Saturday, August 17, 2019

Trackside Treasure's Eleventh Anniversary

The future is on board, and also online! The impact of the internet increases! Only a few years ago, Skip the Dishes meant TV dinners for supper. Amazon was still just a river in South America. Hashtags were how we labelled containers of hash. Without the internet, it's obvious that there would be no Trackside Treasure. But here we are, at Trackside Treasure's 11th anniversary! Woot!

This is exactly the 600th post that's been published here. There are a further 35 posts in Draft format, so Blogger tells me. I also have a 'Rolodex' of ideas that are not even that far advanced, but for which I have reference material. All a mix of retro/today, freight/passenger, CN/CP, prototype/model and a fair bit of miscellaneousness that defies categorization. Just the way I like it! To get an idea where my areas of interest and experience lie, look at the labels widget in my sidebar that I use to categorize most posts:
Fun Fact: According to my Blogger statistics, 25% of Google searches for Trackside Treasure are actually for Trackside Treasures!

I noticed that some bloggers have made excellent use of Facebook. Much more responsive and real-time, I realize that dialogue is much easier there than there historic and somewhat cumbersome 'Comment' communication mode of blogs. I have yet to take Trackside Treasure to Facebook - perhaps in future.

Blogging is the best way of cataloguing my interests, modelling and railfanning for future use, short of a straight-up webpage. If anyone else finds it remotely useful, that's gravy! Some recent difficulties with our ISP made it painfully obvious how much we now take the internet for granted, perhaps even more than when Trackside Treasure started. It has worked its way into our everyday life in a plethora of ways we don't even recognize anymore. But as this Jack and the Beanstalk effect weaves the internet into our corporate existence, it also guarantees the future of Trackside Treasure, rooted firmly in some anonymous Blogger server somewhere.

Each anniversary is my annual opportunity and obligation to thank my blog readers, contributors and commenters. Trackside Treasure reader and book contributor Randy O'Brien kindly created this celebratory graphic. Thanks, Randy!
I continue to enjoy the prolific and professional output of my fellow bloggers, whose blogs are featured in my sidebar: Edd, Steve, John, Dave, Chris, George, Bernard, Matthieu, Marc et Michael. It's great to be in the company of others who believe in the blogosphere.

A recent study of psalms revealed this paraphrase - loosely (and I use the term loosely, loosely!) based on the 23rd. Seemed to fit this auspicious auccasion:

A Blogger's Psalm

Blogging is my hobby, I shall not be bored.
It maketh me do research in far places;
It causeth me to correspond with odd people;
It keepeth my mind agile;
It leadeth me down paths of understanding for curiosity's sake.
Yea, though I live through a winter of inclement weather,
I will fear no boredom if my laptop and scanner are near me.
As I wallow in nostalgia, it comforts me.
Blogging provideth me a means of escaping the tensions of my responsibilities;
It filleth my desk with books and files.
My cash runneth lower.
Surely interest and knowledge shall follow me all the days of my life,
And my posts will live on in the blogsphere forever.

-adapted from A Philatelist's Psalm by Erma V. Berkley, as discovered by Steven McLachlan.

Time for Trackside Treasure's 11th anniversary contest. The first two correct responses received via email or via a comment on this post will win the coveted Trackside Treasure 11th Anniversary Prize Pack. Below are two images of Lego trains. I've substituted a number of locomotives in the second photo. Find them all and you win. Simply refer to the substitutions by row or location in photo, colour of locomotive or some other creative way of showing you found 'em! As always, click on photo for a larger image. Answers and winners to be announced in the 601st post! Some conditions apply. Enjoy!

(At this point, you may be asking yourself, "WTF - What the F-unit??")

Thanks for showing up, for reading, for participating,
and for being part of Trackside Treasure!

Friday, August 9, 2019

NAHX ex-Illinois Terminal Covered Hoppers

In the early 1990's, Illinois Terminal Pullman-Standard 4750-cu.ft.covered hoppers were transferred to North American Car Corporation ownership (now General Electric Railcar Services) and had their IT reporting marks painted out. Originally in the IT 2000-series, the patched reporting marks were NAHX 490xxx-series. Did this represent one of the earliest patched rolling stock schemes - a now common practice? Maybe so, because at the time they seemed pretty remarkable to me. The yellow patch extended one panel beyond IT's compact reporting marks. With only four digits in their car numbers, it's easy to see why four letters/six numbers just wouldn't fit!

