London-St Thomas Trip:
††††††††††† For the longest time, Iíve been meaning to visit the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas, Ontario. St. Thomas is about 30 minutes south of London. I finally decided to go in 2013. There is no way to get to St. Thomas without driving so I figured Iíd rent a car in London.
††††††††††† I originally planned to go in late May, but I decided to postpone when I learned of the final CTA 2200 series El car charter. I eventually decided to go during the first weekend of August. My plan was to ride VIA train #73 from Toronto to Woodstock the first Thursday in August. In Woodstock, I would hopefully get to ride on fishbowl #14 that the TTS chartered last year since itís the only active fishbowl in the province of Ontario. After that, I would ride train 83 to London. I would use the next day to ride around London before I rented a car to go to the Elgin County Railway Museum. I would return the rental car that evening and then take VIA train 72 back home the next day.
††††††††††† My friend Mark asked if he could join me which I was okay with. In the past, he spent time in London while visiting his sister who was going to Western University at the time. However he also didnít get around to visiting the Elgin County Railway Museum. The trip unfolded as follows:
August 1, 2013:
††††††††††† I left home around 10:00 am. I got a ride to Finch with Mark and his mom. As we passed a funeral home near my house, we saw some employees striking which we thought was a little odd. We got to Union Station about an hour before VIA train 73 was scheduled to depart.
††††††††††† As we lined up, we passed a long cue line for VIA train 60 to Montreal. We were pretty close to the front of the line for train 73 though as time progressed, more people joined the line.
††††††††††† Boarding began at 11:55 am. We were seated in LRC coach #3321, a rebuild LRC coach. This was my first time riding in a rebuilt LRC coach not counting the time I walked through one on train 76 while riding home from Windsor on my Michigan Trip last year.
††††††††††† While waiting for train #73 to depart, I photographed another rebuilt LRC coach on VIA train 53 which had arrived from Montreal.
††††††††††† Train 73 departed on time. As we departed, I caught a glimpse of GO MP40 #607 in the new GO Transit livery on the opposite side of the train. I got a so-so video of the unit. I also saw VIA train 44 awaiting its departure for Ottawa.
††††††††††† We passed a GO train with two of GO's few remaining F59PHs. As we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed the yard. The Canadian was in the yard. I also noticed that VIA RDC-2 #6205 had been moved to where the other RDCs in storage were. I bought lunch.
††††††††††† The train stopped at Oakville. After we left Oakville, VIA train 72 passed. I attempted to film it.
††††††††††† I saw the ex TTC Flyer D40 which I saw on train 63 was still in that yard though it had quite a bit of graffiti. The train stopped at Aldershot. At Aldershot was another GO Train with two more F59PHs.
††††††††††† We departed Aldershot. West of Aldershot, my ticket was finally taken. A CN freight train passed by. I played Plants vs. Zombies.
††††††††††† The train stopped at Brantford. Soon, we were approaching Woodstock. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off at Woodstock. Train 73 arrived into Woodstock two minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.
††††††††††† I then filmed the train depart.† I then took one more photo.
††††††††††† Mark and I then walked over towards downtown. We saw Classic #06-04 but were unable to photograph it.
Hereís a photo of the Classic that I took last year during the charter.
††††††††††† Since the charter last year, Woodstock Transit had opened a new transit terminal downtown. We had a little difficulty locating it but eventually, we did. There were only four Nova LFS buses there. There was no sign of the fishbowl and Classic. We waited around for the next pulse. Once again, we only had Nova LFS buses. Mark and I decided to go separate ways and meet at the VIA station later. Mark was going to a local museum. I decided to ride to the garage to see if the fishbowl was visible.
††††††††††† I got off the bus and walked a block and I saw a fishbowl parked in the back. It looked retired. It may have been #16; the fishbowl that was in storage during the charter. I attempted to photograph it.
††††††††††† I walked around for a few minutes before I caught a bus back to the terminal. I transferred to the route 6. I rode to the downtown area and went inside some stores but didn't buy anything. I did buy a Coke at the restaurant where Mark and I had dinner after the charter last year. I then walked to a bus stop to await a bus to take me to the VIA station. While waiting, I photographed some Woodstock Transit Nova LFS buses.
††††††††††† My bus came and I rode to the station. It was after 5:00 pm. When I got there, Mark was already there. He told me he was there since 4:30. The station's waiting room was unlocked and we went inside. Someone else tried to get some cookies from a vending machine but it got stuck. The station attendant eventually gave him his money back.
††††††††††† Shortly after 6:00 pm, Mark and I went onto the platform since train #83 was scheduled to arrive in less than 10 minutes. When the train arrived, I filmed it pulling in.
††††††††††† We were seated in HEP2 coach #4110. The train departed as we sat down. Our tickets were taken a few minutes later. Train 83 only goes as far as London so the coach was pretty empty. It was less than 40 minutes to London. We passed through Ingersoll non stop.
