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Double stack container trains used to be a routine sight sight on CN in Niagara, unironically due to the lack of availability of a capable tunnel under the St. Clair River. The opening of the Tellier tunnel largely changed that. CN 154 and 155, the only stack trains that went through Niagara as an efficient route, weren't able to hold their own, typically extremely short in length, and often mixed with autoracks to make up for the lack of intermodal. 

This likely was the first dedicated stack train to roll over the CN Grimsby Sub in about 15 years, and not a stubby one either. Running under the number 122, this is 148's typical train that otherwise would operate over the Dundas Sub. The wreck in the Sarnia tunnel meant for three options, go north and come down the already overcrowded Bala Sub, run all hicubes as singles through Windsor (tunnel is too short for hicube stacks), or take the CSX or NS Chicago Line to Buffalo, and come across in Fort Erie. Ultimately, the last option was chosen, much to the joy of Niagara railfans including myself. 

For power is CN 8804 and 2454. Used to hearing container trains on smooth track, hearing the sound of empty containers thrashing about on a bumpy south track was fairly intimidating. It certainly has a much more intense feel than the sound of what is essentially sheet metal on autoracks. A car count was not kept, but the train was around 200 cars. It felt odd seeing a complete stack train at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment on the south side of Lake Ontario. I decided to be up really early, anticipating this might be the only chance to see this reroute in early morning light or even with any light at all, given this was the first run and future runs likely would be smoother. Was I ever wrong, and I'm glad. The first reroute of this train ended up being the earliest, and a few others came in decent afternoon light. Afternoon light would've required a different location however, and this was the only 122 to come before nasty backlighting set in, so making sure I shot this 122 here was well worth it.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Daniel Odette all rights reserved.



Caption: Double stack container trains used to be a routine sight sight on CN in Niagara, unironically due to the lack of availability of a capable tunnel under the St. Clair River. The opening of the Tellier tunnel largely changed that. CN 154 and 155, the only stack trains that went through Niagara as an efficient route, weren't able to hold their own, typically extremely short in length, and often mixed with autoracks to make up for the lack of intermodal.

This likely was the first dedicated stack train to roll over the CN Grimsby Sub in about 15 years, and not a stubby one either. Running under the number 122, this is 148's typical train that otherwise would operate over the Dundas Sub. The wreck in the Sarnia tunnel meant for three options, go north and come down the already overcrowded Bala Sub, run all hicubes as singles through Windsor (tunnel is too short for hicube stacks), or take the CSX or NS Chicago Line to Buffalo, and come across in Fort Erie. Ultimately, the last option was chosen, much to the joy of Niagara railfans including myself.

For power is CN 8804 and 2454. Used to hearing container trains on smooth track, hearing the sound of empty containers thrashing about on a bumpy south track was fairly intimidating. It certainly has a much more intense feel than the sound of what is essentially sheet metal on autoracks. A car count was not kept, but the train was around 200 cars. It felt odd seeing a complete stack train at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment on the south side of Lake Ontario. I decided to be up really early, anticipating this might be the only chance to see this reroute in early morning light or even with any light at all, given this was the first run and future runs likely would be smoother. Was I ever wrong, and I'm glad. The first reroute of this train ended up being the earliest, and a few others came in decent afternoon light. Afternoon light would've required a different location however, and this was the only 122 to come before nasty backlighting set in, so making sure I shot this 122 here was well worth it.

Photographer:
Daniel Odette [152] (more) (contact)
Date: 06/30/2019 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 8804 (search)
Train Symbol: CN X12291 28 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 11.8 CN Grimsby Subdivision (search)
City/Town: St. Catharines (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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3 Comments
  1. Thanks Phil, I mentioned 154 and 155 for that reason. I know a railfan who has plenty of photos of 154. I managed to see it once when I was younger luckily, but the majority of the train was autoracks. I don’t remember the Maersk stacker. That probably was before my time.

    Thanks Greg, this is why I don’t railfan early in the mornings much. Thought it was much longer than it actually was. I’ll need to revisit the symbols used for all the reroutes. I know some were X, but I guess some weren’t.

  2. Hey Daniel, the stack trains that ran on the Grimbsy and Stamford Subs we not specifically about the lack of a proper tunnel under the St.Clair River. Actually 154 was a Mac to Buffalo train that stopped to pick up the double stacks at BIT. 154 was not really considered a stack train.
    Also, i don’t know if you were around then but CN used to run a train (forgot the number) for Maresk from Toronto to NS Tiff St yard in Buffalo. It ran every couple days for awhile.
    Great shot by the way. It is great to see stack trains on the Grimbsy again. Sorry the track is not what it once was, but the speed limit on the Grimbsy for freight is 60 and 65 for passenger trains. You are right though, it is a bumpy ride.

  3. Nice shot Daniel! I believe this was a “Q122″ though, not an “X”, and I counted 150 platforms.

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