In early 2014, I learned the TTS was going to charter a Transit Windsor Classic. Originally, it was supposed to be on May 24th, but the TTS pushed it back a week. I had prior commitments the following weekend which meant I would no longer be able to attend that charter.
I decided to go to Windsor for a couple days as a consolation to look for their Classics. I chose to go in early April. I used the late train credit from my last trip for this trip. My plan was to ride VIA train 73 to Windsor. I would spend two nights in Windsor before I took train 76 back home. The trip unfolded as follows.
April 8, 2014:
I left home shortly after 10:00 am. My dad gave me a ride to the subway. Once I got to the subway, I overheard that a delay due to signal problems had been resolved. I boarded a Toronto Rocket train which left. At Sheppard, I saw the newest Toronto Rocket train set to enter service: train 5881-5886.
At Davisville, the train pulled into the third platform track which doesn't happen often! We soon departed. I got to Union station more than 75 minutes before my VIA train was scheduled to depart. I bought a chocolate bar from a variety store in the station and waited for my train to board. I also noticed that the Canadian was running two hours late and was now due in around 11:30 am.
Instead of joining the cue line for #73, I found an outlet and worked on this report for a few minutes. Less than two weeks earlier, VIA Rail had assigned seats on all Quebec City-Windsor corridor trains including train #73. At 11:19, a preboarding announcement was made for VIA train #73. Five minutes later, I saw people had begun to line up for train #73 anyway. I soon joined the line.
Boarding began about 20 minutes prior to departure. When I got to track level, I saw my train had a refurbished LRC business class coach. However, I was traveling in Economy class. I was however seated in refurbished LRC coach #3348. I had a window seat on the left hand side of the train. A few minutes later, I saw the Canadian pull in on the right side of the train behind F40PH-2s 6455 and 6437 but I was unable to film it. A few minutes later, train 43 arrived from Ottawa. It also had a refurbished business class LRC coach in the consist.
Train #73 departed on time. As we left, I filmed the Canadian and train #42 awaiting its 12:20 departure to Ottawa.
Shortly after we left, I saw a D40LF operated for the Porter Airlines shuttle. I guess Porter bought at least one to supplement/replace the El Dorado EZ-Riders they've used in the past.
As we passed the CNE grounds, we passed a VIA train deadheading to VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center. As we passed the Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed the equipment in the yard including a GO Transit bi-level in the new Metrolinx livery, VIA RDC-2 #6205 which I rode in 2007 on my Sudbury trip, and one of the RDC-1s previously assigned to the Vancouver Island run. I bought lunch from a VIA attendant.
The train stopped at Oakville. West of Oakville, we passed a CN local led by a GMD-1 locomotive. VIA train #72 passed, but I only caught a blur from the last coach.
The train stopped at Aldershot. West of Aldershot, an eastbound CN freight passed. The train stopped in Brantford. We departed a few minutes later. Another eastbound CN freight passed.
Awhile later, we were running parallel to a road and saw a pink cement truck. A few minutes later, we were approaching Woodstock. As we passed the Woodstock Transit bus garage, I saw fishbowls 14 and 16 parked outside. Earlier this year, a car had collided with #14 which led to the bus being retired. Of all the buses in the province to hit, they hit the only fishbowl still in revenue service. Prior to the accident, Woodstock Transit had announced that #14 was to be retired when a new bus arrived but was supposed to be preserved. All we can hope for is that parts from #14 are used to fix of #16 and it is preserved instead.
The train stopped at Woodstock and departed a couple minutes later. A little while later, we passed non stop through Ingersoll.
Soon we were approaching London. As we passed the London Transit bus garage, I identified the Classic I had seen previously in the hut with the historic buses as #227. I filmed the equipment from train #85 from Toronto before we stopped at London.
The train passed through Glencoe. At Glencoe, I saw an old caboose on the opposite side of the train so I was unable to film it. VIA train #76 passed, but I was unable to film it. I did see it had a Hep 2 Business class coach instead of an LRC Business class coach.
West of Glencoe, the train slowed to a crawl but we soon sped up.
Several minutes later, we were approaching Chatham. I photographed the CN baggage car on display near the station just before we stopped.
The train departed a few minutes later. West of Chatham, we passed a wind farm. We were soon approaching Windsor. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off at Windsor.
Train #73 arrived into Windsor 8 minutes early. I got off and photographed the train including the refurbished LRC Business class coach.
I then left the station and went to catch a bus. I rode downtown and transferred to the route 1C to the International terminal. After getting directions, I walked two blocks to my hotel and checked in. I went to my room and logged into the Wi-Fi. I then phoned home and let my parents know I had arrived.
A little while later, I walked back to the International Transit Terminal. When I left my hotel, I saw CBC news was having a story, but I wasn't sure what was going on. I saw the news anchor and photographed him.
I heard him say something about people walking around scaffolding. I then went to the terminal and photographed some Transit Windsor buses.
I could see the Detroit People Mover across the river but I had no plans to ride the tunnel bus into Detroit to ride the People Mover or visit the Rosa Parks Transit Center again. I also discovered an indoor water park across the street from the International Transit Terminal. I found out the water park closes at 8:00 pm. I saw Classic #548 pull in. I photographed it.
I was hoping to go for a ride on #548, but it went out of service. I eventually boarded an Orion 7 on route 8 hoping to go by Windsor's airport. After awhile, we didn't go by the airport. I got off the bus and ate dinner at a Wendy's. I had a long wait for the next bus, but it eventually came. I rode back to the International Terminal. I then photographed Classic #548 again.
