Friday, June 11, 2021

Spent Pot-Lining COFC

It's hard to miss these half-height containers on flat cars (COFC) that travel in cuts of one to five on CN Kingston Sub freights. I note them as 'RADIO FL' because I thought they were RADIOactive material FLat cars! The name stuck. But that's not what's in them. Here's what they're carrying...SPL!


Spent Pot-Lining (SPL) is a by-product of aluminum smelting electrolysis during production. The electric reduction of aluminum oxide, alumina, to the metal is done in the presence of sodium fluoride. The pots this is done in are lined with a refractory ceramic layer, and then a hard high carbon pitch layer. After several months this lining breaks down, and the resulting mess is stripped out. It's grey-brown and can be as tiny as fine dust or come out in big chunks.

Each year, 1.6 million tonnes of SPL is produced world-wide, at a rate of 25 kg per tonne of aluminum produced. Canada is the world's fourth-largest aluminum producer, with companies making progress in extending production cell lifespan thereby reducing the amount of SPL produced by 30%. Cement, steel and mineral wool production can potentially all use recycled SPL as a feedstock.  As a last resort, it can be sent to landfill, albeit with leachable toxic contents - fluorides and cyanide - so attention must be paid to landfill lining and leachate management.  It has a shipping name of ‘’UN 3170, ALUMINUM SMELTING BY_PRODUCTS (Spent Potlining), Class 4.3, Packing Group III’’. Here's a view of the removal of SPL from an aluminum cell cathode: 


Rio Tinto (formerly ALCAN) has a SPL treatment facility in Jonquiere, QC using a process pioneered by its research department. Low Caustic Leaching & Liming, in use since 2008, reducing the need to landfill about 20,000 to 30,000 tons per year. The facility was also expected to handle SPL from Kitimat, BC and other smelters in Quebec, up to 60,000 tons per year in 530 carloads. As a result, no SPL container cars seem to be coming from the Arvida area along with the usual aluminum ingots on RTAX or HPJX flat cars.

I briefly traced such a car on May 15, 1997- VTTX 97660. Observed eastbound on CN No 306, it arrived in Mont-Joli, QC on Montreal-Moncton CN train No 312. Then it travelled to Baie-Comeau on "00121" on May 22, where it spent a month. Arriving in Matane, QC on June 22 on "00122" thence Montreal on No 311, CN train No 395 took the car west along the Kingston Sub on June 24 on its way to interchange with Union Pacific at Chicago thence Gum Springs, AR. 

In the late-90's, cars used in SPL container service were TrailerTrain flat cars witih ATTX, TTCX or VTTX reporting marks and CN 89-foot flat cars. CN and TTCX cars were heading to Gum Spring, the site of a longtime Alcoa SPL waste treatment facility - Elemental Environmental Services - five miles south of Arkdadelphia, AR. (Reminds me of the recent Tragically Hip release of Saskadelphia!) Here, the SPL is processed and buried. This site was bought last year by Veolia North America, to take that side business off Alcoa's hands, and fold it in with their expanding hazardous materials disposal business. Googlemaps view of the ALCOA Primary Metals site showing flat cars and containers:

Without car tracing, online reports suggest the cars currently seen here on the CN Kingston Sub come from Aluminerie Alouette at Pointe Noire/Sept-Iles or Aluminerie Alcoa de Baie-Comeau. Rail service to both sites crosses the lower St Lawrence via CN's COGEMA rail ferry service from Matane.

In 2019, Aluminerie Alouette, which began production in 1992, generated 20,000 tons of SPL. Just over 15,000 tons were buried in authorized sites, the remainder recycled or valorized. There are three main car fleets in this service that I see here. In 2019, Aluminerie Alcoa de Baie-Comeau had its SPL pre-treated and buried.


In the last few years, an interesting collection of leasing-company flat cars have been used to carry SPL containers. There are three main fleets that have been in SPL container service since 2014:

