Thursday, January 26, 2012

Railfanning Regina

Railfanning Regina, Saskatchewan is not something I have a lot of experience doing.  In fact, I've railfanned Regina three times in thirty years, the most recent time vicariously.  The first two were from trackside, in 1982 and 1986, while the former CP station was still in use by VIA's Canadian.  In June 1982, my aunt and uncle and I drove west from Portage la Prairie to Regina to take in the Farm Equipment Show.  On June 18, we stopped in Indian Head, Saskatchewan, checking out elevator row as VIA No 1 rolled west behind 6507-6607-6611.  The following night in Regina, we stopped by the former CP station, as an eastbound freight behind CP 5999-4706 trundled by at 2048 with van 434504:  
VIA No 1 was next at 2057: 6505-6606-6604-617-124-116-514-5742-Irondale-1377-Elnora-Entwistle-Extew-York-Chateau Levis-Chateau Maisonneuve-Dawson Manor-Kootenay Park:
Chopnosed GP9u  CP 8200 (ex-8615) was in the yard, with 8483 behind, and six other units idling nearby:
Another chopnosed unit GP9u CP 1569 (ex-8625) was down by the station on September 29,1985 (below).  I'd  arrived in Regina at 0430 on the Canadian, which was 3 hours late at Winnipeg.  I stayed in the station until 0500, noticing the vintage doors and tunnels that led from the concourse to other tracks, and as the station was about to close, I headed out to spend two and a half hours occasionally doing jumping jacks to stay warm in the 0 degree Fahrenheit air, huddled in a law firm doorway across from the car rental agency. My patience was rewarded with a free upgrade when the clerk finally opened up.  My Dodge Omni was still at Regina airport, so I was given a Chrysler Fifth Avenue at the same rate.  As the kids say today, "Like!".  I spent a couple of days in my tricked-out ride, exploring elevator towns east and south of the Queen City, including CN's Lewvan Sub.  
A final drive around Regina included RCMP's Depot Division, where I observed my car's Dodge Diplomat brethren's speedometers reached blistering 120 mph, with mine only reaching a sedate sedan 85 mph.  At Regina's station, an assortment of CP switching jobs were arriving to yard their trains, and drop their Angus vans on the van track near the station as the crews disembarked.  GP35's 5019-5012 and 434473 arrived from the east at 1700 (top), then GP38-2 3031, also from the east, kicked its van 434403:
Like most CP terminals, the CP Police were well-represented, so I remained inside the Fifth Avenue while photographing.  An eastbound grain train at 1720 was powered by CP 5965-3022-5015-Conrail 7799 (below), plus three other CP freights before boarding No 2 at 2315: 1925 WB 5907-Chessie 3716-5693-3011-8493, with newly-outshopped van 434309, 1932 EB 6057-5626, and 2043 WB intermodal with 6006-5732-5716, the last two SD's with high multimarks and full nose striping.
After a carwash and before returning the rental, I had posed it for posterity near the front steps of Saskatchewan's Legislative Building on Wascana (name of a CPR diner) Lake.  Classy, unbridled plush luxury fully loaded and built for looks and speed, unexpectedly reserved for an otherwise undeserving Ontario railfan!
Regina railfan and loyal Trackside Treasure reader Elijah Hall helped me with my third railfan visit to Regina in absentia.  While touring the SaskTel building in July 2010, Elijah took these photos of the Regina station (now casino) area as it exists presently.
A model railroad-like view of intermodal equipment, stacked containers and tank cars makes an interesting scene several floors down.  GP9u 1535 (ex-8620) and a van nearly too tagged to read its side number are switching some tank cars.
GATX 58613 and CP 434412:
Elijah also sent along a bonus shot of Last Mountain Rail's motive power west of Bethune, Saskatchewan.  Thanks, Elijah!

Running extra...

