Montreal Trip 2011:
During the TTS 2010 Transportation Weekend, I realized that in the times I’ve visited Montreal since 2005, I haven’t been to La Ronde which is an Amusement Park. I last went to La Ronde in 2002. I began to plan this trip during the STM 11-087 charter. I decided to go in mid June while school was still in session but the park was open on weekdays to avoid crowds. My final plan was to take VIA train 56 on June 13 and spend three nights in Montreal. I would dedicate one day to visit La Ronde. On June 16, I would take train 57 home. The trip unfolded as follows.
June 13, 2011:
I got to Union station shortly after 8:30. I stopped at a Shoppers' Drug Mart for some snacks. I then went inside Union station and lined up for train 56.
Boarding began around 9:00 am. I was seated in LRC coach #3301 which was the last car on train 56. Train 56 was running as a J-train with train 54 (formerly train 42) to Ottawa with service continuing to Montreal. I chose 56 because it takes the more direct route.
The coach was quite full and I had an aisle seat which I knew would make filming stuff like Greenwood Yard and passing trains more difficult.
The train left on time. I did my best to film Greenwood Yard as we passed. At one point I got up and photographed train 54's locomotive. Train 54 was running behind 56 because it had Renn coaches.
The train raced through Guildwood non stop. Apparently fewer and fewer VIA trains are stopping there and there's speculation that VIA may stop serving Guildwood altogether.
My ticket was taken as we raced through Pickering. We stopped to let train 41 pass. As it passed, I filmed it. We stopped in Oshawa and departed a few minutes later.
As we began running parallel to the CP line, I saw an intermodel train led by a single leased CEFX AC4400 with another CEFX AC4400 running mid train. The train passed through Port Hope. I couldn't see any evidence of the wreck that resulted in my bustitution between Montreal and Toronto on my last trip.
The train stopped at Cobourg. Train 53 passed and I got a video of the back part of the train as well as two CN GP9s doing some switching.
We departed a few minutes later. We soon picked up speed and were traveling at a good clip. The VIA attendants began serving lunch. I attempted to film the Memory Junction Railway Museum as we raced past.
I watched Unstoppable on my computer. We passed through Trenton Junction and Belleville. Train 51 (formerly 43) passed on the right hand side of the train so I was unable to film it. Train 51 used to be the number used by the Enterprise before the train was discontinued in 2005.
I hadn't got lunch yet so I went out searching before I bought lunch. I also phoned my friend Dan who I met on the Adirondack in 2007. He would be joining me in Montreal but driving there instead of taking the Adirondack. I was unsure if he would get to Montreal before me, but found out he was getting in around 5:30 and going to a service for his uncle. I would be in Montreal a lot sooner. However, the call abruptly ended when I lost reception.
The train stopped at Kingston. After we left, I was able to switch seats with my seatmate and I got the window seat!
At one point, I had to change the battery pack on my new digital camera. After, I saw some CN MOW equipment on the track next to us. I was hoping to see train 57 pass and film it.
Several minutes later we slowed then stopped without 57 passing. The VIA crew announced we were being held up by a slow moving freight train. We began moving again and passed a stopped CN freight. We soon switch lines and passed a stopped VIA train 57. I was only able to film the back half of it but I could tell it was being led by unrebuilt F40PH-2 #6440 and had a HEP1 coach at the rear. A few minutes later, we stopped to separate train 56 from train 54. I took some photos and filmed our train going further from train 54.
The train stopped in Brockville and left a short time later.
After leaving Brockville, we proceeded at a slower speed. We eventually stopped. We started moving again a few minutes later. We stopped and train 61 passed on the opposite side of the train so I was unable to film it. Moments later we started moving. Eventually we began picking up speed. We caught up to an eastbound freight train. It had one unit up front and one in the middle of the train.
Later, we were running alongside a highway. Soon, we were no longer running beside it. I logged into VIA's complimentary Wi-Fi service. The train stopped at Cornwall. We were running a bit late.
The train crossed into Quebec and we were soon running parallel to the CP line which meant we were closing in on Dorval. We crossed a couple bridges. A westbound CN freight passed. We stopped at Dorval. We were about 25 minutes late at this point.
I saw two CP GP9s at an intermodel terminal. We were soon approaching downtown Montreal. I packed up in preparation to get off.
A VIA train consisting of a P42 and LRC coaches passed but I was unable to film it. Train 56 arrived into Montreal 25 minutes late. I got off and took some photos.
I then went upstairs into the station then headed to the Metro. I bought a 3-day pass for $16 and rode to Mont-Royal. I got off and filmed the train leaving. I then went to catch a bus to Parc Avenue since I was staying at the Hotel Parc Avenue yet again! STM Classic 15-062 pulled up. I photographed it before I got on.
I got off at Parc Avenue and took some more photos of 15-062.
I then went to check in. As I expected, Dan hadn't arrived yet. I went to my room and dropped off my stuff. A few minutes later I headed out and caught a bus back to Mont-Royal. I was hoping to see some of STL's oldest Classics. I originally planned to ride the Metro to Montmorency despite what happened when I went last September. However, at the last second I decided to alter my plan and headed to Lucien D'Allier station and ride AMT's Green line to Laval since I had only ridden the line as far as Parc station back in 2002. I got to the station and bought a ticket to Sainte-Rose which is the northern most stop in Laval. I had over 30 minutes before the next train left so I resigned myself to the fact. The train I would ride was in the station however. It consisted of 7 brand new Bombardier bi-levels that can board at stations with high-level platforms bracketed by two F59PHis. I sat in the car behind the lead locomotive. While waiting for the train to depart, I photographed and filmed some other trains in the station.
The train left on time. The route is initially curvy. We made 7 stops before Sainte-Rose. At one point I saw a buoy line used to mark the transition from the shallow end to the deep end hanging from a power line. And I thought sneakers were odd!
As we approached the stop, another passenger asked about the earphones on my Ipod. The train arrived and I got off and walked out to the front of the engine and photographed the train.
I filmed the train leaving before I went to catch a bus. I knew there were two STL routes from Sainte-Rose to Montmorency; 63 and 65. There was a Nova LFS on 63. I waited a few minutes to see if a Classic would show up on 65 but another LFS showed up. I asked the driver of the route 63 bus which bus would get to Montmorency faster. He said 63 and 65 were about the same but the 63 was leaving 5 minutes sooner. I got on the 63.
The route makes several turns. At one point, we passed over a highway and I caught a glimpse of an STL Classic on the next overpass. It was too far away to see what number it was. I got off at Montmorency I took a couple pictures from the street of some SURF LFSes. This time, no one gave me trouble. However, there weren't any Classics to photograph.
I eventually caught a bus back to the mall where I had dinner on my first night of my trip to attend the 2010 TTS Transportation Weekend, but found it closed. I eventually bought dinner at the McDonald's in the Wal-Mart and caught a bus back to Montmorency. I then got on the Metro and rode to Mont-Royal. I then caught a bus back to Parc Avenue and boarded STM 17-046. I noticed the drainage hole on the floor of the bus was missing its cover. I got off at Parc Avenue and photographed the bus.
I then walked back to the hotel. When I got there, I saw that Dan had arrived but left. I went out to a nearby convenience store and bought some cereal and a carton of milk. I then saw there was a bus approaching the stop so I rode it one stop and returned to my room. I watched some TV including the season finale of Canada's Worst Handyman season 6 where Charlene was officially voted as Canada's Worst Handyman which was the first time in 6 seasons that a woman was named the worst.
Dan arrived shortly after 11:00 pm. We talked a bit and I showed him photos from some of my previous trips as well as the photos I took the last two times I visited Exporail. After awhile, we called it a night.
June 14, 2011:
I got up at 8:30 am. I slept off and on. I got dressed and went out looking of the kitchen area I discovered the last time I stayed at the hotel. I thought it was on the third floor because that was where my room was last time, but it was on the first floor. I then went to my room and got my stuff together. Today I would be going to La Ronde.
I caught STM 30-826 to Place Des Arts Metro station. I went inside a convenience store and got a chocolate bar and a Pepsi. I then went into the station and boarded a green line train and rode to Barri-UQAM. I filmed the train leaving then went to the yellow line. I photographed my train arriving before I got on.
I rode one stop to Jean-Drapeau and filmed the train leaving. I then went to catch a bus to La Ronde. STM route 167 goes directly from Jean-Drapeau to La Ronde. In addition it doesn't cost anything to ride the 167! I just missed a bus but another one pulled up and I got on. We left a few minutes later and soon arrived at La Ronde where I bought a ticket. I had gotten there 5 minutes before the park opened. There were quite a few people waiting to go inside. When the gate was opened there was a loud cheer. I went inside and picked up a park map. If I remember correctly, La Ronde is owned by Six Flags.
The first place I went to was the biggest roller coaster in the park which is named Goliath. Goliath is a slightly smaller version of Behemoth at Canada's Wonderland back home. I took a picture before I went to the line up.
Goliath wasn't open yet when I got there but it soon opened up. I got on one of the first rides and sat in the third car. As we went down the first drop, I raised my arms in the air and kept them up for most of the ride. After I got off, I bought an on-ride photo for $8.00.
