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When I wrote the article on passenger train modelling (see MLS articles), chapter 4 gave examples from earlier eras of prototype situations that involved numerous passenger movement.  But most folks seem to believe that passenger train operations in the most modern era are almost extinct.  And where they exist, they are simply uniform consists running between terminals.

Yesterday, with a forecast for bright sun and warm temps (well -6C is warm for the Ottawa Valley! in January) I headed down to Brockville Ontario with my camera to take in a morning's action on Canadian National (Chicago Northern as it is known here with Hunter Harrison keeping his office in the USA as opposed to at corporate headquarters).  Brockville is a modest sized city (pop 30,000) that sits on CN's double tracked heavy mainline between Montreal and Toronto.  It also is the junction for a former CP (now ViaRail) connection to Smiths Falls and thence to Ottawa.

I arrived about 8:30 and stayed until 1 - during that time I saw the flollowing lineup of trains:

8:37  Via #53 breezed through non stop, at trackspeed (70 mph) enroute to Toronto

9:15  CN hotshot eastbound freight  headed by a pair of Dash 9s - 97 cars primarily newsprint and chemicals for export to the USA (this train made a drop and a lift of chemical tanks at Brockville yard)

 9:20  CN freight westbound behind C44-9W 2564 and  Dash 8 2445 - 86 cars of very scruffy empty gons, ttank cars in chemical service and some of the dumpiest old 50 foot boxcars around

9:35  CN intermodal hotshot to Halifax C44-8W 3576 and Dash 8 2454 - 106 cars fully loaded with containers really pounding the iron

9:50  Via #43 arrived from Ottawa and after a short station stop continued toward Toronto on the CN main - it held the passing siding at the station

10:10  Via #52 arrived from Toronto bound for Montreal, took the crossover and held the westbound main at the station 

10:15  Via #40 arrived as soon as #52 departed and held the passing track at the station - after a short stop it departed for Ottawa

These last two trains are run in what is known as a J train.  In Toronto, the loco and cars for #40 are coupled to the rear of #52.  They are run as a single train from Toronto to Brockville so that the dispatcher has only one movement in busy territory.  At Brockville, the J train is split and each section goes its own way.

11:30  CN hotshot westbound intermodal from Halifax headed by CN 8006 and 8503 with 94 cars

11:46  Via #57 from Montreal headed west to Toronto held the westbound main for its station stop - an interesting train composed of stainless steel Budd built cars originally run on The Canadian (I didnt have a scanner so I do not know where or how #57 overtook the intermodal train in front of it)

11:50  CN rail truck eastbound went by the Via train just as it departed westbound from the station

12:10  CN wayfreight headed by CN 4760 the dirtiest GP38-2 I have ever seen - train carried 18 cars mostly chenmical tanks )dropped by the CN freight a couple of hours earlier) bound for the chemical plant in Maitland just east of Brockville

1240  Another J train with Via #56 and #42 arriving in close succession.  The loco on #56 was interesting because it is painted in the famous Spiderman scheme.

All in all I saw 7 passenger trains and only 5 freights.  Two of the passenger trains were J trains that divided at Brockville and all passenger trains thread the crossovers to get to the correct station on arrival or mainline track on departure.  I saw only 5 freights (not counting a maintenance railtruck) and of those only 2 did any switching in Brockville.

A careful choice of locale can give the modeller of even the most modern of railroads the opportunity to run significant passenger service.

Regards ... Doug


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Modern Passenger Operations? South of the border, passenger trains never come anywhere near where you are or go anywhere near where you're going and are usually late anyhow/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/doze.gif
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