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.
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!!