  • AEQX 60-foot blue flat car (3 containers) of ATEL Capital Group. The cars were formerly owned by Southern Pacific.
  • HESX 43 89-foot flat car (4 containers) of Heritage Environmental Services, built by Trenton Works in 2000 and formerly owned by Florida East Coast.
The Pic 360 intermodal 'sludge' containers are used to transport solid or semi-solid waste for a range of industries. They're 21.5 cu. ft. and 20 feet long, with a 4-ton tare weight and 50,000-pound capacity, with aluminum lids, welded interior seams and high-visibility placards and lettering. The airtight containers are top-loading, end-dumping explosion-proof, since SPL can react with water. (A ship-loading incident at La Baie, QC in 1990 killed two workers.) The containers always display at least UN3170 placards and are usually grey, yellow or even green, and I'll watch for sometimes-seen SFLU blue containers. Here's the Pic Leasing yard in Arkadelphia, AR across from the ALCOA facility at Gum Springs:
The containers often seen on SOXX cars are from MHF Services, a logistics outfit specializing in radioactive, hazardous, and non-hazardous wastes. Recently, I've also seen eastbound movements of double-stacked containers, presumably empty. SOXX 20374 on CN No 376 on May 2, 2021 shows this versatility:
Here are my observations of these SPL container flats since 1997. Interspersed with photos, my sightings show date, car number, CN car train was on, notes:

  • 8/12/97 TTCX 98120 on CN No 395 Dest. Gum Springs, AR
  • 14/2/98 CN 639331 on No 395 Dest. Gum Springs, AR.
  • 15/5/98 VTTX 97660 on No 306 Dest. Baie Comeau, QC 
  • 15/7/98 TTCX 90265 on No 395
  • 18/9/98 FEC 2891, TTCX 90524 on No 301
  • 12/9/98 VTTX 92636 and 97698, TTCX 98033 on No 306
  • 13/11/98 VTTX 97513 on No 301
  • 20/9/99 TTCX 90521 on No 306
  • 27/9/99 VTTX 92206 and 91968 on No 306 Dest. Riviere du Loup/Chemin de fer Baie des Chaleurs (CBC)
  • 9/7/00 CP 251095, ATTX 91114 on No 310 Dest. Baie Comeau (CBC)
  • 31/8/03 CN 638078 on No 369
  • 2/11/03 ATTX 97597 on No 306
  • 5/7/04 ATTX 95169 on No 306 (below):
  • 27/3/10 VTTX 93385 on No 309
  • 12/3/11 VTTX 91956 and ATTX 92635 on No 309
  • 8/10/16 AEQX 242 wih container PLRU 02320 and HESX 54 with Pic Leasing container PLRU 023056 on No 306
  • 11/8/2017 SOXX 20515 (top photo) with 20411 and 20291 (MHF Services MHFU containers) on No 369
  • 30/9/17 AEQX 160 on No 368: 
  • 15/5/18 AEQX 220 on No 306
  • 6/11/19 SOXX 20516 and 20188 on No 369 (below), plus AEQX 243 empty on No 368:
  • 12/4/20 AEQX 262 on No 368
  • 5/6/20 AEQX 204 and 242 with VTTX 97574 on No 305:
  • 19/6/20 SOXX 20522, 20533, 20529, 20525, 20275, 20420 on No 368: 
  • 18/7/20 SOXX 20541 and 20222, AEQX 160, 204 and 213, and HESX 45 on No 306:

  • 27/10/20 AEQX 141 and HESX 43 on No 369:

  • 27/10/20 HESX 60 
I trust this post will answer some questions about these unusual, oft-photographed, but seldom-described SPL container cars. Maybe it will prove to be an argument-smelter, er, argument-settler! Thanks to Rob Archer for additional information.

Running extra...

My uncle in Portage sent this item along. Before there were grain elevators, there were horizontal (bagged) grain storage buildings such as this one in Brookdale. Located along the CP Varcoe Sub, it is heading to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum in Austin:
With the resumption of VIA Nos 1 and 2 between Toronto and Winnipeg, I've been keeping rough track* of them in this continuing post on deadhead ex-CP movements. CFMG403 posted a Youtube video showing VIA diner Annapolis, wearing new two-tone colours, being returned from Rail GD (screen capture, below). Empress, Emerald and Frontenac have headed east for refurbishment. Since these colours are supposedly indicative of Corridor equipment, let's start a rumour that diners are coming to Corridor trains!
*pun intended

VIA is resuming some Corridor trains on June 22. People just want haircuts. People just want to drink on a patio. People don't want full ICU's. As Ontario 'opens up' after lockdown, I've wrapped up my nightly trumpet tributes from my front porch, opening up the space for my annual front porch layout project. The Last Note to the Last Spike!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Winnipeg Layover, June 2019

Confessions of a Train Rider? My wife and I were travelling west to Edmonton on VIA No 1. I hadn't been to Winnipeg since 1986, and this was the first time we travelled together for this long by train. Having left Toronto on Sunday, June 2, we arrived in Winnipeg on Monday, June 3, 2019. On Time arrival would have been 1930, with a leisurely layover of two hours for servicing and On-Board Service crew change. 

