Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Major Program Announcement for North American Railroads!

MARCH 30, 2016
North America's Class 1 railroads, in conjunction with the Railway Association of Canada, the Association of American Railroads and Transport Canada, have just joined in the signing of a landmark agreement which frees railroads operating in North America from a requirement to factory-paint or shop-repaint their equipment. According to program chair A.P Rilfuls at today's bi-national news conference, many recent developments led to the introduction of this ground-breaking program:
  • capitalizing on recent improvements in wayside AEI tag readers and computer databases quickly read and transmit rolling stock data.
  • abandoning archaic 19th-century railroad practices requiring display of rolling stock data on the sides of the car itself.
  • reducing the sky-rocketing cost of applying paint and lettering to thousands of pieces of rolling stock.
  • mitigating the environmental impact of large quantities of harmful paint and other petroleum-based chemicals exposed to the environment in all weather.
  • resolving the continuing scourge of trackside graffiti vandals covering up rolling stock data.
VIA Rail has already released its first no-paint-scheme passenger car (above). The chairman explained,
"Let's face it - the general public no longer cares about trains. Except when they're stuck at a grade crossing waiting for one to go by. Railroad public relations efforts are minimal. Brand-recognition in the already-crowded visual brand universe is difficult to achieve. Today's trains operate in obscurity, no longer exposing their lively liveries to uncaring eyes; their long-lost visual legacies lost in the lingering glare of public indifference." Who really needs paint schemes, anyway?
The chairman then announced another exciting new program,
"The Canada Council for the Arts and the Smithsonian Institution will be participating in a new bi-national visual arts program, with the working title 'Tag This!' which will encourage trackside visual artists to fully express their artistic rights by creatively decorating these large, steel rolling canvasses." And besides, when is the last time you heard someone exclaim, "hey, it's a Monon boxcar!"
As part of a pilot project, various railroads' General Electric locomotives have been displaying no-paint-scheme appearance in the area of their turbochargers for some time now (above). The new regulation takes effect at noon April 1, 2016. The railroads - always searching for cost savings - have already begun applying the no-logo, no-paint-scheme as shown on this Canadian National freight train: 

****APRIL 1 UPDATE****
Since running this press release, there has been considerable online reaction through Facebook and Yahoo. Perhaps a firestorm. Well, maybe just a roaring bonfire. No, more like a smoldering roll of toilet paper burning itself out. Here's what I'm talking about:
 If it's intended to be an April fool's joke, releasing it two days early is a bit of a faux pas.

Its so old a joke you could almost smell it in thru your computer screen.
The last one was over the CN-noodle.

Google is your friend. It'd take a 3 second search to realize that 8007 indeed has no noodle on the nose as is the same with many other CN units.

Yes, I have heard, that CN/CP are not returning some paint-n-logo stuff on their loco’s.

I find this Press Release  suspicious.The background is that of the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.The person in the centre is that of Ms. Kathy Fox, Chair of The Transportation Safety Board of Canada. There is no Press Release posted on the Government of Canada  site.This action is outside of the T.S.B's  jurisdiction.

This could almost be an actual news release.
Yea railways have not cared for a long time about their image 

Running extra...

VIA Rail has just outfitted two of its surplus baggage cars for unique onboard experiences. The first is a 'Northern Experience' car for use on its Winnipeg-Churchill trains. Passengers can access the car en route, imagining they are in a fur trading post. Costumed interpreters will add to the experience, dispensing complimentary soapstone carvings, whiskey and maple syrup.
The second converted baggage car will operate on the Canadian as 'Canadian Personal Coach on a Coach' or 'Train Transcontinentally on the Train' and features personal training, rock wall, cardio and cross-fit as you roll towards your destination. No more climbing the walls as your train waits.  Now train with weights AND climb the walls! VIA has announced their intention to similarly convert at least one Prestige Skyline car with these fitness features. By removing dome seating and using the greater height of the Skyline, passengers will be able to climb several feet higher.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Postscript: Vancouver Wharves in B&W

A couple of months ago I posted an afternoon of switching on my HO scale Vancouver Wharves layout. I took some photos down at track level which I didn't include in the first post. Being a bit indecisive, (or am I?)(I guess I am) I converted the colour images to black & white, I liked the effect. Though I also liked the colour versions...well, you decide!
Two switch jobs meet:

Discussing their next move:

Joining forces: 

Stuck in the middle with you:

Running extra...
Speaking of photography effects and CP modelling, The Fallowfield Effect is huge right now. Though Bob Fallowfield is a creative modeller, I get the impression he's a humble guy and would prefer his photographed modelling to speak for him. Hunter Hughson, Trevor Marshall, John Longhurst and Trevor Marshall again have blogged about Bob's modelling, and (forgive the rampant Rapido hucksterism) even Rapido Trains has video'd their upcoming RDC release on Bob's layout. Though I've only seen a couple of pages in RMC, and not a trackplan, Bob's major presence is on Facebook, where he shares shoulder-height layout photos taken with an iPad! iLike!
Bob has already seen these photos, christening them "The Good Old Days". My Dad photographed me photographing a CP westbound at Shannonville Road crossing, just east of Belleville on November 10, 1979.
Class unit CP 4200 leads leased C&O GP-30 3014, with end-cupola steel van CP 434054 on the tail end, passing the 'three bubbles - no trouble' hotbox detector.
Speaking of Ontario ingenuity, the Cardboard Carferry System is a brand-new system to transport your favourite model rolling stock. Sounds like a must for serious modellers who visit others' layouts, train shows, or just like to drive around with boxes of rolling stock in their cars, secure and safely-packed.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, March 2016

A Kingston to Toronto trip aboard VIA Rail began on March 6. I was waiting for VIA No 47, but first to appear was VIA No 65 at 1433: 6416-3463Ren-3321R-3334-3318-3303R. Then CN began the Festival of Freight. CN No 376  was eastbound 12 minutes later, with 2921 leading and 2920 as DPU:  
Ten minutes after that, it was CN No 369 behind 8841-2001 with DPU 2338.
The timing was right! I knew about approaching eastbound CN No 730 - the third unit potash train from Alwinsal SK to Saint John NB this season which put in an appearance at 1500. View it on Youtube from the headend with 3001-2893 and tailend! VIA gave it a 'C':
Four sets of reporting marks made up the all-Canpotex train i.e. CEFX 302702, PTEX 21525, CNPX 3347, 7030 and 150260 and CITX 151828:
A near-consecutive set of newer cars had it made in the shade: CNPX 150260, 150255, 150256, 150257, 150258, 150259, 150263 with larger Canpotex lettering:
A tail-end DPU, CN 2903, is unusual for the Kingston Sub. Apparently the waiting passengers thought so, too. They are not really that interested in Distributed Power, they're looking down the track waiting for the approaching lights of VIA No 47:
My train, VIA No 47 arrived nearly 20 minutes late as a result: 913 with dual Business Class cars 3472 (not in service) and my car 3464 plus four 33xx-series coaches. This consist was 50/50 seating. Not much to photograph on the way to Toronto except for the emptiness that is Belleville yard. Millhaven was plugged with tank cars, including PROX 39831 from Gibson Gas, four cement cars in the Bath Spur wye, CN No 369 in emergency with a post-DPU separation near Marysville, CN 7000-7025 at Belleville, one car at the P&H elevator at Trenton Junction, meeting CN No 306 at Cobourg, a rail gang in the north service track at Clarke, and GO 616 with a consist at Oshawa. The Hogtown skyline beckoned beyond:
And on March 9, prior to boarding VIA No 48 but after a brief transit trip aboard the TTC on subways and CLRV, there was another skyline view, looking east at Bathurst Street: 
The buds of spring sprouted on this 20 degree Celsius-day:
Intermodal: Bombardier Flexity articulated streetcar (no wonder TTC streetcars went to Proof-of-Payment!) and GO below: 
GO 563 led ten cars east with 558 on the tailend at 1713:
There was one reason to be at the end of the Skywalk bridge...the tantalizing prospect of seeing one of GO's new Bombardier Thunder Bay-built 300-series cab cars. happened. GO 310 was on the end of a ten-car consist behind GO 622:

The price-reduced Union-Pearson Express 1012-3003 was just departing west:
Followed by not one, but two VIA trainsets arriving from Mimico after UP had gotten out of the way:
First was 918-4002-4108-4105-4112 (above) then 6415-3462-3305 and two more 3300's. Shimmering shades of Spadina...
Japanese-Canadian. UP 3004-1010:
What's better than a GO 300-series cab car? How about a whole dang trainset in the Metrolinx scheme? Salient satisfaction sprung as my spring sojourn sizzled:
It just kept getting better - an eastbound doubleheader behind GO 657-660 meeting the all-Metrolinx consist: 307-2855-2844-2xxx-24xx-2418-2560-2402-2856-2442-2843-615:
And Metrolinx meeting Metrolinx! That's 2455 greeting its gregarious gator-green gangmates:

Running extra...

Though the new 50/50 VIA seating may make end-of-run operations 'easier', I'm not a fan of riding backwards nor of getting-to-know-you-European-compartment-style. However, I am a big fan of the new, bigger Business Class china coffee cups!

