Friday, April 30, 2010

Springtime at Mile 179

Spring is here in the form of a bright, cloudless morning. My son says "Dad, if you're going trainwatching in the morning, you can take my new camera". The coffee cup says It's going to be a good day. The elements seem to be in alignment to discover some early Saturday morning trackside treasure. At 0621, the tailend of CN intermodal train 106 is on the north track heading into the sunrise behind brand-new 8887-2309:

These cattails are silhouetted in the early morning light, growing between rail and road. Nearby Bath Road makes it easy to drive to these photo locations in the area of Mile 179 Kingston Sub.

Train 309 with 2257-2202 running "wrong main" is framed by a telegraph pole at 0637, hauling several Central Soya covered hoppers, CN 89-foot flatcars of rail, Portbec lumber, and 40 empty trilevels on the tail-end:
There's time for a few sips of coffee and a read-through of this morning's newspaper before the morning VIA train to Toronto trundles west at a leisurely 46 mph, behind 919 at 0656. At 0725 it's No 368 behind 2532-IC 1003, with empty paper cars, empty flats and former Alcan covered gons for the smelter at Arvida, plus WC, IC and B&LE gons and hoppers loaded with scrap ties.
The private crossing where I'm standing used to lead to three houses located on the north side of the Kingston Sub. In an effort to reduce the number of unsignalled crossings, as well as to make way for a new housing development, the crossing was closed after the houses gave their all to train Kingston Fire & Rescue volunteers. Heading into the sun:
That's just the way I roll - CN 49258 is loaded with new axles for a car shop somewhere in Quebec. Later, 89-foot wheel car CN 48990 will be going the other way on No 371 with axles, on the next westbound. To paraphrase Marvin, "ain't nothing like the wheel thing, baby".
Car may fall over. Warning. Avoid tipping accident. Instructions - Chargement. Dire bilingual warnings are stencilled on the bulkheads of these 73-foot centre-beam cars as they head east for more wooden wares.
The rails are silent for 10 minutes. Red-winged blackbirds "chaak" and traffic on Bath Road picks up as citizens load their trailers with accumulated winter detritus for disposal, stop by the drive-thru at Country Style, or head out to No Frills for a few groceries. The heavy ballast and welded rail here under the Bayridge Drive overpass look pretty good in the low, glinting sunlight.

Train 369 behind 5761-9530-9576 at 0738 is next. It's unusual to find a GP40-2L in road service these days, much less two of them. These two units had just headed east on train 368, and were now online and earning their keep. Aluminum loads, hydrogen peroxide tankcars likely lifted at Brockville, Arbec, Abitibi and Kruger lumber, loaded paper cars and CN "Rail the Environmental Mode" covered hopper 382022 follow.
Fourteen minutes later, train 371 behind 5777-5682 hauls 10 Ontario Northland covered gons, All-Joist and Nordic lumber, 10 chlorine tankcars, three CSX hoppers, and a healthy string of PPGX covered hoppers, returning for another load of salt from Goderich:

VIA makes another appearance in the form of No 40/52. P42 914 leads 40's LRC cars over the small culvert at Mi 178.8:
918 is sandwiched between LRC and Renaissance equipment:
Bringing up the rear is the Renaissance equipment of No 52:

It was a good day, as predicted by the coffee cup. My son's Sony did a pretty good job, considering it was operating on auto mode, as was I this early in the morning. At least three more freights passed after I headed home. It's like eating donuts...there's always one more, but ya gotta stop sometime.

Running extra...

CN has bought 35 surplus standard-cab ex-UP exx-CNW C41-8's, to be numbered in the CN 2100-series, formerly assigned to Draper Tapers. Also, 60 ex-BNSF C40-8W's which were lease returns. Power-hungry? Economic upswing? "Gee. No, GE."

Locomotives are somewhat interesting, but rolling stock like those leftover B&LE and IC hoppers? That's way more interesting. Bessemer logos, plus IC cars formerly in Nova Scotia gypsum service, now stencilled with the CN website address. Maybe no longer fit for interchange service, CN is maximizing the assets to haul scrap ties.

A tie-in...(why knot?) I bought a few classic tie clips at last week's bluegrass concert. Monroe Crossing dressed in vintage-30's garb, and sold CD's and classic ties and clips at their sales table. Their Silver Dollar City all-request live CD is a great listen. Patsy Cline meets the Soggy Bottom Boys.


Bryan said...


I really liked this post. Lots of action in just a few hours.

What's CN 371?


Zartok-35 said...

Looks like you had a good time. Kinda' makes me want to go out and see some trains. I'm sure it'll be more interesting out on the lines when those Dash-8s get here!

Adam C. said...

Fantastic pictures! I recognized almost all the spots, being a Kingstonian of course. I would love to venture out with you sometime with my camera.

Eric said...

Hi Bryan, Elijah and Adam. Thanks for your comments. Train No 371 has been running since April 2008, as required or on weekends (see sidebar). This post wasn't as retro as most, taking the pulse of the Kingston Sub. Adam, make sure you get some photos of the tie hoppers at the top of the Cat Spur.

Adam C. said...

I was just there on Thursday, a beautiful day I might add. I took mostly video and a few pictures. I may go back tomorrow depending on the weather. I'm also thinking of checking out the Queens area where it switches from 2 rails to 4. A great prospect for good shots!

There was a fellow roughly around my age using some heavy machinery to piles some ties into the hoppers. He is very friendly and doesn't mind me hanging around with my camera.

Bryan said...

Ah, I hadn't noticed that. Interesting info. I see that 320/321 and 362/363 are gone. Not too suprised about 362/363 since I suppose it was mostly vanishing N. Quebec paper/lumber traffic. I guess these were folded into 371/372? Which train takes the blocks of gons and steel traffic that 320/321 used to carry?


Eric said...

Just added it Bryan, so you hadn't overlooked it. 362/363 have just been renumbered as you suggest. Re: the interesting steel traffic, I think some of this is dragged into Taschereau and re-blocked, and maybe sent through the US. May also have to do with economic slowdown, not as much being shipped? I miss seeing 320/321, as I don't find trilevels/intermodal nearly as interesting. Trains on the Kingston Sub are longer and there are fewer than even a year or two ago.