Monday, December 26, 2016

Windmill train CN X307, December 2016

On December 22, CN train X307 carried 50 turbine towers down CN's Kingston Sub. The windmills are manufactured in (what I thought was Gaspe), and are to be interchanged to BNSF for furtherance to Texas. Fortunately, since I was able to be trackside for this unique movement, I decided a normal three-quarters view of these oversize loads would not do. I chose a nearby overpass embankment at Bayridge Drive. CN 2251-IC 1003 did the honours, with 307's hogger giving a toot-toot greeting!
Thanks to additional information from several knowledgeable fellow enthusiasts, I learned that the first train of blades was from LM Wind Power in Gaspe, transloaded to rail in New Richmond, QC. There is a company named Delta Fabrication in New Richmond that produces towers. These are produced by Marmen in Trois Rivieres, QC, conveyed by QGRY to the interchange with CN at Allenby in the Quebec City area
A heads-up OS of 0520 at Drummondville was updated by Michael Berry and Brockville Railfan, the latter at 1207. I estimated one hour, pending meets. VIA No 40 would have met 307 around Kingston's VIA station.
With our local No Frills store in the background, these loads were also no frills. On welded cradles, the towers rested easily, with no chains or other obvious restraint. The diameter of the towers was marked on the orange tarps i.e. 3200 mm and 3400 mm. Notice how one end of each tower overhangs one end of each car, necessitating a 2:1 (tower:idler) car ratio. The last car:
Here's the complete consist:
CN 2251
IC 1003
XTTX 146352
TTHX 97189
XTTX 147190
XTTX 146328
TTHX 97130
XTTX 146336
XTTX 146295
TTHX 97114
XTTX 146145
XTTX 146338
TTHX 97180
XTTX 146300
XTTX 146211
TTHX 97174
XTTX 146340
XTTX 146395
TTHX 97190
XTTX 146397
XTTX 146386
TTHX 97160
XTTX 146310
XTTX 146327
TTHX 97155
XTTX 146381
XTTX 146366
TTHX 97135
XTTX 146371
XTTX 146390
TTHX 97178
XTTX 146388
XTTX 146373
TTHX 97110
XTTX 146362
XTTX 146393
TTHX 97181
XTTX 146392
XTTX 146372
TTHX 97102
XTTX 146368
XTTX 146299
XTTX 97119(97113?)
XTTX 146326
XTTX 146153
TTHX 97150
XTTX 146155
XTTX 147192
TTHX 97186
XTTX 146148
XTTX 147191
TTHX 97168
XTTX 146283
XTTX 146301
TTHX 97107
XTTX 146346
XTTX 146263
TTHX 97173
XTTX 146259
XTTX 146274
TTHX 97149
XTTX 146256
XTTX 146235
TTIX 961792
XTTX 146210
XTTX 146237
TTIX 961807
XTTX 146238
XTTX 146234
TTIX 961511
XTTX 146240
XTTX 146236
TTIX 961501
XTTX 146231
XTTX 146230
TTHX 97111
XTTX 146317

XTTX cars are cradle cars for the towers. TTHX are short idler cars and TTIX are longer idler cars. Whew. I haven't seen that many X's since my last X's and O's tournament. A going-away view of the tail-end, with Lake Ontario's frozen-over Collins Bay in the background.
My Youtube video, from which these video captures are taken. Andre Gerow took a double-sided video just west of Ernestown. Andre also captured the first train of blades, No 307 on December 5. This observation was really an example of pinpoint precision prediction railfanning, based on accurate OS's from further down the line. Thanks to Logan Cadue for assistance with the following list. There's still a place for staking out a spot for hours and waiting to see what happens.

