Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Thoughts on Train Shows

Last October, our Associated Railroaders of Kingston (ARK) group hosted our fourth Rail Fair train show over six years (top photo). For two years - 2020 and 2021 - there was no show due to the pandemic.

My thoughts on train shows? It's all about the letter 'V':

  • Venue
  • Vendors
  • Volunteers
I opened the floor to discussion. Thoughts of others:

  • [ad]Vertising, Viewing Visitors, Visibility
And there were copious compelling comments contributed:

The rising cost of renting a hall and paying for insurance have made it much harder to host a train show than it used to be. I saw a lot of enthusiastic kids at the Kingston show. There aren't many other ways for kids to get exposed to the hobby other than train shows, and I am not one of the doomers who thinks the hobby should be for older folks only. So, I hope train shows keep finding ways to survive, because they fill a need that nothing else does. - Andrew Jeanes

Kingston Rail Fair 2023 was a small show but it was an excellent mix of layouts, vendors, and memorabilia. The fan demographic was certainly predominantly “senior” but those are the people the “newbies” need to talk to for hobby advice and just stories. I’m certainly glad to have attended. - Merrick Redden 

The Kingston show is still a good show. I live east of Toronto, and the shows out this way have shrunk over the years. I think many of the vendors have aged out and haven't been replaced, understandably. I really enjoy the shows and occasionally travel to attend them. The shows west of Toronto are much bigger and I find more stuff for sale that interests me, meaning old and oldish kits and oddball stuff, which makes sense, as more population means more stuff. These shows seem to have more individuals or club members selling as opposed to dealers or basement-based retailers. My pre-pandemic favourites  were St. Catharines and Hamilton/Ancaster and I plan to go to at least one of them this season. Regardless, the shows are still a nice way to get out of the house and spend a couple hours looking at model trains - Joel S.

Craftsmen! Some shows are glorified flea markets however I go to see/watch/speak to the many very talented craftsmen working on items during the show. I'd pay just to see them. - Doug Bailey

The Ancaster show and sale is another outlier that keeps growing with excellent variety of vendors and private sellers. I’d love to see more 3D printing examples and resources at shows. - Christopher Greenlaw 

Supertrain  in Calgary was forced by the pandemic to be off for three years, and we were blown away by the attendance when the show restarted. We’ll find out if it was a bounce next year. Calgary Model Railway Society aims to make enough to pay the bills, pay something to the exhibitors, and fund the society’s other events through the year. Last year’s show was definitely a financial success. - Jon Calon

I think they are taking a big hit due to the aging demographic of model railroaders. Most kids these days, all of there entertainment is digitally-based. They don’t play with the same toys we did as kids that ultimately led us into this hobby. I still try and walk thru train shows but life happens & right now I’m on a modeling sabbatical, - Chris Carlson

Digital does open up more avenues for kids and young adults entering the hobby. Now they can watch tonnes of train videos on Youtube of trains on-demand without ever having to wait trackside, view thousands of photos of every era without having to go to the drug or book store to buy magazines or train photo books. They can watch product reviews and layout videos on YouTube without ever having to visit a layout or train show in person. But probably the easiest way into the hobby is thanks to the digital era: they can buy models on their phone, without ever having to visit a train show or find a hobby shop nearby. And they can usually find what they specifically want (CP SD40’s, CN C44-9’s, etc), as opposed to taking or leaving whatever they may find in person sitting on a shelf or table. - Dan Dell'Unto

Where I live, there are a number of large train shows, a bunch of smaller shows, plus an annual prototype modelling meet. The smaller shows have been proliferating, and the larger shows have held steady or maybe lost a bit of attendance compared to pre-pandemic levels, but certainly far from a fear of closing. I think the key to survival for both the hobby and for train shows is to find ways to engage the younger audience. With DCC from a phone app, to using Raspberry Pi and Arduino devices to control the layout, to turning model railroading into a game by introducing prototypical operation, I think there's a lot of ways to get people hooked on the World's Greatest Hobby. - Don Head

I'm no longer sure direct exposure to trains are exactly the right vector. Many people found hobbies in the last few decades through technological means. Woodworking, painting, clothing, etc... and trains too. When I look online, I see a lot of young folks picking up this hobby because they saw it online and it triggered something. Mediums change, passion remains. I don't believe in that "dying hobby"... Maybe purchasing broken Tyco car in a Rubbermaid tub is dying, but if it was the entire hobby we wouldn't see manufacturer rivalling to create countless new models of high quality. Nobody invests in a dying horse. When I was young, all my friends had HO trainsets... none picked up that hobby, except me. But I've met many people that discovered it later in life. - Matthieu Lachance

We found in Edmonton that nixing the swap tables helped the show by attracting more vendors, as they weren't being undercut by the swap tables. There is a separate swap meet twice a year. - Brian Griffin

I've never understood the swap meet concept. I suppose some vendors swap stuff with other vendors or customers. I know there is haggling and dickering, because I've engaged in those practices. Hey, everybody wants to feel like they're getting a bargain. During the pandemic, I even hosted my own virtual train show, looking at pictures of items for sale, imagining walking past the tables of the early grain cars because they're asking 25 bucks each. But, then two mixed-up tables of Athearn and cheaper cars appeared at only 5 bucks a pop...hmmm, through the eyes of a self-confessed train show bottom-feeder, maybe a virtual sale!
First and foremost, the 'type' of show will dictate the audience, the response, and success. Most shows are a mix of club layouts, vendor tables, and perhaps manufacturer booths. Some are purely 'swap meets' or more precisely, selling one's stuff to others. Very, very few are Prototype Modelling meets dedicated to one region or railway. 
ARK Rail Fair co-ordinator (above, with his layout at Picton train show) Paul Hunter and I had a chat about the show, its success and its future. Rail Fair always runs with a wait list of vendors. The show venue is suitable for our show format, though divided into two 'rooms' we have overcome the challenge of attendees missing the other room. Hall rental costs will increase, though profits returned to the club and attendance numbers are stable. 

So what is the purpose of a show? Well, judging by the name, to...show...stuff!! That pertains to vendors, clubs, manufacturers, individuals. Is the purpose of the show to recruit people to the hobby? Indirectly. Is the purpose of the show to sell stuff by instilling a deep need in modellers to buy stuff? Maybe. I think its highest purpose is a social setting. Period. Lots of attendees buy nothing, just taking in the whole scene. Without a show, that opportunity is just not there.

With many hobbies and interests dying off (I saw a three year-old in a No Frills shopping cart playing a game on Mom's phone, so not at home setting up a 4x8 of plywood!) steady attendance is increasing attendance, at least in relative terms. Making a profit, by adjusting table cost or hall rental options (one-day, two-day, Sunday) is increasing profit, again in relative terms. A volunteer cadre to help with set-up, take-down, front desk and vendor services is the key.

I could likely start a successful separate blog all about train shows. The number of shows is not decreasing, it seems to be some sort of ferroequinological equilibrium. One cadre dies off, another one starts a new show. Two thoughts that come to mind as I approach any train show:

  • I will be happy at any train show at which I can pay my five bucks to get in and find 'that find'. 
  • I will again promise myself that I will not buy anything, and I will come home with my two reusable shopping bags filled!

Running extra...

Here's hoping you had an enjoyable Christmas Day, a small slice of which here was watching the King's Speech. Ukraine moved Christmas to December 25. Slava Ukraini! Now it's time, this December 26, to box everything up. 

Coming soon in Rapido Trains Inc. boxes are red TTC subway cars. And in the new year just a few days away, it'll be Rapido's 20th anniversary year. A company history that reads like a rags-to-bellbottoms story, one of their first projects was the wobbly Turbo, which Jason described as operating like a "pregnant hippo on crutches"! They've gone from one staff member in 2004 to four in 2009, now 30, so they're keeping up a good Tempo and releasing models on streetcar headways! (Did I say streetcar??)
No matter if you're celebrating the anniversary of your model train company, your 23rd trip to the refrigerator for leftovers, or the fifth birthday of your pet frog Ferg, on behalf of all the staff of Trackside Treasure and me (well, that's just me!) here's wishing you all the best for 2024. May you have the year that you wish it to be.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Merry Christmas 2023

Peace. Placidity. Harmony. Restfulness. Goodwill. Concord*

As I sit here on my sofa ruminating and marinating in a beverage, I am at peace. A quick press of the remote buttons reminds me that all the world is not so. The Holy Land is an unholy mess. Homes and lives ripped asunder. Well, at least it's not here!

Or is it? Are we at peace as individuals, as families, as a country, and as a society this Christmas season? I hope so, but I fear not. Until we are at peace within ourselves, the world is a dangerous place full of dangerous relationships. But all is not lost!

My Christmas wish is that we find this Peace. This placidity. This harmony. I will do my part here on Trackside Treasure to convert controversy, to facilitate facts with a smile, to inform introspectively as well as retrospectively. 

This is my annual opportunity to wish a Merry Christmas to my fellow bloggers: Steve, Dave, Stephen, Michael, Bernard, Matthieu, Jim, Chris, Derek, Marc, and Don/George/Peter! One need only read their written and pictorial offerings to see it's a big world out there replete with respectful relationships. All truly is not lost!

Merry Christmas!
And again, Peace.

*obligatory Monty Python reference: "On, Concorde!" [Concorde, an arrow with note hitting him in the torso:] "Message for you, Sir!" "Oh dear, sweet Concorde, you shall not have died in vain." Concorde: "I'm not quite dead yet, Sir! I think I might pull through."

Winnipeg phothoggerapher Mark Perry is suggesting members of his photography group post their favourite 5 (or 10, or whatever) photos taken in 2023. Photos do not have to include trains. I thought it was a good challenge and it got me going through my photos from 2023. Here are the ten photos I selected, many of which have appeared on Trackside Treasure.

Season's Greetings received so far:

Jim Parker: 

Ira Silverman:
Bernard Kempinski:
Lance Gleich via mail!...
The inimitable Bob Fallowfield and a 

Brent Larson:
 From the White River Division crew, Peter Mumby, Don Janes and George Dutka:
Mike Robin's Ontario Northland:
Steve Bradley:
Kingston's own Paul Wash:
John Reay, photo taken at Port Hope, ON:
Meanwhile, at Toronto Union, Emmerson Case:
Who says you can't mix church and scale? Religion writer and model railroader John Longhurst:
Steve Hoshel:
Rapido Trains Inc...
Cameron Wales' moody, foggy Christmas Eve at Brockville station:
Merry Christmas and Hobby Holidays from Lodge 1:87 somewhere between Sudbury and White River - Jeff Keddy:
VIA Historical Association - Glenn Courtney photo:
The Amazing Andre Gerow saying it so well:

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Travels of CN 598051

In the previous on CN 598xxx-series boxcars post, I listed my observations of CN 598xxx-series 6348 cu.ft. combination door boxcars, coincident with the Rapido Trains Inc. announcement of producing these cars in HO scale. Shortly thereafter, Rapido was kind enough to share that post on social media. Also coincident with that announcement was David Olsen's sharing of a photo taken in 2000 of but one car from this series: CN 598051 in Cumberland MD, taken September 8, 2000 - photo kindly shared by David Olsen and available on the rrpicturearchives website.

David wrote: Twenty-three years ago, I signed in at Fort Carson, Colorado to start my active duty Army career. On the drive out there, I stopped overnight in Cumberland for my first railfanning experience in that historic railroad town. I checked into the Holiday Inn, which I knew from one of the ancient newsgroups had a great view of the railroad in downtown Cumberland. I was in awe of the parade of trains going by my window and kept taking photos well after the sun had set. [I photographed this train heading] east past American Legion Post 13 into the CSX yard in Cumberland, Maryland on September 8, 2000.

It's interesting how particular memories shape your interests. I was fascinated by these CN cars rolling through Maryland, knowing very little about how Canadian freight cars interchanged and traveled throughout the U.S. I've been waiting for a model of one of those 60' door-and-a-half boxcars ever since, thus my excitement when I saw Rapido's announcement for their new Trenton Works 6348 cu.ft. boxcar model.

When David photographed CN 598051 in Cumberland, it just so happened I was tracing that very car with CN's (and sometimes Conrail's) public car trace system. I became aware of the CN CAR TRAC system in 1997 and used it until public access was denied in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Public access ended one month thereafter. Since I'd been tracking CN 598051 as a sample car of this series for over three years. I needed to see if David's observation tied in with my own - what were the chances we'd seen the same car? Apparently pretty good.

I'd never heard of Waldorf, Maryland. Waldorf salad, yes! Today there are (and probably were in 2000) two lumber yards with rail service in Waldorf. The first is 84 Lumber (Google views):
The second is Builders FirstSource (previously Chopp Lumber at least until 2004 - great name for a wood business!) David passed along an Al Moran photo showing large Conrail units 4704 and 805 sandwiching a CN 598xxx-series boxcar on the curved spur during a switching move there in 2004):
This older webpage has lots of content on the ex-Conrail line serving Waldorf - the Pope's Creek Secondary connecting to Amtrak's Northeast Corridor at Bowie, MD. Formerly operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, it is now served by CSX after the 1999 Conrail split serving Morgantown (they used to operate RS-1's!) and Chalk Point Generating Stations.

So here's the timeline: my tracing research shows that CN 598051 was loaded on CN track EJ31 in Hebertville, QC on August 30, 2000. Reaching Chambord, QC on August 31 at 0037 on CN train No 559, the car thence departed CSX's Selkirk NY yard on September 5, photographed by David on September 8 before being actually placed at Waldorf, MD on September 12. Unloaded and released empty September 14, CN 598051 returned to Chambord on September 24 at 1825 on CN train No 417, completing its 26-day round trip during which David photographed it! I think it would have been loaded, southbound from NY to MD when photographed by David. 

I first observed CN 598051 on CN No 395 through Kingston on July 10, 1997. Interestingly, that was also the first sighting I noted of this class of cars. Why had it taken 3+ years since the first one rolled out of Trenton Works? I noted it as a 'long box'. Here it is, taken from across a field at the time of the 1998 ice storm as CN No 369 pushed its train, CN No 335 up and over the hill near Mi 178 Kingston Sub, just west of the VIA station:
I tracked its 42 round trips from then until February 2001, on 32 map/data pages, reaching 125 destinations (alternating loaded and empty) during those nearly four years. So the sample nearly month-long round trip noted above represented the average turn-around time for such loads. CN 598051 sat in Garneau yard for five days, loaded but not billed to a destination. Often, unloading at lumber yards took up to 6 days. The boxcar was bad-ordered a few times during my tracing:
  • Sep 21/97 at Montreal Taschereau Yard while empty since August 28 - due to doors
  • Nov 10/97 at Chattanooga, TN on NS for 4 days while loaded - due to doors
  • Feb 12/98 at Senneterre loaded for 4 days
  • Mar 6/98 at Toronto MacMillan Yard for 1 day - due to wheel assembly
  • Jun 25/98 at Quevillon for 4 days - due to mechanical inspection
  • Jul 23/99 at Winnipeg Symington Yard (!) for 6 days before being returned east to Longlac for loading (!) - due to body
I had originally thought of transcribing all its traced trips for this post, but instead I'll summarize its loading points, all in Quebec unless otherwise noted, number of times spotted, with CN track designation if known:
  • Chambord FJ10 - 10
  • Senneterre AT46 - 7
  • Chibougamau D146 - 7
  • Quevillon BQ54 - 6
  • Longlac, ON KB47 or KB49 - 4
  • Chapais DO99 - 3
  • Hebertville EJ31 - 2
  • Normandin, Amos EO58, and Englehart, ON (Ontario Northland Rly.) - 1 each
Its destinations when loaded were wide-ranging - mostly in the US but some in Canada. The first ten I tracked: Edwardsburg, MI; Grainger, IN; Fort Erie, ON; Erlanger, KY; Haleyville, AL; St. John, IN; Curtis, VA; Cincinnati, OH; Freehold, NJ; Hagerstown, MD. And the last ten: Cainsville, ON; Agincourt, ON; Fort Erie, ON; Nicholasville, KY; Waldorf, MD; Scarborough, ON; St Nicolas, QC; Elsdon, IL; "BCSpur", UT; MacMillan Yard, ON. Also, twice to Waco, TX on UP; twice to Barretts, MA on NECR; and once to St Petersburg, FL on CSX!

As with most cars I was tracing, once I established a reliable operating pattern, I shifted my tracing time to a different car I wanted to learn more about. Public access was fun while it lasted!

Running extra...

By the numbers: UP 8649, VIA's Set 11, 0845, Mile 180, December 13, video.

Thanks to fellow blogger Michael Hammond for this story on the restoration of the former K&P Clarendon Station, complete with interior shots. Sure it's missing the trains, but the interior restoration and rebuilding of the station looks awesome!

More thanks to loyal Trackside Treasure reader Terry Muirhead for this interesting video showing TransLink Mark V SkyTrains (don't you hate the scourge of CapitalizedWords StuckTogether?) being loaded at Millhaven's Alstom plant on their way to Burnaby, BC. As a long-ago recipient of the Urban Transit Development Corporation scholarship in high school, I'm always looking as I drive by this operation!

Thursday, December 7, 2023

CN 598000-series boxcars

CN boxcars 598000-598299 were built 11-93 to 2-94 by Nova Scotia's Trenton Works, 6348 cu.ft., IL 60'9", IH 11', combination 6-foot plug door, 10-foot sliding door with total opening 16 feet for specialty forestry product service. These cars are l-o-o-o-n-g. Interestingly, lettered without the bilingual 'Canadien National' on either side! A second order in 1996 for 200 more, numbered CN 598300-598499 was apparently cancelled. CN 598180 is blissfully almost graffiti-free, stopped at Belleville on September 13, 1997 during the "Belleville Shuffle" - watch for an upcoming post on the block-swapping between CN train Nos 335 and 361 that took place here.

Rapido announced in September, 2023 that these cars would be produced in scale, posting a master class video of sorts, concerned that some modellers were getting confused by too many rather large CN boxcars. Rapido will also offer the 'website' scheme, as seen on CN 598140 at Belleville in November, 2022 (image courtesy Railstream, LLC):
Rapido's ad - priced at $64.95 each!
Meanwhile, my own kitbash at nearly zero cost, awaits decalling on my HO scale Hanley Spur layout:
It's worth noting that I didn't observe any cars from this series until I observed CN 598051 in July, 1997 more than three years after the cars were built. I ended up tracing that car to see its traffic pattern, until February 2001. These cars could be found operating in a pool of other CN and CNA, as well as BCOL cars as they were made available. Later-built, large-capacity cars make the CN 598xxx-series less desirable for forestry-product shippers today.

My observations of the CN 598xxx-series including date, car and CN train on, with any remarks. As was often the case, if more than one of the series was in one train, I'll only list the additional cars' last three numbers after 598xxx. This listing does not include every time I observed one of the series, just the times I noted the cars specifically:
  • Jul 10/97 CN 598051 CN train No 395 (Montreal - Chicago) "60' DD BO"
  • (Interestingly, I observed GTW 598051, a blue 50-foot car exactly one month later, on 335 loaded at Chambord, QC on Sep 4/97! Back to our subject...)
  • Aug 17/97 CN 598267 on 335 (Garneau - Buffalo) "lumber BO" at Trenton Jct:
  • Sep 13/97 CN 598180 on 335 (top photo)
  • Sep 27/97 598288, 030, 124, 268 on 369 (Garneau - Toronto)"60' lumber box"
  • Oct 4/97 598046, 021, 102 on 335
  • Oct 5/97 598299 on 335
  • Oct 26/97 598084 on 318 (Toronto - Montreal, empty)
  • Nov 28/97 598035 on 395
  • Nov 29/97 598284 on 335
  • Jan 13/98 598039 on 395
  • Jan 17/98 598284, 230, 278, 016, 201, 038, 241, 051 during the Ice Storm:
  • Feb 14/98 598298 on 335 "NAR BO"(?)
  • Feb 21/98 598255, 266 on 335
  • Feb 24/98 598198 on 395
  • Mar 8/98 598226 on 330
  • Mar 31/98 598230, 017 on 330 (Buffalo - Montreal, empty)
  • May 31/98 598185, 271 on 318
  • Jun 12/98 598171 on 330
  • Aug 16/98 598140, 077, 181, 284 
  • Aug 20/98 598071, 049 on 335
  • Sep 12/98 598020 on 364 (Toronto - Senneterre, empty) 
  • Sep 12/98 598241, 210 on 367 (Garneau - Toronto)
  • Sep 17/98 598103, 000, 011 
  • Sep 29/98 598187 on 321 (St Antoine, QC - Toronto)
  • Oct 16/98 598244
  • Nov 9/98 598205 (Dest Erwin, TN), 247, 179 on 365
  • Nov 30/98 598064 on 366 (Toronto - Senneterre, empty)
  • Dec 29/98 598208 on 366
  • Jan 2/99 598004, 098, 169 on 364
  • Jan 30/99 598139 on 364 and 598219, 091, 198, 282 on 369
  • Feb 12/99 598276 on 365
  • Feb 25/99 598067, 005, 121 on 367
  • Mar 2/99 598186 on 366
  • Mar 20/99 598016, 097 on 318
  • Mar 27/99 598069, 192, 047, 031 on 368 (Toronto - Garneau, empty)
  • Apr 3/99 598139, 218 on 366
  • Apr 5/99 598269 on 367
  • Apr 24/99 598058, 115, 034, 170 on 368
  • May 11/99 598038 on 321
  • May 20/99 598120, 289 on 366
  • Jun 12/99 598299 on 320 (Toronto - St Antoine, empty)
  • Aug 2/99 598285, 088, 081 on 366
  • Aug 27/99 598109 on 364
  • Sep 4/99 598045, 264, 284, 184 on 369
  • Sep 11/99 598206 on 366
  • Sep 30/99 598215, 037, 181, 230, 047 to Senneterre
  • Nov 12/99 598107, 031 on 368
  • Nov 26/99 598255, 289, 149 on 365
  • Jan 16/00 598171, 039, 078 on 365
  • Aug 26/00 598210 on 321 
  • Nov 1/00 598143 on 366
  • Mar 10/01 598211, 265 on 364 and 598041 on 301 (Joffre - Toronto) 
  • Mar 10/01 598000, 010, 022 on 321
  • Mar 17/01 598210 on 309 (Joffre - Toronto)
  • Aug 25/01 598055 on 363
  • Aug 30/01 598226 on 363
  • Apr 26/02 598054 on 366
  • Jun 9/02 598181 on 363
  • Sep 1/02 598120 on 363 and 598241 on 368
  • Oct 21/02 598161 on 309
  • Jan 16/03 598069
  • Jul 30/05 598006 on 376 (Toronto - Riviere des Prairies, QC, empty)
  • Jul 19/06 598298 on 376
  • Jun 16/07 598126, 233 on 369
  • Oct 4/08 598289 
  • Oct 7/08 598011, 210 on 376
  • Mar 12/10 598240 on 376
  • Jul 17/10 598228 on 305 (Saint John, NB - Toronto)
  • Nov 3/10 598265
  • Apr 6/13 598082, 209 on 305
  • Aug 24/13 598146 
  • Mar 24/15 598112, 031
  • Mar 6/16 598224 on 369
  • May 7 /16 598197 with open door on 369 at Belleville (below). The cars have become increasingly graffiti'd since the halcyon tagless days of the last millennium!
  • Aug 4/16 598285, 162 on 369 (below)
  • Oct 14/16 598259 on 376 (below)
  • Oct 15/16 598081 with dimensional data re-established on graffiti, 598237 belittled by its bigger-box brethren on 305 (below)
  • Nov 25/16 598060 on 376
  • Aug 11/17 598231, 055 on 369
  • Jul 14/18 598267 on 376
  • May 5/19 598009 on 369
  • Oct 27/20 598161 open door, 221 on 376:

  • Nov 3/21 598124, 125, 173 on 376 (below). Their lettering was fading fast, the graffiti was spreading, and not all that colourful, with 598124 proclaiming 'Anthony can't do it' while showing us a door is only not a door when it's a jar (your door is ajar!) and 598173 showing off some stencilled reporting marks. The rise of graffiti!
I suppose these cars will be reaching their AAR-mandated 40-year make that 50-year lifespan, or declared obsolete soon. Here's a recent sighting, CN 598038 on CN No 368 on October 7, 2023:
With so many observations, I expected I'd seen them all, but I really only caught 112 of the 300 cars, though I've seen 29 cars multiple times, some up to three times! I'll be keeping an expert eagle eye for existing examples enthusiastically! As rolling stock expert Ian Cranston has mentioned in the comments, only 129 of the 300 598xxx-series are still listed in the Official Railway Equipment Register.

Lots o' links:
  • the expansive rrpicturearchives website has nearly three full screens' worth of photos of just about every car in the series (including a surprisingly nearly graffiti-free CN 598041 in 2011!) The plethora of photos speaks to the cars' longevity.
Running extra...

Another titan of the Canadian rail enthusiast scene has left us on December 2 -  Bytown Railway Society Branchline and Canadian Trackside Guide editor Earl Roberts. I had the pleasure of meeting Earl twice at OVAR presentations I made in Ottawa, most recently in June. at which I was proud to present my two most recent books to Earl as the lucky door-prize winner that night! Earl was also responsible for making my aunt and uncle in Manitoba bona fide railfans by getting them on to Branchline.

Unlike most onboard videos I watch of the Canadian, this one is less 'travel host poseur' and more 'enjoy the scenery'. Less time spent saying things like, "Let me show you this bathroom" or "Here's where we take our showers" or watching the video creator slowly sipping a Diet Coke oblivious to the obvious smartphone photography. This trip was actually a very rare departure of the Canadian with no Skyline on this train. According to my October post on buffer cars, this would have departed Toronto on February 26. Departing Jasper, Banff Park and Kokanee Park were deadheading at head-end, having been on the Skeena since January 3. Two other deadheads on the head-end and 8612 on the tail-end in addition to the two buffer Manor cars - a very interesting consist and it was good to capture it in this video! The videographer only showed the tail-end buffer car when backing into Vancouver station.