We had hoped to meet the Manitoba Mafia: 'Mayor of Diamond' Brian Schuff, Mark 'the Hoople' Perry and Steve 'Confessions' Boyko. Due to the late hour, and something about working the next day, Steve had heard that Brian had wisely called it a night, and had not seen Mark. Both of them had stayed as late as they could, and that was appreciated! 

We were glad to meet Steve (top photo with your humble blogger, below with my wife), having only 'met' online previously. We also had a few railfans on No 1: Ivan (winner of a VIA40 trip from Vancouver - Toronto return), Eric from the US on a graduation trip with his parents, and 'Laptop Guy' who was heading to a wedding in BC. My wife enjoyed hanging out with them in the Skyline dome as we neared Winnipeg, so what's a few more railfans once we arrive?
But, as they say, late trains get later. Ontario was not the province of punctuality for us:
  • Savant Lake, 2' 30" late
  • Sioux Lookout, 2' late
  • Hudson, waited three hours over a delicious dinner for a CN freight with air problems hog-lawing, another freight and VIA No 2
  • Arrived Winnipeg 3' 45" late
  • Departed Winnipeg 3' 15' late at 0045
We arrived at 2315. Steve kindly took time to reacquaint me with the station environs. Broadway and Main intersection (above), without a tripod but with a lamp-post! Last time I was here, the forks were what you had on your table with the knives. Now it's a tourist attraction, formerly known as CN's East Yard. In that incarnation, it was a great place to spend a Winnipeg layover!
Steve shows us the layout of the Forks today which now includes the human rights museum, ballpark, event space and only a couple of pieces of preserved rolling stock. Steve then took us to the premium railfan spot at the west end of the trainshed, now carefully fenced, up some stairs from the Forks.
That's our train in the foreground, led by VIA 6421-6426-6435, with a second west-facing consist in the background with 6448-6455.
Back at ground level behind the station before heading back in. It was a nice night and if we had time, we could have hung out longer and watched the passing CN freights!
Preparing to queue up and re-board in the below-tracks departure level:
You are here! The station looks a little different on VIA's TV screen.
The pre-VIA vista I'm perhaps more familiar with - when all station tracks were in use, and there was lots of good stuff to explore down in East Yard - captioned 1956:
Our consist ex-Toronto was VIA 6421-6426-6435-8604-8103-8123-8516-Bayfield, Monck and Grant Manors-8501-Emerald-Cabot, Hearne, Craig, Lorne, Butler and Cornwall Manors-8517-Frontenac- Chateau Closse, and Prestige cars Chateau Varennes-Chateau Maisonneuve-Kootenay Park. Our consist, graphically missing the sixth Manor:

We re-boarded at 0015. The Skyline dome windows had been washed. By the next morning's arrival in Melville, SK we would be over two hours late.
On the next track, facing east: 6456-6404-86xx-8120-8504-Chateau Latour-Chateau Radisson and perhaps the Churchill train facing west: 6448-6455-8616-8105-8125-85xx-Chateau Vercheres,
Thanks to Steve for his tour-guiding during our brief stop in the 'Peg!

Running extra...
Too little to constitute publishing a postscript post, but too much not to mention! Steve Bradley kindly shared his site photos of the VIA 1405 derailment (above). He was there in the aftermath! One of those little VIA mysteries that occasionally pop up. These newly-shared photos add substantially to the initial post on this 1979 derailment. Thanks, Steve!

Watch for an upcoming post on my 2021 Front Porch Layout. At our June Associated Railroaders of Kingston members' night, I prepared this short presentation that might be inspirational. And by inspirational, I also mean respirational, getting some fresh air into our lungs outdoors again! It shows behind-the-scenes details on my 2013-2021 Front Porch Layouts. 

