Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Family Fantrip! CN Countdown 6218, July 1971

Laurie, Allison, Eric --- Mrs Parke, Marjorie, Eric, Allison, David at Belleville Station
"Shortly...saw smoke. It was the first trip pulling out, a half-hour late. Directed to a parking lot by a uniformed volunteer, we walked a short distance to the [Belleville] station. A striking view of train of billboard cars: refrigerator car painted with sylized apple and leaves, cattle car with stylized painting of steer with cuts of differing shades of red, orange and yellow, a tank car with lettering OCN(CH2)6 NCO painted in a spectrum of colours, and bright red caboose. We put Mother's folding chair in the shade, as she was not going on the trip with us."
 Colour slide views of business car Pacific (above) and an olive-and-green RPO west of the station:
An eastbound freight pulls into the yard, trainman on steps. Farm equipment back a couple of cars, and note the head-end traffic at left:
Returning from Anson Jct on its first trip of the day - the last run of the engineer before retiring.
"One pair of riders amused us, dressed as railwaymen, though they clearly were not. One wore the the uniform of a NYC conductor. Many men wore engineer caps, as did little Eric. Some women wore dresses, but many were attired as I was, in shorts or slacks. I wondered how a woman in a bright yellow dress would fare under the rain of soot which I knew was to follow!"
Business cars---The smoke deflectors were restored for this series of Belleville-Anson Jct trips.
"The train pulled in on schedule, around 10:00. People were hanging out the windows, many sighting through camera viewfinders, and the two baggage cars held men with tape recorder microphones stretched out the sides, safely barred to catch the sounds of the whistle, engine puffs and wheels clackety-clack. The train was not over-crowded, and we were quite comfortable in a double seat. I sat beside Eric, with back to the engine. Laurie and Allison sat opposite, but Laurie beat a path between the baggage car and his seat, keeping track of David in the baggage car, holding our battery-run tape recorder."
We are aboard for the second trip of the day --- Marjorie, Eric, Allison
"Laurie often took pictures from between the cars as well. Before we left he insisted on taking a picture of the engine. He took a long time getting back - I thought he'd get left behind - carrying five ice cream bars. Good old generous Dad, giving the kids a treat! Behind us were two young men, one with grey hair but a young face, the other dark-haired with sunglasses. They hung out of the window, often with their cameras, and hollered at each other from time to time, wrapped in engine noise."
On the way to Anson Junction
"People were waiting at good vantage points, some with movie cameras on tripods. I even saw one man ankle-deep in the middle of a stream 50 feet wide, holding his camera to get a long view of the train on a bridge. Some just waved. There was a string of parked cars at every road crossing. Kids were sitting on farm fences. Showers of soot came in the car. Eric drifted off the sleep in the last few miles. During the short break at Anson Junction,  the train stopped and backed onto a wye to run forward again."
Returning to Belleville ---After we return, we walk up to see the engine Eric, David, Allison, Marjorie.
"Mother was in good spirits when we rejoined her. While waiting at the station, they'd played several records by Johnny Cash on railroad themes. We were soon in the car, being whisked off to a good vantage point at Foxboro for the passing of the train on the next trip. Behind us drew in a car from OHIO. Many Americans had come for this last steam ride on the continent. We had a half-hour to eat lunch. We ate our sandwiches and drank our drinks together."
We go to Foxboro to see the train head north to Anson Junction on its third trip of the day.
Colour version (above). "Laurie and the kids went up the line a bit around a curve, to record and photograph the train passing. I wished it goodbye as it steamed past. I think Laurie would have liked to have watched its passing back to Belleville, but we headed for home instead. The car was silent except for the noisy VW motor, everyone but the driver asleep!"
Audio-Visual Designs postcard "Countdown 6218" was Canadian National's two-day celebration with excursions for the 4-8-4 prior to its retirement and display at Fort Erie, Ont. Retirement day, July 4, 1971 finds the Northern crossing the Moira River near Foxboro, Ont on one of its last trips.[Perhaps this was taken by the railfan standing ankle-deep in the middle of 'the stream']
The above is a typewritten account by my Mom that was taped in to the photo album containing these 126-format B&W photos my Dad took and captioned. The account and photos include my parents, brother, sister and grandmother. We were all there that day, having driven from Kingston to Belleville to witness and ride these last runs of famous fantrip steam engine 6218. Lightly edited, the account gives a version of events that day from a quasi-railfan perspective, because spending that much time trackside, no matter how unwillingly, can not help but make one at least a quasi-railfan, if not the engineer-cap-wearing, crest-festooned variety!

A previous post in this series included more details the Countdown 6218 Belleville fantrips. Watch for the next post in this series - those fascinating CN billboard freight cars. Thanks, Dad. And Mom!

Running extra...

Speaking of filming steam, check out this 1946 B&W video that includes some fantastic Portage la Prairie footage from about the 2:07 mark to about 3:00. I discovered a fuel dealer at the 2:15 mark, just east of Third St crossing, served by CP:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CN Countdown 6218, July 1971

Having experienced more than a few fantrips in my post-steam era young life, the importance was lost on me of the 'Countdown 6218' fantrips that operated in Quebec and Ontario, before 6218's subsequent preservation in Fort Erie, ON. Five other fantrip locomotives had operated more than 150 fantrips during the 11 years of CN's steam excursion program: 5107, 6153, 6167 and 6218.
These fantrips ranged across CN's eastern network, from the Grand Trunk Western, through Ontario and Quebec, into New England. Returning from Essex Junction, VT, 6218's train pauses on Montreal's South Shore in May, 1966 (L.C. Gagnon photo - above. - he also photographed 6218 during locomotive exchanges in 1964, posted on my brother's blog here.).  Railway enthusiast clubs that organized the trips, such as Toronto's Upper Canada Railway Society, had a regular mailing list, sending out brochures on upcoming trips:
Regular use of steam on CN had ended in April, 1960, but on July 10 of that year, 6167 operated an Upper Canada Railway Society fantrip to Niagara Falls. Susequently, 6167 operated in Ontario, 6153 in Quebec, and 6218 was the last CN steam locomotive overhauled at Stratford, making her debut in the fall of 1964. I was a few months old. Boiler extensions for 6218 continued to become shorter, and CN decided to operate the final excursions to usher out what appeared to be end of their steam fantrip era.
Countdown 6218 the name given to the program orchestrated by the Montreal-based St Lawrence Region Department of Public Relations. On June 26, a Montreal-Ottawa trip was operated, with another fantrip held between Montreal-Victoriaville the next day. The following weekend, July 3 and 4 would find Belleville the site of 6218's final runs.
Consists for the Belleville-Anson Junction 40-mile round trip comprised heavyweight commuter coaches from Montreal, along with 110-volt outlet-equipped baggage car 9241 for tape recording-making railfans in the pre-cassette era.  CN documents discovered at Belleville, pertaining to the Montreal-Belleville movement give some indication of the precision, attention to detail, and just plain class that CN operated with at the time, being very much in the public eye and wanting to put on a good show in the railway town of Belleville:

