Friday, January 28, 2022

CN Derailment at Kingston, March 2005 - Part 1

On March 17, 2005 CN Toronto-Saint John, NB freight train No 306 went into emergency due to a trespasser on the south track at Mi 178 Kingston Sub. The trespasser did not respond to repeated whistle blasts and jumped off the track at the last minute. VIA No 65 was approaching from the east, and did not see any trespasser despite some searching, nor any problem with 306's train. The head-end of 306 was stopped about one mile west of the Kingston VIA station. The first part of the train would have been on a 0.8% downgrade, and the rear of the train on a 1.0% grade up to Gardiners Road, a major north-south arterial in Kingston's west end. The consist was 130+ cars long.

 THE DERAILMENT

Shortly thereafter, 306 started to pull ahead at low speed. While driving west toward Amherstview, I briefly observed this attempt. It was then that several cars derailed. The crew called the Rail Traffic Controller (RTC) at 1852 reporting a loss of air, in emergency at the Gardiners Road underpass, Mi 178 Kingston Sub. There was slack action during the emergency stop, and was the cause of the derailment. 

Unusually for a Trackside Treasure post, I have no photographs accompanying the text. That's because this part of the derailment was in the dark! Kingston Whig-Standard photo published March 22:

The north track at the time of 306's call was clear, but the south was fouled by seven or eight cars on the ground. The rail was broken and torqued at least 50 cars behind the power. At 1945, 306 reported four or five cars off, 20 feet from the south track, 30 feet of broken rail, misaligned rail beyond that, and no further damage to the train. Also reported by 306 during '20 questions' with the RTC was the speed at initial emergency application of 40 mph, and the second loss of air (derailment) occurring at 8 mph. 

THE TRAIN
The cars involved were:
  • NOKL 821081 covered hopper of soybeans (74th car)
  • NAHX 481792  and CN 388609 covered hoppers also carrying soybeans
  • CCLX 1478, PROX 75987, PROX 75988 and CCLX 1469 tank cars all carrying corn syrup
  • RFMX 464358 (ex-Conrail) covered hopper carrying corn (81st car)
Here's how CN's consist for No 306, usually toting tank cars, covered hoppers as well as boxcars for lumber and paper to the Maritimes and various short line connections, was blocked from the head-end:
  • Coteau, Ottawa Central Rly.
  • Riviere du Loup or Joffre, Chemin de Fer Baie des Chaleurs
  • Edmunston, BAR Madawaska, ME
  • Moncton
  • Dartmouth
  • Saint John
  • Cape Breton & Central Nova Scotia Rly. 
So it's likely that the cars in the mid-section of the train were heading for Moncton. Today, 306 only operates far as Moncton, carrying on to Saint John as regional freight 406.

THE RESPONSE

At 1955, VIA No 49 passed by at restricted speed.

At 2000, foreman Mike Labelle arrived on the scene.

At 2020, the RTC told 306 to take the underailed cars on the head-end east to Queens. CN No 519 would arrive from Belleville to remove the underailed cars on the tail-end.

At 2025, VIA No 48 passed by at restricted speed. CN No 306 made slack for the cut, departing for track 1 at Queens, with trains passing on the north track not to exceed 50 mph. The head-end passed the Kingston VIA station at 2048. 

At 2050, VIA No 69 was westbound at Queens.

At 2055, 306 called to talk to the RTC about where to stop with its cars. The south service track at Queens could not be blocked, since overnight trains VIA 50/51 would have nowhere to go.

I went to the derailment site at 2100. The CN Belleville road repair truck was taking the Sensing-Braking-Unit (SBU) to the tail end of 306 at Queens. Two mobile lighting units to illuminate the site were arriving, already lit in transit!

At 2200, CN No 368 passed by, then No 148 at 2230 with lots of bell and whistle.

At 2300, CN No 519 arrived to pull the tail-end of the train clear. Departing Queens after the trainmaster had downloaded data from the engine, 306 continued east.