IT prided itself on being "The Road of Personalized Service". Covered hoppers, boxcars and more received the eye-catching yellow scheme with the bright green lettering. Patched cars in two Tim Reid photos (NAHX 490327-  top and NAHX 4902xx on CP - below)
If you'd like to compare, here's a clean view of ITC 2142 (online auction site photo) showing that highlighted lettering and red underbody:
My observations at Kingston (below). Note that these would have patched reporting marks but included the full IT lettering. On current cars, I believe the other lettering has also been patched out.  Some cars have gone to KYLE with the same numbers. Sometimes ex-Milwaukee Road cars look similar. The key is the diagonal motto patch! Date and reporting marks:
Nov 9/91 NAHX 490325, 490326
Nov 10/91 NAHX 490331, 490251, 490216
Nov 12/91 NAHX 490264
Jul 21/92 NAHX 490275
Jan 21/98 NAHX 490229

Athearn blue box kit with Herald King decals. In retrospect, the reporting marks patch is too big and the CDS Lettering was too thick. I'll also re-visit those red-painted trucks. Re-do pending!

Lots o' links:
Running extra...
Kingston's VIA station is getting a new entrance. As part of the John Counter Boulevard overpass project, this stretch of the street is being re-aligned. As a result, the cumbersome two-entrance access to the station is being revised to a single access road to JCB, lining up with the Purdy Mill apartment buildings opposite (above). 

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Erie 149th Street Harlem Station operation in New York City's Bronx. And, by the same blogger, all about New York City waterfront operations (scroll for main index at bottom). Good work, Philip M. Goldstein!

Just a few more sleeps and it's Trackside Treasure's eleventh anniversary! And the 600th post! What's 11 + 600 equal? A whole lot of anniversarial anticipation! Thanks for being along for the ride.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Walthers' Red Wing Milling Co. in HO Scale

Walther's Red Wing Milling Company kit was first released as a kit = a flour mill named for Red Wing, Minnesota. Waltbers adapted the kit to a Centennial Mills structural flat, and it's now sold as the Cornerstone series Flour Mill, retailing for $35-45. At 11x10x8 inches in HO scale, it's a compact kit that can be built as a flour mill or factory. But why stop there? Long intrigued by this kit, and still not the owner of one, I've saved many imaginative images showing how fellow modellers have adapted this kit to their layouts, using their own scratchbuilding skills and modelling chops. This post includes some of my favourites. The original, unassuming box that served as a portal for modellers to show so much creativity:
I did built a rather large model of Winnipeg's Five Roses flour mill in Winnipeg. That sprawling facility included 19th century elements with more modern ones and a neat curving track arrangement. This one can also be integrated with silos, other Red Wing kits....well, you get the idea. Read on to see how limitless the possibilities are. Interestingly, it appears many modellers don't use the kit's smokestack! Each photo (only one of which is mine - that of Bob Ascah's opened-up version) is captioned with the information made available by the modeller.
Two kits in one structure on this Conrail layout by Ken  McCurry
Eric Brooman's 'iconic' Utah Belt hosts one 
Grant's Grain
Ron Copher's Lake Erie & Southern - video capture - creative kitbash
Two from one for $23.99 - a bargain for Michael Walker
London & District Layout Tour
In France!
Tucker's Treats
A long one - Whyte Paper Co.
Contagiously fictitious GERN Industries
Des Moines Transfer Railway
Steve Mallery's PRR Buffalo Line
A long-john long-shot! Stanfields Woollens by Steve Vallis
Dick's Layout from Larry's Flickr 
BNSF Fall River Division
Bob Ascah's Lafarge backdrop - Kingston Rail-O-Rama 2018
Railview Historical Society - video capture from a Rapido Trains Inc. video
Another big one - on the waterfront - NOUPT layout
PJ's Train Shack weathering highlights the rarely-seen side of the kit
Nicely scenicked on the Bonavista Railroad
Saving the best until last - John Pacheco's imaginative use of brick exterior:

Running extra...

