Video: Port Colborne Harbour Railway

This is another interesting video of the Trillium Railway operations circa 2012. The back story is that CP was on strike at the time, preventing Trillium from using its normal interchange at Feeder. Instead interchange was done with the CN at Merritton. The video shows that all three Trillium locomotives were called into action.

Trillium Railway Detour Interchange, Merritton, May 26, 2012

The video does show the differences in traffic between the north and south parts of the railway. The south part is dominated by tank cars and covered hoppers, while north of Merritton, boxcars and gondolas are more prevalent.

Maps: Port Colborne Harbour Railway

The best way of understanding how the Port Colborne Railway is set up is from their parent company website; Trillium Railway has maps, photographs and information about the companies who ship via the PCHR. I’ve modified the PCHR map from their website to focus on the lower part of the PCHR, where my main interest lies:

Southern Part of the Port Colborne Harbour Railway

To get a better feel how these are physically located, I’ve created a Google Map with the key parts of the PCHR marked on it:

View Port Colborne Harbour Railway – Trackage Map in a larger map

An excellent resource for photos of the PCHR is Paul Duncan’s Niagara Rails website. Paul has divided his photographs up into two groups: one for the physical plant and one for trains on the physical plant. Here are the direct links for each of the sections of the PCHR (called spurs by the company):

Cayuga Spur: Track
Cayuga Spur: Trains
Covers Feeder East to Feeder West to End of Steel

Canal Spur: Track
Canal Spur: Trains
Covers Feeder West to WH Yard to Forks Jct to Dain and points north

Harbour Spur: Track
Harbour Spur: Trains
Covers Forks Jct to Fielden Jct to Macey Yard

Government Spur: Track
Government Spur: Trains
Covers Fielden Jct to End of Steel (ADM and Southpier)

Videos: Port Colborne Harbour Railway

There are a few videos of the Trillium Railway on the web. The following two videos from 2005 show Trillium Railway Engine #110 working the Canal Spur north of Dain City towards St Catharines. While they are not of the southern part of the PCHR, they do give a good flavour of the line circa 2005. The last two minutes of Part II show #110 crossing the liftbridge on the Canal Spur just east of Forks Junction.

Trillium Railway Part I (2005)

Trillium Railway Part II (2005)

The next two videos show trains shows trains moving strings of covered hoppers from Port Colborne. Unfortunately the video quality is not very high but you can see the types of covered hoppers used in the area. The first video highlights engines #108 and #168 while the second is engine #1859:

Trillium Railway #108 and #168 on Park Avenue, Port Colborne (2008)

Trillium Railway #1859 on Park Avenue, Port Colborne (2011?)

The Port Colborne Harbour Railway

I’m a big fan of Lance Mindheim‘s modern-era modelling. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out his website featuring his HO scale East Rail and Downtown Spur layouts, please take a few minutes to do so.

I’ve looked at a couple different prototypes over the years for such a layout. The Port Terminal Railroad Association in Houston has several scenes that would fit the bill. The CSX Sarnia Subdivision is another, with the advantage that I actually worked at one of the industries served by the line for several years. In the end, both are a little too large in scope for a small layout.

Then, I found the Trillium Railway in Port Colborne, Ontario. Cobbled together from several railway lines in the Niagara region, this section of the Trillium Railway (called the Port Colborne Harbour Railway) was tailor-made for the Mindheim approach.

Paul Duncan’s Niagara Rails website contains a wealth of information on the PCHR including its history, its current state and a large number of photographs. Trillium Railway‘s own website contains a great amount of detail on its locomotives, current customers and current trackage. In addition, there are numerous photographs and videos floating around railway photo websites and Youtube. The southern part of the PCHR has the highest concentration of industries so I will concentrate on documenting it first.

Don’t worry; I haven’t abandoned garden railroading. The Marchlyn Quarry Railway is in the plans to scratch my “narrow gauge live steam” itch, while the PCHR will allow me to explore the “operations prototype-modeling” arena. I currently don’t have room for either, so I’m just collecting information and equipment for both right now.