Tuesday, 22 October 2013

An emphasis on running

Being a runner I spend a lot of my time...running.  Running means training and if I expect to pop into the occasional race and not embarrass myself I need to get periods of solid miles in to meet the expectation.  With cooler weather and shorter days I get the chance to rise early and head out onto the darkened streets for morning runs.  The railfanning part has to take a bit of a hit since standing on bridges and at crossings isn't exactly developing my aerobic pathways.  Also the reno work I've been doing since spring leaves my weekends absorbed in stuffing studs with insulation, hanging dryall and running wires.

With this in mind I have a couple of months of dedicated training ahead of me that will encompass most of my extra time during the week.  Bedtime will be earlier so I can be up at 6ish and out the door.  Noon I get an extra 5 miles in from work as we have shower facilities and I take my gear with me each day.

Ideally I would be getting in 10-12 miles a day over two runs and longer stuff on the weekends.  That's not materializing and I've only managed those levels consistently for a few months a few years back.  However my brief foray into 70ish mile weeks granted me a 5 mile PR for race I'd done for many years.  Running is like building a fire from a forest you've grown.  The more time you put into building large, dense forest, the bigger the bonfire you can make when you fell those trees.  You spend a lot of time doing nothing but putting in as many miles as you can manage over periods of months at a time.  Then you switch gears, cut back the miles a bit and train hard, and bring that base to fruition.  This is hopefully my coming winter as I work to get as much time on my feet and see where it brings me come springtime.

How many trains can you catch in 30 minutes?

The nice thing about commuter traffic is that it's both predictable and constant.  Living close enough to the Lakeshore east line that I can listen to the engines throttle up from my back porch gives me a venue to catch a lot of commuter traffic.

Early mornings reflect a sequence of trains that have to cover a mix of long and short haul commuter traffic in a variety of services.  The nice thing about the mix of GO and VIA is the power options and the mix of express and local trains together on the same lines and makes for some interesting management.

Between 6:45 and 7:15 AM, you have 7 different trains in 6 distinct consists prioritizing themselves over the Kingston sub east of Union Station.  5 of those pass through in the first 15 minutes, often parallel to each other and can have as many as 3 consists over the stretch below Danforth Avenue at the same time.  On October 10th I decided I would capture all of this action into a single vid, which ended up being 5 minutes in length.

2 of the trains are on a single consist, being the VIA 50/52 trains that are tied together until Belleville, then split their respective ways to Montreal and Ottawa.  This is the first of the bunch that passes through and can often be in a drag race with a westbound GO express that departs roughly 1 minute later than the VIA depending on lateness of the VIA units.  With the GO units, the convention is to have express units use the same center track as VIA while the westbound GOs share the north track with local units.  Some track switches manage the overlap of westbound local and express trains.  All of this is within close tolerances as the units are often within short minutes of each other.

A couple of unique hits on this video.  One of the GO trains had dual MP40 units up front, an express EB train probably moving an extra power unit to Oshawa.  I also got a good throttle up for an F59PH leading WB with an MP40 pusher.  For the final sequence I managed to catch a head-to-head meet of the EB and WB units on the short bridge over Woodbine Avenue.  This was a good sequence of trains to catch in such a short period.