Wednesday, July 1, 2020

I'm back, sort of...

Thank you to everyone for your kind words from my last post, which explained why I was stepping away from this blog, mostly due to the hectic nature of my life.

Life has eased a bit, with the summer now here and the school year mercifully over. I am still having a hard time figuring out how to maintain a blog about railways in Ottawa when there is so little to see, especially from my vantage point in the city's west end. I do have some vague plans to do some real honest-to-goodness railfanning in Bedell or Smiths Falls at some point, but those are not terribly firm right now.

That said, Canada Day seemed like a good time to head out somewhere and try and find a train. More than anything, I was looking for some quiet time, since  my house has become a bit too cozy of late, with all of us here all the time. I love my family and I know they at least seem to tolerate me, but too much of a good thing, right?

So, I headed out to one of my favourite spots, Twin Elm, to catch a westbound Via Train 53. There wasn't a lot to choose from on Canada Day. Even thought it fell on a Wednesday this year, CN 589 to Nylene Canada was not operating. That pretty much left me with Via or nothing.

So, I vowed to get something more in the way of landscape art than railway photo, since I have far too many clinical shots of Via corridor trains. So, here's the first shot as Via 53 raced across the Cambrian Road crossing.

As you can see, the train was being led by a Love The Way wrapped P42. I tell ya, I will shed no tears when these dogs are replaced. Ugly.

I tried to ensure I got at least one shot of the train next to the red farm structures for a little bit of variety. I'll share the rest of the shots in a later post.

As for rail news in Ottawa, I noticed an inordinate number of comments about the Arnprior Turn and I have received a few emails from readers who have caught it of late. Thanks to everyone for keeping me in mind. So, in case anyone is wondering, yes, CN still makes its weekly run out to Nylene Canada in Arnprior. Mostly, they operate on Wednesdays, although some have told me the train is making its way west a little later in the morning than many are used to seeing (10-10:30 a.m.).

And, yes, for those outside the city, the O-Train Confederation Line is still a complete disaster. On top of the numerous failures this past winter, the trains were running at reduced capacity recently because it was too hot. It makes us wonder if these awful trains run well in any conditions.

The president of the Rideau Transit Group, the company that built and maintains the line, recently resigned and was replaced. I think people in the city would care more if they honestly believed the move would result in better service. Meanwhile, the city is still withholding payment to RTG due to its continuing failure deliver on its promises. And, as many in the city know, the second phase of construction on the Confederation Line is well underway in many different places.

We can only hope the issues get figured out before the line is extended to Orleans and Moodie.

It's good to be back. No promises, but I'll see what I can do.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


Hi everyone,

As you know, things are not normal in our world. They really aren't normal in Ottawa, where much of our city is still pretty much shut down. Since the beginning of this pandemic, my life has changed a great deal. I am now fully immersed in teaching my oldest daughter and getting her through the remainder of her school year. I am working from home full time as well. On top of that, my wife continues to work evenings, which has tended to fill my day with childcare and school.

On top of that, I have taken on a great deal of volunteer work with my community, mainly with my church. That has tended to take up a lot of time as well. The things I have learned in the last few months are amazing to me. I am livestreaming events, creating elaborate videos and doing a number of other things to keep people connected and hopeful. This work has occupied huge chunks of my day, but I do it with a smile as I take great pride in trying to do my little part in making the world a better place.

Finally, I am also still actively involved with an Internet radio station in producing a regular half-hour program. That takes up an incredible amount of time as well. The ratio means that one half hour of air time usually requires about four times as much prep time and editing. So, we're talking about several hours.

Obviously, I have not been able to do much trackside and I don't see this changing anytime soon. Ottawa is a railfan's nightmare at the best of times, so you can imagine what it's like now.

All this to say I don't want to continue producing a blog when I cannot give it my full attention. You people are smart and you can likely tell a good blog from a mediocre blog. I believe you deserve the best that I can give and I'm just not in a position to deliver quality material right now.

For these reasons, I am taking a hiatus from blogging to regroup, think of some new content, get some new pictures trackside, do some research and make a better go of things when the world allows me to do so.

Over the years, I have gotten a number of encouraging messages from fellow railfans who have told me how much they enjoy my efforts from this lonely railway outpost called Ottawa. Those messages have often kept my going when things got tough.

So thank you all. We'll see you soon, I hope!

Take care,

hammond.michael77 AT gmail DOT com