Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Favourites, Part II

If the first half of 2016 was dominated by passenger trains and commuter trains, the second half of the year really did feature a great assortment of freight trains in a variety of locales. The end of the year even featured a very special mixed train, better known as the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train. Better still, the second half really did bring a couple of firsts for me as a rail enthusiast. Let's continue our little trip through the past year. (Catch up with Part I here)

In late July, I was able to break away and found may way to Bedell, Ontario, a tiny trackside community just outside Kemptville on the Canadian Pacific Winchester Subdivision. I waited there for a while before I came across a westbound empty ethanol train. This was the first time I have encountered one of these trains since I began photographing again a few years ago.

The shot above is my favourite, due to the lighting and the look of the sky. I nearly ruined the shot by including the small weed bush in the frame, but I was lucky enough to get a few shots of this fast moving train with the bush not blocking anything.

I was also quite happy with this shot as well, since it showcases an old cylindrical hopper with the multimark and a Soo Line ribbed hopper. There's that bush again, as well! Hopefully, CP's weed spraying will take care of that next year.

In late August, my family was travelling to London when we began to pass a very long freight train on Canadian National's Kingston Subdivision along the 401. It was a great catch since my wife managed to capture a number of interesting features of the train, including the mid-train DPU. I think the greatest surprise was the flat car full of axles right behind the two lead units. It's not a load you see every day.

There were a number of interesting shots from this meet, but I think my favourites included shots like the one below, which define the seemingly random nature of freight trains (although we all know there is a method to how these consists are organized).

On the way back east from London, I came across another long CN freight train. This time, my wife managed to catch another mid-train DPU along with a string of containers crossing the Humber River. I worked with these shots a fair bit and was happy with the black and white treatment (click the above link to see that shot). I included the colour shot here because I really think the star of this image is the sky.

While I was in London, I managed to catch a westbound CP mixed freight on the Galt Subdivision. This meet also meant another first for me since the second engine in the consist was a CIT Rail unit. I have never caught one of these units before. It certainly did make for some more interesting shots on the head end of this train.

The light was tricky, but I had to make do with my spot since the rest of the vantage points were off limits. The shot below was taken as the train crossed Industrial Road. This train also had a number of interesting freight cars in the consist including a flat car with utility poles and a number of gondolas with tarped off contents that are still a mystery to me.

Around Thanksgiving, I was able to visit family in Sarnia, which meant a fair bit of time was spent trackside at the Sarnia CN Yard. I was lucky enough to catch the CSX-CN interchange. This was one of the longest CSX transfers I have seen in the yard. The light was tricky, but I was still happy with this shot since I managed to capture a fair bit of the train along with the gantry.

There were also a few tunnel trains that passed by when I was at the Sarnia station, including this one. I have managed to catch a fair number of interesting rolling stock shots this year. I like this one because it features a few tank cars, a few boxcars, a few autoracks and some interesting lines.

Back to the CSX transfer for a moment, I followed this train deep into the yard. In this shot, you can see three consists. Two CN consists are shunting beneath the Indian Road overpass while the CSX interchange makes its way toward the overpass. Three trains, one image. A first for me in Sarnia.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I managed to catch a fair number of shots with CN units making a fair bit of smoke in the midst of their duties. This was the first time I have caught this type of action.

My final stop includes a shot I took Nov. 27 in Finch, Ontario. This is the CP Holiday Train making its way to town as a number of railfans get their shots ready. I will share a number of shots of this soon.

It's been an interesting year. I have a number of photos submitted to me that I have yet to use. I hope to start showcasing them in the new year.


AJ said...

Nice recap!
Hard to believe another year has come and gone and more so that for as little that goes on around here, there is still a lot to shoot and see in Ottawa. Great work on the blog - it's been a weekly staple for me to escape from reality for a few mins.

Nice catch of the Holiday train - I caught it in Smith's Falls again (was more than worth the hour wait to be front row). I have never caught it during the daylight hours - with the lights, do you find it is harder to shoot than in the dark?

Michael said...

Thanks, AJ! I really appreciate all the comments from my fellow railfans, especially the long suffering fans in Ottawa. I do find shooting at night challenging, mostly because I don't have sophisticated camera gear like most railfans. However, even with my camera, all I find you have to do is find the right settings, read the manual a bit and most of all, be still. I have done some night photography, but only a few times. I find being still and using anything to stabilize the camera is your best bet for success at night. The camera's settings will take care of much of the rest.

Craig said...

How nice to have stumbled across this blog! Many of these scenes are familiar to me, and it's quite interesting to learn more about the rail history behind them. Looking forward to future posts.

Michael said...

Thanks, Craig. Although I am based out of Ottawa, I am from SW Ontario and many of my posts over the years have covered topics from that area. You can check out the sidebar to the blog for some of the most popular posts from the past few years.

Craig said...

The posts on Bedell are of particular interest to me, as my grandmother's father worked for CP at Bedell in the early part of the twentieth century when it was a going concern. I'm in Kemptville and that stretch of track is along my walking route. Some track repair equipment has been parked on the siding recently, though as of today only a crane remains.

Michael said...

I've done a few posts from Bedell, Craig, including a three part series a few years back. I'm sure if you googled Bedell, Ontario and Beachburg Sub, you'd find them. I love that area around Kemptville and Bedell. It's one of my favourite spots to catch a train. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

AJ said...

Thanks for the tips Micheal. Sounds like we are at the same place when it comes to gear. I either am taking shots from my Priv or my Canon SX100. Nothing fancy and I don't use a tripod - more just point, shoot and hope for the best. Being still is the one thing I am constantly trying to improve on!

As for Craig and his interest in Bedell - definitely recommend looking into it and popping over there. Lots of space to park and set up, traffic isn't bad, there's nice straightaway and there is a crossing which ensures you get a whistle or two (on a cool summer evening when your daydreaming, that can be huge!).