The trip from Montreal to Belleville was not uneventful. Just west of Kingston, 6218 encountered stoker trouble, as the Kingston Whig-Standard reported:
There were five trips made on the day we rode, July 3: departing 0800, 1045, 1330, 1715 and 2000. The 12-car train was wyed at Anson Junction before its return to Belleville. (Interestingly, the Montreal excursions included CC&F 1950-54 coaches refurbished at Pointe St Charles and Transcona Shops, plus dinette car 427.)The first run was adorned with a banner on 6218's pilot for the retirement of engineer Ralph Turner, as pictured in the September, 1971 TRAINS magazine:
On July 4, 0800 and 1045 trips were made before official ceremonies held at 1600. The cars used in 6218's Sunday very last blast west out of Belleville were baggage car, sleeping car Preston and out-of-retirement business car Pacific. Although wearing CN black and white, Pacific would reappear in 1973 in the striking green, gold-lettered, wafer-adorned CNR scheme. In both cases, she hosted a memorabilia shop for numerous fans who had travelled from all over the eastern US and Canada. During his remarks from the rear platform of a CN observation car, likely Bedford, parked opposite the three-car official train at Belleville, CN Vice-President Transportation and Maintenance Keith Hunt, representing NJ MacMillan, Chairman and President of CN, intimated that CN would investigate another restored steam locomotive for fantrip use! Two years later, CNR 6060 would do just that, operating its premiere fantrip on September 15, 1973, the beginning of a successful 7+ year excursion career in Ontario and Quebec that would see me riding behind her Vanderbilt tender at least three times, including my fifth-ever Trackside Treasure post about our September, 1979 ride north of Toronto.
From the collection of Keith Hunt, via his daughter Lynn (Hunt) Beach, here are the clearance (above) and train order (below) for 6218's last run. These were handed from Mr Hunt to engineer Carmen Guest, who then ascended to 6218's cab, reversing the three-car train to Belleville East and rearing up for a roaring runpast through the yard into the afternoon sun and the sunset of this venerable locomotive's service career.
Kingston's Liz Reid kindly shared a Bill Reid photo taken on the Countdown weekend - they were there, too! Can you find the billboard consist? Hint - it's not the RS18 with its headlight on.
A list of UCRS steam, diesel and transit fantrips appeared in the June, 1983 UCRS Newsletter. Accounts of the last runs at Belleville appeared in the July, 1971 UCRS Newsletter and the July-Aug 1996 BRS Branchline.

This is the first of a three-part series. Watch for subsequent posts on a family account of the Countdown 6218 fantrip as well as the unique billboard cars that CN displayed on that eventful weekend.

Randy O'Brien of Niagara Falls sent a link to some photos of himself with two subsequent generations visiting 6218 - now preserved at the Fort Erie Railway Museum.

Running extra...

Well, it's not smoke from a steam locomotive, it's a GE in the springtime sun! CN No 376 with 8903-2522 and DPU IC 2700 smokily approaches Mi 178 Kingston Sub on April 11*

*Remember Leanin' Tree Christmas Cards? How about leanin' pole - the current state of CN's vintage S&C infrastructure on the Kingston Sub.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Springtime in Millhaven

It started out as a springtime shopping trip to Napanee. It turned into a trainwatching tour on the way back to Kingston. Not so much trains-zipping-by-type-trainwatching more like 21st-century-local-industrial-activity-and-car-loading-type-trainwatching.
CANDO Contracting performs switching services on CN's Millhaven Spur. CN and later CANDO switched cars at the spur's plastics plant until it closed and has since been completely demolished. Now CANDO serves the newer Coco Paving asphalt operation across Jim Snow Drive, south of Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, and has recently participated in loading monorails for export to Saudi Arabia! What?? Read on...OBRY GP-9 1000 (top photo) has recently been supplanted by SW1200RSm 1004 (ex-CP 8118)  in its new paint scheme:
Barebones operations facilities - ZIM container, porta-potty and someone ditched the office chair! The storage location is just north of Taylor-Kidd Boulevard (green star in satellite photo above). Ernestown's wind park looms in the background - one of five wind turbines:
Extreme close-up with wheel chock and plug-in:
South across Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, two tracks full of asphalt tanks have been set-out by CANDO:
To the west, looking east from north-south County Road 4, the Gibson Gas facility is in service with PROCOR hoppers and the Trackmobile visible around the roadside berm:
Non-telephoto shot:
The Trackmobile can push empties up to the service track at Millhaven for lifting by CN:
Extreme closeup:
Adam Walker-inspired context signal box shot...back at the Millhaven Spur, a temporary ramp is in place at the south end of the former siding, just north of Taylor-Kidd Boulevard. A 'New Jersey' has been pushed into place to prevent unauthorized use by any other companies than Bombardier loading monorails, local skateboarders or BMX bikers!
Formerly a storage track, this spur is used to roll in transport trailers with shrink-wrapped monorail cars for Saudi Arabia that are backed aboard Trailer Train flatcars for furtherance to port. Just to the left is the Bombardier (formerly Urban Transit Development Corporation) facility and test tracks, which surprisingly have never been rail-served.
 Malcolm Peakman shared a March photo of the crews from RailTRAN securing the precious loads.
Paul Hunter shared a photo of another pair of the cars being handled by CN No 518 also in March...all the way down the Cataraqui Spur after lifting at Millhaven, then back up to the Kingston Sub!
Now if I'm really lucky, one of these shopping trips will result in spotting the Trackmobile moving north from Gibson Gas, CANDO wrestling asphalt tanks, or Bombardier monorail, streetcars or other mass transit goodies in action!

Running extra...

What do a giant steel apple, a hissing steam engine, and a stubby 7 year-old kid have in common? Stay tuned for a three-part series in which that question will be answered!

Oh Oh! Speaking of steam, Rapido Trains has just announced the release of its first steam locomotive. It looks nothing like a CPR D-10! But it's OO scale.

In HO scale, I still hearken back to the release of Cox trains Big Pine lumber set:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Postscript: Cataraqui Sub Power

While assembling photos of various CN roadswitchers used on the Cataraqui Spur in the past few decades, it struck me as an excellent opportunity to tabulate all my observations from 1976 to 2015. Ron Barrett photographed 3504-4118 arriving at the Invista plant with a couple of cylindrical covered hoppers plus the DuPont safety training cars in tow (above). Let's join 3504 as we start down the 'Cat Spur' perusing nearly 40 years of roadswitcher locomotive consists. If you make it to the end, you'll find this tabulation more than fills usual post space and there are fewer photos than usual - watch for final photo awaiting you. Here are locomotives and cabooses on trains that I observed to, from or on the Cataraqui Spur 1977 to 2015 with photo links:

Feb/76 3704-3742
Mar/77 3731-79140
Jul/79 4510-76555
Jan/80 1298-1310-79522
Jun 14/80 4600-79351
Jun 18/80 4416-78555
Dec 23/80 4578-76675
Apr 4/81 4417-79247
Oct/81 3741-79399
Oct 24/81 4577-79427
Jan 2/82 3729-79740
Jan 8/83 4511-79513
Jan 22/83 3701-79917
Mar 3/83 3637
Jul 26/83 4245-79374, 4534-79906
Aug 26/83 3727-79906
Jan 5/84 4245-79393
May 18/84 3714-76676
Jan 7/86 4487
Jan 8/86 4360-79698
Jan 22/86 4401-79600
Feb 4/86 4530-79609
Feb 6/86 4406-79565
Feb 10/86 3732-79327
Mar 11/86 4529-79602
Mar 20/86 3719
Aug 28/86 1355-79603
Sep 2/86 3720
Sep 29/86 3731
Jan 1/87 4248-79652
May 7/87 3504-79323
Jul 22/88 4533
Oct 3/88 3629-4377-79623
Dec 30/88 3640-79919
Feb/89 3640
Feb 9/89 4209-78121 International Service (IS)
Jul 20/89 4332-79919
Feb 19/90 4122-79537 first sighting of GP9RM
Oct 13/90 4122-79512
Jun 7/91 4120-4119-79648
Jun 18/91 4121-4122-79657
Jun 22/91 4122-4131-79581
Jul 2/91 4119-4131-79826
Jul 22/91 4121-4124-79632
Jul 31/91 4566-4125-79489 high-nose/chop-nose
Nov 7/91 4114-4108-79623 caboose derailed
Dec 18/91 4115-4121-4119 first sighting of three units-79443
Feb 13/92 4101-4125
Mar 5/92 4118-4120-79355
Apr 28/92 4122-4120-79812
Apr 29/92 4122-4121-79812
May 15/92 4118-4121-79812
May 25/92 4118-4121-79581
