Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Company Photographer visits Toronto

He's been at it again! The Trackside Treasure company photographer, camera in hand. This time, taking his show on the road, with this photo archive of Toronto providing the inspiration. Enjoy these just-captioned photos taken in the Queen City, T Dot, The Big Smoke, the 'T' in the GTA. All aboard!

Need to see more from the Company Photographer? Just type those two words into the search box at top left of this blog. I've not kept track, pun intended, of how many times this talented photo quasi-wizard has displayed his work here, maybe a half-dozen, but each time there are wry smiles and warm grins all around.

Running extra...

Coming soon: My Railfan Five, Take Two. (And don't call me in the morning.)
The televised impeachment proceedings have been engrossing this last little while. Not too many broadcasts can bump The Young and the Restless off the airwaves, but this stuff can. A highlight of the day is the Chaplain's Daily Prayer for the Senate. He's been in the Navy and knows a thing or two about Calming the Storm. And members of both parties are showing us that they're all in the same boat. Will any be brave enough to step out and walk on their own? The Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, what so Proudly we Hailed, Long may she Wave.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

CN Kingston Sub Freights, Oct. to Dec. 1980

I have this question I'm trying to answer for a friend. This friend is modelling CN's Kingston Subdivision east of Toronto in December, 1980. Problem is, this friend thinks freight trains are pesky things that just get in the way of the very important VIA trains. So, to help this friend, I took a trip to the dusty archives to see just what were the freights trains that were running on the CN Kingston Sub at that time. (I didn't actually photograph any trains between September 1980 and February 1981, though I did record a CP consist in October, 1980.) I remember thinking at the time that no-one would ever want to model this precise timeframe and the days were all cloudy anyway, so saved my cheap 110-format film for other things.) On the Princess Street overpass on Feb. 15, 1981 (top photo) this eastbound freight passed in front of my camera. It looks like a CN No 318 with those dimensionals on the head-end! Original caption:
So, just in case an occasional freight train or two might venture out on the very VIA-laden Kingston Sub mainline, or for anyone else modelling the final months of 1980, here are my prototype observations. For each train, you'll see:

Date and Direction
Motive Power
Car Types/Numbers noted
If any of these are missing, it's because it wasn't recorded in my original notes.

For car types, I use the same abbreviations I've always used:
BO=boxcar, HO=covered hopper car, RE=refrigerator car, GO=gondola car, TA=tankcar, AU=autorack, FL=flatcar, CON=container

The freights I'd observed fell into a few specific types:
-container (intermodal) trains
-through freights with bridge traffic to/from the U.S. Midwest/New England
-Montreal-Toronto freights
-maid-of-all-work freights like CN Nos 317/318 with lots of chemical and misc. traffic
-short local wayfreights

Now let's go trackside in that autumn of nearly 40 years ago!

Oct 5/80 E
BO: Canadian Liquid Air CP
HO: Chessie/B&O PC CR CN
TA: Canadian Liquid Air
CON: Dart

Oct 5/80 1453 E
FL: DODX 38661 grey

Oct 18/80 1128 W

Oct 23/80 1725 W
BO: CV 600208 blue, Railbox 50632, SP MP GT CR CN SF
HO: Ex-ROCK GTW 138631, NW, Chessie, B&O, C&O
Depressed-Centre FL: CN 674200

Nov 4/80 1520 W
BO: Railbox 33357, Erie 84436, CN grain 428374, CP Chessie C&O
Hi-Cube BO: B&O
TA: CGBX 6606 CGTX Procor GATX
FL: SOO 5977

Nov 6/80 2139 E
BO: Railbox 34744, SSW 10034, DW&P CV
Hi-Cube BO: CP SR GT
HO: NW, GTW, MP Procor
RE: PFE 453617
TA: Ethyl/EBAX 6263, SLAX 5022, Domtar

Nov 9/80 1632 W
HO: Engelhard FMC

Nov 9/80
BO: CV blue 600112, HCRC 9044, GM&O 56773, Lamoille Valley, CLC 3394, NHIR 2020, WSOR/ex-NStL 151287, BN UP SR BAR B&O C&NW MEC CB&Q
HO: Ann Arbor 630 NW TSBY MP

