I don't know if I can properly describe how important it is for my blog to have regular or even semi-regular contributors. When you live in Ottawa, your railfanning opportunities are limited, to say the least. Although there is no shortage of news coming out of Ottawa right now when it comes to railways, I always feel as though I am cheating myself and the readers when there aren't any compelling images to go along with the topic I am exploring.
All that to say, it is always a great surprise when I get
photos and news tips from my fellow rail enthusiasts from Eastern Ontario and
elsewhere. This week, I thought I would play a little bit of catch-up and
present some of my favourite contributor images from the last year and a bit. I
have to admit, I have a large backlog of submitted images. Unfortunately, I
can't always use them right away and sometimes I can't fashion a full post out
of the contributions.
But that always leaves the door open for collections of
random photos, which is always fun for me. For the first photo, let's head
overseas to Portugal.
My in-laws spent a few months in Europe last spring, in
Spain and Portugal in particular. They were nice enough to take train photos
for me, including a number of shots from a railway museum they visited in Spain
(stay tuned for that post). This shot, from the Lisbon train station, gives you
a good idea of the iconic design of the station's platform and canopy. I also
liked this shot because the engine reminds me of the old Bombardier LRC
locomotives that once prowled the Windsor-Quebec City corridor for Via Rail
Canada. My in-laws took trains just about everywhere they went during their
European adventure and spoke glowingly of the passenger service there.
Take a guess where this shot came from? That tower in the
background is the Calgary Tower. This shot is courtesy of my brother, who
snapped a shot of a long line of hoppers parked in Calgary's downtown. He took
this shot in the summer of 2016. I haven't really had any opportunities to
include any of his Calgary photos in a post, so I figured I would share this
shot, more for the Calgary skyline than anything else.
This shot is courtesy of fellow Ottawa railfan Keith
Boardman, who snapped a few images of the old Masson passenger station in
Masson, Que. This station, which appears to be in terrible shape, sits along
the Quebec Gatineau Railway, although most people know this line better from
its time when it was part of the Canadian Pacific Lachute Subdivision. This
line also hosted Via Rail's northern service between Ottawa and Montreal, so
called because the line runs north of the Ottawa River.
You can read more about Via trains along the Lachute Sub in
this post on Trackside Treasure.
As Keith pointed out to me, it's been decades since this
station saw any passenger service. It doesn't appear as though there are any
efforts to preserve the old station. I like this shot because it shows just how
well maintained the tracks appear to be, which can't be said for the station, sadly.
My brother snagged this dramatic shot of a CN freight headed
west toward Sarnia on the Strathroy Subdivision. This shot was taken at the
Mandaumin Road level crossing in January. My brother mentioned the other day
how he saw a freight train being pulled by four locomotives that all bore
different logos: CN, NS, UP and CSX. Reading up on why, it appears that CN has
leased some power recently to keep up with an unexpected increase in freight
traffic. One article I read was critical of the railway for not being ready for
the rebounding traffic. I don't care about that. I find the prospect of being
able to see UP, NS or CSX engines on CN freights to be exciting.
One final note. Radio-Canada has reported recently that the
Bytown Rail Society has reached out to proponents of a tourist train on the old
CP Maniwaki Subdivision. The society has offered some of its equipment for use
in a new tourist operation. There has been no tourist train on this line in
years, thanks to wash-outs along the right-of-way that have proven too costly
for the rail's owners to fix. The old sub is owned by the municipalities that
the line runs through. The article, in French, mentioned that the idea might
not receive a warm reception, since efforts have already started to convert the
old Maniwaki Sub into a recreational path.