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?

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