Thursday, April 28, 2022

Kingston-Portage Road Trip, 1979 - Part 1

My brother David and I were heading to Portage la Prairie to visit our aunt and uncle in August, 1979. Of course, a big part of the trip, plus the journey, involved train-watching.  I was packed on Thursday, and we didn’t leave until 0615 on Saturday! We packed lots of food and drink in his Volkswagen Rabbit GTI. And my Kodak Hawkeye 110 format 'instamatic' camera, of course!

On August 18, we drove all day reaching Cochrane, ON at 1700. Dave had decided to drive the more northerly of the two northern Ontario routes. He was a driver who didn’t dawdle. At North Bay, we cased the Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) yards and shop. Temiskaming & Northern Ontario 2-8-2 503 was preserved and fenced in North Bay City Park (above). Kitty-corner to the park was ONR’s expansive shops complex. GP38-2 1803, SD40-2’s 1732-1736, and Northlander power unit 1982 were visible (below). We also found ONR’s former Wabash/Norfolk & Western business car Onakawana/400 (top photo). Also at North Bay: CN 9553-9449-5579 and 1387.

At the Cochrane station, ONR RS-10 1400 was switching, and 1730-1802-1521 were powering a freight. 

Also at Cochrane’s station were VIA 6787-6778-9644 in CN colours-Manitou-5492 in CN colours-5569-4884-ONR 812. Normetal-lettered 4-6-0 219 was at the shop, with its cab windows boarded up. ONR National Steel Car coaches 805-806 in green paint, and white/yellow/two-tone blue 801 were nearby, as were ONR cabooses 95 and 96. CN-painted VIA 6518 was with baggage car 9641 and coach 5193 at the station.

August 19 found us leaving Cochrane at 0545, keeping a sharp eye out for moose on the highway. We kept track of times mileages and speeds using a cassette tape recorder, with occasional comedy improv bits thrown in. At Kapuskasing’s VIA/ONR station, former fantrip star CNR 4-6-2 5107 was preserved. On the other side of the station was the Spruce Falls Power & Paper plant. A small Jordan spreader, orange boxcar 321 and transformer-laden depressed-centre flatcar were part of their captive rolling stock fleet visible beyond the CN yard. Their switcher slumbered in the shop:

At Hearst, we found an Algoma Central Railway passenger train at the ACR station at 0815, led by GP-9’s 100-164. Content to wait for the train to pass us by so I could record the consist, imagine our surprise as it inexorably backed away from us, ever so slowly. Beyond steam-generator car 74 were ex-troop sleeper baggage-express cars 203-205. The identity of the baggage car and three coaches will forever remain a mystery. It was a not-so-great moment in Canadian railfanning!

We made it to our next stopover at Schreiber around 1500. CP 4508-5905 were in the yard (below), as were 4711, 5799, 5023 and switcher 7090. CP 8709 had a Speno rail-grinding train in the yard, and vans 437147 end-cupola, 434580 and Jordan spreader 402890 were there, too.

Superintendent’s car 10 sat across from the station with the Speno train behind:
Freights past the station that evening: Eastbound at 1642: 5531-5019; eastbound at 1853 (below): 5621-4509-4567-5557 priority train with van 434432; eastbound at 2120: 5671-5694-5757 priority train; westbound at 2138: 5722-5730-5662-5726 with van 434559.
Departing Schreiber on August 20 at 0545, we breakfasted in Thunder Bay and made it to Portage at 1700. Of course, our first visit to the CN and CP yards was that evening, and we caught three trains there.  Our first full day, we were back at the tracks netting 12+ trains. It was the height of VIA’s circus train era, with CP fully signing over their western passenger operations the previous October. Cars and locomotives were in CP red and VIA blue stripes. CN and VIA paint adorned ex-CN cars. One-of-a-kind blue & yellow ex-CP 8558 was the middle unit on one morning’s VIA No 2!
Also on August 21, we located a scrap switchstand at Helston, where CN’s branchline was being pulled up (above). More station trainwatching ensued on August 22, the afternoon of the 23rd and 24th, morning of the 27th and afternoon of the 29th. Other excursions we made with our aunt and uncle: Winnipeg’s Rainbow Stage production of ‘Desert Song’, the Manitoba Agricultural Museum at Austin, a ride on the Prairie Dog Central (below) wyeing at Grosse Isle with your humble blogger, and paddlewheeler cruise in Winnipeg, the Mennonite Museum in Steinbach and Portage’s Fort la Reine Museum, and St. Ambrose Provincial Beach. On August 25 we returned to Helston to salvage collector’s items including the abandoned switchstand, which would depress the GTI’s rear suspension all the way back to Kingston!

