Thursday, July 30, 2009

CN Business Cars

CN operated a number of business cars for various company uses: track geometry and evaluation, rules instruction, entertaining shippers, and assigned to each region for official use by company officers. Bonaventure, shown trailing 24-roomette Invermay on the Super Continental at Portage la Prairie,Manitoba in 1978 was a stainless-steel business car. CN 6515 and VIA 6607 and 6502 were on the head-end:

Here is Coureur des Bois (runner of the woods) in a rendition of the 1954 CN passenger scheme. Don't let the paint scheme fool you, this car is passing through Kingston in 1997, deadheading behind the power on CN No 308:

CN business cars ended up in VIA blue and yellow, sometimes with a small CN logo. In 1984, I photographed four CN business cars deadheading ahead of the caboose on a freight westbound from Winnipeg on CN's Rivers Sub. Note the unusual yellow-lettered car names, and complete absence of CN or VIA logos. Pierre de la Verendrye and David Thompson:
Coureur des Bois and Sandford Fleming:

Theatre-seating area of Sandford Fleming:

Tawaw is seen here fulfilling its role as a marketing/research car, in this case likely entertaining cars from the nearby Kingston Alcan aluminum plant. While spotted on Kingston's team track on April 11, 1989, the execs lunched on lobster.

The CN rep's Chrysler K-car is parked nearby. The large stencilled CN on Tawaw's end confirms that a VIA paint scheme does not necessarily a VIA car make:

CN 15015 is just ahead of the caboose on an eastbound freight approaching Kingston in March, 1980:

Later that year on June 20, 15110 and 92 were in that familiar position just ahead of the caboose, on an eastbound freight at Portage:


In the Ontario-Quebec corridor, business cars tacked on an intercity VIA train were a common sight. Here are a few sample consists:
February 11, 1990: 6540-6530-6 conventional cars-96.
June 13, 1990: 6450-6429-8118-8120-9640-Union Club-3253-5437-5621-3211-95-Sandford Fleming.
May 31, 1991: 6442-Allan Manor-5444-3219-5586-Saint James's Club-Chateau Salaberry-Chateau Varennes-94.
April 24, 1993: 6429-8621-3460-3319-3326-3359-3303-3305-94, westbound at Kingston as an eastbound freight approaches the station on the south track:
April 2, 1994: Tawaw and 94 were on the spur west of Toronto Union Station, near L'Hotel.
94 is shown on this spur on November 25, 1994:

Running extra...
Surprising even to me, following my last post on my Winnipeg Terminals layout, I decided to "move" the layout about 1200 miles west. It will be reborn and will depict CP's waterfront yard and operations along Burrard Inlet, as well as CN and BN interchange with CP, and the carferry service to Vancouver Island in the early 70's. Google "RR Horne" and you'll find some juicy, jaw-dropping photos of BC operations that convinced me to model urban operations in another busy Canadian city.
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For the third day in a row, temps in BC exceeded 30 degrees Celsius. Reminds me of the time I rode in a VIA coach without functioning air conditioning up the Fraser River valley one sunny afternoon. Never had a better excuse to open up the Dutch door in the vestibule.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Switching Winnipeg's St James Industrial Park

CN SW-8 7183 kicks cars in an industry support yard, with Winnipeg's skyline in the background. The little switcher is gathering the cars needed for industries in Winnipeg's St James Industrial Park. Today's setouts:

1.CN 290480/ Insulated box/ Merchandise/ Great Northern Industries
2.BN 376650/50-foot box/ Merchandise/ Great Northern Industries
3.CP 415213/ Flat/ Car for Scrapping/ Mandak Metals
4.BN 566180/ Gon/ Ety to load/ Mandak Metals
5.GTW 101197/ Coil car/ Ety to load/ Manitoba Rolling Mills
6.BN 467120/ Covered hopper/ Cement/ Permacon

Today's lifts:

7.UP 300620/ 50-foot box/ Great Northern Industries/ Ety to BN
8.MP 367526/ 50-foot box/ Great Northern Industries/ Ety to BN
9.AC 718/ Gon/ Mandak Metals/ Scrap to CP **Weigh**

This is all happening in HO scale on my Winnipeg Terminals layout in my nice, cool basement, not the baking heat of a Winnipeg summer afternoon.

