Friday, January 11, 2019

1985 CNR - Mile 183, Kingston Subdivision

Mid-winter is kind of a grim time. Some cheerful people suggest that if you have something you like to do in the snow - you'll enjoy winter! 

These grim low-light shots were taken with grainy, fast film. Without fast film they'd probably be blurred and unusable. Trains don't tarry long in and around Kingston.

Someone from Britain at a railway show commented that there hadn't been 'much done over the years' with the ancient CNR line between Montreal and Toronto. To identify a date, I suppose the double-tracking by the Grand Trunk circa 1900 was the last time that any effort was made to straighten curves and flatten small dips and hills.

In the 'older days', engineers would often use 'power braking' - a positive throttle position with a light service application to avoid a slack run-in ... while running in and out of a valley. Those days are gone. After the oil embargo of the 1970s, saving fuel eventually became the goal.

Near Collins Bay is a section of track affectionately named 'drawbar hollow'. Near Mile 183, beside some apartments, is a spot where almost every single eastbound's tailend runs out - sleep well, friends, neighbours.

With technological progress it is now possible to fully automate the breaking of knuckles through the use of Trip Optimizer™. A corporate video suggests that before the train leaves, the train FIRST does a simulated computer run to maximize efficiency for the analog run to come. 

I don't know if they ever break knuckles in 'The Cloud'. (If you don't already know, The Future = 'The Cloud'.) Chances are, you can probably mouse-click your way out of a broken knuckle in 'The Cloud'.
"GE’s Trip Optimizer™ System is an intelligent, fuel-saving cruise control for locomotives that optimizes fuel consumption based on a specific train’s make up and route traveled. The system calculates the optimum speed profile by considering factors such as train length, weight, and track profile, and then automatically controls throttle and dynamic brake accordingly.   
"The result: Sustainable fuel savings of 3-17% (depending on train weight, configuration, terrain, etc.), reduced emissions, and efficient train handling." 
... but intuitively ... you know that no two trains are identical in their ... marshaling of loads, empties, position of DU (if used), speed at a given point, speed when on the block of other traffic, routing through crossovers, slow orders, rail conditions, locomotive effective horsepower, draft gear wear, which track (e.g. north or south) is used, etc.

*  *  *

Although it is terribly old fashioned ...
Here are some trains being operated over undulations and curves
through the skill and experience of a single human.

A westbound VIA train photographed from the north side.
On at least one occasion I saw an LRC locomotive slam into that curve
with sparks resulting from the metal on metal impact.

The GP40-2 's were the ubiquitous greyhounds of the Kingston Sub.
Here, one represents the class.
This series shows westbounds photographed from the south side.

The once famous, and now largely forgotten, 'Draper taper'.

Dynamic brake equipped!

*  *  *

I think my photo is breaking up a little - that is probably not snow.
A VIA eastbound from the north side of the track.

*  *  *

Finally, two eastbounds seen from the south.

Soon to be a skill as extinct as the trade of wooden stave barrel-making
is trackside line maintenance.

You can see how the line just touches the insulator
and it is kept in place by a tie wire which actually goes around the insulator.

Near the lower right corner, you can see a splice.

The electrical current (230 V) kept the batteries in the various instrument cases charged.
The batteries power the track circuits, signals and crossing gates.

In the event of an ice storm which causes a local power failure,
everything should continue to operate normally for a while.

The superior safety and efficiency provided by the track circuits and block signals
of Centralized Traffic Control can be easy to take for granted when the power seldom fails.

Finally, like old wooden whistle posts, the pole is peaked to shed the rain.

Sharp-eyed observers will have noticed the old slope-topped concrete mile board at 183
(eg. in the photo of the 6542) .