Monday, December 26, 2011

Bad Order, Part 1

Railway rolling stock has lots of moving parts.  When one or more of these parts becomes dangerously defective, the car is deemed Bad Order in need of repair.  Sometimes referred to as RIP`s, short for Repair In Place, the track designated for car repairs. Some repairs can be made en route, such as a conductor wiring a cut lever or changing an airhose.  More serious problems can include loose strapping or chains, doors or hatches that need to be repaired at the next RIP track. VIA F40PH-2 6402 has a bent pilot, and has been set out at Queens after striking the crossing at Collins Bay Road on March 6, 2005 (above).
There are problems that prevent the car from going past the next available set-out track.  Serious axle or wheel defects, draft gear or shifted loads are set out at the nearest siding or back track.  On CN`s Kingston Sub, a reduction in mainline switches and potential set-out tracks has made this process more challenging for crews and Rail Traffic Controllers.  A Grand Trunk Western 86-foot hi-cube auto parts boxcar is being taken to Belleville by a four-car local behind 4563 and caboose 79506 on June 15, 1979 (above).  Six months later, a Chicago & North Western four-door hi-cube boxcar has been set out on a spur across the Kingston Sub from the former Collins Bay station site.  Look ma, no 'B' end drawbar:
There are no more set-out tracks at Collins Bay or Ernestown, so RIP's now have to be dragged even farther along the main line.  CN train 519 behind 4123-4111 has VIA LRC coach 3300 sandwiched between its 11 freight cars as it heads past Kingston station on August 13, 1997 at 1400.  Note the jury-rigged trainline along the side of 3300:
If bad-ordered cars are set out, the nearest road repair truck will drive or hi-rail to the car to make the repairs.  CN's International road repair truck, complete with extra wheels awaits a call near the former Belleville roundhouse site in March, 1994:
CN`s current Belleville road repair truck is at the Invista nylon plant on the Cataraqui Spur last winter:
Cars that are able to move, and require heavy repairs to be made at a railway shop, contractor shop, car owner or other railway`s shop are placarded `Home Shop for Repair`and moved in a freight train to that shop.  Until recently, bad-ordered cars had a Bad Order defect car rolled up and left in a car holder on the carbody, detailing the exact defect requiring repair.  While this card is intended to accompany the car, someties the cards came loose, were blown away, and lost or recovered by railfans scouring the right-of-way.  CGTX 30524 rides toward repair aboard CP 315541 at Kingston station on May 4/09:
On January 1, 2011 Railinc, an AAR subsidiary, launched the Damaged and DEfective Car Tracking system, a computerized program which provides a streamlined, accurate and real-time database of cars with defects requiring repair.  Part 2 will feature some Bad Order documents.

Running extra...

Recently-arrived junk mail included Harvey`s restaurant coupons.  I was surprised to find an accurate representation of Kingston`s rail system included on the coupon page.  It even includes tracks that have been removed. (click to enlarge)
OK, so I added the red print on the map for clarity.  Obviously Harvey`s printer is using an old map.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Twas the Blog Post Before Christmas

'Twas the blog post before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, just one cordless mouse,
The train books were stacked on the night table with care,
In hopes I would find them when I needed them, there,
Timetables and magazines were stacked by the bed,
While visions of new posts danced in my head.

My wife sighed loudly, hit her forehead with a slap,
"I'm tired of hearing about all your train crap!"
When out on the Kingston Sub arose such a clatter,
I figured a CN freight might be a-splatter,
Away to the scanner I flew like a flash,
Turned up the volume, to hear RTC teeth gnash,

The crack of slack action over new-fallen snow,
Gave the sound of derailment, but thank goodness, no,
Up the grade towards Belleville, I heard the train disappear,
I resumed talking 'blog' (blah-blah-blah, to my dear)
More creative and inspired, my thoughts again came,
As I remembered my blog partners, and called them by name:

Now Steven, now Adam, Chris, Dave, Scott and John,
Second Chris, third Chris, Matt, Robert and Jas-on,
You share such neat stuff, each blog a different creature,
A definite highlight for my sidebar to feature,

As thoughts in one ear, and out the other ear fly,
I thought of more posts as I scanned the night sky,
On CN! on CP! VIA yellow and blue!
Rolling stock, railfan adventures, and train-riding too,
My imagination throttled up, new ideas reached the roof,
My wife simply said, "Turn the light off, you goof!"