Nov 18/80 2043 W
BO: L&N 46878, LV 8329, Chessie/C&O, Railbox 31622, MP, MEC
HO: CGGX 148?, Chessie/B&O, TPW, GTW
TA: RTMX 3635, ACPX 32034, Procor CGTX NATX
FL: CN reel

Nov 30/80 1459 E
FL: BN 614202
Depressed-centre FL: CGE 20001
79473, 79692

Dec 5/80 1628 W
BO: D&H 24421, LVRC 3543 and 3547, VTR, SSW, SP, SSI
HI-cube BO: CN (ex-GT) 798306
HO: TSBY 4910, PRR 260374 GT PC
RE: PFE white 459388 (Blt 6-70)

Dec 5/80 1628 E
CN 9502 auto transporter BO

Dec 6/80 1457 E
TA: DOCX green and yellow 6012, DUPX Genstar UTLX NCTX

Dec 6/80 1553 E
BO: IC 592816, SOO 16232, COP 7130, CN CV C&P VTR SSI
RE: Santa Fe 2626, PFE

Dec 7/80 1630 W
C&GT SW-8 102 locomotive
RE: ONYX 8206
HO: DRGW 10997

Dec 9/80 1626 W
BO: StL 155441 and 153412, MEC MD&W CN CV LVRC CP
HO: WITX/Continex 4607, DOCX UP CR PC
TA: Procor CGTX
FL: TH&B 1096
Depressed-centre FL: CN

Dec 11/80 2125 W
BO: NW 702264, Apache SP SSW
HO: SCPX 5369, Chessie
CO: Pittsburgh & Shawmut 582

Dec 23/80 0959 E local
HO: CN 378810, NAHX 43590

Dec 26/80 1955 W
BO: Railbox 14783, MPA 39831, CV DW&P Reading
HO: Milwaukee, Chessie, GT

Although I've created books on various facets of my railfanning over the years: VIA, Manitoba, grain branchlines and elevators, I've often thought it would be interesting to create something on CN freight train locomotive 'lashups' and the freight consists they powered. This post is certainly on-track with such a concept. General trends could be illustrated - fewer high-horsepower units, less variety, longer trains, distributed-power. But would it really be that interesting to that many? Just looking at these examples in one small season trackside, it was enjoyable to relive some of these freight trains' passing and power! Hmm...

Running extra...
Had a great time presenting the above presentation at our January Associated Railroaders of Kingston meeting. An effort to show the value of railfanning local! (Not not leaving home, just not leaving behind what we have at home, right under our noses. You could call it the Moustache Campaign!) There was good discussion, good questions and a really good club sandwich!
Awards season! So far, it's the Golden Globs, then the SAGgies, now the controversy-ridden Grammys (?Grammies) and the gold will be going to the Oscars. What will J Lo be wearing? Will anyone show up wearing a swan? Who are you wearing? For that question, I can currently answer Heinz. And couteur by French's. Oh, and Bick's.

Nachos and beer are a great pairing for awards-show watching! We had hot dogs this week. First time in a long while! It was nice to catch up on this underrated main course, and we relished how we finally mustered the energy to do so! All we had to do was get off our buns to do it! Everyone's a wiener!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Cataraqui Spur Bluebirds, January 2020

