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In 1996, CN had officially abandoned their Newmarket Subdivision between Barrie and Longford Mills, severing the mainline as a through route and putting the Canadian on the preferred Bala Subdivision route permanently.  While this section of the line had received extensive attention during its final runs, CN had also deemed the northern section of its Newmarket Subdivision between North Bay and Capreol as no longer required as the only freight traffic on this portion would have been occasional run through trains using the subdivision to reach Capreol. And with trains 450/451 only operating between Toronto and North Bay it was put up for discontinuance. Following its approval of abandonment, CN had contracted emerging company Cando Contracting to remove the heavy mainline rail for them. In the days before internet, cell phones and social media this lengthy operation basically went on virtually undetected and photos are very scarce despite the fact this was still an active mainline until the end. A lot of this had likely to do with the majority of this line being very remote and photo locations not very accessible. 

So then this is where the expect the unexpected part of the hobby comes into play during one of yearly northern Ontario railfan trips. 

In late summer 1997, a group of us were heading to Sudbury and decided to detour through North Bay during the morning, hoping to catch something on the Ottawa Valley Railway along the way. That morning, it was very foggy and after some photos at the CP North Bay station we continued our journey on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Sudbury. I believe some of us were even beginning to start nodding-off when a friend suddenly said “Ah buddy there’s GP9’s over there!”  Yup there sure was. Catching us totally off guard were Cando Contracting 1000 and 94 as they slowly appeared between trees , headed to their waiting rail train that was likely situated somewhere in the remote wilderness. At this point the line started paralleling the highway from North Bay within sight so we were able to get ahead of the units and quickly pulled over at the crossing where the Trans-Canada highway intersected it. A mad scramble ensued as camera bags were quickly opened and we all piled out of my dad’s van as we set-up to photographs the units going over the highway. The crossing protection had been previously disconnected so Cando workers had to protect the movement each time a train crossed it. Unfortunately, myself and a friend got in my dad’s photo of the units as they crossed and he likely got one of the best photos of all of us as seen here. The late 90’s were crazy times; where high-hood GP9’s could tear out a mainline virtually unnoticed and then go on to start second careers on  new shortlines the following year.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Carl Noe (Collection of Jason Noe) all rights reserved.



Caption: In 1996, CN had officially abandoned their Newmarket Subdivision between Barrie and Longford Mills, severing the mainline as a through route and putting the Canadian on the preferred Bala Subdivision route permanently. While this section of the line had received extensive attention during its final runs, CN had also deemed the northern section of its Newmarket Subdivision between North Bay and Capreol as no longer required as the only freight traffic on this portion would have been occasional run through trains using the subdivision to reach Capreol. And with trains 450/451 only operating between Toronto and North Bay it was put up for discontinuance. Following its approval of abandonment, CN had contracted emerging company Cando Contracting to remove the heavy mainline rail for them. In the days before internet, cell phones and social media this lengthy operation basically went on virtually undetected and photos are very scarce despite the fact this was still an active mainline until the end. A lot of this had likely to do with the majority of this line being very remote and photo locations not very accessible.
So then this is where the expect the unexpected part of the hobby comes into play during one of yearly northern Ontario railfan trips.
In late summer 1997, a group of us were heading to Sudbury and decided to detour through North Bay during the morning, hoping to catch something on the Ottawa Valley Railway along the way. That morning, it was very foggy and after some photos at the CP North Bay station we continued our journey on the Trans-Canada Highway towards Sudbury. I believe some of us were even beginning to start nodding-off when a friend suddenly said “Ah buddy there’s GP9’s over there!” Yup there sure was. Catching us totally off guard were Cando Contracting 1000 and 94 as they slowly appeared between trees , headed to their waiting rail train that was likely situated somewhere in the remote wilderness. At this point the line started paralleling the highway from North Bay within sight so we were able to get ahead of the units and quickly pulled over at the crossing where the Trans-Canada highway intersected it. A mad scramble ensued as camera bags were quickly opened and we all piled out of my dad’s van as we set-up to photographs the units going over the highway. The crossing protection had been previously disconnected so Cando workers had to protect the movement each time a train crossed it. Unfortunately, myself and a friend got in my dad’s photo of the units as they crossed and he likely got one of the best photos of all of us as seen here. The late 90’s were crazy times; where high-hood GP9’s could tear out a mainline virtually unnoticed and then go on to start second careers on new shortlines the following year.

Photographer:
Carl Noe (Collection of Jason Noe) [734] (more) (contact)
Date: 08/30/1997 (search)
Railway: Cando (search)
Reporting Marks: Cando 1000 & Cando 94 (search)
Train Symbol: Cando Rail Salvage Train (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mile 240.45 CN Newmarket Subdivision- Between Yellek & Meadowside (search)
City/Town: North Bay (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 47285

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
Note: Read why maps changed. Suncalc.net for reference only.

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11 Comments
  1. Awesome. Who is in the pic???

  2. Is 94 now 1001 on the Barrie Collingwood Railway?

  3. Very short sighted, the line had been rebuilt just before it was closed.

  4. That looks like Tony Deeth on the left.The dude on the right not sure who he be.

  5. To think this was the start of the $800m cando empire..!

  6. Great angle and the GP9s look great on the approach

  7. Thanks for all the comments on this one.

    @Steve/Bruce- Yes that is Tony to the left and a much younger me on the right.

    @Matthew Whiteley- Yes 94 became 1001.

  8. Jason;tell Tony that the UCRS meeting are back running.The night is now Thursday at the same place and time.

  9. Thanks Bruce, if I talk to Tony I will certainly let him know.

  10. A great catch Jason. I was trying to figure out what this stretch was. Didn’t realize the Newmarket went north of North Bay. This was part of the Alderdale Sub prior to May 1988 when it was split: Nipissing to Capreol added to the Newmarket, and Nipissing to Brent added to the Beachburg.

  11. Thanks Jacob for the comment and for the background. When doing the caption I had to do some digging as a lot of sources still called it the Alderdale Sub, but my notes confirmed it as the Newmarket at the time.

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