Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Guest Photos: Freight Train meets Via on the Alexandria Sub

A good friend of the blog, Keith Boardman, has really been my eyes and ears in the east end of Ottawa. To be honest, those who are looking to capture some rare CN freight trains in Ottawa are much better off focusing on the Alexandria Subdivision rather than the weekly run up to Arnprior. Sadly, since I work from home and do not have the time to go out into the east end much, I don't have many photographs of anything beyond Belfast Road. That's where Keith has come in over the years with news, photos and tips from the east end. 

Keith has come through in a big way many times. He recently shared an interesting collection of photographs from the east end when a CN freight train returning from Coteau met a Via corridor train on the Alexandria Subdivision.

This is my favourite shot, below, of CN's freight returning from picking up cars at Coteau. It is waiting on the siding for a Via Rail passenger train. As the Alexandria Sub is Via's trackage, this is one of the few places in Canada where passenger trains get the priority of movement. You can see the signal lights, the plows up sign to the left and the ditch lights of the CN geep. Lots of cool elements in this picture, not counting the snow and the outline of the rails amid the white.

And here's the reason the freight was waiting in the hole. A speeding Via Rail corridor train with a F40PH-2 in the lead is heading east and kicking up some snow as its speeds past.

After the corridor train is past, the freight gets the all-clear signal. The next shot Keith took that I really like was this shot, below, which gives you a rare glimpse of a freight train in the Ottawa area that has more than three tank cars, like the weekly Arnprior Turn. It's a going away shot, but the different colours of the box cars are the stars of this image, in my opinion. The NS boxcar is almost completely covered in graffiti. You can also see a TTX Railbox car and a mysterious white boxcar, which does not appear to have any clear markings. Also not sure about the light blue boxcar in the left of the shot

Keith also sent me pictures of another meet he caught. I shared them earlier this year but thought I'd share them again with the fulls story from Keith. Here is what he told me about this meet:

From Keith's Dec. 2021 email:

I was passing through Carlsbad Springs at 8:28 this morning and the signals came on as I was about to cross Piperville Road. I know there's a westbound Via that goes through around 8:05 give or take, but didn't think it would be running that late. A Railterm truck was parked on the side near the crossing and a worker was out of it, so I assumed he was testing the crossing equipment. 

It seemed he wasn't, so I looked down the track towards the siding,and I could see a light, with ditch lights coming through the fog. Turned out it was the blue and white leased unit (now a CN unit), with a second power unit in tow. I couldn't get a very good pic as the Railterm truck was immediately to the left of my view of the approaching consist. 

I like Keith's spirit. Despite the visual obstruction with the Railterm crew trackside, he managed a few shots of the Coteau train. Here's one more shot he was able to improvise.

I have some other shots Keith took, including a few he captured of the Arnprior Turn in the west end. Keith clearly gets out more than I do. 

I will leave these other images for future posts, which I intend to share in the coming weeks. I might increase my frequency of posts to every 10 days, as I have a massive backlog of topics to cover, not to mention a year-end post with some highlights. 

Stay tuned for two very hard-won shots of some antique freight cars I saw in Ogdensburg, New York. Also, I have shots from Kingston from Novemeber, which I intend to break into two posts. I have two posts worth of shots from Waterloo, Ontario, from a summer trip I took there. I also have a few shots from a summer trip to Gananoque, Ontario. It's been a relatively fruitful year for this blog, although my biweekly pace has helped me considerably. 

My thanks to Keith for these shots and the ones I have yet to share. Stay tuned for more from Keith.


AJ said...

If this is Keith's first go at contributing, I am looking forward to seeing more of it!
Also glad your considering more frequent posts. I totally get what its like to have to step away from a blog/website for one reason another, but I have to say, its nice having you back and posting somewhat regularly about the Ottawa rail scene. Not to mention I feel like outside of random trips trackside, this is about the only place I found out about anything local.

Michael said...

Not to worry, AJ. Keith has generously shared photos with me before. I have more to put up in the coming months. It helps me share a wider view of railways in Ottawa, particularly in the east end. And I will be sharing a few more posts this month, as there is a backlog of material and some of the material is timely, so stay tuned.