May 20/92 4118-4121-79677
Jun 9/92 4118-4121-78107 IS
Jun 22/92 4111-4120-79692
Jul 5/92 4120-4122-79395
Jul 21/92 4122-4118-79395
Jul 29/92 4120-4119
Oct 20/92 7021-4119-79714 first 7000-series
Nov 24/92 4140-4121-79911
Nov 27/92 4124-4121-79629
Jan 22/93 4119-4127-79752
Feb 8/93 4112-4114-79585
Feb 17/93 3568-79753 single M420W
Mar 5/93 4135-4123-79753
Mar 22/93 4108-4123-79577
Apr 24/93 4119-79770
Apr 28/93 4106-4121-79665
May 11/93 4119-4120-79889
Jun 3/93 4143-4142-79412
Aug 23/93 4108-4119
Sep 21/93 4123-4142-78132 IS
Dec 6/93 4119-4121-79382
Dec 17/93 4119-4117-79513
Jan/94 4121-4118
Jan 24/94 78109 IS
Apr 2/94 4118-4128-79683
Jul 8/94 4118-4120-78109 IS
Oct 13/94 4116-4118-79382
Oct 27/94 4118-79752
Oct 28/94 4120-4143
Feb 1/95 4119-4125
Feb 16/95 4119-4125
May 4/94 4120-4118
Jun 9/95 4120-4121-79884
Jul 10/95 4118-4137-79703
Jul 11/95 4121-4104-7035-79703
Jul 17/95 4105-4106
Aug 14/95 4100-4118-79703
Oct 13/95 4141-4122-78100 IS train partially-derailed
Oct 23/95 4121-4118
Nov 5/95 4120-4118-78100 IS
Nov 30/95 4119-4120
Dec 7/95 4143-4139-27 cars-79703
Dec 9/95 4143-7037
Dec 15/95 4108-4139-79703
Dec 24/95 4121-4140
Dec 29/95 4108-4140
Jan 3/96 4112-4121
Jan 12/96 4126-4122
Feb 13/96 4118-4138
Mar 8/96 4138-4102-79703
Mar 21/96 4121-4111
Apr 20/96 4121-4138-79638
May 14/96 3569-4123-79911
May 23/96 4123-3569-79911
Jun 15/96 4118-7041-79911
Jul 4/96 7041-4140-79911
Jul 9/96 4140-7041-79911
Jul 12/96 7041-4140-79911
Aug 5/96 4140-4130-79473R
Aug 17/96 3561-4110-79473R
Aug 21&26/96 3536 North America (NA) scheme-3578-79473R
Sep 16/96 4123-4128-7029-79473R
Sep 17/96 7029-4104
Sep 18/96 7029-4104
Oct 2/96 4104-4128-79473R
Nov 1/96 4143-4114-4112
Nov 5/96 4125-3502NA-79473R
Dec 30/96 7073NA-4131-79473R
Feb 4/97 4114-4121 elephant style-79895 stencilled  W 'Mac Yard'
Feb 5/97 3504-79895
Feb 9/97 4114-4121-79895
Mar 5/97 4137
Mar 10/97 4137-4033
Mar 15/97 4108-4137-79895
Apr 5/97 4143-7068-79895
Apr 22/97 4138-4015-79895
May 5/97 3550-79473R
May 6/97 4125
May 19/97 7034-4136
May 28/97 4103-79473R
May 30/97 7019-7027-79473R
Jun 10/97 4122-7034 elephant style-79473R
Jul 31/97 4138-3585 red cab roof
Aug 1/97 4127-4138-3585
Aug 14/97 3541-4116
Sep 2/97 4133-4118
Sep 15/97 4120-4141
Oct 15/97 4122-4104
Oct 16/97 4113
Oct 25/97 3555-4113-79473R
Nov 10/97 4126-7022
Dec 29/97 4141-4114-79473R
Jan 18/98 4141-4032-79473R
Jan 30/98 4141-4032
Feb 21/98 4117-3567-79473R
Mar 9/98 4100-4122-79473R
Mar 25/98 4122-4100-79473R
Mar 27/98 4025-7076NA
Apr 20/98 7076-7071
