Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Let's talk about the weather, shall we?

It sucks.

So my winter was doing reno stuff, running when I could, which wasn't very much or often, working (thankfully) and grabbing the rare vid.  Since I do my railfanning on foot, this winter hasn't been particularly cordial towards my hobby, thus the lack of postings this last few months.  It's been hard enough just finding the time to run.

The mid-December ice storm kicked the year off on the wrong foot, and made the underfooting for a lot my running a lost less stable.  Last year and the year before I ran trail nearly the whole winter.  This year, maybe twice, and only when we had good snows down to get some traction going.  Actually one of the runs had superb conditions, even better than some summer runs, with hard packed snow nicely levelled by off-road cyclists.  Too much ice and thaw/freeze cycles to keep it in shape for long.

On the railfanning side and with the ice storm having set the tone for the year, my running stayed pretty local and sticking to the Lakeshore commuter runs.  But it gave a chance to visit a couple of locales I've not ventured to, such as the Birchmount Road bridge over the CP Belleville Sub.  This gives a nice view of the long sweeping curve from west to east:

From the same location, face east and you get the long corridor through the Kennedy GO Station:

Standing around outside waiting for trains isn't much fun.  At least commuter traffic has schedules so I canto time my run to arrive just-in-time and catch what I can.  Like this one, where I catch VIA's luxurious Glenfraser lounge car tacked onto the end of a Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal run, VIA combo 62/52:

Glenfraser is a pretty interesting car.  One-of-a-kind, it's a Canadian Car & Foundry unit built to the same dimensions basically as the stainless Budd cars.  VIAs fleet site has a whole page dedicated to this unit.  Since it's only one car, I do wonder how VIA decides which train gets to pick it up, it would be a nice bonus for a train trip.  However, VIA often rents it out for special functions so seeing it on the train you're about to board may not turn out as promising as hoped.

Cars like this is what made riding the rails such a thrill when I was a kid.  As a young-un, we did take a family trip once from my home in Sydney to Toronto and then back and all those images of getting set up in the sleeper bunks, eating in the dining car, hanging out the lounge, still there in my head.  When my wife and I were dating we did a trip from Toronto to Sydney while the railliners (more commonly known as the RDC cars) still ran from Halifax to Sydney.  The Atlantic ran from Montreal to Halifax for our overnighter and we took a nice big cozy bedroom for the trip.  The Atlantic was one of the last steam-heated trains in service.  When you sat on the toilet, the water was all steamy and warm, so you got this gush of nice warm air when you sat on it.  Wasn't a lot of money those days, a couple of hundred for the unit each way.  She wasn't quite as enthused with the railliners from Truro to Sydney thoguth, with their built-in diesel engines.  I always liked them, having spent many a ride from the Annapolis valley, sitting at the bar in the back.  Nothing quite like drinking a beer or two and watching the country side slide by out the window.

So, only a handful of vids this winter.  My yootoob page has a couple more.  When I get more time I'll be able to dedicate a bit more to the task.  Right now any extra time I have is spent getting in the miles to avoid becoming a non-runner.