Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trackside Log for Saturday, August 29, 2009

Today some friends and I were heading to Toronto to visit Fan Expo Canada 2009 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. We were going to take the GO train from St. Catharines but there was a very long lineup and we didn't think we could buy tickets before the train's arrival. Our solution was to drive ahead to Burlington and catch it there. No problem. We had our choice between the Niagara train and the regular Lakeshore West train which both arrived at the same time.

  • 1012 Burlington - GO 910 east - GOT 601-GOT 559 (photo)
  • 1013 Burlington - GO 782 east - GOT 618 (photo 1, photo 2)

We opted for the Niagara train because it's an express and two friends were already on board.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trackside Log for Saturday, August 22, 2009

This morning I was upstairs working on the computer when I heard the horns of a southbound Canadian Pacific train. Well the sun was out so I grabbed the camera. On the way to my chosen photographic location I could see that some rain clouds were imminent.

  • 0950 Fenwick - CP 246 south - CP 9545-STLH 5651

I got rather lucky with the photograph. I managed to grab the last vestiges of sunshine before the sky clouded over.

Later in the day I heard train 247 obtain a clearance from Brookfield East to Kinnear with the same power from the morning's train 246.

  • 2025 Fenwick - CP 247 north - CP 9545-STLH 5651
Shortly after the train passed through town the dispatcher informed the crew of train 247 that they'd have to set off cars 8 through 29 in Vinemount siding.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trackside Log for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

As I was driving home from work today I heard Canadian Pacific train 247 on the scanner approaching Welland. Since the railway has been primarily noctournal of late I stopped at home, grabbed a camera and headed trackside to have a look.

  • 1657 Fenwick - CP 247 north - CP 9516-CP 8880-CP 8705-CP 9588

Then I was back home. After some basketball, at about dusk a northbound acquired a clearance so I figured I'd walk to the tracks for a look. Remember what I said about a noctournal railway?

  • 2029 Fenwick - CP 255 north - CP 9634-CP 9619

Since train 255 was meeting a southbound in Smithville I kept an ear on the scanner. Eventually it showed up and I walked to the crossing just for fun.

  • 2132 Fenwick - CP 254 south - CP 8882-CP 9672

Afterward it was back to washing dishes.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Trackside Log for Sunday, August 16, 2009

This morning I was home working on the trackside log from the prior day's trip to North East, Pennsylvania. After a while Canadian Pacific train 246 called out mile sign Boyle. I picked up my camera and went to Chantler Road.

  • 1154 Fenwick - CP 246 south - CP 8763

After the rather small train passed by I returned home and continued editing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Trackside Log for Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just the previous Tuesday I received my Ontario Enhanced Drivers License. Thanks to good old American paranoia I had been unable to cross the border into the United States since June 1st when the required documents for entry changed. So, with new card in hand, I decided that I should at least make use of the $40 it cost me. The plan was to visit North East, Pennsylvania for the day. Marcus was also going to be joining me.

I headed out the door at 0700 into what promised to be a clear but very hot day. I met Marcus at Fort Erie and we braved the Peace Bridge border crossing. It wasn't terribly busy and we were granted entry with minimal difficulty. In an effort to conserve time we took Interstate 90 straight to North East. A westbound with a pair of Union Pacific SD70Ms was already there when we arrived. We weren't going to be able to photograph it before it took off so we stopped for breakfast at McDonald's. Naturally, while there, an eastbound also passed through. Luckily CSX runs enough trains that we weren't too concerned. We took the food over to Bort Road and after a wait long enough to eat some trains showed up.

  • 1017 North East, PA - CSX Q251 west - CSXT 377-CSXT 7678
  • 1037 North East, PA - CSX Q371 west - CSXT 8196-CSXT 7628
  • 1056 North East, PA - CSX Q281 west - CSXT 8806-CSXT 5824
  • 1101 North East, PA - CSX Q268 east - CSXT 5388-CSXT 7789
  • 1238 North East, PA - NS 310 east - NS 9195-NS 8773

By noon the air was thick. A lull in the action occurred after the Norfolk Southern train so Marcus and I decided it was a good time for lunch. We drove into North East proper and bought lunch from Subway. We took our subs to the former New York Central station which is now the home of Lake Shore Railway Historical Society. Between lunch and perusing exhibits and magazines some trains passed by the station.