On duty at the scene were track supervisor Dan Ash, trainmaster Mike Taylor, trainmaster Kim Hum, trainmaster Pete Hopper, and foreman Dave Reynolds. Carmen were stationed 20 cars apart to watch the pullback of the 50 cars on the tail end. The pullback started at 2330, starting at less than 1 mph. with those in place again advised to watch as it pulled back, lest the train go on the ground. If it did, the movement was to come to an imnediate stop - fortunately there was lots of flange left on the rail. 

At 2335, SBU #32138 was attached for the movement of tail end cars for the trip to Belleville which proceeded west at 0015 March 18.

At 2345, foreman Dave Raynolds was given a Track Occupancy Permit on the north track between Queens and Ernestown to put up flags for his new Rule 42 limits between Mi 181 and 176. Foreman Dan Ash notified foreman Reynolds that trains passing the site were permitted in either direction, at a maximum speed of 50  mph.

CN Police called trainmaster Hopper inquiring as to the last known location of the trespasser.

A pow-wow was then held at the southwest corner of Gardiners Road. Nobody would be doing any work until the briefing was held, with the exception of section forces putting on their hi-rail  truck at Collins Bay Road, two miles west. 

THE END...for now

It was time to sleep. Well, for me anyway. CN crews and Hulcher contract crews continued to arrive during the night and go to work.

Kingston Whig-Standard photo of the clean-up, published March 19 (above). In Part 2, we'll return to the site to see clean-up underway.

Running extra...

Initial impressions of my most prized periodical publication of 2022 - Model Railroad Planning:
  • Neil Schofield's CP in Vermont made the cover and it's the best article within. I enjoyed matching the photo locations to the trackplan, though the caption for photo #9 appears to have no matching photo, and photo #9 shown is taken at Neil's North Troy. 
  • there are several big, and I mean b-i-i-i-g trackplans, perhaps continuing a trend  for MRP to resemble Great Model Railroads, Kalmbach's other annual. It's OK to show us below-the-layout and unfinished scenes once a year, Kalmbach!
  • blog partner Bernard Kempinski's nice Civil War modelling is featured (above) now that his Port of Los Angeles layout has been moved out.
  • I've seen lots of layouts that look like other modeller's layouts, taking someone's layout and techniques as inspiration. But Randy Decker sets out to replicate major elements of John Allen's oft-published Gorre & Daphetid. And that just seemed weird!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Kingston-Montreal Return Trip, March 1993

On March 11, 1993 our little family left Kingston aboard VIA No 66 for another visit to snowy Montreal to visit my sister. We were in one of three cars led by VIA 6428 (arriving - top photo. All photos in this post by L.C. Gagnon). While we waited, CN 4108-4123 backed one CN gon and five cars for DuPont plus caboose 79577 east into Queens (below), returning westbound with one CCBX covered hopper for Northern Telecom.

We were in south-facing seats 7-8 and 11-12, so our three year-old was playing 'peekaboo' a lot. There was a two-unit CN freight switching at Brockville, and we passed another eastbound west of Brockville. A tie pickup train was at Morrisburg. At Coteau, CN 7014-7075 (the latter in the CN North America scheme) were switching to the south. We met the outbound Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission (MUCTC) commuter parade: 1313 with 10 single-level cars at 1805; 1312 with 10 cars at 1808; and 1302 with 10 cars at 1812. Arriving in Montreal at 1830, the VIA train to Gaspe was alongside at Central Station

On March 14, having toured the Biodome and witnessed the Battle of Quebec at the Forum, the Cathedral of Hockey, we prepared to board VIA No 65: 6419-six LRC cars-6444 in the same seats, now on the north side, in coach 3321. The Habs had been beaten by the Nordiques, who passed us in the concourse of Central Station, likely on their way to board VIA No 22 to Quebec City. CN centre-cabs 6720, 6712, 6723, 6725, 6726 and 6727, as well as ex-VIA, now commuter coaches, 5452-5541 were on station trackage, as was CN switcher 1298. As we passed Pointe St Charles, CN 7238 was switching, and lots of ex-VIA cab units were in storage awaiting disposition. Some of the American stainless steel cars bought by VIA for its Head End Power program could be seen: one dome, two baggages and two others. Several CN freights were at Turcot: 9401-2107-2004; 9610-2332; 9670; 2028-CN North America (CNNA) 6008. Switching intermodal cars were CN 7067-7073 (CNNA). Passing Dorval at 1247, CP crane 414219, idler flats 301349, 342140 and boom car 421804 were trailed by ex-van work transporter CP 420991.