Winnipeg's Paul Newsome, now a published author with his new book on the PDC, noted that local farmer Arnold Borthistle is at right! In Part 2 we head back east, again tracing the shore of Lake Superior and partaking in some CP sights and sites.

Running extra...

I'm honoured to have a diorama in this upcoming exhibit at Kingston's Pumphouse Museum. I'm looking forward to seeing the amassed artifacts and displays on planes, trains, and automobiles, and ships, and more! 'On the Move' opened this past Friday and runs until November.

If you like grain boxcars, check out this video. It's got 14,000+ views in three days! AmtrakGuy365 (Jared) asked back in December, 2021 to feature my photos, and feature them he did! Four months ago, it was Incentive Per Diem boxcars. These videos make me feel...historic!
I came across a photo of the Concordia, KS flour mill this week and got a little obsessed by this structure. It is treasure that is located trackside, so it might become a post. Even though it's American. But it's not the first American subject featured on here. I'm just going back to the daily blogging grind and we'll see if a flour grows. Who know wheat will happen.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Kingston-Vancouver aboard VIA, Part 2 - September, 1986

Arriving in Vancouver aboard VIA No 1 on May 23, 1986 I observed and photographed Expo86's Grand Parade of Steam. Well, it was less grand – it was backwards! All the locomotives were reversing, heading over to their static display area in the CN yards. Oh well, despite the major engines being no-shows, there was CPR 1201 from Ottawa, Prairie Dog Central 3 from Winnipeg, and many other small steamers from all over Canada and the U.S. Watch for an upcoming post with parade photos. The grandest engine there was CPR Royal Hudson 2860:

As I would for the next five days in Vancouver, I headed over to the Expo86 site. I took a cab (at rush hour, likely via the meter-running out-of-towner route) to my great-aunt Alison’s house. A gracious host, I hadn’t seen her and my cousins since I was five! She treated me to dinner at a nearby, typically trendy Vancouver restaurant. Note to self, “This town is all punks and hippies. Friendly, though”.

I got to and from the Expo86 site by riding Granville/10th UBC buses, or the Broadway/Victoria buses. I only stayed for the nightly fireworks once, as navigating back to the house in the dark in crowds was an adventure. I took in eighteen pavilions, like Kenya, Japan and Germany; open-air concerts by Winnipeg’s Argyles; demonstrations by the  Kaifeng motorcycle team and the boom-boat ballet; shows like RCMP’s Musical Ride, the Omnimax theatre and the BC lumberjack competition; and rides like the Space Drop and Scream Machine roller coaster.

Finally making it to the SteamExpo site on the 26th, I got my visit in before it started raining. All the locomotives were well-displayed, steamed up and some of the smaller ones shuttling back and forth. 
On the 28th, my cousin Neill joined me at the SteamExpo site. He enjoyed seeing a familiar BC logging truck on display (below). We went to a Latin-American restaurant for pork carnitas and Mexican ‘cervezas’! Neill was not only a train enthusiast, but also a world traveller. He had seen Beyer-Garratts up close in Rhodesia, and many more travels. That evening, as we sat down to chat after I finished packing, my aunt Alison asked me, “So, when are you getting married?”! I’d been working on my proposal and gathering courage to deliver it to Karen upon my return. On the 29th, aunt Alison drove me to the bus stop and I made my way over to the station to await VIA No 4’s departure. 
It was an enjoyable, though very hot, river canyon passage aboard VIA No 4. Our train at Boston Bar, BC at 1800, with CN 5413-5428-1280 in the yard (below). Having departed Vancouver at 1245, the coach’s air-conditioning malfunctioned, not functioning again until Kamloops that night. I had a fitful sleep across two coach seats, repositioning myself every half-hour. 
I was up and walking the platform at Jasper, AB at sunrise:
CN 5094-5061-4105 switching at Jasper (above). Our power refuelling:
Dome time on the 30th didn’t work out, but with Dutch doors already upon due to the reduced output of the air-conditioning, I stayed in the vestibule from Edmonton to Holden, AB and again from Biggar, SK into Saskatoon. I shared a cab ride with a “weird, bitchy pair” into the city from the isolated Saskatoon station located in CN’s yard. I checked into the Parktown Hotel around 2200. Reorganizing my stuff, I realized I was running low on film and money. 

I was up at 0700 the next morning. I had breakfast in the hotel coffee shop before walking over to the Bay store to pick up my rental car. I stopped at a gas station to phone Karen. This was a time before ATM’s and cell phones! I was soon on the road in my Chevy Cavalier for three days of elevator photography. I headed to Watrous, took in CN's Craik Subdivision then along the CP Colonsay Subdivision on the parallel, branchline-killing highway. I was attracted to the British-sounding town names on the map, like Penzance and Holdfast. At the latter, I got some cold Mountain Dew and Cherry Coke as well as some directions from an older lady shopper.

I soon found Findlater, before reaching my overnight stop – the Jubilee Inn in Davidson, basement (!) room 14. The homey Mills Family Restaurant supplied supper before I drove out to nearby Bladworth. So many of the towns I visited gave the impression of broken dreams and faded glory. I phoned home, and my Dad’s reaction to my proposal plans were, “Well, take things slowly.” He was 28 when he’d married Mom!

On June 1, I was eating breakfast at the Mills’ and on the road by 9ish. I followed the CP to Hawarden and Milden, CN from Dinsmore to Wartime, and bought Coke and Dr. Pepper at Outlook. My overnight destination was Rosetown. I arrived just before a thunderstorm, enjoying a KFC supper as a CN train pulled in behind 5575 and two other units. Stopping beneath the storm sky and elevators, the crew walked over to the Highway Host restaurant for supper. I took an evening drive out to Sovereign, served by CP:
Leaving the second-floor room 24 of the Rosetown Motel at 0830, I headed to Magee (CN) and Herschel then Stranraer (CP). There, again attracted by the name of the place, I parked and walked up the ramp into the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool elevator. The agent let me have the run of the place. Above the weigh scale, under the annex, up to the walkway of cylindrical ‘Coke can’ hopper he was loading, though he cautioned me, “Don’t fall in – once you go in, you never come out.” Two farmers came in to unload, otherwise he was up and down weighing each hopper of grain before going up top and filling the car, then back down for the next. What a workout, in the era before PPE, just workboots. The Stranraer postmistress couldn’t understand why I wanted a Stranraer postmark put on my postcard to commemorate my visit.

I followed the CN into Saskatoon through Laura and Delisle. I returned my rental car and paid my bill of $260. I took a taxi to the Saskatoon, waiting for the train until 2300, departing nearly two hours late. I slept well, waking up at 0850 now three hours late at Portage, arriving at 0910. 
Rosemary met me at the station, and we met Wilf at the office before heading to their place. Then it was off to the Co-Op Restaurant for lunch. In the evening we drove around to see Tucker, Oakland, Burnside and MacGregor elevators. Rosemary was stunned when I mentioned my proposal plans! I spent four days with Rosemary and Wilf. I had the use of their car, so one day I drove to Burnside, where agent Fernand Legault, one of their dental patients, showed me the new Manitoba Pool elevator. Quite a contrast from Stranraer. I also caught CN and CP freights around Portage.

Rosemary and I were at the Portage station at 0830 on June 6, though my train didn’t arrive until 1015. Wilf arrived just before train time. I was in seat 30 of ex-CP coach 110, where I enjoyed their care package lunch at Winnipeg. CN 9151-VIA 6617 at Winnipeg:
We met a long No 1 at 1715, west of Dryden. At Thunder Bay, 64 grade 8’s got on, and they would not settle down until 0330 on the 7th. Microwaved meals on a mostly cloudy day, we met a ten-car No 9 at Parry Sound at 1742. Also heading to Toronto, their teachers thanked me for my patience upon arrival. All I could say was that it had been a character-building experience. We’d been running 3.5 hours late, but made up time and arrived only two hours late. I was soon stretched out in seats 59-60 of coach 5611 on the Cavalier and home.

June 6/86
Winnipeg - CN 5268-5227 with caboose 79522; CN 5560-5518 with 79854.

East of Kenora WB -  at 1530 CP 5695-4570 with intermodal and van 434327; at 1555 CP 5531-5549.

Dyment at 1818 - CP 3110-3098 with Jordan spreader 402884 and ballast train at pit.

Ignace - CP 5784-5001 with van 434414; 3054-3030 with 434519; 8630.

June 7/86
White River - CP 5597-6030 with 434657.

Chapleau - CP 5639-5947-KCC 107, 4727, 6016, 4703, 4705, 5535, 5534, 4739, 3095, 1596, vans 434692, 434583 and end-cupola 434029; Jordan spreader 402888.

East of Chapleau 1200 EB - CP 5791-5812.

Sudbury - CP 5724, 3032, van 434564; Sperry car 125.

South of Sudbury - CP 6045-5976-5988.

Parry Sound - CN 2544 with van 79278.

Washago - CN 9492-9561-9456.

Barrie - CN 4566.

Running extra...

During the re-design of VIA's parking facilities at Kingston station, the lot was massively expanded. Back in the late-1980's, benches were built for railfan relaxation at the then-easternmost end of the platform. Now with lots of parking lot east of them (!) VIA refurbished the benches, returning their 'Donated by Kingston Railway Fans 1990' plaque and adding a new one:
I do find it odd, however, that with all this real estate, the dog's leg route into the parking lot from the traffic circle is narrow and passes close to the accessible parking spots, in turn separated from the station by a wide expanse of concrete! Looked good on the drafting table, I guess!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Kingston-Vancouver aboard VIA, Part 1 - September, 1986

The big event for North American railfans in 1986 was the Expo86 World Exposition in Vancouver. SteamExpo was to include a grand parade of big steam locomotives like UP 8444, SP 4449, CNR 6060, CPR 2860 and many smaller ones. I wanted to squeeze in a lot on this trip, visiting Rosemary and Wilf in Portage, staying with my great-aunt Alison in Vancouver, plus photographing grain elevators out of Saskatoon. This is the final one of my 1980's trips west aboard VIA Rail to be shared on Trackside Treasure. I've published posts on portions previously, and you'll find links scattered throughout this two-part series, just like Easter eggs!

I was wide awake at 0520 on May 20, with Mom and Dad driving me to Kingston station. With ticket to Toronto bought and in hand, I was aboard VIA No 651 in snack bar coach 3242. Arrival in Toronto Union was at 1015. Lunch was at the Jolly Chef, and I boarded No 9 at 1300. I was up in the dome of Strathcona Park (top photo) until we were well out of Toronto. 
CN 9506-79309 were parked at Orillia (above), arrival at Washago at 1530 (below). First call for dinner was at 1700. I was seated at a table with two ladies from Toronto and a fellow from Connecticut. It turned out he was also a railfan heading to SteamExpo. Dinner was ham steak. I met the Connecticut railfan and three other fans in the Park car dome after dinner.                              
Once we reached Sudbury, I was on the platform to see the switching of No 1 from Montreal. I’d been keen to get travelling, but on this first night away, in roomette 3 of Sherwood Manor, I was already missing Karen. On May 21, I was awake at 0530 because I had a job to do. David had asked me to photograph his former CP Rail territory between White River and Thunder Bay. (I would end up doing much more at the Lakehead than just taking photos…) Positioned at the rear lounge door in Strathcona Park, at Mi. 45 of the CP Heron Bay Sub, meeting an eastbound with 4709-4705 I got a ‘locomotive view’ of every station, siding and bridge. David has published the CP Nipigon Sub photos - Schreiber to Nipigon and Nipigon to Thunder Bay - on his blog, carefully correlated with annotated topographical maps. Mink Tunnel out the Park car lounge window:

