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Given the current situation in the world I was hesitant to head out on Saturday.  I typically like to railfan with a companion to help pass the time between trains but considering work won't even allow two guys to travel in the same truck that option was out.  I decided to set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. and see what Saturday morning brought.  At 5:30 a.m. I realised I had set the alarm for 5:00 p.m. but thankfully my brain is programmed to get up at that time anyway.  A quick trace revealed the object of my affection, the GMD-1us assigned to London would be on CN 514 starting in Chatham Saturday morning.  I quickly packed some food and water to avoid having to stop anywhere and embarked on the 2 hour drive to Chatham.  

The drive on the 403 and 401 was eerily deserted; just me a few trucks.  I arrived in Chatham shortly after 8:00 a.m. and about 40 minutes later the crew arrived.  There was a ton of cars for 514 and the crew would have a long day.  After switching out box cars for Charron Warehousing they then headed to the Sarnia Spur with 9 hoppers for ADM in Blenheim and 12 hoppers for Agris in Thamesville.  They left the Agris cars in the former C&O yard while they went down to Blenheim where they set off the 9 empties and lifted one load.  After the blistering 10 mph trip back to Chatham they then had to sort the potash cars for the two Agris facilities before heading to Thamesville.  Five hoppers went to the smaller facility in Thamesville and seven to the larger, easterly elevator.  

In the photo, CN 1439 and 1444 have just set off the five hoppers and are running around the other seven so they can be set off at the elevator at the right of the photo.  They would lift one empty hopper here and return to Chatham with the load from Blenheim and the empty lifted here.  Back in Chatham there day would not be over because they still had to switch Charron before calling it a day.  There was also a CN gondola in the yard in Chatham that I don't know where it would have gone.  I parted ways with the train in Thameville for a quiet drive back to Hamilton.  In these unusual times be safe out there.  Time to dig in to the slide binders and do some scanning!
Copyright Notice: This image ©Rob Smith all rights reserved.



Caption: Given the current situation in the world I was hesitant to head out on Saturday. I typically like to railfan with a companion to help pass the time between trains but considering work won't even allow two guys to travel in the same truck that option was out. I decided to set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. and see what Saturday morning brought. At 5:30 a.m. I realised I had set the alarm for 5:00 p.m. but thankfully my brain is programmed to get up at that time anyway. A quick trace revealed the object of my affection, the GMD-1us assigned to London would be on CN 514 starting in Chatham Saturday morning. I quickly packed some food and water to avoid having to stop anywhere and embarked on the 2 hour drive to Chatham. The drive on the 403 and 401 was eerily deserted; just me a few trucks. I arrived in Chatham shortly after 8:00 a.m. and about 40 minutes later the crew arrived. There was a ton of cars for 514 and the crew would have a long day. After switching out box cars for Charron Warehousing they then headed to the Sarnia Spur with 9 hoppers for ADM in Blenheim and 12 hoppers for Agris in Thamesville. They left the Agris cars in the former C&O yard while they went down to Blenheim where they set off the 9 empties and lifted one load. After the blistering 10 mph trip back to Chatham they then had to sort the potash cars for the two Agris facilities before heading to Thamesville. Five hoppers went to the smaller facility in Thamesville and seven to the larger, easterly elevator. In the photo, CN 1439 and 1444 have just set off the five hoppers and are running around the other seven so they can be set off at the elevator at the right of the photo. They would lift one empty hopper here and return to Chatham with the load from Blenheim and the empty lifted here. Back in Chatham there day would not be over because they still had to switch Charron before calling it a day. There was also a CN gondola in the yard in Chatham that I don't know where it would have gone. I parted ways with the train in Thameville for a quiet drive back to Hamilton. In these unusual times be safe out there. Time to dig in to the slide binders and do some scanning!

Photographer:
Rob Smith [275] (more) (contact)
Date: 03/21/2020 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 1439 (search)
Train Symbol: CN 514 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Not Provided
City/Town: Thamesville (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=40676
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Photo ID: 39470

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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6 Comments
  1. @railwayguy – I believe the Sarnia Spur junction with the Chatham Sub. is CTC… the switch is out of sight from the public road so I’m not 100% certain.

  2. Never tire looking at present day operating GMD1’s Rob. Many thanks for all your efforts and long drive, it is appreciated ! If I were younger, I would do the same to photograph two GMD1’s in MU. Very interesting and informative narrative, and now understand local rail operations on the Chatham Sub In the Thamesville/
    Chatham area. I was last through the area on VIA #73 from Windsor in March, 2019 and you have answered many questions I had at that time. Is the switch to the Sarnia spur leading to Blenheim CTC controlled ?

  3. Intriguing, thanks !

  4. Charron is at 123 Byng Ave. in Chatham. They have a spur off the Chatham Sub. Yes, looks the trucking company. See: charrongroup.com/warehousing/

  5. What and where is Charron Warehouse? Related to the trucking company of the same name?

  6. Really nice Rob. Well worth the drive. I hope you get time to scan some of your work.

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