Sunday, March 7, 2010

CN's Kingston Aluminum Spur

Located in Kingston's north end, the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan) plant in Kingston was a major industrial customer, and as such received service from CN. A wye branching off the south siding at Queens, the spur entered the plant property and served each mill, via at least nine tracks within the plant property. Although rail shipments dwindled over the years, and the much-smaller operation has been sold by Alcan and is now truck-served, it was still possible in 1985 to find CN doing some switching. In this postscript, read about Alcan's unique covered gondolas.
The trainman is working the caboose's air whistle as the cut of covered gons approaches Lappan's Lane crossing. The two switchstands are for the team track and wye switch. Pulling back on the tele lens as caboose 79438 nears the crossing, the team track is visible at left, with the PUC propane track and switch at right:
After unlocking the plant gate and flagging the Counter Street crossing...'s time to reboard the caboose... 3744 accelerates the short train uphill into the plant property through the opened gate. Note "Alcan Industrial Site" sign on the perimeter fence:
Cars spotted at Alcan track KL14, aluminum rolls in, empties billed to Arvida, Quebec:
GBSR covered gondolas CN 188001, 190734, 190733, 190929, 190722, 190719, 190900, 190926, 190901, 190927, 190651. Ingot loads in from Montreal: 40-foot boxcars 575435, 576906, 560791, 568915, 562153, 561009, 540911. 

Here's a May, 1966 shipment from Alcan Kingston Works to Spain: 
And here are some long extrusions on a converted CP passenger car. They'll be shipped to Thunder Bay, where they'll go into Toronto Transit Commission streetcars from them in March, 1966. Note gon and CN boxcar on track in background:
After the Alcan spur was terminated at Counter Street, in August 1997, Cold Mill No.2 was trucked over and welded onto heavy-duty flatcar QTTX 131049 for Valleyfield, Quebec, thence by Jumboship to Santos, and finally Pindamonhangaba, Brazil. The KIMCO Steel yard is in background. The team track was incorporated into their property and fenced in 2001.
Team track KL05, with its prominent "CN Team Track" sign along Counter Street, was the loading site of 1 Canadian Signal Regiment vehicles in spring 1987, for a distant exercise. The tarped truck (centre) is ascending the loading ramp and will soon be chocked and chained for transport. The well-ballasted Alcan spur is still visible to right of the ambulance:
Permanent Concrete's ready-mix plant, visible above the tarped truck, was locatged along the west leg of the wye and once had rail service via track KL01. Courtesy of the Kingston Whig-Standard photographer, on a sunny morning in January, 1996, here's a unique use for the team track ramp - loading a trailer on another trailer:
In 1985, CN's Rail Changeout gang stored a plethora of equipment on the west leg overnight.
In December 1991, one Procor and one CGTX propane tank car were spotted on track KL03 for unloading. Wye tail track (Alcan spur) switch is visible in foreground:
CN 4526 is switching on the wye with a PGE 50-foot lumber boxcar in tow, December 1981:
On a snowy March 14, 2001, chop-nosed Geeps 4124 and 7080 are setting out WCTR 17044, a gondola of steel for KIMCO, on the team track.
On July 3, 2017, a considerably warmer day, CN 4785-4713 switched KIMCO, lifting an empty CSXT bulkhead flat car and depositing two PTTX 89-foot flat cars of I-beams separated by three idler cars:
 The spur, like much of CN's trackage, becomes increasingly weed-grown:
In a future post, I'll highlight the wide variety of cars spotted on the Team Track, plus some of the switching moves made at Queens.

Running extra...
Just finished Martin Lindstrom's Buy-ology: Truth and lies about Why we Buy. All about neuro-marketing, his research peers into the brains of buyers and their buying decisions. Why would anyone buy McDonald's Filet-o-Fish? Discuss.
Just for the halibut, week's Throne Speech included a fish story: changing the words to our national anthem...again. Oh my cod, what a red herring. Net gain, zero.
To reduce break-aparts, CN is experimenting with slower speeds over profile-crazy portions of the Kingston Sub. Railfans, rejoice! View your favourite overtonnage, overlength drag freights 40% slower.


Zartok-35 said...

The only reason I can think people buy Filet-o-Fish Sandwhiches is because of those goofy commercials they put on TV with the singing fish.

That was an interesting post. I look forward to that Team Track post. I looks like a neat operation!

Bryan said...

At long last! Thanks for this post. Interesting that the Alcan rolling machinery left by rail, and presumably rail service left with it.


Bryan said...

I also particularly liked the pictures of the caboose operation at "John Counter Boulevard" and the "Alcan Industrial Site" that has since been sold off and redeveloped. Oh how times change, and so on...


Eric said...

Hi Elijah and Bryan,
Thanks for your kind comments. Watch for more on Alcan, switching at Queens, the Montreal Street outer station, and the Counter Street team track. Although Alcan's property is being parcelled out, it is still a huge tract of land. I know, from having walked it from north to south.

I'm only blogging what little I experienced there. In earlier years, that plant would keep a switching crew busy for some time, with various car types arriving and departing. The Alcan Kingston Works history book contains at least one aerial photo. Also, at one time there were some former VIA cars stored on the property.