Stratford, Part III
A little serendipity on this Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, as I was sifting through my recent photos and wondering what to share for this latest post. When I scrolled through my recent posts, I realized that this post will mark my 400th since I began this blog in 2013. There have been a few bumps along the way and a sabbatical, but it's still pretty cool to reach 400. Think of how many hockey players have reached 400 goals or how many baseball players have reached 400 home runs. It's a little different on the Interweb, as you can easily produce and proliferate at a prodigious pace (that pun is for Eric Gagnon of Trackside Treasure). Nonetheless, I am happy to hit this round number.
In late July and early August, I was in Stratford for a family reunion, which allowed me several opportunities to see trains. You can see the photos of a meet between a GO Train and CN freight in this post. Or, if you prefer freight, you can check out some of the rolling stock on the freight train waiting in the hole for the GO Train. Those images of CN 581 and a few interesting cars are in this post.
Earlier during my stay, I caught a westbound freight train making its way through the yard, although the train was initially waiting behind a signal to proceed, so I was lucky to get the chance to set up and get a few shots of it waiting. Since I could not see the signal from my vantage point on the public platform, I'll leave it to you to figure out.
This was my first shot of CN 568 westbound, waiting to proceed from the signal, which is not seen in this image. You can see the Masterfeeds elevators just to east of the yard and a few strings of covered hoppers. This was not an easy shot to get. There are a number of visual hazards at the edge of the Stratford station platform that were not there prior to the GO Train experiment in Southwestern Ontario.
This shot gives you an idea of what you need to work around when you see a westbound train approaching the platform. Not an easy task to work through these distractions to get a clean shot!
Since the GO Train service to London will not continue beyond the fall, the platform erected to accommodate GO passengers with disabilities might not last much longer. Via does not make use of this ramp, as its trains are too short to reach it. The railway has its own equipment to accommodate passengers with disabilities.
The cloud cover was actually a blessing for me as I awaited this train to make its move, but sadly, the sun peaked out for a few minutes, which meant I was on the shadow side of the train. I backed up on the platform and picked an image I wanted to get. I decided to frame the CN westbound against the parked GEXR GP38-2 and the covered hoppers in the yard. I call these images railway family tree shots, where you see multiple railways together in an image, but not as shared power on a train. You might recall I did the same in Smiths Falls in 2017 with a passing westbound Via train and some parked Canadian Pacific GP20s.
The reason I chose this freight train to feature on a Thanksgiving post is because it was mainly a grain train, as the two CN geeps were pulling a consist of mainly covered hoppers. Not the most exciting thing to see, but when you rarely see freight trains, you're always thankful. I also thought that a train that might be carrying part of the annual grain harvest was as good as anything to feature as we count our blessings.
Two paint schemes and an old GP9 warhorse to boot. I was happy to see and old GP9, as even Ottawa has seen a scarcity of these units lately. Over the years, CN has used a fair number of GP9s in the Ottawa area, but the power of choice in Eastern Ontario these days seems to be the GP38-2s, from what I've seen. It's been a few years since I've seen a GP9 in Ottawa.
Note, I said the train was made up of mainly covered hoppers. There were a few tank cars in the consist, surrounded by hoppers. A little variety is always nice.
The cloud cover returned quickly, which cast a fair shadow over the train as it made its way by Downie Street, next to the station. Not an easy day to get a clean shot.
Here's one final shot of the train rounding the curve past the station. I tried my best to get a shot of the entire train, including the engines, but the visual distractions could not be avoided in this shot. Still, as I have been making an effort to do different things this year, I like the results of this shot. Remember, 2023 is The Year of Different. Go out there and find a new perspective, new angle, new approach to your railway images.
So, as I circle back to the theme of gratitude as I complete Lap 400, I would like to thank everyone who drops by to read my meandering musings on the railways and helps me out with advice, information, tips and photos. I have gotten to know a few people through my blogging over the years and I am thankful for their friendship and guidance.