Friday, March 18, 2022

Pop-up Post: CN No 376/518/305, March 2022


A shopping mission just after Bagel Bites quickly took shape. In this pop-up post, without the usual weighty research, deep thought, endless photo-editing, word-smithing, flimflammery and haberdashery of your normal Trackside Treasure post we'll start in the middle with the meat of the matter. That would be GTW 6425 on Belleville-Kingston turn CN No 518 seen heading back west at Mi 179 Kingston Sub at 1315 (top photo) complete with blue cab-top paint showing through! Thanks to Malcolm for the heads-up about this sub-lettered unit this morning. But first, Dollarama...
At noon, this sunless and sallow spring shopper sprouted from my seat in the van to snag this eastbound CN No 376 led by 2269 at the Bath Road/Coverdale Drive intersection. Things got CSXy in a hurry.
Salmon sylindrical CNIS 368301 (above) and redrum at a red light (below).
Men at work: GTW 6425 paired with CN 4770 on the lead at Invista along Front Road at 1215. Invista plans to add two more tracks here. Stay tuned for a future Trackside Treasure post documenting the progress when the first survey stake splits the spring sod!

At the plant (above) then taking the south track west at Mi. 179 Kingston Sub:
After Metro merchandise was manhandled at 1325, CN No 305 progressively passed the pedestrian crossing near Canatara Boulevard, led by CN 2938:
The requisite Irving lumber and a a couple of Canpotex empties, this one heading for the shop and maybe not for a paint-job. I'd include the car number if it were visible: 
305 had eight cars of Canadian Forces equipment heading to Wainwright captured in my Youtube video. Youtuber CJ Burnell caught the train at Plug Hat Road. Here's my video capture: 

I won't protest this trucker (above) passing 305 passing me. DPU CN100 3879:
Lots of trains today, but having set out simply for shopping, iPhone photography will have to supphice. Upon returning home, it was time to phocus on some just-arrived online shopping. These are all car-types that I can put to good use on the Hanley Spur - a mix of TrueLine Trains, Proto, Accurail and even a Walthers freebie!

Julian Bernard

October 29, 2006 - Good morning Eric, I have just read your message about consists in Canadian-Passenger-Rail and note that, not only do you seem to have had an eye for 'E' sleepers, you actually recorded the consists, and kept them.  I wish I had done all of these things over the years.

Does 'E' sleeper Equity appear anywhere in your lists?  I have found a very few references to it but for the most part it seems to have escaped the spotlight whereas others (Edmonton, Eldorado, Enfield for example) were seen frequently.  One would thing that every one of them would have had an equal chance to be seen - one in 52. - Julian Bernard, Guelph, ON

[That's the first e-mail I received from Julian Bernard. I had previously seen several of his messages in the Canadian-Passenger-Rail Yahoogroup. All group members had to sign their posts, and his were always simply signed 'Julian Bernard Guelph, ON'. Julian noted that he and his daughter Lesley had gone through consists posted in the Bytown Railway Society Branchline newsletter, looking for CN/VIA E-series 8-4-4 sleeper Equity (numbered 1143), but had given away his entire accumulation to that point to a needy railfan upon moving to Guelph, so he could not go back and look again. I sent Julian a few observations I'd found...]

Thank you for your response.  As there are so few references to Equity, every single one adds a little bit to its story.  Just in case you happened to wonder why the interest in this car, our daughter owns it!  It's not all that far from you, at Actinolite, and is listed in the Trackside Guide, perhaps now under Tweed - the car didn't move but the municipal boundaries did.  It was a wholly impractical and unrealistic purchase but one has to give her credit for pulling it off.  It was a weekend escape place for her for many years and I visited fairly frequently as well when we lived in Toronto but it's not quite as convenient since we moved west, and became older.  In fact, I had often thought that sitting in Equity's open sections on a Saturday evening, drink in hand, enjoying the smooth ride and the view of the Skootamatta River outside, rail sounds coming from a CD player, was almost as good as it gets.  

According to papers found in it, Equity seems to have made its last revenue trip eastbound from the west to Montreal late in 1989 or '90, I can't remember which, and was withdrawn for some mechanical deficiency.  Its trucks were later swapped with those of another car, one of the ex U. S. stainless steel cars I believe, as part of the HEP2 rebuild program but that didn't preclude it being moved on its replacement set from MMC to Cedars, where it spent a couple of years, and then to Belleville, the latter move in a CN freight.

[In my third book, Trackside with VIA - Research & Recollections, Equity was listed as being moved in August, 1991 to Septa Rail in Coteau, QC along with 12 other E-series sleepers to donate their trucks for HEP-rebuilding of stainless steel cars that were obtained from U.S. railroads. In October, 1994 Equity was offered for sale by CANAC with 10 different E-series cars, one of which was Edmunston. Equity was moved to Actinolite in 1997. Julian continued...]

I don't understand why it was spotted so rarely - and it seems that it never had its photo taken - until it was in the "For Sale" lineup at MMC in the early 1990s which was where we visited it, coupled to Edmonton.  Actually I did have Equity checked off on a list of observed cars that I kept, but without date or place, that bit of information wasn't too useful.  Perhaps its real claim to fame is yet to come as it is one of the names chosen by Jason Shron (Rapido Trains) for the series he is now releasing.  I think I'll spend $59 for a model which will be in the CN black and green paint.

November 6, 2012 - Thank you, Eric, for Trackside With VIA - Cross-Canada Compendium which arrived yesterday.  So far I have given it only a quick look, for references to my daughter's Equity, but obviously it will be a good read and it has already reached the bedside table.

[Above - a photo Lesley sent Julian in 2012 that he forwarded to me via e-mail. Lesley noted at the time that a good cleaning, some bodywork and coat of paint was on the job list. Julian continued...]

A few years ago I sent a picture of Equity and Lesley's house/station in Actinolite to a railfan with a note that this was a current picture of the CN local, ready to leave Actinolite en route to Napanee via Yarker with the once a week through sleeping car for Montreal bringing up the rear.  He didn't realize it was tongue-in-cheek and fell for it completely.  That'll teach me to try to inject a bit of levity into rail fan messages!

November 22, 2012 - Reading your second volume, and never having taken many photos of my own at the time to remind me, I had forgotten what a mish-mash of motive power and passenger consists VIA had to assemble in the early years.  I wish now that I had paid more attention to what I was riding in those days though I do recall some weird substitutions for Club cars (if that's what they were called then) on Toronto-Windsor trips in the early 1980s but never on trips east of Toronto.  Perhaps this had something to do with shortcomings of the Tempo equipment which, in my memory, rode poorly at almost any speed over a brisk walking pace.

April 1, 2013 - Lesley did tell me recently that she had met you in Kingston and it was only at that point that I realized she also had acquired your books.  Equity and 5407 are highlighted in my copies and probably in hers as well.  She is so busy and works so hard that our communication tends to be sporadic at times.  But our other two kids were here for Easter Sunday dinner, one from Toronto and one from Kemptville.

[I'd only emailed Julian, but I had the pleasure of meeting Lesley when she stopped by my book table at the 2013 Kingston Rail-o-Rama train show. To me, Lesley seemed to be someone who could and did get things done!] 

I have just posted a response to the fellow who wondered if I was using a CPR pass to ride #51 as he couldn't see any other reason for doing so.  I didn't tell him that, if I had behaved myself a few years earlier, I suppose I might have had a career with CP.  In the summer of 1947, I worked briefly for CP as a dining car pantryman (the lowest of the low) but, after two trips, was fired for insubordination.  My crime was my refusal to end every sentence with "Sir" when speaking to the Steward who happened to be in charge on both of my trips.  I wasn't at all rude to him but just didn't think he was of "sir" quality.  After that I spent the rest of the summer until school re-started in the depths of Union Station in Toronto making ham and cheese sandwiches for the Canadian Railway News Company (which evolved into CARA).  I got into trouble in that job as well when I was caught slipping the occasional extra slice of ham or cheese into the sandwich of a few lucky customers but managed to avoid being fired again.  It's valuable teenage experiences like that which teach you what you do not want to do for the rest of your life.

April 2, 2013 - Eric, your correspondent refers to a man with a cart working the aisle - this sure dates me but I remember the newsy's wares being carried in a rectangular wicker basket!  Another recollection, which I cannot date or place but it must have been during the war, was of a man coming down the aisle with a big, metal urn supported by a wide shoulder strap.  A mate collected the money and toted the supply of cups while the urn carrier poured tea.  It didn't matter how you liked your tea, it came with milk and sugar - no options and I don't remember coffee coming the same way.  It was sweet, milky tea or nothing. I had never thought of the newsies reselling newspapers and magazines but can easily imagine it happening.  Their lot in life cannot have been a particularly happy one.

That appears to be the last email I received from Julian. 

I always appreciated Julian's online posts. They were remarkably full of detail; interesting snapshots of rail travel in earlier eras. Below, I've included some samples of the nearly 50 archived messages he posted to Canadian-Passenger-Rail Yahoogroup from 2002 to 2017. His Yahoo 'handle' was 'derwent1917':

October 22, 2002 - The Turbo did run between Montreal and Ottawa in the mid 1970s.  I rode it in on a Saturday in September 1974 with my three children on #32 from Ottawa to Montreal.  My recollection is that, because of the poorer track conditions, speed was not noticably different than that achieved by conventional equipment and the ride was not as good as it was between  Toronto and Montreal which is another way of saying that it was rough.  I cannot remember if we arrived on time.  The rattling  sounds from beneath the floor which were a feature of every Turbo ride were even more apparent that day.  With the passage of time, my  memories of several Turbo journeys, all but the one mentioned having been between Toronto and Montreal, are now quite fond ones  although they may not have been back in those days when it was frequently late, and sometimes very late.  Nevertheless, it was a brave and futuristic attempt.

May 11, 2006 - My wife traveled from Guelph to Toronto on #84 this morning and returned on #87 this evening.  Shortly before boarding in Toronto she realized that her return ticket was nowhere to be found.  Resigned to buying another one, she explained her problem to the ticket agent at Union Station who checked on the computer, reported that her ticket had been found, probably by one of the cleaning staff, and turned in. Within a couple of minutes she and the ticket were reunited and she is now back in Guelph. Kudos to VIA Rail which handled the situation very well indeed.

September 24, 2008 - On Friday, September 19th, my wife and I undertook a round trip from Guelph to Montreal where we were married in 1959.  When picking up our tickets a few weeks earlier I had mentioned to the VIA agent in Guelph that September 19th would be our 49th anniversary.  What I had not realized was that this bit of information was about to make its way on to the passenger manifest.

Our departure from Guelph on #86 was about 7 minutes late.  Boarding from the VIA 1 Panorama Lounge began at 0905 with passengers for #42 for Ottawa being ushered out the back door to a gate on the east side of the concourse while those for #56 left by the front door for the west side (#42 and #56 formed a J-train with #42 leading).  We had not yet even reached our seats before one of the on-board crew wished us a happy anniversary and that gave us an inkling that this might be a trip with a difference.  As it turned out that was only the beginning.  About 11 am the bar trolley started down the aisle and we were treated well, to say the least.  The famous VIA1 chocolates, which I had thought were offered only in the evening, appeared.  Later in the day an announcement was made that two passengers, Julian and Ann Bernard in seats 5A and B were that day celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary and a round of applause followed.  And to top it off we were then presented with a bottle of Pelee Island Chardonnay, VIA 1's current white wine! 

February 9, 2009 - My own memories of earlier rail travel include sleeping very well for two nights in a 13-section Tourist sleeper on CP's #51, the `Great West' from Winnipeg to Edmonton in 1951.  The leisurely pace, an average speed of about 25 mph, likely had quite a bit to do with the sleeping experience. My recollection is that usually the heavyweight equipment rode more smoothly but, as someone on this list has observed, often the heavyweight cars were not moving as fast.  This was the experience travelling comfortably in a lower berth in a heavyweight Pullman Company sleeper from Toronto to Noranda in 1950.

Overnight service between Toronto and Ottawa in the mid-1970s was a mixed experience with the most restful part by far being between Napanee and Ottawa when the Canadian Northern routing via Yarker was still being used, only 112 miles and plenty of time in which to cover it, quietly, slowly and smoothly. Ex-FEC sleepers Manitou and Windigo were encountered most often on these trains.  I don't know if they qualified as lightweight but, generally, they rode well.  They were also unusual in their variety of accommodation – four sections, four roomettes, one compartment and five double bedrooms, a bit of almost everything which made them useful for that run as normally, there was only the single sleeping car on the train but a variety of accommodation could be offered.

March 25, 2010 - Some of my favourite passenger memorabilia, among many items in my office: Two heavy VIA/CN double bedroom folding chairs, not quite identical to each other, but both in a brown check pattern – often occupied by one or two cats. A photo over my desk of CN 4-6-0 1134 in Moncton. A replica of a C.P. Chateau Lake Louise poster on another wall. And in one of the bedrooms, a Canadian Government Railways sleeping car blanket, with C.G.R. logo.  A bit threadbare in spots, not too surprising after close to a century.

October 9, 2011 - That first, 1938 trip did originate in Walkerville but on the CN, 1.6 miles from the downtown Windsor station.  As for the riding qualities of the heavyweight cars, I have experienced those but whether it was on the Ocean Limited or the Scotian I'm not sure.  One occasion was on a 12 section, one DR car, both during daylight hours and at night.  My recollection is that the ride was smooth and very quiet, that I had the section to myself, that I slept very well and that "it can't get much better than this".  Six wheel trucks probably had as much to do with it as weight.  But I also recall what was probably the worst night ever in a sleeping car.  It was on an overnight CN train from Toronto to Montreal in one of the then new 24 duplex roomette `I' series cars, Indigo, the first one of the series, I think.  My initial reaction was favorable when viewing how so much had been fitted into such a small space but, in the middle of the night when moving at the right combination of high speed and rough track, the bed begin to rattle and the walls vibrated and drummed at a volume guaranteed to waken the most sound sleeper.  Because of the noise, the experience was as bad if not worse than the Tempo cars under the same conditions, but I am not trying here to reignite the recent debate about the Tempo qualities.

I'm glad to hear confirmation from Derek Thompson [Derek was another inveterate train rider and a fervent and faithful supporter of mine. I believe that Julian, Derek and I were all members of the Upper Canada Railway Society, where we each had bylines on items published in their long-running newsletter] that my experience with CN's 24 Duplex Roomette "I" cars was not just a bad dream.  And on six-wheel trucks, too which I had thought almost guaranteed a better ride.  At its worst, the drumming effect even became hard on the ears.  After that early experience I tried to avoid the "I" cars.  Duplex roomettes in other configurations on CN, CP and VIA did not offer any of these challenges other than whether it was better to be in an upper unit (less track noise, perhaps a bit more sway and a Murphy bed to contend with) or a lower unit (more track noise, possibly a slightly more stable ride and a slide-out bed, usually easier to pull out and stow away). 

Funny you should single out the "I" series CN sleepers as being rough, Julian. I endured the same experience many moons ago. [Derek responding to Julian's post!] These cars, in their duplex roomette iteration rode on six-wheel trucks which I expected would give them a superior ride. I have no idea what caused the roughness, but there are at least two of us who can attest to its existence.

December 19, 2011 - I rode the C&GT gas-electric car from Mont Joli to Matane in 1955.  My recollection is that the trailer was not being used that day - certainly it was not needed as the passenger load was sparse.  The car's New York Central origins were very obvious, extending even to the step stool which bore a NYC logo.  The C&GT also had a former Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad parlor car, used by the South Shore in extra-fare luxury service, which the C&GT acquired in 1945.  Whether that car became the trailer sometimes hauled by the gas-electric or was a third piece of equipment I'm not sure.  The last I heard was that the parlor car was back in Indiana awaiting restoration.  Also not to be overlooked were the through sleeping cars which CN and C&GT ran between Montreal and Metis Beach on summer weekends for many years.

January 27, 2012 - In the mid 1970s I was working in Ottawa and was periodically called to appear at meetings in Toronto.  On one occasion, probably in 1976 or '77, two of us were summoned - the manager (me) and the assistant manager.  I made my usual arrangement, a roomette on the overnight Cavalier, but my assistant airily dismissed that idea as old fashioned and said he would catch an early flight from Ottawa the next morning.  At 9 am, having groped my way through a pea soup fog from Union Station to the office, I was in my seat at the boardroom table.   "Where's So-and-so?" was the first question.  "Probably sitting in Ottawa airport" was my response.  "Then how did you get here?" was the next question.  I explained but received only puzzled looks.  Nobody had a smartass comeback for that one because none of them had any idea the Cavalier existed.  And a few months later, So-and-so was transferred.

January 29, 2017 - I took a trip on #36 from Toronto to Montreal in the summer of 1945.   Departure from Toronto Union was scheduled for 9.30 am and boarding began about  9.10 am.  The ticket checker looked at my ticket and told me I was in the wrong lineup and if I hurried, I could catch CN’s 9.15 am Pool train which would reach Montreal two hours earlier.  I assured him my choice of trains was intentional and that I was quite happy to arrive in Montreal at 7.30 pm.  He shrugged and let me board.

Recollections are of riding in a heavyweight steel coach with exceedingly comfortable, overstuffed, blue upholstery.   Meals were offered in a Buffet-Parlor car.  At Sharbot Lake, the north and southbound Kingston - Renfrew trains were both waiting, northbound #613 at the platform while southbound #612 was stopped short on the north side of the diamond crossing.  At Finch we crossed the New York Central’s Cornwall – Ottawa branch where a northbound NYC train was waiting but, as far as I can recall, no passengers were exchanged.

Particularly leaving Toronto, passenger loads were moderately heavy but diminished gradually throughout the day so that there were perhaps only half the number aboard on arriving in Montreal.  Whether anyone else was nutty enough to make the entire trip, I cannot recall; well, the Toronto ticket checker thought I had a screw loose.

Julian had a nice collection of his rail and transit photos posted to Railpictures. This is from the profile information he posted there: 

About Julian Bernard - My first train ride was in 1938, on CN, from Windsor to Toronto. Obviously I wasn’t instantly captivated because the only lingering memory of that journey is of seeing a gantry crane just as we left Windsor which, immediately on arriving home, I rushed to model in Meccano, a nuts, bolts and metal strips building toy. But a July, 1943 journey from Toronto to GaspĂ©, Quebec, which took 24 hours longer than scheduled, turned out to be my awakening, instilling in me a fondness both for trains and for CN’s 1100 series of ten-wheelers beginning with 1134, the first number recorded in the notebook which I kept for years. Joining the Upper Canada Railway Society in 1947 introduced me to many people sharing similar interests and afforded an opportunity to become aware of and ride much of the dense network of CN and CP branch lines which then covered southern Ontario as well as the last of the electric interurban operations. Subsequently, career and family diverted my attention but I always tried to stay abreast of the railway world. Since that early start I have ridden on rails, long distance, local and urban, throughout Canada and in many different parts of the world but, except for the very occasional trip on VIA Rail, those days are now well behind me. Photography was never one of my strengths and most of my photos have been given away to others. However a number of Canadian electric line photos dating from the 1940s and 50s have survived and, as worthy ones are identified, they will be posted. Now thoroughly retired, I live in Guelph, Ontario. 

Top photo in this post showing combine CN 7145 trailing Thousand Islands Railway 500 at the Gananoque, ON waterfront was taken by Julian in May, 1956.

Julian Rollit Bernard was born in Toronto on July 25 1929, son of George Clarens Bernard and (Mary) Monica Rollit. A happy childhood was spent in Toronto. Wartime vacations were taken in East Farnham or Iberville with grandparents. Later wartime travelling was to HMCS Fort Ramsey in Gaspe which initiated Julian’s lifelong passion for trains and railways. After leaving school, he was employed by the Business Development Corporation where he remained until he retired.

Julian left us on March 5, 2022. Here are some messages from the Canadian-Passenger-Rail, the successor platform from Yahoogroups in the days after:

I had the chance to meet Julian and Ann in September 2008, while they were staying at the Hilton Bonaventure, enjoying a two days getaway in Montreal. He not only gave us nice pictures, he gave us great memories. He will never be forgotten. - MR

We spent a pleasant afternoon - the only time we met in person, but we occasionally communicated by e-mail after then.  I have nothing but happy memories of my interactions with Julian. -TB

Having met with Julian and spent time with him some years back while I was working on a project, it was a pleasure to have known the man and I appreciated his generosity. - SH

Julian was, in some subconscious way, another 'version' of my father. He was born, and married, two years earlier, was an inveterate railfan and train rider, one who recalled the steam era and was a writer and chronicler of train rides, presented in a detailed, concise yet genial manner. Julian lived six years longer - though this is not a competition - and one could weigh two decades' living with Parkinson's and Dying with Dignity to living a few years in long-term care with physical limitations and dementia. I'd rather not have to choose either option! I prefer instead chronicle these memories I have of Julian and share them with Trackside Treasure's readers as a record-of-the-rails that we can all appreciate and enjoy.

February 2023 postscript:

After publishing a post on the bridges of Yarker, I heard from Lesley Bernard and she kindly sent a photo of the first bridge. I added the photo to the post, then shared this post with Lesley

Equity never seemed to have a notable career. I have found a few photos and in consists. I believe it was in service till about mid Dec 1989 and a steam heat line burst between Roomette 6 and the locker behind it. There were wads of sheets and towels jammed under the seat and around the pipe. With the VIA cuts coming 4 weeks later, that was it for Equity. Yes, Equity did get a truck swap from a ex-NYC car (trucks have NYC cast on them) and, I think, from what would become 8136 (since wrecked and retired) based on other grease pencil scribblings on the trucks. We have done some bodywork and photo attached is from about 2 years ago. "Wholly impractical and unrealistic" is a way to put it as railcars are a huge project. And no, it is not practical to try to live in one, I know, I have tried!

Dad was a regular visitor here in the late 90s/early 00s (moved Equity here in Feb 97) and claimed a favourite roomette. Dad's last visit was in 2016. "Derwent 1917" is an interesting story, too. It refers to HMS Derwent, a British destroyer sunk by a mine in 1917. My grandfather lied about his age and joined the Royal Navy in 1916, at the age of 16. He was assigned to the Derwent. Fifty-eight of the crew of 70 did not survive - my grandfather was lucky. After coming to Canada, he joined the Naval Reserve here and during World War II was assigned to Fort Ramsay in Gaspe. 

Lesley closed by saying she is starting a blog! Another star in the blogosphere has been lit!

Running extra...

Two visits this week were a long time in the works. Vince, Heather and Laura came to visit my HO-scale Hanley Spur layout. The pandemic delayed this visit for a couple of years. Except for the above photo, we masked and distanced. Any day now, the latest issue of The Skeleton Press (named for the Skeleton Park neighbourhood in which it originates) will hit the doorsteps of 3,500+ homes. Vince kindly showed me the article on my layout contained therein. 

Our two grandsons also visited, for a March break sleepover, making me appreciate a largely-uninterrupted night's sleep most other nights! They did very well though - there were no monsters lurking under the bed - and the next day they helped Grandpa destroy some of the remaining snowbanks and observe high-flying Canada geese migrating north - two harbingers of spring!

Scientists have studied those Canada geese formations. We've all noticed that one side of the 'v' is always longer, and intense research by those same scientists has now revealed why. It's because there are more geese in it.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Operations on My Hanley Spur Layout


I've done about three years of research and book-creating on Kingston's waterfront and its industrial and transportation history. On my Hanley Spur blog I've published lots of posts on modelling the Kingston industrial waterfront's structures and scenery, but my HO scale layout is, at its heart, an operating model railway. The research I've done is to try to learn more about the prototype and how it worked in 1970, nominally. 

I've published very few posts on how my layout operates, and now that a reliable and tested operating pattern is in place, let's look at how this wondrously wistful view of CN and CP in Kingston gets cars where they're going. Bear with me - I often find reading other modellers' operating schemes very difficult if too much detail is presented. I'm not publishing a trackplan because it doesn't really add much to this post, and I'm following the inimitable Bob Fallowfield's lead by keeping the trackplan my secret-sauce.

All car movements are documented using car cards. This same system has lasted through four layout iterations when my modelled locales were: Winnipeg, Vancouver, Vermont and now Kingston. When it's time to serve the industries, I pull inbound cars and designate ladings on cards. I don't use four-part car cards because I find my system is flexible and not the same-cars-same-industries all the time. That would be too monotonous!

This is my CN industry list, roughly listed from north to south on the prototype CN Hanley Spur. All the modelled industries in my CN and CP industry lists had rail service by the respective prototype railway.

You can see a mix of inbound and outbound loads. In some cases, such as the freight shed and CN Express, empties from online industries are routed there for loading, those cars switched twice before going off-line.


CN operations begin at Kingston's Outer Station yard. This is where cars destined to Kingston industries or outbound cars are marshalled. The photos (top and above) show a CN roadswitcher working the yard. Once CN stopped basing a locomotive at the Outer Station, blocks were lifted and set out at Queens by passing trains instead, and a switcher from Belleville performed the yardswitching for remaining industries. If I need more cars or more room in the yard, cars are taken to and from the yard to two interchange tracks at 'Queens'. Once brought to the yard, the cars' cards are placed in the 'Yard' file.

I generally switch three different sectors of the CN waterfront trackage in rotation, starting with cars at the top of the 'CN Industries' file (i.e. the least-recently switched). I then gather the car cards for those industries from the 'CN Yard' file, then switch the three sectors profiled below. Once set-out at an industry, the cars are added to the CN Industries file.

                                           CN OPERATIONS - HANLEY SPUR SOUTH END

My Hanley Spur only reaches as far as the four tracks of my Wellington Street yard. The CN team track and freight shed are still served, and one spur (centre track with gondola car - above) nominally continues across Ontario Street to the Kingston Shipyards and Canadian Locomotive Co. (CLC). This job usually handles 5 to 10 cars. 

The freight shed can hold six house cars, so for interest's sake, and the make the set-outs and lifts a little more interesting, I generally lift as many cars as I am setting out. Sometimes, loaded cars 'appear' from the Shipyards or CLC on the spur that 'goes' there.

Serving industries from River to Cataraqui and North Streets: Queen City Oil (above), National Grocers, the Whig-Standard newsprint warehouse and Imperial Oil limestone warehouse. Imperial has tank car unloading as well as a boxcar spot for other oil products. This job can handle 3-5 cars.

If I don't have an inbound car for an industry, I generally don't lift the outbound car. This job makes liberal use of the siding as a run-around track near the Queens interchange, especially if doing so makes yarding the train at the Outer Station easier.

This job doesn't require a caboose, as it switches industries lining the CN yard. Two industries are also served by CP: Frontenac Floor & Wall Tile and Presland Iron & Steel. On those tracks, there is a CN end and a CP end to each of the tracks, or the cars are not coupled together to preserve the notion of joint service by both railways. This was due to the history of CP initially serving the industries, before their track was realigned. Then, these industries were 'orphaned' because the connection went from a diamond to an overpass and a new alignment parallel Division Street.

CN Express is also served. Non-modelled industry cars like Northern Telecom and DuPont cars are pulled or spotted. Company service cars also come and go from the yard.


This is my CP industry list, roughly listed from north to south on the prototype CP Kingston Subdivision:

Unlike CN, CP has to bring in and tote out all its cars to and from Smiths Falls. There are actually more CP industries than CN industries on my layout, so it's not possible to switch them all in one run. So, like CN, industries switched in rotation. Four to six industries that were least-recently switched (i.e. at the top of the CP Industries file), get service. Each run can be 6-10 cars. There are a mix of facing-point and trailing-point industry spurs. The CP siding becomes a run-around track, where Kingston-bound cars are switched out, and outbound cars are marshalled for the return journey. 

This train then waits until one or two CN runs are made. It then begins the next run to the 'Queens' interchange [nominally from Smiths Falls!] to pick up its inbound cars and the next run goes to work. Here's CP switching on its lead, with off-spot empty gondolas for scrap metal loading sitting on the CP run-around track.
CP's realignment served newly-established warehouse industries along Railway Street like the ones above, as well as some established at the time of World War I! Nightly operating sessions run from 1830-1930. (That's 24-hour clock time, not years!) It's all 1970, nominally! That takes in the CBS News, CNN's Out Front with Erin Burnett, then it's upstairs for Jeopardy! If work needs to be done on the layout, that work is interspersed with operations. Messes are always cleaned up to allow operations to resume, though! Off-line cars are kept in storage under the layout until they are brought back onto the layout. The power stays on the layout, on isolated tracks, allowing me to switch both railways with the same transformer.

Running extra...

Social media gets a lot of hard knocks, but before the information interchange known as Facebook, there were YahooGroups. I joined around 2006 and found much useful information in the  many useful messages posted by knowledgeable group members. Now known as, I still belong to a couple of legacy groups, one being Canadian-Passenger-Rail. Two well-known members of that group were Julian Bernard and David Scott, who both left us this past week. Their contributions will be missed, although Julian's live on in his daughter Lesley's efforts to preserve VIA equipment! 

Look. Then look away. There's a trend in model railroading: subconsciously modelling someone else's model railway. I'm convinced that it's a variation on that old saying, "If you look at something long enough, you'll become it." If you see Union Pacific on the cover of Model Railroader magazine, you should really think, 'Denmark!', because that's where MR darling author Pelle Soeborg lives. He's now notched nearly 20 covers and numerous articles. His inspiration is the American heartland and he models it really, really well.

From Pelle's FB page, you'll realize he has an ideal work/life balance. Of course I'm insanely envious, (in an appropriately non-covetous way) of both his life and his modelling. I am on par with him achieving the former, but I'll never achieve the latter, because I don't have his eye, his skill or his attention span. But I get by. And I don't look too long. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Kingston to Prince Rupert aboard VIA - September 1985, Part 3

I snapped the top photo while walking up and over the CN tracks from the station upon arrival at Prince Rupert at around 1830. In Part 1 I travelled to Vancouver, then in Part 2 it was Vancouver to Edmonton thence Prince Rupert and I've included my notes in this postscript.


I stayed at the Crest Motel and checked out the next morning, September 25 around 0700. It was only a five-minute walk to the station. A fellow at the station offered to mail my postcards for me, and did! There are no mailboxes there, just the main post office. About 30 miles out of Prince Rupert, we were held up for 3 hours after a work train derailed its caboose at Tyee, BC. We were able to make up a little bit of time - still cloudy. Newly chop-nosed CN 7002 at the shop as we pull out of Prince Rupert:
For about 90 minutes out of Prince Rupert, the rails travel along the Skeena River. It is wider and slower near the coast, but faster inland. I did a lot of reading at this gloomy point, but it turned sunny towards evening. I usually slept  well on the train, as I almost always had two seats to myself and had brought along a pillow. I was still collecting train orders as on the trip west. The conductor wears a white vest over her uniform and usually carried her hat - station stop at Terrace, BC:
I woke up in Jasper, and for the third time in two days travelled between there and Edmonton. VIA held No 4 for our late arrival and tacked us on the end (about one-and-a-half hours late, normally a 1-hour connection). I went down into the Edmonton station, then reboarded No 4. For the first time, the coach was packed! (Only one coach, not enough obviously.) I was seated beside a Dutch lady who was going to Toronto, but I went up to dome car about 30 miles out of Edmonton. 

I snapped pictures of elevators at every town, right into Saskatchewan. About 20 towns in all, like Ribstone, Wainwright, Chauvin and Butze, AB, even though it was cloudy and a bit rainy. Crossing into Saskatchewan border it is virgin prairie, with no houses, roads or anything for a long piece. It is rolling country with few trees. Very interesting but desolate. Darkness was falling and I went back to coach very satisfied with elevator photos, and talked to the Dutch lady about Holland, and how small it is compared to Canada. She was surprised at the size of everything, and was following her map religiously. During daylight, I don’t think she took her eyes of the window once! 

She was offered a sleeper for the night by the service manager, so I had both seats again. I woke up briefly on Friday morning, September 27 going through Portage, once again into Winnipeg. I repeated my trick of going back to the dome car washroom at three in the morning to wash my hair in the sink. There, that feels better! Arrival in Winnipeg was around 0800 and I had a 13-hour layover. I walked down Portage Avenue, visiting the army surplus store, Eaton’s, a book shop, then to the United Grain Growers building, where I talked to their librarian. He gave me several booklets and pictures of elevators. Then to their construction department, where I was able to talk to a draftsman. He remembered receiving my letter, from this elevator-entranced Easterner about a year or so ago, asking for plans. We talked ‘shop’ for a while. I also visited the offices of Manitoba Pool Elevators, the Canadian Wheat Board and Alberta Wheat Pool. I dropped some of my stuff back at the station, then went to the Eaton Centre mini-mall and watched Beverly Hills Cop - very funny. I had lunch there, complete with one litre drink of  Pepsi, then back to the station where I had fish and chips for supper in the cafeteria. 

Unfortunately, the train taking me west again was running about three hours late. That didn’t bother me though, because I didn’t want to get into Regina at 0230 anyway. Finally the train came in, and I again used my ‘secret’ passageway to get on early and get a good seat. I looked scruffy enough at this point to pass for a brakeman or car-knocker under the train shed. You just have to look like you know where you’re going! 

An uneventful trip to Regina, except for one loud guy telling a young woman all his hard-luck romance stories, and keeping the seat light on. I arrived in Regina around 0430 on September 28, after passing through flurries near Broadview. I stayed in the station as long as I could (0500) then walked with all my luggage to find the Tilden rental car office at about 0520, and waited until 8 am in 0-degree C weather, doing jumping-jacks to stay warm. I ate my breakfast and read, all inside the doorway of such-and-such law firm! FINALLY at 8, the clerk showed up, and guess what, they didn’t have my reservation. Did I have time to wait for a car to be driven over from the airport? Of course I said 'No!', so he had to give me a Chrysler Fifth Avenue (silver) that was there, at the same rate ($10.95 a day plus 15 cents a kilometre). This was going to be a sweet ride!
It took me 30 km of driving to find my way out of  Regina, but finally got on road to Davin (lettered Adair my first elevator in snow - above), Odessa, Montmartre. Snowing very lightly, I stopped at each town on my pre-selected route to get elevator pictures, but didn’t see any trains on these branchlines. Then through Francis, Tyvan, Fillmore etc. Got temporarily lost for about 20 minutes on country dirt roads! Pulled into Weyburn around 1700, stayed at the Big J Motel which is right across the highway from the CP line to the States and some elevators. Supper was from McDonald’s, right next-door to the motel. 

