So, with another piece of Ottawa's rail network gone, I thought I'd share some photos of these rails in their final days alongside what the scene is like today. This, below, was the remnant of the Carleton Place spur on New Year's Day 2015. Even then, its days appeared numbered.
And this is the scene now. The line that once turned away from Beachburg has been cleared. Walking along the right-of-way (not on it), there were piles of rails, tie plates, spikes and other scraps littered around.
Here's one last look at Bells Junction and the long-since disconnected signaling equipment that once served a transcontinental rail line. This junction was created in 1966 as part of a scheme to tear up a large portion of the rail network from Ottawa, as part of a beautification scheme. The CP Carleton Place Subdivision used to pass beneath the Beachburg Subdivision a little further west of this junction (you can read about the history of this junction here). The CP line, which once wended its way through a number of west-end Ottawa neighbourhoods and farm fields, was ripped up all the way to Bells Corners, where CP built a turnout off of Beachburg. This shared trackage arrangement lasted until 1990 when the last of Via Rail's Canadians used the Carleton Place Subdivision. The Canadian's route was then changed and the subdivision was torn up, since CP had ceased all freight operations on the line before 1990.
Here's a shot below of some rails on their way out of Ottawa. This has been a familiar site for me in the last year or so. It's a shame to see this spur go, but it really served no purpose once it was no longer used for car storage. I was surprised that CN stored cars at all, since half of Walkley Yard is empty at any given time (this is the former CP side of the yard), making it a much better site for storage.
This photo below was taken during one of the first expeditions I took when I started this blog in April 2013. These are the last cars that were stored on the line in May 2013. Shortly after I took this photograph, the cars were removed. I recall that, around 2012, CN also stored a row of flat cars on this line for some reason.
Here's an interesting shot from the past, when Bells Corners was beginning to develop close to the tracks. Here a CP passenger train branches off Beachburg on its way west over the Carleton Place Sub to Carleton Place in 1973. Given the length of the consist, I can only speculate that it might be the Canadian.
Canada Science and Technology Museum image
So, this area will soon take on a different look. With this spur gone, there will be almost no spurs left on the Beachburg Subdivision and Renfrew Spur. Some spur trackage remains around Carp but, other than that, the line is pretty much a straight shot out to Arnprior now, with no junctions or spurs. I can't help but think we are in the final days of freight trains in Ottawa's west end. I can only hope, as a rail fan, that Nylene Canada continues to thrive and make use of rail service for years to come. Because it really is the last customer left standing for Ottawa's rail fans in the west end.