Friday, October 30, 2020

Autumn at Mile 179, October 2020

I found myself trackside for a couple of hours on Monday, October 27th. The fall colours have been especially vivid this year, and I wanted to capture the remaining colours near Mi 179 Kingston Sub at Vista Drive and Bath Road. The rain has caused them to wane and the wind has caused them to wind down. Access here is along Bath Road, with complimentary parking provided by Shoppers Drug Mart, and trackside access across the five lanes of Bath Road. Trains listed by time/direction/train #/power...
1000 W CN No 148 5682-2110-2547. This looked like CN No 148, the daily bonded Halifax-Chicago import-export intermodal land-cruiser. Not a single CN or domestic trucking container. Lots of MSC. Some people say intermodal trains are dishwater-dull. I don't necessarily agree. I totally agree! But I try to counter that notion by doing my dangedest to find something, anything of interest in those endless shoeboxes on wheels! Here's lovely BRAN 2921, a bright blue 3-pak:

1051 W VIA No 643 appeared with 914L[ove the way]-four LRC cars-6416L (video capture below). The Mi 170 scanner, trains contacting foreman with Rule 42 limits Mi 174-178, foreman at Ernestown requesting track time (repeatedly unsuccessfully) and trains calling mileboard at Mi 185 were all audible in the autumn air. This crew wondered whether the RTC (whose lexicon included "sweet, beauty, hundred percent") had remembered to line them to the south at Ernestown, so they wouldn't have to back in to their Napanee station stop today!
1118 E VIA No 62/52 6418-3465-3329Future-3342-2 LRC cars-917-904L-2 LRC cars-3348-918L. This was a race with the eastbound CN No 376 that was coming through on the north track. This speedster made it with two minutes to spare:
A 'mating pair' of P42's. VIA 917 is one of only four non-wrapped:
1120 E CN No 376 2257-BCOL 4608 ended up stopping at Queens until 1200. Prior to that, here it comes peeping through the undergrowth. Most of the morning had been cloud-fuddled, but the sun tried to peek through around this time. Check out that second unit!
There's a lot of chatter right now about CN heritage units: BCR, IC, GTW, WC and many, many more are being repainted in US shops for a rumoured celebration in Montreal of CN's 25th year of going privately-owned. ("We're celebrating going public at $2.25 a share, 25 years ago!") So far at least five have gone east along the Kingston Sub. Not having seen any, I'm going to settle for BCOL 4608 (also top photo) as a heritage unit!
These long, combination-door boxcars have long been a favourite. They're showing their age and won't be in forest product service forever. This one escaped the carman with its open door. Hoboes? Watch for an upcoming post on these panoramic performers, these coniferous cornucopias, these evergreen eldoradoes, delivering fat, fircone futures! Two examples: CN 598161-598221:
The exception proves the rule. Repainted WC 20497 has no logo, just CN's website address:
1200 W: VIA No 63: 6402L-four LRC cars at 84 mph, as I photographically pan through the pines. (Another Monty Python reference about pining for the fjords? Beautiful plumage!)
1213 W: CN No 369 3197-9531. This train had been watching at Queens waiting for Nos 63 and 376 to clear. Finally, the Aboriginal logo unit appears, leading another 'heritage unit':
CN 9531, one of hundreds of GP40-2 L(W)'s formerly operating in pairs and trios along the Kingston Sub when introduced, now relegated to yard or roadswitcher duty. Likely heading for a shop date, 9531 wears the CN North America scheme introduced in 1992:
10 auto racks at the head-end, including this painted pink lady:
Newly-painted pressure-unloading covered hopper FURX 894209:
BCOL 730871 - green car with green load of lumber from  Materiaux Blanchet, a green producer in Amos, QC:
Cars heading for Redpath: cylindricals LATX (formerly NAHX) 455861, LATX (formerly CGMX) 7033 and 7061 (below), LATX 455441, and EAMX 1905 (new kid on the block, along with sometime WFRX cars) at far right:
DPU 3049, sandwiched between the Redpath cars and 20 auto racks:
HESX 43, 89-foot yellow flat car and AEQX 141 with aluminum byproducts:
Forest products pool cars include Norfolk Southern hi-cubes like NS 469585, followed by two Union Pacific covered hoppers on the tail-end. With that, it was time to head home for fresh-made pumpkin scones!

Running extra:

By the time you read this, we may be sitting atop the world's newest banana republic as special forces storm the Oval Office, gun-toting gumchewers patrol the streets for some non-specific reason, and pollsters don't touch their predictions with ten-foot....well, you get the idea. God Bless America. 

