Sunday, October 30, 2011

Train-to-Train Photography

Train-to-train photography happens rarely. It's comparatively easy to photograph trackside scenes or equipment from the train, or trains from trackside, but imagine photographing one moving train while aboard another. That's right, two moving trains. Standing cuts of cars or stationary trains don't count. Train from another railway? Bonus. Vestibule views are the best, but sometimes that other train just appears seemingly out of nowhere, and you've got to grab a shot through dirty or rain-streaked coach window or a scratched dome panel. A few examples follow.
The Fraser and Thompson Rivers are the happy hunting ground. CN and CP lines parallel each other on opposite sides of the canyon. On May 29, 1986 (top) the entire consist of VIA train No 2 is visible on CP tracks, across the Thompson River east of Boston Bar, with three units and thirteen cars. On September 22, 1985, things are reversed as we're aboard VIA No 1 chasing a CN Piggyback train westward, west of Spuzzum BC at 0730 (above).
Later that same day in September at 1850, we're meeting CP westbound coal across the river behind 5809-5836-5971. Helpers 5715-5767 and van 434208 follow:
CP also parallels CN for quite a distance between Belleville and Oshawa, Ontario. On May 17, 1994 I grabbed a shot of a CP westbound to the south with 5729-5747, from VIA train 61:
On a trip from Kingston to Montreal, we met CP freights north of us, in the starting blocks near Dorval ready to head west. There's also this slow-moving eastbound behind CP engine 9513, photographed from VIA train 52/40:
On a drizzly September 17, 1985, I'm in the dome aboard VIA No 1 as we meet an eastbound CN freight of paper cars behind 5207-5053, paralleling us on tangent track near Hurkett, Ontario:

Around the same area on May 21, 1986 we're meeting another CN eastbound behind 5148-5057 with 50 cars and caboose 79723, as seen from the lounge of Strathcona Park:
On May 23, 1986 at Basque Junction BC, still aboard VIA No 1 but running a disappointing four hours late, we meet a two-SD eastbound CN freight. It's half grain empties and half sulphur bathtub empties, all wrapped in the canyon dawn:

Another passenger-passenger train-to-train photography opportunity presented itself on June 9, 1984. Aboard VIA train No 2, we'd taken the siding west of Franz, Ontario. After enjoying the afternoon sun on the spruces for awhile, No 1 edged around the curve behind 6531-6633. While both trains were stopped, there was an exchange of supplies for ex-CN diner 1340, which is shown just ahead of MacDonald Manor:
VIA No 1 is smokin' it up behind ex-CP 1414 and two CP RS10's (hence the smoke) as it meets our No 2, east of Marathon, Ontario. The photo is taken from the vestibule of Butler Manor, and needless to say that at the speed No 1 was travelling, 1414 was the only number I was able to get before I quickly drew my head in!
Running extra...

Another nice round trip Kingston-Toronto this week, courtesy VIA trains 651/46. On the trip home, I enjoyed reading Rails & Rooms by Dave Preston. Dave travels across Canada sampling VIA routes and former railway hotels. Dave was travelling VIA 1 in the Corridor, as was I. When the warm towels were brought, I was reading about that. Then, both my seatmate and I selected the salmon entree, and when I turned the page, I found that Dave and his seatmate had done the same. Sounds fishy. I kept reading just for the halibut.

Even though it was raining, I stood under an awning for about 10 minutes, watching the Toronto Transit Commission CLRV's roll along Carlton Street. Even in the evening, there was rarely a span of more than one minute that at least one CLRV wasn't visible.

It took me over 70 years, but I finally viewed Gone with the Wind this week. Combined with a recent trip to Virginia, and a Trains magazine article on the US Military Railroad and other Civil War railroading efforts, I'm just about ready to start work on a Civil War model railroad. I can see it now...a little 4-4-0 pulling a train of munitions into a fortified arsenal with horse and mule teams standing by ready to ferry materiel to the troops at the front. (Oxymoron...civil...war. It's like...jumbo...shrimp) Bernard Kempinski's site serves as inspiration.


Zartok-35 said...

This reminds me of the "Perdue parallel" just east of Biggar. The CN and CP are right next to eachother! According to your brother's website, it's a great place for train-to-train pictures.

Eric said...

Are you referring to his photo of the CP Angus van taken during his 1979 trip, Elijah? That's a new one to me. That would be THE place to railfan in Saskatchewan!

Thanks for your comment,

Bryan said...

Good post, and quite an original topic. I must admit I've taken at least three of these same types of photos (Kingston-Smiths Falls sub, and the Fraser/Thompson rivers) myself.

Eric said...

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for your kind comments. T-to-T was a category in Bytown Railway Society's photo contests some years ago, which is the genesis of the idea.

Usually the CN Kingston - CP Smiths Falls Sub trains appear/disappear so quickly it is difficult to get a photo. Best case: overtaking a freight as shown in my photo. Worst case: trees get in the way just when you're ready to take the photo!

I always preferred the BC river canyons to the Rockies, and hope to do an upcoming post on the canyon's railways.