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Each spring OVGRS members undertake a major track work project, and this year Bell was the site chosen by management. Bell is situated in the southwest corner of the IPP&W Railway on the mainline south of Fir Grove.


Bell, with its facing point switching moves and limited space, has always been a challenge. Last year when it became an operational interchange junction with the RP&M Railway, it became a bottleneck. The management of both railways quickly realized that a makeover was needed to handle the increased traffic more efficiently.

The reconstructed yard at Bell is now longer and wider than before. To minimize material costs, labour, maintenance, and keep the switch points free of debris; switching yards are no longer ballasted. To improve the appearance of the switching yard, the deck was stained a warm brown colour.


The corner of the yard has also been widened to allow wider radius curves.


Despite a monsoon like month of May, the track at Bell is in place. The eastern lead to the yard branches out into 5 tracks. Closest to the fence are the passenger station spurs and the passenger station track. The remaining three tracks are two long yard tracks and the bypass.

Bell4This picture illustrates how much longer the yard tracks are than the old dead end spurs. This should allow the larger volume of traffic to be handled more easily.


In the west end of the yard the spur by the fence will serve the Warehouse and Distribution Center for Brunt’s Milling and Malting, distillers of fine Canadian whiskey.


As shown in the following picture track 1 the spur for the warehouse is attached to the east (left) end of switch A. The western (right) end of the switch is attached to the IPP&W Railway mainline which turns north to Fir Grove and Ralph Yard. The diverging route is attached to a switch B.

The east (left) end of switch B is track 2 which allows both the IPP&W and RP&M Railways access to the passenger station and its western spur. The western (right) end of switch B is the RP&M mainline which turns north to Rat Portage Yard.


The diverging route of switch C on the station track is the top of the yard ladder. Yard tracks 3 and 4 are accessed through switches D and E.

The bypass track 5 is accessed through switch F.

West of switch F, track 5 has three more switches. The IPP&W and RPM Railways interchange track 6 is accessed through switches G and H.

The caboose track 7, engine service track 8 and turntable track 9 are accessed through switches H and I.


At the western end of the yard, the IPP&W Railway mainline curves north toward its western terminus Firgrove and Ralph Yard. Next to it is the RP&M mainline ramping down towards Rat Portage, and beside it is the two railways’ interchange track.


Now that this project is complete; work will begin re-building Nelson Yard and Glen Hammond which were damaged when a 70 foot spruce tree was toppled in a wind storm. While waiting for that work to begin, Watkin’s Siding was added east of Bell to hold westbound trains waiting to enter or pass Bell.