Friday, May 20, 2016

Postcard from Twin Elm

This is the third post in an occasional series that explores the stories behind standalone photos that would otherwise end up in the land of the misfit photographs. You can read the first in this series here, and the second in the series here.

Everything about this shot speaks of a time when railways were an altogether different animal. I took this photograph June 21, 2014 when I came up empty trying to capture CN's Sunday morning local on the Smiths Falls Subdivision. This car was spotted at the SynAgri feed mill in the rural four corners called Twin Elm.

The mill is located at the end of a dead-end road. It's typical of the trackside industries that are still common trackside, although many seem to be fading away. The building was not built for anything other to perform a function. The sun-bleached plywood annex behind this covered hopper speaks to the building's utility.

The hopper itself also speaks to another time. The car still bears its Soo Line logo and its markings, although the car is in danger of losing what's left of its identity thanks to taggers. In a way, this shot could have been taken twenty or even thirty years ago and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference, but for the graffiti.

The Twin Elm area is a small speck on the map, with an old school house, a paving company and a few farm houses. You can find this hamlet while travelling Old Richmond Road on the way to Richmond. You can see from the map below where the photo was taken.

CN still serves this mill, although I have yet to see CN 589 service this mill in the times I have caught CN 589. But on a sunny summer day, it's a good spot to snap a shot of something that is quickly fading from the railway landscape.


Anonymous said...

Do you read all the comments people have for you?

I have a few suggestions for pages - pictures of what former rights of way look like now and pictures of static cars and locomotives in the area that people can visit.

For example - the flanger at Juniper Fairways on the way to Smiths Falls and the Cornwall Street railway loco in Cornwall. There is a similar one in Ganonoque too.

David Haney said...

CN Train 589... Is this the same train # that runs east out of Walkley Yard weekday mornings ?
I recently saw a video of a CN train going to Hawkesbury and it was called CN Train 589.
Train 589 seems to go everywhere out of Ottawa.

Michael said...

Thanks for the comments, David and Anonymous. David, the trains out of Walkley Yard (to my knowledge) are 589 and 584. 589 runs three days a week, twice on the Smiths Falls Sub and once a week, Wednesday, on the Beachburg Sub and Renfrew Spur. The 584 train runs east to Hawkesbury and elsewhere. Of course, my info might be a bit out of date. They might have renumbered the eastbound local 589. Since CN operates only runs one train a day out of Walkley (only one locomotive is ever assigned to Ottawa), having one train number does simplify things.

And, to answer the first suggestion, I am working on some posts about former right-of-ways in the Ottawa area.