Saturday, August 25, 2012

CR-GTW-DWP-NS Locomotives on CN 1994-1998

In addition to leasing several fleets of locomotives from leasing companies in the mid- to late-1990's, CN also borrowed power from connecting US railroads and its former subsidiaries.  Some, but not all of these trains on the Kingston Sub were run-through trains from west of Toronto.  In 1998, the introduction of CN's service plan meant that all manifest trains would henceforth terminate at Toronto's MacMillan Yard.  These fleets included:
-CR SD45-2 6654-6666 (ex-EL) November 1996.
-CR SD40-2 6425, 6426, 6429, 6430, 6433-6435, 6438-6441, 6443, 6444, 6448, 6450, 6453, 6462, 6466, 6470-6479, 6482, 6484, 6492, 6499, 6513 January/November 1997.
-NS C30-7 8003, 8004, 8006, 8007, 8008, 8012, 8013, 8022, 8024, 8025, 8029, 8035, 8046, 8050, 8051, 8053, 8062, 8063, 8070, 8073, 8079, 8080-8082 (ex-NW) March/June 1997.
-CR C39-8 6000, 6002, 6004, 6007, 6010-6019, April 1997

On April 13, 1995 5329-GTW 5800-EMD Leasing 813 cross the short bridge just east of Kingston station (top).  All photos in this post at Kingston unless otherwise noted.  Ex-UP CNNA 5379 leads GTW 5921-CNNA 5364 westbound (above).  A year-and-a-half later, GTW 5921 is plying the Kingston Sub again on September 14, 1996, and has just entered Belleville yard with three other units, 5305-9545-9401-GTW 5921:
Same class, new paint scheme.  Repainted in the CNNA scheme and sublettered GTW, 5900 and 3501 pull a westbound freight at Mi 180 Kingston Sub on January 18, 1997:
Near Mi 179 Kingston Sub, elephant-style 9471-2338-GTW 5916-2115 are eastbound on March 9, 1997. At this point, M-636 2338 has been un-re-retired and is still earning its keep:
Also near Mi 178, 'Delivered With Pride' Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific 5909 trails 9656 and leads Conrail 6449 on CN train No 335 on March 28, 1998:
Buffalo- and Chicago-bound trains were often assigned US power.  Class unit 5600 leads conrail 6709-6228 in an eye-catching power consist at Belleville on a cloudy April 8, 1996:
CR SD50 6709 and Conrail Quality C40-8W 6228 photographed from Belleville's station platform:
Also at Belleville - three units, three owners, two builders, one train.  CN No 395 on March 27, 1997 enters the yard westbound behind 5678-CR 6453-NS 8082
Another NS C30-7, 8013 is behind 5641-9628 westbound on May 18, 1997:
An 85-car train No 368 has eclectic power consist.  Forget the first unit - look what's trailing 5606.  CNNA GTW-sublettered GP40-2 6423 with thick CN wet-noodle logo-GMD1 1422-Conrail C39-8 6016:
In the next post, I'll include more power consists from this interesting time...

Running extra...

Had a listen to Bruce Catton's American Heritage History of the Civil War.  Having read this book years ago, I was interested to re-learn that while the best-known first shots of the war may have been at Fort Sumter, there were earlier killings of civilians opposed to a government land-grants-to-railways plan aimed at settling the west.  These shots were fired by Union soldiers, giving rise to the 'civil' war moniker.

Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in Halifax.  No, not the U.S. President, the steam engine named for him. Many photos of the move here.  A classic photo of DDE with US paratroopers before D-Day.

I thought it was DDE who said the following quote: "It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit."  But it was actually English novelist Charles Edward Montague, and the quote was later popularized by Harry S Truman.  But I'll take credit for sharing it here, and I use the quote often.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Symington Yard Incidents

I posted Symington Yard Part 1 and Symington Yard Part 2 in January 2011.  In February, I received an unexpected and hauntingly cryptic comment from 'Anonymous':

"Saved some lives as the bottom of the A-side hump retarder back in '87.  Wouldn't do it again.  If the same event would have played out again, I would have grabbed Bryan and jumped, and left the rest.  The only one worth saving.  Unreported incident but the boys involved will remember.  Note...not the McLean fiasco that killed Brent Armbruster, Rest in Peace Brother.  That incident was very nearby, but at the top of the A-side group retarder."

