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.


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 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.


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!

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