Speaking of cool, those CN reefers will soon be sent over to Maple Leaf Meats in St Boniface, but that's another post, about another switch job, for another day. The crew is still working hard to assemble their train. That UP car is headed for scrapping. Looks like it was involved in a derailment (actually it was baked in a too-hot hobby shop window). 7183 has tiptoed outside the yard to lift two empties at Great Northern Industries. This compact warehouse represents the acres of warehouses in Winnipeg's west end that used to be worked by CN out of their St James yard. Predictably, most of that traffic is now truck-hauled.

Now leaving the yard, 7183 is hauling that BN hopper to Permacon Concrete, the only track served by this job that has a facing-point switch. Remnants of Winnipeg's nineteenth-century building boom are still standing, if only to provide roosts for pigeons:

A trainman is protecting the back-and-forth movements of the switcher at an automatically-protected crossing, to prevent impatient truckers from disregarding the flashing red lights. Just visible at right is BN 376650, one of the two cars just spotted at Great Northern Industries.

BN 467210 reaches its final destination, just as the Permacon workers are calling it a day. Notice that this side of the car is a heck of a lot cleaner than the other side, shown in the previous shot:

Returning the short distance to the yard, 7183 picks up its trailing-point setouts and leaves three cars at Mandak. The trainman has hopped on at the crossing, and is riding the rear of the movement, so that MTS line truck will soon be free to go.

The CN sectionmen are out to give that rough-looking crossing some attention, as Reimer Express prepares to take that trailer away from Great Northern. Every car Great Northern receives is simply "merchandise". I've left this purposely vague, as everything from beans to bullets arrives in Winnipeg in its role as Western Canada's distribution centre. Mandak receives retired rolling stock for scrapping, some inbound scrap, outbound scrap and cars of steel from Manitoba Rolling Mills. The real Mandak is located in East Selkirk, miles away from St James, except on my layout.

7183 has returned with one gon full of scrap. Outbound loads such as this have to be weighed before being sent off-line, so Algoma Central 718 is spotted on the track scale. Soon that scrap will become razor blades, structural steel, or Fords. The car shop lead diverges to the left, and the yard ladder track is at the right:

That scale track also provides a handy run-around track when not weighing cars, as it runs parallel to the yard lead. 7183 has coupled on to those two empties from Great Northern after running around them. The highball can't be too far off. That GT gon at the car shop has a twisted frame, so it's car shop queen until the head-office types decide its fate...Mandak perhaps?

7183 has plucked caboose 79607 out of the yard, tacked it on the tail end, and the lifts are ready to highball over to Symington. With no other Symingon-bound cars to lift out of the yard, this train should be a quick trip. Unless of course the dispatcher has traffic to handle on the main.

Running extra...
This model railroad post is a first for Trackside Treasure, but not the last. Patient prototype fans can check in my sidebar for some upcoming posts. My railfanning and modelling are entwined - the prototype and model worlds are combined, like Reese's peanut butter and chocolate.
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The livin' is indeed easy in summertime, as I've found out, just returning to work from a week's vacation. Have you ever watched CBC's The National in summertime? All the experts that comment on various stories are usually filmed on their backyard decks, not at their computers in their offices as is usually the case. They are still told, "OK, walk towards the camera" as the news producer's desperately attempt to infuse movement and visual drama into otherwise dry footage.
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Just started listening to Jeff Shaara's Gods and Generals on CD. The book begins in Harper's Ferry VA, where they're celebrating the sesquicentennial of John Brown's raid. This is the scenic site of two railroad bridges across the Potomac River. Jeff Daniels stars as a serious actor in the movie based on the book, playing Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain. This definitely elevated his career after wallowing in comedies like the ridiculous 101 Dalmatians (oh, and the delightfully doltish Dumb & Dumber).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Oil Trains and TankTrains to CN's Bath Spur


CN's Kingston Sub has been a steel-wheeled pipeline to Ontario Hydro's oil-fired Lennox Generating Station (LGS) since it opened in 1977. Four huge oil tanks beside the plant need to be kept filled, and for years, units trains of 48 to 56 Procor tank cars were hauled from Ultramar's Golden Eagle Refinery in Levis, Quebec bringing refined residual oil from Venezuela or Libya. The initial November 1974 contract involved 55-car unit trains departing Levis every two days for Bath, each carrying 30,800 barrels of oil.  Total deliveries to exceed 25 million barrels, requiring more than 800 round trips of 726 miles.


