Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New VIA Rail Book: Pre-Publication Post

My fourth book on VIA Rail is now ready for my graphic designer. I'm pumped, proud and pooped now that I've written and edited text pieces, populated spreadsheets with data, chosen, edited and balanced photo content. It's only a mockup! (top photo) and the actual cover will be even better. It's time to let potential purchasers what will be in this volume.

  • Illustrated trips aboard VIA from 1980 through 2017, to:
  • Vancouver, 
  • Calgary
  • Portage la Prairie
  • Winnipeg
  • Prince Rupert
  • Ottawa
  • Quebec City 

And text pieces on interesting equipment and facets of VIA operations, most from personal experience:
  • Perks of Business Class
  • Steam, traps and air whistles..Kingston platform sights and sounds
  • Trains to Churchill
  • Swapping sleepers at Winnipeg between the Canadian and Super Continental
  • Canadian consists at two locations during the early 80's
  • VIA flips the Skylines
  • Vice-Regal Car Trips
  • More Rescue trains, some wild and wacky combinations
  • IC3 Flexliners in VIA service
  • Working the Canadian
  • Modelling VIA
  • triVIA throughout!

And useful data gleaned from various sources:
  • F-unit Paint Transition Data from CN to VIA
  • Discovered Consists including more early, recently-discovered Corridor Consists
  • 2011-2017 Update and Consists or what VIA has been up to lately
  • Refurbished LRC cars in Renaissance colours, both clubs and coaches
  • F40 Wraps; what wore which wrap when?
  • F40 Rebuild dates; when they were rebuilt
  • Locomotive Roster
  • Car roster

And 180+ interesting, unique and diverse black & white and colour photos illustrating all the above, plus a 10-page colour section and colour illustrated covers to boot.

I'm proud to have assembled (and then been so impressed by the information provided by) my team of contributors for this volume: Don McQueen, Mark Sampson, Tim Hayman and Mark Perry. Each has contributed valuable pieces to this panoramic passenger puzzle.

It's been five years since my previous book hit bookshelves across Canada, the US and around the world, selling over 250 copies. Do people still buy books? You bet they do. 

And to make it easier, I'll be offering new payment methods to make it so much easier for seller and buyer alike.

And best news of all, I am holding the price line and giving great value. Free shipping to your door. Same great content, same great price.

I'll leave it here for now. I really wanted to wait to profile this publication at launch time. But I just couldn't wait, and wanted to put the word out there because the whole process has been so worthwhile, fulfilling and just plain ol' darn exciting!

Of course, you'll have to see it to judge for yourself.
Me too, for now!
Soon it will be time for the...

(Stay tuned to the NEW VIA RAIL BOOK blog at top of my right sidebar for further updates. Yellow background means the proof is done, and green means it's available! This will be the only update you'll see on Trackside Treasure.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pop-up Post: CN Nos 368/372, February 2017

Former Sultran bathtubs OFOX 1009-3354
During a railfan trip to Belleville on February 11, CN No 368 at 0920 and CN No 372 at 1015 had some interesting freight cars on board. Time for another pop-up post!
LW 9070 with MFK graffiti

WWUX 7256-4451-4411 and four more W&W's

GTA grain with almost unreadable reporting marks!

CN 382624-382055 plain-jane, graffiti-less covered hoppers

UNPX 121400 cylindrical covered hopper with a few 'friends'

Fourteen IC, CC, WC, CN, and BLE (1738) scrap tie cars

X372 at Belleville: EAMX 1205 'slab-side' covered hopper

Kingston Invista bound - KLRX 525078

Chevrons in the snow: ONT 7729

I'm SP, no I'm UP, no, I'm...

Baby-blue GTW auto rack

Belleville set-out roofing granule car AEQX (ex-B&M) 3001.

Sandersville 704

K&T Clays logo is being overtaken by graffiti on ACFX 68490

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter in Belleville, February 2017

A mid-winter trip to the Belleville area today was action-packed. Upon arrival along Airport Parkway, CN 2229 was spooling up to drag a long No 368 east of the yard, after crew change.
Alas, 'twas not to be. Alert incoming crew members noticed a dragging chain on empty ingot car HPJX 52369. Driving to the problem car in the crew cab, this short delay allowed your humble blogger to take another crack at photographing the train. Those are two former Sultran sulfur bathtub gons third and fourth back (above). Watch for a postscript post that will highlight some of the interesting rolling stock on this day's trains. C40-8W 2190, formerly ATSF then BNSF 855 was the mid-train unit:
Setting up to catch VIA No 61 south of the Moira River bridge, at 1002 it was VIA 906 leading four largely un-Renaissanced cars, but wait...
Watch the video here. Trailing the LRC cars was VIA's first (and perhaps only) non-LRC car wrapped for CANADA 150 - our sesquicentennial - it's ex-BC Rail VIA 1750 lounge car Glenfraser!
CN train X372 crept around the curve west of the bridge at 1015. Zooming in to see just what the heck was leading the train, there were shades of CP Rail candy-striped 5800-series SD40-2's!
But nooooo, it was the CN Heritage Tour train. BCOL 4611 led IC 1024 and two warhorses - CN 4730 and 4726. Watch the video here.
Creeping in at 10 mph, the trainmaster lined 372 into yard track BY12. They would recrew before setting out 37 of their 85 cars into yard track BY18. The two trailing Geeps would be set out into power track BY56 near the yard office. Sorry to be so repetitive, but watch the video here. CN 4774 was tied onto some roofing granule cars deep in the yard. Spot the passenger pigeon-discouraging VIAowl!
While this was going on, I relocated to the east end of the yard where VIA No 52/62 dusted through:
VIA 6442 led five LRC cars, then 6453 led four LRC cars in J-train format at 1103. These are video captures from this video:
Intermodal train 186 was approaching, from Winnipeg and maybe Prince Rupert farther west, heading for Montreal. I took full advantage of my camera's 30X zoom to see what the power was:
The meet with 186's power 5768-2926 and 305's power 8815-8837-2323 took place at 1150 and of course, you can watch the video here.
At the same time this was happening, 372 was back together - HCRY boxcars visible between the two trains' power (above) - and getting out of town behind them while 186 and 305 stopped at the east and west ends of the yard, respectively, to change crews.
Two VIA trains scooped 305 while it was waiting at the VIA station. The first one was No 643 at 1155, but the second took awhile longer, as the outgoing crew had to wait until VIA No 63 made it west from Napanee at 1223. The outgoing and incoming crews (the latter waiting to do a pull-by inspection) exchanged some of the seven words you can't say on television before climbing into warm cabs to wait out the delay.
 Here's 6445 leading No 643:
 and stopping:
VIA No 40 with 6420 was a non-stop at 1220. And what would this photo be without my suggestion that you watch the video here.