I left the next morning, Sunday, September 29 around 0800, driving through Yellow Grass, Cedoux and Lewvan, Colfax, Milestone, a little sunnier. Had the stereo, cruise control on. This Fifth Avenue was fully-loaded, so I felt like king of the road! Most places I would roll down my power windows and take the elevator photo right out the window, so I wouldn’t have to bother getting out and scuffing the upholstery. Gas was running low around Colfax, on my return to Regina, and I could have made it the 35 km to Regina to refill, but didn’t. It started suddenly dropping to E, with dash indicator flashing around Riceton. Made a quick trip to Gray, then coasted into Regina, filled up at Petro Can with about 15 litres, just to make sure. There was time to power-wash the car (filthy from mud by now) and got Burger King lunch, which I ate at the elevators at Rowatt, just south of Regina on CN. 

It was back to CP station around supper to watch trains, pick up McDonald’s supper and also drove over to RCMP Depot Division, where I got a few souvenirs. Accosted back at station by CP (paranoid) cop, but assuaged him when he learned I was a railfan. Took rental car back, dropped off keys, then walked to station to catch No 2 around 2315. By now I was getting used to finding the premier seats in the coach and stowing my gear. Riding into Winnipeg the next morning, where I walked into the station to get a newspaper and a Coke. A slice of life as kids wait for the arriving school bus, Monday morning of September 30, as our departing train heads out of Winnipeg's refinery district on a high line:
Husky the Muskie is under repair at Kenora:
It was a cloudy ride through to Ignace, so caught up on my sleep. Got to Thunder Bay that night around 1900, in wet snow. There I caught a Lacey’s cab to the Red Oak Inn. I had originally planned to take mixed trains Nos 277/278 to Sioux Lookout the next day, but was too tired to do so now, so stayed over in Thunder Bay anyway. I walked across the street and picked up a pizza for supper, after deciding not to eat at the Red Oak’s poolside coffee shop, where you’d smell more chlorine than taste your meal!

I checked out at last possible second before 1300 the next day, October 1, after eating my slightly disappointing room service breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs and toast. I walked around Thunder Bay, got six donuts from Robin’s Donuts for supper with Coke, then went to the station. There had been a derailment to the west around English River, so they stopped No 1 westbound at Thunder Bay, turned it to use as No 2, and we were waiting for the eastbound passengers to be bussed around the wrecksite from Ignace. They got there about three hours late. Two or three busloads finally arrived, the crew with the first. We eventually left around 2200. No 2’s consist at Thunder Bay (was turned No 1) 6312-6618-6787-9656-100-3207-503-5716-Thompson Manor-Christie Manor-Burton Manor-Emerald-Englee-Evelyn-S/S diner-Tweedsmuir Park. 

We got into Sudbury the next morning, October 2 at around 1000, and I hurried over to the CP shops to get some pictures of snowplows and locomotives before the departure of slightly-shorter VIA No 10 to Toronto - now very sunny. I was in the vestibule for about 40 miles, lots of fall colours. As always, a nice ride into Toronto through Barrie, Washago and Newmarket, except for dirty coach windows. From the vestibule, ex-QNS&L 5414 as second unit as we meet a westbound CP freight:
Views of our train and fall colours on curves: 
Arrival in Toronto was about 1915,  two-and-a-half-hours late. Normally a seven-hour layover, it ended up being around four hours. I had ample time to walk over to the Royal York Hotel for clubhouse sandwich supper, then stewardess-watched in the lobby for about an hour before boarding the Cavalier to Ottawa around 2330. I was able to turn two seats to sleep on. 

I arrived in Ottawa around 0630, began walking downtown about. Went to Parliament Hill to inquire about seeing Question Period, then to my favourite hobby shop, Hobby World. I returned to Parliament and obtained pass to see Question Period on Monday instead. Saw Brian Mulroney and Joe Clark arriving in official cars, Mulroney with RCMP unmarked escort. Walked back to station, had chips and a Coke for supper. I read a newspaper paper there and boarded No 45 to Kingston at 1700. (I returned Monday to Ottawa aboard VIA.)

This trip was not uneventful: late-running, a turned train and last-minute changes of plans. With a pass, there was flexibility. While this account is definitely folksy and newsy in parts, it provides a snapshot of travel along lines not currently served by VIA, when the transcontinental trains catered to a cross-section of international and Canadian clientele. Thanks for coming along for the ride, even with the 36-year delay in posting this account of my cross-Canada journey!

Running extra...

I was proud to publicize the Mother Parker's Remembers tour back in 2012 showcasing private car Pacific. I'm equally proud to have two of my photos featured in the V21N1 issue of CN LINES magazine. Taken at Kingston's VIA station, they accompany the article by David Walmsley and Al Lill (sneak peak - above). What a pleasure it was to see a passenger car sporting actual marker lamps at the station once again!

Speaking of coffee, my mother-in-law recently told us she had a hankerin' for instant coffee. I had no such hankering. My recollection of the thin, woody stuff was drinking it at 0300, in a cup on a stack of paper towels beside my microscope, during a midnight shift in the Hematology Laboratory reading a box of blood smears. I have been delivered from that fate by the decline of the carafe coffee-maker and the ascendency of the Keurig K-cup! O-K!