Tuesday, July 28, 2015

110 Minutes at Union Station, July 2015

I arrived in Toronto on VIA No 651 on July 9, and at the end of the day I had some spare time. Checking in at the Business Class lounge in Union Station, I picked up a new VIA hat from their souvenir selection, perused some email over a Coke, then  tickled the ivories a bit, before heading toward the CN Tower to do some trainwatching before departure back to Kingston. I visited the same spot last September! Here's a sample of the 59 trains I observed in 110 minutes! The first GO train arrived right on cue at 1600, behind MP40PH-3C class unit 600 (above). 
New this visit, having just inaugurated service in early June, was the Union Pearson Express (above). Two- or three-car Nippon Sharyu Diesel Multiple Units operate between train and plane, making a 25-minute trip every fifteen minutes. I saw cab (A-units) 1002, 1004, 1005, 1006, 1007, 1009, 1010, 1011, 1012, and mid-train (C-unit) 3002 - that's 10 out of the 18 car fleet. Though the UP sounds like a fair ride as it accelerates, I appreciated the real bell, in a sea of VIA and GO electronic sound-alikes! An aerial view shows my perch, accessible from the west end of Union Station, through the inteior (yellow line) Skywallk, which exits to a glorious (though shadeless) fenced, concrete pad across from the convention centre. Ripley's Aquarium is now to the south, then it's the former CP John Street roundhouse and Steam Whistle brewery:
Five minutes later, the first VIA train made its appearance: 915-four LRC cars-6433-three LRC cars. Having walked west, behind some brick service buildings, this is a Hail Mary-hold the camera-over the chain link fence-shot!
After another five minutes, an eastbound GO consist was trailed by Metrolinx-scheme 2417 and F59PH 564, one of three I'd see. These have been refurbished and are the last handful remaining from the fleet of GO's previous workhorses.
That's a wrap! Or at least a partial one, for ZenBanx, on 2046 eastbound at 1616.
Union Pearson Express has its own full-length wrap on bilevel 2030, between Metrolinx-scheme 2839 and 2554, at 1616.
Metrolinx-scheme 662 makes an appearance from around the shrubbery at 1622.
What's better than one Metrolinx-scheme car? Two! 2418-2846 are westbound at 1623. Most trains now include at least one car in this scheme.
VIA 902 leads 4001 and four LRC cars west at 1636 as a GO cab car peeks out from the trainshed in the background:

Wraps - for the Pan Am Games on 2058 (above). The lead-up to the games was in full swing, though I avoided acquiring a case of Pan Am fever. Our good friend Thomas the Tank Engine on 2028 (below). No, lady behind me, don't tell your kid it's Thomas the Train. Thomas pulls the train!
VIA action - my 651 consist from the morning - 906-4003-4104-4101-4111 arrives at 1717 from points west while two other VIA consists led by 913 and 916 wait. Heading west at 1733 was 916 with stainless steel HEP2 cars, except for Business Class LRC car 3477. Ten minutes after that, 913 was also westbound with four LRC cars and HEP2 coach 4122 bringing up the paddle.

There was no way I was going to transcribe all my notes for this post! However, they're all here for you to peruse: top-to-bottom and left-to-right on each page. As always, click for a larger image. The grand total? In 110 minutes, there were 59 movements: 45 GO (eight of which were four consists returning in the opposite direction), eight UPX, and six VIA. Metrolinx-scheme equipment has an 'M' suffix. It was an enjoyable, at times stressful bit of scribbling, with the longest lull being a scant seven minutes!
This westbound GO consist at 1722 included two MP40s pushing hard on the tail end: 633 and 653. Another interesting operational wrinkle was cab car 219, functioning as a regular coach, sandwiched between 610 and Metrolinx-scheme 2855 eastbound at 1740.
See what I mean by stressful? VIA 6433 arrives with four LRC cars from the west at 1729, as an eastbound GO consist behind 608 also arrives from the west, AND a third GO consist in the background behind 625 has just departed westward! Scribble, Kingstonian, scribble!
It was a hot afternoon, but not as hot as Havana! Cuba wrap on GO 2027:
I observed much of GO's locomotive and cab car fleet: 600, 602, 605, 607,608, 609, 610, 613, 614, 615, 618, 620, 622, 624, 625, 626, 628, 629, 630, 632, 633, 638, 640, 642, 644, 648, 649, 650, 651, 653, 654, 656, 657, 659, 661, 662, 663, 666 and 558, 559, 564. Cab cars 200, 201, 204, 205, 206, 208, 209, 210, 213, 214, 215, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 226, 228, 231, 232, 233, 234, 238, 241, 243, 244, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 256, 257.
The second-to-last GO train, just four minutes prior to the end of my 110 minutes at 1750, included Metrolinx'ed 607 and 2844 on the tail end, westward into the late afternoon sun (above). I was pleasantly surprised by an eight-hour late VIA No 2, arriving at 1738 behind 6406-6434:
Side view of the just-arrived units from inside the UP Express terminal:

Running extra...

You can't go home again. Unless you're rolling stock. Not only is former VIA sleeper Edmundston coming home, so are CPR G5's 1238 (built 1946 by MLW) and 1286 (build 1948 by CLC here in Kingston) currently in Staunton, VA. The Americans were quicker to get rid of steam, though the realization of preservation came too late, and mainly Canadian locomotives were left in service. Heading the the Prairie Dog Central/Vintage Locomotive Society in Winnipeg.

Despair not, Trackside Treasure retro readers. I know these present-day posts are short on retro, but we're bringing retro back...upcoming posts on the riding VIA: the Super in 1978 and the Canadian's Montreal section in 1985. Thanks to Elijah and Michael, respectively, for the inspiration!

Is this trainwatching? While driving by Kingston's Invista nylon plant, I had a rare sighting of their Trackmobile, as it emerged with an empty adipic acid covered hopper and was about to grab a load. The crew member shows the driver the distance to the joint:
 Though it shows better head-on, this compact critter is equipped with LED headlights.


Canadian Train Geek said...

It might have been stressful but it's the good kind of stressful! Well done and some nice catches!

Michael said...

Good to see a few of the old F59s still going strong. Good catch. Although I do have to say, I love the look of the new locomotives GO uses. That afternoon at Union is the type of busy I dream of!

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve and Michael for your comments. Indeed, the good kind of stressful - invigorating/adrenaline rush/anticipation/non-stop action would have been better descriptions. Though I wish operations in the Union Station Rail Corridor could be spaced out so that I could record: Every. Single. Car number! It's OK - it was indeed a Great Moment in Railfanning. And the GO MP40s are sleek and powerful all in one!