Friday, February 22, 2013

CN's Kingston Outer Station, Part 1

The original alignment of the Grand Trunk Railway's double-track mainline through Kingston (eventually CN's Kingston Sub) included a sharp curve at the site of the 'Outer Station' on Montreal Street.  The 'Inner Station' was located on Ontario Street at the end of the Hanley spur.  Aerial photo (below) from Queen's University Archives shows: 1-CP line to industries north of Outer Station - this line originally crossed the GT(CN) west of the station yard via a diamond, before being relocated to an overpass near Division Street, 2-Gould Battery and Frontenac Floor & Wall Tile Co., 3-engine house, 4-Outer Station, 5-stock pens, 6-Montreal Street underpass below Kingston Sub, 7-Hanley Spur.
Another George Lilley view, this one taken from the north-east in 1948:
A 1951 Vintage Kingston view of two CNR passenger trains meeting at the west end of the station trackage, looking toward Elliott Avenue. Interestingly, Mike Hamer posted a series of Kingston Outer Station photos in 2013 including this one. These photos had been left to Mike by his father in a booklet.
The original limestone one-and-a-half storey section was built in 1855, with its ashlar surface and cutstone quoins, albeit without its mansard roof which was added sometime between 1875 and 1885.  Kingston’s station, like the others on this part of the line, was completed during the span of  two years: Shannonville and Prescott in 1855; Kingston, Ernestown, Grafton, Napanee, Trenton, Belleville, Port Hope and Brighton in 1856.

Deemed the Outer Station, at present-day 810 Montreal Street, the one-and-a-half-storey stone GTR 7-bay Type A station had a gambrel roof with five gabled dormers on a curved attic extension of eaves to shelter passengers on the platform. Curved brackets led from the first storey to the buried roof dormers. Round-arched windows were reminiscent of the solidity displayed by Roman - Neo-Classical style of architecture used for public works, installing an air of permanence and confidence, even of Empire! Its Italianate proportions are attributed to Sir Francis Thompson, GTR’s Montreal architect.

A second, brick building was added in 1895-1898, sitting 100 feet east of the first, echoing its design features with seven arches and similar supporting brackets. The brick has been heavily-painted, with a low, single-storey wooden structure added between the two.

The earlier limestone building hosted offices and waiting room until at least 1892. The second building housed a lunch room. In 1939, the earlier  building was converted to the baggage and express room and station functions moved over to the second building. Renovations in 1970 included extending ticket sales counters when sales staff relocated from the Princess Street ticket office. This Canadian Science & Technology Museum photo CN001091 shows both main tracks, with cars in the yard at left in 1974:
The obviously dangerous curve, with a 30 mph speed restriction, caused at least one train to leave the rails (CNR 5702 in 1947), before CN successfully realigned its main line through a deep limestone cut north of Elliott Avenue between Division Street and Montreal Street, in October 1974.  Some accounts say the realignment opened July 24, 1975. A westbound freight behind 3625-3108, including penultimate Penn Central covered hopper PC 888173 and caboose 79471 rode the welded rail and concrete ties on February 21, 1976, photographed from Montreal Street:
Concurrent with the realignment, CN moved its station functions to a new location off Counter Street near Princess Street. A December 13, 1972 Kingston Whig-Standard article discusses the soon-to-be-built station. Its expected completion date was June, 1974.
The new station was officially opened on October 26, 1974. I've photographed some interesting Kingston platform scenes at this 'new' station over the years. Opening day, CSTM photo CN005133:
On June 27, 1973 RMC cadets and Kingston's Canadian Forces Vimy Band await the arrival of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, arriving to celebrate Kingston's Tercentenary (L.C. Gagnon photos, below).  In 1984, the Royal Train arrived at the new station.
This interesting photo, from the archives of the City of Montreal, shows a train of VIP's arriving from Montreal at the Outer Station. Met by City of Kingston Police patrol cars, the visitors will take part in preliminary planning for the 1976 Summer Olympics sailing events that were based at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour:
Another rear view of the station taken in 1972, with a CN AMC Hornet in the foreground, and CN passenger train stopped at the station, from Vintage Kingston Facebook:
In March, 1974 this online auction site photo shows an eastbound CN passenger train making its station stop. Note the DuPont maroon-coloured covered hoppers at right:
Phil Mason kindly shared a photo of the Outer Station taken in 1972:

CN 810454 is a former stock car in MOW gang service. Coupled to a rebuilt boxcar purpose-built to carry flammables, the slats provide ventilation in this previous iteration. This online auction site photo is captioned 1983. The cars are a few tracks over from the occupied boarding cars. The Outer Station is visible in the background:

Though I vaguely recall some visits to the Outer Station to meet CN passenger trains, I mainly remember it being a stub-ended yard, with the westward yard lead joining the main on the south track of the Kingston Sub immediately east of Division Street. An eastward view of the yard in 1978 reveals a local switcher with a CP boxcar (CSTM Collection MAT006979)
And a corresponding westward view shows the CN express building, mainenance-of-way cars, track machines, covered hoppers likely destined Northern telecom, and 40-foot CN boxcars.  In both views, the former south main track, nearest the station, has been removed. (CSTM Collection MAT006980)
The 1910 Montreal Street underpass was removed in March, 1976 severing the eastward connection to the Kingston Sub. Even after stub-ending, the station area provided CN with a small yard from which to serve local industries.  CN business car Bonaventure and transfer caboose 76554 repose at the Outer Station on April 17, 1982 in this Kingston Rail photo:
The yard also held the late evening passenger equipment overnight for the morning run to Toronto, as seen in these photos taken by Doug Rickaby at 0545 on a summer morning in July 1985:

The yard also provided a maintenance base for vehicles and rail equipment, including CN crane 50367, its idler cars, and covered hoppers for Northern Telecom, in January 1980.
The Pandrol-Jackson RMS13 rail-grinding train has arrived, on July 8, 1994.  Very few tracks remain.
This Tim Reid photo is undated, but I'm willing to bet it was taken at the same time as mine. I'm also willing to bet that Tim marched all the way up to the head-end to get it:

A restaurant operated in the Outer Station between 1989 and 1992, as CN sought to retain the 1.3-acre site, and its three buildings occupied. The remaining yard track and connection to the mainline were last used for a rail safety display in June, 1995. CN Mobile hazmat response trucks, boom truck, snowplow and caboose are on display.
Over 700 area schoolchildren toured the displays over three days.
Now the station is a political football, uncared for by CN, its roof removed and walls stabilized by order of the city. A far cry from its heyday, including an 1872 campaign visit by Sir John A Macdonald, including an elegant oyster supper! In the second Outer Station post, we'll see what happens when you decide to kick a caboose.  Hard.

Running extra:

I just finished listening to Regis Philbin's How I Got This Way.  An engrossing tale of Regis' showbiz life, including his self-doubt, successes and stories of stars like Bing Crosby, his famous female cohosts, and the inimitable Don Rickles.  Don: "Go ahead Frank [Sinatra], make yourself at home.  Hit somebody!"  The book made me talk like Regis for awhile.  IS THIS GUY NUTS OR WHAT?  I MEAN, REALLY!

And the Oscar goes to...Will Ferrell and Zach Whatsisnamakis for this hilarious bit of cymbalism from the 2012 Awards.  

Modelling Winnipeg?  Here are some cool retro scenes from the 1950's to the 1970's. Watch for the towering Ogilvie Flour Mill at the 3:07 mark.  Got BC Rail?  Check out these amazing track geometry car scenes.  Dave: thanks for the latter link!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Postscript: CP's Portage Switchers

Ready for some more switching at Portage, in addition to my first post?  The next-oldest photo of CP 6569 I have is one I took on August 18, 1978 (above).  An eastbound is approaching Portage's CP station, and the head-end trainman is on the front porch ready to pick up orders.  SD's 5762-5533 lead the train, and there's some TOFC visible on the head-end. Simmering nearby is 6569, waiting patiently.  Note the lighting and platform for the convenience of the Canadian's passengers, before it switched to CN lines through Portage.  Here are some excellent views of 6569 in July 1982, taken by Brian Schuff:
In its shady glen across from the CP station, north side, looking west (above) with a CN freight just visible to the left of the shed, in the background.  Also on the switcher's north side, looking east, with the CP yard visible in the background (below):
Brian also caught the unit in Winnipeg where it worked in the spring and summer of 1986 before heading east for scrapping, photographed here on March 14, 1986:
I should have expected instant interest in Portage switching operations from Trackside Treasure's ardent readers.  I aim to please, especially easy upon finding another interesting view of the Campbell's Soup train:
(These 3 photos by D.J. Gagnon taken on September 13, 1989).  Above: 6719, with a couple of insulated boxcars, and a big, honking 86-foot CN hi-cube ahead of the end-cupola van are making a run to Campbell's.
More power!  Two westbound CP freights wait just east of Eighth Street. In the rear, 5658-3032 lead a couple more insulated boxcars on the head-end.  What are the chances they were just lifted from the yard?  In the foreground, with at least three units isolated, is this monster power consist: 5596-5566-5582-5680-5563-5670-6039.  So you're saying, where is the Portage switcher?  It soon appears, reversing past the two freights to the yard, with a blue CN hicube on the head-end.
Railfanning from Campbell''s a view of a 1+ hour late Super Continental on August 22, 1978 taken from the front steps of the Campbell's plant.  We'd just finished our tour of the plant, where I should have taken some photos of the car loading. A mix of VIA and CN-painted equipment in this view that shows you just how far north-west the plant was on Portage's periphery:
And another view, through-the-links this time, showing CP 3106 in July 2011 in its fenced-in enclosure (Manny Jacob photo):
Here's another take on 3106 last summer...or as we say in Kingston, "Lockdown".  (Mark Perry photo)
All this Portage switching material has led to my drawing up a schematic of Portage trackage east of the Tupper Street bridge.  This matches my schematic west of the bridge, already posted. And here's an idea that's looming large on the Trackside Treasure horizon...a trackplan to appeal to those who prefer CP, or CN, or who can't decide and want to model both.  Rest assured, it will be linear, just as the prototype trackage is in Portage.  Sales of S-3's like 6569 will skyrocket!

