Saturday, March 12, 2011

Almost Springtime in Shannonville

Shannonville, Ontario is a great railfanning location. CP's Belleville Sub and CN's Kingston Sub cross each other at grade. CN's Kingston Sub west of Marysville is currently one nearly-continuous construction zone as a third track is added (thanks Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the economic stimulus money) to speed VIA trains around the inevitably disabled or hog-lawed CN freight trains held outside Belleville yard limits. Unlike previous visits, the weather today involved leaden skies and a few flurries. I've blogged about this location twice, once in April 2009, and again in September 2009
The stimulus for this visit was actually thanks to my wife, who wished to visit her favourite craft store, not-too-coincidentally also located in Shannonville. I told her she could take as long as she wanted, while I walked in to this location. Soon after I arrived via the gravel access road that CN crews have built, CP ethanol empties train 643 headed west behind CP 8974-DME 6097-CEFX 3168-CITX 3071 (top). It appears CN is adding a third track right under the CP bridge. A CN DPU-equipped eastbound, likely CN train 310, blasted out through the bridge piers at 1200 hours, with 8904 leading and 8879 as the DPU, sandwiched between ATTX concentrate flatcars and CN sheet-steel bulkhead flats:
More retail therapy followed in Belleville, which necessitated a visit to CN's yard there. A plethora of CN trucks, heavy equipment, and orange-clad construction crews were everywhere. A minty new road repair truck was parked near the former roundhouse site, now a car shop occupied by old banger CN gons and Sperry Car 119:
The Sperry crew has likely been everywhere, but was probably happy to tie up somewhere not in the middle of nowhere, miles from anywhere, for a change. The turntable is visible in the foreground.
CN trains 371, 121 and VIA train 57 had all met CN train 350 which was stopped at Brighton for the meets, due to its handling D-6 dimensional traffic. CN train 149 was the next to happen along, behind 5686-8012-2509. Pulling in for a crew change at the west end of Belleville yard, it was double-stacks as far as the eye could see, looking east towards Wilson, then west towards Centre:
That's not a meandering industrial spur in the foreground, it's triple-tracking. Foreman Dunn was clearing all trains through his Rule 42 limits between Mi 211 and 221.
The dimensionals gave us a reason to delay our departure from Belleville, and necessitated visits to Wendy's and Tim Horton's (won a free donut on Roll-Up-The-Rim!) CN train 590 with engine 7071 and train 305 behind IC-lettered 2705 eased in from the east. Train 350's crew was running short on time, and would have to meet VIA train 45 and CN 305 before moving farther eastward. 2705 was bringing in ingot cars, paper cars, tank cars, empty carbon hoppers and auto racks, and was also changing crews at the west end:
Construction on the between-tracks structure for VIA trains on the north track of the Kingston Sub is underway, with piles visible in front of ATW gons 700233-700080. DPU on this train was 8016.
With the coffee gone and train 350 still not moving, it was time to head west on Moira Street to find the train around Mile 223 of the Kingston Sub. The crew said the train was to be recrewed there, and they were awaiting a taxi ride into Belleville and they would perform a pull-by inspection for the outgoing crew. Train 350 is a weekend overflow train that often handles dimensionals. Today, 2653 was leading, with 8961 as DPU.
And what were the dimensional loads necessitating all these coordinated train movements? The first was HTTX 92858 with a Cat 773F dumptruck:
Right behind it was HTTX 97441 with a Cat 345D excavator:
Also on the train were an assortment of cars, including ARMN 110162, complete with Carrier refrigeration unit. I shoehorned myself in between the narrow ballast shoulder and the signal mast for a photo, with 8961 a couple of cars to the rear:
Being a rolling stock fan, here are a few photos of some interesting cars on today's trains. Former CNWX grain car, with Government of Canada/Gouvernement du Canada painted out and new reporting marks NDYX 814494:
IC bulkhead flat 978865 with its well-secured load of aluminum ingots. Most of these cars have been repainted in IC's black dip, although a few orange IC ones are still rolling.
Four-axle Trailer Train depressed-centre flat QTTX 130530:
CN 44295 was reposing in Belleville yard at the end of a CN Continuous Welded Rail train. CN's CWR trains are always interesting to watch, but this one was barely visible between lines of plastic pellet covered hoppers and stored gons in the yard. Former BCR and CN bulkhead flat cars were also deep in the yard, being relieved of their loads of new ties for the triple-tracking.
With craft items in hand, digital photos in the camera, and Timmy's rims rolled up, it was time to roll on home. I'm sure there will be another visit to the 'Ville sisters, Mary, Shannon and Belle.

Running extra...

One bit of Kingston Sub construction was taking place near Belleville's airport, where the Thurlow Railway used to head south, cross the CP Belleville Sub at grade, and serve the now-abandoned cement plant at Point Anne.

Employee of the month honours go to the Japanese store staffer shown in that oft-broadcast earthquake footage, desperately trying to keep bottles of sake or Dr Pepper from being shaken off the store shelves. Lady, let 'em fall and save yourself.

Enjoyed my trip to Toronto aboard VIA train 651 and back on VIA train 48 this past week. Heading home, the VIA 1 service was attentive, the Sleeman was cold, the cod was warm, and my seatmate gave me her dessert. Definitely a more human way to travel.


Zartok-35 said...

Lots of DPUs out on the Kingston line nowaday. It's interesting to see they've propped the SD70M-2 between hoppers on the flatcar train.

Bryan said...

Good post; looks like a successful day trackside.

Eric said...

Hi Elijah and Bryan, the score was DPU:3, Non-DPU:1. It's always cool to see that mid-train unit roaring along, but who doesn't like a big power lashup??

The construction was impressive, reminding me of mega-projects a la the Union Pacific.

A non-retro post for a change.

reg.fitzpatrick said...

Always enjoy reading this site for the photo's and news along the both major lines in that "neck" of the area!

Eric said...

Good to hear from you, Reg. I've been unusually "current" recently, showcasing some shots I've taken while trackside. Don't worry, I'll still keep the retro material coming as well.

Anonymous said...

anybody got the kingston sub schdule for sundays at brockville kindly email them to

Eric said...

Onecarlson, check the right sidebar of this blog. Most trains are daily. Subtract one hour for westbounds, add one hour for eastbounds for approximate Brockville times.
Hope this helps,

powerslave84 said...

Do you have a map or address to get to the spot where the lines cross each other. I am from the area but can never find the way!

Eric said...

Hello ps84,

It's a walk-in from Shannonville Road, where the CP and CN cross it. This is north of the village of Shannonville and south of the 401, park then about 500 metres west. Usual safety rules apply on the right-of-way. Tyendinaga Police have done a wellness check on me before in the area. When triple-tracking was underway, access via CN was a lot easier!

Stay safe, and hope this helps,