My newest book is currently being printed. Excellent, responsive local service from Kingston's Allan Graphics! Stay tuned for more information to follow here on Trackside Treasure!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Bowmanville Cement Traffic

St. Mary's Cement in Bowmanville has long been a reliable CN customer. CN 7074-4100 lead CN's Cobourg Turn from Bowmanville back to Belleville on June 26, 1998 at Morningstar Road west of Trenton, cement cars in tow (top photo). At the time of this photo, the plant was served by the Belleville roadswitcher assignment, CN No 518. Now this assignment only travels as far west as Cobourg, returning to Belleville.  I believe the plant is now switched from Oshawa. This photo shows several MDTX and some CN cement cars at the CN yard in Cobourg, with CP's mainline in foreground, undated. (Peter Mumby photo, author collection):
St. Mary's Cement, at Mi 292 of the CN Kingston Sub opened the Bowmanville plant in 1968, replacing two wet kilns with a dry kiln in the early 1990's producing 5,000 tonnes per day! Located adjacent to a quarry that is expected to have useable limestone for the next 90 years! Producing cement for such notable local projects as the Darlington nuclear energy plant, Roy Thomson Hall and the CN Tower, the plant is truly embedded in the local scene...and topography! The cars were waybilled to Schoolcraft, Michigan.
Visits to CN's Belleville yard would often reveal Flexi-Flo covered hoppers waiting to be delivered to Bowmanville. MDTX 897830 (above) with MDT lettering and logo, and 897754 'plain-jane' at Belleville on January 11, 2001.
MDTX 897690 at Belleville on October 11, 1998, with the can-opener logo and Conrail lettering barely visible:
While my observations (see below) were sometimes made in Belleville, passing through Bowmanville aboard VIA Rail also provided some data. The Bowmanville plant looms large over this eastbound VIA five-car train captioned 1982 - online auction site photo - with the lead just visible behind the baggage car, diverging from the south track. The 2,740-foot lead was designated CN track KU50, with silo tracks KU51, 52 and 54 each over 1,100 feet long. Empties were waybilled to track KU51.
The plant lead parallels and descends from the mainline embankment to the silos. Video captures from aboard VIA train No 54 in July 2018 show CITX and CEFX short covered hoppers: 40 on the lead, 15 around the loading silos. The plant's limestone quarry is in background at left:
From this distance, the short cement cars look almost like....models.

My Flexi-Flo observations by date, car number, notes/location:
Oct 11/98 MDTX 897690 at Belleville
Jan 21/99 NAHX 93632 with Trackmobile at Bowmanville
Apr 3/99 MDTX 897754 at Belleville
May/99 MDTX 897884, 8977776, 897799 setout at Belleville
Jun 24/99 MDTX 897754, 897829, 897720, 897887, 897774, 897693 at Bowmanville
No date? SMMX 100001, NAHX 93402 short
Sep 28/99 MDTX 897851, 897879, 897857 and NAHX 93632 short at Bowmanville
Nov 6/99 MDTX 897825, 897892 Belleville setout
Mar 5/00 MDTX 897829 to Bowmanville
Aug 24/00 MDTX 897720 lifted by CN No 365 at Belleville
May 17/10 Rusty rails, no cars due to Bowmanville strike.
July 10/14 Rail shipping has resumed.

Rapido Trains Inc. announced Flexi-Flo cars at the Amherst Train Show in January 2019, and since this post has languished in Draft form for 18 months, the models are now being delivered!

Speaking of models and Flexi-Flo's, check out the modelling of this Flexi-Flo by the inimitable Bob Fallowfield.  In this case, produced by irrepressible Rapido Trains:

Running extra...

Less than two weeks until the U.S. Presidential election, and from watching coverage, I can already predict each candidate's answers to reporters' questions. Last night's debate included many of the same lines from three weeks ago, except this time they were audible!

Speaking of stock lines, I recently spent an enjoyable morning matching archival photos with current locations, trying not to become a traffic statistic while doing so, such as in the middle of Ontario Street:
Here, the LNER 4472 'Flying Scotsman' tiptoed across this lakefront street back in 1970, with the downtown track removed soon after. 

I'm waiting for a printed proof copy of my latest book on Kingston history! 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Kingston-Winnipeg aboard VIA, 1984 - Part 3

In Part 2 of this 1984 trip, I travelled from Winnipeg to Toronto on VIA's Canadian. The next part of my trip, in this post, would take me from Toronto to Kingston, still on roomette 3 of Chateau Varennes on VIA No 2. While new power and Corridor cars were added to the consist, and some cars removed, I walked through the great hall of Toronto Union Station (top photo). During the two-hour layover in Toronto, I wandered over to CP’s John Street facilities. Where once the mighty Limiteds trod, and rested:

Since passenger cars were no longer stored here, Service cars, piggyback flatcars and insulated boxcars were stored here. Mini-box CP 241080 basked in the morning sun, coupled to several more Service cars. Next in line were 412533, converted from a CP mini-box, and cook-diner-sleeper 413053, rebuilt 3/78:
CP 412504 and former passenger car CP 411281:
I noted lots of CN, VIA, Amtrak and CP equipment during my walkabout. This was typical of the pre-Skydome railway lands and train-shed.
VIA: RDC's 6113, 6133, 6123, 6135, 6120; passenger cars Glace Bay, Acadian, Abbott Manor, 3218, 5440, 752, 5440; locomotives 6780, 6787, 6630.
CN switchers: 7173, 8519.
Amtrak: Amfleet coaches 21243, 21257.
GO Transit locomotive 724, 904; bilevel coaches 2004, 2152, 2066, 2133. 

