Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Cataraqui Spur Woods, December 2021

It was Monday, December 20, just a few days before Christmas. Dashing through the snow, with a post-prandial delivery of my books to Kingston's Novel Idea bookstore. I knew there was a good chance that Belleville-Kingston Mon.-Wed.-Fri. turn CN No 518 would be down at the waterfront Invista plant on my way along King Street into King's Town. And it was. Belleville yard power has been GMTX 2323-2284 in December. The power was just leaving the tank track, as the crane for the Utilities Kingston sewer-pumping project loomed above the leasers:
I'd only been up the Cataraqui Spur past the end of King Street West once. This seemed like a good opportunity for a second visit. The Cataraqui Spur runs north toward Bath Road here, with Little Cataraqui Creek wetlands on the west and the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club on the east. The title of this post might turn out to be, "Over the Bridge and Through the Woods, It's Back to Belleville We Go!". A spur to Kingston's grain elevator used to diverge southwest from here. I started seeing ties east of the track:
There used to be a siding/runaround track here, designated KM10, that could be used for storage. Plus the spur to the grain elevator, located on the water south of Front Road/King Street West. Here's a December 30, 1988 view of CN 3640 leading its train up the spur, from the parking area/turnaround off King Street West.
After that train headed north, I walked up to the siding and photographed the 18 ballast cars stored there. The track to the grain elevator, north of King Street West, had been lifted already, and the rails appear to be sitting alongside the siding: 
Back to 2021 and more siding ties:
Sean Skerritt works at the Cataraqui Golf & Country Club, just to the east. After this post was published, he let me know that there was a switchstand extant at the south end of the siding. Still lettered KM10, it bears mute testimony to the existence of the right-of-way. It was likely thought to be too heavy to remove by a salvage crew! Sean kindly shared this photo:
This CN track schematic shows the siding, KM10 running off lead KM01 with the track to DuPont, KM35 heading west. The Cataraqui Spur can be seen heading north across King Street West, towards the top of the photo and its connection to the main line near Gardiners Road:
Removal of the siding left an S-curve where the siding used to join the spur. Also, check out the tele-enhanced dip ahead of that!
Siding sliding through the years, using the City of Kingston's Snapshot Kingston public mapping tool.  Through the ages, the original track arrangement is visible even in 1990. Some cars for (then-)DuPont were on the siding. The two 1990 photos fit together - if you can imagine the south end of the cars meeting the north end in the second slice below:
By 1998, the siding was gone, more visible in the pine-lined 2013 colour photo. Through the trees, I could just see 518 down at the plant pumping air. Another view of the siding ties:
Front Road  runs between the sliver of swamp and the tank cars, note the crane!
Some of the siding turnout ties remained, their snowy, shadowy silhouettes just visible:
The 'braaamp' of an 2323's airhorn announced its arrival. I got 'inside' the S-curve to set up a straight-on approach shot, then a going-away shot. To do so, I got away from the track into some swampside trees. Some of them had been felled by a recent night of strong winds, and there was evidence of recent chainsaw-work to keep the tracks untreed.
Here's the approach shot, with some branches near the branchline:
Going through the S-curve:
Here's a Youtube video I snagged between coming and going.
I perched on three not-so-sturdy felled trees. I was a sure-footed as a snake on stilts!
All empties:
The tail-end heads towards apartments along Bath Road:
Another grey area:
Walking back to my parking spot, I noted rail-wear on the curve. The cars would be lucky to have more than a loonie's-width of contact with the outside rail:
Moreso on the rail on the inside of the curve:
With that, the train would gain the Kingston Sub mainline and head west to Belleville. I was heading east!

Running extra...

Hoping you had a good Christmas, 
and that you can see your way clear to be optimistic about 2022! 
The change of year is always a time of looking forward and looking back.
We bid a somewhat-fond farewell to the tail-end of 2021!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Merry Christmask 2021 with the Company Photographer

No, that's not a typo. It's COVID-19 and it's baaaaack! 

Blogging is one thing that's still safe to do,
Here by the fire, my nearly Christmas card for you.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with stuff,
In hopes our family gathering size is small enough.

Kingston led the country, we're number one!
And sick is just sick, it's not good, it's not fun.
Read along with me, let's spread good cheer
Hoping this pandemic gets the **** out of here.

This year, the Company Photographer has returned for a special Christmas vacation, shivering rackside capturing these vintage scenes from the CN Images of Canada Collection, with some somewhat-humorous accoutrements added for merry measure.

A very Merry Christmas and all good greetings of the season,
 and continued health and happiness from Trackside Treasure to you,
 our loyal readers and blog partners. 
You've all made 2021 a little more bearable and even enjoyable! 

** Here's a year-end Hanley Spur layout update. **

Enjoy some festive greetings that have come my way (below).
Bernard Kempinski (above)
Jim Burnside in Manitoba:
Eric Potter:
Lance Gleich:
Jason Paul Sailer:

Mark Perry:
Kingston Transit. Red Shirt Fridays, paying tribute to the Canadian Forces fell on Christmas Eve this year! That is not ugly Christmas sweater!
Emmerson Case's amazing Toronto Union:
John Morear in UK. Might subscribe again this winter to the Belleville Railstream cam!
The powerful Alex Pallo, Jr.:
Cameron Applegath:
Paul Charland: