I decided to head out recently just to shoot something. I went to Via's Fallowfield Station to shoot Train 55, which was due to arrive in minutes before making its way west to Toronto. The skies began to open up on my way to the station, but I immediately thought that this was a good thing. I didn't have many good shots of trains in the rain, so this would help create a little diversity in my rail photo collection.
A few other surprises resulted as I took some shots of Train 55 heading across Woodroffe Avenue. Let's take a close look at the shot below, which on the surface is nothing special.
Most obviously, I decided to include a piece of the station platform in the shot to showcase the puddles and capture a bit of the rain in the shot. But I also made sure to fit in some of the trackside ballast pile and bundle of ties next to the pile. You may recall that I spotted some rail maintenance of way equipment in Richmond in this post. The condition of the line near the station seems to show that work has been done on this line fairly recently.
Here's another shot of Train 55 as it makes its way across Woodroffe. Notice the slope of the line as it approaches the station. You can also see the new signal equipment showing straight red for eastbound trains.
This is my favourite shot of this meet. You can see the reflection of the signals on the side of the train and the grade of the line is very clear in this shot. If you look closely, you can also see the rain in front of the locomotive. The train is being led by P42 912, which I am sure I have captured several times before.
Now compare this shot of 912 with this earlier shot (2011) of 908 along the same stretch of line. In the older shot, you don't see the grade at all. This might be due to the fact that the older shot was taken a little further west on the platform. Still, I was surprised that I never got any shots of the grade before. The other big difference is the size of the consist. The older shot shows a consist that is between 6-8 cars long.
In the spirit of capturing different elements in my shots, I made sure to stick around as the train readied for departure. Just before it left, I captured this shot of a Via service manager (I have always called them conductors, but that term seems out of date now) on the platform making one final check before the train began to move.
I was impressed enough with my efforts that I returned to the station the next day to try and capture some more shots. I changed my position a little, backing away from the platform, so I could lessen the wedge effect. The lighting wasn't as kind the next day, so this was about all I could muster. The interesting thing was the next day's train was being pulled by P42 913. Almost as if they had planned it that way. Other than this shot, I didn't have much to show for the second day.
There were a couple of takeaways from these two days for me. One was, even if you don't think you are going to get anything new, it's always worthwhile to head out and take some shots. The next takeaway is to always think creatively. I deliberately sought out some different shots. Thanks to the fact that I changed my position on the Via platform and looked for elements other than the train, I managed to get some different shots. In next week's post, I will share some photos that take this approach further. I went out to a scenic spot on the Smiths Falls Sub and managed to capture something special.
One final thought. As several of my fellow rail enthusiasts have pointed out, CN seems to be combining its western freight service in Ottawa. Some have even caught 589 at Fallowfield Station on the siding. I intend to focus my efforts on this station in the coming weeks, simply to see if I can catch this freight train there. If you do see this train there, feel free to let me know and make sure to take note of the time you saw it.