Thursday, February 12, 2015

GMD-1 at Kingston, February 2015

Though the General Motors GMD-1 was primarily a Western unit, some of the units did operate in eastern Canadian passenger service in the 1960s and more recently, remanufactured units operated as far east as Quebec City and Halifax. And these days in Oakville, Toronto and east on CN's Kingston Sub out of Belleville, ON. Though I knew one of these 1400-series occasionally made it to Kingston, I'd been at work or otherwise unable to check out CN no 518's Belleville to Kingston daytime turn. That changed on February 4!

While heading home via Kingston Transit's Kingston Express bus service, I glimpsed 1444 on my way by the Kingston Invista nylon plant along Front Road. The fact that it was snowing heavily, and that I didn't really have time to make a trip back to photograph this unit meant nothing to me. I made the time, figuring this might be my one-and-only chance!
Fortunately, the train was hog-lawed, awaiting a relief crew which would not board and take the train north up the Cataraqui Spur until after 1900 hours. Stuffed and mounted. Sitting duck. These photos are taken from my railfan ride since this is private plant property and one is not supposed to be out running around with camera in hand, otherwise known as trespassing.
I moved from the south side of the train on track KM35 to the north side:
That white stuff was perpetually pelting! Formerly 1046 before being converted to 1614, 1444 is the unit's third number.
Ron Visockis caught the two units being towed into Belleville on February 5 by the four units on CN No 373: 2504-2008-2622-5743 on February 5 at Airport Parkway:
Then, two days later on February 6, I happened by Invista, noting the two units were back on No 518. A quick trip back by car, with camera, and I realized the train was not hog-lawed, but instead working the plant. And it was sunny, with good southern exposure:
Ditch lights on, the train soon pulled east with two Norfolk Southern gondola empties lifted from the KIMCO spur on CN's Aluminum Spur remnant plus several tank cars for Invista.
Photographed from the plant road crossing of tank car track KM28:
The 1-4-4-4- numerals appear to have been stencilled on, not applied individually to the side of the cab.
A bit of blue diesel exhaust - movement was imminent.
The units started pulling east across the plant crossing, with Front Road crossing visible in the background. The crew was about to switch the tank car track, where at least two cuts of three cars waited. Having a driveway to shovel, I couldn't wait for this movement, as it wouldn't bring the units to the tank car track crossing, anyway.
But that didn't mean I couldn't shoot a quick video before I left!
And last but not least, Ron Visockis also shot CN 1444 leading CN No 518 back into Belleville from Cobourg on February 10 with empty centrebeams and covered hoppers. And more blue smoke!
Watch for an upcoming post on the plethoric panoply of units plying the spur over the years...from 3700's to 4100's through to unusual 3500's and 5300's.

Back at Invista - February 13 - INVX 38479 derailed. Rerailing activities at 1815 hours included several heavy-duty road cranes along Front Road. View from north side:
 View from south side:
Running extra...

Welcome to George Dutka's White River Division blog, now in Trackside Treasure's sidebar. A frequent collaborator with perennial train-show favourite Peter Mumby, George's blog is a constant supplier of visitors to this blog. George has just posted a seminal series of posts on woodchip boxcars!

This weekend - Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary extended by 30 minutes! Live from New York - it's Sunday night (well, the special broadcast, at least) including a red carpet pre-show. I 'm looking forward to it, I must say!

Ron Visockis photographed CN No 704 at Belleville, ON on February 12, led by brand-new CN 3034 and 2935 with the former soon to be renumbered 2934. Thanks, Ron!


Canadian Train Geek said...

Great series on that ol' GMD1! I like the snow shots - I know I don't take enough foul weather photos.

I remember being very excited to see my first GMD1 in the real East, the Maritimes, when CN 1423 came to visit Saint John in March 2004. It ended up working on the Windsor and Hantsport for a while.

Chris Lyon said...

Thanks for posting these. Always great to see the GMD1 in action. They just keep on ticking.

Chris BIGDoer Doering said...

There are one to two GMD1s that hang around Calgary but they always seem to be buried deep within a yard or somehow far from view, so I have yet to photograph any of them.

Eric said...

Thanks Steve, Chris L and Chris D for your comments. Now I'm getting greedy, hoping for two GMD-1s to be assigned Belleville! Much wants more.

Check out the rerailing photos I just added to the post...

Jason Sailer said...

Cool Eric! Great photos while the snow was falling!

I remember being very excited to see my first GMD1 #1408 at Gregg, Manitoba on December 30th, 2014...

Eric said...

I remember your post about coming across that GMD-1, Jason. I wish the snow had not been falling but I thought...this is my one and only chance. I notice the numerals on 1408's cab side are more conventional than the sprayed-on stencil style on 1444.

Thanks for your comment,

Zartok-35 said...

A fine demonstration of what I like to call the 'Black capped chickadee' paint scheme, with both of the only 2 types of engines it was applied to!

Bryan said...

Nice shots

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Brian and Elijah. Indeed, whether on the Cat Spur or on the birdfeeder outside my window, I'm getting a good share of chickadee sightings this winter!

Robert Archer said...

My last sighting of CN 1444 was at Oakville on December 6 2014. It was teamed with CN 7026.
They've had a couple of others there in the past.

AJ said...

Nice catch! I was lucky to catch a couple of GMD1's hard at work in Ft. Sask back in 2012. Never thought I would have the chance to see them out in Eastern Ontario!
I'm going to be in Kingston this weekend - any advice on times/locations where I might be able to catch some heavier traffic or better yet a GMD1?

Eric said...

Hi Robert and AJ,

There have been other GMD-1s here like 1437. Watch for more in an upcoming post.

I THINK 518's days into Kingston are now M/W/F instead of T/Th/Sun. Weekends, mornings are good. Kingston's VIA station on John Counter St or Rigney St off John Counter are good spots.

Thanks for your comments,

AJ said...

Thanks Eric. As long as it isn't too cold, I'll be out and about at those two spots and see what I came up with. I'll post next week if I happen to run across it!

Eric said...

Good luck and stay warm, AJ. At least the station provides cover from the elements.

AJ said...

Well I said I would update and here I am! As it turns out, I got completely skunked at both locations. Turns out I picked the two worst hours to be trackside for VIA on Saturday. Surprisingly enough, when I gave up, I ran by an intermodal on my way back to the hotel out of frustration Saturday evening. Sunday looked to break my streak of bad luck, except the wife was more interested in getting home than sitting out in the cold. Now, that's not to say I didn't see a thing - Stayed at the Ambassador on the 6th floor with a perfect view of the tracks south of Princess St.

Needless to say, I'll have to regroup and try again when we are back visiting her mother when the weather is better in a couple of months.

Eric said...

Bit of a letdown there, AJ! Your persistence will pay off. The Ambassador is an excellent location and a short walk away from the Princess Street overpass over the VIA station trackage.

If I came from out of town to the spring Rail-O-Rama train show at the Ambassador, I would definitely stay there! Nice restaurant, too!