Friday, September 16, 2016

Something special in London

As I mentioned last week, my family recently visited London, Ontario for a family gathering, which also gave me the opportunity to see some railway action on Canadian Pacific's Galt Subdivision. Luckily for me, our hotel was very close to the Galt Sub in the east end of the city near London International Airport. I could see a tiny sliver of the right-of-way from our hotel room window.

I hopped over to the right-of-way, which is double tracked at the Industrial Road crossing, where I was perched. I didn't have to wait long before a westbound mixed freight rumbled through at a leisurely pace. Luckily for me, there were a few surprises in the consist, which allowed me to check off a few firsts from my railfanning list.

Here's one of my favourite shots below of CP 8825 and a blue (!) companion leading the way, with a cut of autoracks behind. I should mention that I had to sit on the shadow side of the train when I met this consist, because all other points of view were off limits. So I had to shoot as much as I could and hope the shadows weren't too onerous to retouch.

Before I get into what I saw on the freight train, I should mention that I spotted these signs along the right-of-way. Safety first.

This was about as close as I could get while remaining off CP property. I used my camera's zoom to try and get a shot of this track, which looks to be in the process of being dismantled. If you look closely, you can see a bumper in the distance, but what I found curious was how a large section of the track appears to have been pushed off the ballast. It reminds me of some of the crazy track configurations I had on my train sets when I was younger.

Back to the train. As it approached the crossing, I was almost unaware of the leased power behind the lead engine, since the sun was creating such a shadow. When I cleaned up the shots, I realized I had caught CEFX 1024, an AC44CW unit owned by CIT Rail. What makes it special for me is that this is the first time I have caught leased power. That's what happens when you are a railfan in Ottawa. You sometimes have to wait years to see something different.

Watching the CIT unit cross Industrial Road made me realize how much I miss the old Conrail locomotives in their blue livery. When I used to visit grandparents in Windsor, I would sometimes see those old blue units, back when Conrail operated over the CASO Sub. The blue on the CIT unit seems to match the old Conrail blue.

As for the rest of the train, the rolling stock didn't disappoint, as there were a number of different types in the consist, including this lumber load, which was followed by a grey tank car carrying sodium hydroxide (or lye or caustic soda, depending on the term you prefer).

There was a long line of these gondolas with their loads that had been tarped over. Anyone venture to guess what they were carrying?

You might notice that I changed my angles and vantage points a number of times as the train went by. This is because the train's speed allowed me to get creative with my shots. This was especially important since the sun and shadows were limiting a number of obvious points-of-view.

I am always happy to find old CP Rail rolling stock still in revenue service, like faded red boxcar CPAA 211050, which either had its multimark painted over or was clad in the awkward post-multimark years when the railway still went by CP Rail but essentially had no logo.

This car caught my eye, since it carried what appeared to be untreated hydro poles. This was another first for me. I see lots of lumber cars in Ottawa when I actually do see freight trains, but I have not caught one of these. The car's number, 710035, was hastily scrawled on one of its outer prongs, but I wasn't able to capture who owned the car.

Toward the end of the train, there was a long cut of containers, which is when I slowed shooting. I still have a hard time trying to find anything interesting when shooting intermodal cars, but I did shoot this one which stood out amid the containers. You can see how shooting the train straight on didn't really make for great shots.

As the end of the train neared, there was another long string of autoracks, so I wandered around and set up for a shot of the end of the train. I was happy with this final going away shot.

That was the highlight of my brief trackside encounter in London. I have been fortunate to catch a few CP freights this summer. Click here to see my encounter with a CP ethanol train in Bedell.

In the coming weeks, I will be visiting family in Sarnia and hope to have some CN and CSX action to share in the fall.


Brian said...

The telephone pole car was likely headed to a siding next to Edinburgh Road in Guelph. The poles are offloaded there and trucked to Guelph Utility Pole for treatment. You can actually see 2 empty, 1 partially loaded and 1 fully loaded cars on Google Street View (south of Speedvale Road in Guelph). I drive by these cars almost daily. Seems to be a pretty steady business.

Michael said...

Thanks for the added info, Brian. Having been to Guelph many times, I know the area you are talking about, but didn't know there was a rail served industry making utility poles.