On January 8, I took the opportunity to follow CN No 518 as it switched Kingston's Invista plant via the CN Cataraqui Spur. While at the VIA station, an eastbound VIA arrived at 1053, as No 518 hove into view at the west end of Queens south service track, with leased power 'Bluebirds' GMTX 2323-2289 - the same Belleville road/yard power since at least Oct.30 of the last decade! (This changed a week later, finally, when it was GMTX 2323-CN 7081.) The local passed on the south track, heading for Invista after the VIA train cleared the block, at 1105:
I like these GATX (GMTX) Geeps that replace CN GP9's and GP38's on various system locals. Speaking of locals, photographer Paul Wash was photographing from the Princess Street overpass and took this fine overhead photo:
By 1124, 518 had backed off the Kingston Subdivision and into the Cataraqui Spur and made its way east to the Armstrong Road crossing:
The trainman has to ride the first car of the movement, radioing crossing status information to the engineer by radio:
The power eases over the trestle across the Cataraqui Creek...
...before crossing Bath Road a few seconds later:
Unusually, I found four loaded covered hoppers (top photo) spotted on the Cataraqui Spur north of Front Road. I believe this was due to excavation work being carried out by Shea Construction adjacent to the Cataraqui Spur lead. The crew was digging soil out from the north side of the lead, dropping it on the south side, then a Bobcat was carrying it to the main plant entrance for removal. The covered hoppers at the plant were clear of their normal storage location on the lead, down near the plant east entrance road, plus the four cars spotted up the spur! Seemed unusual and the plant must not have been switched on its normal Monday run. At 1139, they'd coupled to the four cars on the Spur and pushed across Front Road:
Now a long delay. Coupling onto the covered hoppers at the plant, stopping and pumping air, an unfortunate Kingston Express bus eastbound on Front Road, plus a school bus westbound had to wait and dared not cross while the crossing signals were flashing as the movement stopped south of the crossing was still activating them.
At 1152, the units resumed entering the plant property and cleared Front Road with the entire assemblage of 20 cars they'd accumulated. This allowed the buses and traffic to move on Front Road, as well as vehicles entering and leaving the east plant entrance. Here's the total consist at this point from the tail-end. All cars are covered hoppers except tankcar TILX 294146. Those with (*) were already at the Invista plant lead. Those with (**) were sitting on the Cataraqui Spur. (L)oads and (E)mpties were on No 518 as I observed it at the station.
MGRX 50094*
KLRX 525048*
KLRX 525004*
TCMX 703424*
KLRX 525076*
MGRX 50264*
MGRX 50047*
INVX 38744*
INVX 38791*
MGRX 50162*
MGRX 50273*
MGRX 50272**
MGRX 50021**
KLRX 525080**
MGRX 50080**
MGRX 50247 L
KLRX 525058 L
SRLX 45062 E
INVX 38611 E
TILX 294146 L
GMTX 2289
GMTX 2323
While the buses and I had waited for the train to move, it gave me an opportunity for some photography of the motive power on the trestle, with Lake Ontario beyond:

Backing back into the plant after Front Road traffic has cleared. Evidence of a recent snow-squall on the traffic sign:
On the plant lead parallel to Front Road:
Duct tape ain't working to hold the number board in place:
Returning to the station, I caught the following VIA trains:
  • 1225 WB: 910L-3474-3308-4117-4122
  • 1307 EB: 908L-5 LRC cars-6416L
  • 1329 WB: 6418-3353F-3331R-3323R-3365F-3469-917
  • 1345 WB: 904L-4005-4119-8117-4118
Being loaded at KIMCO Steel off Lappan's Lane: BISX 30938 grey - BISX 30919 yellow and two gons. BISX = Brandenburg Industrial Service, a company known for remediating soil and contaminants.
Interestingly, while Paul Wash was on the overpass, in a photo of the distant 518 and an eastbound VIA train that just preceded it, he captured your humble blogger on the platform, digitally!
The consist of the eastbound train I'm photographing: 
VIA 920L-3468-3335-3370-6410-3458-3366F-3369-3316F-4111(D&H)

Running extra...

It's not Shark Week, it seems like X2F week! Sunday - a message from Out West kindly offering me some X2F couplers. Tuesday - an envelope of X2F's arrives in my inbox, also from Out West. Tuesday night, a fellow Associated Railroaders of Kingston club member gave me a pair of couplers to say 'thanks' for my presentation that night.
Like he said... fellow Prince Street Terminal blogger's quotable-quote Chris Mears (above). Also, watch for a special blog partner event coming in February.

Some potent-potable TV-watching over the last two weeks - the Greatest of All Time Jeopardy tournament featuring James Holzhauer, Brad Rutter and the eventual winner Ken Jennings. Just the write wrecipe of wry writ wrought by Alex Trebek and the contestants. I really thought Alex might announce his retirement on the final night. What is...This didn't happen?

