My first trip was to an old feed mill and grain elevator on Van Buren Street in Kemptville, which appeared to be one of the last rail-served businesses on this old line. I walked down the line from the Van Buren crossing, to see if there was a better vantage point to shoot the grain elevator. The overgrowth to the left, as you can see below, ensured that this elevator would remain mostly hidden.
Interesting fact: Kemptville owes some of its early prosperity to the fact that it was chosen to be a railway town, set up by the old Bytown & Prescott as a station stop.
When I arrived at Bedell, along the CP Winchester Sub, I found the old signal tower that stood next to the turnout for the North Prescott Spur, had been removed (below). Given the condition of these towers, I doubt they will have much use to CP.
This was the scene just two weeks ago, when the remains of the old signal tower still stood sentry over the abandoned spur (below).
I also saw a stack of old rail trackside, waiting to be carted away to other parts of the Canadian Pacific network that are busier than this lonely old rural Ontario spur. A little way from this pile, another pile sat in the weeds, which included the rubber seals used for level crossings.
This was a little disappointing to me. The old Bedell marker had been taken down and left in the weeds. I turned it over to grab a quick shot of the sign. I was a little perplexed why the sign would be taken down. I suppose it's because this area along the main line will not be used for anything moving forward, but I thought the sign was a nice touch and reminder of busier times.
You will recall that just a few weeks ago, the sign was still standing in an area with wildflowers.
I made sure to return to the old feed mill to get a shot of the elevator, but this was as close as I could get from the parking lot of the shuttered facility. You can also see the storage huts for road salt and sand behind the fences. I have read that CP once serviced this road maintenance facility as well another on the South Prescott Spur.
Closer to the main line, many of the rails that had been pulled from the North Prescott Spur were labelled and ready for shipment. I'm not sure whether CP is sending a local to load these onto cars. It would be nice to shoot that.
As I noted in my previous post about this spot, Bedell was once an important stopover on the CP main line, where steam locomotives were once serviced and where an interlocking tower, rail yard and station were located. The area had an interlocking crossing between the main line and the old CP Prescott Sub at one point, but this was replaced by a diamond. The spot fell into disuse in the 1960s onward, when CP began to direct its freight traffic from Smiths Falls. The old Prescott Sub was officially abandoned in 1997, with the majority of the line torn up in1999 between Leitrim Road in southern Ottawa and Kemptville. The remnants of the remaining line, the North Prescott Spur, was officially abandoned in 2012. Now, Bedell and the Prescott Sub are pretty much historic footnotes.
And, yes, I did get some time to shoot actual railroading in action along the main line. I struck out this past weekend, since there were no freights hustling by when I was there, but my previous visit two weeks earlier resulted in a great encounter with a westbound manifest freight, with a number of interesting pieces of rolling stock. I will end my initial series on Bedell Ontario with that meeting next week. Here's a small teaser below. Can you make out what type of cars are immediately behind the lead units?