Friday, August 19, 2016

Sometimes it's just finding the right person to ask.

There are days when I feel like I'm really meant to model this chunk of the Wabash/CN lines.
It takes time but slowly the little mysteries are being revealed to me.

While drawing out the track plan for Aylmer, using the survey as a major guide, I noticed that there's this little spur in the middle of the yard limits, just north of the freight shed.

As you can see there's no structure associated. Just a pump house and a stand pipe. And maybe long enough for 2-3 cars. Curious.
We know that the railroads don't leave spurs in place for entertainment value. Track switches mean maintenance and possible derailments. If the railroads could find a way they'd do without them all together.
So why is this spur there? Particularly since the team track is just across the main.
This is where my friend Bill comes into the scene. Bill used to work in Imperial Tobacco and is a long time resident of Aylmer. In fact he grew up across the street from the canning plant that is served by the railroad.
I gave Bill a copy of the survey and and asked him to pick the brains of his friends and neighbors.
Bill came back with an interesting answer for me.
Turns out that this spur was used for loading apples onto boxcars. Just to the west of the yard were a couple of good sized orchards. And in the off season occasionally the tobacco plant would use that spur for holding cars.
Not something I would have guessed.
It still leaves me wondering why the team tracks weren't used. But there had to be a reason. Maybe I'll figure that one out one day.
One mystery at a time.


Stephen Gardiner said...

Nice mystery solved.

Out of curiosity, your survey drawings you are using, are these something you got from the Railways archives, or are they the Fire Atlas Plans (Ghods or similar) that i've seen for other places. They are more detailed than plans i've seen or located of other places. Knowing where to potentially find such good plans could be helpful for future layout planning.

Pierre Oliver said...

I got very lucky with these surveys.
They are actual Canadian National Railway surveys. I have digital copies of most of the Cayuga Sub.
They came to me from Ian Wilson, well known Canadian railroad author. I am forever in his debt on that.

Anonymous said...

The team tracks in Aylmer, were occasionally used. I have heard of relatives getting appliances loaded off the team track in Aylmer in the 50s and 60s.