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Brantford day trip report:

Brantford day trip report:

 

Prologue:

 

††††††††††† In 2004, Brantford Transit became the city with the oldest bus running in revenue service in the province of Ontario. This bus was a 1972 vintage GM fishbowl. Brantford was also a stronghold of fishbowl buses within the Greater Toronto area. In late May, I decided to head over to Brantford to ride the buses. I ended up going on June 13. I took VIA train 73 there and rode home on train 78. This would be the first train trip I would take since my grandma passed away.

 

June 13, 2006:

 

I got to Union Station around 11:15 am, 45 minutes before train 73 would depart. 20 minutes later, boarding commenced. Prior to boarding, I was unsure of what the consist of train 73 would be. I had seen photos of it running with either F40PH-2ís or P42ís and LRC and Hep2 coaches. When I got to track level, I saw that the train consisted of P42 #903, three economy class LRC coaches, and a VIA 1 LRC coach. Upon boarding, I took a few photos.

 

The train left on time. As we left, I took video of VIA train 44 which would be leaving for Ottawa in 20 minutes. I also filmed VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre as we went past. One other thing I noticed was that the LRC coachesí banking mechanisms were on because several months earlier I read that VIA was planning on turning off the LRC coach banking mechanisms to save money on maintenance.

 

Soon, I went out in search of the food cart. I almost wandered into the VIA 1 car at the rear of the train because I was used to the VIA 1 car being at the front of the train. I found the food cart in the car in front of mine where I was able to buy some food. I went searching because I was only going to be on the train for a little more than an hour, and wasnít sure if it would get to me before Brantford. However the food cart came by my seat before Brantford.

 

VIA train 72 raced past us. As it passed, I filmed it. We soon arrived into Brantford running a couple minutes late which was no big deal. I walked to the end of the platform where I took a photo of the train.

 

 

As the train departed, I filmed it leaving the station and took one more photo of the train. I then walked a block to the bus stop where I eventually caught a Brantford Transit bus to the transit terminal where I saw about five fishbowls including the oldest bus #9725.

 

 

The oldest bus in revenue service in the province of Ontario: Brantford Transit #9725.

 

I took pictures of 9725 and other buses at the terminal. I was hoping 9725 would go into service, but that was not the case. I eventually boarded what I perceive as Brantford Transitís second oldest bus #9793 and rode it to a Burger King where I got off for lunch.

 

 

Click here to see another photo of fishbowl #9793: Brantford 9793.htm

 

After lunch and exploring the area, I caught a Brantford Transit Orion 7 back to the terminal. By now, it was 3:30 pm, and students were returning from school. I took a few more photos before I boarded Brantford Transit #9825 for a short ride. I then recharged my digital Cameraís batteries at an internet cafť.

 

Once I charged the batteries, I walked over to the terminal for a few more photos.

 

 

Next, I boarded fishbowl #9816 for a ride out by the VIA station. After I got off, I filmed the bus pulling away before I walked over to the station where I photographed a CN GP9 and a Railink GP9 belonging to the Southern Ontario Railway.

 

 

At the VIA station, I saw that VIA train 76 was delayed and I photographed it pulling into the station.

 

 

After train 76 left, train 75 arrived a few minutes later where I took a few photos of it as well as a video of the train departing.

 

 

 

Once train 75 departed, I walked back over to the transit terminal. I took some more photos and then boarded fishbowl #9842, the bus I perceived to be Brantfordís youngest fishbowl. I rode the bus several blocks before I got off at an intersection where a branch line crosses. There is some street trackage in Brantford, but I didnít see any trains using it.

 

 

 

This is the street trackage in Brantford. I donít know how often itís used.

 

After, I once again returned to the transit terminal and this time, caught one of Brantford Transitís newer buses and rode it a fair distance before getting off and walking back to the terminal, after I stopped in a convenience store on the way. In case youíre wondering why I kept going to the terminal, all Brantford Transit routes converge at the terminal which made it easy to find out what buses were running on which routes.

 

Once I got back to the terminal, it was about 6:30 in the evening. I had a little more than an hour to get to the VIA station with the ďget to the station 30 minutes before departureĒ rule. By now, Brantford Transit was running in evening/weekend service mode with coloured routes instead of numbered routes and Dial-a-bus routes. I got on fishbowl #9826 on the Red route, unsure how close to the VIA station it would take me.

 

Also, a handicapped woman wearing a head brace struggled to get on the bus. While the driver strongly suggested she use a Dial-a-bus route with low-floor accessible buses, she climbed up the steps on the fishbowl. Shortly after she got on and sat down, she stood up and fell flat on her back! The bus driver called it in and others helped her up and off the bus where the next Dial-a-bus would pick her up.

 

The bus left and turned out to run close to the VIA station, so I got off and filmed the CN GP9 I mentioned earlier crossing the road on a bridge as well as the bus pulling away. When I got to the station, I watched the CN GP9 doing some switching as well as a couple CN freights passing by. One train has a Norfolk Southern diesel in the locomotive consist.

 

 

At one point, it coupled onto the Railink GP9 and moved it to another track.

 

 

It was at this point, I called VIA to find out the status of train 78. I was told the train was running 10 minutes late. I phoned home. I went into the station and saw on a display board that train 78 would arrive three minutes after train 79ís scheduled arrival into Brantford. I was hoping 79 would arrive into Brantford before train 78 so I could photograph it. Just then another freight passed by. This one had a CSX unit in the locomotive consist, but I wasnít fast enough to get a good photo. I also noticed a couple other railfans, and a child who gave me a pencil, (okay).

 

Once that freight had passed, I went back to watching the CN GP9 doing some switching. I looked down the tracks and saw some people trespassing. The CN switching crew soon finished their work. They parked their GP9 after coupling up to a cut of covered hopper cars where I took one more photo of it.

 

 

Despite the fact VIA train #78 was running 10 minutes late into London, it made up the time, and it arrived into Brantford on schedule. I filmed the train as it arrived into the station.

 

 

When train 78 arrived, I noticed that this was the same equipment I rode down to Brantford on as train 73. However, once the train had arrived into Windsor, the locomotive was uncoupled, wyed, and coupled onto the rear, and the coach seats were reversed. I boarded the same LRC coach and took a seat.

 

The train left on time and I was able to film VIA train 79 as we passed it. When the food cart came past, I bought some nachos. The train stopped in Aldershot and Oakville. When we left Oakville, I went to the coach behind my car to look for a pair of empty window seats on the train to film VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre. I found a pair that wasnít completely turned around. I was reminded how my friend Bill had told me how he discovered Amtrak crews on the Auto Train flipping the coach seats around. When we rode the westbound Lake Shore Limited and the Texas Eagle, he tried flipping the seats around, but was unsuccessful. I then tried pushing the seat. It moved, but I set it back in the right position because I wasnít sure how well the train crew would like a passenger flipping the seats. No one on the train crew saw that.

 

We passed by VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre, and I tried filming, but it was too dark. I then moved back into my coach and sat down for the final few minutes of the trip. We arrived into Union station on time where I saw two other VIA trains waiting to depart west, including train 89.

 

Before I got off the train, I took a picture of the indicator light that indicated the LRC coachís banking mechanism was on since I had no idea how long VIA would still have the banking mechanisms activated. Once I got off the train, I took a couple photos, one of train 78 in the station.

 

 

After I took the photo, I headed down into the station and called home. I then headed onto the subway to head home.

 

Conclusions:

 

Overall, this was a very good day trip. While I wish I could have actually ridden Brantford Transit 9725 in service instead of simply photographing it and being able to photograph the CSX unit on that CN freight would have made it perfect, I still had a good time in Brantford. This was my third trip of the year, and I have at least three more train trips planned. When Iíll take these trips all depends on my work. Until next timeÖ

 

2009 Update: I finally got a ride on Brantford Transit 9725 on a charter in late October. By then, it was the only fishbowl left in service with Brantford Transit.