Sunday, 7 October 2012

Waterloo Central Railway - Oktoberfest Steam Ride

My wife, my daughter and myself headed out to St. Jacobs, Ontario, this afternoon to ride the Waterloo Central Railway's Oktoberfest steam rail train.  The train starts near the University of Waterloo, stops at the St. Jacobs market and continues on to St. Jacobs, then reverses back to Waterloo.  The morning showed some promise of sunshine, which didn't hold up as it was full cloud cover in the K-W area giving a definite fall feeling to the air.

The steamer is Essex Terminal Railway No.9, nicknamed the 'Spirit of Elgin', an ALCO 0-6-0 unit nicely refurbished and working out of St. Jacobs' yards with Waterloo Central.  The WCR has a collection of working units, coaches, assorted cars and other works-in-progress.  This is the pride of the group.

Today's train consisted of No.9 and it's hopper, three passenger coaches including two CN units with the more comfy recliners (daynighters) and an old CP coach with firmer seating, also two cabooses modified for passenger use, and WCR's #1556 diesel switcher unit for assistive power.

Too late to catch it at the start in Waterloo, we boarded at the St. Jacobs farmers market, purchased the tickets onboard and di dthe full loop to St. Jacobs, back to Waterloo, and finally returning to the market.  We chose to sit in the older passenger unit with it's rustic hanging lamps (not working) and sliding windows (working) which granted outside views and photo opts.

The first leg was to St. Jacobs with 1556 leading and No.9 in passive tow.  Upon reaching St. Jacobs' yard, the steamer was detached and prepped for work while the main cars continued on over the Grand River to the northern most point of the trip.  After pushing back into the yard, No.9 was fired up and ready, lashed up and took the lead back to Waterloo.


After disembarking and getting in several static shots of the train, we headed back to St. Jacobs for a late lunch.  First, though, we stopped off at the vehicle bridge over the Grand and I grabbed several long distance shots as the steamer pulled the consist over the railway bridge across the river.

And finally to the yard for more static shots and this video clip as it huffed and puffed it's way out of the yard in St. Jacobs to return to Waterloo.

It's not that often they bring out the steamer and it's a fun inexpensive trip when it's available.

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