Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Summertime in Belleville, August 1976

We made an hour-long visit to CN's Belleville yard on August 11, 1976 before visiting my great-aunt and great-uncle for lunch and the afternoon. At 1137, an eastbound fast freight was pulling into the yard behind CN 9622-9598-9603 for a crew change, recorded in a coloured slide recently scanned by my brother.  A few seconds earlier, my Dad recorded the scene in black and white:
The engineer waved, and on the head-end was a substantial cut of through mechanical PFE/ATSF/BNFE reefers, in various states of fresh paint or weathering, that paraded past. The train also had assorted boxcars: Penn Central 153382, MILW, MPA, KCS, Manufacturers' Railway, RI, CV, CGW; covered hoppers BN 518058 and SCLAIR, an MP hopper, a UP flatcar and caboose 79233. 
Summer trackwork season (see below) was delaying scheduled passenger trains. At 1145, a VIA train (direction not noted - perhaps a 23-minute late No 44?) passed by, with 6763-6631 and baggage car 9657 noted. At 1157, westbound VIA Turbo 126-151 slid through the yard approximately 55 minutes late:
A second or two later, in black and white!
Hoppers such as WM 72110, C&O 18221, Chessie/C&O 137039 and B&O 234298 were in the yard:
and CN 3734 was switching:
Lunch was noted as really good. It usually comprised Kentucky Fried Chicken and all the trimmings! After our visit, we drove around and my Dad photographed track machines 65-209 (tamper) and 776-91 (ballast broom/regulator) working west of Belleville. A white-hatted foreman is visible, perusing the final roadbed at right of photo:

Also noted in the yard:
  • CN reefer 251891
  • OCS cars 74793 and boxcar 73012
  • CN RS18's 3734, 3726, 3111 and 3113
  • CN switcher 1288
  • cabooses 79574, wooden end-cupola 79836, 79727
  • CN Rule Instruction Car 15025 near the station
  • Boxcars: SP, D&M, UP and Southwide 4033
The view from the apartment balcony looked north over the city of Belleville toward the CN Kingston Sub. Apparently I spent the afternoon there; as a twelve year-old I was exempted from discussions of family history, politics and other such weighty matters. Noted from a distance:
  • 1233 WB 2 unit, 8-car passenger train, perhaps No 43 from Ottawa
  • 1401 EB with two Geeps, a few covered hoppers then 33 ore cars (Picton?)
  • 1501 no direction 2-unit, 9 car passenger train, perhaps a 55-minute late No 63
  • 1522 EB three Railiners, an 18-minute late No 652
Running extra...

Today, Belleville is a mere shadow of its former self. No more locomotive servicing or car repair. Butt-welding CWR plant long shuttered. Great Lakes District MoW car servicing a thing of the past. Branch lines i.e. to Picton severed. Only one set of switchers, unlike the plethora I listed above, and this set serves the yard/local industries, plus east and west turns on the Kingston Sub as far as Kingston and Port Hope, respectively. Dispatching moved to Toronto now Montreal. New VIA station, though. That's progress, I guess.
Kingston Transit has a new wrap on Novabus 1807 promoting Queens University sports teams. Seen above on Gardiners Road. I'd seen this new wrap a half-dozen times in the past couple of weeks, but this was my first opportunity to photograph it. It sure gets around.

Also getting around, leading a gnomadic lifestyle, is this little fellow, seen in the front yard guarding some crocii. Er, crocuses. Perhaps he represents Doc (fun fact follows) the only one of the Seven Dwarfs whose name was not an adjective! 

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Postscript: Riding the TTC, April 2019

