When I first started this blog in April of 2013, I knew it was a risk calling it the Beachburg Sub. Even then, the dormant CN subdivision was in danger of being lost. These past few weeks, this blog's namesake rail line has been torn up by the Canadian National, despite various efforts to revive the line with a shortline operator. Last week, I headed deep into Ottawa's rural northwest countryside, to pay my last respects to this line.
As of Saturday, Nov. 16, the line has been torn up all the way to the Dunrobin area, although rails are still in place into Kanata. The work train was loaded on that day and shipped out. A reader told me that the work crew is then given a six-day rest before resuming its work. That would mean work will resume on the 21st or 22nd.
Below is a shot of the Beachburg Sub at Stonecrest Road Ottawa, Nov. 9, 2014
Here's the same stretch on Nov. 11. The bolted rail will be picked up later by truck, I assume
Here's the same crossing, looking east on Nov. 9:
And here it is two days later. You can just make out the end of the work train in the distance.
On Nov. 9, the work train was silent, as the crew was taking its days off before revving back up on Nov. 11. This is what I saw on Nov. 9 at Stonecrest Road.
On Nov. 11, I ventured out to another rural crossing, to try and catch the CN continuous welded rail work train in action. This led me to a rural road, Torbolton Ridge Road. As you can guess, this was another remote stretch of the city and it was heavily wooded. This didn't allow for great wide shots, but I felt compelled to capture something. CN GP40-2W 9543 was idling by the crossing, waiting for the track gang to finish its work so it could inch forward.
Here's a shot of the longest freight train I've seen in Ottawa in all my time in this city. How sad is that statement?
As you can see from the woody stemmed weeds in the above shot, this crossing is pretty rough. I stuck around for a while, thinking the train was about to move. One of the worker's cars was idling on the road, which led me to believe something was about to happen. After half an hour of waiting, I decided to call it a day. Here are a few more shots.
Bug's eye view.
The dreaded CWR cars carrying their prize.
By now you know the story of the subdivision. It was once part of a transcontinental main line, which stretched through Algonquin Park and a large swath of rural Ontario. You know it was also a vital part of the Ottawa Central Railway.
Now, it's mostly history.
I thought about the name of my blog this week and wondered about the merits of changing the name for a moment. But, as one of the few rail enthusiasts carrying the torch here in Ottawa, I think it's more important than ever that we pay attention to the past.
After all, Ottawa's troubled light rail plan is proof positive that those who ignore our history are doomed to repeat it. And at great cost.