Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Perfect afternoon in Wyoming

My family recently made a quick trip to Southwestern Ontario to attend two family gatherings. It was a hectic weekend, which was not made any better when bookended it with an eight-hour car ride each way. I did manage to get some quiet time in Wyoming, along the CN Strathroy Subdivision on the Saturday. It was a perfectly sunny afternoon, with the temperature reaching 20C. I sat at the Wyoming Via Rail station, hoping to catch a freight train. After about 40 minutes of waiting, my limited window was waning, as I had to head back to my Dad's house in Petrolia and get ready for a family reunion in Thamesville, near Chatham. While waiting for a train, I snapped a quick photo of the CN Wyoming sign, which is right at the end of the Via Rail platform. You can see the old ramp used to load rail cars off to the right.

This platform, which is in remarkably good condition considering it hasn't been used in some time, feeds a disconnected siding* running behind the Via station. This track used to feed the Wanstead Farmers Co-operative elevators just west of the station (see photos below). It's a bit of an anomaly. The rails are still in place and you need to cross the tracks to get to the Via Rail station. But it's obvious that the line hasn't been used in a long time. You'd have thought CN would have pulled this old trackage long ago, as it still crosses Wyoming's main street.

The train finally did emerge from the east, right around when I was ready to pack it in. I figured something might happen since the signal you see in the photo was mostly blinking yellow as I sat at the station and switched to straight red. I hoped that meant something might be coming from the east. I'm glad I waited.

The only let down was the fact that I was on the shadow side of the train, although beggars can't be choosers, since all other vantage points on the other side of the tracks were private property, so I had to make do with my spot as it was. What a surprise as the train came into view. I was expecting the usual two units leading the train, but there were a few more. In fact, there were five. I can't recall the last time I saw five units up front on a train. I figured there were a few units being taken somewhere, possibly for maintenance or possibly for assignments further west.

I was happy with this shot, especially after colour corrections. You can't really see it, but the old CN trackage is buried in the grass. It starts in the bottom right corner of the shot and makes its way on an angle to the main line.

The train was flying through town, so I tried to get a few different shots that incorporated different elements of Wyoming. In this shot below, you can see the town's water tower and the tiny Via Rail station.

And in this shot, you can see the five units crossing Broadway Street, Wyoming's main street. You can also see the CN communications tower and my Mazda 5, making its first cameo on the blog.

There were a few cool pieces of rolling stock on this mixed freight, like this unit strapped to a TTX flat car.

And here's another oldie, a RailBox boxcar in its original scheme, not the repatched TTX scheme. Following it is another flatcar with unknown contents beneath a black tarp. I'm so glad I caught a mixed freight instead of a container train.

I tried to incorporate the Wanstead Farmer's Co-op in a shot, so I framed the end of the train with the elevators. You can also see Wyoming's Home Hardware on Broadway.

So, that was my meet with a rumbling westbound CN freight on its way to Sarnia Yard and beyond. I was pretty happy to be able to spend some time in Wyoming and catch a freight rolling through town. I've had this spot on my wish list for years, so I can now cross it off. Mission accomplished.

* - A reader pointed out that the disconnected trackage running behind the Via station was not a siding, but a spur. I always assumed that a spur was a track branching off a main line that leads to a dead end. I assumed a siding was a track branching off a main line that reconnects to the main line at the other end. And, yes, I do understand what the purpose of a siding is, which the track in Wyoming likely was not intended for (it was for local service). So, I'm open to being corrected, but this Wyoming siding branched off near the Co-op, in the photo above, and reconnected to the main line further east, beyond the station. Hence, I called it a siding. Please let me know if I'm off base.


Steve Boyko said...

Nice catch! I love those old Railbox boxcars.

And a nice car too!

Michael said...

Thanks, Steve. As you mentioned in your blog, it's time to catch these old relics before they disappear.

Eric said...

Must preserve today's railroading because too soon it will become (as it already is, I guess) yesterday's railroading and we will wish we had done so.

Fun fact: in a clue on Jeopardy this week, Casper was referred to as a 'ghostly' Wyoming city.

Thanks for sharing, Michael.

Michael said...

When I was little, I never understood how there could be a Wyoming other than this town. Ahh, the joys of childhood! Thanks for stopping by, as always, Eric.