Saturday, December 30, 2017

Wrapping up 2017 at the Station

It was so cold that I'd plugged in the cat, and brought in the car. The brass monkey had been brought inside. The cold was putting a shiver in my liver. A freeze in my knees. My toes were froze. But there I was, trackside at Kingston. I was on a mission that was non-weather-dependent. Upon arrival, the first of many late-running VIA trains was just slipping out of the station. VIA No 40, due 1250, dep 1345 with CANADA 150-wrapped 912 on the tail-end (above).
A lull ensued. Had No 53 been on time at 1339, there would have been no lull. It finally arrived at 1425: 904C-3472-3329C-3370-3300R-3301R. I visited with Matt Tolton, who had travelled all the way from Manitoba to Belleville to visit family, then travelled down to Kingston. We headed over to the 'sunny side' of the station, staying out of the weather in the Track 2 shelter. An eastbound CN freight rolled through at 1430 behind 2293-2180. A windblown wintry snowstorm ensued as the freight consist dragged days' worth of snowflakes down the platform at 50 per:
No 65 due 1349 arrived at 1435: 6455-8621-3464-3459-3366C-3314R-3362R-3333-3369. (As always, the R suffix means Renaissance and C means CANADA 150. Interestingly, 3366 has lost its CANADA 150 banner and it seems the large yellow VIA and station city names will remain for VIA's "40th anniversary".
The slowly setting sun shimmered silvery sinews of sunlight across the side of 6455. It was time to switch to retro black & white. Record cold on this date, so The Weather Network told us.
 Yep, this was Canada alright.
As No 65 pulled out, I tried vainly to capture the CANADA 150-less wrap (third LRC car below). You'll just have to use your imagination, humble Trackside Treasure reader. The good news is an upcoming article in the Bytown Railway Society Branchline to which I was happy to contribute, especially since parts of the wraps are starting to disappear.
Gotta work a snowbank into a photo somewhere. The late arrival of No 64, due at 1402, arrived 1503, seemed to be a good time to do so with 919C-8612-4009-3465-3335-3315R-3304R-3305R-3348R. VIA was definitely adding cars to consists to handle heavy holiday traffic.
 A little 'selective colour setting' to highlight the soon-to-disappear banners:
 Then it was time for some more glint:
 Ex-CP baggage with HEP2 club car:
VIA No 42 (due 1433, arr 1513) 917C-4001-4002-4107-8107-4121-8104 took on passengers as VIA No 47 (due 1446, arr 1517) changed tracks and arrived on the north track with 906C-3345R-3327R-3371-3316C-3473-902:
A Canadian tradition. Amazing how much blowing snow find a home in the vestibule steps. A better shot would have included swept snow hitting the ballast. Oh well, you get the drift:
The head end of VIA No 47, as setting sun removed whatever warmth it added to the ambient air, showing salient shadows of patient platform photographers.
Who says all VIA trains look alike? Check out the details. The ice covers the slanted nose of VIA 906 on No 47 (above), but only the vertical portion of VIA 904 on the earlier No 53:
It was great to meet Matt, and he kindly sent some photos of our visit to the station. 
Me and VIA No 53: 
And VIA No 64:

Engaging in some CANADA 150 selfies (above) we agreed it was time to wrap up our time trackside and head our separate ways. For someone who travelled 1500 miles to be here, it was much less of a challenge for me to head two miles timetable west to warm up!

Running extra...

What I did on my Christmas vacation: I hauled out the scanner and digitized 700-some prints of western Trains and Grains from 1976 to 1986. This was in preparation for the next stage of my fall & winter project. Can you say photo-editing? I knew that you could. Daunting but incredibly rewarding and I look forward to finally sharing these images. Not ruling out further Trackside Treasure posts on my travels, as I'd always intended, but it's also good to get these images on paper and this book project is looking like the perfect way to do just that. it's Laura, SK, it's 1986:

Hoping all Trackside Treasure readers will have an eternally optimistic 2018! 
I'm looking forward to this blog's tenth anniversary --Eric

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Kott Lumber Derailment

June 21, 1984:  The switch to the Kott Lumber spur at Mi 8.1 of CN's Smiths Falls Sub on Moodie Drive in Nepean was left open, with eastbound VIA train No 46's locomotive and four cars colliding with two bulkhead flatcars and one boxcar at 2245 hours on the Kott property. The VIA cars remained upright but derailed, and sixty metres of track was destroyed.

