Better brakes and a bit more push

Most trips to Moncton include a trip over to visit the Franklin Spur to see what is happening at the Co-op or down at Holcim. My trips to Beaverbrook are such regular ones that visiting this place is like seeing an old friend. For all the times I visited, I could never seem to catch a train there. This time I really lucked out.

Clearly this is the new CF7 that Terra Transport bought as an experiment in evaluating their own GMDD rebuild series. That 1502 shoved the new engine into place up by the Co-op. I thought I heard the plan was to rent it out to Holcim to move cement hoppers around. Basically TT will start dropping hoppers on the siding and Holcim will move them, hoping the CF7 gives them a better experience than the Trackmobile they currently use. They brought 56 over from Gordon Yard, still shut down from its trip from Florida. Time to fire it up again.

Holcim boss JF Boudreault wandered over in the truck – sure it’s just a block but that rain isn’t going to wait until we’re ready and by now Clarence has got the new machine warmed up. There’s really nothing left to do but move the reverser into place and grab a notch or two on the throttle. Running up and down from Holcim is always a battle. You’d never know it because Moncton is flat right? Nope. Right after Beaverbrook the spur doesn’t just drop but it’s curved too. Once the train’s moving we’re all just along for the ride. Better brakes and a little more push is what 56 should give us. Michel is on the footboard. Such a great friend. They’ll sort the train up here before heading down the spur. “Little bit back and forth. You got time.” he jokes.

TT’s local crew drops our inbound cement up on Beaverbrook. It usually fills the siding. That grade down to the plant is steep and there’s not enough room to shunt at the plant so, if we are unloading more than one type of cement we’ll sort those cars up on Beaverbrook before heading down the hill. Our engine is stored in the plant, behind the silos, and we can fuel it there when we’re doing the trucks. We usually take the empties up the hill and borrow the Co-op siding to swap one string for the other. Then back down the hill. If we sorted the inbound correctly the first car to unload is on the front of our train usually. The rest of the story writes itself…

I love how this came together. James and I were talking about the CF7 project he was working on. “I love how well composed the Modelu figures are. They look like they’re really interacting and handing things off…” as James notes in his copy of this blog post. The combination of those beautiful Modelu figures and the photos James had composed just felt so right, so realistic, so exactly like how I’d picture this scene would be in real life. My reply (which formed the first paragraph in this post) was a spontaneous attempt to find the right words. In this case, the “right words” were an attempt to employ ones as detailed and realistic in their prose as the models are; if our goal is to create miniature scenes so realistic they are as good as the things they represent it felt right to employ realistic, full scale, language to react and relate to it. That if the models are good enough to make us feel like we’re there why leave so we can tell others how good it feels?

Categories: hilton & mears duo

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3 replies

  1. A pleasure as always, and in this case a random spontaneous back and two that created this wonderfully readable post. Thanks for being part of it, in many ways.

  2. Looks like a Protonook or even a pair of Protonooks to me!

    Protonooks are good. I would have A and B serve the Coop and run C along Beaverbrook St as a team track. Plenty of varied traffic.

    • Moncton’s Franklin Spur is a real place and it’s a fascinating collection of industries and customers (propane at Irving, covered hoppers at the Co-op, and cement down at Holcim. With any luck this link will open Google Maps to show Beaverbrook Street in Moncton as it is today:

      As with many of the streets throughout industrial Moncton, indeed both sides of Beaverbrook were once flanked with track and customers. The buildings are mostly all still in place so it doesn’t take too much imagination to see how it once was when we visit today. “A” in my drawing is still a customer and they still use a tractor to move covered hoppers for unloading. I posted a photo from a visit a few years ago but little has changed since:

      The little siding I posted at “B” is visible in the aerial photos from Google and Bing. The shove out to Beaverbrook is long and CN use B as a place to sort cars when on site. As I noted in this story, the track down to Holcim is steep and curved so is a real life challenge to work on. That doesn’t leave many other places up here to sort inbound and outbound cars from the Irving (propane) and the feel mill and cement. As we try to elsewhere in the Terra Transport saga how we’re using the track and the customers we serve hasn’t really changed. The changes are only subtle so in our version we’re still using B in much the same way CN will this week, today.

      Holcim really do have a car mover on site. It’s a beautiful thing with side rods and all. I posted some photos from a visit a few years ago in this post and they provide a nice summary of what we’d, instead, do using our CF7 to shunt the customer where currently Holcim themselves use that car mover:

      James’s layout is a fantastic and very accurate representation of Beaverbrook. He’s added a category to his own blog dedicated to the project:

      I was having so much fun rereading my previous posts on Beaverbrook that I found a few other fun ones to see:

      This is the crossing by the Co-op on Beaverbrook. Once both “A” and “B” crossed this access road but now only A does. The rails from both are still in the road and this is a detail I always wanted to include in a model railway:

      …CN simply added their wheelstops just before the crossing to end “B”. “B” actually sits only slightly above the road and for most of the spring and summer is buried deeply in the grass:

      Darren Gordon posted this Youtube video of CN working the Franklin. The job is their train 537 and this link should open a video of it at work where we’re talking:

      Finally, this photo from fellow Maritime railfan Kevin Gaudet is a terrific summary of 537 working Co-op:

      Hope these help. It’s a fantastic and well documented bit of local railroading. These types of modern industrial park railroads still seem so popular and they well should be. The aesthetic is so transferrable and not always that different from Miami to Moncton and I’m certain is repeated elsewhere across the continent, certainly we have examples here in Halifax too.


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