MUCTC 1301 led single-level coach 801 and gallery cars 926-925-922-900 at 1301. CN had a crane outfit at Caron: crane 50442 with boxcars 43077-545715 and fifty-foot boxcar 556697. Two westbound CN Laser trains were on the north track at Coteau, led by 9634-9633-9661 and 9541-9476-9549. It had taken us 90 minutes to get this far, either due to signal issues and/or accumulated snowfall. We met VIA 6409 with five LRC cars at Cornwall at 1405.

Things got interesting at Brockville, where we were stationary from 1500 to 1530. We pulled into the yard on the south track. VIA No 45 from Ottawa, due out at 1247, was on the north track at the station, going to be joined to our train. First, their crew had to change the knuckle of locomotive 6423. Another VIA train, 6405 with five cars went by, likely No 42 due out at 1359. We met VIA No 64 at 1537 behind 6429 with seven LRC cars and a baggage, then this eastbound CN Laser with 9431-9404-9468: 

The eastbound CN Laser (above) and VIA No 64 (below) that my Dad photographed while waiting for our train to arrive from Montreal. Look at those drifts. Of course he got there a little early to do some trainwatching and photography while waiting to pick us up.

Our J-train arrives with our No 65 leading No 45.
We arrived in Kingston at 1630. I had no time to lose, having to leave Kingston for Toronto that evening aboard VIA No 49. 

Running extra...

Some notable celebrity deaths this week: Louis Anderson, Bob Saget, Betty White and Meat Loaf. A lot of people don't know that early in his career, he shortened his name, the artist formerly known as Meat Pickle N. Pimento Loaf. I've decided that this is not the place to do a lot of entertainment industry commentary. Especially on Meat Loaf. I Would Do Anything not to. It would be Paradise by...well, you get the idea.

Betty White has been lionized due to her long career. Donations made in her name to animal causes were too numerous to cat-alogue. That lack of accounting has been dog-ging me and it doesn't seem fish-y at all. What matters is the total and the fact that many, many, mary tyler more donations might come in yet.

Louie Anderson? Not America's Funniest. Like Gilbert Gottfried, just one octave lower. Bob Saget...no room to comment, as this section is already a full house. Oh well, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

VIA Reverses its Skylines in 1982

A  question often asked by VIAphiles is ‘when did VIA reverse their Skylines?’ The term ‘Skyline’ was likely chosen to reflect the Skyline Trail Hikers of the Canadian Rockies. The Skyline Trail Hikers were amateur mountaineers with roots in CPR’s publicity department who held an annual Rocky Mountain hike, beginning in 1933! 

Rapido Trains Inc. aficianados en route to a product launch at Exporail in St-Constant, QC, Skyline 8501 is coupled to No 62/52 approaching Kingston on October 11, 2015. (top - video capture by Erika Gagnon)

 CANADIAN PACIFIC SERVICE

As delivered, CP’s Skylines had 26 coach seats in their front (longer) section, contiguous with the 100-series coach(es) that were usually marshalled immediately ahead of the Skyline. Some would say the Skyline and the train looked better this way, as the long front section was similar to the way the Park cars faced, with their shorter lounge section in rear. CP’s design for the Budd cars was contrary to most other Budd-built mid-train dome railroads at the time, whose domes operated with the shorter section forward. When CP Rail paint was applied in 1969, the multimark appeared on the Action Red letterboard at the normal 'rear’ of the car. Sandwiched between VIA coaches 102 (blue-striped) and 5629 still in CN colours, is Skyline 501 (above) with CP Rail markings on a four hours-late VIA No 2 stopped at Portage la Prairie, MB on August 21, 1979.

 VIA RAIL SERVICE

Around 1982, VIA redesigned the Skylines, replacing the below-dome buffet seating with a take-out snack bar, replacing the coach section with tables and chairs in the now-rear section, with lounge seating in the short section. The sit-down dining section served as an additional dining area for extra-fare passengers. The dome seats were reversed, so that the car operated lounge forward. Some refer to this conversion as a dome-coach to dome-coffee shop transition.

Since there would have been minimal leg room at the new front of the reversed dome, the first pairs of seats were left facing rearwards and two game tables were installed in the resulting four-seaters. Stairs to the dome now ascended toward the front of the dome and the rear of the train. Some contend this floods late-night dome denizens with unwanted light pollution, and removes the ‘best seats in the dome’ for forward-facing dome travel. The redesigned Skyline now separated extra-fare passengers in Dayniters and sleepers from the Canadian’s coach passengers. 

With the drastic cuts to VIA Rail in November 1981, there was less demand for a full diner during the off-season. In fact, the Canadian often ran without a diner in winter, with the train’s Skyline providing food service. An eastbound Corridor Canadian consist photographed at Kingston in early 1982 (above) shows a Skyline operating with the long section forward (train departing to the left of photo). 

VIA publicized their reconfigured Skylines in early-1984. Other than that, the entire 1982-1984 period during the reversing of the Skylines continues to be an under-reported and under-documented time. Railfan pubications of the time did not contain that type of detailed information. Few VIA documents, confirmed shop dates or captioned in-process conversion photos have ever surfaced. Perhaps they never will, now that forty years have come and gone.

The ‘onion’ domes of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Brandon, MB form a stately backdrop for VIA No 2’s Skyline 516, its dome nearly empty on June 2, 1984:

This configuration is still in use over 30 years later. When Skylines served as diners, as they did on the Chaleur and Hudson Bay, this configuration made sense. 

During the pandemic suspension of the Canadian, VIA deadheaded some stainless steel equipment to Montreal. Then, prior to resumption of the Canadian in May, 2021 there was another series of deadhead movements. On April 18, 2021 Skyline 8507 trails No 66 through Kingston from Toronto (above). Skylines 8503 and 8516 also headed east the same week.

Running extra...

Discovery Channel is free for the month on our Cogeco! Avert all the dramatic airliner crises and clean up those hellish highway messes you can possibly want!

Don't bother watching The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel. Seems the boys have got bogged down in indigenous jurisdictional issues? A show about finding treasure should not have lasted 10 seasons! Cut to the chase. Show us the gold! American Pickers, also on History Channel, is your best bet. Entertaining, educational, eclectic.

Gotta get this posted quick. Lawrence Welk re-re-re-reruns at 7 pm on our local PBS station, coming on soon!. Hokey yes, but their musicianship and versatility is unparallelled, and worth the cringeworthy brightly-coloured wardrobe.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Kingston-Montreal Return Trip, January 1992

In the bleak mid-winter months of early 1992, our little family took a trip to Montreal. My sister Allison lived there at the time. We rode VIA No 64 east, departing Kingston on January 29, 1992. VIA 6445 led four LRC cars and an ex-CP baggage car, departing on time at 1436. We met VIA No 65 Eng 6416 and three cars upon departure. We met a westbound CN Laser train at 1445. 

The CP freight shed and CP tracks at Brockville were gone. There were about 50 cars in the yard at Maitland, with Nitrochem's plant visible to the north. Prescott had empty container flats in the siding. A welded-rail train, an eastbound freight with CN 2417-2104 and a third unit, plus three locomotives and a caboose were all at Crysler at 1600. Cornwall hosted CN boxcar 480841, still proudly emblazoned with CN's maple-leaf herald. CN 4323 and 3563 were among several engines and cabooses at Coteau, at 1630.

We met a westbound LRC train at 1643, then a westbound freight before reaching Dorval. There, Montreal Urban Community Transit Commission (MUCTC) ex-CN GP9u 1312 led 10 single-level coaches westbound. We blew through Turcot at 1708, reaching Central Station at 1724, where GE centre-cab CN 6726 and switcher 1298 idled.

Our tickets to ride:

Two days after arriving,, and attending a Canadiens game at the Forum, we bought tickets inside Windsor Station (above) to ride a mid-day MUCTC commuter train to Valois, the site of many family visits to my Grandma's house. We boarded train No 13 at 1000 on the 31st at Windsor Station (top photo). The consist was ex-CP FP7A 1303 and coaches 809-926-921-925-901, the last four being Vickers gallery cars:

Vendome, at 1005, held the following MUCTC equipment: steam generator 601; ex-CP CC&F coaches 839, 804, 830, 832, 815, 826, 829, 833 and 801; Bombardier coaches 703, 729, 702, 706, 705, 708 and ex-CP FP7A 1300. CP archives display cars 80-81 hinted at this being the former CP Glen Yard:
Montreal West station:
During our hour-long layover, we walked through fresh snow to 11 King's Road, also noting a westbound CP freight at 1038: CP 5809-ACR 185-8242-45xx-1847; VIA No 33 to Ottawa at 1106 with  6412-3470-3346-3355-3320; VIA No 63 to Toronto 6438-612-3452-3331-3372-3370 and three more LRC cars. Waiting to board at Valois, we had a stroller but we could have used a sled!
Dashing through the snow:
Boarding MUCTC No 22 to head back downtown at 1130 with the same consist, we passed CP 1602-1689 switching east of Dorval, and we arrived back at Windsor at 1205. Inside the gallery car (A. Gagnon photo), your humble blogger is timetable-in-hand:

Returning to Kingston the next day, our seven-car No 63 waited to depart Central Station, as did an Amtrak Turboliner. This was Amtrak No 26/68 the Adirondack to New York City. An adjacent track held VIA No 33 to Ottawa behind 6418, and ex-VIA, now commuter coaches like 5490. The windows in these cars had been modified, now with small, half-height sliding windows.

Amtrak's Montrealer No 60/623 arrived from New York City at 1015: ATK 357-356-baggage 1159-2892-3109-4740-4606-4001, at the same time we departed. At Cape, one-of-a-kind articulated grain car CN 398000 was on an adjacent spur (below). Several Environmental Mode CN covered hoppers were at Turcot.

We met an eastbound grain train on CP near Valois, then passed several stored MUCTC commuter trains at Dorion. Soulanges Industries at Cedars held ex-VIA cars. We met VIA No 60 just east of Cornwall at 1143. An eastbound freight with CN 9541-exGO 9677-2029-3558-4279 was switching at Brockville, at 1218. We arrived back in Kingston on time at 1300.

Running extra...

Walk from the comfort of your own home! A nice Youtube video using a GoPro TimeWarp feature walking the Rural K&P Trail from south of Highway 401 to north of Jackson's Mills. Then through the high fill and rock cut from Orser Road to Harrowsmith that would fill in with snow, caterpillars and leaves, depending on the season!

It's been great working with local writer Lawrence Scanlan for an upcoming article on Kingston's Hanley Spur in Kingston's own Skeleton Press. We hear a lot about 'local' these days, but here we are putting that in place - local printer, local writer, local books and blogs, modelling local and making local connections!

His name was Luke, not Larry. What I did while waiting for the Cable Guy!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Planting the Flag - 1980's Modelling in 2022!

When neoclassicist John Vanderlyn painted The Landing of Columbus, commissioned in 1836 and installed in the U.S. Capitol in 1847, he only had five years left to live (*). His painting shows Columbus raising the royal banner (**) of Aragon and Castile, claiming the land for his Spanish patrons, with his right hand pointing his sword at the earth. Behind Columbus and to his right, the captains of the ships NiƱa and Pinta carry the banner of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and a friar holds up a metal cross(***). 

ART APPRECIATION OR URBAN DICTIONARY?

Now you're asking yourself, "Has Trackside Treasure suffered mission creep and become an art appreciation blog?" Hard No. Nobody wants that (****). When the United States featured the painting on an 1893 Columbian Exposition stamp issue, the flag was cropped out (*****). Whether journeying from the Old Word to the New World, or landing on the moon, the flag is planted and a claim is made! In fact, the above artful deception included some starred phrases that pertain to model railroading, and I've listed them below:

(*) YOLO = You Only Live Once
(**) PTF = Plant The Flag
(***) FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out
(****) Groupthink
(****) Rule #1 = My Layout, My Rules

IS THIS AN EDITORIAL?

I've occasionally dipped my toe into the swirling tide of editorializing. It is a deep pool, not a wading pool, and it's not really what this blog is about. Trackside Treasure does not represent a clambake, the illuminati, or any other current buzzwords. There is no vaccine (most Googled word of 2021!) against editorializing, however, so for the first time since January, 2020 I'm putting on my water wings and hitting the editorial beach once again. In this post, I described the five phrases above in a modelling context.

PLANTING THE FLAG!

This year, as we reflect on one pandemic period while on the verge of another, I'm focusing on Planting the Flag. That means - where have I planted my modelling flag, and what does my layout represent? It's important to remember that as in football, we can move the flag up and down the field. We can even Capture The Flag! Or Move The Goalposts! Just as a good photographer never shows his bad photos, and a magician never reveals his secrets, I've trashed those maxims, and decided to show you exactly where I've planted my flag in HO scale on my Kingston's Hanley Spur layout room.

1980's TECHNOLOGY

I remember watching one of Chris Lyon's layout-visit videos, where an older gentleman operated his layout with some old rheostat-thingie. He acknowledged it was outdated, but it was already in place and working well, so why not? Hey, I started with an MRC 'golden' transformer, but I now use an MRC Tech II. I operate with DC, not DCC. I use brass track, not even nickel-silver or any particular Code #. My cars have plastic wheels and X2F couplers. I don't use Vallejo acrylics or powdered weathering. I have only a few Super Trees and no static grass. So, by 2022 standards, I have planted my technology flag in 1980.

1970's PROTOYPE

My layout is based on a nominally-1970 prototype in Kingston, Ontario, Canada depicting CN and CP operations serving a sleepy waterfront with dying industries that would be gone within a decade. 

 STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY

Well, that's something I haven't adopted. In fact, that also include late 20th-century developments like switch motors, cork roadbed, four-part car cards, handlaid track, DCC, JMRI, modern throttles, a helix and more. Main reason for not moving the flag? Cost. Deneros. Drachmas I don't need to spend. Besides, what more do I need to really buy? Do I want to update and upgrade my layout to 2022? This is the most scenicked layout iteration I've ever had, so I have little motivation to uproot what I've got. At train shows (remember those?) I rarely bought rolling stock, mainly paper items instead. With freight cars well north of $50, DCC locomotives over $300, vehicles more than $20 a pop, I just can't justify more, more, more due to FOMO. (That's not to say that I don't aspire to, and get inspired by, excellent state-of-the-art modelling by Bob Fallowfield, Matthieu Lachance, Stephen Gardiner and others.

PSSST. IT'S ONLY A MODEL

So, instead of further decrying or describing the above, let's just enjoy a little trip back 40 years to aspects of my layout that graphically show my flag-planting. It's best to end an editorial with a call to action, so here it is, even if the call to action is really to take no action:
Car storage. Of pop skids 'n' plywood.
Here's the wiring for the whole layout. Concealed under a loading ramp.

Two freight shed tracks and one headed downtown. All end with X2F's.

Operation? It's MRC and file-card car cards for me.
This should keep me on track. Lots of it.

Power pop skid: Atlas and Athearn anachronism.

No switch machine. Spare tie holds points in place.
Of parts 'n' pieces. Reduce, reuse, re-coupler. 
Fibre-tie track and flextrack. Robertson Securement System.
Let's hope 2022 will allow us to stay well, and enjoy our layouts in whatever way, whatever era, and wherever we choose to plant our flags. Oh, and I'm christening 2022 The Year of Optimism!
Running extra...

Fellow blogger Chris Mears got me reading this excellent editorial post about the effect of social media on modelling. 

This Pierre Fournier Brockville photo and response gave me a chuckle. This view is associated with Jason Shron's layout, planting the technological flag in 2022 but the prototype flag in 1980!
My optimism to-do list of stories to follow, so far: CNN Films' Carole King/James Taylor concert, Vancouver Canucks' equipment manager melanoma, New Year's babies and Desmond Tutu's legacy.