Friday, October 27, 2023

CP's Portal Subdivision, 1985 - Part 2

It was time to work my back to Regina after overnighting in Weyburn. In Part 1 of my visit to CP's Portal Subdivision, my drive stopped at Lang, just short of Milestone, SK. A scenic view of Milestone was include in a TV commercial for beer at the time, at least according to my photo album caption (top photo). An impressive elevator row awaited me on this overcast morning, dominated by Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.
Milestone is at Mile 46.9 of the Portal Sub, with the smaller Pool C plant (above) and the newly-refurbished northernmost elevator dominating the town skyline and the only Milestone elevator extant:
A parting shot looking back down elevator row:
I thought this scene approaching Corinne was a nice tabletop tableau. Only when I got closer could I tell both elevators were abandoned. Corinne,  Mi 40.5:
In a previous post I profiled the prolific posted pointers that in no way portended the future of this humble ex-Federal elevator. Its future was dark and I can now say that those signs form part of my archives decor. A far, far better rest than they would have known under tons of nailed-together lumber upon demolition, following their closing in 1983.
Apparently Corinne is now home to a large multi-bun grain-handling facility (over-endowed in grandeur, lacking in character) built by ConAgra twelve years after my visit, now operated by Richardson Pioneer.
There were four elevators at Wilcox, Mi 35.3. Paterson and Pioneer painted (above) and Pool and Pioneer (below) complete with CP Rail track machines, but still no grain cars for loading:
The three remaining elevators in Wilcox were some of the 700-plus demolished by contractor David Mihalicz of Assiniboia: the 126x38 foot Pioneer on October 20, 2005 and the rest by October 28.
Diana (aband. on Highway 39) Mi 30.6 had a 78-car siding in steam days. The door is definitely ajar!

Rouleau at Mi 24.8 had a water tower for steam locomotives to fill their tenders from.
A field view of Rouleau (above) and a Tripix/Henry Kalen/Alex Wilson of Dryden, ON postcard view of Rouleau's elevator row, though the small Federal had been consolidated:
This northernmost Sask Pool elevator was better-known as a scenic backdrop for the CTV series 'Corner Gas' filmed here.
And with a stop at Rowatt, some fast food, a tank of gas,a visit to RCMP Depot Division a car wash and a return of my fantastic Fifth Avenue, it was time to board VIA No 2 eastward from Regina. This post completes documentation of my 1985 grain elevator photography on CN's Glenavon and Lewvan Subs, and CP's Portal and Tyvan Subs.
Now it's time to get cracking on my 1986 trip - I've only documented my visits to the CN Craik and CP Colonsay Subs. That leaves portions of CN's Conquest, Elrose, Rosetown and Watrous Subs and CP's Kerrobert, Outlook and even McMorran Subs to be documented here. Time to elevate my game!

Running extra...

Thanks to Bill Linley for passing along word of Bruce Chapman's passing at age 77. Bruce was a valued book contributor to me, and really helped me find my way through the morass of the disposition of ex-CP RDC's and passenger locomotives. Bruce was also a prolific sharer of information to many and I termed his regular email bursts 'Chapmania' (I saved 200 of his emails for reference, the last one received August 7). Bruce gained his encyclopedic knowledge having served in many roles for Canadian Pacific. My favourite thing about Bruce was the humorous terms he coined i.e. Schreiberia for Schreiber; Crash National for Canadian National; Annieguts for Angus Shops and especially meaningful based on today's weather, Manisnoba.
The VIA Historical Association is in the process of acquiring three ex-Ontario Northland cars, already bearing Rapido Trains Inc. RPDX reporting marks. These three CN cars went to VIA thence ONR after two rounds of VIA cutbacks. Baggage car 414 was formerly VIA 9604 and went to ONR in late-1983. Coaches 851 and 852 were formerly Dayniters 5714 and 5700, acquired in mid-1990 and late-1992, respectively. Mike Robin photo posted to Canadian Trains Facebook group:

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Pop-up Post: Four Days in September, Freight Cars

While CN continues to be a major carrier of carload freight, over the four days I was trackside fully half of the freight trains I photographed were unit trains: intermodal or auto traffic. Undaunted, freight cars that catch my eye are worth a photo, and this post features just them. Also notable is that out of all the cars presented here, CN and BN are the only non-leased freight cars. 
Procor PROX 123139 (top photo) on September 28's CN No 377, along with WC 84974 (above).
WFRX 849782 (above) and more recently TILX 519735 (below) are new players in the Lantic sugar trade, formerly the province of CGMX (now relettered LATX) between the cane refinery in Montreal and the sugar blending facility in Toronto. This vantage point provides a good view of the plastic-lined rooftop hatches:

Septermber 28's No 149 with refrigerated containers (above) and MSC with diesel exhaust (below):
And the following day at Kingston station with a relettered red MSC container and CN power container:
Also on September 29's version are these OOCL refrigerated double-stacks:
This unknown material looks...heavy. On September 29's CN No 372, we can see inside CN 135121 and UCRY 526735. CN is not ordering new gondolas, with UCRY, NOKL and other 'railroads' instead ordering large lease fleets to lease to the real railroads:

I'm a little obsessed with these 'new Port Hawkesbury' cars like GTW 406916 (above - avec CN logo) and earlier-built GTW 406587 (sans logo). Now built by Trinity, formerly by Trenton Works.
BN 467903 is typical of the aging BN/BNSF cars trundling back and forth to the Montreal area, sometimes in groups of 2-4, today solo. These photos are for the roof panel/roof hatch aficionados! I'm a little rusty when it comes to that area!

September 29's CN No 271 takes us back to the days of railway ownership of autoracks, but nooooo. These are Trailer Train, or as the company officially changed its name in 1990 to...TTX Company. TTGX new 'UP' 699509 above and not-new 'BN' 980829 (below). The railways may provide the sloganized, logoized racks, but TTX owns the flat car.

September 30's CN No 121 has a load of wheels rolling along (above). New, but already patched NOKL 323735:
CN No 372, seen here for the third day in a row, EHSX 1319 and 1269, hastily patched reporting marks:
A couple of old warriors in mineral service: ex-Canadian government CPWX, now NMIX 602138 (above) ex-Klemme, ex-pink NMIX 182988:
TKVX 3226 and 3252 were first-time observations for me, leading two ex-Sultran bathtub gondolas, likely in scrap service:
 Can't get enough of these - GTW 406697, on CN X372:
Also on September 30's X372, TBOX 640497 patched due to graffiti. I like this unofficial two-tone yellow-black TTX scheme.
TTGX 942789 (Conrail) largely graffiti-free!

October 1's CN No 372 carried a steel load aboard TTPX 80119 (above) and another BN covered hopper, BN 467233:
An interesting snapshot of what's being hauled in each day's CN Kingston Subdivision freights!

Running extra...

Though derailed by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 after a successful start in 2018, the Associated Railroaders of Kingston again hosted our annual Rail Fair train show this past Saturday. I was able to fill my usual two reuseable grocery bags for just over a C-note. After many years of admiring the Walthers Red Wing Milling kit, I bought one already built, from a private collection. Along with a few 'junk boxes' ("We're not junk!!!) all for a reasonable price at the ARK White Elephant table ably staffed by Len and Andrew. 

Also great to talk to fellow ARKers Paul and Kayleigh Hunter, Dave Cook, Tom Greenlaw, Robin Hornstra, Sam McLauchlan, Grant LeDrew, Kurt Vollenwyder, Marc and Sharon, Andrew Chisholm, Andy Taylor, Bob Farquhar and his ever-smiling wife, also seeing Roger, Michael and Raul doing their thing at the hall. The show was well-attended! Also Chef Ron Salisbury, Rob Martin, Allen Hansen and my very own brother and fellow blogger David J. Gagnon, who like your humble blogger, got satisfactorily shanghai'd at the Bytown Railway Society table and their friendly representatives Paul (licence plate) Bown, Les Goodwin, and later Norm, Den and Dave though not the BRS' CN hi-rail station wagon this year. Here are all my small and tall photos of my haul from the hall where I had a ball (below - as always, click for larger image.) I have my kit-bashing and magazine-reading cut out for me!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Ventures are Coming! The Ventures are Coming!

No, it's not the British that are coming (see also Paul Revere - Revolutionary War), although the new Siemens Venture sets are revolutionary. They've been much better-received by crews and passengers alike than those troublesome redcoats from Old Blighty - dude, they're from sun-soaked California! VIA has released reservation space for Ventures in the real CN Kingston Sub (sorry, but the part east of Coteau on the Montreal-Ottawa run doesn't do anything for me here in Kingston, so let's stay focused! The Coteau-Brockville segment folks get one Venture per the dark!

So the top photo is about to become a much more common sight in Kingston, starting less than a week from now. The long-awaited Montreal-Toronto Venture service is almost here, with the vast majority of the new service operating Ottawa-Toronto beginning Tuesday, October 24th. This fast-approaching date will mark the introduction of a fourth Venture set in service. Two Venture sets have already been in regular Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa service, and a third enters that service on October 24th. There are also a guard consist and a maintenance consist plugged into the rotation of six sets.
VIA is also adding (restoring) 23 new frequencies on various days on six Corridor trains as of the week of October 24th: Toronto-London Nos 82/83; Toronto-Ottawa Nos 644/646 and 43/647.

[I've never been a 'schedule person'. Former colleagues could look at an upcoming schedule and instantly decipher key dates or patterns. So, the following information is presented for information only, completely subject to operational exigencies and does not replace information available on VIA's website.]

All rotations shown below are full-week, beginning on Monday and ending on Sunday, normally with two trains per weekday but some weekend days only one train per day. If I were more energized, I would produce a table or fancy graphic showing days of the week, but you're smart, loyal Trackside Treasure reader, and you'll figure it out!

The rotation for the existing Venture 1 set (Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa runs) which began around June 19, 2023 (the pre-commercial launch date for the first Corridor service):


The rotation for the existing Venture 2 set (also Q-M-O) which began around September 17, 2023:

V2: 33-26-33-26-35-38-20-37-22-39-24-29-633-26.

The rotation for the new Venture 3 set (also Q-M-O) beginning October 24, 2023:

V3: 31-38-31-28-33-26-33-26-33-26-37-24-29.

The rotation for the new Venture 4 set (mostly Ottawa-Toronto) also beginning October 24, 2023 (start day starred*):

V4: M 45-48; T 41*- 48*; W 41-48; Th 41-646; F 43-668-MMC; Sa 633; Su 43-646. 
It's been about 25 months since the first Venture set was hauled down the same CN Kingston Sub on September 29, 2021 (above). Maintenance facilities at the Toronto Maintenance Centre are under development, the Montreal Maintenance Centre is filling up with unused Venture sets, and crew training continues apace, so it's time for them to Venture out! VIA is touting the new service in a variety of media including the National Post.

I'm slowly working my way out of these pop-up posts and I'll be including 'a Running Extra' section after each post again. I will take this end-of-post opportunity to thank the many sources from the VIA enthusiast community who covertly and non-covertly send information my way. This humble blogger will not burn his sources, and have done my best to honour their wishes. (Hey, it's always presumptuous to talk about yourself in the third person! Doesn't he know that??)