While reading Say Everything...How Blogging Began by Scott Rosenberg, I came across this apropos passage, "Most bloggers, in fact, are far more assiduous than the proprietors of other kinds of websites about preserving their outdated material.  They know their own back-catalog[ue] well, and link back into it to support a point, to explain a reference, or just to highlight something that tickles them.  For the great mass of bloggers who would never have jotted down their thoughts in the first place if they didn't have a blog, their posts represent the opposite of oblivion: they are a personal archive that can serve as a bulwark against forgetfulness."  What he said.

Having watched Witness, the 1985 thriller starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and Czech-born Canadian actor Jan Rubes, due to the year of production, I was not surprised to see at least three unmarked Dodge Diplomats in the denouement, as the murderous plot has been resolved.  Luxurious law-enforcement limos.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Postscript: GO Transit

I've come across a smattering of selected GO consists to complement my previous GO Transit post.  While on the way to the CN Tower in September 1986, this GO train with cab car 206 (above) and F40PH 512 (below) passed us, west of Union Station.  Here are a couple of GO consists from June 7, 1986:

EB:
725-800-2114-2154-2103-2060-2028-2002-2006-2047-2150-205-707.

WB:
709-2117-2100-2041-2148-2055-2118-2110-2029-2038-2036-801-724.

On November 25, 1992 the following GO consist was eastbound at Union Station:

1650 EB:
521-908-2013-2112-2044-2412-2409-2027-2218-2025-2020-2237-2030-2405-723.

On January 20, 1999 handicapped-accessible GO bilevel 2311 wearing GO 30th anniversary and Bombardier logos passed the SkyWalk platform west of Union Station:
GO 2311 was on one of two GO trains in motion, while ONR's Northlander consist also passed by.  

GO consist:
540-2003-2116-2112-2318-2225-2048-2252-238.

ONR consist:
1809-203-601-700-609.
On April 14, 1993 I was at the south end of the SkyWalk from Union Station to the CN Tower, and recorded 16 GO movements in my 40 minutes waiting for my train to Kingston:

1608 EB:
537-2100-2300-2130-2335-2415-236.

1611 EB:
560-2054-2418-2024-2225-2230-2037-2124-2132-219/ WB at 1633.

1618 EB:
551-2232-2444-2416-2242-2455-2339-2147-2235-2432-234.

1620 WB:
203-2403-2052-2441-2424-2428-2246-2402-2128-529.

1622 EB:
557-2122-2400-2066-2144-2321-2104-2202-2055-2021-239.

1622 EB:
556-2205-2114-2411-2151-2310-2404-2438-2308-2012-2410-2243-2213-521/WB at 1642.

1633 WB:
209-2423-2013-2040-2073-2433-2448-2108-2140-550.

1634 EB:
545-2209-2216-2204-2340-2431-2217-2407-241.

1637 EB:
524-2429-2445-2422-2253-2142-2058-2419-216-212.

1639 EB:
554-2127-2430-2450-2244-2206-2123-2219-226.

1643 EB:
520-2499-2119-2229-2072-2227-2067-2150-2118-2011-217.

1646 EB:
540-2234-2004-2062-2248-2046-2153-2069-2079-2101-220.

1648 EB:
525-2203-2070-2126-2061-2222-2050-2152-2026-2211-237.

1648 EB:
539-2442-2065-2238-2201-2016-2452-218.

With all these GO movements passing by in such a short space of time, I was at times hard-pressed to record the consists, but it was a great location to take in a very enjoyable burst of big-city commuter railroading at its best.

Running extra...

Check out the latest addition to Trackside Treasure's sidebar.  Train of the Week is an intriguing and interesting blog highlighting passenger rail world-wide, including several posts on GO Transit and VIA Rail. A great site for armchair travellers and inveterate train riders alike.

Here's a Train of the Week post I can identify with - One Morning in Kingston.  Shot without a tripod, the video seems more...realistic, pulse-pounding, and definitely comes under the heading of Kingston platform scenes.

