Thursday, June 1, 2017

A little fun on the 401

When my family recently travelled down to the Sarnia area for the Mother's Day weekend, I once again played one of my favourite games. Whenever we travel Highway 401, I bring along a camera to see if we can get some shots of trains at speed. I've done this many times, with varying results. At the very least, it's a good way to pass the time on what is always a very long ride.

Here's what we got this time around.

When we were passing through Kingston Friday morning at around 110 km/h, a westbound Via Rail train from Montreal overtook us. My wife snapped a pretty cool shot of wrapped P42 912, a renaissance-painted Business Class coach and a wrapped coach.

This stretch of CN's Kingston Subdivision is a gold mine for railfanning, even if you're in a car. A little further west of this spot, the subdivision crosses under the 401 near Montreal Street (I think), which is where we caught a glimpse of this freight heading east. I was a little disappointed with our timing. Had we travelled a little slower, we would have met this one at a better spot along the highway. Oh well.

Not the best shot, but it still works for me. There's just one unit pulling some centre beam lumber cars and a few gondolas and some covered hoppers (out of frame). Maybe a local? I suspect my friend Eric Gagnon might be able to comment on this.

One the way home to Ottawa, we didn't have the same kind of luck, but I did manage to snag a shot of some GO Trains idling near the 401 east of Toronto. You can see some of the glare from the window, which I was not able to photoshop out completely.

And, as we usually do, we came across an endless container train. We usually see a few of these when we travel the highway, although we often catch them mid-train. Still, a good collection of trailers to see, if that's your thing.

Here are two final shots, which illustrate how tough this game can be, although I have to hand it to my wife for being a gamer. Here's a shot she got from the passenger seat, shooting across the driver's seat and across the westbound 401. The first shot is completely untouched.

Another wrap! Here's my attempt to work with one of the shots.

You get the idea. It's sometimes a game of diminishing returns, but it makes the drive much more fun, for me at least.


Eric said...

You had lots of good sightings along Canada's busiest highway! The photos your wife took must have been an eastbound - no Business Class behind the power - likely a P42-bracketed train to Ottawa.

That freight? I believe the CSX cars of coal head to the South Shore of the St Lawrence i.e. Becancour. So I'm guessing whatever train that is will set out the cars at Taschereau Yard. Lower-tonnage trains have one unit up front plus a DPU. The empty centrebeams could be heading to New Brunswick or even northern Quebec!

Safe driving!

Canadian Train Geek said...

I think your wife is an excellent photographer! (thumbs up!)

Michael said...

I don't know what to tell you Eric. The first Via was indeed westbound. I know because our car was westbound on the 401 and it passed us quite handily! The second series of Via shots were eastbound. Thanks for the added info on the freight. I figured it was a train with DPU because it looked like it was long.

Steve, I will be sure to let my wife know that her railfanning abilities are appreciated. I'm sure it will make her day.

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