A guy gets on a streetcar in Toronto. OK, this isn't a joke, it's actually the topic of this previous post. And it actually happened! But along the way, I took some photos that were not part of my actual day-long trip. Photos worthy of a postscript post. And that actually happened, too! Looking across nathan Phillips square from the Doubletree Hotel, I could zoom in on Flexity (top photo) and CLRV streetcars on the Queen route.
It looks like a bus under an overpass somewhere in Russia, but it's actually a TTC "Bathurst streetcar" in theory. I'm at Exhibition loop (above) and my ride, TTC bus 1139 is about to loop around for boarding. Once I eschewed the Dufferin Loop ride, I was able to get a photo of two Flexity articulated streetcars at the King-Dufferin intersection:
Around she goes, past a former Bank of British North America, under a maze of wires as a TTC bus waits on the curbside:
Boarding the King streetcar, everything seemed black and white:
In the Beaches, this graffiti-ish Not In Service CLRV headed toward the Neville Loop as I noshed on a bagel and warmed up with a Tims coffee:
And another 501 route car posed in front of the Tims, as a shadowy prolific pigeon platoon posed skyward on wires. No Standing. Not Mind the Gap, but mind something that rhymes with gap!
Passing the Russell carhouse, lines of CLRV's and ALRV's:
Up Spadina, this 501 route car posed at an intersection :
My conclusion? Toronto streetcars are such an integral piece of the community fabric in many parts of the city that in any era with any equipment, and a suitable backdrop, it's hard to take a bad streetcar photo!

Running extra...

Who doesn't enjoy a cup of 'Timmies' when trackside, whether in the Beaches or by the bay (Collins Bay, that is). CN No 376 provided the backdrop while I rested and refreshed along Kingston's new railfan walking trail.
The view from the Bayridge Drive overpass, completely unsullied by any CN or VIA activity, is always refreshing, any time of year. The foreground will soon be besmirched by a whack of new homes in the Graceland development that will soon fill this space. Railfans, looking for a railfan-friendly new home?
On June 29, 1955 Dave Stevens photographed CPR 437 lifting new H16-44's 8549-8550 from the Canadian Locomotive Co. here in Kingston. Thanks to Don McQueen for kindly sharing this photo. Last night's Associated Railroaders of Kingston module session discussed modelling the waterfront of Kingston including CLC, Kingston Shipyards (Grant LeDrew!) and this City Hall area. We are learning a lot, planning and modelling!
Happy Easter to all Trackside Treasure readers!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Riding the TTC, April 2019

It's 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, you're in Toronto, you've checked out but train time is not until 5:40. What would you do? Faced with that prospect a week ago, I made the obvious choice. Buy a TTC Day Pass and get ridin'! I especially wanted to ride as many streetcar routes as possible.
I bought the $13 pass from the fare collector at St Patrick station, and began a one-day odyssey that would eventually comprise 17 different rides - getting my money's worth, here! And not once was I asked for Proof-of-Payment. And I only had to present my pass a time or two. From St Patrick, it was down Line 1 Finch heading for Union Station.
Having checked my baggage at the subtly subterranean VIA baggage counter, I was a free man with pass in hand and camera in pocket. The idea quickly dawned on me to document each ride photographically and with route and car numbers. Riding the 509 to Exhibition Loop aboard Bombardier Flexity 4434, I awaited the bus protecting the 511 Bathurst streetcar route. Bus 1139 appeared after a few minutes:
We were off, heading north to King at Bathurst Sts. I wanted to get on another streetcar as soon as I could - I can ride buses in Kingston, after all! I boarded Flexity 4483, realizing it was going to the Dufferin Loop. I disembarked at King and Dufferin to board a Flexity continuing farther along the King route. Flexity 4517 arrived wearing a Mr Clean wrap. Some wraps I would see this day included Ripley's Aquarium, Coke and a few others that remained undocumented.
With the Flexity, any of the car doors can be accessed, which makes for quick embarking and disembarking. Hence the change to Proof-of-Payment on the TTC, like GO Transit. I was in the front car, just behind the driver as we approached CLRV's outside Roncesvalles carbarns. One can speak to the driver through the holey oval in the middle of this photo, while reading the sticker about one TTC operator being assaulted every day - zero tolerance. I was well-behaved, being a country mouse among all the city 'mouses'.
My next ride was the longest-lasting: the Queen streetcar which runs all the way from Humber College Lakeshore campus in the west to the Beaches in the east end of Toronto. This trip involved two CLRV trips each way - 501 to Humber Loop aboard 4085, then Humber Loop to Long Branch Loop. Westward on 4085-4189, staying aboard 4189 back-tracking east to Humber Loop. Lots of stop lights! An interior CLRV view early in the eastward return trip, taken from my back-row seat:
At Humber Loop, I boarded Flexity 4498 but disembarked at Queensway and Ellis to catch the trailing 4496 (below) which was not as full, riding it to through downtown to Queen at Bellefair in the Beaches (or the Beach, as it is often referred to).
While in the Beach, I rode to the end of the line at Neville Loop before returning west as far as Bellefair, where I visited the neighbourhood Tims for a bagel break before boarding the 501 Humber, continuing west until disembarking at Broadview Avenue:
Continuing back towards downtown aboard CLRV 4089, I transferred to the King- Dufferin Gate route on Flexity 4477. This was a quick, fast-moving trip across downtown. At King and Spadina, I left the King car as it continued on to Dufferin Gate. Note the photographic impossibility of capturing the Flexity's digital route sign lettering!
Flexity 4477 headed west as Mr Clean headed east as I disembarked (above). My next two routes to ride were the 510 Spadina and 504 King. I would ride the subway between them a few stops west, eschewing the 511 Bathurst route, since it was likely buses.
Spadina-bound Flexity 4456 (above) paused for traffic before coasting to the stop at King and Spadina, flanked by northbound and southbound traffic on Spadina. The car interiors are interesting, letting in lots of light, with higher seating over the trucks, and lower, handicapped-accessible seating  by the doors. I even saw one baby stroller 'rolled' up to the low floor. Near the back of the five-section car, there were no standees on any of my trips:
Having ridden the Route 2 Kipling subway aboard car 5364 from Spadina Station to Dundast West Station, I came above ground to board the 504A King, heading back toward Spadina Avenue. There was a line of buses covering the 505 route, but Flexity 4457 squeaked its way around the loop departing Dundas West past a waiting bus:
Getting closer to train time, it was time to head back toward Union Station. At King and Spadina, I boarded another Flexity, 4491. It only went as far as the Queens Quay loop (below) so I had to hop off...
...and hop on to Flexity 4430 for the Harbourfront last leg of my extensive, but not expensive, trip:
All in all, a cost-effective way to ride a variety of equipment and see some interesting sights! Do you know how many Vape shops and Shoppers Drug Marts there are along my routes? I don't either, but there were a lot!! Here's a postscript showcasing some out-the-window views taken along the way.

