Sudbury-North Bay charter trip:
In spring of 2011, I read on the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board about a charter in Sudbury followed by another charter in North Bay the following day. I began playing with the idea of attending. After what happened when I rode the last Budd Ocean, I really began to get interested.
The charters were supposed to happen on the first week in August, but I found out when I was in Montreal earlier this year, the event had been moved to the weekend of July 16-17. In Sudbury, we would be chartering an Orion 5. In North Bay, we were going to charter a Classic and an Orion 5.
My trip was to ride the Canadian from Toronto to Capreol on July 14. This would be the first time I had ridden the Canadian since it moved to its new schedule. As a result, I would be in a Lower Berth. On the 15th, I would catch a Sudbury Transit bus into downtown Sudbury and stay at a hotel. The following day, I would attend the charter then hopefully get a ride with someone to North Bay. The next day I would attend the charter in North Bay. I would spend a second night in North Bay before I headed home on the Northlander. The trip unfolded as follows.
July 14, 2011:
I left home at 7:30 pm. I had worked a shift earlier in the day but got off hours before. My mom gave me a ride to Finch. At Finch, I boarded an H-5 train and rode to Union and filmed it pulling out without incident.
I then entered Union Station. I had over 90 minutes before the Canadian was to depart. I ran into Rob Lubinski who I had seen on previous trips where I rode the Canadian. We chatted a bit about the Canadian and how we've seen some Hep2 coaches being deadheaded out west for the Skeena.
I then headed out to the Skywalk to see if I could film the Canadian backing in, but I didn't see it. I returned to Union and checked in since I was in a sleeper. I got access to VIA's Panorama lounge. I wanted to have a massage in a coin operated massage chair, but someone was sitting in it and not using the massage part. The lounge was quite full.
Union station is undergoing renovations and a new Panorama lounge will be built. Hopefully it will be bigger.
Boarding began at 9:30 pm. As I was walking to my sleeper, I filmed VIA train 59 arrive. I took a photo before I boarded my sleeper.
I was in berth 1L of sleeper Chateau Iberville. I was hoping that I would have been in a Manor sleeper since they have all been refurbished.
I was able to stow my bags. I decided to go to the Park car. On the way, I filmed train 67 arrive. I made it to the Park car which was 7 coaches behind my sleeper. On the way, I passed through Skyline 8500.
The Canadian was so long the Park car was outside the train shed! I sat in the dome and worked on this report for a few minutes.
The Canadian departed on time. I filmed trains 67 and 89 as we passed. It was interesting to ride all the way through the train shed in a dome car. I went to the mural lounge and took some photos.
I then asked for some milk. However, the milk was expired so they told me to go to the Skyline. I made my way to the Skyline and found they didn't have milk. So the person in the Skyline told me to go to the diner one car back! I went to the Skyline and asked for some milk. They told me to go to the Skyline. They gave me a glass of milk after I told them they had sent me here!
After all that, I headed back to my berth. At the point where the Canadian stops to reverse onto the York sub, I decided to call it a night after setting my alarm for 5:20 am.
July 15, 2011:
I slept on and off. I woke up as we stopped at Washago. I peered out my window as we crossed the long bridge in Parry Sound.
My alarm went off and I got dressed. I thought we were minutes from Capreol. However, it didn't look that way. I also noticed my camera was missing. I eventually found it and I headed to the Skyline. I asked when we would be in Capreol I was told that we had to deal extra freight traffic as a result of a freight train derailment and wouldn't be there until 6:30-7:00 am. As the train went around curves, I took pictures of it from the dome.
From the dome, I noticed the train had three locomotives. The first unit was a rebuilt F40. The second was one of the two Coors Light units that VIA had wrapped in the spring for a promotion. The train passed a CN intermodal. As we caught up to the locomotives, I saw the second unit was #2463 which is an ex LMS unit and still in the LMS blue but with CN logos.
I went back to the Park car as the train stopped at Sudbury Junction. After we departed, I made my way back to my berth. The train passed the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum just before the station.
The Canadian arrived into Capreol 45 minutes late. However, they didn't open the doors right away. I eventually exited through the car in front of mine. I took some photos.
I walked to the end of the platform to photograph the engines. Some VIA employees thought I would be getting back on the train despite the fact I was pulling my suitcase. I took some photos.
A couple other VIA employees asked if I was getting on. I told them no. When the train departed, I filmed it and took one last photo of the rear of the train.
I then walked to the other end of the platform and then walked to M&R Grill and had breakfast. I worked on this report some more. I then caught a Sudbury Transit bus to downtown Sudbury. On the way, I photographed the Northern Ontario Railway Museum as we passed.
We were soon in the country. We were running beside the CN line and I saw the CN intermodal we passed on the Canadian. After awhile, we were in downtown Sudbury.
I got to the downtown bus terminal and then walked across the street to a mall where I bought two t-shirts. I then boarded a route 501 bus because I thought it went near my hotel. However, it didn't. I ended up walking a few blocks. As I walked, I saw CP Genset locomotive #2101 and GP9 8200 doing some switching. I photographed 2101.
I then went to my hotel and was able to check in. I then went to my room and phoned my mom. I then relaxed for about 90 minutes. My room overlooked the VIA station where the Sudbury-White River RDCs depart from. At one point I saw a CP freight with a Rock Island grain car in the consist!
After awhile, I decided to go out to Science North. I had just missed a bus. I walked to the next stop and waited awhile. Finally, a bus showed up and I rode it to Science North.
