Once upon a time no Islander could visit Moncton without picking up a case of canned pop. Way back then, you couldn’t buy soda pop on the Island, it wasn’t legal for sale. In the decade or so since those days were officially retired into our past, new generations of Islanders have developed some new self-imposed rules that only seem to apply in this one special place.
For me I can’t seem to visit Moncton without a wander among the industrial area along Beaverbrook Street to check in on those industries that are still rail served. These few remaining customers keep CN’s Franklin Spur alive and I am grateful that they do. As much as I enjoy checking in and exploring this area I can’t help but wonder: Will I ever know what it looks like in the sun?
It’s not that I have never been to Moncton on a sunny day. Quite the opposite in fact. For some reason though, if I grab my camera and point my car toward Beaverbrook, I’ll follow the clouds and revel in the joy of photographing grey covered coppers against a similarly monochromatic sky.
Something must have happened last week. We were in town for the afternoon and it was sunny. I thought I’d push my luck and asked Krista if she’d mind if I ran over to Beaverbrook. I even further tested my luck by joking about my luck every other time.
For some reason the sun stayed out and it was terrific.
First stop was the Co-op. Only one hopper but they were actually unloading it as I arrived. While the mill is quite a large operation and could receive several cars they can only unload them one bay at a time. They use a tractor to advance the cut that distance, bay-by-bay, until everything has been emptied out. Fascinating operation.
A block over, at Holcim, they have had one former CN car semi-permanently spotted as an overflow hopper, holding cement waiting to be transferred to trucks. I was surprised it had been joined by another.
As for what was on-spot to be unloaded, there were six cars. They use a Trackmobile to move cars around and even though it was the middle of the afternoon my luck didn’t extend to see it in use. The hoppers themselves were a delightful chronicle of what’s in use today to carry cement. I love their smaller size, re-stencilled sides, and weathering both from the load itself and just general wear from heavy use.
Now, back to the wishlist. I’m not even close to done with visiting these places. My friend Ed has had the pleasure of watching the Holcim Trackmobile in action and I’d like to see it too. Is it fair to push my luck again?
As for the sun, well I figure that’s all Krista. Mostly just because she just makes things happen.