I've admired the ubiquity of the Red Wing Milling kit for awhile. I appreciate these modellers' tacet use of their modelling efforts in photo form. There's not a suitable application for a flour mill, even if I did obtain one of these kits at a trainshow, on my Kingston Hanley Spur HO layout. However, these is the Davis Tannery! Hmmmm....'
"He/she is speaking his/her truth." I hear this often on television. As in - someone making us believe their version of events, spoken no matter how earnestly, somehow explains their background and the contextual events surrounding their story. What ever happened to speaking THE truth? Doesn't that make everyone's version of events fit reality? Existential exigency!

It took a few days, but I finally photographed one of VIA's new 'Love the Way' word-wraps. Predictably, enthusiasts are divided on the aesthetics and relevance of any new paint scheme variation. I guess they're just speaking their truth! Though it is not very railroady at all, it is bold and modern. Here's VIA 906 at Kingston. The engineer's side features the French version:

Thursday, July 25, 2019

An Afternoon at Portage la Prairie, 1981

My first trainwatching day of my 1981 trip to Portage was August 24. Arriving in Winnipeg 45 minutes late, my aunt met the train at the station and used the layover time to get us back to Portage for lunch at the Dairy Queen! This post describes the trip, west from Toronto aboard the Super Continental, and east from Calgary via Ottawa to Montreal on the Canadian. Work cars on CN, the Super, wayfreight and loaded CP grain boxcars at one of Portage's four grain elevators show how busy a place Portage could be all at once! This post comprises my observations on that busy afternoon - new in town!

1313 W CP 5924-4434 potash empties with three vans: 434486-434464-434370, unphotographed.

1333 W VIA No 3 Engs 6505-6610-CN 4105 leading the Super Continental with 16 cars (below). CN 1353-1354 had pulled up to the station at 1311 and are seen spotting covered hoppers at Portage Pool 'B' taken from the Skyline bridge (top photo). Three cars a-loading at Pool 'B': brown & yellow CNWX 100191- silver & yellow 108218-Canadian Wheat Board 395121. Both trains will be in Portage for awhile!
1428 E CP 5954-4551-5970 with 134 grain loads and van 434373 cleared West Tower before VIA No 3 could proceed west on CN. VIA No 3 has crept up to the light at Eighth Street, and will have spent a whole hour in Portage!
1453 W VIA No 1 Engs 6550-1961-CP 8514 and 15 cars, including Riviere Rouge crew sleeper still in CN colours. I was able to photograph the westbound Canadian and Super Continental on several occasions.
In the consist of this Canadian was ex-CN E-series sleeper Ernestown, the car I'd travelled to Winnipeg in, now part of the Winnipeg Sleeper Swap.

1512 E CP 8806-4431-8493 from Carberry Sub with manifest freight and van 434455. VIA No 1 also had to wait at Portage - for this freight to clear West Tower - before heading west on CP.
1529 E CP 5788-8494 brought a manifest east 17 minutes later, with van 434567.
1538 W CN 9450-9557-9576 headed a westbound manifest tailed by caboose 79527. This freight set out a BCR boxcar on the CN-CP interchange and is returning to the train in the yard.
1559 W CN 1353-1354 finally head west after nearly two hours in Portage with 28 grain empties: 24 cylindrical covered hoppers and four boxcars then caboose 79435. Three passenger trains waiting for three different freights? Yep, this grain peddler would end up making VIA No 2 wait on the CN-CP connecting track at West Tower! I'd catch it the following morning, returning east at West Tower with grain cars and boxcar MPA 39846 in the consist! Notice how clean the Saskatchewan and Alberta cars are, only months old:
1615 W CN 9401-9407-9624, unphotographed but included flatcar BLE 4865, bulkhead flats SLSF 4110-4180, box NAR 050160 and THB flatcar 1846 ahead of caboose 79579!

1630 E VIA No 2 Engs 1418-CP 8580-1898 and 16 cars on the now-gone connecting track, including crew sleeper Margaree River in CN colours, and sleepers Edmonton and Edson for the Winnipeg sleeper swap!
Ex-CP E-8 1898 - essentially just another VIA locomotive to me at the time? No! I did note 'an E-8!!')

Running extra...

