Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Hi everyone,

As you know, things are not normal in our world. They really aren't normal in Ottawa, where much of our city is still pretty much shut down. Since the beginning of this pandemic, my life has changed a great deal. I am now fully immersed in teaching my oldest daughter and getting her through the remainder of her school year. I am working from home full time as well. On top of that, my wife continues to work evenings, which has tended to fill my day with childcare and school.

On top of that, I have taken on a great deal of volunteer work with my community, mainly with my church. That has tended to take up a lot of time as well. The things I have learned in the last few months are amazing to me. I am livestreaming events, creating elaborate videos and doing a number of other things to keep people connected and hopeful. This work has occupied huge chunks of my day, but I do it with a smile as I take great pride in trying to do my little part in making the world a better place.

Finally, I am also still actively involved with an Internet radio station in producing a regular half-hour program. That takes up an incredible amount of time as well. The ratio means that one half hour of air time usually requires about four times as much prep time and editing. So, we're talking about several hours.

Obviously, I have not been able to do much trackside and I don't see this changing anytime soon. Ottawa is a railfan's nightmare at the best of times, so you can imagine what it's like now.

All this to say I don't want to continue producing a blog when I cannot give it my full attention. You people are smart and you can likely tell a good blog from a mediocre blog. I believe you deserve the best that I can give and I'm just not in a position to deliver quality material right now.

For these reasons, I am taking a hiatus from blogging to regroup, think of some new content, get some new pictures trackside, do some research and make a better go of things when the world allows me to do so.

Over the years, I have gotten a number of encouraging messages from fellow railfans who have told me how much they enjoy my efforts from this lonely railway outpost called Ottawa. Those messages have often kept my going when things got tough.

So thank you all. We'll see you soon, I hope!

Take care,

hammond.michael77 AT gmail DOT com


Steve Boyko said...

Hey Michael, totally understandable - you have a very busy life right now and blogging can wait. We'll see you on the other side.

Michael said...

Thanks, Steve. I will remain active as a visitor to other blogs! I'll still be around for sure.

Eric said...

It's all about priorities, Michael.
Thanks for all that you're doing.

Keith Boardman said...

Yep. You said it. Not much happening. The only thing I've seen on the Alexandria Sub recently was a moose. Figure it was a good catch LOL

AJ said...

No problem with taking some time off. Definitely healthy. Probably more so these days. You no doubt have your plate full right now!!!
That said, I do hope you find your way back when the time is right. Your blog has been a lot of fun to read (and occasionally participate in via the comments) so I will be looking forward to when your back in the saddle down the line.

BTW that is really cool about the internet radio. Something I wanted to do back in college but never got around to it. It is a ton of work, but cool to see that it is a job of passion!

Anonymous said...

All the best! Hopefully by the time you get back there will still be freight trains in Ottawa.

Unknown said...

Hey Michael! I've followed your blog for years, and as a fellow Ottawan I feel your sadness that all the good railroading is not in Ottawa...
Anyways, if you have any questions about the line to Nylene, let me know! My dad has worked there for over 30 years so if there's something you haven't learned yet he'd probably be able to tell me!

Anonymous said...

I thought that Nylene shut down. I saw a "for lease" ad online for the plant. Are they still in operation? If so, are they doing ok?

Unknown said...

Nylene has a ton of unused manufacturing space sice they got out of making end-product carpet fibres and carpets due to Chinese competition, but they still make nylon pellets that are exported to the US. So they're just leasing out the space in the back of the plant that used to be taken up by carpet loom machines.

Anonymous said...

I guess that must have impacted rail traffic to the facility. I wonder if they still need rail service, or if they just prefer it. The real question is if CN were to just walk away and discontinue 589, what would Nylene do? What options would they have? Perhaps things have changed and trucking is now possible.

Unknown said...

Rail traffic has always been once a week, and Nylene has a contract with CN to provide service to the plant so they wouldn't end service. Trucks are not ideal due to the fact that one train driver and 4 rail cars can do the job of 10+ trucks each with their own driver. Trucks are much more expensive for this reason. Nylene imports caprolactam from the USA and it is able to stay in the tanker cars right from the factory to Nylene in Canada. No transfer facility needed!

Brad C said...

With regards to 589, my wife sent me some photos this morning as 589 went past her office heading for Arnprior.

Looked like 3 tankers and two empty cars that would haul lumber(?).
Interestingly, it was being pulled by a leased locomotive - GMTX 2293 from the GATX Locomotive Group

Anonymous said...

Given the overall lack of high volume traffic, the decision to run 589 to and from Nylene's plant in Arnprior makes little sense, especially since they are on the hook to maintain the track. Wouldn't the maintenance costs for the Renfrew spur undermine any savings that come from using rail? It would seem like a much better solution to just transload on CP at Smiths Falls. Given that CN is pulling out of Ottawa and it is unlikely that there will be any replacement, this is what they might need to do.

Anonymous said...


This links to a letter CN wrote to Casselman a few years ago. Going to be interesting to see how this affects the businesses that rely on rail in the area, especially Ivaco, Rideau Bulk and Nylene.