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A short 9-car CN 571 trundles northward out of the desolation of the former Hawk Junction yard. The dirt track leading uphill in the background is the Algoma Central's former Michipicoten subdivision to Wawa and Michipicoten harbour, which was officially abandoned and the tracks lifted in 2000. The titular junction at Hawk Junction was once located just past the single remaining switch at left foreground leading to the south yard, which once commonly received trains of processed iron ore from the branch, but on this day saw only a lonely pulpwood flatcar. The grassy expanse to the right was once the main yard at Hawk Junction, where freight trains were made up and cars sorted. Now most of those tracks are completely ripped out, and the area becoming overgrown with grasses and weeds. (The track that disappears in the long grass in the centre of the image was formerly the ladded track for this part of the yard; you'll note a distinct lack of switchstands and points on this track today.) 


In it's heydey, Hawk Junction was a division point and the hub of operations on the Algoma Central Railway, seeing two daily regularly scheduled freights plus as required extras between Hawk Junction and Steelton yard in Sault Ste. Marie (in each direction), a daily freight between Hawk Junction and Hearst (again each way) and daily/as required ore trains on the branch to Wawa and Michipicoten Harbour as well as daily passenger service along the line. Today, the yard is barely more than a passing siding and a couple of set-out tracks, and both passenger and freight traffic is down to a thrice-weekly service. That little 9 car local trundling sure is a far cry from what once was.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Chris van der Heide all rights reserved.



Caption: A short 9-car CN 571 trundles northward out of the desolation of the former Hawk Junction yard. The dirt track leading uphill in the background is the Algoma Central's former Michipicoten subdivision to Wawa and Michipicoten harbour, which was officially abandoned and the tracks lifted in 2000. The titular junction at Hawk Junction was once located just past the single remaining switch at left foreground leading to the south yard, which once commonly received trains of processed iron ore from the branch, but on this day saw only a lonely pulpwood flatcar. The grassy expanse to the right was once the main yard at Hawk Junction, where freight trains were made up and cars sorted. Now most of those tracks are completely ripped out, and the area becoming overgrown with grasses and weeds. (The track that disappears in the long grass in the centre of the image was formerly the ladded track for this part of the yard; you'll note a distinct lack of switchstands and points on this track today.)

In it's heydey, Hawk Junction was a division point and the hub of operations on the Algoma Central Railway, seeing two daily regularly scheduled freights plus as required extras between Hawk Junction and Steelton yard in Sault Ste. Marie (in each direction), a daily freight between Hawk Junction and Hearst (again each way) and daily/as required ore trains on the branch to Wawa and Michipicoten Harbour as well as daily passenger service along the line. Today, the yard is barely more than a passing siding and a couple of set-out tracks, and both passenger and freight traffic is down to a thrice-weekly service. That little 9 car local trundling sure is a far cry from what once was.

Photographer:
Chris van der Heide [179] (more) (contact)
Date: 07/14/2013 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 2557 (search)
Train Symbol: CN 571 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Hawk Junction (search)
City/Town: Hawk Junction (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 9627

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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5 Comments
  1. It’s quite an amazment that all that traffic disapeared, such a shame. Interesting story though thanks for the info.

  2. And that’s the only freight on the line, Chris? Come on there has to be more than just that. Makes you wonder how long the line has to survive in its current state given the financials.

    This report, if you read it in detail basically argues, that the ACR could be funded alternatively by building a road to Franz, as a result I would expect if they execute on this plan the end to end passenger train will no longer exist soon.

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/corporate-services/des-reports-865.htm

  3. Nope, that’s all there is. Not much traffic left on the line at all. Some interchange traffic to Franz, Oba and Hearst, but very little online traffic left. Some pulpwood, and one lumber mill left at Dubreilville, south of Franz.

    And while I have ot read the linked report yet, a road to Franz would certainly not serve the needs of the area; I believe it is already possible to drive in there on a dirt road, and there is really nothing there. It’s some of the wilderness camps and lodges along the line that absolutely depend on the railway. I’m sure that’s what the report gets into though.

  4. The freight trains run daily… 573/574 South of Hawk ; 571/572 North of Hawk.

  5. The story certainly makes the photo here. I have been to the Jct quite a few times myself and remember the shop building with around 10 ACR locomotives flanking it. I remember trains coming down that ‘dirt trail’ when it was the Michipoten Sub. It is really shocking to see the area looking like it does now. As far as the road to Franz, it was impassible when I was there last; a muddy rut trail thru the property of the Dubreuilville Pulp & Paper plant. Franz Station is now the C of C in Dubreuilville, which I guess leaves next to nothing at Franz. Even the paper plant at Dub I think is closed.

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