On April 23, 1984 my brother Dave and I walked into our local photography shop, Camera Kingston. I walked out with a brand-new Yashica FX-3 SLR. A necessary $184.59 purchase due to the demise of my trusty Hawkeye in preparation for my western trip aboard VIA Rail a month later. For a few days in April and May, I tried out the new camera on various Kingston-area rail subjects that presented themselves. I recorded f-stops and shutter speeds in my notepad, beside my train observations while I was on the lensy learning curve.
My first frames trackside: CN 3662 switched Queens (top photo). Venerable CN eight-foot door boxcar 434073 (above), likely in aluminum ingot service to nearby Alcan. Any serious modeller of Kingston needs to include lots of limestone, weeds, and chopped-up ties, all staples in this area in the early 1980's! These photos show the comparatively pristine right-of-way maintained by CN section forces at the time. A far cry from today's trackside train-brushing shrubbery shmozzle!
On a gloomy April 28, I was at the gate marking the limit of the former CN Collins Bay station property, just off Station Street. All-MLW eastbound (above) at 1330: 6773-6785-616-5719-Empire Club-5534-5504-2505-5499 was followed by an all-GM nine-car westbound led by 6542-6637 a mere seven minutes later!
A trip west of Kingston on May 2, 1984 was under overcast skies. Newly-painted insulated boxcar CN 290416 was in a westbound train at 1608 led by CN 9558-9509-9625-2505 with caboose 79228 (below). (Shop forces had righted the wrong of painting the wet noodle on the left side at the dawn of the Allan Fleming logo era, thus obscuring dimensional data when the plug door was open.)
Ten minutes later, CN 2332-4349-4117 were eastbound at the same crossing, near Mi 191 Kingston Sub, just west of Bath with a carload of wheels on the head-end and caboose 79235 on the tail-end.
May 5 found me north of the mainline at the Amherstview Golf Club at Mi 183 Kingston Sub. My Yashica stopped this VIA westbound 'dead in its tracks' at 1/500 of a second at 1204: 6787-612-3229-108-3241-Saint James's Club:
Just after lunchtime at 1315, this westbound freight was coming alongside Bath Road just west of Frontenac Secondary School, around Mi 178.5. CN 9607-9560-2539 provided a typical locomotive consist of the time with a mix of GMD and MLW products:
The fourth unit, ex-GP38-2 5553 converted to hump unit 203:
At the same mileage as the VIA above, but on the south side of the tracks at 1851, this westbound CN freight looks like maid-of-all-work 317 led by CN 5330-9316. The latter was a high-geared 'Fast Forty' GP40 renumbered from 4016 in 1981, and was often leased by VIA Rail for passenger service with its 58:19 gear ratio.
On May 7, an evening at the Kingston VIA station found FPA4 6781 basking in the low, evening light as it stopped at the station at 1915 with an eastbound: 9664-5546-3219-126. Notice the influx of ex-CP baggage cars and coaches on Corridor trains.
Still two of my favourite photos of VIA, westbound VIA No 1/55 smokes it up departing Kingston for Toronto around 1940, with most of its cars destined to Vancouver. VIA 6775-6863-617-3229-108-5649-760-123-3228-Thompson Manor-Edgeley. The Skyline, most sleepers, diner and Park car were now being serviced at Spadina, so did not make the trip through Kingston to Montreal.
Immediately after, at the other end of the platform, VIA 6914-3312-3313-3307-3317 paused eastbound.
On May 9 at 1317, westbound VIA 6788-6869-616-5729-Union Club-5534-5584-2513 were just east of Mi 183 Kingston Sub, fencepost and all:
My very first frames: a Brazeau Transport semi-trailer parked along Dalton Avenue (above) and an Ontario Hydro line truck at the Lasalle Park Plaza just off Days Road (below).
I made good use of the Yashica for several years. I later added a 200 mm zoom lens. A pain to change but great for distant subjects. I lost one lens cap while in the vestibule of the Canadian. It's probably still trackside in the wilds of Saskatchewan. Then, a succession of point-and-shoot and digital cameras. My present Canon SX620HS fits in my shirt pocket and has a zoom capability equivalent to 25-625 mm - and I'll never have to change, or run out of, film!
Ex-CN hogger Mark Perry is back in the UK for another trip searching out all things railway-related. He and travelling companion Glenn Courtney post photos nightly - preserved steam, riding trains in Scotland, and a lot of fish & chips and beer photos. Glenn photographed a place I'd like to visit - one of several churches in Inverness. This one has been made into a bookstore. Who says you can't read in church?