Friday, October 22, 2021

Kingston-Portage Aboard VIA - June 1980, Part 2

Having travelled west aboard VIA No 3, my trip home to Kingston on June 22 started bright and early! Boarding an eight minute-late VIA No 4 at 0703 in Portage la Prairie, I was soon ensconced in roomette 11 of ex-CN 8-4-4 E-series sleeper Eldorado, designated as car 452. My aunt packed me a lunch which, like the famous loaves and fishes, seemed to last forever - over both days of the return trip! Watching the fertile flatlands to the north between Portage and Winnipeg:
A welcome Winnipeg layover always provided a chance to walk about and photograph whatever was at, or passing through, the Depot. E-series sleeper Emerson, VIA 6764 (CN paint)-6632-6528 and the Canadian at right with VIA 1403-CP 8515-VIA 1402 (top photo). Spare cars at the depot were Mount Tekarra-CP 100 in fresh VIA paint and Bedford:
At Winnipeg, the eastbound Canadian prepared to lead us with a 20-minute head-start after the two-hour+ stops in Winnipeg. The two consists - my VIA No 4 (at Portage) and the Canadian, No 2 at Winnipeg:

Large areas of land around Kenora had been blackened by forest fires:
Only a handful of frames were exposed on my return trip. Forest and swamp south of Sudbury around 1400 the next afternoon:
Two more 'film-finishers' were snapped at speed at Spadina. Film-finishers were throw-away shots taken to use up remaining film in the 110-format cartridge so it could be taken for developing. Looking back, three CN S-13's, a coach yard full of Tempo, blue & yellow VIA cars on the loop track and a Northlander led by ONR FP-9 1984 are prized subjects today!

Arriving in Toronto on time at 1850 on June 23, I phoned home and did some reading until the eastbound Ontarian pulled out of Toronto Union at 2000, arriving in Kingston at 2245. I rode home in seat 54 of 6122 which trailed VIA-painted 6117. I got my 124 photos back from developing on June 25!

This was the last trip I'd make without taking copious notes. For subsequent trips, I'd prepare a mini-binder ahead of time, in which I'd write the schedule, stations, subdivisions, mileages and leaving room for notes. So much better than trying to read my mind's eye all these decades later!

Here are my notes from the trip, with equipment of different types separated by semi-colons. Freight cars are listed by railway name and/or reporting marks by type: BO (boxcar); HiCBO (Hi-cube boxcar); HO (covered hopper); RE (refrigerator); TA (tank car); FL (flat car); AU (autorack); BU (bulkhead flat car); CO (hopper car); CON (COFC container); TRA (TOFC trailer) etc. Four-digit numbers with or without reporting marks are locomotives.

NOTES - JUNE 22, 1980

Portage waiting for VIA No 3 - CN eastbound at 0647 9514-9572 CNWX, IMCX HO; CGTX, NATX TA; TH&B, TT FL; SR lime BO 46108, L&N BO; cabooses 79860-79560.

Winnipeg - CN switchers 7212, 7217(New orange cab paint scheme), 7157N, 7154N, 7174, 7175; CN cabooses 76568, 76570; CAST, ACL, Dart, HL CON; CNW, BN, IC TRA. Westbound at 0801 CN 4108N-4118-4124 with DRGW, SLSF AU; CANFOR all-door BO, BCR BO and caboose 79511, possibly from BNML interchange. CN 4306N-4314-4323 with caboose 79442. Eastbound with CN 9537-9457-9505-9561 with caboose 79767. VIA 6507-steam generator unit 15453 in CN colours.

Kenora - CP 5523, 4501-4715; van 437020.

Westbound at 1310 - CP 4559-5915, SOO, Milw, Boise Cascade BO; CP GO, CO, BU and van 434588; CP Jordan spreader 402884. 

Westbound at 1555 - CP 4726-4702, Japan Line, Seacon CON; E&N 292266 BO; van 434502.

West of Ignace - CP 4729-5587, vans 434571 and 'loose cabooses'' 437188 and 437010.

Ignace - Met VIA No 1 at 1600 

Thunder Bay - CP 7081, B-100, 8110, 8127; vans CP 434325, 437171 and 437219 end-cupola; BN, SOO, CNW, Milw, PGE, ONR BO; SOO GO; CP BU; CTI CON. CN 1910N-1914N, 9535; cabooses CN 79711, 76565; ships Frankcliffe Hall, Lake Winnipeg, Scott Misener. 

Eastbound at 2050 - CP 5941-5794-4730, CIL HO, E&N 292102 BO and van 434608.

Westbound at 2055 - CP 5922-5513-5509; NYK, TOL CON; Erco HO; TGIX TA; BCE 504 All-door BO; BCH 621 and 634 BO, TH&B GO, van 434110.

Cartier - CP vans 434106, 434558, 434469; CP FL, BO, BU, GO.

Sudbury - CP 8125-8126, 7090; smooth-side CP service cars 21085, 404936, 411713, 411702, 411694.

NOTES - JUNE 23, 1980

Orillia - CN cabooses 79208, 79430, 79604; switcher 1322. 

Into Toronto - L&N HO; IC, TPW, SR, RBOX, D&H 20154 BO; cabooses CN 79269, 79378; CN 4497N-4418. CP 6540, 7029, 7026, 8793; YS Line CON; Texas Mexican TRA; CP 437055 end-cupola van.

Spadina - CP 8514, 8517, 8521N; VIA 303 ex-Reading coach; VIA 6786, 6871, 6870, 6611; ONR 1521; CN 9551, 3107, 3114N, 3124N, Tempo 3153.

Oshawa - CN Switchers 1323, 1329, 1317, 1252, 7178, 7179; caboose 79868; EL, PC, CR, GO; MP, CR, Chessie BO; TH&B HO; SP, DT&I, Chessie, CR, UP HiCBO; IG, GT, PC, SSW AU.

Cobourg - SP, SSW HO; CN caboose 79556; CP eastbound 5905-4570-4562.

Belleville - CN 4400, cabooses 79220, 79798.

Though it's taken 41 years, I finally got this trip documented. A paucity of on-train notes led to the trip not even making it into Trackside with VIA - Research & Recollections, unlike all my other trips west aboard VIA Rail!

Running extra...

Kingston's Kingstonist kindly featured my Hanley Spur layout in an online article last Friday. Thanks to journalist Terry Bursey and editor Tori Stafford for reaching out! Now more than ever, this gets my layout 'out of the basement', especially important during a pandemic!

If you ever have reason to doubt GO Transit's testing with C&NW bilevels, this Youtube video will prove it's not just a conspiracy theory.

Jon Batiste's appearance on PBS's Austin City Limits was described as a 'spiritual practice' not a concert by the multi-faceted artist. Equally at home on alto sax, vocals and piano, his flying-finger stylings were akin to those centipedes you surprise along the baseboard when the light is flicked on. So much movement! A high-energy funk-rap-country-gospel-classical happenin'. Yes, indeed.

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