Monday, November 11, 2019

Autumn at the Station, November 2019

A gloomy but snow-free early November got me trackside to further record the transition from VIA 40 Years/Ans (F) wraps to 'love the way' and Remembrance Day poppies. I think it's fairly safe to say that I simply cannot get me enough 'love the way' (L) wrap photos. This three-word (four words in French) slogan is like photographic potato chips to me - I can always enjoy one more! On November 5, VIA No 60/50 pulled in to Kingston station with 910L leading five cars, then 904L-919L nose-to nose (top photo)! Pass the dip!
Three days earlier on November 2, VIA No 53 was punctuated by baggage car 8623. I noticed a darker shade of blue on the 'letter band'. Compare with the more usual blue hue seen on the top of the baggage door! Also on the same train was roller-painted darker-blue band LRC car 3368. Who says VIA trainwatching is boring? The VIAriety is where you find it. I found some further examples two days earlier on November 3. I was trackside waiting for the passage of CN No 305 with its roaming Centurion tank, and in the preceding 15 minutes, two VIA trains were headed by assorted locomotives.
First, at 1345 was poppy-bearing 916, having lost its Forty wrap, got the poppy logo as VIA 906 and 913 did the previous year, between their Canada 150 and F wraps! Five minutes later, 6436F headed west, interestingly the last of five wrapped 6400's in the silver scheme to receive its L wrap, having been in Manitoba service for quite awhile:
Heading east on Kingston's Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, I stopped at this wide-open spot just west of the Princess Street overpass to catch this westbound, with 918L leading and poppy-wearing 900 bringing up the paddle:
Back to November 5 and that breeding pair of P42's, shown here with their location showing:
Just one more chip! A view from the west:
Fifteen minutes later, lounge car Glenfraser (F) trailed this westbound:
CN was a little skimpy with freights this morning, sending No 305 west with 3801-Citirail CITX 1505 west at 0948, then an hour later No 148 with 2343-5291-5770:
Trackside at Queens East, a welcome text from Malcolm Peakman in Napanee alerted me to eastbound grain train CN No 874. CN 2340-8842 led an amazing amalgam of grain covered hoppers: CC, WC, GTW, IC ex-Rock, CNA and more east at 1423:
Best and brightest was a new one to me, ex-Lake Erie, Franklin & Clarion patched DWC 384971! Late afternoon southern exposure, slow speed and the valuably varied variety of this consist made photography a plethoric pleasure!
As the sun sank into the autumn cloud bank, VIA 917 led train 644 east at Queens East at 1555:
On November 6, a serious but not fatal MVC at Bath Road near Vista Drive was being dealt with by emergency services while CN No 368 Eng 8016 plodded east at 0925:
At 1439, CN No 369 was setting out cars (or possibly a bad-ordered car) at Queens. Having put its train back together, it marched west across John Counter Boulevard crossing being bridged by an overpass project, with five cars of aluminum ingots on the head-end behind CN 8815-5759-2178, meeting VIA 6416L on an eastbound just departing after completing a wheelchair lift:
The bag is almost empty, but one more chip comprises stopped poppy-emblazoned 916 leading this VIA westbound at 1330:
As the sun set again, on November 6th, a surprise trailing this VIA eastbound at 1557 was Skyline 8509 behind 6410-3469-4117-4104-4122 at Queens East. It is NOT headed for service on the Ocean out of Montreal.
Snow and the first daytime minus-temperature would come on November 7th, the 134th anniversary of the Driving of the Last Spike of the CPR at Craigellachie, BC.


...that is the sound-bite from nominees who don't win the big award heard on televised award ceremonies. It's a means of saving face and keeping a career alive. When I received a call from the ever-genial Bob Fallowfield, asking me to participate in the Platforum Christmas Special podcast this December, taped adjacent to CN's Kingston Sub, it really was an honour!

When I then found out who I'll be sharing the Platforum platform with, a huge 'wow' factor flourished: VIA locomotive engineer Jordan "Hollywood" McCallum, uberVIAphile Jason "Edmunston" Shron, and our holidays-host, Bob "No Trackplan" Fallowfield. Sipping cocoa, swapping stories of Christmas trains and memories, and wallowing knee-deep in nostalgia (if not snow) with these three will be a blast (hoping not an icy one) from the past.

Bob, as well as passing CN and VIA trains, will keep us on track's an honour just to be on the same platform!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Ave, Centurion!