A one-car switching movement threads terminal trackage: CP 8116, an NCHX cylindrical covered hopper, and end-cupola van CP 437235:
Completing my trip on CN's Kingston Subdivision from Toronto to Kingston, I occupied the vestibule of Chateau Varennes, now the tail-end car of this Park-less Corridor Canadian, from Danforth to Belleville. Meeting a westbound three-car VIA train east of Guildwood:

Some CN switchers visible just under the CP bridge: 1313, 1243, 1244, 7167 and cabooses 76647, 79215, 79247 at Oshawa:
Stored auto racks, near Mi. 290 Kingston Sub, likely at Clarke:

Sharing the tracks along the Kingston Sub on this morning were track tamping on the parallel CP at Port Hope, a CN pickup doing a run-by inspection at Coport, and meeting a four-car LRC consist at Trenton Junction. A Canadian Forces Hercules was on final for CFB Trenton, taken just west of Belleville:

CN switcher 1315 and caboose 79453 were at Belleville. Marker lamp-view passing through the west end of the yard, near Belleville station. Mi. 220.9 Kingston Sub:

Back to the roomette, it took several minutes to wash off accumulated road grime. This was not a northern Ontario, single track mainline, this was the busy, slag-ballasted, oily Kingston Sub with higher speeds and therefore higher amounts of grime! Out the roomette window, just before crossing over to the south track at Ernestown:

Nearly on-time arrival at Kingston - sleeping car porters and train service manager enjoying the sunshine on the platform. With only one station stop made, it was time to hike down the platform!  (L.C. Gagnon photo):

To review: 
  • Part 1 - Kingston to Winnipeg; 
  • Part 2 - Winnipeg to Toronto.
Running extra...

Check out this 1979 cross-Canada trip by Barry Lewis (flickr ads and all) from an era in which ex-CP power ran with CN-painted SGU's during VIA's interesting rainbow era!

Speaking of Corridor Canadians and VIA's earlier eras, here's my rendering of a Jason Shron photo showing an HO scale Ottawa-Toronto VIA train threading its way under the William Street overpass, past Clarke Transfer (built by Jon Greggs) and onto CN's Kingston Sub along the 14-foot Brockville station platform!
My ol' alma mater, St Lawrence College has a new wrap on Kingston Transit 1816:
The Pandemic Pacific - now available at George's Trains:

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Kingston-Winnipeg aboard VIA, 1984 - Part 2


In Part 1, I travelled to Winnipeg aboard the Canadian. Returning to Kingston, I left Winnipeg on June 7, 1984 on VIA No 2, car line 221, roomette 3 of Chateau Varennes, just ahead of Kokanee Park. My brother and sister-in-law had arrived in  Portage on No 2 a day earlier, so I had a four-member family send-off group waving as I left Winnipeg on time, in the dome (top photo). My aunt and uncle drove us to the Countess of Dufferin restaurant for supper, after which my aunt wistfully contemplates my departure in the Winnipeg Depot (below). Avail yourself of the links in this post which connect you to other photos of this trip previously published in posts on Franz, the Canadian in 1984 and hotbox detectors. Check out that list of destinations ahead:
East of Winnipeg, we passed the last of the grain elevators like Hazelridge, and a CP double-track (!) hotbox detector at Mi. 83.3 CP Keewatin Sub near Molson at 2120. Our train stayed on time to the Manitoba-Ontario border, meeting CP westbounds: 5702-5941 east of Whitemouth at 2133, and another led by 6042 at Ingolf. The weaving passage through Thunder Bay awakened me at 0640 on June 8. CP 5936-5537 and leased Chessie 3708 were in the yards. Lake Superior country was very foggy this morning, so I continued dozing until Schreiber. This was compounded by not turning my watch ahead as we crossed time zones overnight!                        
Foggy views of Schreiber yard. Flatcar CP 301947 has a GMC maintenance truck aboard, bracketing Spadoni's store sign with boxcars 403613 and 143007 (grain-loading boxcar!):
We met a westbound with 6028-5539-5940 near Middleton at 1245. Heading to the diner for a less-than-five-star ham steak lunch, the fog finally started to clear around Marathon at 1330. My lunch sitting reservation and receipt:
The indigenous community of Mobert:
We scooped an eastbound hotshot near Struthers. By White River, our 30 mph running left us 50 minutes late. A pulp mill just west of White River, with 40-foot roofless boxcars filled with woodchips. Actually, there are woodchips just about everywhere!
This is the sawmill complex at White River originally built and operated by Abitibi-Price then Domtar,  now White River Forest Products. These pictures are of the sawdust and chip loading areas behind the mill along the CP mainline. Chips and sawdust were originally all shipped by rail to Red Rock. Complex was just west of the CP White River yard. Thanks to Kelly Pinkerton for this additional information. This car is lettered for CP's International of Maine division:

A DJB articulated dumptruck of LeBrun Construction in White River, posing for photographic posterity in front of a typical Insulbrick house:
Clearing skies cleared my way to the vestibule, where I’d stay for over two hours, from Mi 101 of the White River Sub at Girdwood to Mi 45 east of Carry at 1745. Meeting a westbound freight at Girdwood:
This is why they call it the Canadian Shield:
At 1622, just west of Franz, we met No 1: 6531-6633-601-126-3223-509-5738-Naiscoot RiverBlair Manor-Laird Manor-1364-Ennishore-Chateau Jolliet-Revelstoke Park. No 1 pulled slowly past us, and a milk carton of needed supplies was passed between the two diners. Stopping to detrain some American fishermen just west of Franz at Mi 88.3, it was time for some signal photography while stopped:
Approaching a hotbox detector and approach signal, west of Franz.
At 1815, west of Chapleau, dinner in the diner was the barbecued half-chicken for $10.28 including tip. At my table was a gentleman travelling from Saskatoon to Stratford. At Chapleau 6527, vans 434497, 434346, and 434583.We met three westbound freights, each of which included a third leased Chessie unit, including 3711 and 3730. After dinner, it was back to the vestibule from Kinogama at Mi. 109 to Metagama at Mi. 37 Nemegos Sub. CP boarding outfit trains were tucked away in sidings at Missanabie, Kinogama, Sultan, Roberts, Drefal and Metagama during what must have been a busy trackwork season. Sticking waaaay out of the vestibule to catch our sunlit train on a curve west of Sultan at 1957. The selfie stick had not been invented yet. Note the reflection of our power in the lower duplex roomette window:
Log tracks and loaded bulkhead flats in the siding at Ramsey at 2037:
We made up time in the evening, 45 minutes late at Cartier at 2233, departing Sudbury ten minutes late at 2340. Across the tracks from the station was the Friendly Restaurant. An ACFX tank car was spotted on the heating plant spur just east of the station. Van 434509 was at Cartier. Before turning in, I walked back to the Park car at 0030 to forage (successfully) for discarded train orders. The tail-end crew had picked up new orders, possibly at Boyne. Early the next day, CN plows 55235 and 55368 were at Barrie. Sailboats and marina near Barrie at 0525 on Saturday, June 9:
Into Toronto, some random observations. a guy with a tree growing out of his chimney; my pillowcase was stamped "Vancouver General Hospital, 7/77"; and that immortal silver-and-black label at the foot of my roomette mattress: "Accrocher la bride de surete au declancheur/Hook Safety Link over Bed Release Handle" or else you might go up like the Friendly Giant's castle drawbridge in the night!  

Passing Newmarket at 0559, crossing a diamond at 0627, Fairbank 0637, St Clair Avenue at 0642, Parkdale at 0648, and right on time at 0700 at Toronto Union Station. I finally noted the consist in the trainshed: 6542-6616-Edgeley-604-108-3215-506-5752-Warpath River-Osler Manor-Draper Manor1374-Dufferin Manor-Chateau Varennes-Kootenay Park. At left is an eastbound LRC consist: 6918-3318-3319-3321. I wandered over to CP’s John Street facilities during the two-hour layover.

In Part 3, come along for a visit to CP John Street then head east from Toronto over CN's Kingston Sub for a spritely slide home into Kingston!

Running extra...

My sister-in-law went birdwatching, but instead of bluejays she found Bluebirds, leased GMTX units on CN local No 518 heading west through autumn hues to Belleville at Mi. 183 Kingston Sub. Colourful!

Railfan extraordinaire, prolific photographer and rail rider J. David Ingles has died. TRAINS, now Classic Trains, hosted many of JDI's railfan rambles. For those of us wallowing in nostalgia, his travelogues give us a window into a bygone period of railroading. 

Reminiscent replicas - childhood hobbies like military modelling are taken to a new level by this modeller in Brazil. Realistic, historically relevant 'combat photography' south of the Equator!