Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Cataraqui Spur GMD-1, November, 2020

Recipe for Railfanning Results: Take a quick heads-up from fellow Kingston railfan Paul Hunter. Mix in a trip to Michaels craft store, the credit union, and two Teen burgers, and you get...a GMD-1. That's the new math! Actually, all this tempestuously transpired on an overcast Wednesday morning on November 25. Paul heard from Malcolm Peakman in Napanee that a GMD-1 was heading our way on Belleville-Kingston turn CN No 518 at Napanee. I made a quick trip trackside just in time to see several fast-moving eastbound covered hoppers heading east. First disappointment - missed the power!
Then it was back home to pick up my wife and head for a drive-thru lunch at A&W. We dined al fresco (that's pretty well all there is during a pandemic) in our van near Raxx pool hall just off Gardiners Road. The train had switched its power to the west end, wyed, so no GMD-1 leader today - second disappointment. Proceeding west by signal indication, I could heard the long train coming up the hill to Mi 178 Kingston Sub. It had to pull west so the trainman and trainee could throw the switch before sliding to a halt. This movement gave me views of both ends of CN GMD-1439 trailing leased GMTX 2323 (above) and backing east past me into the Cataraqui Spur (top photo).
I thought the train was a goner until I caught up to it. First non-disappointment - I made it in time! Take a pizza plus a phone call. Mix in a train, and you get a catch-up. Trainman's comment responding to mine about the second unit, "Well, it doesn't run as cool as it looks!"
The site of two recent derailments, much new ballast and renewed rail hardware has been invested in this swampy site. The 1439 was a sitting duck for me, and as the train departed I did a swan dive due to a piece of exposed rebar! There are actually swans in the swamp south of this site, part of the Cataraqui conservation wetlands, so I guess that could be termed 'modelling the prototype'.
Soon it was time to head south to the Kingston Invista nylon plant with 12 KLRX, INVX and MGRX covered hoppers and six TILX tank cars. I'd previously caught GMD-1 1444 here in 2015, only the second time I'd connected with a GMD-1 as Cataraqui Spur power. (In that post, you'll find fellow Kingston railfans had photographed CN 1431 in 2003 and CN 1437 in 2014.)
Going gentle into that grey gloaming. I call this the duct tape unit because the engineer-side numberboard is held in place with it!
Taking a circuitous circuit lakewards, behind a Sunday driver on Wednesday, I actually made it to the Front Road crossing into the plant in time to see tank cars, covered hoppers, then the power backing south in front of me! Second non-disappointment - caught up to it again!
Just crossing the trestle (above) and a short, sunshiney second (below) meant a melodramatic monochromatic moment:
Starting to switch the plant. Liking the Landscape format?
Perhaps preferring posing for Portrait format?
An extra-wide berm of ballast has been added to assist crew footing (right of track - above).

This duo is still serving Kingston as of November 30. And at least twice CN 1439 has led! Then it was time to rendez-vous with my retail-therapy recipient!

Running extra...

Last night was our Associated Railroaders of Kingston December meeting by Zoom, with 17 members participating, including Zoom-ins from Pointe Claire, Ottawa and Toronto. Due to the pandemic inter-generational precautions, I'd missed the previous three months' outdoor meetings. Last night, I was invited to profile my new book Smoke on the Waterfront - The Trains, Ships and Industries of Kingston Harbour. Trying to perfect my Zoom cred, I teetered my laptop on this improvised two-tiered tissue tower! I was flush with success, definitely on a roll, and afterwards I cleaned up my mess quickly, renewing the craft/layout room to its normal state!


Canadian Train Geek said...

1439 was definitely well photographed by you! That unit was a regular Regina resident for years, but apparently has moved to Ontario, perhaps in preparation for retirement.

Eric said...

P(u)SR, Steve: Precision unScheduled Railfanning! Just so I could say I got it! Those Bluebirds sometimes hang around for months, but I bet CN 1439 will soon be dealt back into Toronto's hand!

Thanks for your comment,

Michael Pasch said...


Great photos. Love the duct tape used to keep the number board attached to 2323! You could model that with a large brush stroke of grey paint around the number board. The winterization window looks "after-market" as well.

Eric said...

Thanks, Michael. Good eye! The bluebirds usually get less than rave reviews, but at least they're a little more modern than the GMD-1. An eclectic power pair, for sure!

chris mears said...

I’m still wearing an unflattering shade of envy for that GMD1. What a fantastic thing. Is it still in Kingston?

Eric said...

Rudolph is not the only 'red one' than, Chris! She was only here about two weeks and there was probably pre-Christmas rejoicing among the crew about that fact!

Thanks for your comment,