I then rode “EDNOR L'Attaque” which is a roller coaster just like Flight Deck; (formerly known as Top Gun), at Wonderland back home. After riding “EDNOR L'Attaque”, I took a picture of it.
I walked over to La Monstre which is a wooden racing coaster. (A racing coaster is when they have two mostly parallel lines that two roller coaster trains run side by side.) However in the case of La Monstre, the two trains didn't leave at the same time or even close!
I rode both lines on La Monstre despite the long lines. I took a photo of the ride.
Afterward, I went back to Goliath and rode it again. Next, I bought lunch. I then filmed the log ride Splash which is a mirror of Timberwolf Falls at Wonderland. I then photographed Orbit which is like the Pile Driver ride in Niagara Falls which wasn't working when my friends Mark and Jason and I visited Niagara Falls in 2006.
I then lined up for Orbit. Since I was by myself, I was able to join the single riders’ line which gave me a bit of a jump in line. I was soon able to get on Orbit and rode it. I then lined up for Vampire which is a roller coaster I remembered riding when I last went to La Ronde in 2002. I took some photos before I rode Vampire.
Next I rode Cobra which is a “stand-up roller coaster”. The line was a bit long, but I finally got on and rode it. After getting off, I took some photos of it.
Next, I made my way to Super Manege which is yet another roller coaster. I photographed it before I got on.
It was after 3:30 when I got off Super Manege. I bought a beaver tail at a stand. I wanted to do some bus fanning. I contemplated riding two more roller coasters but the lines were a little long and they were similar to rides at Wonderland. I headed out and caught a route 167 bus to Jean-Drapeau and a yellow line train to Barri-UQAM. I then rode a green line train to Pie-IX station hoping to find an 11-000 or 12-000 series Classic, but only saw Nova LFSes.
I boarded an articulated LFS on route 505 and rode to Saint-Michael where I transferred to the Blue line. I rode a Blue line train to Jean-Talon where I transferred to the Orange line. I just missed a train. I boarded the next train, but it was going out of service at Henri-Bourassa. So I got off at Jarry and got on the next train and rode to Montmorency. At Montmorency, I went to the bus terminal to see if and STL 6000 or 6100 series Classics would show up. I saw a MRC Orion 5 which I attempted to film departing. I walked out to the street to look for some Classics, but none appeared. I saw a SURF RTS arrive and I photographed it.
I decided to stick around a little longer. Just before I was about to give up, I saw a STL Classic approaching. I photographed it even though it was #6407.
After 6407 departed, I waited around some more. I filmed STL Classic 6501 pass. After awhile, no more STL Classics showed up. I got on the Metro and rode to Cartier where I saw STL 6056 which I photographed.
I waited around for a 6000 or 6100 series Classic but none showed up. I got on the Metro and rode to Champ-De-Mars where I was hoping to photograph the mural of a STM Metro train that I had seen on the STM 11-087 charter last September. It took a few minutes but I finally found it a few blocks away. I walked over and photographed it.
I walked back to the Metro and rode to Barri-UQAM. I got off and walked to the intercity bus terminal. I had dinner where I ate on my last night of my 2009 Montreal trip. At Barri-UQAM, I saw a poster depicting what the next order of subway cars for Metro will look like. I photographed the poster.
I then got back on the Metro and rode two stations to Mont-Royal. I walked over to a Pharmaprix store and bought some items. I then caught a STM first generation LFS the rest of the way to Parc Avenue. I got off and photographed it.
I saw STM Classic 15-129 parked near my hotel. I photographed it.
I then walked back to the hotel. I worked on this report some more and logged into the CPTDB. I saw that Mario had replied to one of my posts and told me the best place to find RTL Classics was on route 55. I also discovered that a charter weekend originally scheduled for August had been rescheduled to the weekend of July 16-17.
Dan got back 15 minutes after I got back. He had been riding various AMT commuter rail lines. I asked Dan if he had any problems taking pictures. He said he didn’t. I told him about what happened at Montmorency on the day I arrived in Montreal for the TTS Transportation Weekend last September.
Dan then paid me his share of what he owed for the room. I pulled up my report of the TTS 2010 Transportation Weekend and showed him the pictures I took at Deux-Montages of former CN boxcab electric #6710 on display at the station. I went out for some milk. When I got back, I found my key to not work! This happened the last time I stayed at this hotel. I surfed the internet and worked on this report some more. Dan soon fell asleep. I decided to go out for about 15 minutes and wandered around the hotel. I tried to get back in my room, but the key still didn't work. Dan let me in though. I took some Nytol and called it a night.
Click here for part 2: