Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Starting year six with 589

It just goes to show you that there's no substitute for your being observant. When it comes to the famous Arnprior Turn, you really have to track it week to week and try to find trends, if you want to catch it. You've likely read in this blog before that there is no trackside signal to watch, no scanner to listen to. You just have to know when CN's 589 makes its way over the Beachburg Sub and Renfrew Spur as it services Nylene Canada in Arnprior each Wednesday.

In February and March, I noticed many times on my walk home from the bus that I would hear 589 blowing its horn as it crossed Corkstown Road. I live fairly close to that crossing, but it's easy to notice this horn as the sound carries a great distance. And it is decidedly different from the Via trains I hear on the Smiths Falls Sub, which is farther from where I live..

In early April, I made mental note that 589 was passing through my neighbourhood around 4:10 p.m. to about 4:20 p.m. for several weeks in a row. One day after work, I was home early so I decided to see if my observations would pay off. I camped out near a massive snow bank near Northside Road in Bells Corners to maybe catch this train.

Turns out, I was right. I heard the train's horn around 4:10, but had to wait another five minutes before the train trundled its way over the Robertson Road flyover before strutting past my vantage point. I hopped onto the nearby seven-foot high snowbank (now long gone) and clicked away.

No leased power in Ottawa! Just the standard tired old geeps that work the Ottawa jobs, in this case 4708 with the old safety scheme. And I'm not sure why the cars and SUVs were parked like this in the lot.

Given the unchecked growth near the tracks, these shots will not be possible once the green takes hold and blocks much of the view.

Look at those sad old telegraph poles. I'm surprised they have lasted this long. Many have been knocked down trackside or taken down by weeds and the elements.

There's a reason I don't set up at this spot often. Way too many visual hazards, but in this case, I only had time to make it here. Beggars can't be choosers.

Those who know this part of the city know that the train in this last shot is crossing over Highway 416, which is located well below Northside Road.

Alas, the Arnprior train has shifted its times since I caught it in early April. I tried to get out there to catch it at the same time the following week, but had no luck. Such is the life of an Ottawa railfan, I guess.


Patrice said...

I accidentally caught 589 on Friday April 27th on the Beechburg as it was going over Moodie at 10:08 am. As I was not expecting it, I pulled over on Timm to try and get a picture, I was not able to make out the engine number except for the fact that it was a 9000 series. Here's the (lousy) picture. It's the first time I've manage to catch it. I did not think 589 travelled down the Beechburg sub on a Friday. Is this a one-time event?

Keep up the great work!

Michael said...

Thanks Patrice. Your accidental meet with this train doesn't surprise me. Another railfan caught it on a Thursday, with some lumber cars attached. CN only has two freights operating in west Ottawa, one that goes down the Smiths Falls Sub and the Arnprior local. Anything is possible. CN's operations in Ottawa are anything but predictable.

Kevin from Windsor said...

Is there any freight traffic on the VIA line between Ottawa and Montreal via Alexandria? Or has that line gone passenger only? What about the CP line in Gatineau on the north side of the Ottawa River, the one that also goes to Montreal (or at least used to)? I caught a glimpse of those tracks last July and they seemed to be in pretty good shape. If they haven't been abandoned, they must be used for something.

Michael said...

Hey Kevin -- To answer your questions, there is still spotty freight traffic on the Alexandria Sub, as CN uses these tracks to access the CN yard in Coteau, where pretty much all local freight cars used in the region either are picked up or dropped off. The tracks you saw in Gatineau are no longer CP, but were most likely Quebec-Gatineau Railway tracks, as this Genesee & Wyoming owned shortline has been operating over the old CP Lachute Sub for many years. It's a small presence in Gatineau, but it's better than nothing.