Saturday, May 12, 2012

Millhaven Spur Update

Millhaven's former Celanese plant, served by CN's Millhaven Spur, has weeds growing up between the rails as the demise of the factory seems certain and imminent.  There is some acitivity on the spur, however.  While driving along Taylor-Kidd Boulevard and the deserted factory, what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A shortline Geep seemingly about to cross the east-west arterial road!
Cando Contracting GP9 1000, formerly Barrie-Collingwood Railway 1000 'The Pride of Barrie and Collingwood', onetime star of a Tim Hortons commercial, now reposes just north of the road on March 18.  This unit once shared track with CP AC4400CW 9626 at Utopia, Ontario during BCRY's opening ceremony on October 23, 1998.
More recently, the Geep was lettered for the Orangeville Brampton Railway, operating between Orangeville and Streetsville Junction, Ontario. But now the Geep sits by its ZIM 20-foot container/engine shop/office/maintenance base. Note the hydro line strung from the roadside power line, garbage container and gated road access to keep the unit secure.
Just to the north, the CoCo Paving asphalt-unloading spur curves west, joining the spur as it leads north to the CN Kingston Sub interchange. Contributor Ron Barrett (see photos below) mentioned that the rails in the final curve to the interchange tracks were regularly replaced due to excessive wear to the inside of the outer rail, with the rail head eventually completely worn away.

View to the north (above) while to the south (below) tracks KN01 and KN02, also gated, are full of tank cars being unloaded.
Some of the cars being unloaded were PROX 74801, 74518, 76185, 76451, 74172, 76179, and GATX 89071.
A teasel-filled view of the cars from Jim Snow Drive:
Ron Barrett kindly sent these photos in March, showing Bombardier's new test track/unloading facility on County Road 4 in use.  A crew was unloading the first new Toronto subway car constructed in Thunder Bay.  The cars are tested here before being trucked on to Toronto.  
***2017 UPDATE***A turnout was installed from the Millhaven Spur to the Bombardier plant over the winter of 2016-2017, to allow flat cars handling articulated light rail vehicles to be unloaded and finished at the plant.
The Bombardier Trackmobile prepares to pull the car from the trailer to the test track.
Interestingly in the 1960's, CP used flat cars to transport TTC Can Car/Hawker-Siddeley H1 cars from Thunder Bay to Toronto (first photo, below).  Constructed from Glen-series sleepers, or possibly baggage-express cars, the 83' 10" flat cars were rebuilt by CP, initially numbered 313000-313007 and intended for long dimensional loads weighing less than 145,000 pounds.  Three cars with non-revenue numbers - CP 418103, 418124 and 418125 were used to transport 75-foot MLW M1 cars from Montreal (second photo, below):
CP 418125 is carrying MLW-built M1 class car 5300:
An empty CP 418125 at Toronto, September 1963. Peter Cox photo via MAP:
These passenger car-to-flat car conversions are not to be confused with the N- and S-series sleepers converted to 4000- then 520000-series container cars used on CP's Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Saint John, New Brunswick.  Interestingly, CP 313005 was involved in a collision during a drop switch on the Neebing Lead in the West Fort William joint area while being pulled from the Can Car plant in Thunder Bay, July 1977.  The flat car sideswiped a CN switching movement, and the TTC car being carried flew off the car into a ditch. A standard CP flat car carries a SIG-manufactured TTC Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) on December 29, 1977:
An aerial view of the C-I-L plant(below), as built mid 1950's.  Ammonia plant (top of photo) with 1,000-ton capacity sphere, of which only the maintenance shop (later CANDO enginehouse) and part of compressor building still remain.  The  main polyester plant was supplied with raw material in boxcars, as well as tank cars...glycol in, methanol out.
from Historical Glimpses of Lennox & Addington, 1964.

Fellow railfan and drone pilot captured these two awesome views of the area in April, 2024: 
Looking southwest towards Alstom/Bombardier with the Millhaven Spur in foreground (above) south along the spur (below):
Running extra...

While checking my e-mail at Starbucks, VIA sent me an email about their latest 50% seat sale.  I looked up to see a display of VIA coffee products - the name of Starbucks' new ready-brew, including one flavour named Veranda Blend. Starbucks must be using 'VIA' for the same reasons CN adopted the three-letter brand in 1976: it's multilingual, mysterious and slightly pretentious.  Wonder if Starbucks is working on a VIA Vestibule Blend, or perhaps VIA Dutch-Door Donut Delight?

While travelling through VA and NC, I noted road signs for Halifax, Rockingham and Bridgewater.  I thought I was in NS! Tantalizing view from the Selma, NC I-95 overpass of a multi-unit NS military extra. (Hope all y'all are enjoyin' my blogging from the South).

Speaking of unique dialects, Anglo-Texan Hollie Cavanagh checked out of the American Idol mansion this week.  Hollie was outvoted, robbed by souled-out Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips (Idol's Sirhan Sirhan?) and in-it-to-win-it sinewy songstress Jessica 'BB Chez' Sanchez.  Dawg, am I channelling Randy Jackson or what?  That's what I'm talking about!!


Bryan said...


Sad to see yet another Kingston-area rail-served industry/manufacturer rust away, though I see now that this plant actually closed 2 years ago. I must have missed that or plain forgot. I guess that ethanol plant idea is long dead?


Eric said...

You're right, Bryan. The Millhaven plant was a good source of traffic for CN over the years. I'm glad I was able to document some of the cars used there while they were still shipping.

The ethanol plant? Seems to have evaporated. Haven't heard anything in the local media in a long time. As the ethanol boom expanded, the construction costs increased and only plants with nailed-down contracts and a reasonable catchment area made a go of it. Not a large acreage of corn or alternate feedstock crops around Millhaven. I still think it was a great idea (and I was looking forward to seeing CN handle those ethanol tank cars and DDG covered hoppers.)

Thanks for your comments and question,

Zartok-35 said...

When it comes to unique container flats, CP pretty much cornered the market. Are you familliar with the 40' 520000s?

Eric said...

Yes, Elijah CP did have some early success with containers. Oddly, they were late to adopt double-stacking, insisting after CN ordered and used such cars that they preferred single-stacking. They eventually gave in.

Here's a nice vintage photo showing the best of both worlds...former passenger car and 40-foot flat cars:

Thanks for your comment and question,

Anonymous said...

Hi Geep is actually ex-Orangeville & Brampton Railway. another Cando property. I saw it in Orangeville on many occasions.

Rick D.
Niagara Falls

Eric said...

Rick, of course you are correct. Thanks for that additional detail, which I've since included. It's quite a surprise, coming upon this unit roadside nearly in the middle of nowhere!

Fred Tot said...

OBRY 1000 still is parked at the same location noted above. Just drove by it today (Mar 29,2014) and it still looks like the photos above.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, Fred. While the Coco Paving operation only received seasonal shipments at first, the business seems to arrive year-round now.

Watch for an upcoming post on the propane operation nearby.


MrDan said...

In terms of CP flatcars used to deliver subway cars, it's time for a little summary:

The original G-class Gloucester subway cars were delivered to the TTC on standard 52'6" CP 300000 series flatcars in the 1950's.

In the early 60's the longer 75' aluminum MLW M1's were probably all delivered on those 3 nearly 84 ft 418-series cars, 418103, 418124, 418125, made from chopped-down passenger cars using the 3-axle trucks. The 313000 series appears to be absent.

When it was time to deliver the large HSC H1 order, they were joined in the mid-60's (1965 or so) by the 8 car series 313000-007, more chopped-down passenger cars around the same dimensions but with a totally different, more contemporary fishbelly sill design. Both sets were listed separately in a 1965 CP equipment summary, so the three oddballs probably weren't renumbered spawn (but could have been retired by the 8). Again, 3-axle passenger trucks were used.

Those all appear to have disappeared from the roster by the mid-70's, replaced with some generic long flatcars with no markings riding on 2-axle trucks, likely home-made, perhaps by HSC since there's no visible CP markings (they were used to deliver the H5's in the mid-late 70's).

By the 1980's H6 order, from photos it appears TTX flatcars (perhaps in the MTTX series) were the cars of choice being used to deliver the cars (H6's). CP did have some 315500 series heavy duty flats they used for transporting some other transit agencies' cars.

Not sure on the T1's of the 1990's.

Eric said...

Thanks very much for this additional information, Dan. Currently, the new TTC articulated streetcars are shipping on TTX flats with idlers!


Unknown said...

Good post! This is little known about 1000 but it was temporarily half painted CN (the nose and cab) in the mid-2000s for use in the 2006 Air Crash Investigation/Mayday documentary episode on the 1986 Hinton Train Disaster. It was for a brief moment 5 minutes in, that the OBRY logo could be seen on the long hood!

Eric said...

Found that episode snippet online, Braedan. Indeed - wet noodle logos on half of short hood and under cab window. Lots of control stand views, though. Last time I watched that episode, I was at Crown having my car undercoated. Guess what, it's time to make an appointment again. Good thing you reminded me!

Thanks for your comment,

Unknown said...

1000 was transferred to the Orangeville Brampton Railway in 2000 when the town of Orangeville bought the abandoned line from CP that went from Streets ville to Owen Sound(The track from Orangeville to Owensound was torn out in 1998). In 2006 1000 began to show signs of its age and was replaced with CCGX 4009. 1000 was soon after transferred to its current location.

Eric said...

Thanks for that additional information, U. Always cool to see a classic Geep - even if it's inoperative.

chris mears said...

It's funny how the internet works ("funny" in the most delightful way). I was chasing down a rabbit hole learning about the Barrie Collingwood Railway and landed back here. Love the way that that tangent lead back to this place.

Eric said...

The Barrie Collingwood and the Millhaven Ernestown. Two great 'roads' all of which seem to lead back to...Roam.

Thanks for your comment, Chris!

Ron said...

I know this is an old post to reply too but wondering if anyone knows where the OBRY 1000 is right now?

Eric said...

OBRY 1000 now in Winnipeg deadline of CANDO Contracting, Ron.
Hope this helps,

Ron said...

Thanks Eric. I am modelling the BCRY Utopia yard and barrie/Innisfil spurs and I wanting more GP9 Unit # 1000 photos.
Thanks again!