Little did I know that in my files I had original newspaper coverage of the incident (above). On June 7,1987 an auxiliary crane was being used to replace a master retarder.  The retarder sits too high above ground for the outriggers of the auxiliary to reach the ground, so the crane was unsupported.  The unstable crane toppled over when the retarder was being lifted, with its boom landing on a CN pickup truck.  The ensuing coroner's inquest found CN at fault for safety violations.  The news photo shows the roof and striped boom of the crane, a CN worker crouched atop the crane body, and the crushed truck.

On December 15, 1983 a trimmer set of locomotives, 214-262 was pulling eight grain loads over the hump from the yard bowl for re-humping.  After cresting the hump, the units' brakes failed, causing a runaway, colliding with the B-side hump set under the Trans-Canada Highway overpass.  Deflected into the abutment, 214's engineer was killed instantly.  


On February 2, 1990, eleven cars comprising tank cars and autoracks jack-knifed at the bottom of the hump (above).  Here's hump set 209-261-260-214 at the same location as the above photo, under the Trans-Canada in 1982:
These incidents show that while a hump yard is a very efficient design for classifying cars, it has inherent dangers to those working the hump.

Running extra...

The BBC aired a four-season series in the 1970's called the Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club,  a reference to carmen and trainmen.  I suppose a North American version could have been called the Carknockers and Yard Apes Social Club, or something similar.

London's Olympic Games are wrapping up.  Here are ten suggestions I jotted down to spice up some of the stultifyingly boring, non-TV-friendly events I watched:
1. At the pool: swim in circles.  This back-and-forth, end-to-end stuff has got to go.  No need for the swimmers to perfect their turns.  Have crossover section each lap.
2. Shotput. Create explosive target areas on the field that throwers try to hit.  Much more skill, much more exciting.
3. Javelin-catchers.  On second thought, forget that one...way too dangerous.
4. Beach volleyball.  Have cheerleaders and sell beer.  IOC already accepted my suggestion on that one.  CHECK!
5. Gymnastics: vault.  Replace mats with a ball pit.  No need to 'stick the landing'.  Way more fun.
6. Fencing. What's with all the masks and padding?  They'd move a lot faster if it was gone.
7. Relay races. Passing a baton way too easy.  Replace with 10-pound bag of potatoes.  There's a race.
8. Indoor cycling. Bring back a spoked rear wheel, attach a hockey card with clothespin. Noisy!
9. Medal ceremonies:  Give the gold medal winner a microphone for a shout-out to the folks at home or short rap number if they prefer and have the talent.
10. Opening ceremonies: edit to 30 minutes max.  Light the freakin' flame and get on with it.  Closing ceremonies: It's over people. Extinguish and exit.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Postscript: Fourth Anniversary Contest

And we have a winner! Congratulations to Jakob Mueller, the winner of Trackside Treasure's fourth anniversary contest.  He will soon be receiving the Trackside Treasure prize pack, full of unique railway items (no, not that air hose I have in the garage - maybe for next year's contest). Jakob's entry was the first correct response received.  He creatively started with the MacArthur Park clue then worked in reverse to effectively and exactly execute the elucidation the expected car names.  

Honourable mentions:  
My sister even solved it!  She also cued on the cake reference, Googling Donna Summer, ending up on a hobby shop page listing of Rapido Trains E-series cars.  Both she and Jakob enjoyed, but were not fooled by the red herring sleeper names.  Just for the record, there was definitely no car named 'Eltonjohn'.  Ian Lisakowski also guessed correctly. Kelly Corbett relied on the internet, no Trackside Guide required and came up with the correct response.  

Thanks to everyone for your replies.  You get an 'E' for Effort, Extreme Efficiency, Efficaciousness and Exemplary Exactitude. Excellent!  Also, thanks for all the comments and good wishes on Trackside Treasure's fourth!  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Trackside Treasure Fourth Anniversary

Four years ago, I fired up the scanner, dug out some photos and notes, and set up a tiny corner office in the cyberspace skyscraper. I called it Trackside Treasure.  While it's fun to facetiously throw around terms like Trackside Treasure Global Headquarters, the total workforce and workspace has not changed...me and a laptop.  What has changed is the community that seems to have developed here.

I'm very wary of statistics.  Having said that, pageviews total 158,000+ in Blogger's stats page, with 31 entries posted in 2012.  While the pageview graph doesn't exactly peak like the Matterhorn, it does resemble the foothills of the Rockies or perhaps the hogsback profile of parts of CN's Kingston Sub.  Readership is a two-thirds majority Canadian contingent, a large American audience, surprisingly strong (g'day mate !) Australian attendance, then Europe does the rest.  This blog has also given me a springboard to another blog featuring both my current book on VIA Rail and an upcoming second volume. (Working title is Trackside with VIA...Viapalooza. I sure hope I come up with something better!)

Thank you...to everyone who comments.  A blog without comments is like a tree with no leaves; it exists but it doesn't show signs of life or growth.  Thank you...to everyone who reads, even once in awhile.  I hope you find something that interests you.  Thank you...to everyone who's learned something, me included.  This exercise continues to be educational for me, and as the old saying goes, 'The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.'  Thank you...to everyone who makes it fun and takes the information seriously, but not ourselves too seriously.

Thanks also go to my blog partners, featured in my sidebar: Adam, Chris L., Chris M., Chris V., Dave, Jason C., Jason S., John, Matt, Robert, Scott and Steve, and TOTW.  You guys provide me with my daily scan of the prototype railroading and model railroading worlds, interesting reads, captivating photos and video, truly a panoply of topics unparallelled in the blogosphere.  

Now for our anniversary tradition...the Trackside Treasure anniversary contest.  This year, in honour of my Youtube ID, it's all about CN/VIA's E-series. (Top photo - Ernestown passes through Portage la Prairie, Manitoba after I disembarked from Roomette 8 in Winnipeg in August, 1981. Porter and passengers enjoy a vestibule view of Portage.)  I've rounded up some potential names of these VIAiconic eight duplex roomette-four double bedroom-four section sleepers for you to sort through.  Now here's the catch, before you rush to your Canadian Trackside Guides, copies of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years, or your handheld Google-boxes.  Only four of the names are real.  The others I stole or dreamed up after one too many cups of coffee.  Here's how it works:

1. Find the four real E-series names. But wait a minute - what is this, some kind of church basement cake raffle?  We need a skill-testing element here.

2. Once you  find the four real ones, arrange them so that...the last letter of each, when arranged in the correct order, forms a word.  What kind of word? Well, it's a four-letter word associated with a celebration like a birthday, anniversary or...something someone left out in the rain...and I'll never have that recipe again.

3. Either by email to mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca, or as a comment at the end of this post, simply include this four-letter word, along with your four correct E-series names. The first reader to send all four correct names and the celebration four-letter word WINS!

Good luck!  Bonne chance! The winner will receive the occasionally-coveted Trackside Treasure Prize Pack, a closely-guarded secret assemblage of stuff I hope you'll like.  Now, here are the aforementioned potential sleeper names, all brought to you by the letter E and the numbers 8-4-4:

Echo, Enderby, Escuminac, Eston, Ecum Secum, Eden, Ethel, Eastville, Endive, Electra, Eagle Pass, Elderbank, Elderberry, Erindale, Entrance, Eganville, Evergreen, Eatonia, Ebenezer, Enrique Iglesias, Erin Mills, Eastvale, Etobicoke, Edith Cavell, Ectopic, Edmund Fitzgerald, Edna, Edwardian, Entre Nous, Emmental, Elkhorn, Euphonium, Erudite, Econo Lodge, Eau Claire, Ebrillade, Elmwood, Escapade, Exploits River, English River, Eltonjohn, Endrico, Eustachian, Edmont, Eagle River, Evansburg, Excelsis, Engelbert, Eureka!