Friday, August 10, 2018

Summer observations in Ottawa

I recently paid a visit to both Ottawa Via Rail stations, since my wife was taking the train to and from a professional development conference in Montreal. It was fun to be out trackside, since I have had very few chances to take in some railside action this year.

My first trip was to Fallowfield Station, to drop my wife off. Before my wife’s train arrived, a Toronto-bound corridor train arrived, with 40th anniversary wrapped P42 908 leading the way. My two daughters came with me, which allowed me to explain rail safety 101 to them. It was a good learning experience for my youngest daughter who is three as has not encountered trains this close before. For those who have never been to this station, the extended platform is quite narrow and is sandwiched between the tracks and the parking lot.

There as some harsh afternoon sunshine that limited what I could do. The images had some pretty oppressive shadows. Even after some retouches, this was about as good as it got.

After seeing that train, I had to leave early as my wife’s train was a few minutes late. All in all, it was a rather uneventful trip to the station, but I figured it was worth it to get a few more images of Via 40 wraps. As I have mentioned many times before, what seems commonplace today will seem more important years from now.

The following weekend, I took my daughters across town to the main Ottawa Via Rail station on Tremblay Road, to welcome my wife home after a long week away. I made sure to go early so I could show the girls the central train station, which they had not seen before. I observed a few things worth mentioning.

One is there are two electric O-Train consists parked on the Confederation Line in front of the Via station, which are being used for testing on the east end of the line. People in the west end will notice there are now two electric trainsets being tested on the western limits of the line as well. More on this later.

When we arrived at the station, I was pleased to see the work to the raised platform near the station has been completed. It was a little weird to see the trains coming in behind the raised platform, but it’s a big improvement for passengers.

Here are a few more shots of the Montreal-bound consist about to leave, with the new platform in the foreground. Also note that the renovations at the station also included another section of platform that has been glassed in, which travellers will appreciate in the winter. All in all, it’s a big improvement.

Here’s another few shots of the Montreal-bound train leaving the station.

And one last one.

And finally, here’s a shot of my wife’s train making its way into the station, including a shot of some wrapped coaches behind the platform.

A little closer.

The wraps behind the platform.

I like that the station has a bench on the edge of the platform where you can wait for the trains outside. I’m not sure that many people wait at this bench here or what the specific station policies are regarding waiting here, since this area is beyond the controlled gates in the station. However, I was not the only parent with children waiting on the edge of the platform and Via staff didn’t seem to mind people waiting safely away from the tracks.

It’s important to note that there are no signs forbidding people from waiting on the edge of the platform.

All railway stations should have this atmosphere.


Eric said...

Kingston has benches that even visiting railfans can sit on! I like the way the accessible ramp 'cuts across' the stairs to the raised platforms. Interesting design. Thanks for keeping us up to date with the comings and goings at Ottawa station, Michael!


AJ said...

Oh man am I happy to see they put in new glass there. Should be a life saver during the winters!
While I have been critical of the Central Station (especially compared to Fallowfield which I am a fan of) in the past, it is encouraging to see that there has been rational and sensible improvements. If they want to get people onto the trains, the first thing is to make it comfortable and keep the pesky little things to a minimum. The atmosphere definitely goes a long way for that!

Michael said...

Thanks for the comments, gents. I agree with you Eric that the design of the ramps is really smart. I was impressed with what I saw. And, yes, AJ, that glass will be great for passengers in the winter. I have been on those wind-exposed platforms in the dead of winter before. Hopefully, this will make the experience of coming to Ottawa in the deep freeze a little less arduous.