A trip to Toronto aboard VIA train Now 651/48 on October 28 began with a dark and chilly departure from Kingston around 0530. The sunrise sky turned a shade of blue-black but there was little to commend to my camera. An early arrival in T.O. at 0814, in advance of the padded-schedule 0825 allowed a quick walk in pursuit of Amtrak's Maple Leaf 0820 departure. Amtrak 182 and five Amfleet cars were on the track we arrived on, just ahead of us and I was able to grab a sketchy video of their departure before that of our consist: 910-4004-4119-4103-4114. Contained by the cold commercial canyon that is Bay Street, an out-of-service Bombardier Flexity five-pak passed, plus some that were in service, along with TTC CLRV's and ALRV's (top photo).
An early afternoon departure on the Union Pearson Express seemed an appropriate avian activity. Some Air Canada tail markings...
...gave way to those of Air Transat, WestJet, Rouge, Pakistan International Airlines and even a taxiing China Eastern Boeing 777:
Then it was time to return to Union for a couple of hours on the Skywalk. In two hours, I observed 46 GO movements, 5 by VIA and 12 by UP Express, for a total of 63. That's just about one every two minutes on average. The longest lull was six minutes around 1600! GO's North Bathurst layover yard looked ready for the afternoon rush:
Oh, the ignominy of cab cars having to behave like coaches. And the added shame of an green e-bell on GO 229! I observed 31 'old' 200-series cab cars in this role, plus 29 of the new Bombardier-built 300-series leading or trailing trains. An additional ten high-200-series cab cars were functioning as intended, from 243 up to 257.
The golden glow of the sinking sun is radiantly reflected off the copper-coloured cornucopia of commerce that is the Royal Bank headquarters. Basking in the glow was a pair of VIA consists (perhaps VIA Nos 646 and 68) inbound from Mimico at 1540. Five LRC cars led by 6406:
Poppy-decalled Business Class car 3463 reminded us that VIA generously supports Canada's veterans, providing a helmet-sized bowl of complimentary lapel poppies at the reception counter of the Panorama Lounge. Baggage car 8608 dutifully trailed into one of the few tracks used by VIA Rail under the expansive trainshed as the CN Tower's shadow spread (left of photo below) acting like the world's largest sundial. Its Canada flag logo is waving the white flag of surrender due to fading. Always there beside me, my shadow refused to leave me alone:
It's challenging to capture four trains at once in a still photo. It looks like four trains just sitting there. It happened twice during my time trackside in the shade of the CN Tower. But a GO double-header happened only once, in this case with 632-603 eastbound at 1709:
I observed 37 600-series GO MP40PH-3C's but only four F59PH's: 558-560-562-563. Apparently only 557-564 are still in service. GO 562 is trailing a 10-car eastbound consist led by 560 at 1722. At 1543, 558 trailed a six-car westbound consist and at 1550, 563 led a six-car eastbound consist.
Do trains talk to each other? If so, greenish-blue 903 had some words with bluish-green 909 before it departed westward with four LRC cars at 1637 as VIA No 83.
Later, 903 discussed matters of the day with 6449 which arrived at the rear of a five-car LRC consist led by VIA 908 at 1645.
Conversations concluded, VIA No 75 departs at 1733 with 903-8622-4002-4001-4106-8112-4122-8104, just two GO movements and one UP movement before my two hours concluded. Time to adjourn to the Panorama lounge for a strong, dark Van Houtte coffee from their counter coffee-maker!
GO Transit passengers flock to their train, as new and old cab cars, 327 and 247 respectively, perhaps also discuss things under the trainshed. Such as, "Why are all the humans on their phones?"
Latest purchase from the Panorama Lounge gift display: a VIA travel mug to replace a brown-stained, paint-peeling but resilient one my daughter bought for me at Mark's Work Wearhouse some years ago.
The mug's dome side (above) and logo side (below) as we await departure. VIA No 48's all-stops Ottawa-bound consist home was a 50/50 forwards/backwards consist: 907-3474Ren-3367-3311Ren-3309Ren-3359-900. The spicy snacks, the cold Heineken, the warm towel, the soulful sole, the caffeinated coffee and the white wine were a fine end to this Friday.
Observed in Toronto:
- 100th anniversary Toronto Maple Leafs display banners. Still the only Original Six team to have their Stanley Cup-winning photograph in black & white.
- artistic homage to the Jays ALCS World Series run. Tried to get a picture but it was too big, too high, and Tulo!
- the tagger paradise that is the UP Express right-of-way. Who needs the Louvre, the MOMA or even the AGO when you have a plethora of tagging styles visible on both sides of the ride?
- every second person who exits the Skywalk takes a picture of the CN Tower. One guy even lay down on the sidewalk to get his. Once the only way to take in the full sweep of the Toronto railway lands, I now do my trainwatching on terra firma.
Not observed in Toronto:
- the Play Me I'm Yours grand piano. Renovations to the Great Hall now make walking like a trip through the catacombs, with large swaths ensconced in plastic and scaffolding. The piano must be ensconced somewhere else.