In March 1994, I had the opportunity to ride Ontario Northland's Northlander to Timmins, Ontario. At the time, I was a professional council member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario. Another member and I represented the college at the Noront convention in Timmins. Faced with the choice of air or rail transportation, the choice was obvious. VIA No 41, 6439 and three LRC cars got me to Toronto Union Station on the morning of March 1. VIA's westbound Canadian was on an adjacent track:
6449-6450 led 8616-8105-8120-8500-Palliser-Burton Manor-Macdonald Manor-two more sleepers and Kokanee Park. VIA No 697/ONR No 121 (aka the Northlander) had a consist of GP38-2 1808-Auxiliary Power Unit (ex-MILW) 203-coach 609-snack car 702-coach 612 (my car). Approaching Huntsville, looking across frozen Hunters Bay, CN and CP boxcars for the Kimberly-Clark plant were visible at the station, where CN Geep 4100 and caboose 79700 were also stationed:
We entered the siding at South River to meet the southbound Northlander. The crew was friendly, and the trainman and I waited by the engine (top photo) for the roll-by inspection and No 698 soon appeared, its arrival heralded by diesel chant in crisp, afternoon air. The consist was 1501-204-602-703-600:
After the meet, the trainman closed the switch while No 698 made it station stop, and we were able to resume our trip north.
We met CN No 450 at Powassan at 1635: CN 5249-5324-5276 with lots of ONR paper boxcars and QOPX woodchip cars, plus caboose 79443. The snack car had numerous tables on both sides of the aisle, and I selected the menu's hamburger offering:
The snack car attendant added a personal garnish, slicing a fresh tomato onto the reheated hamburger. At Englehart, a GP9 and centre-cupola caboose 125 waited, and there were two 1700-series ONR SD's at the yard office. Since the Northlander no longer served Timmins directly, those of us heading there boarded a waiting Ontario Northland bus at Matheson for the rest of the journey.
It was dark when we reached Matheson, so the above view is taken during daylight, at the start of my trip south, which will follow in Part 2. Rest assured that Northern hospitality was extended to those of us from much farther south at the convention. Afterwards, evening refreshments were taken at a downtown hotel, including a scintillating, unforgettable performance by the 'Timmins ballet'. Here's a clearance for CN No 128, the Northland, which governed this train while on CN rails before it transferred to the Ontario Northland at North Bay:
**These items are now sold. Thanks to all for your interest.** ONR mementoes for sale: 1993 and 1997 Polar Bear Express schedules, ONR services brochure, colour 8x10 photo of No 122 at North Bay in 1992, and a four-panel fold-out Ontario Northland Transportation Commission system map with distances and photos.
Tangent Scale Models has released Pullman-Standard 4750 cu ft covered hoppers in HO scale, including two schemes that will enable you to easily model Manitoba's leased covered hoppers from 1980 - Pillsbury and the Tri-County Grain Co of Cynthiana, Indiana.
A pleasant journey west on the GO Transit 1538 departure from Oshawa, returning from Union in a flood of humanity at 2113, after my enjoyable evening with the Toronto & York Division CRHA. I spoke on VIA's history, writing my first book, and gave a brief update on my second VIA book, currently with the printer. Why not check out this free preview of what this book will have to offer.