Running extra...

McCarthy era - well, a new one is at hand. The era of Melissa McCarthy spicing up Sean Spicer as White House press secretary on Saturday Night Live. Last night's unpreditable motorized dangerous podium took the zaniness to a new level!
Conspiracies and suspicion. Is VIA painting all P42's and one F40? Perhaps an F-unit coming out of retirement? Who knows? Bad existing paint jobs seem to be the main target of the CANADA 150 city name scheme. Can it be long before glue-grey roller-painted 3368 gets the station name treatment?
The VIAcariously cynical side of me wonders if there will be a VIA CANADA 150 Car-of-Shame with a wrap of historic cities no longer served by passenger trains: Calgary-Saint John-Regina-Thunder Bay?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Postscript: Diefenbaker Funeral Train

In June 2014, I published a post on the John G. Diefenbaker funeral train that bore the Chief home to Saskatchewan in August, 1979. Bruce Chapman kindly subsequently shared photos last September that were taken at Ottawa Station on that day. Vice-Regal cars at left (top photo) as the funeral procession (below) arrived at the station.

Honour Guard (above) and the head-end (below):
The three units were on the train when it arrived in Sudbury. A CP Rail diesel maintainer was riding the train Ottawa to Sudbury, and only 1410 was working! The other two units were on idle. CP dug out two SG-equipped RS10's and CN was waiting with two cab units at Winnipeg.
Departing the nation's capital:
At Bells Jct/Moodie Drive (below). Opposing trains through Northern Ontario were stopped prior to meeting the train. CP Rail mechanical staff in Chapleau were issued with white overalls for train servicing. The Royal Canadian Legion conducted a short ceremony at White River. Classy.

Thanks to Bruce Chapman for sharing the photos and gathering memories about this historic train from Reg Fitzpatrick and Gerard McGrath.  

Running extra...

That was Canada 112. For Canada 150, VIA is slapping wraps on VIA 916, LRC coach 3356 and Glenfraser. The first two were on VIA Nos 60 and 67 today. Malcolm Peakman turned up trackside at Mi 196 to snap No 60 in daylight:
Note to self: grab a photo of that Technicolor Toaster to include in my upcoming book on VIA Rail. I'm deep into selecting photos right now. That is a ton of fun. So much so that I don't really want the book creation process to ever end.

Tonight on Jeopardy, the clue was about a 'Q' person who was a traitor in WW2 Norway. AND THE CONTESTANT ACTUALLY GUESSED "Who is Quiznos?" How did she think he get to Norway? ON A SUB??

Friday, January 27, 2017

Churchill, MB Summer 2016

Trackside Treasure reader and now guest blogger Mark Fidelak travelled to Churchill, MB aboard VIA Rail in June and July 2016. Mark kindly shared some of his photos of the station, yard and harbour. Mark's close-up photo of 85 lb rail, rolled in 1951 and he noted it is commonly seen in the yard trackage.
For more on Churchill, see these posts on my brother Dave's blog Rolly Martin Country on his 1987 trip: touring Churchill, grain to Churchill, the trip north, then heading south  Feeling reflective - Churchill's yard awaits harvest that will never come:
Trackside Treasure blog partner Steve Boyko blogged about recent developments regarding Churchill in this post during Mark's visit, and then in October 2016. Hudson Bay Railway locomotives 2261-3002 at the terminal elevator:
Crane, flat cars and  what looks like a BCR boxcar at the harbour:
A classic ex-CN 57-foot auto transporter with patchwork lettering and HBR logo - HBRY 720100:
The station, platform and elevator:
CN 527745 40-foot boxcar with ACI label and U-1 wheel stencil, now used for storage. One end is painted bright blue!
Some flatcars await unloading in the largely-empty yard:
Many thanks to Mark for sharing the photos of his memorable trip. Almost as good as being there!

Running extra...

It's great to have Mark the guest blogger take over while things are heating up on the book front. My fourth and upcoming book on VIA Rail, Trackside with VIA - Research and Recollections has most of its text pieces and data in review-ready form. Now I'm going into the darkroom to match up some photos. Here's one:
A young Mark Perry working for CN aboard VIA train Nos 92/93 deep in the blue & yellow VIA era. Mark started with CN in 1979, working in the shops before becoming a brakeman in 1981, qualifying as conductor in 1985, then engineer in 1991. Mark worked out of Gillam, MB from 1982 to 1988, then out of Dauphin until 2010 now Winnipeg. A noted railway photographer, not only has Mark's work been featured in TRAINS magazine, he also happens to be a staunch supporter and reader of Trackside Treasure. It's great to have Mark aboard!