  • 1356 North East, PA - CSX Q109 west - CSXT 8758-CSXT 5338-CSXT 5373
  • 1405 North East, PA - CSX Q161 west - CSXT 5479-CSXT 5415-CSXT 7911
  • 1421 North East, PA - NS 22K east - NS 2639-NS 2527
  • 1428 North East, PA - CSX Q146 east - CSXT 97-CSXT 5208

Word on the radio was that Norfolk Southern train 309 was on the way. Marcus and I made our way back to Bort Road for a photograph there.

  • 1515 North East, PA - NS 309 west - NS 2629-NS 9249
  • 1524 North East, PA - CSX westbound - CSXT 5323-CSXT 7392-CSXT 7612

The sun was starting to cross over the tracks and making photography difficult at Bort Road so we drove to the next crossing west, Remington Road.

  • 1604 North East, PA - CSX eastbound - CSXT 5242-CSXT 7507
  • 1607 North East, PA - NS eastbound - NS 9822-NS 9120
  • 1613 North East, PA - CSX eastbound - CSXT 5263-CSXT 8809
  • 1631 North East, PA - CSX Q115 west - CSXT 5377-CSXT 5366-CSXT 5439-CSXT 5230-CSXT 5359
  • 1647 North East, PA - CSX Q381 west - CSXT 7689-CSXT 8049
  • 1649 North East, PA - CSX ethanol eastbound - CSXT 7915-CSXT 8853
  • 1704 North East, PA - CSX K645 westbound ethanol - CSXT 5313-CSXT 9039-CSXT 4795-CSXT 40-CSXT 5466
At that point everything got very quiet again so we made the move eastward, toward home. We followed Route 5 so we had easy access to the tracks if we heard of a westbound in the area. The only known train was a Q108 east which wasn't very photographable anyway. It caught up to us at Ripley, New York.
  • 1737 Ripley, NY - CSX Q108 east - CSXT 7691-CSXT 7706-CSXT 5319

We managed to miss the only westbound that appeared during the 70 mile journey back to Buffalo but overall we managed to have a pretty decent, albeit sweaty, day trackside in Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Trackside Log for Monday, August 3, 2009

After another pleasant sleep at The Station Inn in Cochrane I awoke to the final day of my drive around Northern Ontario. Today I had to drive back home from Cochrane: about 800km. After packing everything back into my car and checking out of the hotel I photographed the day's southbound Northlander which was just pulling into the station. It was getting pretty cloudy, but I managed a few photographs.

  • 0730 Cochrane - ONR 698 south "Northlander" - ONT 1800-ONT 204 (photo)

The power for the Polar Bear Express also pulled up to the station but it was the same as the day before which I photographed already. The Northlander was headed in my direction so I decided to find a spot somewhere south to photograph the train again. During my drive I found beautiful clear skies. It turned out that the clouds were really only Cochrane and north. I located a nice location in Ramore across from the former Ontario Northland station which is now the fire department.

  • 0914 Ramore - ONR 698 south "Northlander" - ONT 1800-ONT 204

Along the way I heard on the scanner that the Northlander was meeting train 213 at mile 35. I scouted a location to photograph the northbound.

  • 1000 Bourkes - ONR 213 north - ONT 2105-ONT 1734

As I continued south the clouds once again built and by the time I got to Englehart it was again overcast. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. I stopped in at the Ontario Northland yard there and immediately found an SD40-2 switching in the yard and a southbound parked just north of the station.

  • 1050 Englehart - ONR switcher - ONT 1735 (photo)
  • 1052 Englehart - ONR southbound - ONT 2104-ONT 1733-ONT 2103 (photo)

I also noticed another SD40-2 parked down at the south end of the yard.

