Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IKO Transload at Belleville, August 2014

CN serves a unique transload facility just north of its Belleville, ON yard. I recently took the opportunity to investigate and photograph the transshipping of roofing granules, produced north of Belleville at Madoc by IKO Industries. The granules are trucked to Belleville, where they're loaded into an incredible variety of covered hoppers.
A Trackmobile moves cars past the conveyor which runs from beneath a truck-unloading ramp. The facility is surrounded by a large loop track on which more cars are stored.
The truck driver is in position (above) and a worker starts loading a car:
The Queen Anne's lace grows up, through, and around the industrial trackage in this peaceful corner of Belleville's industrial park:
Another wide shot of some of the cars that will contain this high-value, dense material. The granules are shipped to IKO plants in Kankakee, IL and Wilmington, DE, and also an IKO plant on the Halton Sub in Brampton. There may also be loads of clay shipped in and trucked to the plant at Madoc, ON.
I've long seen ex-Boston & Maine blue covered hoppers in Belleville, and now I know why. Wearing ATEL Corporation's AEQX reporting marks, these plucky little cars are enjoying a new life in private ownership. Interestingly another car with similar reporting marks is AEQX 14282 - guess what, it's a former Pillsbury Manitoba covered hopper car leased in 1980. See the weld marks? Oh, and now here's AEQX 14280 also with tell-tale 1980-vintage weld marks!
AEQX 3018 (above) and 3004 (below):
February 2015 update: I'd heard that CN was losing this traffic to CP at Havelock. Mohawk Mike Winstanley posted photos of the ex-B&M AEQX cars in CP's Havelock yard in December, 2014:
CN No 321 approaches Belleville yard, crossing over to the north track at speed then the yard lead, over CN's recently-installed triple-tracking. Intended to improve the flow of CN and VIA trains through this part of CN's Kingston Sub, the project also enabled trains to recrew without blocking interlockings and road crossings for hours. This fast-moving freight will soon lift the latest cut of IKO cars westward:
Wire products from the industrial hinterland along the South Shore of the St Lawrence are loaded into a variety of ATW, IC and CN gons, flat cars and bulkhead flats:
No 321 is doubling over to lift a second track at the west end of Belleville yard as a heavily-graffiti'd boxcar on the headend awaits the additional cars.
The entire west lift at Belleville by No 321 - cars from Invista and Kimco Steel in Kingston, IKO (arrows) and Berry Plastics in Belleville, and Lafarge Cement in Bath: 

The rest of No 321 basks in the sun, while moribund yard tracks in foreground are overgrown with Queen Anne's lace.
AMG Resources ex-CN 199770 pulled from Kimco Steel in Kingston with a load of scrap. A former rotary-dump gondola used for coal in western Canada, this scrappy survivor has a new lease on life:
Just north of Highway 401 on Shannonville Road, a left turn onto Craig Road leads you to this former CN Pointe St Charles caboose, CN 79696 on a nearby farm. I liked the juxtaposition of rocks and trees, windmill and farm equipment:
Strangely, I couldn't find this Craig Road find in the Bytown Railway Society Canadian Trackside Guide. Thanks to a co-worker who was trying to find a way around a frustrating 401 accident detour. Thanks, GT! Ironically, there's a former ex-GT (exx-DT&I 153) caboose at a golf driving range in Belleville! 

Running extra...

Freshly-repainted and remounted on its plinth, Harvard AJ693 in front ot RCAFA 416 Wing at Kingston's Norman Rogers Airport, formerly 31 Service Flying Training School during World War 2:
Canadian funny man Rick Mercer was also at Kingston airport, filming a segment on the Kingston Flying Club flour-bombing challenge. Indeed challenging with 28 knot winds gusting 37. The Cessnas were flying at 45-degree angles during their bombing runs!

Friday, September 19, 2014

CN 601825-601999 centre-stake cars

To extend the life of some of their Marine Industries-built 66-foot 622-series bulkhead flats built 3-74, CN extended the bulkheads and added centre posts, creating a new series of 175 updated cars: CN 601825-601999. Called centre-stake cars by CN, their load limit decreased, but an extra row of lumber could be carried, thus increasing the capacity of each car and better bracing to secure the car's valuable load. An interesting use of these cars was for a dimensional shipment on CN 601917, (septic tanks - above) on CN No 317 on August 27, 2000.  CN had mainly intended the cars for wrapped lumber service.
Many of the cars I observed here on the Kingston Sub were loaded at Juniper Lumber in Juniper, NB. Interestingly, competitor Irving operated a seedling tree nursery in Juniper, supplying seedlings for replanting across the Maritimes and Maine. CN 601862 was carrying Juniper lumber while awaiting a dimensional load meet, on train No 321 at Kingston on a snowy January 5, 2001 (above). The unique white-painted extended-height bulkheads always caught my eye, as did the neat lettering and reporting marks on the fresh paint.
CN 601983 is carrying a dishevelled load of wrapped lumber westbound on No 321 at Kingston on July 2, 2006. Another observation was CN 601984 on January 14, 2001 on No 364, destined Chambord, QC for loading.

