Saturday, June 26, 2010

Canada Day: Canada by Train II

Presenting Trackside Treasure's second Canada Day homage to our great lone land, here are trackside scenic views, accompanied by excerpts from "The Colour of Canada" . The book, with prose by the late Hugh MacLennan: Nova Scotia-born novelist, Rhodes scholar, five-time Governor-General's Award winner and Companion of the Order of Canada, was originally published in Canada's Centennial year, 1967.

Canada covered hoppers load grain at Viking, Alberta.

The stark word PIONEER is still apt on this grain elevator on the siding of the transcontinental railway line which links it to Montreal and Vancouver. On thse plains when the first settlers came in, the creak of the wooden wheels in the Red River carts sounded for miles; then came the lonely wail of the whistles on the steam locomotives; now, there's the penetrating blare of the new horns on the Diesels.
Banff retrospective from onboard VIA No 1 (above).

The natural division between the Prairies and the cordilleran West is the most dramatic of them all. The piercing of the vast ranges of the British Columbia mountains by the railways was Canada's greatest single response to the physical challenge of her environment.

East of Devona, Alberta on CN (below).

At Calgary the foothills begin, rolling like the smaller waves that herald the moment of the titanic seas of a hurricane. Beyond them the earth-waves are grey, minaretted, the earth in tempest all the way to the Pacific.
Country road and the Rockies appear west of Redner, Alberta.

When you travel across the far western prairie the dramatic moment comes, not when you see the skyline of the Rockies, but when you reach the visible tilt when the prairie begins the rise.
Sunset from the Park car near the Manitoba-Ontario border.

Suddenly you see black earth appearing and then you are in a land-ocean, the black prairie of Manitoba, on the horizon is a grain elevator and the onion dome of a Ukrainian church.
Beaver dam and pond near Hornepayne, Ontario.

The breaching of the frontier between Ontario and the West is still the greatest achievement in the history of Canada. In this age of masses and abstractions, let it not be forgotten that this was the work of a very few men, that guts and imagination working together are the expression of the Divine in human life.
Fall foliage from the vestibule near Upsala, Ontario.

From Ottawa to the Prairies along the line of the Canadian Pacific you travel for a night, a day and most of the night following and nearly all of this journey is through the empty land of the Shield, the train wiggling like a mechanical snake around little lakes, with aspens and spruce blurring past the windows.
An A.J. Casson pine from a coach vestibule south of Sudbury, Ontario

The North begins in Ontario at Georgian Bay. It was here that Tom Thomson and his colleagues of the Group of Seven first painted the Canadian northland as it truly is, and thereby enabled millions of their countrymen to see the nature of their land.
Big sky and stooked hay east of Napanee, Ontario.

The farmland of Ontario seems almost too good to be true. It is gentle, rich and rolling, well watered, soothed by mists and moisture from the Great Lakes.
The iron-rich red soil along Rustico Harbour, PEI. This is a roadside, not trackside view taken after CN left the island. However, on my previous visit to PEI was 1982, there was still rail service.

Not all the Maritimes are stern and rocky; Prince Edward Island is almost a garden, famous for its potatoes, dairy products, the straightforward honesty of its people, its bathing beaches, its superb Malpeque oysters and Anne of Green Gables.
CC-130 Hercules and CF-5 Freedom Fighters as CFB Trenton, Ontario.

The air was crisp, the wind-scoured sky was cloudless. Finally the name "Canada" was spoken, the new Maple Leaf flag went up and instantly a squadron of RCAF planes cracked over in salute and burst upward like a fan of rockets into the blue.

Running extra...

I suppose I could have worked something subtly bilingual like "Cana-deux" into the title of this second Canada Day tribute.

The Great Northern featured Rocky the Goat, the mascot of the "Vandoos" is Batisse X.

As a country linked by two (until recently) transcontinental railways, it's not surprising they both have the word "Canadian" in their names. Can you think of a single U.S. railroad with "American" in its name?

Yep, I changed my Blogger template; it's farewell to Rounders 2. Until now, template changes were fraught with peril and could result in the catastrophic loss of blog content. Appearance is understated for now, but there are lots of truly freaky backgrounds available in categories like The Arts, Food & Drink and Patterns. What, no flaming penguins or train GIF's?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cars on CN's Counter Street Team Track

Team tracks can receive a wide assortment of car types and commodities. Kingston's Counter Street team track, part of the Aluminum Spur, is no different. Here are some cars photographed between 1983 and 2003. Most were spotted for unloading. CP 59457 is an eight-foot door CP boxcar, spotted at the ramp in March 1986. Billed to Topnotch Feeds, also on Counter Street, it's likely feed grain(above). CP 111510 built 9-44, formerly CP 250045 is spotted on a snowless January 8, 1983:
A 1986 Belleville CN Car Control Manual lists "Customers with team track loading or unloading in that zone" in a customer list. For the Counter Street Team Track:
  • Blatchford Feeds Ltd. 
  • Cashway Lumber Ltd.
  • Clow Farm Eqpt. Co.
  • Glen Supply Ltd.
  • Kingston Iron & Metal
  • MacLachlan Lumber Ltd.
  • Muttart Buildling Supply
  • Topnotch Feeds
  • United Co-Operatives of Ontario
May 5, 1979: CP 202127 boxcar, spotted not on ramp for easier unloading, likely lumber.

