Friday, December 7, 2018

Kingston Switchlists, 1977 and 1979


Artifacts showing actual operations of CN's rail-served industries in Kingston are hard to come by. So when your humble blogger found a month-old, tattered, windblown and weathered hand-written switchlist at Queens in May 1979, it was a major find! Prepared by conductor W. Cleaver, this list of cars for CN's train No 763 on this day seems to indicate hours of switching ahead.

The cars to be switched are at the Outer Station, the Industrial Spur, the Cataraqui Spur, the CP interchange at Queens, the Aluminum Spur and CP's former trackage being operated by CN from its Hanley Spur. How the crew could accomplish this, darting in and out of CN and VIA traffic on the busy CN Kingston Subdivision amazes me, but there you go!

I've transcribed the list (above) for easier reading, adding car type if known.

Major collection points for inbound and outbound cars at Kingston included the Outer Station and increasingly, the KL tracks alongside Queens interchange, just east of CN's Counter Street station. Here, passing trains could drop and lift blocks of cars destined Toronto or Montreal or beyond. Inbound cars are on track KL29. Outbound cars, largely empties, are heading to simply 'KL'. A few liner notes:
  • 'Northern' refers to Northern Telecom on the Industrial Spur, along with Weldwood-KM54 and the DuPont warehouse-KM55
  • KK30 refers to Frontenac Tile, and KK22 was the Outer Station piggyback ramp
  • Imperial Oil and Whig(-Standard) Paper cars were far down the Hanley Spur, near the Inner Harbour
  • cars to/from the CP interchange north of Queens are shown as KL90 - three cars to CP, four cars from CP
  • Topnotch Feeds cars were set out at the Counter Street team track, just down the street from the feed store.
  • Lots of 40-foot boxcars in use!
  • one of the only cars I've ever photographed on CP's CN-operated trackage: SLC 232 
Here's the original. Top half:
And here's the bottom half:

An earlier list, for CN No 762 written in January 1977 has a pared-down list of daily duties:
  • One NCHX car is heading from Queens to DuPont.
  • Three boxcars were at Weldwood lumber on the Industrial Spur. Two were being lifted as empties, one re-spotted...
  • ...also on the Industrial Spur, two cars were being lifted from the DuPont warehouse
  • two empties were lifted from Northern Telecom, ready to head east as empties.

These two hand-written documents appear to be archeological artifacts of a bygone era of manual switchlists, single-car railroading. Interestingly, only one of the industries that appear here are still CN customers - the lakefront nylong plant no longer known as DuPont, now Invista.

Anyone seeking to model the Hanley Spur, including CP's trackage operated by CN, will find lots of useful information in these lists!

Running extra...

While most members of the Presidents' Club were shown on CNN being seated in the National Cathedral, a group of Canadian Forces personnel, in dress uniform, saluted the funeral procession of President George H.W. Bush, I believe at the Canadian embassy:
Painted to resemble Air Force One, Union Pacific 4141, having been stored since 2005, was brought out of storage and prepared for its special assignment leading the Bush funeral train from Spring to College Station, Texas. When the first sentries were posted in the U.S. Capitol's rotunda, a brass quintet played the theme from the HBO TV series 'Band of Brothers'.

Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, referred to by one was as 'the chin that walks like a man', acquitted himself quite well as an invited speaker at the funeral service, referring to Bush's plaque lettering CAVU - Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited!

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