to trudge up to the mainline switch and wait for the complete train to return there:
Near some new piled ties, the power and boxcar start to roll. I managed to catch the one shiny spot on the wheels not covered by months-old rust:
Difficult photogaphy: I didn't want my camera to get wet and some of these photos are video captures because the grey, misty conditions lent themselves better to videography! Through the drizzle, at the Tanner Drive crossing which is protected by bell and flashing lights:
And starting to head downhill. Watch the 27-second video!
It's a long way down:
And back up. Watch the 3-minute video here!  Rainy video capture:
CNIS 413507 is ready for its closeup. By nightfall, Chris reported that the empty car was already in Toronto MacMillan Yard!
I can't guess how much graffiti was from elsewhere and how much Kingston taggers added:
Writing down the consist, I knew that Invista uses SRLX covered hoppers to ship outbound product. But it says SLRX 45190 on the end and SRLX 45190 on the side!
Clearing the crossing, grey covered hoppers clatter westward, ready to head back to Belleville yard when the RTC could take them on the south track, against the current of traffic. The complete consist:
  • CN 4728
  • CN 7025 
  • CNIS 413507
  • PTTX 140667 empty flatcar
  • PTTX 141670 empty flatcar
  • PTTX 140595 empty flatcar
  • DBUX 207165 empty tankcar
  • UTLX651141 empty tankcar
  • INVX 26238 empty tankcar
  • DBUX 207189 empty tankcar
  • DBUX 207149 empty tankcar
  • SRLX (yes, it really was SRLX) 45190 loaded covered hopper car
  • INVX 38795 empty covered hopper car
  • TCMX 703421 empty covered hopper car
  • INVX 38724 empty covered hopper car
  • KLRX 525043 empty covered hopper car
Working through the last curve up to the main and the waiting rained-on trainman!
This was precision railfanning. Limited amount of time, maximum amount of activity. And the Cat Spur returned to its slumber.

Running extra...

Spring has finally sprung. The spring rains have made the grass green, and retirees in my neighbourhood are already cutting the grass which has not yet begun to grow. Both Trains and Grains books are with my graphic designer, so I've been 'turned out to grass' to begin my walking program during work breaks. I'll likely take some photos of the storied streets of Kingston as I did last year:
If there are train spotters, can there also be rental van spotters? If so, this is their busy season. U-Hauls aplenty dot the streets of Kingston as students move hastily home for the summer or just change their housal habitation for next year. Great time of the year to pick up a bookshelf!


GP9Rm4108 said...

The connection in Belleville had to have been nothing less than perfect!

Eric said...

Now that's what I call Canadian Precision Railroading!
Thanks for your comment, Chris.