My observations with date, car number, CN train number on and remarks:

Oct 1/00 CN 601967 on No 317's head end with plastic tanks
Jan 7/01 CN 601862 on No 321
Jan 14/01 CN 601984 on No 364 dest. Chambord QC
Mar 4/01 CN 601907, 601979 on No 309
Mar 4/01 CN 601908, 601987, 601903 on No 308
Mar 10/01 CN 601835, 601838 on No 308
Mar 10/01 CN 601829, 601945 on No 364
Mar 16/01 CN 601946, 601873 on No 368
Mar 17/01 CN 601915 on No 310
Mar 17/01 CN 601936 on No 369
Jul 18/01 CN 601919, 601979
Apr 11/02 CN 601911 on No 307 with ties
Apr 23/02 CN 601881, 601840 on No 366
Jul 7/02 CN 601832, 601928
Sep 21/02 CN 601967, 601987, 601926 on No 307
Dec 22/02 CN 601989, 601985 on No 366
Nov 19/04 CN 601857 on No 309

Late modeller and CN employee Dave Lisabeth wrote an excellent article on modelling these cars. It was published in the June, 2006 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman. In the article, Dave described the process of cannibalizing 5 Roundhouse kits to build four completed 601-series cars, including a jig to produce the centre posts.

***November 2018 UPDATE - not having seen any of these cars in a long time, I was surprised to see one cross in front of the Railstream webcam at Belleville, ON. CN 601886 on CN No 369 with switch ties on November 15, 2018!

Running extra...

Watch for an upcoming post on my (finally!) first trip in one of VIA's refurbished Business Class cars this past week. Arriving Toronto Union, an eastbound GO consist whizzed by:
And a CLRV on Dundas Street:
Check out this impressive logo work for the Credit Valley Explorer!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Switching the Greater Cataraqui Lines

This summer, for my front porch layout, I decided to look at John Allen's Timesaver switching layout. Could it be done in a very short HO-scale layout? Could a switching puzzle be made into a functional mini-layout? The main challenge I faced was having enough space for a runaround track and adequate tail tracks for it. My layout would feature an interchange track, runaround track and four potential industrial spots for cars to/from the inbound integral interchange. 

Here's what I came up with, all on a 1 by 4-foot piece of plywood. I named the layout the Greater Cataraqui Lines - the GCL - reversing the letters of my Dad's name, as a tribute to his Cataraqui Northern Lines. Watch for an upcoming post on how he built the line's HO-scale car fleet from wood and cardboard back in the Fifties! Remember last summer's outdoor layout? A Union Pacific Geep and caboose bring a DTSL 50-foot box and an ACY 40-foot box for spotting for facing-point and trailing-point setouts, respectively. Viewed from above! First, the facing-point setout:
The Geep pulls the DTSL box from the incoming train.
Pulling ahead to reverse to the runaround track.
Having reversed to end of track, moving ahead to enter the runaround track.
DTSL box uncoupled - only room for one car on the runaround. Geep pulls ahead to run around.
Geep has run around box, now noses on.
Boxcar must be pushed ahead to allow Geep clearance as it again reverses through the runaround.
With just enough clearance for both, the Geep pulls boxcar backwards to spot beside tank car
Moving forward, DTSL box is about to be spotted on the facing-point spur. 
Now, the Geep has returned to the interchange track and the trailing-point setout begins:
ACY box has been pulled from incoming train, now reversing toward runaround.
 ACY box dropped, Geep pulls ahead to back up through runaround.
Backing up through runaround towards boxcar.
Box car in tow, Geep can now pull ahead before reverse movement.
Geep reverses, ACY box enters trailing-point spur to be spotted.
Google+ does it in Auto-Awesome, though it kept my second and third ACY yellow boxcar moves out of sequence. (The correct sequence is as shown above.) 