Other presentations that night were Doug's organized operations scheme, Bob's super structure modelling and Greg's pending Bay of Quinte redux. Our discussion challenged the usual layout trajectory of room prep, benchwork, scenery, tracklaying, wiring, operation. Operations can come earlier!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Gardiners Road Underpass Project

One of the most notorious traffic snarls in Kingston's west end was Gardiners Road. Crossing the double-track CN mainline at Mi. 178.0 Kingston Sub, the road also crossed the top of the Cataraqui Spur. The latter was rarely a hold-up, as the short trains had room to wait for the south track, west of the road crossing. But the main level crossing was rough, and close to Bath Road thereby causing spillover of traffic onto that busy east-west arterial at times. Vintage Kingston Facebook before-and-after (top photo) shows a 1950's view of the then-gravel road with the tracks in foreground and Kingston Drive-In on Bath Road in the background, compared to a current view of the underpass.
Due to the lack of approach space for an overpass, an underpass was chosen for the north-south Gardiners Road. A 1960's topographic map image (above) shows the pre-underpass arrangement of the Kingston Sub (double hashmarks), and Cataraqui Spur (single hashmark and team track). The underpass would be just above the [298] benchmark, the Cataraqui Spur removed between the mainline switch and a point at the bottom of the green line [X] and a new timetable-west access for the Cataraqui Spur [green line] laid to link the spur to the mainline. Today, the electric lock switch for the Cataraqui Spur runs off the south main track at Mi. 178.0, behind Paterson Concrete Products.

A 1965 aerial photo from the Queen's University Archives shows the area to advantage, from bottom: Kingston Drive-In, gas station at Bath and Gardiners Roads, barn, Cataraqui Spur team track with two boxcars, CN Kingston Sub and transformer station, and a few, scattered developments among the pastureland on the west side of Gardiners Road:
The photo below, published in the October 14, 1983 Kingston Whig-Standard, shows the foreshortened distance between Bath Road and the crossing, taken while work was underway to relocate water mains. The planned traffic delay of October 24-28 was itself delayed to November 7-11 while CN waited for a "new crossing signal for its detour around the $6.2-million underpass site". This eastbound VIA train passes the site of the preliminary construction, showing the electronic warning devices on the mainline but only crossbucks on the Cataraqui Spur crossing:
Gary Evans worked for Canada Building Materials (CBM), continuously pouring cement at the site during construction in 1984, and kindly shared two photos. Looking from south of the three tracks (below), cement is pumped up and onto the deck. In the background, the Gardiners Road transformer station, later enlarged to handle the power generated by Wolfe Island wind turbines, still stands. Otherwise, retail development on the east side of had not yet taken hold, and only the Northern Telecom plant was there. West of here, residential growth was booming, hence the increased impatience, traffic, and horn-honking (cars and trains) until the underpass project was completed.
Looking east from atop the deck (below), Paterson Concrete and Northern Central Gas's office building occupy the east side, south of the CN. (Though often suggested, I haven't seen evidence that Paterson was rail-served, despite its trackside presence.) The northernmost track of three served the Northern Telecom telephone-wire plant via the eastern end of the Industrial Spur so the deck was necessarily wide, the underpass deep, and even today, it sometimes floods during heavy rains. The Industrial Spur was removed when the plant closed, now part of a massive residential/commercial/high school redevelopment.

Notice the track in the foreground. Jointed rail, apparently a shoo-fly for use during this phase of the project, and the use of a plethora of rebar! A typical humid, Kingston morning as haze is in the air and the 'Gatorade' water jug is kept handy. Thanks, Gary, for kindly sharing these neat photos!
The fourth, south-west, quadrant of the underpass nas since filled in with commercial activity - a Midas garage and McDonald's. If another business locates here, the wide-open sightlines of this once pastoral country road railway crossing will be even more difficult to appreciate!

Running extra...
I just finished reading Nomadland. (You know, the movie starring Fargo's Frances 'Don'tcha Know' McDormand.) Unsettling. Uneasy. Undeniable that I'm staying in four walls. Five-gallen bucket toilets and broken down Chevy Astros DO NOT equate to sleeping beside mountain lakes and living the dream that seemed more like an endless nightmare. Now I'm going to walk to my kitchen and just stand there.

Pandemic favourite CBS Sunday Morning just aired their 'At Home' episode. Zillow says listing to offer median time in the U.S. is seven days. Working from home means The Great Re-Shuffling - folks can once again live in small- to medium-size cities with good quality of life. Or as I call it, Kingston. Where we walk around the block and see houses sold days or less.

Weird Whittier, Alaska was featured on the 'At Home' episode. Three hundred people live in a Cold War-era Army barracks called Begich Towers, and it's a real community. Like the Grand Budapest Hotel. You get to Whittier via a 2-mile train/road tunnel. But the view! Trains, and ships and mountains!

Shhh! VIA launched their Siemens locomotive and the rail enthusiast world is abuzz!

Friday, May 21, 2021

CBC's The National Dream, 1974


Long before Schitt's Creek*, Workin' Moms or Little Mosque on the Prairie, Canada's national broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) produced an eight-part mini-series on the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Entitled The National Dream, the first episode aired on Sunday, March 3, 1974, the last on April 21, 1974. Each episode cost $175,000, though accounts of costs vary. The series' stated budget was $800,000, and some sources pegged costs as high as $2,000,000! Two hundred hours of film were recorded over six months' filming between February and July, 1973. The series was the product of two years research and preparation, with a cast of 400. There was enough period political tomfoolery, dynastic derring-do and high-altitude hijinks to fill several Red River carts. Syndicated 'Weekend' magazine called the series "a major cultural event." 


Author and series narrator Pierre Berton told the CBC, "You will do the story well, or not at all!" Berton lived in Kleinburg, ON at the time, and was 53 years of age. His children would give him a CP end-cupola van for the property. The synopsis of all eight episodes, deemed by some ten years of bickering, followed by five years of building:
  • Episode 1: The Great Lone Land. Sir John A's historic speech on February 1871 announces his intention to build the CPR.
  • Episode 2: The Pacific Scandal. Charges of corruption are levelled against Macdonald's government and he is forced to resign drunken and dispirited.
  • Episode 3: The Horrid B.C. Business. A national depression strikes, B.C. clamours for the railway, and Macdonald must rise from his own political ashes.
  • Episode 4: The Great Debate. Back in power, Sir John A's government reailway bill finally passes in Parliament.
  • Episode 5: The Railway General. [now it's getting good!] Construction in 1882-83 speeds up as W.C. Van Horne connects a nation.
  • Episode 6: The Sea of Mountains. Andrew Onderdonk and Major A.B. Rogers push the rails slowly but surely through the Selkirks and Rockies.
  • Episode 7: The Desperate Days. Macdonald fights the Metis Rebellion crisis through construction delays north of Lake Superior.
  • Episode 8: The Last Spike! The national crisis is averted and Donald Smith hammers home the final spike.

    The TV Guide magazine listed upcoming episodes: 


Director Eric Till and producer Jim Murray assembled an ensemble cast, and who can forget that opening theme music composed by Louis Applebaum, with its haunting French horn opening? Some notable cast members:

  • Sir John A. Macdonald - William Hutt who appeared in five episodes.
  • William Cornelius Van Horne - John Colicos who appeared in three episodes.
  • Sir Sandford Fleming - Tony Van Bridge
  • Lord Dufferin, Governor-General - Paxton Whitehead
  • Donald Smith - Chris Wiggins
  • Lady Agnes Macdonald - Pat Galloway
  • Chief Crowfoot - Joe Crowfoot, grandson of the Chief
  • Major A.B. Rogers - Jonathan Welsh


The series was sponsored by Royal Trust, circulating a notification card that beamed, "The Royal Trust Company takes pleasure in inviting you to watch this portrayal of one of the greatest achievements in the story of Canada." Photos from the series were incorporated in Pierre Berton's double volume: The National Dream/The Last Spike. Originally priced at $4.95, still available for $5 in almost every used book shop or train show, every railfan or history buff needs at least one copy! In the preface to the abridged edition, an emaciated 200,000 words from the pleasingly plump 400,000, of the series, Berton affirms, "A production, I am happy to say, that faithfully follows the events chronicled here.

Three of my favourite quotes from the series:
  • A homesick navvy looks longingly at a woman's photograph, "Aye, but women are a fine thing."
  • Major Rogers is forced to abandon his perilous mountain survey, "It ain't right to have come so G*****ned far. Not so G*****ed far!"
  • Macdonald's unparliamentary language as he and Donald Smith are physically separated during a particularly contentious debate, "I could lick him quicker than Hell could scorch a feather!"   
Here's a two-page CBC press release on the series: 