Running extra...

Did you know Kingston Transit has a one-day pass for 8 bucks? Hmmmmm.

Aboard the TTC, not only was I channelling the Shuffle Demons' sax-saturated hit Spadina Bus, I was also channelling the Guess Who's straight-up rock'n'roll rollercoaster Bus Rider:

Get up in the morning, get on the bus/Get up in the morning like the rest of us
Places to go, important people to meet/Better not get up or you might lose your seat

I've heard of the Song that Never Ends, but this is the Car That Never Leaves. Click the link to read more. 

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Springtime at the Station, March 2019

Day One of my new life phase/lifestyle found me starting off in a good place on March 27 - at Kingston's VIA station. Mixing pleasure with pleasure - a visit to Panera Bread then trackside. Arriving from the east was VIA No 63 Eng 6445-3464-3321Renaissance-3362R at 1147: 
Heading over toward Division Street, a stop at Lappan's Lane revealed some interesting cars at KIMCO Steel, one of CN's last two Kingston customers. MTBX 004 and 009 are Metrobec scrap gons for loading, mired behind the Utilities Kingston storage yard. The entire KIMCO property is fenced, unlike the CN-operated team track days!
BTCX 613 is also mired - it's an 89-foot Browner Turnout Co. flat car being relieved of its load of I-beams by a KIMCO crew:
Down at the end of Rigney Street/CN Queens East, a westbound CN freight - likely CN No 369 - emerged from under the Division Street overpass. Lone CN 3150 was in charge, adorned with the Aboriginal nose logo.

Wheel-y interesting loads. I reinvented my interest in wheel cars as CN 48955:
and CN 618061, a former ingot flat car
Speaking of ingots, HPJX 52360-52234 were carrying aluminum ingots:
DPU 2943:
Then it was VIA's turn, with VIA No 45 powered by Eng 920 Forty Years-wrapped and six cars at 1238 (video capture):
Next stop, Kingston station - where this post started out!

Running extra...

As promised, the first pension cheque was direct-deposited on April 1! I've come across some humourous memes that seemed relevant:

The next day, it was off to the big city. Watch for an upcoming post on my TTC-riding adventure: