Thursday, April 14, 2016

GOing to extremes

Toronto Part III - The following post is the third of four I have put together to chronicle the various trains I saw on a recent trip to Toronto with my family in mid-March. You can read the first two parts here and here.
It didn't get much better than this. For three days, I was able to watch one of the busiest rail corridors in the country right from my living room window. My family was staying in a condo in downtown Toronto, just steps from Spadina Avenue. This meant that I was able to watch trains, even when I was doing something else. At one point during our brief stay in Hogtown, my wife asked me to walk down the street to see what the line was like at the Ripley's Aquarium (see previous post), which was the main family activity we had planned for our little stay. I jumped at the chance to do this, since it allowed me to walk trackside and get more photos of the railway action. In this post, I am sharing some of the more interesting shots I collected while on this short walk, no to mention a few others I captured from the 37th floor condo. In this next post, I will share the most interesting aerial shots from the condo perch, which are far too numerous for this post.
So, here's the first shot I liked. It's a GO Train headed west, having just left Union Station. On point is MP40PH-3C 643. While I watched these GO Trains over my three-day stay, I noticed that most consists have these locomotives pushing or pulling. That means the old F59PHs are largely being phased out. Notice that the first coach in the consist is newly painted in the Metrolinx light green scheme. I didn't see as many of these newly painted cars as I thought I would.

I noticed that GO would begin backing up trains early in the morning in the North Bathurst Yard, which was right across from my condo. I shot a lot of aerial shots of these moves, but I did make sure to get a few shots from the Spadina Avenue bridge, including this image. The misty weather tended to obscure many of the details in my shots, but I still like how this one turned out.

I was thrilled with this shot simply because it captured all the elements of a busy rail network in a big city that I wanted to get. In this shot, you can see the pedestrian bridge between Iceboat Terrace and Front Street (yellow), the Bathurst Street bridge, a newly installed signal gantry, two diverging rail pathways, two signal towers and the main attraction, the UP Express, heading east to Union Station. This is one of my favourite shots from Toronto.

A quick peek at a UP Express wrap on a GO Train in North Bathurst Yard. What's that expression? One hand washes the other? In this case, one Metrolinx operation touts the other. This was the only wrap I saw.

Another GO Train makes its way east to Union Station, passing by North Bathurst Yard. The frequency of GO Trains blew me away, particularly an Ottawa resident not accustomed to commuter rail of this magnitude.

This is one of the features of the new GO equipment that I almost missed. I caught this new cab at the end of our stay.

And as I mentioned, the F59PHs are almost phased out, but I did catch a consist with an F59 on each end. In this case, this consist stopped right in front of our building and waited for clearance to proceed. At one point, multiple GO Trains were lined up on a single track, some within a few dozen metres of each other, all waiting for clearance to go. It was like watching planes lined up next to a runway. I have never seen that before. It was a treat to watch. In the image below, you can see the GO crew taking a breather while they await instructions to proceed. Made for an amazing shot.
Usually, I tend to stay away from railfanning posts, but I couldn't resist. There really is no story or editorial content here, just a few memories of a great few days spent watching trains. 


Steve Boyko said...

Love the GO train action! Someday I'll have to take it in.

I agree that the UP Express shot is a keeper.

Anonymous said...

Railfanning posts are A-OK with me, Michael. GO to it!

Michael said...

Thanks for the comments, Steve and Eric. I would highly recommend an afternoon spent watching GO Trains from a 37th floor perch. And I was happy to get some trackside photos as well.