Further 307's:
Jan 26/17 No 307 Engs 2116-5694 with towers.
Jan 30/17 No 307 Engs 8946-2569 with blades.
February 22/17 No 351(!) Eng 5620-2615 with towers.
March 6/17 No 311 Engs 2876-3086 72 cars blades from Gaspe on TTYX-PTTX cars
April 10/17 No 311 Engs 2424-2150 to Quebec, then 5452-5408 on the Kingston Sub, with blades - same consist as March 6, though remarshalled.
April 20/17 No 307 Engs 2297-2401 approx.74 cars towers on XTTX-TTHX cars.
May 8/17 No 311 Engs 5692-2028 with blades on TTYX-PTTX cars.
May 17/17 No 307 Engs 2231-2144 with towers.
May 29/17 No 311 Eng 2502 with blades.
June 10/17 No 319 Eng 2690-2661 with blue-capped Vestas towers (last train in linked video, this included heretofore unobserved reporting marks. Sample cars PEYX 316, 344, 2079, 2111, 90044, 90137, 105575, 105610; CIGX 899036, 899045; CITX 920048, 920049.)
June 13/17 No unknown Engs 2270-IC 1031 72 cars blades from Gaspe, 19 autoracks on tailend.
June 21/17 No 311?
July 16/17 No 307 Engs 8865-8868 from QGRY with towers.
July 24/17 No 311 Engs 2830-5713 with blades from Gaspe.
August 14/17 No 311 Engs 8944-2024 with blades from Gaspe on TTYX cars.
August 17/17 No 319 Engs 2253-8888 from QGRY with towers.
August 28/17 No 311 Engs 2420-5369 with blades on TTYX cars i.e. 353505, 354129.
Sep 13/17 No 339 Eng 2153 with 60 cars of blue-capped Vestas towers (D-6 dimensional loads) sample cars PEYX 2063, CIGX 899011
Oct 9/17 No 311 Eng 2323 with blades from Gaspe.
Oct 29/17 No 307 Eng 8879-5463 with towers on XTTX cars i.e. 146317, 146299, 146326, idlers TTHX 97148 and TTIX 961511.
Dec 21/17 No 311 with blades i.e. PTTX 602322.
Missed a few here...
Mar 21/18 No 307 BCOL 4611-2103 with towers to Kansas.
April 2/18 No 311 with blades.
....The windmill trains continued regularly through 2018. So much a fixture on the CN Kingston Sub that they didn't always rate an OS.....
Aug 5/18 No 307 Eng 5452-2528 with towers.
Aug 6/18 No 311 Engs 2912-2558 with blades.
...OK one more:
Nov 15/18 No 389 CREX 1522 (Citirail) with blades. The train passed the free preview of the Belleville Railstream railcam:
And from the railcam, I was able to glean the consist of CN No 389:

JTTX 158697
TTYX 353734*
TTYX 165462*
XTTX 146353
TTYX 165264*
PTTX 940485
TTYX 157967*
TTYX 253791
TTYX 160500
XTTX 146348
TTYX 253571
XTTX 146394
XTTX 146351
PTTX 142089
TTYX 253774
TTYX 157243
TTYX 158272
PTTX 942109
TTYX 165489*
PTTX 941952
TTYX 604171
XTTX 146391
TTYX 604292
TTYX 353861*
TTYX 353446*
TTYX 156757
TTIX 158020
TTYX 160331
TTYX 157007?
TTYX 157099
TTYX 156043
JTTX 942526
TTYX 156970
XTTX 146399
TTYX 157879
TTYX 160006
TTYX 165407*
TTYX 353025*
TTYX xxxxxx
TTYX 158294
TTYX 165303*
TTYX 158062
TTYX 158095
TTYX 604164
TTYX 353141*
TTYX 157601
TTYX 353224*
TTYX 158266
TTYX 253508
PTTX 160364
TTYX 604355
PTTX 941908
TTYX 353137*
TTYX 157418
TTYX 156975
TTYX 159250?
TTYX 159284
TTYX 604385
TTYX 253351

March 2022 Update: The end is in sight for these turbine trains, as the manufacturer will be switching to longer 109-metre blades which will require marine, not rail transportation. 