I had one last thought, which I want you to know:
From west coast to east coast, and also my bro',
You speak not a word, but go straight to your work,
Filling readers with thoughts, as they comment or lurk,
You've left us with gifts, they're true Trackside Treasure,
    You photograph and write, with aplomb beyond measure,

(As I heard a train coming, 'twas a P42 whistle
 I knew it was time to end this epistle)
A toast to your efforts, with coffee, pop or beer,
Thanks for making 2011 a congenial year!
To all of you I say, as I call it a night,
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good write!

--Home for Christmas--
Meeting ONR No 121  Eng 1803 at South River, Ontario in 1994 (above)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CN Insulated Boxcars in MOW Service

A cut of CN insulated boxcars with 8-foot Superior and 9-foot Youngstown plug doors in CN's Belleville Yard on February 17, 1992 included billboard 'big apple' CN 283032. Ironically, this car was one of four billboard cars that debuted during railway week in Belleville in July 1971 behind Century 2335 and restored CN steam locomotive 6218. Since much of CN's Great Lakes Region track gang equipment was based in Belleville in 1992, wintered there and was sent afield each summer, it seemed the presence of these 1965-68 built insulated cars indicated their impending conversion to maintenance-of-way house cars, some with roll-up doors.

Photographed in Armstrong, Ontario the car has indeed been renumbered, to CN 73728, with its new number stencilled higher than its previous reporting marks near the underframe.(Gerald Harper photo):

CN 73726 has its 'Insulated Car' designation painted out, with its new AAR code MWM stencilled near its number, in March, 2000:

Some cars such as 73737 and 73723, also 73743 seen at Belleville in April, 1996 had been equipped with roll-up doors in place of their plug doors, and new Home Hardware doors for crew access. Equipment is being loaded for the upcoming trackwork season.

CN 73723 in service in 2005 in London, Ontario with steps and handrails for the crew door, hydro hookup on the 'B' end and DANGER placards clearly visible (Peter Mumby photo):
Although this car series included CN 73600-73773, CN car tracing records on CN 73700-73745 in October, 2001 showed many cars still in MOW service from Quebec to Alberta:
73703 to CPRS 16/8/01*
73711 Redditt track RE66 27/7/01
73712 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73714 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73717 Jasper-Hinton-Edmonton 8-9/01
73718 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73722 Bethnal-Oatland-Capreol 8-9/01
73723 Hornepayne track HO60-Argolis-Agate 8-9/01
73724 Edmonton track TH01 10/01
73725 Capreol 8/01
73729 Riviere des Prairies-Fitzpatrick 7-9/01
73731 Joffre track JF13-CN train No 309-arr Winnipeg 28/9/01
73732 Capreol 8/01
73734 Bethnal 8-9/01
73735 Capreol 8/01
73738 Agate track RC39-Hornepayne-Longlac-Fort Erie
73741, 73743, 73744 Belleville 18/7/01
73742 Foleyet track FL72-MacMillan Yard Toronto 9/01
73745 Agate track RC39-Hornepayne-Longlac-Fort Erie

Note that four (*) cars are heading to Selkirk, Manitoba, likely for scrapping at Mandak Metals. Perhaps CN 73741 is making its last trip midtrain in a westbound freight at Kingston on June 9, 2002:
On our trip west in June, 2019 we passed CN 73744 still in service at Armstrong:

Running extra...

