Monday, April 24, 2017

Hello again

Recently, I was able to shift my work hours around on a Wednesday, which allowed me to try and catch the ever elusive Arnprior local, CN 589. The Arnprior Turn, as many in the city call it, makes a weekly run of caprolactam out to Nylene Canada in Arnprior. The train departs Walkley Yard in the morning, waits for clearance from dispatch in Montreal to cross the Walkley Diamond and the Capital Railway Ellwood Subdivision in between O-Train trips. It then proceeds west toward Arnprior on the Beachburg Subdivision before proceeding on the Renfrew Spur past the old Nepean Junction.

In recent months, local rail watchers have said that 589 passes through Kanata at March Road around 9:30 a.m. A few told me they caught it at this time recently, so I figured I would set up at my favourite spot, the Trans-Canada Trail crossing near Corkstown Road. At around 9:30, I saw GP9 4139 rounding the corner from Bells Corners.


The sightlines along this stretch of Beachburg are better in the spring, since the trackside brush has yet to bloom. I took a few long shots of the train as it made its way to my spot.


As the train neared what CN calls the Cyclepath crossing, I backed up on the trail to reduce the wedge factor. It's very easy to get a bunch of wedge shots at this crossing, so I made a mental note to plan a wider shot so I backed up before the train even came into view.


I took a few shots of the train emerging from behind this brush, since I wanted to try and catch the train's reflection in the trackside ditches. Anyone who lives in this area knows we have been getting record rainfall over the last month. That makes for some photo opportunities trackside, since most of the tracks in the city are surrounded by water right now. Call it a glass-half-full take on a dreary stretch of weather.


This was my favourite shot. The old GP9, the scruffy trackside brush, a few hints of green and nary a shadow to contend with. For a train enthusiast in Ottawa, it doesn't get much better than this.


One final going away shot as 589 proceeds beneath the Queensway, or the 417. The tank cars were pretty standard GATX standard issue black, although the lead car appeared to be blue. I checked the number, UTLX 220919 and found that it belongs to the T096 class, which typically consist of white tanks with a centre black band. Some call it a saddle style tank car. It would make sense since this train often uses those types of saddle tank cars.

Anyway, that was my meet with 589. I am compiling a post of some of my favourite shots of this train, which still seems to be the favourite among local railfans. I can only imagine people from outside Ottawa rolling their eyes. Imagine looking forward to a single weekly train that usually consists of three to five cars.

That's the life of a railfan in Ottawa.

21 comments:

Steve Boyko said...

I like the second photo with the cattails (or whatever they are) to the right.

Your adventures catching the weekly train remind me of my time in train-less Fredericton NB... making the journey to McGivney, Moncton or down to Saint John to try to catch the one or two daily trains. You do what you gotta do!

DaveM said...

Hi,

I do agree that those looking from the outside would be perplexed by the fascination with a weekly three car train travelling at 5mph. But you must make do with what you have when you live in the West end.

Congrats on getting it at that location, I've always wanted to see it at that crossing.

DaveM

JodyM said...

My office looks out on the tracks near March Road and there's always a lot of excitement when CN 589 goes by on Wednesdays. (A few weeks ago it made its westbound trip at around noon on a Thursday, which was really out of character.) Today, however, I saw something really strange on the tracks: a "consist" of four or five gondola cars containing crushed gravel, being pushed by a truck with a flatbed and crane! This was a much larger truck (e.g. Ford L8000 with a crane) compared to the heavy duty Railterm pickups that we usually see doing maintenance. As it crossed March Road heading eastbound the truck blew its horn, which was definitely less impressive than a locomotive horn. I thought that this was the craziest thing ever until my coworker suggested that this was a maintenance team using the gravel and crane to repair washouts on the track bed. This seems as good an explanation as any, but it was definitely a surprising site. I wonder if anyone managed to snag a picture of it...

JaredNorman said...

Well, I know what I'm doing next Wednesday on my day off (I can easily bike there from Kanata too!)

Michael said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Steve - the shot you mentioned was framed intentionally. It's the type of shot I would not have set up years ago, but I'm learning to vary my shots, thanks to being able to learn from other railfans out there. I'm glad everyone watches this spur so closely. For the most part, 589 appears to travel on Wednesdays, but it is possible CN ran an extra to address track maintenance issues. Although, it should be mentioned that the Renfrew Spur is not technically a CN line. The tracks are owned by CN's customer, Nylene Canada, while the land beneath the rails is owned by the city. So any track maintenance would likely be a consideration for Nylene who would contract out the work.

_Don said...

In response to JodyM, today I was "trapped" at the March road crossing when the ballast "train" came through. It was a semi and three ballast hoppers. I did have my camera and got a few shots of it coming by. I'll post pictures somewhere soon and update here.

Michael said...

I'd love to see that, Don.

_Don said...

Here are the photos. Not the best, given I was pointing the camera out the car window. But you get the idea. The truck has a knuckle coupler and air hose for breaks. Something to model!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/40070323@N07/albums/72157680024363993

Andy said...

The truck looks like Cando Contracting and the ballast cars are SERSA Total Track Technologies. VIA has used ballast cars from them on the Alexandria sub before.

Michael said...

Cool photos, Don. The hoppers are indeed the same ones used by Via on both the Alexandria and Smiths Falls Subs. I have snagged them parked in Richmond and Smiths Falls before.

Eric said...

What a community of fans is springing up around this minimalist train!
Great to see.
Eric

C.Flat said...

Just noticed that Google caught the Arnprior local on streetview

https://www.google.ca/maps/@45.3311576,-75.8104481,3a,15y,70.67h,90.41t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJg46KpSeCKP-pWSVnEVH0A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Michael said...

I noticed that too! Well done, Google.

Patrice Carriere said...

Hi Micheal,

I just found your blog thanks to the hyperlink on Steve Boyko's site. And here I thought that I was the only train fan in this train desert called Ottawa! I'm glad to know that I am not alone. In my case, I try and go back to my hometown of Winnipeg as often as I can in order to get my trains spotting done. Too bad I can't go as often as I would like to do so.

Thanks for the info 589. I drive across the tracks at Bayfield and Carling on a weekly basis and recently noticed that they put a stop sign at the crossing and that the ballast seems to have been upgraded. Has the frequency of trains increased there?

Congratulations on the 4 years of the blog. Keep it up and I'll keep tuning in. Cheers,

Pat
Kanata, ON

Michael said...

Glad you found the blog, Pat. I try to find as much as I can here in Ottawa to blog about, but as you can imagine, it's tough. Hope to hear from you again!

Eric said...

Community = growing!!
Great stuff!
Eric

JaredNorman said...

I got really good footage of the train today while I was out biking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5-jsd3e7wE

Patrice Carriere said...

Well done Jared!

Michael said...

Two locomotives and five cars. That's got to be a record for 2017. Nice snag, Jared.

DeeEight said...

The train stops in Kanata at the Tim Hortons by the Lonestar/Metro on its way to Arnprior every week. Just have to wait there around 10am and it will come.

DeeEight said...

Incidently...I think I got a better shot of the Arnprior local...

http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/42427349