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Sudbury trip:

Sudbury trip:

 

Prologue:

 

††††††††††† Of all the trains Iíve ridden, I have never ridden on an RDC. Currently, VIA Rail Canada still runs a handful of RDCs on two routes. They run RDCs on Vancouver Island. However, that is a bit far to go for my liking. VIA also runs RDCs its Lake Superior train that runs from Sudbury to White River. I had begun contemplating riding that train.

 

††††††††††† In early 2007, a rumour circulated on the Canadian Passenger Rail Yahoo group that VIA would lease a couple more RDCs and run them on trains 85 and 88 between Toronto and Sarnia. Unfortunately, it never happened. As a result, I decided to go to Sudbury to ride the ďLake SuperiorĒ train. My plan was to ride Ontario Northlandís Northlander to North Bay and take a Greyhound bus to Sudbury. The next day, I would ride the RDCs to Cartier, Ontario and come back a couple hours later on the Ontario Northland bus to Sudbury. The rest of the afternoon would be spent messing around Sudbury before I returned to Toronto on the Canadian the next day. This trip would be the first time I had come back on a different month than when I started.

 

July 30, 2007:

 

††††††††††† I got down to Union station shortly after 7:30 am. I had 70 minutes before the Northlander was scheduled to depart. I stood in line at the Ontario Northland counter because the Northlander is an unreserved train and you have to buy your tickets on the day of departure (or less than 24 hours prior). The counter opened at 8:00 am and I was one of the first in line. Once I bought my ticket, I peeked through a door and photographed the Maple Leaf awaiting its 8:30 departure.

 

 

Moments later, I saw the consist of the Northlander arrive into the station. I immediately noticed two things: First, the train was led by GP38 #1805, Ontario Northlandís last GP38 in the older ďChevronĒ paint scheme. Second was the train had one more coach than its typical consist. I filmed the Northlander pulling in. Next, I returned to the area outside track 1 to await the boarding of the Northlander.

 

While I was waiting, three GO Transit commuter trains unloaded passengers on Track 1 before the Northlander backed into the station. Soon it was time to board. I was seated in ex GO Transit single level coach #612. The train left 11 minutes late.

 

I knew I had to be in North Bay by 3:00 because my bus left at 3:30. If I missed that bus, I would have to wait five hours for the next bus.

 

We passed a few freights before Washago. We then stopped at Washago, Gravenhurst, and Bracebridge. I went to the cafť car for lunch. We stopped in Huntsville. I could tell we were more then halfway to North Bay. As we departed, I filmed a CN GP9 on a siding. A few minutes later, we were running parallel to Highway 11. I noticed that cars and trucks were going faster. ďThis is pathetic!Ē I thought to myself. I was thinking this mostly because the Northlander often runs late.

 

The Northlander raced through the outskirts of the town of Burkís Falls. A little while later, we stopped in South River. At one point, we took a siding to let a CN freight pass.

 

Soon, we were approaching North Bay. Prior to getting to the station, we backed onto a siding to allow the Toronto bound Northlander to pass us. I had to change the batteries of my camera which caused me to miss the front of the locomotive on the southbound train. I was surprised to see that instead of a GP38 or a rebuilt FP7, one of Ontario Northlandís SD75iís was leading the train. Like my train, this train had one more coach then normal. The train arrived about 35 minutes late. I was still going to make the 3:30 bus though. Once I got off, I took some photos.

 

 

 

As the Northlander departed, I filmed the train pulling out. I also took one last shot of the train.

 

 

I then went inside the station and bought a ticket to Sudbury. I had a little time to kill, so I took a walk. I then headed back to the bus station and boarded my bus to Sudbury. I checked one bag. The bus was full, but I was able to find a window seat. I did get a seatmate. However, this time, it was an older man who wasnít fat like my seatmate on the Capitol Limited on my last trip.

 

The bus left on time and shortly after we were passed by a fire truck with its sirens on. I didnít think much of it until we stopped just outside of town. We were stopped on the highway because of a bad traffic accident ahead as cars passed us going the other way. After awhile, we finally got moving and passed the scene of the accident. We also passed a long line of cars going the opposite way.

 

The bus passed through many small towns without stopping. At one point I head a thump. Other passengers said we had hit a bear. I didnít see anything though, and we kept going. We arrived into Sudbury around 5:30. I got my bag that I had checked and headed out and caught a Sudbury Transit Nova LFS to the downtown terminal. I then transferred to route 940 and rode to my hotel which was a Days Inn. When I got to my hotel and checked in, I headed to my room which overlooked the CP yard in Sudbury. I also saw a diesel shop with some diesel locomotives. I thought I saw an ex VIA LRC locomotive. I could also see the Sudbury VIA station where the RDCs depart from. I took a picture from my room.

 

 

I phoned home and decided to take a walk around the area. My dad told me that my supervisor from Wal-Mart had phoned regarding a shift change I requested for the 11th and she was a bit surprised that I had gone out of town. However, like most trips, I planned this trip around my work schedule. This is the third time Wal-Mart phoned while I was away on one of my trips. The other two times were my Brantford trip last year and my New York trip back in April.

 

I looked for a restaurant to have dinner at. I walked over to the VIA station. I saw a westbound freight train stopped and for a signal. Moments later, an eastbound intermodel passed through. I took photos of both trains.

 

 

 

I got to the VIA station. I noticed a pair of CP SD40-2s doing some switching. Another westbound freight passed with one of CPís new GEVOs leading. I photographed it.

 

 

I then walked around to get a good look at the diesel shop and I noticed that what I thought was an ex VIA LRC locomotive was indeed an LRC locomotive. Unfortunately, before I could photograph it, the CP train that was doing some switching blocked my view. I decided to walk around to try to get a better vantage point without success. I then headed back. The train had finished its switching and began to depart the yard. I noticed that there was a caboose on the end! It also appeared to be occupied because I didnít see an SBU on the caboose. I photographed it.

 

A caboose: Something you donít see too often on the rear of freight trains anymore.

 

This was the first time since my trip out west that I had seen a freight train with a caboose on the rear. This was also the first time since my Halifax trip that I had seen a train on a Class 1 railroad with a caboose on the end as well.

 

I went back to photograph the ex VIA LRC locomotive. At the time, the unit was in grey primer. Moments later, I noticed a second ex VIA LRC locomotive. This one, however, was painted red, yellow and green. I took photos of the two LRC locomotives.

 

 

The two ex VIA LRC locomotives; near the centre of the photo.

 

I am 99% certain that the LRC locomotives I saw were ex VIA 6903 and 6905. They were among the last seven LRC locomotives that were withdrawn from service when VIA took delivery of their 21 new P42s. In March of 2006, 6903 and 6905 were sold to a company and were lettered DESX. I also heard that they were moved to Sudbury after they disappeared from VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre.

 

I walked back to my hotel and had dinner in the restaurant. After, I decided to go for a swim in the hotelís pool. After, I asked for a wake up call at 7:00 am and called it a night.

 

July 31, 2007:

 

I got up at 7:00 am and had breakfast in the hotelís restaurant. After breakfast, I walked over to the VIA station. Once I had walked across the CPR main line and begun to follow it, I heard a locomotive bell ringing that sounded like the bell on a VIA train. The railroad crossing begun to activate, and I saw the consist of VIAís Lake Superior passing through the crossing. I filmed the train as it passed by. I noticed how quiet the Budd cars seemed. Back in January, my friend Fred had mentioned that the RDCs are very quiet. And this proved it. My train was scheduled to leave at 9:00 am, so I still had plenty of time. I photographed the RDCs.

 

 

VIA currently has three RDCs assigned to the Lake Superior train. They have two RDC-2s (#6205 and 6215) as well as RDC-4 #6250. The 6250 is the last RDC-4 in regular service. The train I would ride consisted of RDC-2 #6205 and RDC-4 #6250. 6205 would lead the train west. I then continued walking to the VIA station and took two photos of a Huron Central train.

 

 

 

I got to the Sudbury train station. The RDCs still hadnít made it to the platform. A westbound CP freight passed the platform and stopped. The train was waiting for an eastbound freight to pass. By now, some other passengers had arrived. Among the baggage of the other passengers were two canoes. Canoeists often use the Sudbury-White River train to transport their canoes. I asked one of the passengers for directions to the bus station in Cartier. He told me that Cartier was pretty small and that I could find it pretty easily. He also said that if you got lost in Cartier, youíd have problems!

 

The freight train finally moved and the RDCs arrived at the station. I photographed the train as it arrived.

 

 

 

Boarding soon commenced. When I got on, I took some interior photos of the train. We left 50 minutes late. As we passed the yard with the two LRC locomotives, I filmed them as we passed. Timing would be important because I had 1 hour and 45 minutes to get from where the train stopped at Cartier to the bus station if both train and bus were on time.

 

Shortly after we left, we were in the countryside winding our way through the escarpment. The train passed through Azilda and Chelmsford. We passed an eastbound CP intermodel and stopped for a signal to let an eastbound freight through. That freight train had five SD40-2s leading. Soon, we were underway again. I heard from the conductor that the train would pick up 13 more canoes at Cartier and along the route.

 

The train passed Larchwood and stopped outside of Levack to pick up more passengers. Five canoes were to be loaded in Levack. I was becoming anxious. We left a little while later. Soon, we were approaching Cartier. We passed a CP yard before we arrived at the station 61 minutes late. I got off and took a photo of the train.

 

 

Six more canoes were being loaded and I had 45 minutes to walk to the bus station. I figured I didnít have enough time to shoot a video. I got directions to the bus station and begun my walk there. It took 10-15 minutes, but I arrived at the restaurant where the Ontario Northland bus stops in plenty of time. I bought some Pepsi to drink as I waited. I phoned home to check in.

 

The person at the restaurant said that I should wait outside for when the bus comes because if it is running late, the bus sometimes doesnít stop. At 11:40 am, I stepped outside to wait for the bus. The restaurant doesnít sell tickets for the bus, and I was told to tell the driver.

 

As I waited outside for the bus, bugs kept flying around me and I kept swatting at them. The bus came 10-15 minutes late. I told the driver I wanted to go to Sudbury. He told me to pay the people at the bus station when I get there. I boarded as well as another person. We soon left. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I would not be stranded.

 

This bus ride brought back memories of my 2005 trip to Timmins. Except this time, I didnít have to worry about connecting to the Canadian in Sudbury.

 

The bus stopped in Levack and Chelmsford. Soon we were running near a railway line and I photographed two CP SD40-2s leading an ore train. The units looked like they were the same from the train I saw the day before with a caboose on the end.

 

 

At one point, we pulled into a gas station. The driver stepped out for a second, but soon, we were back on the road. We arrived into Sudbury where I paid for my bus ticket. I then headed out to catch a Sudbury Transit bus. While waiting, I photographed a Nova LFS as it passed before I got on a D40LF.

 

 

Since it was 1:40 pm, I decided to go to Science North. When I got to the bus terminal downtown, I transferred to route 500 and rode an Orion 5 to Science North. After I got off the bus, I took a photo of the building.

 

Science North as seen from the street.

 

I then went inside and paid my admission. The first thing I saw was a mock up by Inco of a rail car. Inco runs an ore mine outside of Sudbury and has a small railroad. I photographed the car mock up.

 

 

I then showed my ticket to an employee before I headed to the main exhibit area. I walked through a cave replica. ďThey donít have this at the {Ontario} Science Centre back home.Ē I thought to myself.

 

I spent the time looking at exhibits. They actually had some exhibits with live animals. There was even a working beehive. At one point, I saw some employees with a squirrel that they were going to use in a show later.

 

 

I then spent a lot of time at an interactive exhibit. You could make your own slot cars from Kinex toys and try them out. I built a car, and I tested it a lot until I had enough and moved onto a space exhibit. I took some photos of models of the space shuttle.

 

 

 

After, I filled out a visitorís survey before I got something to eat at the cafeteria. Next, I went into the gift shop. Shortly after, I headed back to the bus stop. At one point, I thought I heard thunder. I photographed a Sudbury Transit Orion 5 before I got on.

 

 

I rode the bus downtown to a mall near the VIA station. I walked the rest of my way to my hotel, stopping at a bank. I also noticed a CP track unit at the railway crossing near my hotel.

 

After awhile, I decided to walk around the train yard. I headed out and soon photographed a CP plow.

 

 

After walking around the yard, I photographed another Sudbury Transit Orion 5.

 

 

I bought dinner at a Subway restaurant. I then photographed a shrinkwrapped Nova LFS.

 

 

I walked back to my hotel and watched some TV. After, I walked to a nearby grocery store to buy a chocolate bar. I went to the railway crossing. After awhile, I had to leave, but when I came back, a train was passing. I decided to wait for the next train. While I was waiting, I photographed a piece of track that was no longer connected to the main line.

 

This is abandoned railway track in Sudbury.

 

I waited for the next train to pass. After awhile, it did. The train had a GEVO, an AC4400, and an SD9043MAC.

 

 

After the train had passed, I walked back to my hotel and soon called it a night.

 

August 1, 2007:

 

I got up shortly after 8:30 am. I got dressed and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back up to my room and finished packing. I watched a little TV before I went to the lobby to check out.

 

I then headed out to catch a bus. As luck would have it, a freight train was passing through the railway crossing nearby and a D40LF was waiting. Even though there wasnít a stop nearby, the driver let me on and I rode to the terminal. I had to transfer to a bus, but I had to wait. While I was waiting, I photographed an Orion 5.

 

 

I boarded a bus on route 301 and rode to a Burger King a couple blocks from the Greyhound/Ontario Northland bus depot. I bought lunch and continue walking to the bus station and phoned a taxi to take me to the Sudbury Junction VIA station at 12:30. The cab came a few minutes early. At least Sudbury taxi companies are better than the one in Cleveland that made me miss the Lakeshore Limited on my last trip.

 

I got to the Sudbury Junction VIA station about 15 minutes later. I paid for the cab and headed into the station. I found out the Canadian was running almost three hours late and was due into the station at 4:00. Other people left the station to bide time until the train was to arrive. I phoned home and let my dad know my train was late.

 

Sudbury Junction is not near any convenience stores, so I waited at the station. No freight trains passed. By 3:00, some people who had left the station returned. I saw the baggage cart get moved out of the garage. I then saw a light and a train, but it turned out to be a CN freight train on the other track. That train stopped short of the station. Meanwhile, a westbound freight passed. I photographed it as it came past.

 

 

Meanwhile, the first freight I saw passed just as the last car of the westbound went by. I took a picture of the engines.

 

 

That freight train had two SD40s as power, seven covered hoppers, and tank cars as far as the eye could see. The train crew applied the hand brakes to the tank cars and then uncoupled them from the rest of the train. The engines and seven hoppers then headed east.

 

Meanwhile, I heard that the Canadian would be another 10 minutes. However, the Canadian showed up 24 minutes later, running three hours and 19 minutes late. As the Canadian arrived, I filmed it pulling into the station. The train had two F40PH-2s and 20 coaches. All but the coach behind the baggage car were ex CP coaches.

 

 

I boarded Hep1 coach #8122, two cars behind the baggage car. I quickly chose a seat and settled in. The train soon left, but stopped at a red signal. I phoned home and checked in.

 

Once my ticket was taken, I headed to the Skyline car. I noticed two things. The coach behind my coach was #8119, the coach my friend Mark and I rode in back in January on our trip out west. Like on that trip, the boxes on 8119 that normally hold HO scale locomotives were empty. I also noticed the Skyline was 8512, the same Skyline as on the Budd Ocean I rode on my Moncton trip. As we went around a bend, I took a picture of the sleeping cars behind the dome.

 

 

After awhile, we were underway again. I filmed the HO scale equipment in my coach as well as the coach in front of the Skyline. I was about to go to the car in front of my coach when I saw a sign saying the coach was not in service. I went back to the Skyline car. We soon picked up speed.

 

A little while later, I went into 8512ís dining area for dinner. I had some chicken which was a little spicy. I paid for my meal and went back up to the dome. I spent the next few hours between the dome and my coach seat. At one point, it became a little chilly in the dome, so I changed into something warmer.

 

The train stopped in Parry Sound. We had to make a double stop because the Canadian was so long. I filmed westbound CN freight. After pausing in a siding, we were soon underway again. The sun went down and it was pitch black out. For awhile, I was the only person in the dome.

 

At one point, about six kids came into the dome and were acting rambunctious. At one point, one of them threw their shoe two rows back! Fortunately, I wasnít hit. One of the other kids started to ďfake spitĒ on the other kids and then he ďfake spatĒ on me. I was a relieved when the left the dome. This reminded me of the bunch of little kids on the Northlander when I went to Timmins in 2005.

 

The train stopped in Washago. I stayed in the dome as we approached Richmond Hill. I was back in York Region. Because of the trainís lateness, I wished that York Region could have had a station for the Canadian and the Northlander since it would be easier to get to then going to Union. I stayed in the dome until we were 15 minutes away from Union station where I went back to my coach.

 

I finished packing as we arrived into Union station three hours and 45 minutes late. As we arrived, I saw the equipment from train 88 on the track next to us. Once I got off the Canadian, I took some photos.

 

 

 

I then headed downstairs and phoned home. I then got on the subway and rode to Finch and then got a ride home with my dad. I got home around 12:30 am.

 

Conclusions:

 

Aside from the Canadianís lateness, this trip was excellent. My first ride on an RDC was great. I just wish the train wasnít so late so I could have filmed it departing Cartier. Sudbury was great and my hotel was in a very good location. My ride on the Northlander was also good.

 

Baring unforeseen circumstances, my next trip wonít be until September, when I go back to Cleveland to use my still valid ticket on the Lakeshore Limited. Until next timeÖ