The first thing I am thankful for is having a better idea of the schedules of local freights in Ottawa. A big thank you to a few readers who privately reached out and filled me in on the local schedule here. This allowed me to meet up with CN 589 a few times, including this initial meeting in April, on the Smiths Falls subdivision near Moodie Drive. You will notice in the image below that the second hopper car is a former Chicago and Northwestern hopper. I was looking through photos the other night and noticed the faded logo. It just goes to show that there's treasure even in the smallest things (No pun intended, Eric Gagnon of Trackside Treasure!).
The second thing I am thankful for is the continuing light rail drama in Ottawa. Regular readers will know all about the O-Train plans here in the capital. I will not rehash the tale other than to say that the city is on track to have about 8 km of east-west rails in place between Tunney's Pasture and Blair by 2017. This route is the first phase of the project and has not come without a great deal of debate, including why anyone would build a rail line that parallels a bus expressway and has two endpoints in sparsely populated areas. Never mind the fact that existing, and sparsely used, rail lines still exist in the city and are not being considered for transit purposes.
The second phase of this project is off to another dramatic start as the city and the federal National Capital Commission are locked in a stalemate over an extension of the western leg of the railway. The city wants to run about a kilometre of the western line through NCC property, where the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway runs next to the Ottawa River. Of course, the NCC wants no part of a rail line near its precious parkway, even though the city has agreed to dig a trench to make the short span of line less obtrusive. The NCC wants the city to redirect the line through Rochester Field and through city parkland near Richmond Road. The Byron Linear Park is off limits to rail, the city has countered. And on and on it goes. Great fodder for a blog, though!
O-Train approaches Somerset Street in July along the former CP Ellwood Subdivision.
This year started with a holiday visit to Sarnia in southwestern Ontario, where I met up with this long container train near Sarnia, in the farming hamlet of Mandaumin. The prairie-like feel of this area is a train watcher's best friend, since the lay of the land makes it possible to capture images such as this one from late last December. You can read about this meet here. I was especially thankful to be able to capture an Illinois Central unit on this train.
This next one may come as a surprise. I am thankful for the preservation conscious town of Petrolia in southwestern Ontario. This small town bills itself as Canada's Victorian Oil Town. Its Victorian charm is evident in its beautifully preserved Grand Trunk railway station, which is now the town's library. I was blown away by how many hits my post about this station garnered. This post has been my most popular one by far. I think I may have picked up a few readers in the area with this post.
I am thankful for luck. In July, I made my way to a new spot, Bedell, Ont. This is a trackside hamlet near Kemptville, Ont., just south of Ottawa. It was here that I stumbled across the final dismantling of the former CP Prescott Subdivision, which once connected Ottawa with the CP's Winchester Subdivision. My timing allowed me to get some final photos of this old line and learn about its history through a series of posts. You can read Part I here, Part II here and Part III here. The shot below shows my meet with a CP mixed freight on its way west. It was the first CP train I have photographed in more than 20 years.
Finally, and most importantly, I am incredibly thankful to everyone who has dropped by to read the blog and especially those who have taken time to leave a message or to educate me when I am off the mark (special thanks to Dave M., my blog's first guest contributor). I never thought the blog would garner as much interest as it has and am thankful for every single page view. We've had some great discussions in the last few months and I'm hoping I can continue to engage everyone in the same way in the new year.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone from The Beachburg Sub home office in Bells Corners, Ontario.