Friday, June 4, 2021

Winnipeg Layover, June 2019

Confessions of a Train Rider? My wife and I were travelling west to Edmonton on VIA No 1. I hadn't been to Winnipeg since 1986, and this was the first time we travelled together for this long by train. Having left Toronto on Sunday, June 2, we arrived in Winnipeg on Monday, June 3, 2019. On Time arrival would have been 1930, with a leisurely layover of two hours for servicing and On-Board Service crew change. 

We had hoped to meet the Manitoba Mafia: 'Mayor of Diamond' Brian Schuff, Mark 'the Hoople' Perry and Steve 'Confessions' Boyko. Due to the late hour, and something about working the next day, Steve had heard that Brian had wisely called it a night, and had not seen Mark. Both of them had stayed as late as they could, and that was appreciated! 

We were glad to meet Steve (top photo with your humble blogger, below with my wife), having only 'met' online previously. We also had a few railfans on No 1: Ivan (winner of a VIA40 trip from Vancouver - Toronto return), Eric from the US on a graduation trip with his parents, and 'Laptop Guy' who was heading to a wedding in BC. My wife enjoyed hanging out with them in the Skyline dome as we neared Winnipeg, so what's a few more railfans once we arrive?
But, as they say, late trains get later. Ontario was not the province of punctuality for us:
  • Savant Lake, 2' 30" late
  • Sioux Lookout, 2' late
  • Hudson, waited three hours over a delicious dinner for a CN freight with air problems hog-lawing, another freight and VIA No 2
  • Arrived Winnipeg 3' 45" late
  • Departed Winnipeg 3' 15' late at 0045
We arrived at 2315. Steve kindly took time to reacquaint me with the station environs. Broadway and Main intersection (above), without a tripod but with a lamp-post! Last time I was here, the forks were what you had on your table with the knives. Now it's a tourist attraction, formerly known as CN's East Yard. In that incarnation, it was a great place to spend a Winnipeg layover!
Steve shows us the layout of the Forks today which now includes the human rights museum, ballpark, event space and only a couple of pieces of preserved rolling stock. Steve then took us to the premium railfan spot at the west end of the trainshed, now carefully fenced, up some stairs from the Forks.
That's our train in the foreground, led by VIA 6421-6426-6435, with a second west-facing consist in the background with 6448-6455.
Back at ground level behind the station before heading back in. It was a nice night and if we had time, we could have hung out longer and watched the passing CN freights!
Preparing to queue up and re-board in the below-tracks departure level:
You are here! The station looks a little different on VIA's TV screen.
The pre-VIA vista I'm perhaps more familiar with - when all station tracks were in use, and there was lots of good stuff to explore down in East Yard - captioned 1956:
Our consist ex-Toronto was VIA 6421-6426-6435-8604-8103-8123-8516-Bayfield, Monck and Grant Manors-8501-Emerald-Cabot, Hearne, Craig, Lorne, Butler and Cornwall Manors-8517-Frontenac- Chateau Closse, and Prestige cars Chateau Varennes-Chateau Maisonneuve-Kootenay Park. Our consist, graphically missing the sixth Manor:

We re-boarded at 0015. The Skyline dome windows had been washed. By the next morning's arrival in Melville, SK we would be over two hours late.
On the next track, facing east: 6456-6404-86xx-8120-8504-Chateau Latour-Chateau Radisson and perhaps the Churchill train facing west: 6448-6455-8616-8105-8125-85xx-Chateau Vercheres,
Thanks to Steve for his tour-guiding during our brief stop in the 'Peg!

Running extra...
Too little to constitute publishing a postscript post, but too much not to mention! Steve Bradley kindly shared his site photos of the VIA 1405 derailment (above). He was there in the aftermath! One of those little VIA mysteries that occasionally pop up. These newly-shared photos add substantially to the initial post on this 1979 derailment. Thanks, Steve!

Watch for an upcoming post on my 2021 Front Porch Layout. At our June Associated Railroaders of Kingston members' night, I prepared this short presentation that might be inspirational. And by inspirational, I also mean respirational, getting some fresh air into our lungs outdoors again! It shows behind-the-scenes details on my 2013-2021 Front Porch Layouts. 

Other presentations that night were Doug's organized operations scheme, Bob's super structure modelling and Greg's pending Bay of Quinte redux. Our discussion challenged the usual layout trajectory of room prep, benchwork, scenery, tracklaying, wiring, operation. Operations can come earlier!


Bill said...

This is truly one of your very best blogs I have ever seen. I am really impressed with the great coverage you documented of the VIA Station in Winnipeg. It is fabulous, never looked so good. It is wonderful that VIA has spent the funds on it that they did. The one shot of the front of the station is a classic. And all the great photos of the trains in the station.

It makes me want to really go to Winnipeg in the future. My memories of it from years ago are a mere figment of what it has been transformed into currently.

Thanks for this wonderful presentation. It will be difficult to do better.

Bill - Rehoboth Beach, DE, USA [home of U S President Joe Biden's summer residence]

Eric said...

Thanks very much, Bill! I could have taken more photos of the interior, in retrospect, but we weren't really sure when departure time would be, so we tried to cover all the bases, inside and out. An additional benefit was meeting Steve, and I know you also enjoy his blogging!

I, too, have warm memories of finding my way out of that station, slipping surreptitiously down the to the coach yard and [safely] exploring all the rolling stock treasures there and under the trainshed. Then, surreptitiously reboarding my sleeper to continue westward if not met by my relatives in Winnipeg.

I trust the President will enjoy his short respite before tackling more of the internal and external problems your country faces, head-on!


Steve Boyko said...

I was surprised to see my own face when I viewed your latest blog post!

I was very happy to be able to meet you and your lovely wife during your stopover in Winnipeg. I'm glad you got some great photos to share here, and you're welcome to return any time! Maybe someday I can call upon you to give me the Kingston tour... one day when we can travel again.

Eric said...

Surprise, Steve!

It was a brief visit. Too bad we couldn't have made it in daylight!

For sure re: Kingston, although the architecture of Kingston's 1974 station doesn't compare well!

Thanks for your comment,

Brian said...

It looks like they have spruced up the Winnipeg station since I was last there. It seems a lot brighter than I remember.

I attended a series of meetings at the station some years ago. To get to the various meeting rooms, we walked along the balconies above the main floor area of the station. The railings are, or at least were, quite low and it gave me the feeling of walking along a ledge on a cliff face.

Eric said...

Hi Brian,

Bockstael Construction did the 2011-2014 renewal, and they have a profile page on their website.

People were shorter back then!

Thanks for your comment,