Ontario Railfanning
April 25 - May 2, 2009
(click on each image to see a larger version -- approx 1024X768)

Howard's Photo OK, so it's not railfanning, but neither Howard or I had been to Niagara Falls so we had to play tourist there first.
The falls were pretty impressive, but it was overcast and even  rained after dark but we still made the best of it. Howard's Photo
Howard's Photo Howard's Photo

Howard's Photo Today we awoke to heavy fog and rain so we took it slow and easy, not stopping to photograph trains until the afternoon.  This pair was working the yard adjacent the GO Transit Aldershot station.

Burlington, Ontario
I'm not sure of any details, but we just had to stop for a photograph of this relic on Lake Ontario. Howard's photo of an old wreck

The day turned out so nice that we had to re-visit the falls and the result was much better.  We then ascended Skylon Tower to await the sunset.  As luck would have it, the Sun went behind clouds before reaching the horizon but we stayed until the lights for the falls were turned on.

We linked up with Mike and David in Barrie and continued on toward Sudbury.  Stopping at a few spots along the way we found the railroad quite dead.  The reason?  Maintenance.  The mainline was given over to likes of Sperry car #119, performing their necessary duty to keep things in order.


Behind the station in Sudbury is a good place to watch trains.  The East/West mainlines are the two nearest tracks and beyond that is the main yard.  To the right/West is the shop where local power is serviced and the point where the line to Sault Saint Marie splits from the mainline to Flanagan.

CP has twenty " Olympic" units and over the next few days I think we saw them all!  This Westbound manifest freight is pretty typical with a single unit in lead and a DPU about two-thirds back in the consist.


Our starting point each morning was the station where we caught trains like #115 Westbound passing under the Bridge of Nations.


The VIA Budd cars make the run to White River every other day (it's a full day trip each way), with a scheduled departure from Sudbury of 9am.


Cartier is the division point between the CP's Cartier and Nemegos subs and a station stop for the Budd cars.  We waited to catch Eastbound #110 (with another Olympic leader), just KNOWING it would pull out before the Budd cars arrived since it occupied the main.  Today was to be different though as they surprised us running up the siding and not stopping.


#110 had another Olympic leader and a single DPU on the rear .


There was another Eastbound waiting in Cartier but before it left we heard this work train asking permission to occupy the blocks to the West.

In giving their work summary to the dispatcher they mentioned a beaver dam that had to be dealt with.  When the dispatcher read it back he worded it "playing with the beavers."  I'm guessing that big Cat on the train has something to do with that "play."


We returned to Cartier to catch the other Eastbound (#???) but another pulled in and changed crews first and we decided to give chase.


We got ahead of him at a crossing in the Levack siding, again typical consist with a couple units up front and a single DPU about mid-train.

BUT, I wouldn't want to call that fading Rock Island grain hopper typical!


Route Rock DPU

There was a lull in traffic on the CP around mid-day so we headed over to Capreol to see what CN action was to be had.

We found this trackmobile actually switching in the yard.  Kind of fascinating to watch him spin his wheels with a cut of 10 cars!

Train #112 Eastbound pulls in for a crew change in front of the station at Capreol.  This is the division point between the Bala and Ruel subs.


There wasn't much CN action so we gave #112 chase and caught him again on the curve just before the Suez siding South of Capreol.


We went back into Sudbury hearing that CN train #594 (Sudbury Turn) was working the nickel plant and positioned ourselves for that but caught CP #112 first.  Another typical CP train with a single unit in the lead and one DPU at the opposite end that I could "pose" by the Sudbury sign and the CN viaduct.


When the Sudbury turn came into view it was backlit but I'll take what I can get and did!


We thought we'd heard another Eastbound on the CP so we waited at the little park where we'd caught the previous two trains and soon train #114 appeared.  Another stack train with a single leader and DPU on the rear, it had a good representation of what must be one of the CP's largest customers: Canadian Tire.


Coniston is a community just East of Sudbury where the CN crosses the Ottawa Valley Railroad and has a connection with the nearby CP which makes a 90-degree turn coming up from the South and heading West.  That's the way this Westbound came that we see here in the interlocking at Romford


This is a Westbound CN coming across the diamond at Coniston, and yes, that's another Rock Island grain hopper!


Rock Island hopper

The local switchers returning light to Sudbury.


This morning we drove out to Levack to catch the ore train coming out of the mine.  Mike had mentioned that these ore cars were new, manufactured just this past November.  He then asked me where RailAmerica was located and I replied Roanoke!  These cars were home grown in virginia!


We decided to catch them again where the mine spur meets the main and they run the units around to head back to the processing plant.  The photo below was taken a bit later East of the Levack siding.  The red fill in a lot of the photos is the original ballast -- literally slag from the mines!


A Westbound coming out of the Sun at Larchwood East where he would take the siding for a meet..


The Eastbound that met the previous train was headed up by a leaser and bracket by the expected DPU.


So far we'd seen very little of the CN and the next two days were to be on the Budd cars running on CP track. Again at mid-day we decided to head to Capreol but made a stop for this guy en route.  This stack train  with mid-train DPU found us at a quiet road crossing in a small community named Chelmsford.


OK, so it just wasn't in the cards to see a lot of CN action on this trip! We ate lunch in Capreol and were greeted by only one train, this Eastbound.  I didn't like the tight angle at the station where the crew changed, but we had time to catch him again at the curve ahead of the Suez siding.


Back in Sudbury the local switchers had been swapped out for a couple of more attractive but older geeps.  I caught them lit by the afternoon Sun working the main yard.


We returned to the station to catch the Budd cars and to pick up our tickets for our trip West tomorrow.  The afternoon light is harsh and a bad angle but I like CP red and it was another one of those olympic units!


The Budd cars returned right on time and I really wouldn't have tried a photo but the camera was right there and on my shoulder so I decided last-minute to snap a silhouette of sorts...

...didn't quite work out...


This is the day we're scheduled to take the VIA Budd cars to White River so we're checked out of our hotel and at the station early.  It was overcast and cool but that was the predominate weather for the next two days so we had no choice but to make the best of it.


White River has only one claim to fame and that is this little bear.  The short story is that during WWI Captain Harry Colebourn purchased the orphaned cub from a local trapper while his troop train was stopped here, en route to France.  He named her Winnie for his home city of Winnipeg and left her at the London Zoo when he went on to war in France.  It was at the zoo that author A.A. Milne discovered her became inspired Milne to write the children’s stories that we all know...

Howard and Winnie the Pooh

Not much light left but even after riding the Budd cars and seeing plenty of mainline action we weren't ready to call it a night!  This Eastbound has just come past the Sudbury interlocking.


We tried a couple times to catch the Huron Central when it left for Sault Saint Marie but with no luck. This morning, though things worked out differently and we were waiting as they pulled out of the yard.


Huron Central
Huron Central logo Huron Central

Howard gave a last wave as the Budd cars departed on today's run, then it was time to load ourselves for the journey home.


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Proud to be an American!
Mack Muir