Featured job opportunity of the week on the Monster career website:  Italian cruise ship captain.  Qualifications do not include night vision, customer service, near-shore navigation experience or swimming ability.  Lifejacket fitting will take place at interview. Feeling like your career is currently on the rocks?  Do you want your future to grow to titanic proportions?  Does it seem that only 10% of your potential is currently visible and you're ready to abandon that nowhere job you're in?  Then this could make you king of the world!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

GO Transit 1981

GO Transit has been carrying commuters to and from Toronto since 1967.  GO's unique green & white paint scheme and large Government of Ontario logo (letters G and O, plus a thin letter "T for Toronto" hidden in between) are instantly recognizable, and GO's distinctive bilevel cars originally built by Hawker-Siddeley in Ontario are in service with commuter agencies around North America.  

Chris Mears, Trackside Treasure blog partner and keeper of GO's most easterly destination in Charlottetown,  is a GO Transit fan.  Recently on his blog, Prince Street Terminal , Chris blogged about some 1981 GO consists he discovered while exploring Trackside with VIA: The First 35 Years .  This post includes those trains.  On a weekend trip to Bayview Junction in Hamilton, I photographed some inside the 'triangle' at the junction of the Dundas and Oakville Subs, an area no longer accessible to railfans.

On the evening of June 22, a Hamilton-bound train passes the assembled railfans at 1810 (above) 502-2054-2006-2023-2068-2036-2039-2044-2041-2007-2057-507 .  A few minutes later, the push-pull consist returns to Toronto, now led by 507:
An hour later, another Steel City-bound train passes: 103-2046-2001-2035-2030-2000-2002-2012-2065-515 .
GO F40PH is in push mode:
This consist also then heads back toward Toronto:
Early next morning, June 23 two trains head into Toronto from Hamilton.  At 0639: 902-2058-2040-2019-2078-2077-2015-2076-2059-706-709 .
On the tailend, 706-709 pushing, with red marker lights illuminated:
Within the hour, a second train passes the Junction, at the Royal Botanical Gardens walkway: 507-2057-2007-2029-2044-2039-2036-2068-2023-2006-2054-502.
While on a visit to Spadina roundhouse , a short train heads east: 515-2058-2066-2031-2020-107.  Those are flags on a background building, not some sort of Pennsy-like antennae on 515:
On a daytime layover waiting for VIA train No 3 out of Toronto on August 22, I was able to see a plethora of trains from the Spadina Street bridge.  At 1347, a westbound GO train negotiates crossovers at 1414:
704-2039-2006-2049-2057-2068-2036-2044-2029-2007-2017-513.
GO APCU 907 leads bilevels toward Union Station:  907-2034-2071-2020-2073-2032-2016-2056-2070-2079-707-710 .
A westbound train passes the under-construction flyunder west of Spadina Avenue, with Spadina coach yard's wash rack and Tempo cars in the background at 1447:  501-2008-2035-2074-2051-2018-2048-2067-2053-2066-2037-514 .

Running extra...

7, 8, 44...VIA's F40PH-2 fleet as of early January with unrebuilt, undergoing Renaissance rebuilding, and rebuilt units respectively.  Yellow noses are now few and far between.  As Bruce Springsteen sang, "Baby we were born to Ren."

6427, 6451...VIA train No 1 had these two unrebuilt units on the head-end ex Toronto January 9.  Thanks to Brian Schuff of Winnipeg for this OS.  Could this be the last time the Vancouver sun rose on such a power consist on the Canadian?  Prairie Oyster's Canadian Sunrise with Winnipeger Randy Bachman on guitar comes to mind.