  • 1058 Englehart ONR power - ONT 1730 (photo)

The original plan was to stop at North Bay as well, but during the drive the rain began. Since I'd already done rather well photographing the Ontario Northland I decided to forgo North Bay in favour of making my way home.

And then the trip was over. The only annoying part was the weather. I could have done without the repeated rain. At least I was able to get some nice sunny weather in the middle. The ride on the Polar Bear Express was great and I accomplished all my photographic goals. I guess I can't complain too much.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Trackside Log for Sunday, August 2, 2009

This morning I woke up to the sound of a GP40-2 and GP38-2 outside my room in The Station Inn in Cochrane. I quickly got ready and took my camera outside.

Before very long the trainset for the day's Northlander pulled out.

  • 0725 Cochrane - ONR 698 equipment "Northlander" - ONT 1806-ONT 202 (photo)

The crew wyed the train so it was facing Toronto and backed it past the station in order to get on the station track.

  • 0744 Cochrane - ONR 698 south "Northlander" - ONT 1806-ONT 202

Then, while the Northlander was pulling into the station track, the westbound pulled out of town.

  • 0748 Cochrane - ONR westbound - ONT 2202-ONT 1804 (photo)
  • 0749 Cochrane - ONR 698 south "Northlander" - ONT 1806-ONT 202 (photo 1, photo 2)

While the Northlander was boarding passengers the power for the Polar Bear Express pulled toward the station.

  • 0754 Cochrane - ONR 621 equipment "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1809-ONT 1808 (photo)

After the Northlander departed the Polar Bear Express pulled its coach consist out of the yard.

  • 0815 Cochrane - ONR 621 north "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1809-ONT 1808 (photo)

They lifted the canoe car and two box cars on the tail end and three flat cars loaded with vehicles on the head end. Then they spotted the train in front of the station. Everyone bound for Moosonee, myself included, boarded and we were off (nineteen minutes late) on the 186 mile trip through the Northern Ontario wilderness.

  • 0919 depart Cochrane - ONR 621 north "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1809-ONT 1808
  • 1451 arr Moosonee - ONR 621 north "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1809-ONT 1808

Unfortunately it was raining by the time we arrived but I took the opportunity to explore Moosonee. During my walk the locomotives switched out the flat cars and ran around the train to prepare for the return trip south. After a while I photographed the results.

  • 1550 Moosonee - ONR 622 south "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 203 power car (photo)
  • 1555 Moosonee - ONR 622 south "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1808-ONT 1809 (photo 1, photo 2)

Since there were still another two hours before departure I grabbed a snack and continued exploring Moosonee. Once I'd tired of strolling in the rain I returned to the train to await departure.

  • 1803 dep Moosonee - ONR 622 south "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1808-ONT 1809

On the way south I made my way to the dining car for supper. I had some nice roast beef and blueberry pie for desert. I thoroughly enjoyed eating with the boreal forest drifting by beside me. After a long but satisfying day we arrived back at Cochrane.

  • 2316 arr Cochrane - ONR 622 south "Polar Bear Express" - ONT 1808-ONT 1809

Riding the Polar Bear Express was fabulous. My thanks to all the staff for helping make the trip great. I'm glad I decided on the spur of the moment the previous week to do it.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Trackside Log for Saturday, August 1, 2009

This morning I awoke just as Canadian Pacific train 222 was pulling to the east end of Chapleau yard. The Bridgeview Motel is at the west end (of course). I took my time getting the day underway since track gangs had been working through the night. By about 0930 the last track occupancy permit was cancelled. The first train to arrive was 103 west. After the recrew I photographed it from the footbridge.

  • 1015 Chapleau - CP 103 west - CP 8762-CP 8750

The White River Subdivision dispatcher informed the crew that their first meet, 104, was at Franz. That's about two hours. I didn't feel like waiting around so I drove to Cochrane. When I arrived Ontario Northland offered nothing noteworthy to photograph so I checked into The Station Inn and picked up my tickets for the next day's Polar Bear Express train to Moosonee. The skies grew dark, the wind gusted and I ate supper at The Station Restaurant before relaxing in my room.