Happy Easter to Trackside Treasure readers! I enjoyed FOX TV's The Passion featuring Tyler Perry, Trisha Yearwood, Seal and Chris Daughtry as Judas. The modern-era betrayal scene, grittingly and grindingly believable, in a garden in the shadow of New Orleans' Crescent City Bridge, instantly brought the greatest story ever told to the present-day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Alcan Covered Hoppers

Bright-yellow Alcan covered hoppers travelled between Arvida, QC and Cleveland, OH, with part of their journey on CN's Kingston Sub. Alcan USLX 5214-5211 were eastbound at Belleville on the tailend of CN train No 366 on August 16, 2000 (top photo) and a Peter Mumby photo of USLX 5213 and one other (below). In both cases, we scored a nice, bilingual view of two of the cars together!
Alcan (Aluminum Company of Canada) leased two series of covered hoppers from Procor Ltd.:
  • UNPX 121500-121569 70 cars built by Pullman-Standard, 4750 cu ft, 55'3" internal length, 60' external length. Built 9-74 for dry bulk commodities, nee PTLX 15219-15243, lot 9736B. Interestingly, these cars have eight 30-inch hatches that open at 45 degrees to the car centreline, visible in Peter's photo. New reporting marks USLX 52xx-series beginning in 1995.
  • UNPX 121400-121499 3800 cu ft, 54' external length, cylindrical body for dry bulk commodities.
Both series of cars had bilingual lettering, English 'Chemical Products' on one side, French 'Produits Chimiques' the other. Here are two undated Bill Grandin photos kindly shared by Jim Parker, showing UNPX 121547:

My Alcan car observations, with date, car and CN train on:
Apr 27/91 (None other than the aforementioned!) UNPX 121547
Oct 10/91 121414
Nov 9/91 121564
Jul 6/96 121414
Nov 23/96 USLX 5205-5206
May 24/97 USLX 5212 "patched reporting marks"
Aug 9/97 5209 "patched reporting marks" placed at Cleveland/Collingwood OH Conrail on Aug 14
Oct 5/97 UNPX 121448
Nov 27/97 USLX 5208 on CN No 335
Jan 2/98 USLX 5208-5209 dest. Arvida ety to Roberval & Saguenay interchange
Mar 28/98 5200 on No 335
Apr 5/99 USLX 5201 on No 367
Sep 4/99 5212 on No 369
Apr 3/00 5214 on No 379
Aug 16/00 5214-5211 on No 366
Jun 4/03 5202 on No 368
Sep 6/03 5203 on No 369
Mar 8/05 5204
Apr 12/07 5214
Sep 30/10 5212

Lots o' links:
  • UNPX 121554 at Scarborough in 1976.
  • UNPX 121414 scroll a bit, undated. Try not to snicker when you read 'fahrt'.
  • UNPX 121448 at Belleville in May, 2009
  • USLX 5200's - just scroll down to Covered Hoppers portion of USLX listing
An online auction site photo showing cylindrical UNPX 121414 in August, 1985, as shown from above Port Hope's station with the CN-CP interchange and CP line in foregound:
Michael Hammond photographed a former Alcan cylindrical 121488, repatched with Roberval & Saguenay reporting marks in CP's Smiths Falls, ON yard in July, 2019:

Doug Stark kindly shared two views of Alcan covered hoppers:
UNPX 121548 from his collection captioned 1990's (above), and USLX 5201 showing roof hatches, taken by Doug in Markham, ON in 2003 9below):
Three Tim Reid photos of Alcan cars at Kingston:

Intermountain's version of UNPX 121540 in HO scale. Unlike the prototype, both sides of this yellow beauty are en anglais seulement. Ten-dollar train show bargain bin NIB man's junk...

Running extra...

Speaking of train shows, Kingston's annual Rail-O-Rama was held this past weekend. Some highlights:

  • Bytown Railway Society's sales table where I picked up the Companion to CNR Passenger Equipment to go with the main volume - matched set!
  • Paul Hunter's CN and VIA HO-scale layout, where we agreed that real modellers can model VIA on a budget - with great results!
  • Liz Reid's table, where I got an envelope full of Tim Reid's prints in three formats, including some views of the local CN-CP interchange - at Queens!
  • Dave Cool's Canadian Express Line, where I picked up John Riddell's Canadian Pacific Freight and Passenger Equipment Volume 2 - script, multimark and more!
  • Ron Barrett's RPO exhibit - now including VIA baggage tags from coast to coast!
  • attending the show with my great-nephew - who later declared, "It was fun. Thanks!" 
    Every Rail-O-Rama is followed by a traditional trip to  Kingston's VIA station!