Tonight's report from Brian Schuff in Winnipeg just in: VIA No 1 with 6451-Ren 6434 and Tremblant Park on the tail end. It's been quite a while since the Canadian had a yellow-nosed, non-Ren F40 on the point. CN hogger Mark Perry was in the cab of CN engine 2600 heading for Melville as the Canadian passed.

Christmas specials abound this time of year. Last night it was the Polar Bear Express, with Tom Hanks and his young passengers sloshing across a cracking, ice-covered lake before they reach the shore and safety. Kind of like Saving Private Ryan on ice. To paraphrase Zuzu in It's a Wonderful Life, "Every time a bell rings at the crossing, it means a train is coming."

Merry Christmas to all Trackside Treasure's readers! May this festive season bring lots of relaxation, time with family and friends, a break from work, enjoying festive food and drink (bring on the fruitcake!) and reflecting on 2011 as we look forward to 2012.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Santa Sale

It's that time of year again - Christmas shopping looms, but you can beat the crowds by picking up an item or two for yourself or someone you know at Trackside Treasure's online Santa Sale. The first email received indicating interest in each item at makes the item yours, shipped well-protected via Canada Post upon receipt of payment. Shipping cost will be actual postage, payment of total by cheque or money order. Please refer to item # when ordering. Thanks for looking, and Merry Christmas!


ITEM #1 (Top) From the Operator's Desk: A full day of train orders, clearances, symbol sheets, train lineups, crew call sheets, operator's trainsheet and messages - over 80 items in each package. Twenty-four hours of CP Rail action between Thunder Bay and Kenora on the Ignace and Kaministiquia Subs. Did I mention this is 1981? In excellent condition for their age, and each package was dated and stored until today. For this item only - I have more than one package available, but quantities are limited - operators are standing by. $25 per package.

A nice selection of books on regional railway subjects from across Canada:

ITEM #2 (above) Cinders to Saltwater by Shirley E. Woods. Atlantic Canada's Railways since 1829. Nicely-illustrated with maps and photos, 227 pages, 1992, hardcover with dustjacket, $21.

ITEM #3 (below) McCulloch's Wonder - the Story of the Kettle Valley Railway by Barrie Sanford. Detailed history of the KVR. 20th Anniversary Edition, sixth printing 1998, 260 pages, illustrated, softcover, $16.

ITEM #4 (also below) The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill by Graeme Pole. Tales, maps and factoids about this spectacular CPR route. 1998, 80 pages, softcover, $13.

ITEM #5: (below) The Town that Arrested a Train by George Campbell. Fort William's drastic actions in the 19th century profiled. First Printing 1981, illustrated 24 pages, softcover, $7.

ITEM #6 (also below): Banff Springs - The Story of a Hotel by Bart Robinson. Couldn't export the scenery, so CPR had to import the tourists. Second Edition 1988, illustrated 120 pages, softcover, $7.

ITEM #7: (below) Vintage VIA...It's a tote bag! It's a pillow with pillow case sanitized for your protection! White plastic, blue VIA, 1980's in original packaging, $15.
Item #8: (below) Vintage VIA shoulder tote bag made in Canada by Curtis Agencies, brown and yellow with strap. 1980's, comes in a VIA shopping bag, $18. ITEM #9: (below) CN LINES Volume 13 Numbers 1 and 4, $5.50 each or both for $10.
ITEM #10: CN Predecessor Roads bicentennial units - Grand Trunk Western, Detroit Toledo & Ironton and Central Vermont units each numbered 1776. Two 8x10's, one Audio-Visual Designs Super Post Card, all three for $12. ITEM #11: Glorious Colour 8x10's - ONR 1808, F-unit and Northlander consist at North Bay in 1992; CN 5302 leads four other units at English, Alberta in 1981, $6 each or both for $11.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Railfanning from the CN Tower

When the CN Tower was built on railway lands in downtown Toronto, it was surrounded by major facilities used by the railways: Union Station, CP's John Street roundhouse, and CN's Spadina roundhouse and coach yard.
While most visitors to the world's tallest tower (1,815 feet in height) enjoyed views to the horizon from the observation deck (1,136 feet - Hey look! I can see Hamilton!), I preferred the view below, where I could see train movements taking place. The trains could also be viewed from ground level, but it was more interesting to watch and photograph trains wending their way through the terminal trackage, often featured on tourist postcards often featured the tower from various angles and altitudes (above & below):
From the outdoor observation deck (1,122 feet) the tower's shadow falls between the safety bars onto the white skirting that covers satellite dishes. Upper Canada Railway Society's private car Cape Race is next to the steam plant. Stored CP intermodal flats, 40-foot yellow insulated boxcars and Service boarding boxcars line the coach yard tracks nearby in May 1980:
Looking east along Toronto Terminal Railways trackage, the Union Station train shed is visible between the bars. An inbound GO Transit train races past a CP wayfreight beside the Gardiner Expressway, which runs beside the postal terminal near Union Station:
Pointing my Kodak Hawkeye straight down, a VIA F-unit and a yard switcher with coach in tow both head west. Rapido Trains' president Jason Shron will be depicting such scenes on his HO-scale Spadina-CN Kingston Sub layout. That's our school field trip's school bus beside the F-unit:
Looking west from the outdoor deck, a bidirectional GO Transit train slides past Spadina coach yard, while at least two CN switchers drill passenger cars. Compare the view to the third photo in this Canadian Railway Observations article by Walter Pfefferle. Today's view is markedly less-railroady and more Albert Speer-esque, as wide avenues guide condo owners home to their high-priced birdhouses along the lake. In both views, historic Fort York is visible at mid-top of photo:
What a difference a telephoto lens makes. While a scruffy ex-CP VIA F-unit peeks out from the trainshed, an eastbound CP transfer powered by two switchers hauls 13 gons, four covered hoppers, two boxcars and five tank cars in September 1986:
The stainless steel roofs of three RDC's glint in the late afternoon sun:
Farther west, two short F-led VIA passenger consists and a brace of RDC's pass Fort York at Bathurst Street:
Forty-foot CP Rail boxcars, ex-baggage Service car, and two tank-bearing flat cars are stored:
An end-cupola van, piggyback flats and 'roundhouse queens' TH&B 72, 74, 401, 402, 76 and 77 await conversion to CP's 1680-series with chop noses, reposing on CP's trackage:
Rail & transit: A Toronto Transit Commission Peter Witt car is on an afternoon excursion:
You'd never see this while railfanning in the vicinity of the CN Tower: an artist's fanciful conception a four-track (in reality, only two-track) flyunder to be constructed west of Spadina Avenue. A CP F-unit hauling a boxcar meets the LRC prototype, two GO single-level and two double-level consists, a CN RS18 hauling Tempo coaches(?) and the Turbo near Spadina's coaling tower, all in one view from UCRS's November/December 1976 newsletter. Now that's railfanning CN Tower style!
Running extra...

Most modellers just buy models and kitbash, paint and decal them to match a specific prototype. Jason Shron started Rapido Trains to produce the cars he wanted, and oh, to sell a few to fellow modellers in the process. Rapido's recent announcements include MLW's FPA4. Schenectady serendipity and MLW melodrama in all-encompassing ALCo-mania.

How many Torontonians does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one, then five more to hold a panel discussion about what a world-class event it was. Why doesn't Hamilton have an NHL team? Because then Toronto would want one too.

Toronto takes a few jabs, but it still features some world-class railfanning opportunities. Be sure to check out the blog partners featured in my sidebar: Chris Mears' Prince Street Terminal features GO Transit among myriad other subjects, and Adam Walker's Walker Express featuresa recent visit to GO's Willowbrook yard.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

But it's a TRAIN

The 30th anniversary of the 1981 VIA Rail cuts got me thinking...there's still lots to see trackside. Instead of wallowing in nostalgia about the F-unit era, it's important to appreciate what's still rolling by. To express this, it seemed appropriate to publish a post on this very topic. The Turbo, Rapido, Atlantic Limited are all gone, but VIA rolls on and although the rolling stock has changed, it's DIFFERENT, but it's a TRAIN.

This is Trackside Treasure's first multi-media post. Instead of simply including photos, I did what anyone who appreciates what VIA has offered us over the past 35 years would do...I produced a rap video.

Enlisting the services of Spadina-based rapper E-series and his crew, here is the global premiere of "But it's a TRAIN". Enjoy. Youtube link here!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Modelling a CN auxiliary crane

My previous post on the 1993 derailment at Mi 180 Kingston Sub reminded me of the modelling I'd done after viewing the derailment clean-up. Over the next year, I kitbashed/painted/decalled a new 7-car auxiliary train. First of all, I'd decided it was time to modernize my HO scale CN auxiliary, bringing it up to date from CN's basic black scheme of earlier years.
To do so, I brush-painted my Athearn 200-ton auxiliary crane in CN's striking, high-visibility scheme with orange sides, silver roof, yellow deck and broad black & white stripes on both ends. I also added some details to the roof: air horn, spotlight and a muffler. Opposite side:
I also thought CN 60329, the idler car was neat and modelled it as well. Of course, 50016's boom needed a prototypical resting place, as well as providing a place for the crew to get out of the weather if needed.Details I added to 60329 (not sure why I decalled it 60239) included rerail frogs, yellow-painted ladders, smokejacks, lighting along the deck, deck-mounted fuel tank and various supplies such as blocking timbers and chains carefully stowed and ready for use. My car is unweathered, and does not include those interesting cutout sections on the side of the flatcar deck, no doubt for additional storage. CN engine 5595 is seen switching the auxiliary train, a common occurrence that would take place in the siding nearest the derailment, to place the train's cars in the order needed for the job at hand. Clothes dryer/generator car CN 43699 provides power and creature comforts to the train and its crew:
A tool/cable car was also included in the 1993 consist. I used VIA 9070, a Con-Cor baggage car I'd picked up for this project. I cut out one door, adding a crew member who is retrieving some important piece of equipment from the car, which would also carry cables and slings for special lifts. Underbody details include timbers for blocking the auxiliary outriggers and more rerail frogs. Rerail frogs are heavy. You can never have enough of them, and they need to be readily available and stored as close to track level as possible.
Another crew member keeps an eye on the passing scenery on the idler car. I lettered both these cars for the 'Winnipeg Auxiliary' with CDS VIA car lettering. This was before my reading-glasses era.
Of course the full auxiliary train needs to be filled out with more cars: accommodation, dining, lighting, track panels, trucks and axles and more. Click on the Derailments tag in my right sidebar to find more derailment posts including auxiliary train consists I've observed in action.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Derailment at Kingston, May 1993

A 93-car westbound CN freight derailed at 2200 hours, Thursday, May 13, 1993 just west of Kingston, Ontario. The derailment was in an interesting location, at Mi 180 Kingston Sub: at the Collins Bay Road level crossing, bordering the playground of Collins Bay Public School. Four loaded auto racks derailed from the north track, across the south track and into the trackside pole line and schoolyard fence. CAUTION tape was deployed, and wrapped around two track wrenches that had been driven into the schoolyard. This kept the young students away from the site at recess, but we could still hear them yelling "Mister, get away from the train! It's going to crash! It's going to explode!" No doubt merely an expression of youthful, enthusiastic hyperbole. Arriving at the derailment site, three auto racks had already been rerailed, with CN 711931 remaining. The Toronto Auxiliary was at the scene:
Consist of the Toronto Auxiliary:
CN 5358 (NA map scheme) -5355 - 250-ton auxiliary crane 50008 - idler car 60329 - tool (ex-baggage) car 60337 - hazmat boxcar 57948 - generator boxcar 43621 - crew sleeper 72909 - ?coach - ?coach - 3 flatcars with panel track - gondola 59110 with spare trucks - 60305 - flatcar 57935 - flatcar 57551 with portable lights - caboose 79902. The auxiliary worked the west end of the lift, while Kershaw road-rail crane CN078836 worked the east end. A 20 mph slow order was in effect between Mileages 179-182, with trains passing the derailment site at no more than 10 m.p.h. The auxiliary's outriggers have been blocked with timbers sledge-hammered into place, and a freight car truck rolled into place for the lift of the errant auto rack:

The auxiliary train's consist had been re-marshalled placing 50008 was at the east end, with the idler car, tool car and boxcar ahead of the power. As the Kershaw crane held the east end of the car steady, the west end was lifted up and over the south track, shown in this series of photos:

Once rerailed, the timber blocking was lifted by the crane onto the adjacent idler car:

A CN hi-rail truck brought some additional rails to the site, and VIA train 60 passed at 1100, 6902-3461-3346-3368:
The auxiliary's boom was lowered, and the auto rack chained to its east end coupler for the trip to Ernestown, to be set out there (below and top photo). There, the train was likely re-marshalled before returning to Toronto via Belleville. CN 50008 was the Belleville auxiliary in 1961, rerailing 23 cars that derailed into the Trent Canal near Trenton Junction.
More trains continued by after the auxiliary left. As often happens once the track is fully open, the floodgates open and trains start to flow through as fast as the dispatcher can get them going, with passenger trains and high-priority freights having precedence:
1402 EB VIA: 6428-3468-3362-3360
First freight past the site: WB CN Laser 9570-9526-9441-77 platforms
1420 EB VIA train 42: 6429-3475-3371-3329
1440: EB CN freight 9425-2317-2333 - 71 cars
1505 WB VIA train 65: 6407 - 4 LRC cars
1508 EB VIA train 64: 6414-3339-3366-3350-3331-3471-8622
1517 WB CN train 391: 6001 - exCNW NRE 882 - 5031
1533 EB CN freight: 9443-2324-3548

A newspaper photo from the Kingston Whig-Standard (above) shows an early morning view of the accident scene, while Kingston This Week (below) shows the Kershaw crane at work, later in the day. 50008's boom is visible in the background, while the road-rail crane is blocked and in position.
One day before the accident, a crossing accident fatality occurred one mile east, at Mile 179. This was the ninth crossing accident in the Kingston area in seven years. The private crossing was in use by a mechanic who was going to work on a car located at the house on the north side of the double-track mainline, when his Olds Cutlass was demolished by VIA train 68. This crossing, two other private crossings between Mi 179-180, and Hillview Road crossing were subsequently removed.

Running extra...

Lots of speculative discussion online this week after VIA's train 692 took some last-minute measures to clear the track for CN train 853 on CN's Togo Sub in Manitoba. Only those involved know for sure what happened, but it reminded me of the events leading to the CN-VIA Hinton, Alberta collision/derailment twenty-five years ago. Fortunately, no such calamitous event ensued.

I still can't believe a Canadian senator suggested replacing the beaver with the polar bear as Canada's national animal emblem. Is this some kind of an ONR (polar bear) vs. CPR (beaver) competition? While the polar bear is a majestic ursine animal citizen of Canada, there's no animal as clever, resourceful, family-minded and handy as the Canadian beaver. (No wonder it's the emblem of the Canadian Forces engineering branch.) A dam dumb idea if you ask me.

Remember Canada's fallen this coming week - John 15:13. The average age of surviving World War Two veterans is 85 years of age, with the average Korean War veteran being 76 years of age. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them. Nous nous souviendrons d'eux.