Friday, June 28, 2024

Summer Observations in Eastern Ontario

These last few weeks have epitomized the line from a Tom Petty song: "The waiting is the hardest part." My family is trying to sell our home, which is a difficult task. Until we do sell it, we can't move on to next steps that will prepare us for a new life in our new home. Even though I was unsure that I would have much time for blogging, I am making an effort to do the things I love, which helps me deal with the stress of this time of transition.

I decided it would be fun to share some odds and ends that I have collected over the last little while and put together an observations piece. 

I'll start with a recent observation of Via Rail Train 59 in a new place. As you might have read in this blog recently, I am trying to find new places around Ottawa to capture some railway photos. I captured some nice shots of Train 59 on the Rideau River bridge, just north of Hunt Club Road. A few weeks ago, I decided to get a shot of the same train crossing on the Riverside Drive flyover. I have never attempted a shot from this spot before, so I figured it was worth a shot. Here P42 916 leads the train west toward the Rideau River bridge and Federal Junction.

A few weeks later, I was at the Hunt Club Road overpass, as my time was limited while waiting for my daughter's dance class to wrap up. I waited for Via Rail Train 43 making its way east to Ottawa Station. I haven't been to this spot in a while. While there, I noticed that the remnants of the old industrial spur to Bentley Avenue were still not cleaned up trackside. The tracks beyond the fencing are still in place, but the rails removed from the Smiths Falls Sub are still lying to the west of the tracks, along with the old switch stand. You can see the remnants of the rails in the weeds as Train 43 passes by.

My family recently spent the weekend in Toronto, which allowed me to get months worth of railfanning in, which I will share in a series of future posts. I will share a few shots, however, closer to Ottawa. On our way home from Toronto as part of a J-train, I took a quick shot of the CP offices in Smiths Falls, or should I say CPKC. As someone whose family has a long history with the Canadian Pacific, I had mixed feelings seeing this new logo. I understand the nature of modern railways. There's no room for sentimentality. Still, I can't help but think we lose a little bit of our heritage when an iconic name becomes part of some corporate alphabet soup. I have similar issues with BNSF.

On our way to Toronto, I noticed that there was a long line of empty intermodal cars parked on a track near where the Smiths Falls Sub gives way to CP territory. Possibly someone with more knowledge can tell me if this might be the last remnant of the old CP Chalk River Sub? I know that railways often keep short stretches of old subdivisions for car storage purposes. I don't know if this is the case here. It seemed odd that these cars would be here rather than the CP yard, unless they were here so they could be kept out of the way.

While we're on the subject of the Smiths Falls Sub, there was chatter online about the spur at SynAgri in Twin Elm being disconnected. I can confirm from my trip to Toronto that this spur has indeed been lifted. There isn't much freight trackage still connected to the Smiths Falls Sub, save for the Kott Lumber facility on Moodie Drive. Here's a shot of some hoppers at SynAgri from 2015. I'm glad I have these shots now.

In the west end of Ottawa, rails have begun to appear alongside the Queensway, where the end of the second phase of the Confederation Line is taking shape. The project is behind schedule, which is no surprise, given that the pandemic pushed most projects back quite a ways. I have seen some MoW equipment on the rails lately near the Corkstown Road station, but haven't been able to get any shots.

This shot was taken from the passenger seat of our car, as my wife drove toward the Tanger Outlets further west. The next part of the O-Train system that will come online will be the long-delayed north-south Trillium Line (former CP Ellwood/Prescott Sub right-of-way). When it is complete, it will operate from Bayview Station, near the Ottawa River, all the way south to the Riverside South community. The spur to the Ottawa International Airport is also nearing a point where it will come online as well, which will give travellers another option for getting to the airport. 

One final bit to share. My girls are on a break from their evening dance classes, which means my Wednesday evenings trackside have taken a hiatus. Here is a recent shot of Via Train 59 at the Merivale Road level crossing. I didn't have any plan in mind. I just happened to be there so I took a few shots as the train sped by. You can see the symmetry of the Via wraps on the P42 and the first three cars.

 The end of the train was a bit different, as this was a double-ender.

So those were a few observations from Ottawa and Smiths Falls from the last few months. I have quite a bit to share from my trip to Toronto recently, but that will have to wait until life settles down a little. I am also going on a day trip to Montreal on the train, so I am hoping to have more to share. It's always nice to have too much material. A rare challenge for me.


Matthew Maynard said...

I can confirm that those well cars you saw on a bit of the old Chalk River subdivision are indeed in long term storage. I've seen them store grain cars and autoracks there in the past. it may be awhile before those cars are moved. If I had to guess they've been there for at least 8 months now. Based on my observations the container business has been a bit slower for CP the last year and a half so they're storing the unneeded cars. It's a good place for CP to store them since they're out of the way. SF yard may not be what it once was but CP still has a few customers in the region and there have been occasions where I've gone over to the station theater and noticed that the yard has been pretty full.

Michael said...

Thanks for confirming that. It's good to know people who know these things.