Thursday, May 28, 2015

Springtime at Napanee West

Last Friday night, I wrote my Bucket List. Number One on the list was to go railfanning on the Belleville Road overpass over the CN Kingston Sub at Mi 199.5 and not wanting to procrastinate, I decided to fulfill this Bucket List item the next morning. Setting the alarm for 0430 after lining up my kit: handheld tape recorder for data, scanner (batteries soon died), camera (batteries lived), cold-weather clothing and bug spray.
That last item would not be needed. The day dawned clear but cold...minus 2 Celsius! Frost on the roof. The Tim Hortons drive-thru in Collins Bay had no Timbits yet. This happens to be the world's slowest drive-thru. Driven to surmont this setback, I asked for a half-dozen donuts. For the medically-minded, I would administer these q1h. Parking nearby, I walked in to the overpass, which overlooks a straightaway that starts just west of Napanee station and curves southwest after the start of triple-tracks 1, 2 and 3. At 0513, a CN intermodal darted through the darkness, 20 minutes before sunrise, with 8841 and 2100 leading double-stacks.
Old gantry, new signals. Looking east from the south (above) and north (below) the recently-removed lead to the Smiths Falls Sub is at left. Most recently this served the Strathcona Paper plant as well as Napanee's Goodyear plant. CN eschews mainline switches and industrial trackage it can't maintain and use, so this segment had to go. The overpass looms above:
Lull. Then at 0628, CN No 373 energetically emerged from the east. Led by 2313-2452, the train comprised lumber, tanks and even two Lantic cylindrical covered hopper cars - LATX 7035-7006.
As the units pass the crossover switches, they're about to jog right to occupy Track 3, ready to enter Belleville yard. Axle count on the Mile 202 detector 484. Temperature -2.
Those new signals frame VIA No 655 assiduously approaching after its Napanee station stop at 0708. VIA 910 leads HEP2 coaches 4006-4110-4119-4108 toward Toronto. Can you see why I wanted to railfan this spot?
Reminds me of Tuscany. Never been to Tuscany. The former Nabisco plant looms in the distance.
Tuscany? How about Trenton and Toronto?
On 655's block was CN No 371 with 5751-2316. All auto racks, all the time. Axle count 448, temperature 3 C. Napanee's dairy farm-laced shopping district is on the horizon past the extra-tall telegraph poles.
Scroll down two photos to see my photo-editing of that visually-distracting S&C cabinet right outta there!
G is for Gantry. G is for Graffiti.
At 0803, CN No 368 rounds the curve to the west. 
The train's locomotives returned west the next day as 369. Spot the scrap yard and railfan ride?
2877 leads Pan Am boxes, DPU 2812, empty cent-beam bulkhead flat cars, TBOX boxcars and ingot cars CN 618185, HPJX 52238, 52397 and 52228. Axle count 668, temperature 6 C.
Surprise! VIA No 50/60 surreptitiously scoops me at 0845 with 905 leading 4 HEP2 cars, 6432 and 3 LRC cars.
At ground level, VIA No 641 zappily zips west with 10-dollar bill unit 6459 dragging 3458-3310-3332-3318 at 0900.
South service track in foreground:
About to drop to the south track, the middle aspect of the right-hand signal appears to be missing but is just flashing green.
Looking west at Mileage, well, you know.
Recently dormant trackage at the former CN Millhaven Spur has come alive with stored tank cars loaded with UN1267 oil like CTCX 718393, and UN1075 propane like PROX 35410, SHQX 5135 and GATX 201573. In every conceivable spot. Lake Ontario glistens in the distance.
Along James Snow Drive, filling the former glycol tracks:
And tucked in behind, in a place only a telephoto lens can see, is OBRY 1000, now unused and photographed from Taylor-Kidd Boulevard:
Upon my return to Kingston, CN No 305 was passing under the Bayridge Drive overpass. Led by 8939, Irving lumber, propane tanks and some UN1267 oil tanks like TILX 255642, CTCX 726222 and TGIX 155011.
DPU 8947 leads...
enclosed auto racks TTUX 891157, 891187 and...
fifty shades of auto racks on the tail end.

Running extra...

VIApardy. Please phrase your answer in the form of a question. Part of my upcoming presentation for the OVAR June meeting, in the nation's capital! Looking forward to it!
Global TV's Big Brother Canada just wrapped. Good try, Godfrey! A train-themed "comp" included a G-scale layout! CBS's Big Brother debuts June 24. HoH, POV...these guys have more abbreviations than...railfans. LOL.


Steve Boyko said...

It looks like you had a great morning at Napanee West! Great photos... love the signal gantry in many of the photos.

Michael said...

I always learn something reading your posts. I will now refer to signal towers as "gantry." Great shots.

Adam C said...

Great entry! RIP Tristan, the young fella that was killed where the cross and wreath hang. He was a few years younger than I am, but we went to the same high school.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments: Steve, Michael and Adam. Gantries, bridges, towers - there are a lot of new and old ones on the Kingston Sub, especially new ones with the advent of triple-tracked sections. Then there's the novel, Elmer Ganty - that's another story...

As much as CN tries to prevent trespassing incidents, the same reason I like my stretch of the Kingston Sub is the same reaason these incidents happen - no fences, no respect for the few fences that exist, and a young population moving to high school and down/across the tracks to get where they want to go. Oh, and High Speed Trains. Not a good mix.

This post, though ripped from the front page of recent events, makes me feel the need to wallow in nostalgia, following my fix of 'now' with a healthy dose of 'then'. Should be a retro post coming up soon!


Adam C said...

I absolutely LOVE Now and Then type blog entries from you. It helps someone my age (32), understand the way the rails were through the area before my time. Kingston seems to pride themselves on heritage, but yet bury anything to do with the industry that was once here.

Eric said...

Thanks very much for your kind comments, Adam. I trust you're checking out the Kingston Rail-Served Industries links in the sidebar.

Kingston? Don't let the heritage label fool you - it's where good ideas come to die. We had more industy here than we'll ever have again. The harbour was busy, locomotives were being built and agriculture, aluminum and transportation industries were being served.

If Trackside Treasure can do in some small part what the rest of Kingston's historical myopia does not do, that is preserve something from the past, by golly we'll do it! Thanks for being along for the ride!

Jason Sailer said...

Another great post Eric! Love the shots with the gantry, as well as the different mix of trains. The one photo showing the rusty colored ties was neat!

Eric said...

It was my big excursion for the spring. Just received word that my nephew, just north of Kingston, went out at the same time one week later to go wild turkey hunting. Came across two black bears. I'm glad all I found was some awesome trains!
Thanks for your comment, Jason.