One weekend in June provided a couple of unexpected, unconventional and unprecedented railfan opportunities! The first revolved around fast food and trains. A rare opportunity to railfan with my father-in-law at the Country Style donut shop near my in-laws' new apartment building on June 25. Large coffee, fairly large windows, though not a large number of freight trains as might have been expected on a Saturday morning. VIA provided three trains for our viewing pleasure (top photo).
CN No 376 headed east at 1220 behind 2657-8842. All eyes on the rails...now if we could just get some of those large advertising posters out of the window!
CRDX 20451 similar but different DRA application. Next opportunity, next day. Winnipeg CN engineer Chris de Vries periodically visits his old stomping grounds in Brockville. Such was the case during this week in June. My family and I drove down from Kingston. They went shopping, I went...you know where...Brockville's VIA station.
At 1410, VIA no 47 was the first train to arrive: 912-3357-3330-3361-3354Ren-3462-917 - one of VIA's 50/50 consists with P42's on each end and cars with forward/backward seating, launched June 1. I'd made previous visits to Brockville in September 2013, and a wintry January 2014.
Chris and I chilled on one of the station benches, talking over a wide range of Canadian rail experiences, memories, technology, practices and other topics as well. At 1456, VIA No 64 arrived with HEP2 cars: 6438-8620-4001-4002-8107-4122-8127:
Und now, vee maaaarch!
Neither CN nor VIA overwhelmed us with train volume. While I trundled about recording photos and numbers, Chris adopted a holistic railfan approach, watching the passing show and monitoring chatter. Shoe collection!
One of the first observations Chris made was this uniquely-numbered, extended container trailer at the CN yard office: CNBS 295390:
Smoke show. Geep horn.
Wresting a large cut of 39 cars from the north side of the yard before pulling past us and backing into the south side, this was an interesting consist. One of three extant Sclair cars, NCHX 46548 is destined for the nearby Avens plant on CP trackage, Chris noted. Followed by a TILX covered hopper for the Prescott elevator, six tank cars for CP...
...and the remainder ballast cars, mostly orange CN in the 302-series and 90-series (numbers available upon request) and two ex-BCOL green ones, such as BCOL 2866...
...and three tie cars: WC 451-IC 97411 and CN 91115Don's Fish & Chips at the riverfront. This time, there were chips but no ships. We stayed at our perch just for the halibut. Oh, my cod!
At 1653, a VIA westbound behind 904 approached the Brockville station. Renovated but not made into a monster, unlike Belleville, Cobourg and Oshawa. Closer...
...and closer still! It was great to talk to Chris after corresponding online for some time. He'd hoped to pull an all-nighter, the slim prospects for much CN freight traffic changed those plans. Nonetheless, here are the trains Chris managed to observe after I headed west:
- VIA No 44 at 1737
- CN No 377 at 1748
- VIA No 67 at 1816
- VIA No 647 at 1829
- VIA No 65 at 1840
- CN No 306 at 1856
- VIA No 46 at 1900
- VIA No 69 at 1931
- VIA No 646 at 1938
- CN No 532 south to north at 1943, departing east 2033, returned 0010
- VIA No 68 at 2009
- CN No 148 at 2054
- VIA No 668 at 2059
- VIA No 669 at 2101
- VIA No 59 at 2116
- VIA No 648 exp 2210
- CN No 372 at 2309
- CN No 309 at 2318
- CN No 373 at 0032
- CN No 310 at 0059
Chris called it a night at 0100 with pending CN No 120 at Grafton and CN No 107 still in Montreal.
Speaking of Brockville, a positively inspirational series of photos posted to Facebook by Pennsylvania's Jeremy Plant has me returning to Brockville...in the 1970's and 1980's, that is! Watch for an upcoming series on VIA's splitting and building of trains at Brockville, plethorically and pleasantly punctuated with photographs Jeremy took 35 years ago and has graciously shared now. Jeremy, hit me one time!
Book review: Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom. Four word review:
Great book. Read it.