Saturday, May 14, 2011

Derailment at Kingston, 1987

CN train 318 derailed at Kingston station, drifting downhill at suppertime on March 28, 1987. On the headend behind 5261-9566-4506 were 53 Trailer Train 60-foot flatcars, some of the 64 empties and 21 loads on the train. These flatcars were to be setout at Queens for 1st Canadian Signal Regiment (1CSR) vehicle loading, en route to exercise Rendez-Vous 87 in Wainwright, Alberta. "You wouldn't try this on your model railway", my brother thought when he saw the marshalling on train 318, observing it six miles west of the derailment site. He took the following seven photos the same evening, at mileage 176:

The empty flatcars derailed between the power and covered hoppers/tank cars on the tailend that were pushing downhill as the train decelerated. The derailed cars were dragged, chipping the concrete platform, kicking loose ballast onto the platform and digging into ties, before ending up stacked liked dominoes at the Queens West interlocking. Train crew, police and fire were on the scene at the Counter Street crossing. The train's power can barely be seen in the distance beyond the 15 derailed flatcars:

As the power and tailend are moved clear of the site, local railfans investigate the cars piled up just east of the crossing. Train 318's engineer felt the train 'bounce' as it crossed Counter Street. The conductor called the ride from Belleville 'rough, with more slack action than usual'.

Splintered ties, crossing timbers, broken truck sideframes, axles and smashed switch heater are visible in the cold light of day on March 29:

Belleville crane 50367, a sideboom bulldozer and road-rail cranes from Montreal and Toronto clear cars and debris. Overnight VIA Cavaliers, trains 58-59 had been re-routed over CP rails between Dorval and Brighton. Passengers on other VIA trains were bused the 100 miles between Belleville and Brockville.
Later that day around 1600, CN section forces have descended, to restore the track structure:

Here are a couple of online photos taken from a 'dumpster-dive' by a former CN car department employee based in Hamilton, showing the flurry of flatcars:

Queens West was the location of another derailment in March, 2007. In this later derailment, the same signal bridge was struck so forcefully that it was dislodged from its concrete footing, and replaced shortly thereafter.

Unlike the later derailment, clean-up of this mess was accomplished mostly with railway-owned track-based equipment crews, not contractors with road-based sideboom Cats and excavators.

Its work done, Toronto 60-ton road-rail crane 60741 reposes on Queens track 4, white flags and all:
Montreal's Holmes 1979-built 100-ton road-rail crane 10792 heads eastward:

Just behind 60741, 5261-9566 await their next move after the derailment cleanup. 4506 was used to marshall flatcars loaded with 1CSR equipment for the move westward.
Running extra...

Burton Cummings put on a great show Friday night, drawing on his own songs as well as those of the iconic Guess Who, whom he described as "four guys from the wheat fields of Manitoba." From the opening "datn-doo-dow-dow" of No Sugar Tonight, through "sing another prairie tune" in Runnin' Back to Saskatoon and the straight-ahead rock'n'roll "better not get up or you might lose your seat" of Bus Rider, it was classic Canadiana. Besides, what other group would mention Moosomin and Medicine Hat in a song?

One more lyric, from Albert Flasher "I was a diesel fixer, fixed a diesel, diesel fixed me, what a weasel."

Emerging occupation: diesel-fitter. In this job, you will assist men shopping for clothing items for the wife. Job description: Hold the clothes up, shrug and say "Yep, these'll fit 'er".


Unknown said...

Great post ! Informative with great pics.
Only on the prairies , eh!

Zartok-35 said...

Thats quite pile up there!

Thats a nice selection of cranes. Very interesting! The flags are a nice touch.

Eric said...

Hi Powmill and Elijah,

It is swampy at the derailment site, but it's not the prairies, it's just flat land in Kingston, Ontario. If you're like me, you're watching the flooding of the Assiniboine River near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. The grit and community-mindedness of the people there is inspiring.

Unfortunately, I'll be doing a series of posts on derailments in Kingston. Of course, some of the trains DO stay on the rails :)

Thanks for your comments,