Freestylin', mega-pick, junk-drunk, bundling...some of the terms used by Mike and Frank on American Pickers weekly on the History Television.  My favourite show; these two characters unearth history one piece at a time, finding themselves in some unpredictable and unusual locations,  "Yo, Danny D give us the co-ordinates."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bad Order, Part 2

Bad order cars set out en route have to be moved to a car shop for repairs, once made safe to move.  Until the introduction of Railinc's Damaged and Defective Car Tracking system, that meant paperwork.  CN 9595-9488-4534 set out bad-order VIA LRC car 3358 on the east leg of the Queens wye on May 4, 1985 with cabooses 76687 and 79906 in tow.  Here are both sides of a CN bad order card for gondola CN 157023 from 1982:

Here's a CP bad order card for boxcar CP 51309 from 1975:

Railways meticulously recorded particulars of each set-out car.  Today this information is written on the train journal, and radioed to the RTC and Car Control.  Here's a CN report from 1979, for CN 286371 carrying glass and set out at Minaki, Ontario:
CP train 445's conductor fully documented defects on CP flatcar 505526 in 1981:
After repairs, the Rail Traffic Controller would send a message to the nearest station's operator, to attach to the train orders of the train designated to lift the car:

With its long Kingston Sub trains, CN has certainly had its share of Bad Order cars to deal with in recent years.  Some examples:
Nov/08: CN 406586 boxcar door popped open, two rolls of newsprint fell out, and loose door clipped VIA train Nos 46 and 64.  Car set out at Queens, road repair truck called, door chained.
Sept/08: CN train No 120 IC Eng 1006 fuel leak, set out at Queens, environmental field crew called.
Mar/08: GATX 46209 tank car lost drawbar, set out on Cataraqui Spur.
May/07: AOK 111926 boxcar broken trainline, set out at Queens.
Feb/07: MMA boxcar defective 'B' end brake rigging, set out at Ernestown.
Dec/06: CN train No 309 bad order car on west end, set out at Gananoque.
Mar/06: CN 49291 flatcar, after Kings detector, set out at Queens.
Feb/06: GMRC 78197 boxcar, set out at Ernestown.
Feb/06: CN train No 369 two bad order bulkhead flatcars: CN 624429 flat wheel set out at Queens, and CN 601865 drawbar set out at Millhaven.
Oct/05: CN train No 368 cars with knuckle and drawbar, set out in east leg of wye at Bath.

Running Extra...

Housekeeping item #1: Recent changes to Trackside Treasure's design include sidebar moved to left side, and increased width for entire blog.  This allows photos to appear extra-large, using Blogger's updated posting format.  I'd appreciate your feedback, and whether this enhances photo viewing and photo clickability for readers.  

Housekeeping item #2: Trackside Treasure's latest poll shows that 31% of respondents check in daily, 31% weekly, 19% once in a while, and 19% were visiting for the first time.  The good news is that posting frequency here will likely remain weekly, but I check in a couple of times per day to see what my blog partners are posting.  

Housekeeping item #3. Vacuuming spruce needles while taking down the Christmas tree, unstringing lights outside, then finding 'reduced for quick sale' fruitcake at No Frills while grocery-shopping.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Break Trains 1984

A recent discussion of freight units leading VIA trains, either leased from CN or rescuing VIA units included a rescue train from 1984.  Jason Shron of Rapido Trains wondered whether I'd seen this consist.  No I hadn't, and that got me wondering why.  What was I doing on my Christmas break that year?  Here are the results, following some research in the dusty Trackside Treasure vault.  After a very pleasant Christmas party at Kingston's Hotel Dieu Hospital, where I was interning at the time, Christmas break began.  The very next day, it was off to the chilly Kingston station platform .

Friday December 21: Kingston station 1140-1515 - seven passenger and three freight trains.  (Above) VIA train No 44/54  at 1203: CN 4362-6624-deadheading backward Tweedsmuir Park-612-Boulevard Club-3210-5495-5541-759-117-3200-Chateau Laval-CN business car 95, including some through cars from VIA No 2. (Below) 1205 WB CN local behind 4566 and six cars, heading west from Queens on the north track.
VIA No 43/53 at 1205: CN 4360-6623-6616-9653-3226-4886-5455-5627-3241-Laurier Club.  Second sections followed about 20 minutes behind both noon trains, each with two engines and nine cars.
Saturday, December 22: Hockey Night in Canada broadcast Leafs 6 - Bruins 4.
Sunday, December 23: Operating my HO scale Manitoba Western Railway, with Manitoba Pool elevator and grain trucks lined up with deliveries for Paterson elevator at Gladstone (below).
Monday, December 24: Christmas Eve, snow.
Tuesday, December 25: Christmas gifts included latest issues of Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman.  Turkey.  Stuffing.  Stuffed.