If the cars had not been on the spur, it's likely that the train could have ended up in the Jock River. Damage to the train was estimated at $2.25 million. VIA train No 43 was bustituted, with VIA trains rerouted over CP via Carleton Place until June 24. LRC locomotive 6910 was sent to CN's Moncton shops for repairs in September, 1984. The locomotive was released from body repairs at Moncton in June, 1985. The unit was deadheaded to Montreal's Pointe Ste Charles shops deadhead on June 10 on VIA train No 15 for mechanical repairs, returned to service in October, 1985.

A 19 year-old man was jailed for two years less a day, with a further three years' probation. The man was seeking revenge on the lumber company for previously firing him. The derailment may have led to new rules for operating high-speed trains operating in non-signalled territory, and equipping mainline switches with high-security safety padlocks, not just switchlocks.

A quick photo (top) of the Kott Lumber spur, taken from our Renaissance car returning to Kingston in September, 2011. At speed! Check out blog partner Michael Hammond's post on the train that now serves Kott, and his first encounter which shows the spur sans foliage.

Running extra...

Michael's blog, The Beachburg Sub, explores all angles (and remnants) of Ottawa-area railroading, and beyond! Be sure to stop by and check out Michael's latest, as well as some looks forward to 2018 and glances over the shoulder at 2017 from my other blog partners.
We're keeping the Christmas lights on, but having just turned the corner from Christmas, we're now heading for the New Year! Of course that leads me to thoughts of my fall and winter project, Trains and Grains. Hoping to get some work done during a few days off. It's not really work, it's more like fun. Fun work?

Reading a non-train book Christmas Eve (well, there is a Burlington Route shovel-nosed Zephyr under the tree) to the kids under the Snowman Tree. Whenever I ask the kids whether they've read the latest here on Trackside Treasure, they register a look of diffident disinterest. We all know that genetic exposure is much more powerful than environmental exposure!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

Well, it's that time of year,
Christmas time is here,
Snowy scenes and festive themes
And airhorns in the air.

For some reason, I can't stop writing in the form of Christmas songs. Must be the chestnuts roasting on an open fire, every Christmas card I write, busy sidewalks....oh, there I go again. Anyway, here at Trackside Treasure, it's always great to sit down with a warm or cold beverage and check out my blog partners and benefit from their blogging prowess, each from his own unique viewpoint. But allow me to digress into a Christmas song - to pass along Season's Greetings to Trackside Treasure's readers - this one sung to the tune of 'It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas':

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere I blog,
Take a look at the Christmas tree, speaking prepositionally,
Upon the fire it's time to throw on another log!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Train books on every shelf,
But the prettiest sight you'll see is the one under your tree,
From Santa (or his elf).

Canadian bloggers:
Steve, John and Chris, Dave, Michael and George and Marc et Matthieu, a vous!
From south of the border there's Bernard and Edd and they're most welcome, too!
And I for one, can hardly wait, till they all publish anew.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Every time I blog,
There's a modeller here and there, though prototype material's fair,
I find X2F's are always a tough slog.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon, crossing bells will ring.
And the thing that will give you pleasure, is the reading these blogs bring,
Here on Trackside Treasure.

And, if you're as indecisive as I am (or wait a minute, am I?) and can't choose just one greeting, for those who wish to 'elevate' the discussion, here's an alternate, cool Christmas greeting based on an A.M. Gagnon photo:
Normally, you'd be reading the Running Extra section here. That's material that comes to mind each time I post - sometimes related, sometimes completely unrelated to the post. This Christmas season, I'm including the rail-themed Christmas greetings I receive from fellow bloggers and other online well-wishers. Enjoy!
Photo sharer Mark Forseille, Port Coquitlam, BC snapped CP's Holiday Train (above) and Edd Fuller of The Trackside Photographer blog's wintry tower scene (below):
Ken McCutcheon is getting the drift!
Randy O'Brien's base of I definitely recognize:
Paul Charland RDC headlight...deep and crisp and even:
Trackside Treasure blog partner Bernard Kempinski:
Bob Boudreau...wintry:
 Rapido Trains:
Steve Boyko, at the crossroads of two years:
 Cheryl Stromsmoe at snowy station:
 Dashing through the show...Ray Farand: 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Kingston-Toronto Return Trip, December 2017

