Friday, October 28, 2016

Some cool random sightings in Sarnia

Picking up from last week's post about my recent trip to Sarnia, I thought I'd share some random photos from the trip. I really tried to look for some different photos and I was rewarded with no shortage of rarities and special sights over the course of the weekend. The first shot isn't all that rare, but I have to say it's the first time I've seen two slugs hitched together in Sarnia Yard. Local railfans know all about these slugs, which are used to spread out the tractive effort of the yard engines, allowing them to more easily shunt around the yard with some big consists. Here we see two of the slugs connected to one of the GP9 yard engines.

This next one was hard to capture, but I'm glad I snagged it. This is what the Cabot Carbon plant in the Chemical Valley uses to move hopper cars around on the tracks within its plant. I don't know much about this machine, other than to note that it appears to be a Trackmobile 4150.

Those who watch the trains in Sarnia will recall that Cabot once had its own fleet of black covered hoppers with the Cabot logo on them. It was a common site to see these hoppers lined up on three tracks parallel to Vidal Street. The company appears now to use whatever cars it is provided by rail, judging by what I saw when we passed the plant. I should mention it has been this way for some time. The last time I saw a Cabot branded car was likely in the 1990s or early 2000s. I did see one minus the logo, which I shared in this post.

Cabot produces an elemental form of carbon, called carbon black. The products that come out of the plant vary in form, with some coming out like aggregates and some coming out as particles. The product is mainly used in tires as a way to strengthen the rubber. It also is useful for printer ink.  Outside of the trackmobile, Cabot's car movements are handled by short line VIP Rail, which you may recall from this post.

This shot made me laugh. I never noticed the slogan on these tank cars until I watched a tunnel train go by the station at close range. I decided it was too good to not photograph. Apparently, the Union Tank Car Company likes to be known as The Tank Car People. Simple and effective. Also, note the French graffiti, Oeuf. Not the best tagger brand I've seen.

This car caught my eye because of its green colour and that giant arrow on the right side of the car. I snapped a few shots and did a little research on these cars. They are lettered BKTY, which is an old reporting mark for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (The Katy), but the mark now belongs to the Union Pacific. You may have read recently on the Trackside Treasure blog Eric Gagnon's lament about the lack of variety in rolling stock these days, given that so many cars are owned by leasing companies. I share that lament, so I am trying to snap photos of as many interesting pieces of rolling stock as I can. When I was researching this car, I read a few comments on rail photo sites where railfans suggested this type of boxcar is very rare these days. Lucky me for catching it.

I was also happy to catch this Canadian Wheat Board cylindrical hopper. There were a few paint schemes applied to these cars, including the Canada wordmark scheme, the Government of Canada wheat sheaf scheme and this one. There were variations on all three schemes, but this is usually how I group them together. This was the first time I have caught this particular scheme. You can read more about these cars in this post, also from Trackside Treasure.

Final shot was a lucky shot. I was driving on the Highway 40 near Corunna when I passed the Nova Corunna refinery. I stuck my camera out the open passenger window and snapped a few shots blindly, since I had to watch the road. I was lucky enough to get this panorama shot of the refinery and the Nova SW switcher (left side of the photo in the middle). You can also see a line of white tank cars on a curved track heading into the refinery. This is just north of the wye that the company uses to interchange cars with CN's St. Clair River Industrial Spur, which is on the other side of the highway. You can read more about this refinery rail operation in this previous post.

I have a few other themed posts from this visit that I want to share, but I couldn't resist putting together this motley assortment of images and having a little fun.


Eric said...

Thanks for the shout-outs (Shouts-out, like Governors-General??) in this post, Michael. Hard to tell what that green BKTY boxcar used to be. Perhaps Berlin Mills Railway? Your post shows that cool and random can co-exist. I appreciate randomness as much as I do mundaneness, and I think it's a great idea to capture both.

Nothing can be more monochromatically mundane than carbon black cars. I too remember the hamburger-like Cabot logo, but I'm still amazed by the variety of car designs carrying that black stuff.

Nice post!

Michael said...

Thanks Eric. I really do think this year my blog could best be summed up by rolling stock. I really am starting to think inside the box, as it were, and capturing the other 99 per cent of the trains. Locomotives are always the star of the show, but the cars are pretty darn important too!