Later in the morning, the tail-end trainman mentioned ‘engineer Rolly Martin’ was in the cab. David had roomed with Rolly and Therese in Schreiber during his time as a trainman in Schreiber! I made my way up to the cab once we reached Thunder Bay and introduced myself to Rolly as he alighted from the cab (above). He beamed when I mentioned David! This brief chance meeting served to put Rolly and David back in touch with each other. Their friendship resulted in several visits to Schreiber and to Kingston. 
Eighty miles west of the Lakehead we passed the aftermath of a derailment (below), where lumber from a wrecked boxcar was being stacked trackside. After dinner in diner Emerald, we were only doing 15 mph for about 10 miles. Lead unit VIA 6513 was having mechanical issues, and CP 5982 was sent from Kenora to take us west into Winnipeg. I was in the vestibule from Hawk Lake, ON to Moss Spur, MB. I called Rosemary and Wilf from the nearby Fort Garry Hotel after arrival in Winnipeg. Before long I was meeting Rosemary at the station stop in Portage. Generous as always, I was given a care package comprising food and books to read. I drifted off around MacGregor, hoping to sleep in on Thursday morning.
Well, I woke briefly at Grenfell, SK and snapped some photos of towering metal-clad grain elevators in the early morning light, from the roomette bed. Back to sleep until 1000! Clouds and drizzle moved in, and I spent a little while in the vestibule as we passed elevators at Carmichael and Tompkins, SK. The rain let up and I was back in the vestibule snapping elevator photos from PIapot SK to Bassano AB and Bassano to Indus thence into downtown Calgary and the station. Once on the station platform, another railfan and I slipped into the station to buy some souvenirs.
Near Exshaw (above), CP 5618 4 gons and 434731 at Banff:
Leaving Calgary four hours late, it was once again time for dinner in the diner. Could nothing be finer? Yes, perhaps a vestibule ride into the mountains could be! From Exshaw, AB to the Spiral Tunnels, it was a cold ride, with snow falling. I’d seen lots of wildlife. Elk now, deer antelope, hawks, magpies and pheasants earlier in the day. My sleeping car porter was a “really sarcastic and funny guy”, I noted. I continued to discover more railfans on board, all heading to SteamExpo as I was. 
Castle Mountain, train on curve Mi 108
The Grand Parade of Steam was tomorrow, and I was tired and needed to rest up for arrival in Vancouver. This was my final night of the trip in sleeper space - it was all coach from here.

Looking across at CN near Ashcroft, 0800 (below) On May 23, I woke up near Ashcroft, BC. While in the vestibule for a while, we passed one of CP’s hotbox detectors and for once, the digital readout was counting: 016, 017, 018. The train came to a halt for a visual inspection. The scenery along the river was dramatic, dimmed only by the leaden overcast and our increasingly tardy progress.

We arrived at Vancouver station three-and-a-half hours late at 1300, and there was no time to lose. I had to find a spot to view the steamers near Canada Place. Built for Expo 86 and opened by Prince Charles, I had no idea where I could actually view the parade from there. I quickly found a locker for rent in the station and boarded the new SkyTrain. Developed near home at Millhaven, this rapid transit system was also put in place for Expo 86. Scads of railfans were perched at track level and every other level for the parade. I found a perch above the tracks, but owing to our late arrival, had missed the grand parade. 

In Part 2, I take in Expo 86 and continue east aboard VIA Rail, with stopovers in Saskatoon and Portage la Prairie.

May 21/86
Coldwell 0715 EB - CP 6013-5001-5xxx-4743.

Schreiber 0835 EB - CP 4559-4708-4730 and 10 cars.

Selim - CP 4248 and 2 ballast cars.

Sprucewood 1040 EB - CN 5148-5057 on parallel CN track to Red Rock.

Thunder Bay - CN 1910-1913; CP 1529-1694, 1532-1576, 1242, 8114, 6001-5009, 1560-1828, van 434345.

Kenora EB - CP 5747.

May 22/86
Indian Head, SK, EB - CP (ex-QNSL) 5413 leading.

Medicine Hat, AB yard at 1320 - CP 3075-3070-3109.

Near Bassano, AB, EB - CP 5831-5731 with potash.

Crowfoot, AB at 1525 - VIA No 2 Eng 6304.

Calgary - CP 1526; end-cupola vans 434037-437309-437012-437162-437022-437046-437166-437045-437149.

Alyth Yard - CP 1507-1506, 1503-1525.

Running extra...

VIA's inaugural Siemens trainset made its way west on CN's Kingston Subdivision this week, passing through Kingston at 0900 en route to Toronto, London, and Windsor! Westbound as VIA No 649, eastbound at 1900 on Thursday heading back to Montreal as VIA No 628. Thanks to my VIAphile secret squirrel for the heads-up. You know who you are. Coupled to GO 654 at TMC, VIA rolled the dice by backing the consist around the east leg of the TMC wye, the most treacherously-curved track in VIA operation! The speedster tackled the 30 mph CN Oakville Sub back east to Toronto and survived!

This apparently fledgling blog has an interesting post on VIA's history and corporate branding. It's a good read, even if some of the photo credits "via Trackside Treasures" (is it too late for me to change the name to that?) are a bit loose. Two of the photos are mine, others taken from this blog were fully credited when posted. This seems to be intenet-era photo crediting at its finest! Read it anyway if you choose.

Here's how you can go from Toronto to Brockville in no time. Jason Shron's KingstonSub layout coming in Model Railroader. As always, click for larger version:
The trackplan is a bit hopeful, as both lower decks are currently tool and materiel storage and sleeping space! Speaking of crediting...

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Postscript: Kingston to Prince Rupert aboard VIA - September 1985 Notes

I took a lot of notes on my autumn 1985 western trip from Kingston to Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Rather than sandwich my observations in with the previous three-part trip account, I'm publishing them here in this postscript. Much of the equipment that I recorded is now, predictably, gone. One would be hard-pressed to find any of it carrying on in service in its 1985 state, though some pieces may live on having been remanufactured or downloaded to shortlines.

Notes are presented by Date, Location, Railway, Time of Train if moving, Direction. Numbers are those of locomotives unless otherwise indicated, separated by hyphens if coupled together, and hyphenated with caboose numbers if on same train.

September 16/85 - aboard VIA's Cavalier and No 1 to Portage

Kingston 0343 WB - CN 2109-2041-9462 with caboose 79727.

Coteau, QC - CN 3128, 3118, 3702.

Pointe St Charles - CN 7911, 7924.

Central Station: VIA 6925, 6764; CN electric 6712.

Turcot: CN 4493, 1301, 1302, caboose 79732.

Alexandria, ON: VIA 6775 with 2 coaches.

Bells Corners 1230 EB - CN 5180-5078.

Ottawa - VIA 6764-York Club-5648-3208, 5649, Elliston, two Vice-Regal cars, business car 5.

Chalk River 1520 EB - CP 5540-5916-5520 with van 434539; 4714.

North Bay - ONR 1604, 1515; Chessie 3738, 3739, 3714; CP 4234-5534-5530-5965.

Sudbury - CP 1594, Jordan spreader 402891.

Chapleau - CP 1596, van 434557.

White River - CP 3040.

Schreiber - CP 4570-4717, end-cupola van 434067.

September 17/85 - Aboard VIA No 1

West of Schreiber - 0957 EB - CN 5207-5053; 1013 EB - CP 5943-QNSL 206-5564-5594, van 434419; 1027 EB - CP 5571-4503, van 434725.

Thunder Bay - CN 1905-1907, 425-455 (slug), 5075, caboose 79735; CP 1558, 8122, 5979, 1560, 1530, 1563, 1528, 1566, end-cupola van 437310.

Niblock - Loose Caboose CP 437188.

Ignace - CP 5980 switching.

Dryden - CP 7034.

Hawk Lake - CP vans 434440, end-cupola 437185.

Kenora: CP 5908, 6711, 5954, 5784, van 434641.

September 21/85 - Aboard VIA No 1 Portage to Vancouver

0720 WB - CP 5926-5696-5933, van 434502.

Swift Current, SK - CP 4237.

Medicine Hat, AB 0910 EB- CP 5849-5806-6026, van 434546.

Brooks, AB - CP 5984-5xxx, van 434451.

West of Brooks 1157 EB - CP 5727-5924-5963.

Calgary Ogden Shops - CP 1504, 1507, 8113, 8120; vans 437320, 437477.

Calgary station - WB CP 5657-5678-5713-5675 with grain; EB CP 5592-5567-5636-5569.

Field, BC 1840 EB - CP 5804-5759-5674-5749.

September 22, 1985 - aboard VIA No 1 thence VIA No 4 to Edmonton

West of North Bend 0657 EB - CP 5870-5857-5778

0808 EB - CP 5868-5842-5603-49 cars coal - 6064-5725- 62 cars.

Port Coquitlam - CP 8665, 5670.

1407 WB - CP 5625-5539-5599-5659.

Near Boston Bar 1850 WB - CP 5809-5836-5971-coal-5715-5767, van 434208.

Boston Bar - CN 5413-5414.

Kamloops - CN 5579, 7010, 5339, 5356, 5608.

Edmonton, AB - CN 5325, 5145, 5342, 5235, 5030, 5228, 1075, 1081, 1080 (ex-NAR), 5231, 5000, 5031, 1256, caboose CN 79101 (ex-NAR).

September 23/85 - aboard VIA No 5 to Prince Rupert

Edmonton - CN 1289, 1290, 1261, 1254, 5235, 5030, 5145, 5156, 5244, 5413-5414, caboose 79338.

Edson 1806 EB - CN 5416-5110; 5180-9633, cabooses 79327, 79604.

September 24/85 - aboard VIA No 5

Endako, BC 0813 EB  - CN 9607-5164-5230 coal, 'red' caboose 78199.

Smithers CN 9604-5135-5161 coal, 'red' caboose 78195; 4111, 7001; caboose 79257.

Pitman at 1530 - CN 9665-ballast train - caboose 79666.

Terrace - CN 5160-9644, 7000, 'red' caboose 78198.

Prince Rupert - CN 5152-5168-9605 with coal; 4107, 9658, 4267, auxiliary crane 50005, cabooses 79750, 79625.

September 25/85 - aboard VIA No 6 towards Edmonton thence No 4

Near Kitwanga, BC 1503 WB - CN 9636-9661-45 cars-79717.

New Hazelton 1650 WB - CN 9601-5169-5158 with coal.

Prince George - CN 7006, 7008, 7009.

Jasper, AB - CN 5243, caboose 79479.

1212 WB - CN 5339-5343, caboose 79682.

Edmonton - CN 5334 (Expo86), 1291, 5325, 1256, 5315, 9599, 5339, 5300, 5245, 5357, 515, 5609, 1078, 1082, 7513, 1505(?), 1504, 1117, 1124, NAR 17038 4-man bunk car, cabooses 79642, 76500,  79881.

Wainwright WB - CN 5331-5043-5274, cabooses 79411-79652.

Edgerton EB - CN 5327-9464-5079.

Saskatoon, SK - CN 1141, caboose 79480.

September 26/85 - aboard VIA No 4

1718 WB - CN 5423-5170-5051.

1755 WB - CN 9497-5188-lumber empties-79511; 5059-5101.

September 28/85 - photographing elevators out of Regina

Weyburn, SK - CP 5840-5610-3032-8707, van 434673.

September 29/85 - about to board VIA No 2

Regina - CP 1569, 3031; van 434406; 5019-5012, van 434473; 1720 EB CP 5965-3022-5015-Conrail 7799, van 434611; 1925 WB CP 5907-Chessie 3716-5693-3011-8493, van 434309; 1932 EB CP 6057-5626, van 434723; 2043 WB CP 6006-5732-5716 with intermodal.

September 30/85 - aboard VIA No 2 becoming VIA No 10 at Sudbury

Winnipeg - CN 1262, 9665-5595, caboose 79834; VIA 6536-6622.

Ingolf, ON 1042 EB - CP 5929-Chessie 3711.

Kenora 1150 WB - CP 4570-5972-6038-5984

1241 WB - CP4742-4503 intermodal-434459.

Thunder Bay - CP 8122, 1694, 1212, 1573, 8110, end-cupola van 437310.

Sudbury - CP 4218, 4214, 4709, 4703, 6594, 7090, 7099, 6595, 6588, Conrail 7765.

Orillia - CN 2541, 79661.

Barrie - CN 4518-4560, CN 674000 and HEPX 100 depressed-centre flat cars-79868; GO 504-2122-2062-2120-213.

Running extra...

Railfan updates ripped from today's headlines! VIA 6445 heads east dutifully, as the newest 'love the way' wrapped beautifully, April 3 (above - Lance Gleich reports 6445 led VIA No 1 ex Toronto on Sunday, April 10). Three days later, my son-in-law snapped Cando's CCGX 1004 crossing Taylor-Kidd Boulevard at Jim Snow Drive.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Another book on VIA Rail Canada!

It's day's like this that I'm glad I have found ways to express myself, create things and ship ideas without being beholden to anyone. No editor, no publisher, no boss, no editorial board, no employees, no clients. No filters, most of the time!

No-one, not even me, is depending on this blog for a livelihood.

My only loyalties (in no particular order) have been to Blogger for hosting this blog. My wife and family. My parents. And in creating the books I enjoyed creating, to my contributors and customers. I value and hold both those latter groups in high esteem. And in creating this blog - you the reader. To all the people in this paragraph, I continually give thanks and express my appreciation to you. (The folks in the top paragraph? Nope, still don't need you.)

I don't need to tell you that I've had a peripatetic, perhaps pedestrian, plod through publishing books over the past 10 years: first in 2011, twice in 2012, once in 2017, twice in 2018, then once each in 2020 and 2021 - even during a pandemic!
But I didn't work with a mainstream publisher. I worked with a local graphic designer and a local printer. I am not a professional photographer or professional writer. I just enjoy creating things, books among them. And the first four books on my journey all covered the same ground - VIA Rail Canada - in different ways. I learned a lot in the process. I worked with some talented contributors, photographers, railroaders and modellers in the process. Names like Schuff, Perry, Bohi, Boyko, Sampson, Hayman, Box, McQueen, Mueller and Shron.
On April 7th, Rapido Trains Inc. held a Facebook Live event in conjuction with their Newsletter #150 distributed by email. Among their pile of product announcements is one book. It's a 288-page, 500-photo, $79.95 mostly-colour coffee table book available from Rapido and hobby stores in May. It's to celebrate VIA's 40th anniversary, five years later. Written by Kevin J. Holland, it joins a short bookshelf of books on VIA Rail by the likes of three well-known to VIAphiles: Nelligan, Greenlaw, Holland and, oh yeah, an oft-mispronounced French-surnamed guy whom Zoom's closed-caption encryptioning spelled "Ganyo" (screen captures in this post are from the Facebook Live).
  • The book is printed by Friesens of Altona, because printing in China has gotten way more expensive. 
  • The book is produced in co-operation with VIA Rail Canada Inc. I'm not sure what their editorial input has been, if any. 
  • The book includes promotional brochure photos and scads of slides conveyed via VIA to this project, from a now-disappeared filing cabinet in the basement of VIA's Place Ville Marie corporate headquarters in Montreal.
  • It's a coffee-table book that's compact enough for even the cosiest of coffee tables, measuring 12 x 9.6" overall.
But back to Ganyo. He printed books. They were never intended to shake the world. They were an effort to collate information and produce useful books for VIAphiles and for the reference of the author himself, encapsulating a corporate entity perenially at threat, under-funded, without a clear government mandate and birthed by two dying passenger services in the 1970's. They were not just things, however. They were things, yes, but they were also books.

This upcoming book's first print run of 2,500 copies is expected to sell out. The clear implication is...order now. Because if you don't, you might be able to find it only at Indigo. If at all. Buy a bunch of them. They may last longer than VIA does!

I freely and unequivocally reserve the right to both slag and support Rapido. (I do it here somewhat frequently among nearly 800 posts I've published chronicling Canadian railroading and railfanning.) To paraphrase Marc Antony (the Julius Caesar Shakespeare one, not the Latin music one), I come to bury AND to praise Rapido. Simultaneously, sometimes. Remember, I'm beholden to no-one, not anyone.

At times like this, I am proud to be my own editor.

MAY 18 UPDATE: I've just finished my book review. In the review, I discuss the photo selection and quality, the text, the content, the graphics, the paper, the covers. Please see below for my review: