Thursday 20 August 2015

Throwback Thursday #18 - CN GP9 #4521 at Rymal Siding, Part 1

Tonight's Throwback Thursday features another article by my Dad, Keith. I've been meaning to explain the significance of why I named this blog "Rymal Station" (can't recall if I have already), but hopefully this will help explain it. Part 2 to follow. Thanks Dad!

- Peter.

CN GP9 #4521 at Rymal in 1979

An early summer evening finds a pocket-sized Canadian National wayfreight pausing to retrieve an empty bulkhead flatcar from the CO-OP siding at Rymal, situated in the Southern Ontario hamlet of Hannon. Hannon, while not a locality ever identified on any map, was situated just above the Niagara Escarpment on Hamilton Mountain (as referred to by ‘Hamiltonians’). The CNR branchline is the former Hamilton and Northwestern Railway ROW built to link Hamilton with the Lake Erie community of Port Dover. After coupling up and performing the requisite brake test, the tidy consist will trundle northward, cautiously descend along the previously-mentioned geographical feature, cross over the T, H & B main line and swing onto Ferguson Avenue to do some street running prior to entering Stuart Street yard located along the Hamilton waterfront. Out of frame, at the head end is CN GP9 4521, with the following consist in tow:
- bulkhead flat car (CN 606000 series)
- 89 ft flat car (CN 668091 – built 12/1975)
- 40 ft single door boxcar (BN 199778)
- 40 ft livestock car (CN 810189)
- 50 ft MOW tie gondola (CN 60223)
- Pointe St. Charles Caboose (CN 79800 series)

The collection of buildings (except for the cylindrical concrete silos located behind the tall structure on the right) is part of what once was known as the ‘Ancaster CO-OP’. Constructed in the mid 1940’s following the conclusion of WW II hostilities, the farm, feed and hardware supply enterprise was geographically misnamed by design. The long term plan by the original share contributing owners was to relocate to the neighboring named community once an alternative to rail supplied raw materials could be organized. No doubt the expanding local highway system and truck transport were the anticipated methodology. However, such plans never materialized and today, after serving in their original intended purpose for decades, the structures shown still exist and have been incorporated into a thriving Home Hardware installation.

The fate of the Canadian National branchline? Despite a daily Hamilton-Nanticoke steel slab train that gained the line fame in its' later days, the former H&NW line suffered from diminishing traffic into the early 1990’s, and would eventually be lifted in 1993. Service south from Hamilton would be suspended in the late 1980’s following the lateral displacement of the Stone Church road overpass (in both directions!) by transport truck collision. Today, much of the ROW remains as the ‘STONE CHURCH ROAD RAIL TRAIL’.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to follow.
- Keith.

GP9 CN 4521 (GMD London 12/1956) was rebuilt by CN Pointe Ste. Charles as GPRM 7007 in 1985. Following some fifty-seven years (!!!) of service on the home road she would be conveyed to Motive Power Resources Inc. ( and renumbered MVPX 7007. Doubtful she will enjoy similar longevity with her new owner.

According to on line information, BN 199778 was originally from CB&Q XM-32C series Nos. 18400 – 19399. The 40 Ft. boxcars were constructed by the railroad at their Havelock, Nebraska shops in 1950/1951 from components supplied by Youngstown Steel Door Co. and Standard Railway Equipment. Note the improved Dreadnaught ends with the rectangular top rib. Modifications in a BN rebuild program involved, roof walk removal, shortened ladders, wider 10 Ft. door (w/reinforced opening) and converted roller bearing trucks. Similar to CN 4521, doubtful she enjoyed similar longevity with her second owner.

CN stock car No. 810189 is most likely being used for tie storage and transport - note the haphazard pattern of side strapping repairs and ability to see randomly through the car. This car was from a group of two hundred converted in 1965 from 503500-505850 series wood side (all metal Hutchins roof with Dreadnought steel ends) boxcars. By the early 1980’s Canadian National’s population of stock cars had dwindled to less than 250.

Although the principle CO-OP structures remain, much change to the landscape has occurred over the intervening 36 years. The weed and brush filled field has been consumed by a substantial garden and soil supply enterprise (hence the elevated earthen vantage point). While whitewash has replaced the classic CO-OP cream trimmed by hunter green colour scheme, one can still buy hardware items. However, the only available feed, is for pets.