May 2022 Update: The last train of blades left New Richmond, QC on May 5, 2022. Thanks to a tip from my son, I was able to catch it at Collins Bay at noon on May 7:
CN100 unit 3227 led TEXX 89-foot flats lettered for BNSF Logistics:
The end of what is reportedly the last train:

Running extra...

A day later, Kingston railfan Logan Cadue was on the Sir John A Macdonald Blvd overpass where he caught a three-way meet between eastbound VIA, CN No 518 and CN No 149, plus CN No 376. A little earlier, heavy eastbound potash unit train B730 had been in emergency with a broken knuckle, bunching up traffic.
CN No 376 heads east behind 2438-5756 (above). Earlier, CN No 518 pulled west to the light at Queens West (below) and VIA would slip through at this point on the south main. CN 4115-4803 leads five cars of scrap and three empties from Kimco, plus covered hoppers and tanks for Invista. We'd later drive under 518 at the Gardiners Road underpass at the top of the Cataraqui Spur. CN No 149 behind 5699-5609-8017 is on the north main.

Running extra...

Hoping that you had a great Christmas, as I did! Beer, nuts and books all found their way under our tree! Looking most forward to reading Mike Myers' Canada, which may be a pinkie-biter if not a nail-biter, accompanied by my brother's sent mp3 of Bob & Doug McKenzie's 1981 album, of course. Good day! What a hoser, eh?

Seasonal music: having seen the Pentatonix Christmas special, I've been enjoying their video of the simply heartfelt That's Christmas to Me - 25,686,593 viewers can't be wrongI would definitely follow them to Bethlehem, listening to this doubly-modulated gospel choir chorus! I harked back to a previous Christmas favourite, the USMC Chamber Orchestra's version of the Leroy Anderson classic Sleigh Ride! (Watch it to see if you're hooked up right.)
When I first saw this STEEL auto-rack graffiti, I thought that this was the ultimate 'painting on a big canvas'. Little did I know it was sold as a complete Microtrains set in N scale...
,,,or that once broken up, at least two 'E' cars were roaming the North American network singly! That train gets an 'E' for effort. Labour-saver - if I ever choose to do a four-car ERIC graffiti, I only have three cars left to do!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Card Collection 2016

Festooned by festive greetings, my inbox is inundated. Here are some of the rail-related Christmas messages I've recently received from fellow enthusiasts. The prototypes how appropriate! The effects how eclectic! The greetings so generously gregarious! My season's greetings have in turn been conveyed to these collegial card-creators and I'd like to share their evergreen efforts with Trackside Treasure readers. If I printed them in colour, I would place them beside my balsam, thereby turning them into Treeside Treasure!

Kevin Burkholder:

Pierre Fournier:
Steve Hoshel:
Judy Dahl:
Wayne Shaw:
John Eull:
A train is not readily apparent, but this if freakin' festive:

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I'll Have VIA Blue Christmas 2016

This year, I thought I'd come up with an always-original Trackside Treasure treatment of Elvis' Blue Christmas. Of course, when I think blue, I think VIA. Blue and yellow that is. And my memory wanders back to VIA's early years and those consists of yore. You're welcome to hear it on Youtube with some seasoned-to-taste piano accompaniment.

I'll have VIA blue Christmas without you.
I'll VIA blue just thinking about you.
Markers of red, in the dark, so easy to see
Won't be as bright, dear, on a refurbished LRC.

And when those blue consists come rolling
And when those blue units' airhorns start calling
You'll be doing all right, with your Ren consist so bright
But I'll have VIA blue, blue and yellow, and blue VIA Christmas.

Spoken part:
Thinkin' back to those good times, we spent together on the platform.
We knew it couldn't last forever, but under the lights I still see you there.
Sometimes I still want to wallow in nostalgia, I go back to the good ol' days
I make myself a cup of hot cocoa and work on my blog!

It's a great place to spend your leisure.
I'll keep blogging next year even better.
Hoping this, fun to read, gives you some measure of pleasure.
Great to have you along, here on Trackside Treasure.

