Friday, December 13, 2019

On the Platforum 'Home for the Holidays' Special

Take four train enthusiasts, put them on a chilly outdoor location beside a busy main line in December, start the cameras rolling and the eggnog flowing, and film it all. Like this would ever happen! But it did! It's the Platforum Episode 3: 'Home for the Holidays' Christmas Special! 
When I receive a message from fellow model railroader Bob Fallowfield (above with beard)(above with hat)(above, smiling)(above - at left - that nails it), I pay attention. Would I consider participating in the fresh podcast series 'The Platforum"? You bet I would. But wait? How does one go about filming a podcast, and why? Clearly, not only did I have to get out more; I had a lot to learn. If you listen to a video, it's like a podcast! Youtube has the answers - Episode One.

After a quick exchange of messages with Bob, many of my questions were answered. Joining Bob 'No Trackplan' Fallowfield would be this kooky Kingstonian, locomotive engineer Jordan 'Hollywood' McCallum (below, with Bob), and the inimitable Jason 'Edmundston' Shron. I'd often thought it would be neat to participate in a roundtable with fellow VIAphiles. This would be an awesome aweportunity!
The night before the taping there was a six-inch dump of snow. Travel would be perilous or perhaps prohibited by my better half. A call to Bob confirmed it was ON. I was OFF and OUT. Getting to Bath Road, a City of Kingston snowplow blasted past! Let's go!
The drive was not too bad, and I safely reached the taping location along CN's Kingston Sub. I made myself at home and Jordan soon arrived. Fortunately, CN sent through a whack of freights - we could enjoy these from the warm side of the windows while sipping a warm beverage, while Bob and Jason trainwatched from the windy platform (top photo and below):

I recorded 14 trains during our time here. Though it was difficult to dive through the set to the best platform vantage spot, or to whip out a tape recorder or notepad, my point-and-shoot camera timestamped each passing train. In this company, I was not concerned about looking like a rabid, avid railfan! VIA 6449 westbound at 1044 (above) and CN 2117 eastbound ten minutes later, with DPU 2337:

VIA 907 westbound at 1115 (above) while 3038-3842 lead a westbound at 1138 with Rio Tinto ingot cars on the head-end:
Jason with VIA 903 westbound at 1217:
Soon it was time to form up on the 'Platforum' for the taping of 'roundtable' discussion. Platforum -  clever name, just like 'Fallowfield'. (Bob says few people know what a fallow field actually is!) Bob laid the ground rules for the discussion succintly:
  • no profanity
  • nothing off-colour
  • no railway-bashing
  • no off-topic 'mission creep'
  • no talking about modelling CN
  • no sharing of Bob's trackplan
OK, I made up the last two! The atmosphere was definitely professional, as was the technical production value by Barry and Christian. Barry appreciated the shadowless overcast as the pair worked the three cameras. Christian looked cold. But geniality was snowing in spades upon our merry band, and Bob did not need to ask if I was having fun. Video capture of Jason, me, Jordan and Bob:
Look out, David Frost and Barbara Walters, because Bob Fallowfield has a story-teller's wistful gleam in his eye, the Pierre Berton-like curiosity for a previously-unknown fact, and the tenacity of a sheepdog in his questioning.
VIA 917 westbound at 1446 with waving hogger (above) and CN 3107-3197 westbound at 1509:
The trains kept rolling! A flurry of CN freights as the railway continued to recover from its late-November strike, and VIA sending through its usual blizzard of trains. VIA's regular Discount Tuesday ad even got into the act, virtually:

Some fun facts from the shoot:
  • Bob has been part of an operating crew on a major Canadian shortline
  • Jordan was initially hired by Central Western, Canada's first shortline
  • Jason favours bell-bottoms
  • Barry is somewhat of a bird-watcher
  • Christian drove in from Kingston earlier in the morning, so why couldn't I? (below with VIA 918 on the tail-end of a westbound. Note crusted snow - on the unit, not Christian!)
All too soon, we burnt up all the daylight and it was time to head home with memories of this momentous meeting, savouring of nostalgia-steeped stories, and anticipation of the finished product!

Major appreciation to Bob for inviting me to take part in the Platforum. It was great to finally meet Bob and share in the trackside version of his Fallowfield Effect. He did not bring a paper copy of his trackplan, which was a completely expected disappointment. Thanks also to Jason and Jordan, both of whom I had been fortunate to meet before for adding their unique perspectives throughout the day. Of course there were some unfilmed conversations which will never be on Youtube. These were enlightening and gave glimpses into each participant's world and allowed me to share more of mine.

And now...enjoy the Platforum 'HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS' special here.

January 4 Update: The Platforum Episode 4
Running extra...

We shared some frigid fruitcake on the Platforum. Some years ago, CN passengers shared some Plum Pudding in the dining car. Watch for more in an upcoming post. The Roberval & Saguenay operated a Christmas train, including Rio Tinto RTAX 19090, decking the halls of this silver ingot car with boughs of holly and more. Kevin Burkholder kindly shared his photo:
Far to the west, Habib Fazil photographed and kindly shared this photo of a new test car for CN's Walker Yard locomotive shop in Edmonton. A great kitbash and a welder's delight. Not even the graffiti was rollered out:
You be the Pacman like the CP Rail multimark? This topic came up on the Platforum, and it seems lots of railfans like to refer to the latter as the former. When the multimark was created, video games were years in the future. When the going gets tough, the tough get meme-ing:


Allison said...

What a fun post!! Railfans have almost as much fun as a bunch of birders when they get together, eh?!?
I was interested to hear you speak on the podcast about your "train set"...I thought we always had to call it our "model railway?!?" I guess it's like accompanist vs. collaborative goes with the flow on terminology!
I'm just starting my trip home for Christmas...I'll use every means of transport except a boat! (I hope!)

Eric said...

..."in-home transportation empire", then...

Thanks for your comment,