In my shoebox collection of notepads containing train numbers, the very first notepad is written in young-person scrawl. The notes are from a round-trip from Kingston, ON to Dorval, QC, likely visiting our grandmother who lived in Valois. Undated. (Note to 12 year-old self: improve your note-taking!) I believe this trip would have been on the Christmas break, 1975-76. First thing written: "French test after Christmas". Thereafter it's all trains - trackside details and time noted, mostly on the eastbound trip over CN's Kingston Sub. The westbound return leg was likely in the dark! [I've added some details for clarification in brackets]
There are no photos to accompany this account, and I'm not going to mislead you by adding some from a later date. Just cast your mind's eye back to a snowy morning forty years ago this week, climb aboard the steam-heated, pre-VIA CN train and wait for the "All aboard"...
11:17 Came to Kingston station saw CN loaders, snowplow, one CN panel truck.
11:19 Saw red-shouldered hawk at Kingston station, flew over the train tracks.
11:20 A work truck went past the station, on the tracks with lumber and a tire (both sets of wheels were on the track).
11:23 Westbound pass train stops four engines, two dummies, 15 cars, Empire Club, leaves 1130.
12:39 Our train comes. Two ordinaries, 1 dummy, [A-A-B]13? cars - Richelieu Club 1st engine 6767
12:47 We left.
12:51 Freighter westbound two roadies, mostly CN boxcars, lumber, Procor, and 3 SF boxes. Passed CP place. 2 CP Rail boxcars, red, one old, one writing. [CN-CP interchange at Queens
12:54 Passed stack of cement ties at underpass.[Montreal Street
12:55 Westbound freighter. Two roadies, two gondolas, caboose.
12:57 Over girder bridge, lock underneath, also old blockhouse. [Kingston Mills
12:58 Passed yellow tracked cherry picker, near turn-off for Kingston Mills Road.
1:05 Passed CN Kings station.
1:07 Passed North American Corp flat car, two CN men, trucks 1/8 mile later CN track truck, two small stations, CN Siding.
1:09 Passed small CN jeepish truck and trailer.
1:10 Speed sign at Leeds 80/60.
1:12 Passed funny sign other side another at 1:25 yellow with black stripe, circle above square.
1:13 Passed handcar, siding that stopped. Rails, old ties, a barrel all around. Mile 154 derail sign Gan station past Gan station speed sign Turbo 90 round.[Gananoque Junction
1:20 Speed sign at Leeds station 80/60.
1:22 Passed red CN van speeder at 20-30 foot long shed.
1:23 Westbound freight fast 3-4? engines.
1:26 Passed green flag.
1:27 Passed yellow flag, Turbo 80 sign.
1:29 Passed CN Mallorytown sign (138 miles), didn't stop.
1:36 Passed speed sign 60/70
1:39 Passed Lyn station sign, didn't stop.
1:40 Passed speed sign 80/60.
1:41 Brockville lots of cars, snowplow, CN telephones, two speeders, CN boxcars, two stock cars, CN flat cars, work train houses, one with an antenna.
1:42 Stopped Brockville. Big CN Truck, CN loader. On one spur were a line of cars. Sign: P blue metal beside track. Old caboose, CN jeep, CP Rail 437128 end-cupola caboose, CP Rail 6591 yardie idling, many CP boxcars, one gondola, 4 CP Rail reds, one stock car, service car no 402381 two small windows. CN speeder reflector switch lamp, CN telephone, small shack with two speeder tracks out of it lots of sidings and spurs CN van boxcar turned into a building. Old CP boxcar numbers 59090, 54333, 52976, 35504, 53825, 59115.
1:55 Met CN pass one ordinary, two dummies, one roadie, 14 coaches, CN siding also 6789 engine ordinary - probably off us plus one coach. [train to/from Ottawa]
1:57 Left. Have now seen two tell-tales.
2:06 Passed "Brockville Chemical" company, Procor tank cars with Dangerous placards, also another siding with 3 CN cars.
2:12 Passed RCA plant, stopped Prescott two spurs (great stack of creosote cans, and other junk). Left at 2:13, saw two handcars.
2:16 Saw two signs either side off crossing mile 113 Red. [STOP signs]
2:17 Saw another tell tale and a branch line.
