Saturday, March 5, 2022

Twilight on the Guelph Sub in Stratford

In my most recent post about Stratford, I shared some shots of Canadian National's Stratford Yard, which was once the main Goderich Exeter Railway yard, when the Guelph Sub was GEXR territory. That, of course, is no longer the case, as CN assumed control of the line once again when the GEXR lease expired. The end result, at least to my eye, is a quiet yard and not all that many CN freight trains on the Guelph Sub. I'm told that the line is now used as a relief line for when the busier Dundas Sub is at capacity.

In the time when I was in Stratford in August, I had multiple opportunities to visit the Stratford yard and the Via Rail station. Since there were no switching operations or locals being prepared on any mornings I was at the yard, all I could photograph were the GEXR units in the yard and the rolling stock. I did see one CN local rolling through town, crossing Romeo Street in the city's east end, but I was not able to get a shot, since I was too far away and was driving at the time. 

Nearing the end of my time in the city, I figured it would be worthwhile to get a shot of the westbound Via Rail corridor train en route to Sarnia. There is a nearby grain elevator and other landmarks to use to frame passenger trains, so I thought I would try to get a few shots of live rail action.

Here is the first shot of the westbound as it approached the platform.

I picked this shot among a few others because I managed to fit in most of the cars in the yard that had been dropped off by a westbound local freight earlier in the day (the one I could not photograph). You can see the old searchlight signals to the left of the Via Rail corridor train. You can also see the prominent grain elevator in the centre of the frame, not to mention the new signals on the edge of the passenger platform. The Via is led by a P42. 

The next shot I wanted to capture was the passenger train next to the GEXR units. I love railway family shots, as I call them, where you can capture different railways in the same shot. It's not quite as rewarding as capturing different railways in a meet, but it's close. This shot below was my favourite shot of the evening.

 Here's a shot with the westbound Via closer to the GEXR units, below. 

And how about a shot of the train at the platform. A timeless image in a small town. If not for the P42, you could date this photo anytime in the past few decades.

I should include a shot of the streamliners as well. I love that these old cars are still being used in corridor service. I suppose now is the time to get shots of them before they are replaced, perhaps by the Siemens equipment.

So that was my one and only meet with a live train in Stratford that I was able to photograph. As always, you have to make the best of what you're given. I like that one of the streamliners is still sporting the original Via Rail blue and yellow scheme. I will never get tired of that. The final coach is a modern take on the the blue and yellow. I've seen a few cars in this new scheme in the past few years. I don't like it as much as the straight blue and yellow, but it's not too bad. 

Shortly after the last platform shot, I was on my way back to my hotel, as the sunlight was fading fast and the air was getting crisp. All in all, it was a bit of a disappointment to not get any live freight movements captured, but I was happy with these shots as a consolation prize.


Canadian Train Geek said...

I love that shot of the VIA train approaching, with the GEXR units in the background. The composition, the light... all great.

Michael said...

Thanks Steve, but much of the credit is due to the setting sun. It was a perfect moment to capture an evening train in a small town.