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On Location: Cardinal Ontario

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Published on Sep 10, 2009

On Location: Cardinal Ontario.

Located 105 miles away from Bonaventure station in Montreal Quebec. Cardinal is the location where the small 1.2 mile Canada Starch spur connects with CN's Kingston Subdivision. CASCO uses an ex-CN GMD1u to switch the interchange and inside the plant itself. The line passes through the village too. Through backyards, past buildings and a church parking lot.

Cardinal was also the location where the Cornwall Diversion ended when the St. Lawrence Seaway was built. CN was forced to abandon 40 miles of its original Grand Trunk mainline from Cornwall to Cardinal, along the St. Lawrence when the Seaway was being built. A new 40 mile mainline was built 1-2 miles north of the original one. Through open marsh, forest and small hills. New towns, moved/relocated during the Seaway project, were built along the mainline. The old mainline was stripped of everything and reused but some items still remain visible in certain spots. Today, HWY 2 uses portions of the old GTR mainline on it's journey from Cornwall to Cardinal.

Cardinal is just a small town, within the Township of Edwardsburgh-Cardinal. It was on an island, accessible by a swing bridge, until the Seaway project made the old canal redundant. The old canal was filled in and the island made into a peninsula. Canada Starch established it's plant in Cardinal by the river in 1858 and has remained in the town since then. Providing employment to those living withing the area. As stated above, the company employs a GMD1u to work the confines of the plant, but also to run to the interchange north of town to exchange cars with CN at a small yard.

CN's Kingston Subdivision passes north of Cardinal on banked/elevated curves. Depending which direction a trains runs, it's either a downhill run westward or an uphill climb eastward. A small depot was located south of the tracks many years ago but it was torn down. A small sign, on an old telephone pole, immortalizes the small handful of operators who worked at the CNR Cardinal depot from years past.

The CASCO interchange yard is east of the former station location and can be viewed safely from it. The rails of the CASCO line are dated back to 1924 and when the CASCO switcher comes to do some work, the rails creek and whine loudly from the weight of the freight unit. On the day I visited Cardinal, the CASCO switcher had already returned to the plant.

Enjoy this little video of train action at Cardinal Ontario.

Thanks!

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