Friday, March 23, 2018

Catching up with the contributors

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.


Keith Boardman said...

It's sad that there is so little to get excited about regarding anything rail related in Ottawa, but that's our reality. I was on Ramsayville Road this morning heading north just before 9:00 and noticed the CN 589 about to head eastward on the Alexandria Sub. I turned around to watch it pass the crossing. I think this is a regular movement out of Walkley on Friday morning, so I'm going to try to make an effort to catch it closer to Carlsbad Springs, maybe on Farmers Way, next week. The photo opportunities may be better at a more remote crossing.

Michael said...

I wish I had some time to catch up with 589 in the east end. Good info, Keith. I will file that away for the next time I have a Friday off.