††††††††††† A few minutes later, I attempted to phone my uncle who lives in London, but there was no reception. I tried again a few minutes later and arranged to have him pick us up at the VIA station. I saw three tanks car bodies by the side of the tracks on the opposite side of the train.
††††††††††† A few minutes later, we were approaching London. As we passed the LTC bus garage, I noticed one of the two Classics that were in the current LTC livery was in the structure that fishbowl #116 was also stored in so maybe London retained that Classic as a historic bus. I hope it's the case.
††††††††††† Train #83 arrived into London three minutes early. I got off and took some photos.
††††††††††† I then went to the west end of the station and took some more photos.
††††††††††† I then went inside the station. My uncle arrived a few minutes later and we headed to his house for a barbeque. He pointed out a spur line from his backyard though no trains passed.
††††††††††† My uncle drove us to our hotel where we checked in. I phoned home and let my mom know we were in London. I worked on this report some more I eventually called it a night.
August 2, 2013:
††††††††††† I got up shortly after 9:00 am and worked on this report for a few minutes. I got dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. Mark was awake when I got back. Today, we were going to ride around the buses in London.
††††††††††† We headed out and went to the White Oaks mall across the street from the hotel. I photographed D60LF #22 on route 10.
††††††††††† Mark and I went into the mall and Mark got something at the Tim Hortons in the food court. After, we went outside to wait for a bus. Our bus came a few minutes later. It was an XD40. I photographed it.
††††††††††† We got on and the bus soon left. We got off at Dundas Avenue. I wanted to find the Aboutown yard with the ex LTC Classics which I had seen from VIA trains on my Michigan trip and Sarnia-London trip last year. We didn't have a LTC route map. We looked in a library. The librarian had a map. I thought there were two routes that went by the area I thought the yard was. We walked to where I thought the stop was but ended up walking several blocks to the LTC office.
††††††††††† We ended up taking a route 23 bus. Before the bus arrived, I photographed a D40i since London's Inveros are up for retirement in the near future.
††††††††††† We boarded the route 23 and the bus left. We didn't find the yard there and ended up taking a route 5 bus back. We then decided to go to the hobby store I went to in 2011. We caught a bus to the Masonville Mall. We got off. Our connecting bus was supposed to be 15 minutes away but it took longer. While we were waiting, I went across the street and bought a bottle of Pepsi. We also photographed some buses while waiting.
††††††††††† Our bus soon came and we headed out. We arrived at the hobby store a few minutes later. We went in. Mark bought an HO scale boxcar but I didn't buy anything.
††††††††††† We then headed out and had to run for a bus. We got on it thought and rode to the Masonville Mall where we got off. I photographed the bus and another bus.
††††††††††† We had lunch at the food court. If you read my London Classic charter report from 2011, this was where the charter had its lunch stop. After lunch, we went to the Apple Store and I was able to find the location of the Aboutown yard. We looked into a Target before we left.
††††††††††† We walked back to the bus terminal and I photographed some buses.
††††††††††† We then got on a route 13 bus to head south. Mark wasn't interested in looking for the Classics so he decided to return to the hotel. I got off at Richmond and Dundas and transferred to the route 6. I rode to Horton and got off and walked towards where the Aboutown yard was. Along the way, I photographed some Greyhound buses in another yard.
††††††††††† I then got to the Aboutown yard. At first I didn't see any Classics in the yard so I decided to walk around to see if I could see the yard from Horton Avenue. Sure enough, I could and I saw one Classic still in the LTC orange livery. I photographed it.
††††††††††† I then walked back to the bus stop and caught a route 15 bus to Wellington and Dundas and transferred to the route 20. I wanted to go by London's airport. I rode the bus to Fanshawe College. I had to wait 30 minutes for the connecting bus.
††††††††††† When my bus came, it was a D40i. I got on and rode to the airport. On the way, we passed the old EMD locomotive plant. The plant was closed a year or two ago following a lock out.
††††††††††† When I got the airport, I filmed the bus pulling away. I went through the terminal and noted that five airlines serve London: Air Canada, Westjet, United Airlines, Sunwing, and Canjet; though the last two are charter airlines.† I looked around the airport terminal. It looked no bigger than Moncton or Hamilton airports.
††††††††††† The bus I arrived to the airport on was the last bus for hours even though there are two flights scheduled to arrive. I photographed an old fighter jet on display before I phoned a cab.
††††††††††† The cab took me to Fanshawe where I boarded a route 4 bus that would go to White Oaks Mall. I would not have to change buses somewhere.
††††††††††† The route made several turns. At one point, Mark phoned me to see where I was. I told him I was on my way.
††††††††††† The route 4 stops at the back of White Oaks Mall. I got off and went to the food court. I met up with Mark and had dinner. We then went back to the hotel. I worked on this report and went online until the Wi-Fi stopped working. I continued to work on this report. At one point, I went to the variety store near my hotel. I worked on this report. I set the alarm on my phone and called it a night.
Click here for part 2: †††††††††††