CN 5067-5075 were modified with Pacesetter control to run through the unloading shed at less than 1 mph. On December 19, 1976 5031-5065-5072 are hauling a westbound unit oil train with caboose 79285. Some of the Procor cars in use were UTLX 73464, 73420, 73427, 73422, 73430 and 73439.

February 20, 1976 EB: 5070-5071-5075.
April 26, 1977 EB: 5070-5075-5072.
April 28, 1977 EB: 5073-5074-54 cars-79742.
May 4, 1977 EB: 5074-5075-5073-55 cars.
May 8, 1977 EB: 5074-5075-5070-56 cars-79742.
June 4, 1977 1350 EB: 5047-5524-2511-53 cars-79219.
June 5, 1977 1303 EB: 5070-5071-5073-55 cars-79511.
June 6, 1977 1339 EB: 5070-5071-5073-53 cars.
June 8, 1977 1257 EB: 5070-5071-5073-53 cars-79548.
June 10, 1977 1354 EB: 5070-5071-5073.
November 18, 1977: 5071-5068-5070.
April 1, 1978 0809 WB: 5073-5068-5067-54 cars-79548.
June 23, 1978 1322 EB: 5075-5071-5070-48 cars-79316.
The modified SD's were also used on regular freights:
June 7, 1978 0725 EB: 2315 - 5074
June 10, 1978: 5073-5068-3215-79755.
In December 1997, CN Nos 704/705 with 13-car GATX TankTrain sets began operating to LGS. Originating Albany NY, routing was CP/D&H to Montreal Parsley Interchange, CN Kingston Sub Montreal to Bath Spur Mi 190 Kingston Sub. The train then meandered down the 5.6 mile spur at less than 10 mph before arriving at the unloading shed, with GATX 23627 bringing up the SBU:

A unique feature of Nos 704/705 was the joint power provided by CN & CP in late 1997-early 1998. This was probably one of the few regular trains operating in Canada with shared power. The power stayed with the train over the entire route, over both railways. This practice ended partly because CP locomotive cabs did not have microwave ovens. CP 5675-CN 9436 with 39 cars at LGS on January 4, 1998:

Some other joint-power trains:
December 13, 1997 No 704: CN 9436-CP 5515-28 cars.
December 29, 1997 No 705: CP engine was "toast".
January 2, 1998 No 705: CP 5675-CN xxxx.
On a cold February 6, 1998 we followed No 705 to the Bath Spur, where it veered south, passed through a rock cut and under a County Road overpass on the spur at dusk, with the Kingston Sub in the distance:
Consist of No 705: CP 5618-CN 6010-GATX TankTrain cars: 23640-23698-23697-23695-23694-23689-23659-23648-23636-23611-23610-23608-23606-23612-*-23630-23691-23651-23607-23639-23638-23637-23655-23634-23633-23632-23629-23625-23617-23627-*-15459-15460-15464-15465-15466-15467-15468-15470-15472-15473-15481-23602-48606-15482-*-23678-23677-23676-23675-23674-23667-23649-23645-23693-23628-23613-23605-23603-23614 (*=no connection between car sets).
The same power consist is on No 705 at 1625 Feburary 12, 1998. The paint on CP 5618 was a little rough; I guess CP was not too concerned about showing its best corporate identity to CN:

By February, 1998 the power was all CN:
February 25, 1998: CN 6026-CN 6017.
April 30, 1998: CN 5344-CN 5316.
June 13, 1998: CN 6013-CN 6018.
Then due to a washout on the D&H north of Saratoga NY, in June-July 1998 the train operated from Albany via Buffalo on CP, then to Toronto and Bath on CN. This was even more rare: all CP power operating east from Toronto on CN's Kingston Sub. On August 1, 1998 CP 5534-CP 5669-CP 5673 were at LGS, (below). A totally nutty power consist during this period of detours: July 16, 1998: CP 5611-SP 7516-CP 5652- StL&H 5627-56 cars.

After this disruption ended, the train became an all-CN routing, loading at Tracy, Quebec three months on/three months off. Construction of a natural gas pipeline to LGS, and designation of the plant as a peak supplier reduced the need for oil shipments. On August 18, 1999 No 705 is already on the south track at Mi 176, lined for the Bath Spur, with CN 5361-5328:

Other CN power consists:
February 5, 1999: GCFX 6079-CN 5369-56 cars.
July 18, 2001: 2506-5642-52 cars.
August 9, 2005: 5669-5410-60 cars.
At 1920 on August 26, 1999, No 704 heads east empty from Bath, passing the tailend of No 305 at Kingston station:

The usual operating pattern was for No 705 involved spotting the train at the unloading shed and deadheading of the crew to Belleville yard by taxi as the oil was being pumped out. Another crew arrived by taxi to take No 704 back to Quebec. Now sets of cars are handled on regular CN freights, and set out on the wye or lead track at the Bath Spur, for a Belleville-based way freight No 590 to deliver to LGS. Then the empties are brought back up the spur for lifting by an eastbound.

No 704 tiptoes up to the mainline at 1945 on July 18, 2001 (above) and then enters the Kingston Sub via the east leg of the Bath Spur wye behind 2506-5642:

The crew of No 704 is no doubt anticipating an easy trip eastbound with this light train of empties. A headlight in the distance on the north track means No 363 will be their first meet:

Note that these cars including GATX 23645 now wear the simplified all-white TankTrain logo:

2016 UPDATE - CN No 518 lifted at least one cut of TankTrain cars from Lennox and these made it to Quebec City for loading, returning on CN X321 and down to Lennox on 518. This is the first movement of these cars that I've observed since 2005. Here are the cars waiting to come down to the Bath Spur, in Belleville Yard on October 13, 2016:


Ron Visockis kindly shared this photograph of CN No 518 returning to Belleville with 30 or so TankTrain empties. Almost a shorter version of my CN-CP unit trains, except with a few Bath Spur Lafarge cement-carrying covered hoppers on the head-end behind two Geeps:
Three of the original tanks remain, though only two are licensed. The licensing protocol costs $1 million and is done every five years. One tank still holds oil and the other holds stored reclaimed oil. These large tanks hold oil to a depth of 12 metres when full. More oil is ordered when the level reaches 4.6 metres, and since the actual level was less than that, the order protocol was initiated. When the tank cars arrive, the oil is blown with compressed air from the car on the end to the centre hence two cars of 30 cars previously, 15 now. The oil goes into a surge tank and is then pumped into a storage tank.

2017 UPDATES: two cuts of the TankTrain cars in various paint schemes were sitting at Lennox GS in March, 2017. Work on the adjacent gas-powered power plant continued apace.
GATX 23640, 23606, 23689 (above) and 23646, 23698, 23697 (below:
In July 2017, CN No 518 lifted three sets of TankTrain cars to Belleville, likely for points east.

In August 2017, at least two sets of TankTrain cars were lifted from Lennox by No 518 thence No 372 east towards Quebec:

Running extra...

Lennox trivia: Each oil storage tank holds 800,000 barrels of oil, is 360 feet in diameter and 48 feet in height. The plant burned 3,120 barrels of oil per hour from four turbo-generators, while using 848,000 gallons of water per minute for cooling. Large carp like to swim in the tempered discharge water when it's released from the plant. The initial oil supply contract was 2,500,000 barrels of oil for the plant from 1975 to 1980. The unloading shed catchpit is 450 feet long, with oil discharge taking four hours.
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Annie Lennox, the feisty 5'9" lead singer of the Eurythmics was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and has two children named Lola and Tali. (Rearrange the letters of their names and you get "A Tall Oil".) Actor Bob Tibbets, complete with overalls and moustache has portrayed Dave Lennox on those furnace commercials since 1986.
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Canada Day for the crew of CN No 308 meant a broken knuckle at Mi 172.5, delaying westbound CN Nos 309, 149, VIA Nos 45, 61 and eastbounds 60 and 44. The Snowbirds overflew Bath, Kingston, and Cornwall before the noontime appearance over our majestic Peace Tower in Ottawa. Snowbird 1 wished Kingston Tower a Happy Canada Day as he left the zone.