On Saturday, October 15, 1977 we were at Sydenham, ON to await CNR 6060 as it led the St. Lawrence Valley Steam Association's fall foliage excursion. The excursion was operating from Montreal to Toronto via Ottawa, here on CN's Smiths Falls Subdivision, part of an ambitious 14-hour trip itinerary. There were 325 passengers aboard six cars, and tickets were $75 each. Photos in this post by my Dad, L.C. Gagnon. He took a distant photo of an earlier excursion through Sydenham on October 26, 1973 just over one month after 6060's debut.
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My wife, my niece and I visited the Harrowsmith railhead marking the end-of-steel for the CN Smiths Falls Subdivision on April 9, 1989 (top photo). In the past four posts in this series, we 'tracked' the genesis and history of the lines through the village. The line's removal by CANDO Contracting began a week earlier. The remaining CN trackage can be seen at left, with a skeleton car, and the CP, already dismantled, would be about where the bulldozer is sitting, behind two piles of rails. At the time of our visit, a crew was working a mile or two east of Harrowsmith. A bucket loader was at the Page farm, while the rail it was removing was stacked here at Harrowsmith for removal. Equipment in use:
- Trackmobile - operable on road or rail.
- Skeleton cars - basic trucks, collapsible with a central pole attached by drop pins, removable/collapsible for transport. An assembled car, and the ends for another skeleton car are visible in the top photo.
- Bulldozer - with forklift attachment for stacking the rails.
- Bucket loader - to lift rail onto the skeleton cars at end-of-steel.
- Spike pullers - powered by Honda engines.
The procedure for removing the rail started with removing track bolts with pneumatic wrenches or cutting torches. One bolt was left in place. Spikes were pulled by spike pullers. Rail was lifted onto skeleton cars by the bucket loader. Skeleton cars were pulled to Harrowsmith railhead by Trackmobile. Bulldozer unloaded and stacked the rail for removal.
The foundation of the interlocking tower was still discernible in the brush to the right, ahead at the joint section (above). A few telegraph poles and wires still parallelled the north side of the CN right-of-way. Having walked past the joint section, this view looks west, with CP now at left, CN at right, and the village of Harrowsmith in the distance. Meeks Lumber barn-roof warehouse is visible at centre.
- VIA Sudbury 6105, 6208, 6217, 6218, 6250, 6251.
- Rapido Trains/VIA Historical Assn. 6110, 6113, 6133, 6214, 6215.
- Waterloo Central Railway (new) 6111, 6135, 6138, 6148, 6205.