Springtime, barely. On June 18-19, 2020 I found myself trackside just ahead of the summer solstice. It was time to spring into action to embody my Railfan & Model Local 2020 initiative while summer simmered on the back sun burner. One limitation of railfanning locally is that there may be a temptation to shoot those same ol' shots - returning to that already-plowed photographic field of familiar angles and copied compositions. Trying to avoid that temptation, VIA trains are slowly filling up with social distancing. At 1050, VIA No 52/62 arrived and I focused not on the head-end, but on the tattered tail-end, where I found VIA 902. The entire consist: 6421-3456-3344(Renaissance)-3301R-3359Future-3316F-911Love the way-913L-3460-3303R-3356F-3363-3350F-902.
Sure, the mid-train 'breeding pair' of VIA 911-913 temporarily returned me from my Renaissance scheme reverie after seeing 902, one of only four still unwrapped, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but VIA No 63 emerging at 1157 from the just-completed spans of the John Counter Boulevard (JCB in Limestone City hip-speak) overpass with similarly-garbed VIA 901-3302R-3327R-3335-3320R-3348R-3452-914L and a surprise!
I had decided to safely cross the tracks - unusually energetic positioning for this long-time platform poseur - to take advantage of the pre-noon light. With VIA toting stainless steel equipment on the tail-end of Corridor trains, it is perhaps not surprising that some other creative consisting took place on this train. While dreaming of a mayo-laden club sandwich, I would use the phrase 'club car sandwich' to describe the positioning of 3475 on the tail-end, sandwiching 914L in the middle! "Let's get out of town before anyone notices!"
These foreground signs have warned Kingston riders to Eloignez-vous for generations, while the signpost signage is significantly less stentorian. There are a few grey areas, and before long, a bearded vagabond walked along to enjoy the shady station shrubberies in the heat of the day.
After a lunch break of taco dip with some family crafters, it was back for some dessert at 1352 in the form of 'la voie' wrapped VIA 6402 and the rest of VIA No 53: 6402L-3311R-3325-3368 (roller-painted blue)-3313-3461-912L at the west end of the north platform:
Returning to the scene of the shrine on June 19, I lolly-gagged during a lollingly long lull from 0745-0945. An eastbound hi-rail is a virtual four-wheeled rolling advertisement for Tim Hortons, a Timbit temptation in nearby Cataraqui village. Fast food and trains! Oh, and cereal pieces should never be added to the exterior of a Timbit. A nice view of the JCB overpass, upon which surfacing preparation is taking place. As part of the re-design process, JCB alignment changes, and two access roads to the VIA station are replaced by one 'ring road' roundabout access point with pending pedestrian access from transit stop to the station there.
An eastbound freight lights up the signals as I once again sample the south track scenery while waiting. The Canadian National Museum of Miscellaneous Missing Freight Car Parts has a travelling exhibit here:
Fibre-optic cable was laid here decades ago. Watch for an upcoming post. This sign is stuck to one of the platform hockey-stick lightpoles. Brought to you by the letters S&C, both of which work in both official languages:
Morning is usually a good time for freight action at Kingston - Usually. Witness foreground Viper's Bugloss flowering fortuitously in front of this fabulous freight, again favouring the morning light on the south side of the south track.
It's CN No 368 with 3175 leading and HTTX 93150 carrying a CAT 349F excavator adjacent to a lone, lumbering ABOX combination door boxcar:
Blue single-doored high-cube LRS boxcars like LRS 100065 are getting photographed all over North America. Ungraffiti'd and less than a month old, five more senior but equally pristine CN cylindricals led DPU 3211:
The problem with lulls - they often lead to ill-timed meets, such as this one when CN No 149 appeared behind 368 with CN 2819-2991-3049 at 0948. Intermodal, interrupted:
Today's VIA No 52/62 at 1111: 6421-3456-3344R-3301R-3359F-3316F-911L-912L-3461-3313-3368roller-3325-3311R-3334-6402L. Looks familiar from yesterday's No 53. Such consist-conjuring is the stuff of which books are written. During the pandemic, all consists have been standard-length and double-ended and since trains have more stops, they often run a little late:
Another intermodal westbound at 1125: CN 3240-3169. Then it was time for some pie to-go with Little Caesar. Perhaps that should be 'to-ga'! Et tu, Bacon?
At this location in future, a proposed VIA Rail service road will give access to the west end of the south platform from Princess Street, now that VIA may be losing access to the platform with the JCB realignent at the east end. Perhaps the JCB level crossing will be kept as a private road for access, although it will likely be unsignalled and there would be an issues like crossing safety. This access road would form part of the Rideau Trail route. From the City of Kingston's environmental assessment report:
Lights...Camera...Explanation? Fellow Kingston railfan Paul Hunter snapped VIA 6408 bringing up the paddle on VIA train 669 on June 22. Paul noted two alien red lights inside the cab - erstwhile markers? Aliens? Photo below. Paul also noted LED-appearing step lights up the cab of VIA 6421.On a humid day in Brockville, Tim Hayman snapped this photo of newly-released VIA 'cabbage' (cab car + baggage) 6501:
Just to be clear, it's some of Tim's fine HO scale modelling. Tim explains,"Like its Amtrak cousins, this locomotive has been demotored, the interior turned into a baggage space and the fuel tank filled in as ballast, and the cab controls left functional to allow for the train to be controlled in reverse. When it came to decoration, I didn't want to use the standard Renaissance scheme (in part because it's a PITA to decal on an F40!!). Since it's fictional, why not have fun with it and create something new-but-believable? So this scheme is inspired by more recent VIA branding, using a version of the LRC club car scheme, but also taking inspiration from the more contemporary use of the VIA logo in various branding. Newer materials have seen a resurgence in the prominent use of the core VIA logo, including frequent use of it in a sideways orientation, so I thought it would be fun to bring that in. I quite like the end result, an enjoyable entry in my side collection of what-ifs."