Sunday, 28 October 2012


At Pottery Road to try a little nighttime railfanning, mostly just a practice run.  I was hoping to catch a night passing of VIA's Canadian train #1 so a southbound unit near the schedule departure time of #1 had me a bit confused.  The unit numbers were unfortunately missed.

Admittedly, I'm not sure about exactly when the Canadian leaves Union Station or even which route it takes.  As it makes it's first stop in Washago it seems natural it would follow Bala the same way it uses it eastbound, since it would otherwise have to reverse or wye somehow to reach Washago on anything but Bala.  VIA schedule shows departure from Union at 10 PM, Saturday night.  This unit came through at 10:05.  I've seen it several times on arrival eastbound but never ventured to catch a westbound departure.

I did hang around a while to see if VIA would come through but it got progressively colder and less comfortable and I eventually gave up.  Consider this a consolation prize.

The Sony SX63 has it's limitations at night.  Autofocus isn't all that great and the manual focus is difficult to set and get it right since I have to use the touch panel.  Next time I'll prepare focus before venturing out.  Low light is okay, not the best but so much better than cameras I've used in the past.


  1. Hi Jim,
    Nice catch of a rare sight on CN rails in Toronto proper - freight! I've seen this one go by a few times up at Oriole, along with it's daytime counterpart that is significantly longer. I think they both head for destinations on the Oakville sub, but that's a guess.

    As for #1, I hate to disappoint you for your future night time railfanning in the valley, but it doesn't go north on the Bala through the city. Your inclination about needing to wye somewhere is correct - it goes north-west on the Newmarket Sub, then backs down the York Sub and joins the Bala north of Doncaster. There isn't a long enough wye at the Toronto Maintenance Centre to allow for the consist to turn around, so it has to do that maneuver to get in the right direction. This has been the case since CN abandoned the Newmarket between Barrie and Washago 15 years ago. The Northlander was short enough to turn around at TMC, so it was able to go north and south on Bala the whole way to Washago.

    Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Hi Adam,

      Thanks for the info. I did a bit of searching to try and find exactly which route #1 took westbound but didn't uncover anything. It seemed unlikely they could turn that monster around in the tight downtown area, unless they shunted it in sections. But since it's only a couple of minutes away I figured I'd take a stab just to see.

      I have a couple of dozen video clips of a lengthy Sunday noon consist on Bala I've seen a few times while running the lower Don trail. It'll be a project for some Sunday afternoon to put together.


      Jim R