Back in January, I was contacted by the Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders. The group hosts monthly dinner meetings (and as you may know, I think food and trains make a great combination). Peter Jackson's email included the following sentence: We get together for a dinner meeting monthly for camaraderie, good food and the exchange of information on all things railway. Sounded great! Rail enthusiast organizations require a constant source of guest speakers, but me?
Needless to say, I accepted the gracious invitation. My presentation was a 90-slide, 200+ photo narrated show entitled Kingston Platform Scenes. It covered historic and current Kingston stations, railfanning at the current VIA station, my trip arrivals and departures, and the genesis of my books on VIA Rail - for instance, a CN hogger asking from the cab of an MLW FPA4 "Gettin' all yer train numbers down in yer little green book?" On the drive to Ottawa, a CP tie train was at Perth. Red CP 42824x and black 428145 were on the west end (above).
CP 428246 and less-graffiti'd 428284 were broadside to my side-of-the-road shoulder stop spot:
In case you wondered what the OVAR actually is, the banner says it all. Part-model, part-prototype. This was the third group I'd spoken to...the first was a prototype-based group in Toronto, the second a model group in Morrisburg. So it made sense this would be a hybrid group with wide interests.
Ottawa singin' modeller Mike Hamer was photographing the display cars during the social hour before dinner. The fellow at left is the catering boss at the St Anthony's Soccer Hall Italia, where the meeting is held and the bar is open. A nice venue tucked away in Little Italy hard by the Queensway.
One-half of the display cars. Each month, a theme is published in the OVAR's fine newsletter. the Interchange. This month was the McEwen cars and end-of-train. I brought a few modest additions at bottom: one of my Dad's Cataraqui Northern Strombecker cardboard-on-wood cabooses, my Manitoba Mining car No 10 'Louise', an undecalled LORAM rail grinding-train caboose, and a Delaware & Hudson wooden one.
I had to find Earl Roberts, one of the editors of the Bytown Railway Society Canadian Trackside Guide. Not surprisingly, he was at the Bytown table. Neighbour to uberVIAphile Jakob Mueller's mother-in-law and former Lachine resident, like me, it was a pleasure to meet Earl and chat amiably before the dinner bell rang. During the evening, I also had the chance to meet Mark Walton, Ian McCord and Ray Farand. A great group!
Being at the 'head table' we got to storm the buffet first, before each strategically-named table was called in turn. Hot and cold buffet. Huge 'wow' factor in my book. This is just part of the cold table:
Peter was a genial host. Knowing of my X2F xenophobia, he generously brought a pair of horn-hooks along, and more than one attendee mentioned my horn-hook history!
A room view, showing only some of the attendees. Seated at centre is Chris Lyon. My sincere thanks again to Peter and the organization for the hospitality, generosity and kindness! Also with me at the head table, Bud. As in Bud Wiser.
Then followed the post-dinner presentation by some trackside transient from Kingston. It went well - the PowerPoint cooperated and my Jeopardy clues at the end of the presentation led to some spirited answer shouting (sometime properly in the form of a question) which Peter diplomatically quelled while distributing the 'prizes'.
There was some transit-watching the next day, as well as buffet lunch for two at Tucker's and a visit to the well-stocked Hobby House. Two words: book bargains! Buses articulated (above) and STO from across the river (below):
Roaring up Rideau, OC Transpo (above) and tourbus To Prince Edward Island, 1965 by Alex Colville (below):
3 Can Div PPCLI members march off, having been relieved as part of 2015 National Sentry Program Roto 3 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, National War Memorial. Ottawa's Union Station broods in the background.
Speaking of travelling, in an upcoming episode of my fictitious but entirely possible (and probably a ratings bonanza for the otherwise Duggar-besieged network) TLC program Railfan Sisters, my sister travelled to Germany and sent an allgemeine selection of trackside photos. From top to bottom: IC Zug in Frankfurt, freight at Koblenz and platform view, Leipzig trainshed, model layout and steamer. Danke!