Friday, January 10, 2020

Turbo Crash at Kingston, December 1968

On December 10, 1968 the first press run of CN Turbo P-201 eastbound at Kingston struck a transport trailer at a signalled, but not gated, crossing at Division Street. This was two days before the inauguration of regular Turbo service, and the incident garnered front-page publicity for CN across Canada. Reporters + photographers + crash = coverage! Maybe it's true that there is no such thing as bad publicity. London Free Press photographer Ernie Lee was aboard the train and snapped the photo of the year. Adrian Lunny of the Montreal Star took this photo from westbound P-204:

It's interesting that Elliott Avenue had crossing gate protection, while Division Street, a main artery to and from Kingston's north end and Highway 401, did not.
Approaching aboard the westbound Turbo:
Passengers and crew walk the tracks:
Online views of the two Turbos. From trackside (below) and from onboard (above):
The eastbound Turbo was pulled up to the Elliott Avenue crossing where it met its westbound counterpart on its way to Toronto. The above view shows the two halves of the refrigerated transport trailer, clearly showing Windsor Packing lettering on the truck cab door. The driver's name was Don McLean and he walked away, shaken but uninjured! Windsor Packing listing in a 1967 Windsor City Directory (below). The name and phone number are those painted on the door of the truck cab.
Westbound CN P204's tail-end  car P104 passes the trailer. This degraded negative is also from the Queen's University Archives:
Turbo's 3:59 Montreal-Toronto trip time and higher speeds had reduced the time between tripping crossing circuit and reaching the crossing. At the time of the accident, there was a 25 m.p.h. slow order at Division Street due to an earlier accident - a Rapido had struck a cement truck at the same crossing, just one day earlier.  Overpasses were planned here and just over two miles to the west at Princess Street.

Photographer George E.O. Lilley photographed the aftermath of the scene, and his photos are preserved in the George Lilley fonds, Queen's University Archives. Here are photos I took of the negatives, then formatted to a positive, cropped and adjusted slightly. Any imperfections in these images are a result of my efforts, as the negatives are fresh and well-kept in the intervening 50+ years thanks to the efforts of the archives staff. Looking west toward the crossing, we see the rear portion of the destroyed meat trailer:

Stacked boxes of meat on the east side of Division Street. This crossing is signalled, though the CP Kingston Subdivision, which also crossed Division Street just to the north, has only crossbucks (and a wig-wag!). Highway 401, where the truck likely came from, is in the distance.

 Front part of the destroyed trailer pending removal:

Views of the Turbo at the Elliott Ave. crossing, signal- and gate-protected, with one side of the nose having been removed (below). This Turbo was back in service within 36 hours!

Opposite side, with CP Kingston Subdivision embankment crossing over the CN in the distance.

On January 13, George Lilley returned to document the site further. Remnants of the trailer at its new resting place:

Recreating the scene - shots of eastbound Rapido and Turbo (below) as the truck driver would have seen the crossing:

The photographer also walked west nearly a mile along the CN Kingston Subdivision, photographing the track view the engineer might have seen. Just to the left is CP's Kingston Subdivision which approaches, then curves away from the CN as it enters a wide curve and grade to surmount the CN and enter Kingston, between Division and Elliott:

Getting closer...CP in the distance, no traffic on Division Street but nothing to stop someone from just driving across willy-nilly!

In January, 1969, another view of the crossing and CP in the distance. Footings for the re-aligned Division Street are in place, as are gates now protecting the crossing!

The number of level crossings in Kingston continues to shrink - John Counter Boulevard is under construction and will be the next to open. Lots o' links:

  • CRHA Canadian Rail special issue No 207 on the Turbo.

  • Turbo's Unique Technology from Rolly Martin Country - part of an excellent Turbo series on my brother's blog

  • Turbo's Central Station Turbo Maintenance Area and Turbo press clippings also from Rolly Martin Country

  • Running extra:

    Watch for an upcoming blog blast all about favourite photographs taken trackside in the last five years, debuting February 5. (If it debuted just three days sooner, Groundhog Day, would the photos look the same day after day?)

    This dropped recently - Episode 4 of the Platforum. Even though it's not Comedians Going for Coffee in Cars, it could be called Railfans Relaxing Railside over Eggnog.

    Looking forward to Paul Hunter's presentation on the Turbo at our February Associated Railroaders of Kingston meeting. This Tuesday, it's your humble blogger presenting Go Slightly West, Young Man -  Trackside in the West End of Kingston.

    Winter is meme season. In my last post, I highlighted the modelling of Justin Kafal (above). Since he features woods and water in his scenery, the above moniker seemed to fit. Meanwhile, Jason Shron's KingstonSub continues to take shape, and sockets holding down gluing track make more than a few appearances:

    Speaking of the Canadian, there are those who are counting the days until it returns to CP rails: