Sunday, January 1, 2023

2022: The Year in Photos

Happy New Year, everyone.

I'd like to thank everyone for stopping by in 2022. I wasn't sure how long I could sustain this blog when I started it back up in August 2021. I did miss it, but the wear and tear of pandemic and my lack of time trackside made it a losing proposition. I couldn't do something half way. Luckily, in 2022, I was able to get out a fair bit to see some action along a number of rail lines. The results were surprising. I didn't see all that many mainline freights, but I did see some pretty cool things. Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights from 2022.

In March, I visited my family in Southwestern Ontario and was able to get some time along the rails, as my brother and nephew took me on a tour of their favourite haunts. I even was able to see some things on my own. While in Wyoming, I saw this fast moving freight roar through town. You can read about it here.

Those who are regular readers know that this catch in Wyoming was the second freight I caught in the span of half an hour on the Strathroy Subdivision. Just moments before this meet, I came across an eastbound train on a siding outside Watford. That train was clearly waiting for this one, which had the priority of movement. Here's a shot of the parked train, which was waiting in the howling wind in an area of barren farm fields. And, as an added bonus, this train had some guest power in the number two position, courtesy of BNSF.

But if there was a theme to this year, it was the year of the near miss. I did a lot of travelling this summer but somehow seemed to miss out when trackside along main lines. This has been a very unusual year for railfanning for me. I really had to strain my memory to think of the mainline freights I have witnessed from beginning to end. Notice I mention beginning to end. Every time I pass through Kingston on Highway 401, there is a stretch of road that parallels the CN Kingston Sub. I have had good luck on this stretch of road in the past, but this summer, not so much.

Whenever I catch a train mid-train like this, I always curse the fact that we didn't time our journey a little better! Granted the timing has to be perfect. But, when I at least had a chance to catch the mid-train DPU, this minivan's timing really hurt. Not going to lie.

So close.

I did get the chance to check out some areas of the province I haven't been to before, like Glencoe, a small town that had still hosts Via Toronto-Windsor trains. I always like to discover new stations, new stretches of track and new photo possibilities. The added bonus here was getting to spend time with my brother and nephew. The old Glencoe Grand Trunk station and caboose were also a cool site. Read the post in the link above, including the comments, to learn more about that old caboose.

As I mentioned, it was an unusual year for railfanning, as many of my highlights were not your usual train pictures. In the early summer, CN's Anrprior Turn briefly made use of an old Central Vermont caboose. While the caboose is still in Walkley Yard, as far as I can tell from the only publicly available view of the yard, its brief usage on the Renfrew Spur caused a flurry of excitement in Ottawa.

Here's another example of the unusual nature of my railfanning this year. As many locals know, Canadian Pacific sent a business train into Ottawa this year to coincide with the Women's Open golf championship at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. I was not able to get any conventional shots of this train when it was moving around the city like many other local rail guys, but I did manage to get this shot of it on the evening before it left town. This is the first shot I have taken of an old F unit in all my years of railfanning. I wish I could have gotten something better, but it's a start.

In the summer, I spent some time with family and was able to visit the Oil Museum of Canada, a rural community museum celebrating the birth of the North American oil industry. That museum has an extensive amount of railway pieces, including the old Oil Springs train station, once served by the Canada Southern Railway. I will be sharing lots of pictures and tidbits about this in the coming year. It's one of the many posts that are backlogged and waiting to be edited and shared. Here's a glimpse of what I saw.

Also this summer, I spent some time in Kitchener-Waterloo, where I used to live. I was able to watch the region's Ion light rail system in action. Unlike the system in Ottawa, the Ion system seems to work fairly well, even though much of its system interacts with vehicle traffic. The region is also home to the Waterloo Central Railway in St. Jacobs, where many pieces of historic equipment can be seen from nearby streets. I will have more about my time in Waterloo next year as well. Here's another glimpse of what I saw this summer. It's hard to tell from this angle, but this old RDC unit is clad with CP-inspired maroon stripes, with Waterloo Central written on the side. Much of the equipment in this small yard has been maintained really well and painted in a handsome Waterloo Central script.

I would like to finish with another scene from Eastern Ontario, as that is where I had my last major rail adventure. In November, I spent the better part of a day at the Kingston Via Rail station, as my daughters were in the city for a music camp and I was free to do my own thing. I saw a number of interesting meets between Via's corridor trains connecting Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal. I even managed to see one CN mainline freight, which was what I really wanted to see. I will share all of this material early in the new year. There are probably two posts worth of images to go through, which is a great problem to have This shot below was one of my favourites, as a Via employee gives an westbound locomotive crew a friendly wave in the morning as an eastbound J-train awaits clearance to depart.

There were more moments and images, but these are the ones that stick out in my head. My thanks to everyone who helped contribute to this blog this year, either directly or indirectly, including Eric from Trackside Treasure, Steve from, Keith Boardman, my eyes and ears in east Ottawa, and everyone else who passed along tips and information. 

Moving forward, I'm hoping to share more posts next year, possibly in the form of occasional pop-up posts with more newsy, topical items. You will notice I shared a pop-up post about the unusually wrapped engines that have been sent to Ottawa recently, most likely to the NRC. There are many theories as to what these trains might be. For my part, I was just happy to have stumbled across something newsworthy to share.

It's hard to be first out of the gate with news these days, as more active rail watchers share their intel on Facebook almost immediately. That's great for all of us, but it tends to hurt my cause on this blog at times. Either way, I am going to try and step up the pace in the coming year. 

I enjoyed continuing to share my passion for railways with everyone this year. Thanks for your continued support. 

Happy New Year.


Eric said...

Keep on stumblin' across the newsworthy in 2023, Michael and your blog will fill with blogworthy material. I have no doubt!

All the best for 2023,

Michael said...

Thanks Eric. I am an expert in stumbling. No problem there.

Eric said...

That means you go on a lot of trips! Couldn't resist.

Steve Boyko said...

Happy new year, Michael. I look forward to many more interesting posts from the Ottawa area and beyond!

Michael said...

Thanks Steve. I hope to have more to share this year. That is my blogging resolution. I am going to try and share three posts a month compared to my biweekly pace from last year.

AJ said...

Happy New Year!
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with in 2023

Michael said...

Thanks AJ! Lots of material in the can for 2023.