2:19 Saw speed sign 70/60.
2:35 Westbound freighter passed.
2:37 Saw truck on highway - six pairs of wheels all one piece.
2:52 Stop at Cornwall. A CN boxcar and a service stock car on a spur.
2:56 Left. Saw a half-bus half truck with bags in it (saw one later, too) and a CN tractor-trailer. A truck and some CN boxcars. Work houses on flatcars.
2:57 We Crossed a crossover! At Cornwall.
2:59 Passed a spur of cars. A few covered hoppers, CN. A CN boxcar, a Procor tank car and a green 'Bay Line' boxcar.
3:08 Passed a westbound freighter, mostly CN covered hoppers. Also passed over a big bridge.
3:10 Saw a CN van by the side of the track near Garry.
3:21 Passed a short train waiting on a siding - ordinary [FPA4] 6776, baggage + 3 coaches. [Coteau]
3:31 Passed the entrance to a branchline.
3:36 We passed a westbound freight, mostly auto racks. We went over the Ottawa River.
3:39 We passed a yellow flag.
4:53 We arrived at Dorval. Engines on our train 6767-6529-6621. CN and Erie Lackawanna boxcar at Dorval CP station.
Return trip to Kingston:
6:04 Left Dorval. #? 1 ordinary, 1 dummy, a roadie.[A-B-road switcher]
6:06 CP Rail freight eastbound. 1 Roadie, assorted cars. Waiting at the station 3 Dayliner, 2E 1W trains. (CP) double-decker train W. Two passenger trains (CP) 1406-14 coaches. Two CN 2E freights one was 3 fakies, tank cars Procor, 5070-5075-5071 [Oil train
] 2 pass trains CN 2 W turbo W saw long CP WB freighter coming to station, two fakies, 1 pass ordinary, NdeM boxcar.
Also at Dorval station saw some CN guy go out with a lantern and an order stick for Turbo.
Window seat 60 way home coach 5516. [Diagram] 60 me, 59 my sister aisle 57 [empty], 58 my Mom.
The October 26, 1975 - April 24, 1976 CN system passenger timetable sheds a little light on the trains we rode:
- The mid-day departure that we rode from Kingston was likely CN train 50-40, with 50 being the Lakeshore, scheduled to depart at 1155, scheduled to arrive Brockville at 1254, splitting off train No 40 for Ottawa which departed at 1310, then No 50 continuing east, arriving Dorval at 1440.
- The train waiting at Coteau was likely CN train No 34, due at Coteau at 1517. This is one of the few Montreal-Ottawa trains operating with a baggage car, and I noted a baggage car in my notes! Seems to fit.
- The westbound we observed at Brockville at 1355 was likely No 61, the Rapido.
- However, the other westbound at Kingston at 1123 is mystifying. The only morning westbound was No 51, though not due utnil 1203.
- Returning home, CN No 55 - the Bonaventure - was scheduled to depart Dorval at 1713, arriving Kingston at 1940. Due to heavy holiday traffic and wintry weather, it's possible trains we rode were operating late, each over 40 minutes off the advertised.
A fat future awaits - a loaded, laden larder. Currently there are 36 in-development draft posts in Trackside Treasure's queued-up quiver. These posts range from just photos to information to complete posts ready for launching into cyberspace! A range of rail-related topics spanning my railfanning years from 1976-2015. Hey, that means I can soon change the Trackside Treasure teaser tag line to "40 years trackside with Canada's railways"! Suddenly sounding supremely stentorian!
Photos from Germany to Yukon to Portage la Prairie to Kingston to you! Two German brothers, biennial guests at my cousin's B&B in Whitehorse, sent two photo prints from their trip, taken while on a Canadian camping vacation from Calgary to Yukon. Along the Thompson River near Cache Creek, CN on the left and CP on the right:
The White Pass trip from Skagway to Fraser Lake enters a tunnel which replaced the famous, former cantilever bridge
which still stands.
Hope you had a great Christmas and are spending lots of quality time divided between leisure, treasure and family. Careful what you ask Santa for...cashews and beer add up in a hurry!
Reg shared another train photo
with me - Ontario Northland/T&NO 503 at North Bay. Interestingly, Reg's uncle was in on the paint job of this fine-looking locomotive. Thanks, Reg!