Lessons learned from building the Greater Cataraqui Lines:
  • a one-car runaround track is really, really short - probably too short!
  • two-car tail tracks would be better, allowing more flexibility in switching move planning
  • once the unit leaves the interchange track there's nowhere to stash cars for multiple moves
  • the two facing-point spurs and their tail track allowed for some switching moves
  • using 30- or 40-foot cars helps with the short tracks, but can tempt the operator to 'cheat' with the 0-5-0 to throw a switch under a car!
This is an extremely compact layout. I can see why most Timesavers are longer layouts! But can they fit on a small table on my front step, to get me outside for some fresh-air operation during the warmer summer months? I most often kept a coiled extension cord running from the garage outlet, ready for use. The layout was usually stored on end in the garage, hence the absence of buildings or details in the above photos. Now, this one fits on my mobile operation station:
Check it out! A fully-functional layout that fits on an old gas barbecue cart! Open the door and you've got a power inverter to power your onboard transformer, with lots of room on the under-layout shelves for car and tool storage. I most often kept an extension cord coiled near the front step, feeding current from the garage outlet. And, it can be wheeled wherever you need to operate - poolside, patio, or front-yard under a shade tree!
There's not a lot of love for John Allen's Timesaver. It's important to read about it - what it was intended to be and what it was not intended to be. Try playing it online!

Running extra...

You'll find the GCL on my Pinterest New Micro-Layout Ideas board, along with some other prototypes, Timesavers, micro-layouts and inspiration. Can somebody email me or comment - I'd like to know if you can see these Pins without signing in!

When operating outside, I do not follow an HO scale Rule G. It was heavenly to have an imported bier in my maple leaf red cooler mug at hand. Grolsch, Czechvar, Keller, Heineken, Hollandia and others caused condensation to coalesce extraneously on the mug exterior during those dog days of summer.

Speaking of dogs, I had a dog named Segue. Speaking of dogs...did you hear about the dog playing a violin on the streetcorner? His Bach was worse than his bite :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

VIA's Calgary-Edmonton RDCs, Part 4

CP and VIA operated the Calgary-Edmonton intercity service primarily with RDC's during the 1970's and into the VIA era. Earlier parts in this series dealt with a chronology and summary of the Dayliners used. There were many occasions on which the usual Dayliner was replaced with an F-unit (or E-unit!) or Geep-hauled conventional equipment. This was usually due to mechanical malfunction, grade-crossing accident or heavy traffic requiring both RDC's to operate together as one train in one direction. 
At Wetaskiwin, CP-painted 1424 leads two VIA cars (top) in an undated Glenn Brosinsky photo. CP Geep 8523 leads a CP-painted baggage and VIA-painted coach in 1980, also taken at Wetaskiwin (below). Glenn also captured a heavy consist of six cars (three stainless steel and three smooth-side) requiring two Geeps, at Christmastime in 1975 (above). 
Though no checked baggage was handled on the line, a baggage car was used to separate the locomotive from an occupied coach. CP-painted 1407 and two cars meet an RDC at Bowden (below). VIA 1407 retained its CP Rail Action Red until retired in 1983, so though the photo is undated, it was taken before the spring of 1983:
Brian Sullivan captured VIA No 197 with VIA engine 6569 in a moody night shot taken on April 24, 1981 at the South Edmonton station. Photo courtesy Peter Dawes:
Here's a daytime view of the South Edmonton station, dated July 22, 1978 from an online auction site, including a CP switcher and Budd car:
VIA 1410 leads two cars north beneath towering AWP grain elevators at Balzac in April, 1982:
CP 8515 has led this Budd car to Red Deer, where it was photographed by Bob Wilt, undated. Slide courtesy of Ron Visockis:
CP 8707 leeds a Dayliner past CP Rail Rules Instruction car 49 at Calgary in April, 1985. I had previously observed car 49 here in 1980, along with CP Rail business car Alberta.
VIA 1800 arriving with train No 194 at Calgary on January 25, 1980. Fred Clark photo:
Thanks to Glenn Brosinsky for sharing most of the photos used in this post (Glenn's unless otherwise noted). Glenn kindly sent two other photos showing the wrecked VIA RDC-1 6146 and a tank car from the 1983 Carstairs incident. I've added these to the preceding post, Part 3 of what has become a 4-part series on this problem-plagued intercity route! Or simply return to Part 1 and start reading all four posts in this series!

Lots o' links:
  • One of the five 1400's painted into VIA colours by August, 1979 interestingly hauling two CP Rail action red cars

Running extra...

For more western Canadian photos (a little less retro), check out Ben Alain's Flickr page. Ben has amassed a plethora of MoW shots that particularly caught my eye!

Another unique blog has been added to Trackside Treasure's sidebar: J D Lowe's 30 Squares of Ontario. A fine mix of model railroading, transit, arts, crafts and sciences. Some amazing model-building as well as some electrically eclectic modelling you may elect to examine to elucidate and educate!

I'm reminded of the lyrics to Danny Boy - From glen to glen (Glenn and/or Westmount's Glen yard?) and down the mountainside/The summer's gone and all the roses falling - remember to take the time to stop and smell the roses as well as stop, look and listen when approaching a crossing - you might be able to do some impromptu trainwatching!