The shot below was my favourite from my quick trip. In the distance, you see CN 4771 parked in front of the local CN facilities, framed by a few bulkhead flatcars and a string of gondolas. Those flatcars, gondolas and that pile of wood next to 4771 lead me to my first bit of news.
A little further down the road alongside the yard revealed more wood and other supplies in the vicinity of a ballast car (below). This looks to be wood that might be used at a level crossing or as decking on a trestle. I wouldn't have thought much of this if I hadn't found out earlier that track work is being done on the Renfrew Spur in Carp. I appreciate Eric Gagnon of Trackside Treasure for passing along the news.
It's great news to know that, despite the final removal of the Beachburg Subdivision northwest of Nepean Junction, there is some work being done to maintain train service in western Ottawa. This is also a great opportunity for me to pass along some pictures that local rail watcher Patrick Stever sent to me from the siding in Carp. He spotted this equipment in the spring, including this brush cutter.
The below shot, also courtesy of Patrick Stever, shows that the groundwork for track improvements was being done months ago. Look at the piles of ballast to the left of the main line. I'm glad Patrick sent me these photos. I was trying to fit them into a post and now I am able to pass them along.
For those who don't know, this spur is owned by the City of Ottawa and maintained by Nylene Canada, a customer in Arnprior that requires rail service once a week. CN continues to operate a weekly train, usually consisting of three to four tank cars, to and from the plant. The spur has seen pretty restrictive speed limits for years, due to the condition of the track. I don't expect this work to change things. But, it's good to see that there is work being done to keep trains operating in the west end of the city for years to come.
A few days later, I was trying to catch the Arnprior local and noticed bundles of ties along the Beachburg Sub, just northwest of Bells Corners, where the line turns toward the Queensway. Here is what I noticed trackside. When I blew up the photo, I noticed that bundles of ties have been placed trackside all along this straightaway, meaning CN is investing in a bit of maintenance on this line. You can see the ties below. The case was the same on the trackage in Bells Corners near the junction between Beachburg the old CP Carleton Place Subdivision spur. New ties are all trackside, awaiting work crews.
Getting back to Walkley Yard, I noticed when I first arrived that the former Devco caboose, still in its Devco green black and yellow colours, was not at its usual place close to the CN offices and maintenance facility. I also noticed that the hideous Millennium caboose was missing.
As I drove east down the access road next to the yard, I noticed an addition to DAWX caboose and RDC on a storage track. It turns out, the old Devco caboose has reached the end of the line.
It's sad to see this caboose is being left prey to looters and vandals. Here's a shot of this caboose in (slightly) better days. I guess it's no longer being used for shoving maneuvers in the region anymore. I'm not sure if the Millennium caboose is still around either. It makes me wonder what's being used for shoving these days.
One final note to pass along. Via Rail had completed work on a new passing siding at Wass, east of Federal, to allow corridor trains to operate more efficiently. The siding is part of Via's investment in its local network. As I have pointed out before, Ottawa's main train station is Via's third busiest station in Canada, behind Toronto and Montreal. Thanks again to Eric at Trackside Treasure for passing along that news via another local rail watcher.
So there a few tidbits from my trip and from my readers. Not bad considering I have only railfanned a handful of times this summer.