Monday, August 31, 2015

Montreal-North Bay, September 1985

On September 16, 1985 I was up early to board the eastbound Cavalier at Kingston at 0300. I was heading for Prince Rupert, BC. But first, I would leave Montreal aboard a diminutive VIA No 1, meeeting the Toronto section at Sudbury. We departed Montreal at 0930, two hours after I arrived on VIA No 58. Our consist was VIA 6789-9301-3246-500-Eldorado. I was taking up a seat in 3246, travelling on a $230 VIA Canrailpass, on which I'd rack up over 9,000 miles this trip, for a paltry 2.5 cents per mile!
We have just crossed the CP at De Beaujeu (top photo), which is Mi 35 of the CP Winchester Sub, and north of Glen Robertson on CN's Alexandria Sub at 1026. The CP track was important to capture, but moreso those classic Service cars! Passing through Maxville at Mi 34 of CN's Alexandria Sub, the station and feed mill loom over the rear of the Skyline, where I'm perched. Arrival at Ottawa at 1150 and a quick departure westward at 1200! An Ottawa-Montreal train and business cars are in the station:
CN SD's 5180-5078 lead an eastbound freight at Bells Corners, Mi 11 of CN's Beachburg Sub. We will traverse CP's Carleton Place Sub for 30 minutes before reaching Carleton Place, which is Mi 17 of CP's Chalk River Sub. I'm still in the dome:
Pastoral scene at Arnprior. Taken at 1334, we are now at Mi 40 of CP's Chalk River Sub. We're crossing a river that flows from Calabogie Lake into the Ottawa River (distant background).
Not a Sentimental Journey, edited by Jo Davis, includes this excerpt by Silver Donald Cameron, originally published in May of 1976 as "The Iron Road to Yesterday and Tomorrow". Up the Ottawa Valley. Old brick towns, progressively less spacious and charming as the train pushes north and west. Arnprior: water and dun brick and the warm tones of a falling sun. Renfrew, Pembroke, Chalk River at dusk. Reading and then dining as Moor Lake and Bass Lake and Deux Rivieres flip past, route of the voyageurs, and Mattawa. North Bay in the early evening."
A vehicle park at CFB Petawawa is visible to the north at 1448:
At 1515, we pull into the siding for a meet with No 2 just east of Chalk River. Normally, this would take place between Pembroke and Petawawa, but we are running about 30 minutes late. Strangely, I was not able to record No 2's consist! The crew is on the ground to inspect and line switches, and the shadow of No 2's consist is just visible on the main track ahead. Vestibule view:
That meet complete, we're backing out of the siding:
Five minutes later, a meet with an eastbound freight just departing Chalk River behind CP 5540-5916-5500 with a priority train of TOFC, COFC and auto racks.
Angus van CP 434539 tails the train, and interestingly, would be the number of the Rapido Trains Angus van that would operate on my HO scale layout thirty years later!
In the yard at Chalk River, some interesting Service cars are visually blocked by equally-interesting Century 4714. Now at Mi 115 of the Chalk River Sub, we'll soon be on CP's North Bay Sub.
Five miles west of Chalk River, we are rounding a curve with a clear signal up ahead:
Later in the afternoon at 1700, CP boarding cars are in the siding at Mattawa, Mi 72 of the North Bay Sub. We are 35 minutes late.
Entering North Bay, Ontario Northland's shops are to the north, and their tracks hold more interesting M-o-W cars!
CP-leased Chessie System units 3739-3714 keep ONR and CN barrel ore cars company:
At Sudbury, our consist(*) will lose 6789 and 9301 which will remain in Sudbury, as will 3030 from the Toronto section, VIA No 9. Toronto power 6557-6631 will take over, leading 616-126-3246*-500*-5752-Cameron Manor-Hunter Manor-Bayfield Manor-Chateau Rouville-Louise-Eldorado*-Algonquin Park west. During our station stop at North Bay, a freight crew awaits their train:
I arrived at Portage la Prairie at 2112 the next night, for a short stopover before heading west. You can find the next leg of my trip in this Vestibule View post between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, plus an overview of the trip with train orders, westward and eastward.

Running extra...

Years after this route was cut from the VIA network in 1990, there is still abiding interest in its history and operations involving CP and VIA Rail on CP's Carleton Place Sub. Of course, at the time of my trip I thought nothing of it. I certainly couldn't predict the future and was just having a whale of a time riding through the Canadian Shield!

A feeling of being present while history was being made. This may seem triVIAl to you, however...while tabulating some CN-to-VIA F-unit transition data on my front step this week, it occurred to me that I observed VIA FPA4 6790 in CN paint on April 6, 1979. It was repainted into VIA colours on May 25, and I observed it in its new guise on June 19! If only I'd taken photos of these minty new repaints at the time - it would have made a nice album!

Acting on a heads-up from Malcolm, I was able to catch brand-new CN ET44AC 3009 leading CN train No 306 at Kingston. I also photographed anniversary flamey unit 2115 at a weedy Collins Bay on August 15:
Election fever in both our great North American nations is leading to outrageous statements, impossible promises and photo ops galore. Attack ads may 'work' but they are distinctly un-Canadian in my opinion. Politicians - why don't you stress the positive aspects of your platform instead of trying to weaken your competitor's platform by puerile removal of planks from underneath them?


Michael said...

Some fascinating photos and recollections from the Ottawa Valley, Eric. Where to start? Chessie geeps in the Canadian Shield? Check. Antique MoW equipment? Check. Station stops at now trainless valley towns? Check. Consider this one of my favourite posts!

DaveM said...

Great post, I've been looking forward to this post for a while since you've given us a hint that it was coming.


Eric said...

Thanks, Michael and Dave. As always, I wish I had MORE to post. But I posted all I have. I do have other recollections of waking up at Carleton Place and seeing my VIA train stretched out around the curve during the station stop.

(Teaser alert) I have some photos of my Dad's that I can post. He took these for documentary purposes when on a road trip with my brother, showing some of the aftermath of the Carleton Place Sub removal. I know, kind of morose but it's a little more I have to share!

All in all, it was a great afternoon in the vestibule up the Valley!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Love those service cars! I even forgive the big MLW for photobombing... ;)

Great post from start to finish, Eric!

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve. It was a great trip.