I am fortunate to still have my original notes to refer to for the observations I made on these visits. If you're hungry for more, faster than I can publish them here (!) (see right sidebar for more) and in a more finished format, check out my professionally-printed books Trains & Grains, a two-volume set of my photos and observations  made over 11 years' visits to Portage, preserved for print posterity in perpetuity.
We're closing in on 600 published posts here on Trackside Treasure. Penultimate posts will lead up to this round figure on this blog's 11th anniversary. Something to celebrate! Steve Lucas photo (above) with my version of CN 100 anniversary logo gracing some of its newest locomotives, like CN 3241 westbound through Kingston this week:

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Winnipeg Sleeper Swap

Some of VIA's operations required switching en route. Switching operations at Winnipeg were of special interest during VIA's early era, not only due to Winnipeg's geographic location as a western Canadian railway crossroads, but also because it was a location at which VIA's transcontinental swapped cars between trains, especially sleepers. This resulted in mixed consists -  ex-CN blue & yellow blended with ex-CP stainless steel cars. Stainless sunset – the setting sun glints off Thompson Manor on Corridor Canadian No 1/55 at Kingston on May 26, 1984, just before I boarded for Manitoba. (top photo by L.C. Gagnon photo)


In the late 1970's, the Canadian and Super Continental operated over CP and CN trackage, respectively, as they had before VIA. Montreal and Toronto sections of each train were joined (westward; split eastward) at Sudbury or Capreol, respectively. Then, in October 1978 the Canadian began operating as one through train Toronto-Vancouver; the Super Continental also operating as one through train, Montreal-Vancouver, trading eastern originating cities with the June 1979 timetable. Both trains now stopped at the CN station in Winnipeg, the Canadian having transferred over from the Higgins Avenue CP station. 

The two trains now met in Winnipeg, exchanging one through sleeper. VIA's October 1978 Western Transcontinental Services timetable page included the following: "Interline Transfers - Winnipeg: This is the main transfer point for passengers boarding the train on one route but destined to points on the other route. Sleeping car passengers enjoy through service: their car is transferred from one train to the other. Coach and Dayniter passengers transferring must change trains". (The same text also appeared in the June 1979 timetable.) Summer 1979 consists west of Winnipeg show one to three E-series sleepers on the Canadian and one or two CP sleepers on the Super Continental. After October, consists show only one of each.

In October 1979, a one-hour scheduled layover was added, to allow passengers time to transfer between the (at that time) joined Sudbury-Winnipeg train and the Winnipeg-Vancouver Super Continental. Passengers continuing west on the Winnipeg-Vancouver Canadian remained aboard at Winnipeg. 

Interestingly, VIA published a revised October 28, 1979 system timetable including the following message on the Canadian and Super Continental Winnipeg-Vancouver schedule tables: "Through sleeping car service to and from Montreal", and this revised text accompanying a schematic diagram of Low-Season Western Transcontinental Service: "Westbound - in Winnipeg, the Super Continental is made up again for passengers destined to points on the north route through Saskatoon and Edmonton. Sleeping car passengers enjoy through service and remain on their car as it is switched to this train. Eastbound - sleeping cars are switched ensuring through service for these passengers" [at Winnipeg]. Coach and Dayniter passengers had to change trains themselves. My brother travelled Toronto to Vancouver westbound on CN, including Winnipeg to Saskatoon, then eastbound on CP Vancouver to Winnipeg thence Winnipeg to Montreal. CN GMD-1 1902 pulls CP Rail-lettered diner, Chateau Maisonneuve and Kootenay Park over the Assiniboine River at Winnipeg during switching moves in November, 1979. (below - David Gagnon photo)
In June 1980, one-and-a-half hours was allocated for the Winnipeg layover. In September 1980, VIA changed from a three-night transcontinental schedule to four nights, operating only one transcontinental train between Sudbury and Winnipeg. This made for a four-hour layover in Winnipeg, and more reasonable departure and arrival times at end points. The change also made more time for inter-switching if one train was late. 
During my trip in October 1980, VIA train No 103 was on another station track at Winnipeg and our No 1 donated Erwood and Chateau Jolliet, behind its CN-painted Eldorado, as the eighth and ninth cars on its train before the two trains left Winnipeg, departing at 1215 and 1330, behind VIA 6505 and 1432, respectively (above). On August 22, 1981, my sleeper Ernestown has been switched from No 1 to No 3 at Winnipeg. Here it slides, sandwiched between similarly swapped Elliston and Eastport, through Portage la Prairie, MB:


Most passengers were not as interested in the Winnipeg inter-switching as I was! On the platform, a 1900-series GMD-1 or switcher shuffled cars, while cases of beer and pop, snacks and other menu items were loaded through small doors in the meal service cars. Tractors and baggage wagons brought linen and baggage, low wagons laden with ice blocks for the older cars' cooling systems, and water tanks were filled. Windows were cleaned by a four-man crew, and car-knockers tapped every pipe, wheel and anything else they could hit with a ball-peen hammer under a passenger car. Rail enthusiasts might be able to piece together its results by examining consists east and west of Winnipeg, but before November 1981 I was able to gather first-hand data on the Winnipeg switching and sleeper swapping. A snow-crusted stainless steel and blue & yelow Canadian consist disappears under the trainshed at Toronto Union station on January 25, 1982. (below - Dave More photo, Mark Sampson collection)


Then, when the 'Corridor Canadian' began operating between Montreal and Toronto in November 1981, I was able to also gather consist-based data on cars added or removed at Toronto for the trip to Western Canada. With the Super Continental cancelled, there was no longer any need for inter-switching at Winnipeg. I was, however, able to photograph the Canadian and the Super Continental in August, 1981 before the latter's cancellation three months later. Interestingly, the Corridor Canadian was switched en route - at Brockville, ON.


The consist data for the Corridor Canadian and west-of-Toronto Canadian is presented side-by-side chronologically within each of the following groups of consists: starting with westbound consists from my 1982 trip, eastbound 1982 consists, consists from my parents’ 1983 trip, ending with some consists east/west of Winnipeg from 1981. Asterisks (*) denote inter-switched cars or locomotive/car changes:

I’m able to draw several conclusions from the above consists…


In 1982-83, crew cars west of Toronto included one Chateau, two Rivers, nine I-series, one Mount, one Green, and possibly one Dayniter! Deadheaded cars between locomotives and baggage car included two baggage-dorms, one E-series, one ex-CP diner and one Dayniter. Cars removed/swapped at Toronto or Winnipeg were two diners and two sleepers - perhaps these cars were bad-ordered. Generally, cars added to the westbound Corridor Canadian at Toronto, and removed from the eastbound Canadian for its Corridor trip east, were blue & yellow: three to four E-series, a crew car and an ex-CN diner. Also at Toronto, one to four coaches (No 55) were removed from the Corridor Canadian, with four or five coaches (Nos 44/54) added for the Corridor Canadian’s trip east of Toronto.

In August of 1981 at Winnipeg, three E-series sleepers were transferred from Toronto-Vancouver (on CN) No 3 to Montreal-Vancouver No 1 (on CP), and three ex-CP sleepers swapped from No 1 to No 3.  The ex-CP diner was swapped out for a new (fully-stocked) ex-CP diner at Winnipeg. On the August 24 east/west of Winnipeg consists of No 3 that I recorded, the cafĂ©-lounge was swapped out for an extra ex-CN diner and Skyline .

Once again, the value of consists comes through. I find this kind of data so interesting, and the information it provides, in this instance on VIA's inter-switching, is valuable. Today's passengers on the Canadian smoothly slide through Winnipeg, unaware of the coupling and shuffling that once took place under that trainshed!

Running extra...

VIA paid some high-priced ad agency a high price to create this campaign. To show a good return on taxpayers' money, I've incorporated it in part of this Trackside Treasure campaign (below). All that's missing is the leggy model with the bright yellow pants!
Fellow Kingston railfan Paul Hunter kindly shared another photo of VIA 906 with its 'love the way/la voie qu'on aime' lettering at Kingston on July 15. Love that P42!
Summertime is a great time for a cool beverage. Try an illuminating lager, a winsome wheat beer, a popular pale ale, or a refreshing radler. I went on a 'bender' recently in this muggy Southern Ontario weather and doubled my beer consumption. Yup, I had two in one day! Cheers!