Running extra...
Today marks my dad's 86th birthday!  To read about his influence and the involvement of others in my family in this peculiar but fascinating hobby, check out this 2011 Father's Day post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

CP's Portage Switchers

Each morning in Portage la Prairie, a diminutive diesel coughed to life.  Emerging from a tree-lined grove in the 2x4-framed, green-fenced former CP station garden, it crossed Third Street NE to the yard paralleling the CP Carberry Sub.  Grabbing a cut of cars, it was REV-STOP-KICK, REV-STOP-KICK until the cut was switched out.  Tying onto a wooden end-cupola van, our little train pulled out of the yard and wandered west to the Campbell's Soup plant located northwest of town, off CP's Minnedosa Sub, at 500 15th Street NW.
Working the yard in 1982 (above) as a westbound grain train behind CP 5760-5609 pulled in, setting out two reefers. I had first happened upon S-3 6569 in June, 1976 (L.C. Gagnon photo):
During my visits to Portage over the next several years, it remained the assigned switcher. Can you spot 6569?  Far right, heading past the UGG elevator near West Tower, ducking behind CN's section car shed:
One of CP's last five S-3's, disposed of in June 1986, 6569 could be seen in Winnipeg between March and August, 1986. Passing through Smiths Falls, Ontario on September 24, 1986, the unit was interchanged to CN in October en route to scrapping in Contrecoeur, Quebec.  On June 13, 1982 a westbound coal empties train behind 5792-5533 cross Third Street NE, passing that shady station garden to drop off 6599 after 6569 had been lifted the day before, likely for maintenance in Winnipeg:
Before 1976, CP's switcher in Portage was 6513 now stuffed and mounted in Brandon, and before that a 1957-built DTC (Diesel Torque Converter). DTC's were the last locomotives built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston.  These little pullers weighed in at 44 tons, thus obviating the then-need for a firemen while in light yard service.  Though this was before my time, it would have been neat to see this mighty mouse's siderods spin! Ken Goslett's undated photo from Bill Linley's Morning Sun Books CP Western Lines volume, showing Campbell's water tower behind the script-lettered van:
Besides Campbell's Soup. the Portage switcher tended industries west of the station: UGG and MPE elevators, Cominco Elephant and Engro fertilizer dealerships, and the small storage yard north of the main line.  East of the station, there was the team track/ramp, CN interchange, and McCallister Pea and Seed. 

Here's a history of the Campbell's plant, from the Manitoba Historical Society:
In January 1957, Manitoba premier Douglas L. Campbell announced that the US-based Campbell Soup Company Limited would build a soup manufacturing plant on the west end of Portage la Prairie to supplement its existing plant at Toronto. Construction of the 125,000-square-foot plant, designed by the Winnipeg architectural firm of Green Blankstein Russell and Associates, began in June 1958. It consisted of five one-storey brick buildings, four of which were used for manufacturing, and a separate one-storey brick building for administrative offices, employee cafeteria, executive dining room, and staff changing rooms. 

A railway spur to the plant allowed up to five boxcars at a time to be loaded from its warehouse, and a tower on site provided water for the facility. Completed in mid-1960 at a cost of some $5 million, the plant became fully operational by the Fall of 1960, opening officially on 4 October 1960. It employed 170 people to take large quantities of peas, corn, potatoes, celery, onions, mushrooms, parsley, barley, poultry, and beef to produce 17 of the company’s 21 varieties of soup, as well as frozen food products, macaroni and spaghetti.

