Saturday, April 1, 2023

Sudbury-White River Dayliner Documentary

Last year, a strange object appeared on a VIA RDC at Sudbury. Someone was taking pictures of something, and people were TRIPPING about what it could be. Now we know it was TRIPPING Train 185, an original TVO documentary profiling the geography, history and rails between Sudbury and White River. Produced by goodearth productions, the documentary has an excellent website that I highly recommend previewing. There's lots of material there, including videos, that will get you all ready for the premiere. Friday, April 7 at 7 PM ET, pop some popcorn and pour a potent potable for the three-hour run. Now posted to Youtube!
Brian Martyniuk of Thunder Bay recently emailed me with his account and photos of a chance encounter with the film train VIA 6217-6219-6250 in July, 2022. His account and photos will definitely get you ready for the TRIPPING.  Brian takes over...

"Here's my chance encounter with the filming crew and train:

Some background: During the summer months I travel from Thunder Bay to Wawa [and return] along the Hwy 17 corridor. I always plan my trip[s] so that I can be at White River prior the arrival of VIA No 185, before continuing  on to Wawa. On that particular afternoon I arrived at White River about 1630 and hung around the CP tracks waiting for the arrival of the Budd cars. 

One hour went by, and then two, and after three hours and no trains, I packed up and continued east to my overnight accommodation in Wawa.  It is an hour's drive from White River to Wawa. So that meant getting up at 0500 the next morning if I wanted to be back at White River for the entraining of any passengers and the on-time departure of the Budd cars.
Arriving trackside at White River the next morning about 0630, the three-car VIA train No 186 was already idling away at the former CP station (above and top photo). I parked my vehicle at the west end of the station to the rear of the Budd cars. 
The first thing I noticed was this huge, black object fastened to the door of the car. Some individuals were walking about beside the train and one man in a pink shirt had a joystick in hand and was watching the screen on his handheld. 
In conversation he told me that he was operating a drone and taking footage of the train yard and the town of White River for an up-and-coming documentary. He explained that the black object was a forward-facing camera that the crew had used yesterday to record the rail trip from Sudbury to White River. And it was now in the 'down position' for the return trip. When I remarked that I had waited several hours for the train yesterday, he apologized and explained that, because of all the numerous stops along the way, they were probably about four to five hours late arriving. 
Before I could ask him any more questions he excused himself as the time for departure was getting near and he had to retrieve the drone. We parted ways and I hung around to get more pictures. 
VIA No 186 departed on time at 0700. 
The one and only location for a picture east of White River is the Highway 17 overpass about 12 miles east of the town. There is a bush road just a little further into the CP siding called O'Brien but the best vantage point is from the highway bridge.
I took a picture from the highway structure of the RDC's approaching (above), receding (below) and then they were gone."

Many thanks to Brian for getting in touch, and for kindly sharing his story and his photos! Bryan is a long-time Lakehead resident, railfan and photographer  Bryan previously shared his early-era VIA in Thunder Bay photos and contributed to posts on the Diefenbaker funeral train and CPR 5468's journey west.

Ex-CN RDC's were just so mundane in my early railfanning years that I rarely photographed them. I did, however, note lots of consists. And if I photographed them, they're most likely here in this post.

APRIL 7 UPDATE: I was able to watch most of the debut of TRIPPING Train 185 tonight, and will watch the rest on the ol' PV-R. Film quality and sharpness are excellent. Down-the-track, drone and historical recreation footage alternate, and there is even winter footage. On-screen captioning has some curious captions, at one point referring to inspection of train 'under casings' for undercarriage, and noting that a 4 km-long CP freight train can take 30 minutes to pass. I would not want to be sitting at that crossing! Local residents and fishermen are showing using the train, and there is in-cab and radio communication to eavesdrop on. Notably, the drone footage shows only a two-car train, but the long, along-river drone scenes show off the area's natural beauty very well. A very enjoyable ride!

Running extra...

I like to promote the preservation-by-photography of the mundane. Bernd and Hilla Becher have taken it to new heights.Watertowers, mills and even grain elevators have been preserved in a photographic exhibit of the German couple's work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The images are stunning in their simplicity:

A University of Waterloo professor has gamed out the Tim Hortons Roll up the Rim contest and is now winning 80% of the time. The abstract? Go to Tims at 3:16 and you'll win - it's the most optimal time, according to the professor. Forget going to Tims, that's probably the time of night most folks wake up to go to the john: 3:16.


Michael said...

What a cool concept for a documentary. Thanks for pointing this out. I will be sure to check it out on TVO later this week. This passenger rail service certainly belongs to another time when railways were a lifeline for small towns that would otherwise not find themselves connected to the wider world. The small inland Newfoundland communities that grew up alongside the Newfoundland Railway spring to mind, not to mention my father's hometown of Chapleau, Ont., which once owed its prosperity to its position as a railway servicing point on the CP.

Eric said...

I'm looking forward to it as you are, Michael. It's one of VIA's few remaining essential services. The last time I rode that mileage was 1986. It gets more scenic as it approaches the shores of Lake Superior, and served more population centres than the more northerly CN route that the Canadian uses. Indeed, many towns existed solely because of the railway. This Budd's for you!

Thanks for your comment,

Chapleau chap said...

Great post! TVO has just made a 4K + Dolby 5.1 version of this doc available looks like:

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind words and for the additional information, Chapleau chap!