Sunday, June 30, 2024

Canada Day 2024

What are we up to now as a country? 157 years? What about the thousands of years before that? To be inclusive, we give lip-service to indigenous rights prior to city council meetings, hockey games and school concerts. As far as I'm concerned, each such statement should be accompanied by ceding back a chunk of territory, if we really mean it! Imagine if each city that so blithely blurbs those words actually and actively took action, say by ceding back one acre of land each time those words are read.

This is one of the few posts in Trackside Treasure's annual planning calendar (well, if there were such a thing) that includes anything but trains. Because one of the freedoms I enjoy in this country is to blog endlessly about nitpicky details, train numbers and to wallow in nostalgia. This freedom was hard-fought and did not come easily. I don't take it for granted, so I dust off my camera roll once a year to politely posit some points patriotically, people. Every year since 2009 right up to this, Trackside Treasure's 15th year!

Arriving with grand trunks full of hopes and dreams (now to be bought at MaxSold auction by my son, complete with vintage stickers!), immigrants filled the land that the indigenous peoples could never populate to the same degree. Not content to roam and forage, the Europeans stayed and built this country, or in Canadian-speak, built this railway that built this country. In this case, while living in the Grand Trunk Terrace on Montreal Street here in Kingston:
OK, enough sermonizing and postulating. Before I go on, I suggest we all just go for a walk in the woods instead of rehashing history and injecting new theories into the past. Imagine how the indigenous peoples had low stress levels, (well, except stressing about how to survive each and every day and the long winters), just walking through the woods.

Picture yourself here as you tip-toe through the trilliums...

Wasn't that relaxing? Get out and enjoy the Canadian wilderness!* Now that we've done a little 'wilderness-bathing' as suggested by the Japanese, let's look at some other non-train photos to celebrate this special day. Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney died this past Leap Day. My Dad thought enough of to request a Progressive Conservative poster, which turned out to be more-than-life-size!
Tim Hortons, a self-proclaimed Canadian institution, celebrated the opening of their first outlet in Hamilton six decades ago in May, 1964. Ownership of the business has had a turnover or two, but donut rule out its continued fixtureness over reaching a cruller fate.
The Royal Canadian Air Force marks its founding in April, 1924. Canada Post made a major mistake by not releasing an RCAF stamp to mark the Centennial. Not so CFB Trenton - their airshow as a two-day spectacle, and a magnificent air parade of the pantheon of aircraft types over Ottawa take flight this week.
Other 2024 significant Canadian military anniversaries: the 75th of the founding of NATO and the 80th of D-Day. Kingston's City Park displays the proud accomplishments of the Canadian Expeditionary Force's 21st Battalion.
An ethereal afternoon of guitar strumming and singing at The Spire. You know, the international language:
Clouds gathering and winds swirling near Newburgh:
I goggled the greatest gaggle of geese I've gazed upon in awhile.
Artwork by our grandson - how many of us feel about where we find ourselves:
We did some 'camping' on the front lawn:
Kingston's 1917-built LaSalle Causeway bridge was condemned during routine maintenance. It's now gone.
This main diagonal member at right was damaged and sealed the bridge's death warrant. 
Picton beach:
Back to the Canadian wilderness**
*well, not that wild a wilderness. It's part of an urban park less than half a mile from our house. But it looks wild.
**well, also not that wild a wilderness. It's part of another urban park about two miles from our house. Isn't it colourful?
We don't need to wear the face-paint and drink beer through straws encircling our crazy cowboy hats all year. One day out of 365 just about does it. 
We need to keep honouring our nation and defending her with fierce pride. 

Happy Canada Day to all Trackside Treasure readers

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Procor Covered Hopper Cars

These big eye-catching cement-coloured covered hopper cars, with a 5820 cu.ft. capacity, were built from the late 70s all the way up through the early 90s. About 1,700 were designed and built by Procor in Oakville for Procor and Dow Chemical, the primary owners. Procor manufactured cars in its Oakville shops until 2002, now built at parent Union Tank Car's plants in Alexandria, LA and Sheldon, TX. Car lengths varied between 62-10, 63-6 and 67-7 (feet-inches) in length. In 1976 the PROCOR wordmark began to be used.
Built in batches of 1 to 200+ among 5810 and 5840 cu.ft. cars, the numbers of the 5820 cu.ft. cars were:
  • UNPX 122012-122280 built 1976-79
  • UNPX 122647-123402 built 1984-88
  • UNPX 123500-123599 built 1988
  • UNPX 123630-123651 built 1990
The cars featured pneumatic unloading for dry bulk commodities such as plastic pellets. Though I've long been interested in these cars and noted their numbers, this post emerged from draft form after I purchased a Rapido Trains Inc. model of one. Dave Cook of Kingston Locomotive Works had several at great prices.

