Whoa! Cars at Lafarge

I feel like the cement silos that Lafarge Canada own on the south side of the Miramichi River, in Chatham, New Brunswick have been there forever. It’s a beautiful location and would be idea as an industry on a model railway. Obviously the plant’s small size and picturesque riverbank location speak in favour but the attraction is further enhanced by the fact that, to reach the plant, CN need to use a small switchback siding at the base of a hill.

This Google Map view shows the location of the plant and if you zoom in you can see the track layout:

As I drove home I gazed toward the plant from the highway and saw a pile of hoppers on site being unloaded. I don’t think I’ve ever seen cars here and immediately I couldn’t resist the urge to stop by to take a closer look. Out came the camera and here are some of the photos I took last Wednesday:

I wish I had thought to have visited the office to ask about how they move cars through the plant. They can only unload one car at a time (I assume) so they must have a tractor or something like one to propel the cars CN has placed for them. On my visit, there were six cars on the property: three at the switch, one being unloaded, and two at the far end of the siding.

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7 comments

  1. It’s hard to tell for sure, but looking at streetview in Google maps, it appears that there is a hump near the turnout. So, perhaps they roll the cars down to the plant. Maybe the whole spur is on a grade, in which case they could roll them on from there too.

    1. I sort of suspect the same.
      CN would drop all six cars (that were there the morning I was)
      As cars are required the Lafarge crew uncouple the single car and roll it carefully toward the silos.
      When the car is empty it’s released to coast to the end of the siding.
      When the full cut are empty CN just lifts them all from the end of the siding.

      I wonder how accurate they have to be when placing the cars at the silo?

      /chris

  2. Google Street View shows a car puller – https://goo.gl/maps/LSmaep5gxUB2

    The Street View shows 7 cars near the switch, one car spotted at the facility, and 5 at the far end. Busy time! It looks like there is room for another 2 or 3 at the far (up river) end. I believe the spur is also on a grade so cars should roll from the switch down. The spur was listed as 1280′ in 1983 so it is fairly long.

    I looked through my photos as I was sure I had photographed it, but I can’t lay hands on any photos I took.

    1. Car puller. Perhaps that’s what I see beside the car’s truck in the photo I took of the west side of the facility? Either way it sure makes sense.

      Ed Cooke took a photo on this same siding last year when they were unloading steel for another offline customer.

      /chris

  3. Yes, car puller at end of square building beyond silos. This would indeed make a great shelf layout or module. A whole bucket full of Mears-bait here, from the manicured lawn to the pedestrian and vehicle crossings, vegetation, bridge backdrop, switchback, detailed track and even the stop sign on the coupler.
    And the houses across the street have a great view of, well, everything grey!

    The Google Maps view shows other nearby industries on the same spur, which ends at the station.

    Thanks for stopping by and thinking of sharing it with us Prince Streeters!
    Eric

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