So what went wrong exactly? Well, aside from the weather, I think that the year just didn’t live up to the hype. A number of official events were organized around Ottawa and were well received, but I didn’t get the sense that people were in the mood for much celebrating. I could be wrong, but I just didn’t feel much excitement.
There were some great moments this year, to be fair. And I will start with the railways. First off, Via Rail made railfanning fun again with their massive wrap effort. I have not had this much fun shooting Via Rail corridor consists in ages.
Both the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific rostered specials for Canada’s 150th, but I didn’t get to see either one of them.
The CN special arrived in Ottawa in May on a horribly grey, drizzly day. The train was chartered by the Big City Mayors Caucus, which is a group that falls under the Federation of Canadian Municipalities lobby group. The CN train included a few green and gold business coaches, but the train pretty much came and went unnoticed. There was no media coverage of the train. The only real attention it garnered was from local railfans who braved the elements and got some shots of this ghost train through the mist. The only reason I knew it was coming was because there was an advertisement in the newspaper that someone at work handed to me, as an example of a type of advertisement I would be working on for a marketing campaign.
This video is from Ottawa railfan Blake Trafford's channel on YouTube. If you haven't checked him out, go see his work on YouTube.
The Canadian Pacific’s 150 train was a much bigger effort and created quite a splash when it arrived in Ottawa. However, I read a fair number of comments in social media from people who were disappointed by the event at the Ottawa train station on Tremblay Road. Many suggested the event wasn’t terribly well organized. From the photos I saw, the train looked great. Many of the coaches I saw on last year’s Holiday Train were in the 150 consist.
I was, sadly, out of town when the CP train made its way to Ottawa in a roundabout way (from Montreal to Smith Falls on the Winchester Sub and into Ottawa on Via Rail’s Smith Falls Sub). The trade-off wasn’t so bad, though, since I did more railfanning in London than I have in years. Five posts of London material later, I still have more photos to share, but they will have to wait for a while.
Even the week following the CP 150 train's arrival in Ottawa, a few of my fellow railfans told me that CP was keeping its train in Walkley Yard and urged me to go and get some shots, but I was working that week and had no opportunity to get out there. The train was, understandably, heavily guarded anyway. Lucky, local railfan Keith B. graciously shared a photo from his meet with the train before it left the city on Aug. 29, which I have been saving for this post.
By the way, Keith is active on Pinterest. Do yourself a favour and spend some time there. There are great Ottawa railfanning photos there.
The other major disappointment for me is that my Canada 150 history posts have taken far more time than I had ever thought they would, so many of them will not see the light of day for a while. I did manage to finish several of them this year, but I had originally envisioned to do 10 posts or more. In case anyone was wondering about this series of posts, they will become part of an ongoing series that will continue indefinitely. As always, if there is anything you want to see me look into, just leave a message on this post and I will add it to the list.
On a personal note, I was disappointed with the fact that life has become busy for me this year to the point where my blog has taken a back seat to more pressing matters. I’m sure some people have noticed some longer gaps between posts. I’m grateful no one has called me out on this.
As I mentioned when I started this blog, my aim was to post material each week and I have tried to maintain that pace. I have found that pace hard to keep at times this year, mostly because of the pace of my own life and the utter dearth of railfanning that I often encounter in Ottawa. I have made the most of trips out of the city but I am aware that many people want to hear and read about Ottawa area railways. In the coming weeks and months, I am going to try to get out and take some shots around Ottawa.
I have learned, through maintaining this blog, to avoid making promises. I hope that the blog has remained relevant and engaging this year and will continue to serve as a forum and spot for local railfans and the many other scattered around Canada and elsewhere.
I will continue to try and keep the Beachburg Sub moving, but I’m hoping for your continued patience in the comings weeks and months.