Friday, August 26, 2022

FiVIA's at Kingston, August 2022

Memo to CN: This Trackside Treasure humble blogger would like to register a complaint. A little disappointed that you did not see fit to send a single freight along the Kingston Sub past Kingston in 3.5 hours in what is known to be a 'busy morning time-slot'. One train heard at home before setting out, and another while in the Tim Hortons drive-thru on the way to the station don't count. Not to mention 305 and 369 that happened by after I headed home. The consists in my notebook for Thursday, August 25 filled a disappointing half-page.

So, what to do? Get creative with VIA photography, that's what! I've endeavoured to show all the trains, but not just wedge shots. It's a crutch, I know. A go-to, I get it. But with look-alike trains on tangent track, I gave it that old collage try!


The players. As always, D='D&H' paint scheme; F=Future wrap (*3476 only Business Class car in this scheme); F-40=Future wrap with 40th anniversary red circle logo; L=Love the way wrap; R=Renaissance scheme.

0917 EB No 60/50: 6428-3463-3476F*-3314R-3360F-3367-3326R-912L-4003D-4107-4119-4117.
0932 WB No 61: 6433-3472-3311R-3362R-3364F-40.
1035 WB No 51: 6420L-3458-4001D-3324R-3335-3332R.
1113 EB No 62/52: 903L-4000D-4004D-4113D-4122-4108-4115D-911L-4007-4109-8123-4106-8104.
1157 WB No 63: 919L-3469-3464-3338F-3345R-3353 F-40.

No 60/50 was its usual J-train self. But with the cornucopia of paint schemes sometimes seen, it's about finding the needle in the stack of pins. To wit, VIA 3476: the unique grey-slash, centred-VIA logo and double-numbered Business Class Car that is a VIAunicorn, a one-off (above). Though I was parked on the backlit side, there was no way I could achieve my assignment without going to the south side. I mustered the energy, relished the results, and was able to catch up to all the trains over there. 

On my way, I crunched some new old ballast. During the September, 2020 rail and tie renewal, the grubbed-out ballast was deposited on the south side bordering the swampland. I decided to take advantage of it to widen out any wedge shots, careful to shoot around this Kingston karacteristic hockey-stick platform lights (top photo, arrival of 60/50).
The platforms and trains were filled, with passengers positioned on platforms long before each train arrived. The panoply of paint schemes (above) and bus-bombed by a blue Kingston Express atop the Princess Street overpass. A new old baggage cart, seemingly repainted and just east of the station (below). Since there is currently no checked baggage in the Corridor, I was treated to two battery-charger runs of the checked-baggage truck, still parked in the station lot, from east to west through the parking lot and new roundabout!
Can you spot the point-and-shoot as well as the pointer-and-shooter in this Track 2 station building Departures board?
Platform-ant view of VIA 3364 trailing VIA No 51. This coach wears the 'Future' and 40th anniversary markings. A foreman at Ernestown was desperately trying to get track time, though the Edmonton RTC reminded him that the VIA's were less than 40 minutes apart and, oh, try after 1230! 
Someone in marketing decided this weather shelter on track two needed some scenery. Tonquin Valley, Alberta did the trick:
Made it up to the head-end of No 51 before departure. The platform ants&arts club helped with this one. The F40 is a boringly boxy beast but I just can't help myself sometimes. I noticed two examples of evidence of damage, possibly birdstrikes, on the high, rear surfaces of trailing units, prevalent during the current minimal-wyeing era at VIA, with locomotives on both ends of many consists. Here's the Youtube video of the departure. Sorry about the wind noise. Really sorry about the e-bell!
After an hour-long lull punctuated by ten Timbits and at least as many pages of Rick Mercer's Talking to Canadians it was time for VIA No 61 to trundle in with a polyglot consist. Nothing led by a 'love the way' wrap can be all wrong, though. VIA 6420 is one of only two units not to have worn this wrap but not the earlier CANADA 150 and VIA40 wraps. The other is 6427, both damaged in a wreck on the way to Churchill.
There I go again with the slab-side photos. Oh well, justified by showing the French language wrap. Several sides of the expansive station roof are missing shingles after winter storms:
Bus-bombed encore!
Vestiges of CN's first fibre-optic installation circa 1985. Other light standards wear Rideau Trail markers. This way to the swamp, and Ottawa, where I don't think they'll ever drain-the-swamp.
Recalling the platform-filler consists of the early VIA years. In this case, it's VIA 62/52 as I hot-dogged over to the south side safely after its arrival. You can just see the end of the north side platform on this side of 8104. Of course, when the true platform-fillers were here, not these two-train combination-passenger-platters, that poplar tree at right was just a sapling!
I am a fan of the far side, both the sunbathed side and the Gary Larson cartoon. It's quite a hike to the head-end, maybe 1200 feet on these two feet, and I almost made it!
The grubbed-out ballast in foreground gave me a better angle as I wantonly wangled just one wedge:
The only way to rescue yet another P42 shot, in this case 9-1-1, was to angle the camera. Real emergencies continued to occur. No fewer than three ambulance artistes worked their sirens through the Sydenham Road/Princess Street intersection and up the overpass on their way to Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Godspeed.
With memories of Schreiber, Sintaluta and Salmon Arm, ex-CP 8123 accompanied its Budd, 8104 on this train.
The ties and ballast were replaced in 2020, but this rail was installed  in 2022. I paced it off and noted that it must have been made of 85-foot lengths that arrived from another hemisphere via the Port of Halifax, get welded in Transcona, then trundled back here.
This foreman was doing something down at Queens West during my visit. This is max zoom with max shimmer:
This wrap was a wrap - the last train. VIA 919:

Track 2 station photography session:
Clouds oblige as VIA No 63 prepares to noblesse-oblige its way down the line. The vintage fence-topper pipes were damaged during the 2020 renewal and never repaired:
There are much worse ways to spend your day than trainwatching under Kingston's sunny but humid sky. In two years, this boxy little station set in a swamp will celebrate its golden anniversary!

Running extra...
Kingston`s health care is making me sick. To my stomach. You might not get in the door. If you do, you'll wait hours. If you're admitted, you may not get the care you need. Why?

Because people love tax breaks. When the biggest portion of the provincial budget goes to health care, where do budgets get cut? Headlines like PSW salaries, homelessness and food insecurity actually start with governments cutting social programs while dangling tax breaks to get elected, and only then are exacerbated by a global pandemic.

Health care is one of the last fields where staff are not allowed to speak out publicly. Instead, it's left to unions and professional organizations who inherently have a bias that's perceived by the public. And dismissed. It's not a real problem. Our Kingston health care is just fine. Isn't it?

When there are no ambulances to come and get us, when there are seven patients per nurse, when there are six hour waits to get our next waiting area in Emergency or our hallway stretcher, maybe then we'll think about who we voted for, at every political level.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Summertime at the Station, August 2022

I enjoyed two railfanning visits to the Kingston VIA station on August 8 and 9, 2022. The afternoon and midday visits were uplifting as were the two loads on CN No 305 shown in the top photo! I parked in the 'cell phone' lot to the west of the station, though I did make one trip to the 'long term' lot to the east. Both are as spacious as they are capacious. An earlier visitor was the CN weed-spray train, apparently CN's replacement for bushwhacking sectionmen (long gone) or the brushcutter track machine (hidden somewhere). Most trackside weeds have turned brown, and sumac have been put into positively premature autumn colours. The results to the west with Mi 177 Kingston Subdivision up the hill:           
Observed trains are shown by time, direction and details:
1530 EB: One of a new pair of intermodal/auto rack trains, CN No 122 with 2282-2202 has export double-stack containers like UASC and HL, plus 50 loaded autoracks:
VIA wraps are denoted as R=Renaissance; L=Love the Way; F=The Future is on board or F/40 if still bedecked with VIA 40th anniversary circular red logo. The refurbished stainess steel cars with the green/yellow or Business Class grey/yellow are denoted as "D&H" or D for reasons known only unto me (oh, and the Delaware & Hudson's blue and yellow broad stripes).
1620 WB: VIA No 67: 6413-3326R-3340-3347R-3370-3360-3470-6427L. Passenger loads were healthy, and mask-wearing on board was intended to keep it that way:
Almost as many VIA P42's are unwrapped as VIA F40's are wrapped.

An eastbound is lined to the south at Queens East, with the signals just visible under the newish John Counter Boulevard overpass. Crossing gates are activated for the old, unused Counter Street crossing:
VIA No 44 was the one lined on the north track 1632 EB: 918L-3471-3355F-3350F-3371. After its station stop, it was engaged in a winnable race with the dumpster dumper. This was my last train of the day, but I would return the next day.
August 9 - 1110 EB VIA No 62/52: 903L-4000"D&H"-4004D-4114D-4122-4108-4115D-915-4008D-4116-8102D-4104-8108D (no photos).

1143 WB VIA No 63: 910L-3469-3464-3338F-3345R-3353F/VIA40 stopping just west of the station on the north track. New taxi area in foreground:
An 80 km/h and 100km/h winter windstorm were likely the cause of this case of shingles:
1222 WB VIA No 45: 918L-3471-3355F-3350F/40-3371 (no photos).
1253 EB No 40: 911L-4003D-4112D-4119-4117-4111D:
1300 WB CN No 369 with 2974-exCitirail 3924 running wrong main behind the above VIA, so no photos. I decided to get my subsequent treasure right at trackside. I deployed the Mark I Lawnchair.
1325 WB CN No 305 approaches:
CN 2999 in the lead, running on the south track:
AIMX scrap gons 19172-19193-19134-20172:
DPU 3061 is bracketed by IC and ATW gons with bagged loads of nickel.
Belgium-built Sarens cranes on HTTX 93443 and 92913 had arrived through the Port of Halifax, a frequent path of heavy equipment passing through Ontario from Europe destined Western Canada.
If it's 305, there has to be Irving lumber on board. Pun intended.
Decelerating while ascending the hill to Mi 177:
1330 EB CN No 372 just a couple of minutes later, led by CN 3136 but two minutes too late for a meet at the station. :
TCMX 12417, formerly JAIX 96115 aluminum Johnstown America Grainporter:
DPU 2997 followed by about 60 loaded auto racks. The microprocessor chips must have come in!
Can opener conclusion:
Fellow Kingston railfan, photographer and aerial image-maker Andre Gerow kindly shared this fresh drone view of the station. You'll note the broad expanse of marshland in which the station was built, surrounding the Little Cataraqui Creek on its way to Lake Ontario. Princess Street overpass is at top of photo. The former Cataraqui level crossing, replaced by the overpass in 1968 was where the grove of trees is. The Ambassador Hotel is at top centre. The expansive concrete pad around the station and the renewed, enlarged parking lot (with lots of medians!) are also visible.

Running extra...

As Trackside Treasure begins its quindecennial year, roofers are pounding on our roof like a squadron of caffeinated woodpeckers. While railfans and railways may think they're the only ones about cool paint schemes, this Roofmart delivery truck literally wrapped itself in the flag, and I don't see a shingle thing wrong with that!
My much younger (not quite four years old) but also more active other blog concerns Kingston's Hanley Spur. This post on modelling the 1895 addition to the Kingston Outer Station inevitably leads readers to lament the current state of the prototype. Alone, unused, dejected and undergoing demolition by apathy, it lives on in HO scale.

I've spent much of the summer doing urban planning on one 2x8-foot stretch of that layout, and much of that time has been spent under a roof, be it a sunroom roof or even an umbrella or front porch. But I'm technically outside! A slight re-jig of the track made room for the I.Cohen scrapyard and CP spur extension, Davis tannery and CN spur, an ex-industry, the CN telegraph repeater station, CN Express shed and spur and the above-mentioned CN Outer Station. Though some august experts say modelling season begins in September, I don't fall for that one!

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Postscript: Fourteenth Anniversary Contest

Thanks to all the Trackside Treasure readers who participated in Trackside Treasure's 14th anniverary contest. Thanks also for your good wishes and friendly vibes! The first entry received was John Moore of Mississauga. The final entry received was a squeaker by Michael Hammond of  Ottawa, a mere dozen minutes before the contest closed!

As you might expect from our widespread readership, there were a variety of responses to the three possible contest questions.

Favourite railway and why in 12 words or less included:

  • My basement HO. My heart is where the home is.
  • New Brunswick East Coast and its Alcos.
  • Louisville & Nashville Railroad. "The Old Reliable".
  • Bundesbahn Osterreich for the cool places it took me.
  • ex-CP VIA Rail for the dining cars, domes and clean sleepers.
  • Canadian National, watching trains coming from Symington spawning an interest in trains.
  • CP runs in my blood.
Favourite colours included sky blue, teal blue, red, and tuscan red.

Favourite bird Number One was the cardinal and Number Two was the snowy owl.
And the winner is... Eric May. 

Eric chose Canadian Pacific, for the Dayliners he rode in his youth. He also gave Cascade Green as a favourite colour, though he winged it for his bird choices: The cardinal, though he also wanted to say tufted titmouse or blue footed boobie. Well, that's TTTMI, but it all works! Eric will be receiving the often chimeric Trackside Treasure prize pack very, very shortly!
Special mention goes to my Railfan Sister who is prohibited from winning the contest because she lives in a place that starts with 'N'. However, not wanting to end on a sour note or sow dis-chord or dis-harmony, I have featured photos she's shared with me from her August travels north (above) and south (below) of the border in this post. VIA eastbound, one of CN's newest ex-Citirails, and a rare platform crew change at Kingston - in this case an early morning CN No 121 (all above).
I even added a somewhat scurrilous inscription of her serendipitous shot of a well-known West Virginia historic and railfan mecca that I hope to visit again. I edited the hue of her photo, choosing john brown. Just trying to be civil and not start a war, for which I don't want to give her any ammunition or act like even more of an arsenal. 

Thanks to all for being part of Trackside Treasure's extended family. Speaking of family, we are all on Kingston's platform to see Mom and Dad off to Portage la Prairie, MB aboard an 11-car No 1/55 led by VIA 6765-6618 on July 20, 1983:
Stay tuned!
It's great to have you aboard 
as we enter Trackside Treasure's 
quirky and quixotic quindecennial year!