Gondolas predominate, with I-beams or other structural steel for local steel distributors such as Kimco. The team track is now within Kimco's fenced perimeter. ATSF 168997 and two P&LE gons April 24, 1989:
P&LE 17165 still bears vestiges of a New York Central oval herald:
May 28, 1991: CCBX 57857 covered hopper, CN 53154 air dump car, MNS 2040 all-door boxcar, OTTX 91379 and 97252 with Canadian Forces line truck, excavator and trailer.

September 9, 1991: Gondolas: green CNW 132744, AC 1302.

September 17, 1991: Gondolas: black CNW 372032, green CNW 128069, MP 650642 with UP crest, AC 1212.

June 8, 1992: ATSF 169034 gondola, CNWX 110454 blt 9-84, BCOL 2319 blt 9-71:
July 17, 1992: 3 TTX flats, 5 CN air dump cars including 56502, 56076, 58163, 56583.

May 11, 1995: Gondolas AC 1251, SF 164544.

January 31, 1998: Covered hoppers CN 388995, CNWX 111439:
February 21, 1998: CNWX 110963 grain unloading, blt 11-84:
June 12, 1998: CN 91085 Marine Industries tie car, CN 615121 pulpwood bulkhead flatcar.

April 30, 1998: CN tamper 619-25 and panel switch flatcar CN 54993:
June 12, 1998: CN 91085 Marine Industries tie gondola, CN 615121 pulpwood bulkhead flatcar.

January 30, 1999: Gondolas 340684, CNW 137006 with I-beams, and brown WCRC 3264:
March 1999: Covered Co-Steel gondolas CEFX 30143 and 30283:
July 24, 1999: Bulkhead flats DWC 605449 with timbers, TTPX 81769 with steel, gondolas BN 580715 and brown BNSF 518281.

October 8, 1999: Gondolas CSXT 490787, BNSF 519272, brown and yellow CNWX 101155 grain.

November 11, 1999: ATSF 169594 gondola.

December 11, 1999: CEFX 30117 covered gondola.

March 2000: CN 377645 with bad-order 'B' end knuckle:
May 7, 2000: CN 603145 bulkhead flatcar with crossing timbers for Kingston sectionmen:
May 7, 2000: BN 580598 gondola with I-beams:
July 3, 2000: CN OCS gondolas 53752, 137097, 136723 with scrap rail.

March 24, 2001: BN 624368 bulkhead flatcar with I-beams.

April 20, 2001: CN 603867 bulkhead flatcar with crossing timbers.

April 8, 2001: JTTX 931212 89-foot flatcar with I-beams.

July 21, 2001: Gondolas SP 365138 and MP 650887

Undated: MP 650197 in a Tim Reid photo

March 2003: MP 650788 with steel:

August 28, 2008: BNSF 522319 green 89-foot pole bulkhead flat car, TKEN 942 black gondola, TTX flatcars and bulkhead flat car.

Mar 27, 2009: Covered gondolas CEFX 30143-30283

One other unusual load in 2009 was a boiler for the Queen's University co-generation plant which arrived on a white depressed-centre flatcar, likely BAWX 107. Now that the team track is fenced, it's much harder to get car numbers, nevermind photographs. With all the wood strapping, nails and banding that usually accompanies steel loads, it's a good place to avoid driving into anyway.

Running extra...

Driving around Kingston today, we passed Quattrocchi's Produce at Railway & Montreal Streets, which was formerly rail-served, initially via CP and later CN's Hanley Spur. There's more to come on Kingston's rail-served industries. Be sure to check out the series so far, in my sidebar.

Made a Kingston-Toronto round trip on trains 47/68 this week. Minor delay westbound at Brighton for a hard-luck freight in emergency, and to protect crossings. VIA1 full window seat rows in LRC 3470: 9 and 11; HEP stainless steel 4006: 4, 6, 8 left side, 5, 7, 9 right side. Sounds of VIA1: the tip-tap-tap of laptop keys and the clink of liquor bottles in the bar cart.

Stainless steel cars in Union Station trainshed: Emerald, Skyline 8517, Laird Manor, Douglas Manor. GO locomotives: 607, 625, 615, 550.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spadina Roundhouse, July 1982

Climb down the steps from Toronto's Spadina Street bridge, sign a release in the shop foreman's office, don a hard hat and spend a couple of hours soaking in the atmosphere of CN's downtown locomotive shop. In July 1982, VIA and ONR F-units, VIA RDC's, CN switchers and Tempo units called Spadina home for servicing and for inspection by visiting railfans.
Having arrived in Hogtown on the morning Railiner from Kingston, my dad and I first viewed Spadina from the CN Tower, then at ground level. The roundhouse was still full of passenger power, and the coach yard hosted a plethora of passenger equipment.With our releases in hand, we explored the ready tracks.
Power on hand: 6758, 6765, 6769, 6770, 6774, 6775, 6778, 6782, 6865, 6868, CN 6867, 6870, 6532, 6541, 6635, 6621, 6637, RDC's 6135, 6123, 6129, 6126, 6102, 6114, 6117, 6104, 6202, 6205, 6207, 6210, 6002, 6006, 6000, 6004, 6005, 6401, CN switchers 8512, 8513, 8514, Tempo 3150, 3152, 3153, and ONR 1502:
Clambering up into various units' cabs, obsolete train orders were still stuffed in control stands and garbage receptacles. Not for long.

Trains represented in the clearances: No 635 at Clifton, No 636 Hamilton, No 668 End 3153 London and Stratford, No 128 Eng 1502 North Bay, Washago, Nipissing, and Huntsville, No 82 Sarnia and London, No 84 London, No 2 Eng 6541 Schreiber, White River, Washago and Barrie, No 72 London, Tecumseh and Komoka.
The turntable was in use, with 6782 hostled up and going for a spin:
Need a flash. Switcher 8512 and some other units were ensconced in the roundhouse. Dad in cab:
VIA and GO consists, CN and CP transfers trundled by to and around Union Station:

EB VIA: 6539-6613-5654-5587-2511-5631-5537-Mount Royal Club-9651.

EB VIA: 6906-3338-3340-3302-3343.

CN 7218-76560

CP 8143-437073, 8124-437028

GO 907, 503, 510
EB GO: 515-2058-2066-2031-2020-107 (above). One final photo from the bridge, showing 6205, 6135, 6117, 6207, 6775, 6104, and 70604, one of two CN work baggages, still in the CNR green-and-black scheme, the other was 70609:
Then it was time for a quick lunch at Rails restaurant in the lower concourse of Union Station. TTC subway and streetcar took us to George's Trains, returning in time to catch an LRC train back to Kingston.
Running extra...

Union Station, the former CP John Street roundhouse and much of downtown Toronto is being cordoned off for the G20 summit later in June. Inbound VIA trains will be terminating in Oshawa, Oriole, Oakville and Brampton.

CPR rostered G3 and G5 Pacifics. CN G8's were light rail diesels, while Pennsy ran GG1 electrics. Gee. No, GE. Or is that PGE?

Glee wrapped up its season, with the school club New Directions getting a funding reprieve, meaning they can return for another season of lip-synched production numbers on Global.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops Van Arrives

How can one van replace five? Easily - when it's the Rapido Trains CP Angus Shops van. The first of their Transcona Yard series, billed as museum-quality freight equipment, the van is produced in 20 paint schemes. There's only one that matters: CP Rail. The long-anticipated new product was recently delivered to dealers, and mine arrived earlier this week. So it's time for all the other CP vans on my Vancouver Wharves HO layout to head for the scrapper. They don't even deserve to share the same van track as this superior product.
New van 434539 arrives in 'N' yard. Terminal supervisor and trainmaster arrive to inspect the new kid on the block, and to oversee the transfer of five vanquished vans across town for disposition.
No wonder they're being replaced. Cox 434416 without window glazing, proper multimark, and Bachmann end-cupola 437581 Santa're fired!
Model Power 434382, my best attempt at kitbashing an Angus Shops van, to which I added a saddleback cupola, and Juneco 437083 with those out-of-scale window frames-we're not worthy! Behind them, Cox 434580 with scratchbuilt cardstock cupola is ushered out of the yard on a flat car. I can hear the flick of the scrapper's torch being lit already. Get thee behind me, stand-ins!
Voyage of the doomed vans. 6528 is ready to depart. Before long, the diminutive scrapyard 44-tonner, recently purchased from the Greater Winnipeg Water District, shoves three of the vans to their demise at Coast Steel.
Then it's time to handle a few switching chores around town. 434539's detailed underbody and cushion underframe are not visible in this shot; neither is the interior lighting. 6528 lifts some cars for interchange from Interline Forwarders as workers relax at the end of their shift:
The switcher's shift is not over yet, as grain empties are pulled from the Alberta Wheat Pool terminal:
After its first day on the job, it's back to the van track for servicing. Look at those detailed car ends, handrails, and sliding cupola windows. You can almost hear the generator thumping away. This may be the only Rapido Trains van in North America that has been retro-fitted for X2F horn-hook couplers. It definitely puts the 'Van' in Vancouver.