UNPX 123316 on CN No 376 at Belleville on November 25, 2016 with black PROCOR:
They do not go back in time as far as I thought they did on CN's Kingston Sub! My observations of these cars (only beginning in 2013) including date, car and CN train on, with any remarks:
  • Aug 24/13 UNPX 122741
  • Nov 13/16 UNPX 123149 on 376 (top photo)
  • Nov 25/16 UNPX 123316 on 376
  • Feb 17/17 UNPX 122823, 123026, 123197 on 376
  • Oct 14/17 UNPX 123034, 123362 + two others
  • Mar 11/18 UNPX 123229, 123100 on 376
  • Mar 28/18 UNPX 122911 on 377
  • May 15/18 UNPX 122645*, 123104, 123017 on 377
  • Jul 13/18 UNPX 122758 on 377
  • Apr 16/19 UNPX 122832, 122942
  • May 17/19 UNPX 122922 on 376
  • Aug 27/19 UNPX 123055, 123235, 123888** on tail end of 376
  • Aug 27/19 UNPX 122890 on 377
  • Sep 15/19 UNPX 123067 on 376
  • Nov 2/19 UNPX 123373 + one other on 376
  • Jan 2/20 UNPX 123120 on 376
  • Feb 4/20 UNPX 122838 on 369
  • Jun 18/20 UNPX 122980, 123166 + three others on 376
  • Feb 22/22 UNPX 123048, 123073, 123325 on 369
  • Apr 3/22 UNPX 123647 on 369
  • Aug 24/22 UNPX 123095 + two others on 377
  • Sep 28/23  UNPX 123139 on 377 (below)
*5840 cu.ft. car
**5810 cu.ft. car

This photo of UNPX 123139 (above) shows the round roof hatches.
I unboxed my Rapido car today (above). Buying a Rapido product is always a Big Event for me, largely because of the cost vs. what I'm willing to spend on a model combined what I have already, and what I don't really need. But Dave Cook's bargain pricing turned the tide.
Shown with my previous Bev-Bel Athearn three-bay foobie on which I painted out the Union Carbide logo. So over-represented, as will be the Rapido 'Blue' 5820. The length of the Rapido car is evident. Rooftop view showing hatches:
My six year-old grandson, for whom I painted the CN vehicle, gave the new arrival the thumbs-up!
This car is BIG. I have a sharp curve between the interchange and the Outer Station. Though the car is several years past my modelled era, it will be seen in my CN yard as a car that keeps hanging around, waiting to be switched out to one of two plants in Kingston Township that received covered hoppers - DuPont and more likely, Northern Telecom.

Lots o' links:

  • Rapido's unboxing video. Watch if you dare. Of course every modeller will want the Union Carbide or goofy blue one. Just like every modeller needs a SCLAIR!
  • Pullman-Standard also produced 5820 cu.ft. cars.
Running extra...

The struggle is real. What we had to resort to before Rapido came on the scene 20 years ago. An online auction site photo of the first of the fleet, home-bashed '5820' from two Pullman-Standard covered hopper models. I don't think this would be rail-worthy, but at least it has four compartments! I like the custom built rough caption!
The arrival of VIA's Siemens Venture Set 18 came with a few anomalies this past Wednesday. Locomotive 2218 on one end and cab car 2317 on the other put those book-ended numbers out of sync again. Also, car 2817 is lettered 'Business Class'. And then there's that banana paint scheme. Thanks to Stephen Gardiner for sharing his photo of CN 5764-UP 6446 leading at CN Humber (above). The misaligned VIA logo is fortuitously foregone by foliage.
Railfans are concerned, suggesting a do-over and unleashing some VIAtriol, as shown in this curated cynical compendium of comments:
  • That entire livery is a mistake. 
  • It makes me irrationally irritated every picture I see of it.
  • It looks like Brio wooden block toy train. 
  • Same people who designed those seats came up with that ?
  • The split VIA logo needs relocation on Charger.
  • It looks 80% complicated. 
  • If VIA's idea was to consume the leftover yellow paint from Brightline sets then I’d say well done.
  • Would’ve looked better with the windows surrounded by blue instead of black.
  • This looks absolutely terrible…. Who approved this? 
  • At first I wondered if this was a deep fake.
  • I love the idea but the execution is terrible. So pretty on-brand for VIA?
  • Horrible looking! It looks as if someone just went over it with a yellow hi-liter!
  • Need to rethink scheme on the Charger end.
  • It's messed up.
  • Get rid of the Maple Leaf. [This close to Canada Day?]

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, June 2024 Pt 2

In Part 1 of our June 1 trip, we reached Toronto on VIA No 61. About three hours later, we were returning east on VIA No 46. Fortunately, our equipment was not substituted by an LRC or HEP consist, nor bustituted nor cancelled due to lack of Toronto-Ottawa crews. As a result, we were riding one of VIA's new Siemens Venture trainsets! This is Set 6 with locomotive 2206 - cars ending in '5' - cab car 2305.
When we checked in at the Departures concourse of Union Station, we were directed by a helpful VIA staff member to Alcove F. From here, we were invited to pre-board. That was great, because one of our greatest concerns in the Big City was being separated from our grandsons in the madding crowds. Ripley's Aquarium was a bit of a zoo.  Pre-boarding made escalator ascent easy and trouble-free.
Shaky "I'm walkin' here!" boarding shots:
Aboard our car - our seats marked in red:
Accessible space at left, all seats facing centre of the car. Wye not:
Forward-facing seats behind us. Our car 2905 operating as car 3 in which we occupied seats 8A-8B, 9A-9B:
Various views of VIA down the aisle. I'm not going to do a detailed review on seat comfort, ride quality and all the usual criteria first-time Venture riders usually venture to include. I highly recommend this post by Tim Hayman if you'd like to know more. If we had one complaint, it would be window-spacing which seemed rather random.
We're ready to GO. Those table drink holders are rather shallow, but unlike rocking and rolling in LRC or HEP cars, we Economy riders didn't have a chance to test the sloshworthiness of the tiny Business Class coffee cups.
Quad seating across the aisle (above) and one of the ceiling-level displays indicating our route schematic, (relative, not exact location - it doesn't move along in real time!), time, train and car number, green or red person washroom indicator, and speed. The latter is the most interesting. I think we reached 153 km/h at our fastest:
Window placement? Often misaligned - this is not that. Our quad seating had one good window and one...bulkhead. My grandson was able to see where we were going (sitting backwards, looking forwards) by trying this approach:
Venture Set 14 led by cab car 2213 was heading west at Oshawa, likely No 47. We also scooped an eastbound intermodal on CP west of Port Hope.
Likely CN No 322 switching Oshawa with 8911 and 26xx. Morningstar Road crossing* just west of Trenton (below). Was trentonrailfan there Instagramming? Hard to tell at this speed!
I conjured up cold but convivial congregating in the company of Bob Fallowfield, Jason Shron, Jordan McCallum and Barry Silverthorn here on the Platforum. Was it really four years ago?
The Gibbard District is taking shape, developed by Doornekamp Construction Ltd. Canada's Most Scenic Trainwatching Spot is right here:
With a couple of tuckered-out grandsons awake and ready to disembark, we arrived in Kingston. North track arrival meant we didn't have to navigate the escalators and tunnel:
On to Ottawa, 46!
The grey stripe is slowly turning the colour of...road grime.
*A memory from Morningstar Road. I think the phone box is no longer on that pole.

*CPR's dispatcher phone box stood trackside 
for years
Contents conveying messages up and down 
for years

Now it is silent
eerily empty
unhinged unforgotten
world-weary wooden

Weathered worn
here, it still stands - a shell
where, what it once was - vital
there, if needed - when needed

In cinders and smoke
and each new year, if only just.
Surrounded by now-new sumac,
poplars winking in the day's late light

we, lucky enough to spend time here
qui vive
alert to its presence
qui vive

we, standing together, transcribing trains
roaring past
it still stands trackside
for years 

Running extra...

Hey, it can't hurt. Why whine and complain about the demise of passenger travel? Got 30 seconds to register your displeasure and wish for better service, and of course in the process guarantee Unifor jobs?Unifor has an e-way to contact your MP and federal Minister of Transport:
Now you know about VIA's new trains. OC Transpo 4707 (Transit Toronto photo posted to social media) will look after the rest:
Now, old trains. When I was a 17 year-old travelling solo aboard VIA Rail to visit my cousins in Lachute, QC long before map apps, my Montreal-raised Dad drew me this handy 'hand-drawn facsimile' to enable me to find my way after disembarking at Montreal's former CN Central Station. This simple map got me over to the former CP Windsor Station, where the 'North Shore' Dayliner would depart for Ottawa, travelling over CP's Lachute Subdivision.