"Far out beyond the Red River, the prairie land lay desolate under its blanket of shifting snow, still bereft of settlers. In just twelve months, as Macdonald knew, all that must change. Cities yet unnamed would have their birth, passes yet uncharted would ring to the sound of axe and sledge. An army of 12,000 men would follow. Norhing would ever be the same again. The tight little Canada of Confederation was already obsolete," intoned Berton. To capture twenty locations from Montreal to Bute Inlet, BC, location shooting gave the series a wide-ranging, history-dipped feeling:
  • "Fraser Tunnel" - Hope, BC
  • "Mountain area" - Penticton, Myra Canyon, Carmi Sub., Okanagan Lake, McCulloch, BC
  • "Indian confrontation and Track laying" - Brooks, AB including actual CP Rail sectionmen
  • "Craigellachie" - Caledon East, ON
  • "Winter and the Last day of filming" -  Havelock, ON 
  • "Parliament" and other studio work - Toronto, ON
with locations such as Rogers Pass, Thunder Bay and Hamilton used for other scenes. CP, along with various volunteer groups, co-operated to source the period equipment used:
  • 4-4-0 136 leased from the Ontario Rail Association, with interchangeable smokestacks and numbers i.e. CPR 148 at the Craigellachie tableau.
  • Boxcar 500 was plucked from Service use on the Alberta South Division.
  • Coach 141 was one of two Dominion Atlantic Rly. Service cars modified at Winnipeg Weston Shops.
  • Baggage car from the Alberta Pioneer Railway Association in Edmonton.
  • Construction flat car fabricated from scrapped cars at Calgary's Ogden Shops.
The National Dream available on CBC's Curio website


*So, the 1973 CBC series was not Schitt's Creek. This was television programming made by white men depicting Scottish and American white men making history. Inclusiveness and diversity were years in the future, witness the CBC's current hiring drive promoting racialized candidates. Through the prism of intervening years, we now evaluate the low value given to indigenous, Chinese and Metis lives in the 1880's; we now decry the domination of the 'savages' and the ravaging of the land and its people by the now villainized Sir John A. Macdonald, undoubtedly Kingston's most famous citizen, ever. (Sorry, Tragically Hip!) Times change but history doesn't change. Because it's history. Though we freely toss around trendy terms like colonization, and pay lip service to colonist meetings held on traditionally indigenous lands, I see no move to restore rights-of-way nor major cities back to indigenous control. So, for its time, the National Dream was a dramatic tour-de-force. Alternate descriptions and depictions of history are welcomed.


But this was not the first TV depiction of the building of the CPR. As part of its 1962 Festival Series, the CBC also broadcast 'The Brass Pounder from Illinois'. An hour-and-a-half special, it told the story of  the title character, William Cornelius Van Horne. Adapted for TV by author Tommy Tweed from his own radio play, the special had an all-male cast of 40. Filmed on a dozen sets ranging from a prairie telegraph office to Van Horne's wood-panelled business car, actually 'Saskatchewan' held by the Canadian Railway Historical Association. Researched by producer George McCowan, the final tableau of the driving of the Last Spike was recreated live on the CBC as the final scene of the special.
News clippings profile the broadcast on May 7, 1962 as part of CBC's long-running Festival series:
The broadcast, along with that famous 1885 photo, was publicized in CPR's Spanner magazine.
Some still photos of scenes from the production, starring John Drainie as the cigar-chompin', hard-drivin' Van Horne:

This puts a pin, or a period, in Trackside Treasure's 700th post. Like the original second-to-last spike, some posts get a little bent in the process, but each marks the end of an unpredictable undertaking. The completion of each post echoes, or perhaps paraphrases, Van Horne's final sentence, "The work has been done well (to medium-rare) in every way." Thanks for being here, and having a stake in Post 700, as we drove a spike through the heart of this topic, together. And as they say at Craigellachie, thanks for cairn!
133 years, 7 months & 172 hours to the day, and 90 degrees perpendicular!

Running extra...The 700 Club!

VIA released yet another variation of its online timetable on May 17. The first day of the reinstated Toronto-Winnipeg-Vancouver Canadian! VIA No 2 departing Vancouver will go through to Toronto, arriving Friday, and then will depart as No 1 from Toronto this Sunday for the first time in over a year. No 2 met No 1 in Edmonton, and they both backed down the station lead for servicing, with No 2 first-out. The passengers for No 2 had to walk all the way past No 1's consist to board. In the snow! The Super Continental served Edmonton in 1964 per this article. And there was bingo!

I've enjoyed subscribing to the Railstream Belleville webcam over the winter months. Now that I'm outside more, I'm no longer 'watching' Belleville. It kept me entertained and I never got to the other Railstream webcams, though they are sprinkled all over the States. Belleville is the sole Canadian site. Here's a webcam I'm going to investigate more. The previous three hours' seaway traffic past the City of the 1000 Islands: Brockville Time Lapse.

Just returned home from a trip to Allan Graphics, my local printer here in Kingston. I dropped off the content for my companion volume on Kingston waterfront history; its working title: Stories on the Waterfront - A Curated Collection of Stories and Photos of Kingston Harbour. Even saying the title takes you back in time because it's so darned long. Kingston harbour photos like this just beg an explanation. Is this Kingston or Halifax??