I paid the admission and went inside. I looked in a butterfly garden for a couple minutes before I headed to the exhibit where you could build and race cars. I stayed there for a good 30 minutes before I went to a computer exhibit where I played a flight simulator where I flew a seaplane. I flew it for a little while before I deliberately crashed into a forest!
I then went to the space exhibit and took some photos.
I then photographed some snakes that were on display. All but one was non-venomous.
I then went to the gift shop and bought a maple syrup flavored lollypop. I then left and caught a bus back to the terminal. While I was waiting for a bus, I caught a glimpse of a Sudbury Transit Orion 6. When I got to the downtown terminal, I decided to wait around to see if one would show up. I photographed two of Sudbury Transit's shrinkwrapped LFSes
A few minutes later, Orion 6 #983 showed up. I photographed it before I got on.
I rode the bus for a few minutes before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I saw in the yard that one of the two ex VIA LRC locomotives that I saw in 2007 was still in the yard. It was the one that was red, yellow, and green. I photographed it and other equipment in the yard.
I then walked over to a Shoppers' Drug Mart and bought two bottles of fruit punch. I then waited by the railway crossing on Elm Street to see if any freights would pass. The crossing activated and two CP SD40-2s passed with only a SBU. Prior to this trip, I wondered if I would see another fair sized CP freight with a caboose. I photographed the SD40s.
The SD40s went to the yard where the ex VIA LRC locomotive is being stored. I watched as they couple up to an AC4400. I took some photos.
I then decided to walk back to the downtown bus terminal. I took some more bus photos.
After awhile, I saw a Sudbury Transit Nova LFS that was wrapped for a pizza store chain and photographed it. Someone said I should get permission before I took pictures. I said I was on public property. This guy however didn't look like a Sudbury Transit employee so I decided to avoid him. No Sudbury Transit drivers or a no-nonsense looking security guard I saw at the terminal gave me trouble for taking pictures. I photographed the LFS anyway.
I decided to walk back to the railway crossing on Elm Street. Today was a day the Sudbury-White River RDCs would be coming into Sudbury. They were scheduled to arrive at 6:30 pm.
At 6:23 pm, I saw a westbound freight pass with a Gevo leading an SD40-2 that was lettered for the St. Lawrence and Hudson; a CP subsidiary. I photographed the locomotives.
After the train passed, I saw a group of four young people. A westbound intermodal was approaching the crossing. One of the people was standing on the track in front of the train. However, he moved. I filmed the locomotive which was a single Gevo.
I then walked west of Elm to a lot and saw there was an AC4400 running as a mid-train and another on the rear. I photographed them both.
I then made my way to Elm Street and then back to the lot. I had started to walk a little further when I saw another eastbound train. However, it was a general merchandise freight led by two AC4400s. I photographed them.
I saw the train had some interesting cars. I photographed some of them, but I missed photographing a gondola that was lettered for the Milwaukee Road!
The train began to slow and then briefly stopped before it started moving again to clear the crossing. I then made my way over to Elm. I then slowly made my way to the Sudbury VIA station. On the way, I photographed a CP freight in the yard pulled by two SD40-2s. I photographed them.
I was wondering if I would once again see a CP freight with a manned caboose on the end like the last time I was in Sudbury. I thought that this train would be the most likely candidate. However the train stopped just past the yard. They had stopped to let Genset 2101 and GP9 #8200 enter the yard. I photographed the two yard engines.
Once they were clear, the freight began to move. However it stopped. I saw there were a couple gondolas lettered THB; possibly for the Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo railway that became part of CP in the late 1980s. I photographed the gondolas.
The train started to move again. It did not have a caboose though I shouldn't be too surprised. I made it to the Sudbury station and I asked if he knew when the VIA train would be arriving. By now it was over two hours late. He said he didn't know but it should be there soon.
The train arrived two hours and 14 minutes late. I filmed the train pulling in. The train consisted of three RDC-2s led by #6215. The second unit was 6202 which is an RDC that was refurbished by IRSI in Moncton which VIA is currently leasing. A few months ago, I caught 6202 heading up north on the Canadian. Bringing up the rear was VIA 6205 which I had ridden on my 2007 Sudbury trip.
VIA RDC-4 #6250 wasn't on the train. A few months earlier, it had been damaged in a grade crossing accident and had to be moved to IRSI for repairs and refurbishment. It is to be joined by a second RDC-4 which VIA is numbering 6251.
I took some photos of the train.
I then went inside the station. I spoke with the engineer. I asked him which way he would be moving the train. He said he would be reversing out of the station. We then talked a bit about trains. I told him I had come up on the Canadian. He got a little confused because he thought I was talking of the Canadian before the cuts of 1990 which ran through downtown Sudbury and stopped at the station there. I told him I meant the current Canadian on the CN line. I also told him that I had ridden the RDCs back in 2007.
I went outside and watched them unload a total of six canoes from the baggage compartment of RDC-2 #6205. They all belonged to the same group of people. When the train departed, I filmed it leaving and took one more photo.
I wasn't the only railfan photographing the train. There was someone else who was there with his two young kid. I spoke with him and told him about my website. We talked a bit about trains. He mentioned he was in Boston and he was taking pictures and some people gave him trouble because they were most likely drug dealers who thought that he was photographing their deals! He got out of there quickly.
We then parted ways. I walked to a nearby Subway restaurant and bought dinner. I then went to a convenience store and bought some milk and lemonade. I then returned to my hotel and worked on this report some more and I watched TV. I was feeling tired, so I asked for a wake up call at 8:00 am and called it a night.
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