And now a festive drink will be hoisted,
Don't leave your comments unvoice-ted.
Keep it here, through the year, and don't shed a tear
We'll all have VIA blue, blue and yellow, and blue Christmas!

Bonus verse:
I'll see those blue F-units a-steamin'
With their bright headlights sealed-beamin'
Whether it be M-L-W, or some G-M-D
It's blue, classic VIA of which I'll be dreamin'

Season's greetings to all of Trackside Treasure's faithful readers out there in cyberspace! It's been great to have you aboard this year, reading and commenting.
A special Christmas greeting to my blog partners who made the year so interesting with their posts: Steve, John, Chris, Dave, Edd, Michael, George, Matthieu, Bernard and Marc. Great stuff! Stay tuned for 2017!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

CN's Re-Doored Railboxes

In 1985, CN acquired ex-Railbox Pullman-Standard 50-foot, 5277 cu.ft., 100-ton boxcars with 10-foot single sliding doors (RBOX 40750-41399) built in 1980. While still in Railbox paint, CN rebuilt them in 1993-94 with 12-foot doors, door stoppers and vents, renumbered CNA 412250-412574.  (Though some received CN 419000-series reporting marks prior to re-dooring.) CNA 412395 was placarded at Belleville, September 4, 1999 (top photo). I used this photo for my HO scale conversion of CNA 412390:
Some re-doored CNA Railbox observations including date, car and CN train on:
Nov 11/99 CNA 412488 on No 320
Mar 27/02 CNA 412441 on No 309
April 27/02 CNA 412483 on No 364
Sep 26/05 CNA 412637 on No 376
Oct 1/05 CNA 412260-412283 on No 309
Feb 22/09 CNA 412355 on No 308
May 2/09 CNA 412355

Interestingly, CNA 412283 is still running around in this patched scheme. It was eastbound on CN No 376 on March 6, 2016: 
Chad Young posted this photo to Facebook, showing CNA 412436 in Deshler, Ohio in late 2010:
Michael Schwiebert posted this photo to Facebook, showing CNA 412434 in Ohio back in April, 1994:
Nearly the last one in the capture of CNA 412562 on July 13, 2018 on CN No 377 at Kingston. Duide, where's my Railbox? Note logo fading:
Good news! CNA 412367 is still re-doored and still running. On CN No 377 September 7, 2019:
And it's still really running on September 29, 2023 - what looks like the other side, taken from above near Kingston's VIA station on CN No 372 (below). I noticed it in a video taken in Quebec in December, showing the above side. Will it be the last re-doored Mailbox in service?
December 2019 Update: CNA 412345 through Belleville, ON on the 2nd, bilaterally-graffiti'd:
April 2020 update: CNA 412557 in this video:
March 2021 Update: CNA 412375 soldiers on (image courtesy Railstream, LLC):

Lots o' links:
  • CNA 412258 with unusual brown paint behind reporting marks.
  • Peter Mumby's photo of CNA 412450 in this post
  • Conversion thread with model photo (scroll) of CNA 412375.
  • Athearn produced a former RBOX CN 419311 before re-dooring:

Running extra...
'Twas two weeks before Christmas and all down the line, Legault Metal gons were hauling scrap from Senneterre on 369. This rider was situated all snug on 651, with a cup of joe and banana-chocolate muffin, awaiting the sun....
Once in the trainshed, the train stopped with a jerk - so I disembarked with the others and got right to work. The scaffolding was hung all over Union Station with care, in hopes that renovation soon would be there. 

P42's on each end, in Business Class drinks flowed, we got the heck out of Toronto, loud whistles at every road. But I heard myself exclaim, as this post scrolls out of sight, happy couplers to all, I'll never switch, so good night!
Credit graphics guru and fellow modeller Randy O'Brien with this appreciated antlered awesomeness (above). Watch for Trackside Treasure's annual Christmas post, coming soon. I know, so's Christmas!