Friday 5 November 2021

CN Rymal Pt. 18 Stone Church Road Overpass

After the long, slow climb up the face of the escarpment in Hamilton, a triple header propelled extra is shown crossing over Stone Church Road. Trailing Mogul 902 is sister 924 and Mikado 3708. No date indicated. No. 902 was the first of 25 E-10-a's constructed by CLC Kingston in 1910 as GTR 1000. Renumbered CNR 80 in October of 1951, the diminutive steamer would meet her maker at the London Reclamation yard in September of 1957. No. 924, as No. 94, would succumb in London in 1955.  No. 3708 is from a group of forty S-3-a Mikado’s (GTR 440 – 479) constructed by Alco Schenectady in 1918. Upon amalgamation GTR 448 would become GTW 3708. According to Don McQueen’s 2013 chronicle ‘CANADIAN NATONAL STEAM!’, No. 3708 would be transferred to Canadian National in December of 1943, never to return stateside. To make room number wise for incoming replacement diesels, she would be renumbered GTW 4050 in April of 1958 and stricken from the roster eight months later. Most likely, No. 3708 was providing helper service. If so, she would be cut off at Glanford as the bridge in Caledonia would not be reinforced until 1953 (by which time 902 would be renumbered 80). The Moguls do not appear to be working very hard. This is due to the fact that the extra is at the bottom of a descending grade on the Hamilton higher ground. For a steam era view of the bridge from the opposite side see page 59 of Ian Wilson’s marvelous time piece ‘STEAM ECHOS OF HAMILTON’. As previously documented, transport truck collision damage to the bridge span in 1987 lead to its removal and the end of southbound service from Hamilton.

View looking west. The original bridge abutments would have been cut stone and spaced for horse and buggy passage. Most likely, the cement cap shapes were added in conjunction with an overall structure upgrade to support heavier traffic.

View looking east. The lower cement work shown was probably some type augmentation to the original cut stone construction, and may have narrowed the overall road opening. This was probably not of concern, given the relatively low historic traffic density on the rural road.

Note the descending grade. Upon cresting the escarpment the former H&NW line immediately dips on the approach to Rymal. No doubt something of a train handling challenge with concurrent buff and draft forces in play, both northbound and southbound. Given the unprotected gap, somewhat surprising that the railway did not provide more in the way of fall prevention.

Following the second transport truck encounter, the bridge span was lifted out of position and placed perpendicular on top of the south side right of way.

Details of the bridge span construction. Somewhat Meccano like!

While the rail displacement was minimal, traffic southbound from Hamilton was suspended after the transport truck collision with the bridge.