Thursday, November 30, 2023

Kingston Invista Adds Two New Tracks

It was back in late-2001 that a new spur for tank cars was built at the east end of the Kingston Invista plant. Previously, the cars were spotted by CN between the plant buildings. Then, in late-2015 a parallel spur was added for yet more tank cars. Now, in late-2023, two new tracks are being added. This aerial image was made and shared by someone familiar with plant operations:
The two new tracks are shown in red. The one labelled "New nylon and AA storage spur" will hold covered hoppers with inbound adipic acid and outbound product. The other track to the east, labelled "Twin existing HMD line" will be for inbound tank cars of hexamethylene diamine. I'll refer to them as Nylon and HMD tracks for the purpose of this post, and until they receive an official CN track designation! Note how both new tracks start off the switching lead at top of image. The 2015-added HMD track had a switch off the first HMD track. Both HMD tracks can now be switched for their full length off the switching lead

This project has been slow, and largely unphotographed. Rails were brought in on four CN flatcars and piled on the site. Large quantities of new ties had been on site since 2022. In late summer, piles of crushed rock arrived, and heavy equipment was slowly working on the new tracks. During the summer of 2023, bulldozers on site worked to remove top soil and add subroadbed stone.
An excavator working on the HMD track (above). Heavy equipment and rock piles, with roller working on HMD track (below - both photos taken September 8, 2023).
Here is a new, long turnout, with associated track hardware dropped off along King Street for the new Nylon track, September 24, 2023 photos:

October 1, 2023 views:
View of the switching lead, looking west from the east plant entrance road crossing. The switch for the HMD track awaits installation at right. Ballast for the HMD track can be seen at left.

The second HMD track ballast is in, with new fencing extending to the east plant entrance road.

The end of the new Nylon track closest to the plant. This still seemed like a lot of expense with switch and rail for only a few carlengths. However, that expense is probably offset by ease in switching and making the outbound Nylon loads easier to store until CN lifts them. But wait - it will come to be two-ended in the near future - read on!
The rails and tracks are in place, with more rail stacked nearby.
Heavy equipment parked in the Invista plant parking lot.
Heading back east, the view towards Front Road showing the new HMD track ballast.
Gotta move those crossing signals soon!
Groups of partially assembled ties inspected by avian track inspectors!
In 'episode three' of an Invista video on the Kingston plant, this aerial screenshot shows the construction:
By October 15, the Nylon spur switch had been installed, though not the HMD switch. The Nylon track's rail and ties are in place, just not ballasted and tamped in fully. The HMD track looks largely the same as above. Then, by October 28 the second HMD track is bolted together and on the ballast, looking like Atlas HO-scale flextrack!
A tamper is sitting on another piece of bolted-together track inside the fenced HMD compound:
The new piece of track has been laid alongside the existing curve of the easternmost HMD track (below). Presumably, that switch will be removed and both tracks will be full-length all the way to the switching lead along Front Road.
The new Nylon track progress shows an excavator in the middle of a mountain of ballast:
A pair of ballast buggies and a tamper:
The new track and ballast added to its neighbour:
Formerly a spur, a switch has been installed closest to the plant so all tracks are two-ended. 
Big changes in two weeks - November 12, late afternoon. Both HMD tracks are complete and connected. Crossing paved though not a fancy crossing like the first track. The crossing work would have been a challenge since this it is on the only access road to the main plant parking lot.
The new track with outbound load INVX 38605 on the next track over, which also seems to have received some new ballast and surfacing. The ballast buggies are off-track and only spare rails are lying around. It will be interesting to see what ends up on the new track. Certainly, its switch off the lead, east of the existing switches, makes for a very long track.
Looking north on the HMD tracks. New ballast surfaced.

Looking west from the access road off Front Road. Lots of vehicle tire tracks on the grass at right, new drainage at left. Looking very model railroady with the new HMD switch diverging onto the lead, with straight-in access to the new HMD track. A close-up view with the new tracks labelled:
And just like that, one week later, both tracks had cars on them!

December 30 Update: small yellow signs have been installed beside all the switches. I need to re-visit and confirm whether there's a KM29. Tank cars were only spotted on KM28, AA loads on KM33, and outbound loads SRLX 45190-45133 and INVX 38617 were on KM31.

An earlier addition - a Whig clipping from July 29, 1977:

Running extra...

Be sure to check out the new Blog of the Month-ish. It's great to have Jim Lowe so high in the right sidebar-ish. Now shh, I'm reading the head-end of this section!
The VIA Historical Association is raising money for the restoration of VIA 6539. Though we know the public faces of the VHA and Rapido Trains Inc., there is also a long line of lesser-known shadow researchers and enthusiasts who never seek nor find the limelight. Your humble blogger may be one of them. Or he may not.
What, the F? Yes, that's right, 6539 became 6304. And this piggy-bank better be ready to hold 250K 'cause that's what it's going to cost. The restoration is intended to coincide with the VHA's 50th anniversary train in 2028! Which will be 30 years before the last spike is driven on Jason Shron's KingstonSub layout. He freely admits it's a long-term project. Hey, ya can't rush quality!

Since you're still following the tale (on the reading trail) of this post, I considered the tail-end of this section to piggyback on the trailer video for the 6539 project. It would be great to include it here after the piggy-bank. Hey, that would make it a piggyback piggy-bank trailer trail tail tale!

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