May 19/98 4128-7043
Jun 1/98 7043-4128-79473R
Jun 18/98 7070-7043 nose to nose-79473R
Aug 1/98 4113-4112-79473R
Aug 26/98 4140-4141
Jan 16/99 7071-7074-79473R
Mar 15/99 4131-4140-77017 stencilled Hornepayne
Mar 16/99 4131-4140-7074NA
Mar 19/99 4140-4131-77017
Mar 27/99 4132-4140-77017
Apr 21/99 4139
Jun 16/99 4140-4109-77017
Jul 20/99 4131-77017
Sep 14/99 4117-7026-77017
Oct 29/99 4133-77017
Nov 8/99 4133-4141-77017
Dec 15/99 4117-4139
Mar 2/2000 4114-4141-77017
May 20/00 4121-4141-77017
Jul 7/00 4118-4140
Jul 29/00 4124-4100 30 car train at Queens
Sep 3/00 4114-4136 23 cars to Belleville
Nov 27/00 4121-7026 no caboose any more No 590 operating from Belleville
Dec 5/00 4132-4143-4139
Dec 23/00 4132-4139
Feb 5/01 7080NA-4121
Feb 24/01 4124-7080NA
Mar 9/01 7080NA-4124
Mar 14/01 4124-7080NA
Apr 6/01 7027-4139
Apr 8/01 4140-4117
Jul 21/01 4109-4132
Sep 23/01 7081-7082-4119-4100 probably with 519/590 new plan hog-lawing
Nov 4/01 4139-4118
Nov 11/01 4118-4139
Dec 3/01 4116-4111
Jan 19/02 4110-4111 on new diamine track
Apr 7/02 7080-4110-4124-4116
May/02 4100-4124
Jun 21/02 4139-7079
Nov 20/03 4116-4141
Jan 21/04 4143-4104-7068
Jul 11/04 4111-4143-4112
Mar 17/05 4102-4110 13 cars
Dec 15/05 4700-7059 first GP38-2
Mar 25/06 4710-4717
Apr 23/06 4717-7080-4112
Apr 30/06 4717-4143-4112
May 3/06 4710-4143 18 cars
Jun 2/06 4710-5353
Summer/06 4810-4710
Aug 26/06 4122-4100-4710
Sep 30/06 4717-4710
May 21/07 4141-4100
May 22/07 4710-4700
Aug 15/07 4700-4706 No 591
Oct 15/07 4100-4706 No 591
Oct 20/07 7025-4706 No 591
Nov 21/07 4701-4727
Nov 23/07 4701-7015-4132
Dec 6/07 4701-7015
Jan 25/08 7001-4789
Jul 19/08 4701-4717
Dec 8/08 4701-4132-4100
Mar 9/09 7018-4701
Jun 23/09 4100-4132
Nov 8/09 4100-7080
Apr 29/10 4132-7027
Aug 10/10 4131-4132
Sep 25/10 4129-4131
Feb 8/11 7081-4807
Mar 3/11 7068-7071 nose to nose
Mar 10/11 7071-7068 nose to nose
Mar 22/11 4110-7071
Apr 10/11 7082NA-7025
Apr 23&24/11 7082-7025
May 29/11 4131-4140
Jun 26/11 4118-7039
Aug 20/11 4131-7071
Jan/12 7027-7058 nose to nose
Jan 22/12 4140-4788
Mar 22/12 7080-7027 nose to nose
Mar 25/12 7027-7081
Aug 7/12 4138-4134
Aug 19/12 4135-4136
Sep 30/12 4135-7082
Oct 9/12 4135-7082
Apr 18/13 7075-4110
May 26/13 7069-7080
Aug 25/13 4139-7025
Oct 15/13 4136-7069
Nov 3/13 7069-7066
Dec 15/13 7000-4110
Jan 19/14 7000-4110
Feb 11/14 4135-7000
Mar 16/14 7039-7000
May 18/14 7080-7046
Jul 3/14 7081-7082
Dec 22/14 4116-4121
Feb 4&6/15 4125-1444
Now you're ready to head back up the spur to the mainline, just like 1444-4125 on February 6, 2015!