At least once per season, I venture the two miles east to Kingston's VIA station. On August 19, I made that non-epic journey with additional motivation - the completed John Counter Boulevard overpass. Kingston's newest grade separation was finished in November, 2020 and the pandemic did not present a good opportunity for me to check it out - until now! Work on the Kingston station renewal had also been underway, as the completed and still-unused east parking lot shows (top photo). I parked in the only in-use parking lot (signage indicates a cell-phone/Uber lot) just west of the station and started walking towards the overpass.
A new intersection allows traffic from the station and the three apartments buildings on Old Mill Road on John Counter Boulevard. The former Counter Street alignment is now a paved path along the current John Counter (above), over and south of the two-track CN Kingston Sub. Strangely, only the north track still has crossing timbers in place. This photo (below) is taken from the north embankment, looking west to the crossing. It's still in place to provide checked baggage truck service to the south track. If checked baggage service returns, that is. There was also a plan for a VIA access road off Princess Street, just south of the tracks. Charts and graphs!
This is the last completed grade separation within the city. Only Coronation Boulevard, Collins Bay Road and the Frontenac Secondary School pedestrian crossings still have whistle signs in the west end. Here is an image showing completed (O)verpasses, (L)evel crossings, (U)nderpass, and (P)edestrian crossings and the date of completion:
Interestingly, Kingston City Council is taking one more 'kick at the can' at a whistling ban in the city. This would involve studying the cost of fencing the right-of-way from Gardiners Road to Division Street to control trespassing. Also of interest, during my visit to the new overpass, VIA trains continued to whistle at the old Counter Street crossing, while freight trains did not seem to. This view from atop the overpass shows the parking now, expanded to the east end, painted and lit:
Speaking of trespassing, a dude and his dog (see tarp, below) were living alongside the fenced right-of-way under the overpass. This grade separation has been a multi-year project
- one year elapsed while the limestone was allowed to settle into the swamp. The east side girders and interlocking for Queens West are shown in this view from the north side:
Having risked my life to cross the four traffic lanes, I snapped this picture on the south side of the right-of-way, looking east. To reduce construction costs, Council opted for a sidewalk only on the west side. A bike lane runs along the outside of the traffic lanes on both sides. Litter has already started to accumulate along the fence, with CN's access road between fence and tracks. Had CN seen fit to send a westbound along, it would appear here:
CN did, however, send an eastbound. Here's CN No 376 at 1021. CN 2319-5745 lead, with a surprise DPU...notice how the crossing gates are still activated. Platform-walkers were busy this morning, though the rain clouds were not, thankfully:
What passes for old power on CN these days, built in 1997 (below). CN's right-of-way brush control is non-existent:
CP 8827 seems to have made a wrong turn at Dorval...it made a run west from Montreal on CN No 377, now eastbound on 376, then to Halifax on CN No 120, and west to Toronto on CN No 321 trailing CP 8902 on August 27!
Scrap tie cars CN 56003 and BLE 50007 in this view still on the north side:
Taken from the south side, VIA No 643 arrived at 1038 behind 6409 with 5 LRC cars. The sidewalk is shown at right, with bollards indicating the bike lane and the proximity of traffic just evident. In centre distance, the intersection with Old Mill and station access, then the curve up to Princess Street. You know, the overpass Jason Shron is currently modelling on his KingstonSub layout.
Making my way down the north embankment during 643's station stop, the 'native species' planted along the embankment are in bloom, including sunflowers. No grass will be cut in the making of this overpass!
A visitor from Watertown, picking up a fare. Border-restriction much?
The usual lengthy Montreal-Chicago CN No 149 hit the station at 1055. CN 3857-3010 in the lead, also on the south track. VIA No 62/52, soon to appear, would make a north side station stop before heading back to the south at Queens West after No 149 passed.
Looking east (above) toward John Counter and west (below) toward Princess Street, likely two of the closest overpasses on the Kingston Sub!
These white boxes, from various container lines, contain temperature-controlled shipments, normally grouped around a CN generator container (far left) with plug logo on it:
VIA No 62/52: 901-3466-3338Future-3312Ren-3329F-6410-3458-3328R-3301R-3345R-3332R-6412 (below). The least car-filled photo I've ever taken at Kingston! Not sure about that large concrete block on the platform, though - it's not the only one. Between the two on-board personnel, a gap in the guardrail exists where one spot was taken up with a short platform in the past, now gone.
Continuing east under John Counter Boulevard, VIA 6412 bids Kingston goodbye:
We're having an election. Vote early and often! Some say, why an election now, while the corollary to that statement is...why not now? Democracy waits for no man, or woman. Clearly, the Prime Minister wants to reach the age of majority. Government.
I need to head back to the lake country again. Whizzing between Harrowsmith and Sydenham, the south side of Rutledge Road seems to host this former CP Service car, shown in this Flickr photo while still at Memory Junction in Brighton:
In the September issue of Our Lakes e-magazine, my third 'Rails and Lakes' article is coming down the track. Forget taking a Ride on the Reading, let's take a ride on the Kick & Push!