Saturday, 11 November 2017

CN at Rymal Part 4

Passenger train service on the H&NW Railway would be inaugurated from Hamilton to Jarvis on September 18th, 1873 when the first train departed from the Ferguson Avenue Station in the lower city. Like many branch line runs the service would in time transition into a mixed train; M233. The last run of M233 would take place some eighty four years later on October 26th, 1957. For a nostalgic look at the line in the 1950’s have a read of Ian Wilson’s wonderful chronicle ‘STEAM ECHOES OF HAMILTON’.
By comparison, freight train service along the line south from Hamilton would last for more than a century, finally concluding in late 1993. As previously documented, damage to the Stone Church road overpass in 1987 would suspend service from Hamilton to Rymal. Only six years later the rails would be lifted all the way from the lower city to Caledonia. Enough with the history lesson, let’s fondly recall an everyday exercise in the life of the daily wayfreight; switching Shaw Pipe Protection at Rymal. (Unfortunately I did not date some of my early images; best guess is that I shot the switching sequence of photos in the spring of 1977)

As shown above, CN SW1200RS’s Nos. 1208 and 1204 have arrived at the CO-OP siding and pulled up to the south switch. After uncoupling and moving ahead with the first two cars, the short two car consist would reverse into the siding and deposit the loaded bulkhead flat car and empty flat car. The locomotive duo would then head south to exit the siding, reverse direction, re-couple and push the remainder of the consist back past the north switch. Following another reverse in direction, 1208/1204 would reenter the siding and couple onto the empty flat car from the opposite end, and once again reverse onto the main. Heading south, the one car train would then cross Rymal road to complete the delivery. Note the careful planning of the head end of the consist during assembly at CN’s Stuart Street Yard.
Contemporary satellite view of the former CN Rymal. Of the enterprises once served by rail, only the CO-OP structures remain, now converted to a Home Hardware operation.
The conductor and brakeman are shown riding 62’-6” flatcar CN 667407 being delivered to Shaw Pipe Protection; for loading of out bound finished product. Doubtful such casual performance of duties would be condoned my management today! Constructed by National Steel Car in the June of 1974, the flatcar would be removed from service by 2013, most likely due to the forty year rule (cars constructed prior to July 1, 1974).
Having completed their switching assignment at Rymal, the re-assembled wayfreight carries on southward towards Caledonia trailed by newly constructed PSC caboose CN 79866. Note the forty foot double door boxcar on the Penn Lumber siding on the right.
View of the Penn Lumber siding lead (near) and Shaw Pipe Protection siding lead (far) looking north. While the cement block structures on the east side still exist, as shown above, virtually everything on the west has been razed. No doubt significant soil remediation, from decades of heavy duty industrial chemical usage by Shaw Pipe, was necessary.
View of Penn Lumber from the right of way. Eventually transformed into a Castle Building Center, the lumber and hardware enterprise was shuttered many years ago.

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