This past week was NOT my first trip to Toronto aboard VIA Rail. So what made it different from the others? Well, there were a few differences. The first difference was that most of the trip was made in darkness: to Toronto on VIA No 651 departing at an eye-rubbing 0532 returning to Kingston on nocturnal VIA No 48. Only a few days from the winter solstice, this was not surprising. A recent move by VIA to delay scheduled departure by a few minutes met with commuter rebellion followed by a reinstatement. My trip was the second back-to-normal-schedule run:
Once in Toronto, a stroll on Dundas Street brought a TTC line truck into focus (top photo). With a platform to make line maintenance easier, the tiny TTC logo on the cab door took a sharp eye to discern!
A second difference - there were more TTC photos than VIA photos taken - likely because most of the trip both ways was in darkness! The sidewalk drummer (Peter Richards) was working his magic (video capture - above) as a CLRV passed through the Dundas-Yonge intersection. This guy rocked, and you can hear his work among the video links (see below). You've always got time for Tim Hortons, and fortunately, so did I. I stopped in to this wayside cafe on King Street to sample an apple fritter and a cup of 'joe'. The streetside seat gave me a good view of the various routes that passed by on King, using CLRV's and Bombardier Flexity Outlooks:
Once the largest hotel in the British Empire, the Royal York still occupies its commanding place of honour across from Toronto Union Station. The slowly setting sun shimmered spectacularly in gleaming golden grandeur:
The day was as cold as a Bay Street banker's heart. My time on the Skywalk outdoor-trainwatching spot decidedly favoured the rarefied, recirculated, heated Toronto air inside. As traffic copters whirred overhead and Porter flights departed Billy Bishop airport, GO humbly conveyed passengers to the 'city sidewalks, busy sidewalks' to the sound of e-bells if not Silver Bells!
Selective colour version:
These two ever-green coach colours could be balsam and pine. They really spruce up the Metrolinx scheme! And that's my pitch to you fir now, humble reader.
Have a very cab-car Christmas! Third difference - I did see a 200-series cab-car actually serving in train-end cab-car service! Just not this one, 363:
Heat waves shimmer the obligatory VIA photo for this post as GO 617 leads the Lakeshore West (soon to become Lakeshore East) consist toward Toronto Union:
Fourth difference - train 48's Business Class passengers boarded after Economy Class, due to the consist being ready 30 minutes after the advertised. Or, as I muttered Matthew-like to a fellow Businesser, 'the last shall come first and the first shall come last'.  Numerous earlier consternated questions to the lounge attendant could have been averted with one audio update as departure time neared. Not only that, but many passengers barely got their coats stowed in the overhead luggage compartments before we felt the tug on the coupler. We were off! OK, one more VIA photo, pre-departure,  should do it as VIA 913 shelters under the trainshed:
VIA No 651's morning consist: 912-3342-3303-3302-3352 CANADA 150-3471-6427. This was the first time that Business Class breakfast had been offered, now that 651 includes its Business Class car actually in Business Class service. Breakfast burrito or fruit plate with Green yogourt and cereal? Copious coffee and over-flowing OJ (at speed!) Switch heater troubles at Cobourg and Newtonville contributed to a 35-minute late arrival. VIA No 48 was 905 CANADA 150-4005-4113-4117-4116. Silver and gold, silver and gold. And green!
And the view back toward the trainshed in'Condo Canyon' as UP Express, VIA and GO make their way in and out of town:
Fifth difference - I had a nap in a quiet corner the Business Class lounge. It was that pre-dawn departure catching up to me. I picked up some VIA swag after my stolen somnolence. Returning some emails, it just felt 'right' to be writing while waiting. Sixth difference - I finally got a photo of this clock near the komplimentary komputer kiosk:
Seventh difference - due to the quick turnaround in Toronto, Business Class was short on meals. Ottawa-bound passengers were surveyed by the car attendant about a later meal time, "Would Swiss Chalet be alright for your supper? We will bring the meals onboard at Kingston." And no-one declined! When I disembarked at Kingston, there was the VIA snowbound staffer with plastic bags full of takeout chicken!

Video links:
Running extra...

It's not rocket surgery. Christmas in New York means one thing - the Rockettes. Here are some fun Rockette facts:
  • the Rockettes do not 'support' each other in the kick line. This would cause leaning.
  • their quickest costume change is a mere 78 seconds. I can't even decide on a pair or socks in that time.
  • one Rockette takes an ice bath after each performance to reduce inflammation. That's 7.2 degrees Celsius.
  • unlike Riverdance, the Rockettes' tap-dancing sounds are real. Wireless microphones are hidden in their shoes.
Thatsa tree: