As I mentioned in Part I, I had the chance to spend the better part of a day trackside at Kingston's Via Rail station, as my family was in the Limestone City for a music conference downtown. After dropping off my children for their musical activities, I spent much of my time watching the steady flow of rail action at Kingston station, which resulted in five Via Rail trains in the morning, including the 60/50 J-Train eastbound along with the 62/52 J-Train eastbound, along with a westbound later on. So, for those keeping score, that's five trains in just a few hours. Still, I was waiting for a freight train, as that was what I was there to see. As many railfans south of Ottawa know, much of the CN freight movements happen earlier in the morning before the onslaught of passenger trains between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in the mid morning to afternoon.
My afternoon began with the arrival of another westbound Via Rail corridor train, being led by an F40 in the blue-ish scheme. Once again, staff was on the platform ready to greet the crew in the engine.
For much of the day, it was cloudy, which was actually a real plus for me, as the sun was making shots from my side of the platform tricky, given the sharp shadows, as you can see in this shot. I did take this shot of the corridor train boarding passengers with 6432 reflecting the brief moment of sun through the many clouds. As it was a windy day, the blue skies didn't last long. And for once, I was thankful for the return of the clouds.
That was because the next train through was an eastbound mixed freight, just minutes after the Via Rail westbound left. The train was led by ES44AC 2993. I mentioned that the sun was mostly gone by this point, but it was still wreaking havoc with shadows as the train came closer to the station.
Given that that train was being led by a single engine, I was pretty sure I was going to see a mid-train DPU. I was right. The DPU snuck up on me, so I wasn't able to get a great shot, but I did like this shot of the unit sandwiched between an ADM covered hopper and a RailBox boxcar. It was one of the former Citi units that CN has regularly used on this main line.
As always, I was on the hunt for interesting pieces of rolling stock to shoot, possibly with fallen flags on the side. Sadly, there wasn't much to shoot, so I at least got a going away shot of the DPU 3977 in better sunlight. This shot also reveals the size and length of the RailBox car. This type of boxcar reminds me of the auto parts boxcars I used to see regularly on the CSX trains that passed through my hometown, back when CSX shuttled oversized cars from Chatham to Sarnia.
I thought getting an overall shot of the train was a good idea. I took a few going away shots toward the station, but those shots weren't as interesting as this shot, given the colour and assortment of rolling stock.
After that afternoon mixed freight passed, I stuck around to see what else there was to see, as I still had time to kill before picking up my daughters and heading home to Ottawa. Not surprisingly, the afternoon was filled with more Via Rail corridor trains, including this westbnound, led by F40 6416 at 4:17 p.m. This as on my third trip to the station. The intermittent sun peaking through the clouds cast a glare on this train, which washed out most of my shots. This one I was able to touch up a bit. It was a tricky day at times for photos.
I was still holding out hope for another freight, but the Via Rail corridor train parade continued, with an eastbound about 10 minutes afterward, led by wrapped P42 913.
The LRC cars were pretty standard, but it was nice to see this outlier, a reminder of Via's branding efforts from a few years ago, which started with Canada 150 and then continued on during Via's 40th anniversary.
A lot has been written about the early days of Via's operations, when it wasn't uncommon to see Via cars mixed with old CN cars. Even more colourful were the early Amtrak years, when any number of its predecessor passenger carriers would find their way onto early Amtrak trains. I don't know if we'll look back on this era of Via as the rainbow years. There certainly is a wide variety of different paint schemes and wraps to shoot, if that is your thing.
My day in Kingston ended with this westbound, led by P42 905 just after 5:30 p.m. I was a bit disappointed that the new Siemens train didn't make an appearance, as it has been in use periodically on a few Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto trains (33 and 26 for example), but no such luck on this day.
But as I wrapped by day of railfanning, I was happy to see 10 trains, even if the ratio of Via to freight (9:1) was a bit slanted for my tastes. Overall, it was fun to watch a busy rail operation in action throughout the day. The frequency of trains, combined with the various scenes on the platform, made the day a good first effort in Kingston. I can't wait to go back.