In October, I decided it was time to GO to Oshawa! You know Oshawa, gateway to Harmony and Farewell! Actually, I've spent a little time in Oshawa recently, since our son took his paramedic course there and works in Durham Region. Shopping and near-track hotels are nearby, as is the sumptuous but taste-tempting Mandarin Buffet. But the real reason for our trip was a presentation I made to the Toronto & York CRHA Division. Rather than risking life, limb and possible ulcers by driving to deepest, darkest Toronto, it was time to GO!
Boarding the 1428 departure to Toronto Union, seated on the upper level of a GO Transit bilevel, one is surrounded by exactly what one would expect to be surrounded by in Oshawa...AUTORACKS! But there, shining like a diamond on top of a pile of tin cans, was a real prize - the Hydro One Schnabel car and companion caboose 79640. As our train slithered westward out of the station, everyone's (well, my) attention was focused on this unique but empty transformer-totin' car.
Residing in nearby Pickering, the car seemed to have just arrived in the yard, and within a day was spotted tantalizingly in front of the Oshawa VIA/GO station where we'd bought our tickets. The station was renovated, as was Kingston's, with the addition of a peaked roof to its formerly flat roof. Unlike Kingston with its escalators, Oshawa is getting the full up-and-over VIA walkway treatment. Fellow bloggers Thomas Blampied and Chris Mears have both blogged about Oshawa recently...and I thought Toronto was the centre of the universe!
Our all-stops, well-announced ride into Toronto meant lots of meets with outbound GO trains, like this one led by 634:
And after the presentation, under Toronto Union's trainshed, 618 was waiting to go westward as we waited for our 2113 departure back to Oshawa. Like grains of sand rushing through an upended hourglass, the passengers for our train had funnelled out of the GO concourse up to the platform of our assigned boarding track.
In 1989, Oshawa's yard goats were switchers including SW1200RS 1364 and SW1200 7721 (the latter retired a year later), and high-nose Geeps. Soon, GP9 mother-slug sets would be assigned here, though fewer in number. Missing today are the riotous rainbow hues of US road boxcars...the red and grey of SP, the cool turquoise of Penn Central, the stately blue of B&O and the outrageous orange of ICG. Eighty-six foot hi-cubes and 50- and 60-foot double-door boxcars are replaced today by a few 60-foot hi-cube cars with vaguely Tex-Mex-looking reporting marks. The cross-border auto trade has indeed changed.
The yard at left seems seldom-used now, except for tie-loading and other maintenance cars. D.J. Gagnon photos.
In 1984, while getting a vestibule view east of CN's Kingston Sub, I observed a GO train: 724-2004-2152-2066-2133-904. Here's the westward view of Oshawa with CP's plant trackage running overhead. Sadly, no CP yard assignment was in view. Switchers on the power track included CN 7167,1243, 1244, 1313, and cabooses 76647, 79215, 79247:
And, just what you'd expect to see in Oshawa...BN, IC, UP, SF, SP, C&NW, MP, NW, L&N and Seaboard...AUTORACKS! These are stored, likely at Clarke. I've recently learned about wooden-crated CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kits from Kris and Doug via Yahoogroups. Shipped from General Motors' West Plant at Mary and Bond Streets in Oshawa as oversize loads in gondola cars via the Oshawa Railway in cabooseless moves, I'd soon after see the cars heading east on the Kingston Sub for export in 1976-77.
Next Sunday is Remembrance Day. Twenty-two eight foot-tall bronze figures representing every branch of Canada's armed forces of the Great War passing through a great granite arch focused my attention on this statue in Ottawa last September. Canada's National War Memorial was dedicated by King George VI in May 1939, on the eve of the Second World War. Titled The Great Response of Canada, designed by Briton Vernon Arch who died before completion of the statue, shows character and purpose, sincerity and good intent in the faces of the marching figures.
- They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
- Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
- They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
- They fell with their faces to the foe.
- They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
- Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
- We will remember them.
Just finished listening to Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson. A gripping tale of loss, discovery and reconciliation centred on a forgotten Unterseeboot, sent to attack American shipping near the end of the war. Destroyed by its 'circle runner' or malfunctioning torpedo, the U-boat laid undetected and unknown off New Jersey until the 1990's. The book follows the epic technical dives by a group of wreck divers determined to identify it, determine what led to the boat's demise, and even meet with some of the lost sailors' families in present-day Germany.
My two new VIA books surfaced last weekend. Orders are flooding in, and customers will soon be diving in to discover what lies within. Bubbling to the surface will be information and photos to get you into the swim of all things VIA-related. Tanks for your orders and interest in these books.