Thursday, October 10, 2019

Autumn in Belleville, September 2019

The spousal program for the fall crafting open house in Shannonville means one thing...trainwatching. And what could be better than a beautiful fall day on a Saturday morning, normally chock full of CN freights and VIA trains? Well, VIA trains, anyway. On September 27, a quick scan of the Belleville CN yard revealed this cut of local cars (top photo) behind GMTX 2264. This leased unit, along with warhorse CN 4789, has been our local switcher for over a month. Just this week, it was replaced by CN 9524. Cars in the short train include covered hoppers for the roofing granule operation north of the yard, notably blue ex-Boston & Maine covered hoppers AEQX 3023-3000.
Over to Airport Parkway, and the level crossing to the former Belleville airport.The first VIA train was a four-car No 43 Eng 6414 at 0947 followed by another westbound at 1001, then at 1025, eastbound No 52/62 Eng 901 with five cars, 6417 mid-train and five more cars. These trains were moooving right along!
CN managed one paltry freight during what should be a free-wheeling Friday-following freight festival. This is CN No 149 at 1039, which used to run out of the Port of Montreal about four hours later, daily. I made use of the hog's-back profile east of Belleville to take several shots of the approaching intermodal:
Led by engines CN 2911-2811:
No bells at this crossing, so all that the visiting railfan hears is the creaking of the gate-lowering mechanism before the train's airhorns are heard:
Desperately trying to find some imaginative photography angles during the passage of this likely-two-mile-long juggernaut.
Vandals rock steady and and they spray often!
Taking the crossovers at about 40 mph. Tail-end:
I like to combine my interests together, thrashing out the best photos only, harvesting them and leaving the rest in a swath of their own. Along Airport Parkway, header-less (below). If the header was on, I'm sure it could clear out traffic in both lanes and cyclists on both shoulders! This road was recently repaved, the speed limit is down to 50 mph, and that makes legal train chasing a challenge. 
Looks like a light engine move. An interestingly inventive consist on VIA No 51 Eng 6402:
Love these wraps!
Taking the crossovers, we see VIA's only 'future-wrapped' Business Class car 3476 and two HEP2 coaches - 4102-4103. Pike-sized passenger train!
Another eastbound expressing itself - VIA No 40 Eng 6449 with five LRC cars including two Business Class cars at 1208, followed six minutes later by 6412, five LRC cars, one baggage and 'love the way' 913 bringing up the rear.
The sound of throbbing freight locomotives and the complete absence of clear signals on CN could only mean one thing...a plodding CP eastbound passing through Belleville and approaching the Mitchell Road crossing then Shannonville Road crossing. Let's test that Airport Parkway speed limit! Made it in time to the Hinchey Road crossing, just east of Shannonville Road, which is being crossed at 1222 by CP 9782-CP 8650:
Whistling for Hinchey Road:
A few cars of intermodal traffic on the head-end, followed by four auto racks, 10 paper boxcars, 20 covered hoppers and tank cars ten more paper boxcars then intermodal to the tail-end. Approaching the Highway 401 overpass:
Next stop - Smiths Falls!
I'd passed some clear signals westbound on CN and figured I'd miss a CN freight while trying to catch CP. A few minutes before rendez-vous time back at the crafting open house, I set up along Milltown Road, at the bridge over the Salmon River. With Lake Ontario levels down at least three feet from levels that exceeded even the 2017 high-water levels, the river was not flowing fast. A scant few minutes later, CN No 305 with engines 2568-2546-2533 heartily hove into view. I was tree-fuddled by the unexpectedly long locomotive consist:
But not underpass-fuddled, teeing up the back-of-camera display to capture the leader:
CN No 305 was laden with a plethora of uninteresting (to me) tank cars. The dearth of freights this morning bent but did not break my enthusiasm.This tagger, however, was BROKE:

Running extra...

Excellent traVialogue for your reading pleasure - a mixed stainless steel/Renaissance trip aboard VIA's Ocean and written and nicely photographed by Tim Hayman. Just like being there! 

Leave it to...faithful reader Bill Staiger for finding this online auction item - an undated CPR children's menu. Sure makes me eager to pay those vintage prices! Better by a dam-site than today's.

This week's Associated Railroaders of Kingston October meeting double-headed a well-received presentation by Paul Hunter and me, on prototype and model views of VIA's F40 fleet. Watch for an upcoming Trackside Treasure post. Visitors Ron and Peter, from Revelation Video, all the way from Ohio, and on their way to steam in China, paid us a visit. I'll be devoting an hour (or two) to watching this Colo[u]rful Fall Harvest of Trains from 46 years ago! Being Revelation, I'm sure there will be at least four horsepower of the Alcopocalyse in there!


Robert Archer said...

A week or so late but a comment none the less.
The lack of freight trains could mean that the Trump Tariffs are having an effect on Canadian exports. Lumber, steel and aluminum account for many loads on trains coming from the east.
That is unfortunate if true.
CN is also expanding on their trucking footprint.
CNTL, the trucks with the locomotive paint, is actually one of the largest carriers in Canada.
It would be interesting to sit beside The 401 and see how many CNTL trucks go past.
That seems to have replaced merchandise boxcars.
Then they purchased another one of Canada's top 10 carriers in TransX.
Train 149 that you shot isn't really a Canadian train at all. It is In Bond containers from Halifax and Montreal headed to Chicago.
But, with a CN and a CP and a VIA I would count that as a good day of train watching in the 21st Century.

Eric said...

Yes, the railways are such a pawn of the national and global economy - provide service when needed, store cars during downturns.

Meanwhile, the trucking industry goes merrily on. Not so many CNTL trucks seen here, but during our time out west, one every five minutes on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Vancouver!

Luck just was not with me during those couple of hours. Usually, the morning rails hum. Eastbound grain unit train yesterday!

Thanks for your comments, Robert!