I left it until the final day of Christmas vacation to get out there and do a little railfanning in Ottawa. It was a very quiet couple of weeks with my kids at home, which is exactly what I needed after a hectic couple of months leading up to Christmas. But I was feeling the itch and I figured I might as well get a few shots of the new Via Rail Siemens equipment while there was actually snow on the ground. I would not call it a winter wonderland, but it was something a little different. It was a dry couple of weeks through Christmas, so the sight of falling snow was a welcome sight, even if it was a bit chilly for photography, at least by recent standards.
True to my desire to get a variety of different photographs, I started by taking a shot at the signals just east of the Fallowfield crossing, the left of which was showing straight green over red. The signals to the right govern the movement of trains on the Fallowfield passing siding, when it is used. They are almost always showing red over red.
I then moved to the end of the east parking lot of the station, to get an unobstructed view of the train approaching from the east, as the lot was full and the views from the west lot did not look promising. My daughter came out to see "the new Vias" as she calls them. She has taken to doodling the Via and CN logos at home, which is a hopeful sign. I'm not sure I made a railfan of her, but I have managed to get her interested in hockey, so maybe trains aren't a huge stretch.
The approaching Siemens consist was headed up by the control cab car in the lead and the locomotive at the rear. A blog reader said these trains don't have much of a horn. Since Via trains usually use a horn as they approach the Woodroffe Avenue crossing before the station, I was curious to hear what they sounded like, but I didn't hear any horn from this train, which was Via Train 43.
Let's get the obligatory 3/4 wedge shot in there. As much as I am trying to get different shots these days, I still have to take some of these more straightforward shots, as the new Siemens units really do demand it. That's car 2303 in the lead.
I like to get shots of trains loading on the platform, since it is a different image. I try to position myself far enough away from the crowds, to avoid taking photos of anyone that would allow them to be recognized. I like this shot, since I made sure to frame the Via logo on the locomotive in the upper right corner.
Next, I tried to get a shot of locomotive 2204 at the end of the platform. It was a little trickier than I thought it would be since the Siemens trains are a fair bit more lengthy on the platform than the more usual consists with P42s/F40s and a mix of 4-6 cars in tow. Even with the double-enders that Via has been using in recent years, this train was sitting much closer to the eastern edge of the platform. I had to angle myself carefully to stay on the edge of the platform and get a shot safely.
Before leaving, I went to the west parking lot to get some more shots of the train making its way west toward the Fallowfield crossing. Luckily, the western lot was mostly empty near the end so I was able to get a shot of the train leaving, but the light standards at the edge of the lot didn't help with the image. Those shots didn't work out, so I focused on framing the train against the signals near Fallowfield Road. I like this shot best, as it captured the snow against 2204.
All in all, it was a fun, quick trip to the station and my daughter thought the new train was pretty slick. She is looking forward to our family's first train trip to Toronto in June, when we will take our daughters to their first Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre. I was glad in a way that we received some unexpected snow (this as before the massive 20-25 cm snowfall we saw on Jan 22-23) and well into Sunday, as it allowed me to get some winter railway shots. It's just not as fun when the winter shots have no snow on the ground. A good first effort for 2024.