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A pair of MLW C424s head westbound through Guelph Junction with a few side dump cars on the headend.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Bruce Acheson all rights reserved.

Caption: A pair of MLW C424s head westbound through Guelph Junction with a few side dump cars on the headend.

Bruce Acheson [129] (more) (contact)
Date: 08/1988 (search)
Railway: Canadian Pacific (search)
Reporting Marks: CP 4237, CP 4229 (search)
Train Symbol: N/A (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Galt Sub (search)
City/Town: Guelph Junction (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 50126

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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  1. This brings back memories. It doesn’t appear to be running extra, so it may be using one of the morning schedules, 903 or 937. Regardless of how it’s running, It looks like it could be the London Pickup with cars for Ayr on the headend. We used to refer to those cars as “air dumps” , and some guys thought it was “Ayr dumps”, because they used to be loaded at the bottom of the Ayr pit from the company ballast pit. Back then it was pool crews that switched Ayr pit, not assigned jobs from Wolverton or Galt. 6 axle units were prohibited from using the spur at Ayr, so if a train had them but was required to work at Ayr, a 4 axle unit had to be added to the consist for that work.

  2. Beauty.

  3. Ronald when did the ayr pit close? Did the spur cross northumbeland?

  4. Ron;In running past Guelph Jct,did you ever come across Chicken Head . Bruce

  5. Yes, many times. I worked as Conductor on the Guelph Jct roadswitcher for 6 months in 1977, so I saw him a few days each week. His name was Merry Dronick, he passed away many years ago. He was an interesting character, the nickname was given by a young London brakeman back in the early 1970s. I usually avoided using nicknames for others, because many were derogatory. I used to call Merry “Murray” because I didn’t know what his real name was. He could be a bit abrasive so I think many were quite happy to use that nickname. Interestingly, he had a son that worked as an Operator for a few years. He was given a nickname too… “chicken little”.

  6. Stephen, the pit was still providing ballast as late as 1980. I recall being on an Ayr turn out of Quebec Street then. The turn was runni8bg daily for a couple of weeks to supply fill for the new hotbox locations on the Windsor Sub. The turns were run out of the freight pool, we took about 15 empty “air dumps” (those short side dumpcars) to Ayr, spotted them at the bottom of the pit after pulling out the loads. The round trip could be made in 4 hours so it was a decent job, nice change from through freight runs. After the ballast ran out, the company would use the track to store cars. One time they stored a bunch of empty open trilevel autoracks there in winter. When it came time to pull them out, the last few cars were frozen solid as it had rained on the snow & we had a flash freeze.

  7. Ron; I think his name was Murray.From what I remember the kids around the Jct started calling him Chicken Head. Maybe it was the Farmer brothers who had something to do with it.

  8. Regarding your other question Stephen, there were 3 tracks on the spur. The first was a short spur near the wye called Tampa Hall Lumber. It would get the odd car of lumber here & there. Nearer to the end at the crossing behind where the Foodland store is now, a spur branched to the left, it was called Maus stock pen track back in the day. The ballast pit track went straight ahead. The old timers told me that the Maus track used to cross Northumberland and went into a margarine factory. Apparently, it used a switchback so the crew had to have those cars behind the power going in. That track was long gone by 1970, not sure when it was pulled. It would have been an extension of where the stop block is now right near Northumberland.

  9. Tampa hall still has a spur, rarely gets cars but it happens. The stock track is now a new transload called park farms where they get various commodities. Lafarge may still get flyash and FS partners keeps the place fairly busy with fertilizer. For a small spur in a rural community it remains busy.

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