Saturday, December 12, 2009

CN Ballast Trains, Part 2

Ballast Trains, Part 1 included some classic ballast train consists and photos. CN 300175 is one of 42 ballast hoppers behind 5256, distributing ballast around Kingston on September 26, 1999, pictured at Mi 181. The consist of the train: CN orange 302585-302309-302391-90467-302225-302155-90422-302149-90341-90217-302227-302203-90055-302276-90227-301131-300534*-300xxx*-300175*-300870*-300704-301312-300168-300321*-300834*-300072- 3 cars*-301080-300341-300372-300977-300007-300030*-301451-300667-300679-300030 with a small CN logo- 2 cars*-301301-caboose 79911R. (*denotes cars in original Canadian National block-lettering scheme, others wear the wet-noodle scheme)CN 90227 travelled quite widely over the next 16 months: from St Cyrille to South Parry ON, then empty from Battle Creek MI to Capreol ON and back to Battle Creek, loaded from Carbondale IL to Champaign IL and Virginia MN to Wellsboro IN, then from St Cyrille to St Lambert and Fitzpatrick QC, and five more trips to St Lambert in a month-and-a-half.

CN train No 307 has a 20-car ballast hopper block on July 28, 2002. These cars were loaded at St Cyrille, track M044 near Drummondville, Quebec. CN 300312 (above) wears the block-lettering, while CN 300110 (below) shows a graffiti'd wet noodle:
Some of the distinctive orange cars I noted in Part 1's consists are visible in the above two photos, mixed in with the brown hoppers. These government branch-line rehabilitation program cars were built in 1976-78. A cut of these orange cars from St-Cyrille was on CN No 309 at Kingston on October 1, 2005:
On September 20, 1985, 5316-5176 haul Jordan spreader 50937 and a 30-car cut of the orange cars at the head end of a westbound freight on CN 's Rivers Sub:
CN and CP now hire Herzog's Programmable Linear Unloading System (PLUS) train for major track programs. This GPS-linked system precisely spreads ballast at 20 mph over a pre-surveyed area, clear of switches, road crossings and signal installations. The train can work 24 hours a day, in all weather, and eliminates the need for ground forces.
Operating as CN train No 493, the Herzog train was westbound to a distant work location, at Kingston in July, 2006, including car HZGX 8289:
Mark Perry, CN hogger from Manitoba relates, "The Herzog was out here last year and the guys that worked it say it is a dream to work with. A crewman sits in the second unit with his laptop and GPS and they slow down to dump, doors open automatically for the stretch and then they close and you notch her back up to speed until the next dumping spot. Never stops, no one is out on the ground getting all dusty. A far cry when I worked a GLR funded work train on the Hartney sub in 1985, on duty 23 hours a day, 7 days a week...
Running Extra...
Neither Here nor There by Bill Bryson is the book I'm currently listening to. Description of an Italian train ride: "The train was crowded but I found a seat by a window. Everyone on the train passed the time by sleeping. At Naples I emerged from the train only to encounter 27 taxi drivers that wanted to take me somewhere nice and distant...I bought a ticket for Sorrento. The train was packed with sweating people and very slow, stopping every few hundred feet at some suburban station where 100 people would get off and 120 would get on."
Rapido Trains' CP Angus Shops centre-cupola caboose is now shipping. First schemes out of the yard include TH&B as well as fanciful GN and Santa Fe. Now if Santa would only get my CP van down the chimney and under the tree...maybe if he's still working in January.
The whistle ban debate has reared its ignorant and uninformed head here in Kingston again. Have we learned nothing from local tragedies in recent years? Building over/underpasses at most of the remaining level crossings would be impractical due to engineering challenges, thus leaving level crossings as the only option.


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Years ago (heck - everything I did was "years ago") my buddy and I begged a Pacific Great Eastern freight crew to give us some mellow sounds (Swanson AirChimes) as they departed North Vancouver crossing the Capilino River into West Vancouver. No dice. Noise laws. But they must have discussed their options as we left the cab slack jawed. They blew long and hard for every crossing, including rabbit trails, all the way across the bridge and THROUGH West Vancouver! Later, over breakfast, Elwin and I got a great chuckle talking about the phones lighting up at City Hall! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Robert in Port Townsend said...

Oh! I should add. We didn't want to hear the horns just for the sake of hearing horns.Elwin was a very well known audio recordist. We had a stereo recording setup under the Lions Gate Bridge. There were no amateur video recorders in those days ...

Eric said...

Good story, Robert. It reminds me of this old chestnut:
"It's not my job to run the train, the whistle I can't blow. It's not my job to say how far the train's allowed to go. It's not my job to let off steam or even ring the bell. But let the damn thing jump the track then see who catches hell."