PSR is usually associated with Precision Scheduled Railroading. I would submit that it can also stand for Precision Scheduled Railfanning. As a PSR railway, CN has been in the forefront of predictable train times to make railroading and customer service more predictable and efficient. Sure, I'd heard that a Centurion tank would be handled by CN, and it should head westward on CN's Kingston Sub. Chances of encountering it were slim, in my mind. (The money shot - top photo - and the post title meaning 'Hail, Centurion' or how Romans greeted their superior officers.) Now, more of the story...
The timing of this special movement was public relations gold for CN, with a remembrance theme respectfully resonating in November. Moving the tank from the Cornwallis Military Museum in Cornwallis, NS  where street names include Corvette Lane, Voodoo Street, and Bren Street (hey, wasn't that a former CP/DAR line running through the base?) included a transport-truck move to Dartmouth's CN yard for transshipment (5th Canadian Division video captures:

CN train No 407 left Dartmouth for Moncton, then CN No 305 left Moncton with several dimensional loads and the Centurion:
Stopping at home for lunch on this Sunday, a quick Facebook check revealed the train passing through Dorval at 9:05 a.m. I don't remember who posted that OS, and FB is much less searchable than Trackside Treasure, so thanks to that poster! It was now about 1:30 pm. That's four-and-a-half hours and I sometimes think of a ten-hour timespan for a freight train to go from Montreal to Toronto. I was heading out on an unusually 'busy' day for this retired guy, so I thought I might be lucky trackside. The precision part? I'd have about 20 minutes to devote to catching 305.  
Positioning myself near Mi 179 Kingston Sub, just west of Kingston, I was treated to two westbound VIA trains with VIA 916 (Poppy) leading the first at 1345, and VIA 6436 (Future) the second at 1350. As I'd seen both headlights rounding the curve near Mi 178, I said, those ain't freight trains.
Last year at this time, VIA applied large poppies to P42's 906 and 913 that were awaiting 40 Years/Ans wraps. This year, it's 900, 916 and maybe 915 awaiting 'love the way' wraps that have received the poppies (above).
Of course, the first impulse at this point is to give up and get going. Just five more minutes though...sure enough the next, slow-moving headlight could be the one! Taking my life in my hands to cross five traffic lanes on a serendipitously slow-traffic-day Bath Road, I was in position. Amazingly, in a huge windstorm on Hallowe'en evening, CN's deferred maintenance had contributed to two telegraph poles blowing down in this same spot, so the lineside wires would not compromise the photos of the bridge deck dimensional loads on QTTX 131306, 131366, and 131329 plus idlers nor the bagged loads in several black gons !(both - above)
As the tank cars, dimensional loads, Irving lumber, bagged loads and DPU 2535 (above) passed by, I was running out of train for the Centurion to be on. Again, patience. And there it was, totally untarped, open the the Canadian weather as it had been for years earlier since its repatriation to Canada in 1954, and providentially photographable:

Based on this CN-posted photo, the Centurion made it to its desination in BC!

While we're on the topic of remembrance, this being Veterans' Week, it's worth noting that Kingston's Mrs Reine Samson Dawe has been honoured as this year's Silver Cross Mother. Reine's son Captain Matthew Dawe lost his life in Afghanistan. Less than a mile west of my vantage point, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 631 bears Captain Dawe's name as well as a colourful Vimy mural by Shane Goudreau:
Now, what if the poppy-wrapped VIA units had some interpretive lettering accompanying that logo?

Friday, November 1, 2019

CN OCS cars in Belleville Yard

The former rail-welding plant tracks on the north side of Belleville yard were used to store On Company Service (OCS) boarding cars in the winter, once trackwork season was over. The cars were maintained here as part of CN Great Lakes Region track forces. The majority of the cars were White Fleet or ATCO units on flat cars, but there was a tantalizing tableau of older and unusual boxcars, flat cars, tank cars and more that were also part of these boarding outfits.

On visits to the yard, during a lull in CN and VIA action, we would often repair to the north side to see what was reposing there. We were usually not disappointed. Since only one track was readily visible from Airport Parkway, it was catch-as-catch-can, though I did manage to record some observations and take photos when possible.

The time period represented here includes trips to Belleville when our kids were young, and usually coincided with shopping trips to the Quinte Mall! Interestingly, late in the 20th century, CN's more business-like (profit-focused?) outlook meant that decades of denizens of back tracks and places like Belleville yard were sent to Selkirk, MB for scrapping. 

Notice the links to some of the cars - I've found photos of the same cars on the cnrphotos website. Many were photographed on their final trip to Selkirk, at the CN-CP Paddington interchange in Winnipeg.

I've used my usual abbreviations for car types:
BA= baggage car, BO=box car, FL=flat car, TA=tank car

Oct 29/90:
-Trackmobile 433-19 with gondolas 90654-90694-90635-91101. Tie loader 452-07 in 90654.
-CN 50676 (#?) orange module FL
-CN 80325, 80329 silver water TA
-CN 433756 BO 40' with vents for flammable storage.

Nov 15/91:
-CN 43696 generator BO
-CN 433318 vented BO
-CN 80378 water TA
-CN 990984 orange fuel TA
-CN 576939 40-foot BO with 8-foot door
-CN 592946 double-door BO
-CN 71747, 568881 BO
-CN 73131 orange flammable BO
-CN 70624 BA Work Equipment Eastern Region (Gang 46-2)

Feb 17/92:
-CN 80258, 80320, 80321, 80381 silver water TA
-CN 990990 orange fuel TA
-CN 59500 orange module FL

Jun 27/92:
-CN 59570 module FL
-CN 42110, 43357, 43403, 43373, 41054, 42624 white fleet FL
-CN 73913 black & white BA

Sep 19/92:
-CN 990721 orange fuel TA
-CN 425260 BO (with yellow ladders beside door)
-CN 562223, 565403 BO

Nov 24/92:
-CN 80325, 80327, 80257 silver water TA
-CN 990992 orange fuel TA
-CN 70745 orange BA

Jun 10/95:
-CN 70720 black & white BO

On September 13, 1995 CN 43629, generator clothes dryer 40' BO, passenger trucks and all, was in the yard (Gerry Burridge photo, Trackside Treasure collection):
Mar 2/96:
-CN 59574 module FL
-CN 73122 orange flammable BO

Apr 8/96:
-CN 73723, 73737, 73738 all ex-insulated BO

Jun 7/97:
-CN 43708 orange 40' BO
Sep 13/97:
-CN 990707, 990706, 990988 orange fuel TA (below)
-CN 59575, 59591 module FL with fuel tanks ONLY ( same photo - below)
Feb 28/98:
-CN 71552, 73362 BO (below)
Oct 11/98:
-CN 73114 orange flammable BO

Dec 12/98:
-CN 72907 brown BA
-CN 72050, 73842 50-foot BO
-CN 43043 40-foot BO (two photos - below)

Mar 28/99:
-CN 73839 50-foot insulated BO
-CN 73421 40-foot BO
-CN 73811 50-foot insulated BO with roll-up door
-CN 73215 BO with vents for flammable storage
-CN 75279 combination-door BO with roll-up door
-CN 41638, 43408, 42690, 41803 white fleet FL
-CN 80415, 80383, 80294 silver water TA

May 1/99
-CN 41958 40-foot generator clothes dryer BO (below)

Mar 5/00:
-CN 73726 50-foot insulated BO
-CN 59591 module FL with fuel tank ONLY (below)
-CN 72050 double-door 50-foot BO (also below)
-CN 73114-73144 orange flammable BO (top photo)
Aug 26/00:
-CN 71220 rusted 40' BO
Dec 29/01:
-CN 520846 10-foot height 4' BO:
This was the winter of photographing such scenes. Now only weeds and memories inherit these tracks.

Running extra...

Speaking of boxcars, many thanks to Montreal's Mark Charlebois. Two CP miniboxes arrived in the mail recently and they immediately found a home on my HO scale Hanley Spur layout. Mark is a fellow VIAphile and has been very supportive of Trackside Treasure as well as my books on VIA Rail. The cars received their X2F couplers, a light weathering, then were spotted at my Hield Bros. Woolen Mill, the spur for which I just installed. Merci, Mark!
CP's newly-released SD70ACU 7000's sport a Canadian Pacific script and block lettering paint scheme. When CP 7010 led intermodal CP No 100 into Winnipeg, lots of photographers travelled trackside to photograph the repaints' first trip east of Calgary. I'm proud to showcase Mark Perry's photos - just like being there! 

CP 7015 has also been seen plying the rails in the slightly less-photogenic block lettering scheme. The 'heritage' units are to be kept on CP intermodals 100/101. Watch for some commemmorative military-themed units...soon!
VIA ad from this past week. Think of it as a Corridor Citrouille Commercial!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Riding the TTC, August 1965

Waiting for Subway, Eglinton
From the old slide boxes, here are several views of a typical Canadian family visiting Toronto on a summer vacation to see family and friends. Having driven to Toronto from Montreal, we are riding the Toronto Transit Commission system in August, 1965 to reach various parts of Toronto. These slides were taken by my Dad, L.C. Gagnon, and scanned by my brother, D.J. Gagnon. These are only lightly-edited and are purposely presented in their original slide format, each one captioned with my Dad's original caption information, in order.
Group heading south, Yonge Street
You'll see that being the youngest in the group, my role at 18 months on this trip was largely sitting, sleeping and eating. What did I know of Hogtown, the Queen City, the Centre of the Universe that I was experiencing? Not much. But looking back at these slides now, I marvel at my Dad's fine Instamatic (and flash-cube) photography and the transit technology and street life that was passing me by. The real Red Rockets, the real Woolworth's and fins on cars. Enjoy the ride, and Mind the Gap of over 50 intervening years!
Queen Street, PCC car

Humber Loop

PCC cars at Shops

Meeting another street car

Marjorie, Eric, Allison

New Toronto City Hall

Queen Street East, Old City Hall, Eaton's

Lunch at Woolworth's, Eric

Subway cars north on Yonge Street

Subway cars north on Yonge Street

Subway train and platform

Trolley Bus
Running extra...

Don't you hate it when you have a nice fall foliage shot set up and a shiny, beautiful, blue, brand-new Kingston Express Novabus 1922 gets into the frame? Well, I don't:

What would a cab ride between Field and Calgary look like? In 1972!

Wrapping my boring brown HO scale Hanley Spur layout fascia with limestone-grey faux-wood wall stickers from Dollarama dollar store this week. Before (above) and after (below). Tastes like chicken? No, but looks like limestone!
Tastes Like Chicken is a great band-name, and they played at Raxx, hard by Mi 178 of CN's Kingston Sub along Gardiners Road last weekend. My all-time favourite band-name, posted on a utility pole near Aberdeen Street, where also last weekend 12.000 of Queen's University's closest friends clogged the street, was...The Cancer Bats!