Wednesday, December 26: Operating my brother's HO scale CP Rail layout, under the auspices of Happy Valley Railway Management.  Long grain train on the upper-level Heron Bay subdivision, with expansive Thunder Bay yard in foreground:
Thursday, December 27: -17 degrees C.
Friday, December 28: No railfanning.  Photo op with 1000+ matchbook collection instead.  New Year's resolution - start smoking.
Saturday, December 29: Picked up latest film developed.  Included steam-heated cars and cars from major railways on cabooseless demonstration train at Kingston outer station November 16:
Across the platform from the display train, a group of track machines including ballast regulator/broom and tamper, and boarding cars wintering at Kingston:
On the same film, a westbound LRC on November 25, possibly late-running VIA No 65 heading west at Collins Bay Road with 6927-7 cars-6920:
As well, Canada Steamship Lines straight-decker Whitefish Bay at the Kingston grain elevator, at the southern end of the Cataraqui Spur:
Sunday, December 30: Kingston station 1900-2000 - two passenger trains including VIA No 56: CN 4361-6637-5627-120-3230-5495-3215-Chateau Papineau-9623.
Monday, December 31: Painting and decalling two CP cars.
Tuesday, January 1: Shovelling the driveway.
Wednesday, January 2: Painting and decalling potash and grain covered hoppers.
Thursday, January 3: Railfanning 1300-1500 - two passenger trains and two freight trains.  Inaccessible tangent track west of Benjamin's Cut, Mi 184 Kingston Sub.  Walked north from Taylor-Kidd Boulevard, gingerly crossed a recently-frozen creek.  1330 WB LRC with 6900 on tail-end crossing a classic Grand Trunk limestone culvert:
Six minutes later, CN local behind 3741 with eight cars: covered hoppers, tank cars, boxcars RF&P 2035 and Railbox:
Caboose 79712 trails.  It would be six years before cabooses were withdrawn from mainline service.
Far enough off the ballast, but close enough to avoid the pole line, shadow-nosed out of the low winter sun at 1402 EB freight with 2307-2003-2105 and a healthy cut of produce refrigerator cars on the head end.  Smokin!
Friday, January 4: Hobby shop visit, building Elephant Fertilizers elevator from styrene.  Then back to start the next phase of internship.  Christmas break was over.

Running extra...
Happy New Year to all Trackside Treasure readers.  May you enjoy health, happiness and hobbies in 2012. Cathy Griffin, Anderson Cooper, Ryan C. Crest and Dick Clark were all in fine form on the New Year's Eve coverage.  Global TV included Simple Plan concert with backdrop 'SP' logos looking suspiciously similar to lettering on Southern Pacific locomotives' red noses.

Speaking of red noses, Rudolf Diesel likely never imagined his robust, high-torque design for a diesel engine would be ultimately used in the ugly-duckling ultrakanadisch GMD-1 , recently announced in HO scale by Rapido Trains.  Be sure to keep tabs on Rapido's new blog, recently added to Trackside Treasure's sidebar.  No doubt it will be full of information on Rapido's other impending releases: FP9's, FPA4's, and The Canadian.

Are you a foamer?  Hop to it, get your glass in gear and see what's brewing at Steam Whistle Beer, brewed in CP's former John Street roundhouse.  OK, it's also occupied by Leon's and the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre, and their event space is booked solid for the next two years, but my son visited and all I got was a T-shirt.  Cool green T-shirt, though.  Australian visitor on brewery tour "What's a two-four?"