Monday, November 20, 2023

On The Road Again

I'm pleased to be able to offer up something new, which is a little less heavy than my previous two posts. I thank those of you who reached out to me regarding my post about mental health and the situation my family and I find ourselves in at the moment. I'm happy to say that the situation has stabilized as the police have helped us restore calm for the time being. My mental health has improved and I am starting to feel more like myself again.

Recently, my family went on a short trip to Waterloo, Ont. for a music conference. This was a business trip for my wife, as she is the chair of a provincial music association. For me, I was giving a mental health presentation, but it was also a chance to get out of Ottawa and visit family in nearby Stratford. I have a pile of interesting pictures from Stratford, including some images from my summer visit, but I will save those for other posts.

I should also note that I had a chance to visit the Waterloo Central Railway yard in St. Jacobs and the CN yard in Kitchener, both of which yielded some cool, and even unexpected, shots. It was an incredibly productive trip for me as a train-starved railfan.

For this post, I wanted to share some images captured while my family was travelling to and from Waterloo. This has always been a fun game I have played while on Highway 401. In this case, we had incredible luck, as my wife managed to get some fantastic images of trains.

Our first meet was in Kingston, as we were approaching the Highway 15 interchange, where the CN Kingston Subdivision is visible from the highway. An eastbound local had made its way past the highway overpass (Ed note: A reader said the photo was likely taken near County Road 11A) when my wife captured this image. The train is being led by CN ES44AC 2933, with two boxcars and a long string of covered hoppers in tow. As we were going in opposite directions, I give my wife full credit for getting this shot. I have really grown to love these shots, which are from a distance and do not have any of the 3/4 wedge effect. It's almost a full-on parallel shot. I am of the opinion that a train image doesn't need to have the train as the dominant feature in the image for the shot to be compelling.

We didn't see anything else on our way, since we were driving fairly late and the darkness prevented any further shots. But I did get this shot of a fading western sunset as we were on the 401 in the Toronto area. I was in the passenger seat at the time, I should add. All these images, in fact, were taken from the front passenger seat. Safety first!

On the way home, we took the 407 toll highway, as we were leaving on a weekday morning and the traffic around Toronto was a major obstacle to our timely return to Ottawa. I'm glad we took the 407, since we were able to catch this image of three CN units resting near its Brampton yard. This is second time I've caught a string of units on this flyover. Unlike the other time I caught engines on this bridge, this time around, these are all heavy hitters. The last time, I remember catching an old GP9 warhorse. This image, again, is courtesy of my wife in the passenger seat.

A little further along, after we had rejoined the eastbound 401, we were travelling through Clarington on the east side of the GTA when we levelled up to an eastbound freight train that was moving at a pretty good clip.

My wife managed to snag a pretty decent shot of the DPU unit operating mid-train. Once again, I love that this shot captures more than just the train. The cloud bank in the sky and the scattered sunshine makes for a visually interesting image. You can see the DPU peaking out between some brush, as well as some lumber cars, a boxcar and a tank car. The DPU is CN 2222, an ES44DC.

Sadly, we were not able to successfully get the front end of the train, as the roadside brush and the differing speeds of the train and our car meant we couldn't find a clear line of sight, although I will say that the train was lead by a lone unit, possibly another ES44DC. I can't be sure, as I only had time to quickly glance over since I was driving.

As I have mentioned before, I always try to snag a few bonus train shots when I am travelling along the 401, as the CN mainline parallels the highway for a stretch in Kingston, as well as in parts of Toronto. We did pass by CP trackage a few times in our travels as well, but I was not able to catch any CP trains, which is a shame.

Much of my photography this year has been remarkably consistent in that the railways featured on this blog are predominantly CN and Via. In the coming weeks and months, I aim to change that, simply by sharing some great shots of the Goderich Exeter Railway in Straford and some shots of the Waterloo Central Railway in St. Jacobs. 

Stay tuned.


Eric said...

Train-starved railfan, indee, Michael! If Trains were a buffet, Ottawa would be a vending machine, not a Mandarin buffet.

The key to these photos seems to be let someone not a railfan snap the photos. And wedges need not [always] apply!

Thanks for sharing your safe drives!

Keith Boardman said...

I learned many years ago that the shot may capture more than just the subject. It has yielded a few decent pics (I'm far from being even an amateur with respect to photography) when I'm not trying to capture one thing only.

The 401 is a great spot, as long as you have the chance to focus for more than a second.

Michael said...

Thanks gents. I always love bonus railway action, when I'm in the car. I'm thinking my wife has better luck than I do. She usually gets the lion's share of the photos of trains when we're driving. I don't remember the last post where just about every image was taken by someone else.

Steve Boyko said...

I love that lead photo. Side on is great, but to me what makes the photograph is the blurred post. It shows motion and action.

Well done! Looking forward to your Waterloo Central and Kitchener photos!