In its first decade of operation, the facility was expanded with a freezer-warehouse in 1964, a mushroom-growing farm in 1966, and a product warehouse in 1968. By the latter year, the plant was making 30 varieties of soup, using 90,000 tons of raw materials annually.
In August 1989, the company announced that the plant would close in December 1990, after 30 years of continuous operation, and transfer its production to a much larger plant near Toronto, Ontario. Today, parts of the huge former factory are used for storage by local businesses and private persons, and part is a factory for building materials. The administrative office building is abandoned and overgrown. 

Phil Mason kindly shared two photos of CP switchers at Portage, near their home across from the station:
CP 21 with  Procor tank car on May 24, 1972 (above) and CP 6609 in 1983 (below) with CP station/Portage water tower visible at right:
Portage-assigned end-cupola vans included 437179 in 1976, 437103 in 1979, 437000 in 1981 and 437182 in 1986.  Brian Schuff photo of CP 437000:
In June 1982, an eastbound 129-car freight behind CP 5918-5552 meets a westbound extra behind 5778-8618.  In the yard with insulated car CN 286527 (not visible in this photo) are Portage's end-cupola van and script-letter Controlled Temperature refrigerator car:
A view from Third Street NE north of the CP mainline shows a westbound freight, cuts of grain cars, and the local's van and cars deeper in the yard, at left. (Following colour photos by D.J. Gagnon)  Note the characteristic tall CP switchstand, equipped with reflective marker but target-less, and shorter yard switchstands.
Most commonly seen heading for Campbell's in the morning and afternoon, here are some of the short consists from 1976, mostly CP and CN 40-foot/50-ton and 50-foot/70-ton insulated boxcars.  A major distribution centre for western Canada, Campbell's loaded CP and CN cars, with the latter interchanged to CN in the Portage yard:
  • July 5: CN 291287 canned goods to Saskatoon
  • July 5 1522 WB: 6569-CN 286144-CP 165292-NAHX 166513-CP 437179
  • July 5 1615 EB: 6569-CN 291694-CN 286166-CP 166086-CP 166581-CN 291267-CP 437179
  • July 6 1522 WB: 6569-CP 165055-CP 165190-CN 291635-CN 286523-CP 437179
In summer 1986, SW900 6719 had taken over for 6569, switching grain cars in the yard (above) and departing with van 437182 black-lined for disposition, in tow for Campbell's (below):
In June 1987, 6719 was still at work towing insulated cars around:
CN 86-foot hi-cube boxcars likely brought in canstock to Campbell's. A westbound train of grain empties approaches as CP ore cars fill the small storage yard.  I had the opportunity to tour the plant in 1978.  Free soup!  Campbell's was incorporated in Canada in 1930, the Portage plant opened in 1961, before closing in 1991 as distribution patterns changed.  Though a typical grocery store contains 17,850 different items, a typical Canadian household still contains eight cans of Campbell's soup.
Brian Schuff photographed SW900's 6714 and 6719 across from the CP station. Brian recalls 6569 having a hot-start electrical plug-in as opposed to the more common oil-fuelled watchman heater, as well as a provincial psychiatric facility in Portage's north end that received shipments of coal for heating, that had been switched by CP.

In June, 1988 former Brandon switcher (1983-1986) SW900 6714 was approaching Campbell's:
The SW900's were in turn dealt away by CP after 1990, with 6714 toiling at IPSCO in Regina, Sask.
6719 sans multimark:
Since the last SW's were swept out of town, a CP Geep living behind a chainlink fence enclosure in the yard emerge to switch Portage's large industries west of town: Can-Oat and Simplot as well as the McCain plant, while hauling a windows-welded-over Angus van rider platform.  Here's CP 3106 safely ensconced (Manny Jacob photograph) and well-weathered:
There's more on Portage switchers, potently posted in this postscript.

Running Extra...

Just finished listening to former CNN national security analyst Peter L. Bergen's book Manhunt which tells the story of the years-long hunt for Osama.  This recording would have been better if read by the author, yet tells a ripping good yarn about the back-burnered yet eventually successful operation.  

Best story from the book?  Obama chiding a top military official for not packing a measuring tape to ensure it was six-foot-four Osama's body.  You crashed a sixty million-dollar helicopter in the compound and you couldn't spend $1.99 on a tape measure??  The official was later presented with a gold-painted tape measure mounted on a wall plaque for his oversight.

On a Yahoogroup I belong to, today someone asked the following question..."Does anyone still buy horn-hook couplers or does everyone just throw them out?"  Dude, some of us still use them on our layouts.  Watch for an upcoming post on this very productive and prolific black plastic paradigm. To me,  McHenry is a prototype McDonald's chocolate bar, and Kadees refer to boxes of Kraft dinner.