I then walked back to my hotel and went to my room. I worked on this report some more. I also walked to a variety store and bought some milk. I returned to my hotel and worked on this report some more. I then had a swim in the pool before I returned to the room. I eventually called it a night.
April 9, 2014:
I got up and got dressed. I got my stuff and walked to a nearby restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast, I returned to the International Terminal. Along the way, I saw Nova LFS #553 signed up “Not in Service”. If you read my Washington-Lancaster and my Michigan Trip reports, you'll know #553 was the first Nova LFS I rode back in 1998. When my parents saw it the following morning, it looked strange to them. Needless to say, I photographed #553.
I saw Transit Windsor MCI Classic #542 was in service. I quickly photographed it before I got on.
#542 departed the terminal on route 5. I rode for a few minutes before I got of and photographed the bus and filmed it pulling away.
I saw another bus was coming in the other direction. At first, I thought it was a low floor, but it turned out to be Classic #535. I photographed it before I ran to the stop and got on.
I rode #535 back to the International Transit Terminal. When I got off, I photographed it.
I then wandered to the riverfront and photographed a train on the Detroit People Mover across the river.
I then made my way back to the terminal. I filmed #535 pulling out. I took one more picture of #535 and then photographed Nova LFS #553 which was now in service on the tunnel bus.
Even though I had my passport with me, I did not feel like riding #553 on the tunnel bus because I didn't want the hassle of going through customs. I then boarded an Orion 7 on route 8 and rode to where the route crosses the Essex Terminal Railway; a short line serving Windsor. I was hoping to see some action but I didn't see anything happen. I did photograph the ETR's two cabooses parked on a siding.
I then walked a few blocks and caught a route 1C bus eastbound. I was hoping to go to a hobby shop but I inadvertently went past it. I got off and rode back. I then got off the bus and went to the hobby shop. I didn't buy anything there. I then walked a couple blocks west and had lunch at a Taco Bell. After, I caught a route 3 bus back downtown. I was intending to go the International Transit Terminal again, but I saw a Classic going the other way. I got off and was able to get on the Classic which was #568. #568 is a 1986 vintage GM Classic that previously ran with Durham Region Transit in Oshawa. I rode a few stops before I got off and photographed #568 and filmed it pulling away. One thing I noted was that #568 was running on route 1C which is supposed to be an accessible route. It reminded me of how on my Michigan trip, I rode Classic #533 on route #2 which was also an accessible route.
I then crossed the street and waited for a bus to take me back to the International Transit Terminal. The bus that came was Classic #554 running on route 1A which is another accessible route. I photographed it before I got on.
#554 is an ex St. Thomas Classic. I rode #554 back to the International Transit Terminal. I got off and photographed #554 and some other buses by the terminal.
I noticed Classic #569 was going into service on route 5. I got on and rode to the same stop I rode #542 to earlier and photographed the bus after I got off before I filmed it pulling away.
I saw Classic #544 running on the route 1C. I photographed it and tried to run to it but it pulled away.
I boarded an XDE40 and rode back to the International Transit Terminal. Once there, I photographed two Classics; #535 and MCI Classic #521. I found it odd that #521 was an MCI Classic while #523 which I rode on my last trip to Windsor was a GM Classic, but then I remembered that #521 has been purchased to replace the GM Classic #521 which had fallen off a lift at the garage.
I then photographed Nova LFS #553 again and the ship Gadwell sailing up the river.
A little while later, I saw GM Classic #523 which I rode on the last day of my Michigan trip. Needless to say, I photographed it.
I waited around until I saw Classic #521 going onto service on the route 5. I went for a ride and then filmed it pulling away.
I then walked back to the terminal. I then photographed GM Classic #567, another ex DRT Classic.
A few minutes later, Classic #565 arrived. #565 is a GM Classic originally from Detroit and is equipped with a luminator destination sign. It was running on route 1C and displaying the wheelchair symbol on the destination sign even though the bus was not wheelchair accessible. I photographed it before I got on.
I rode the bus for a few minutes before I got off and filmed the bus pulling away.
I then rode back to the International Transit Terminal. I was hoping to see Classic #539 which is the last bus in Transit Windsor's old yellow livery. I caught a glimpse of it on my Michigan Trip running on route 8 from the Detroit People Mover but I didn't see it later. Unfortunately, it never came. I saw Classic #523 head off on what appeared to be following route 8 so I got on the next route #8 bus which was an Orion 6. I rode to where route 8 meets route 2 in the off chance #539 was running on route #2. I saw that #523 had not replaced a bus on route #8 as the other bus assigned to it which was an Orion 7 came going the other way. I got on and rode back to the International Transit Terminal.
I checked a map and saw there was a second Transit Windsor route that didn't serve the International Transit Terminal in addition to route 2; route 10. I thought there might be a Classic running on that route so I hopped on a route 1C bus to the Tecumseh Mall. When I got there, I didn't see any Classics. I bought dinner at the food court and went back to the transit terminal. While waiting for the next Route 1C bus back to the International Transit Terminal, I filmed VIA train #78 passing on the line running behind the mall and photographed a broken down Orion 7.
The route 1C bus came and I got on and rode back to the International Transit Terminal. Once there, I photographed Classic #535 which was signed up “CASINO”; most likely for Caesar's Casino which is near the terminal
I then went to the water park across the street. I had brought my bathing suit with me so after I paid admission, I went inside.
The water park is small but there are 5 interesting slides. Four of them actually go outside the building, but they're enclosed. The fifth is slide that sends riders uphill; not quite like the loop at the West Edmonton Mall, but pretty cool. I rode the five slides and tried a wake boarding ride which I have never done before. I did so-so for my first time.
After, I left the park; I walked back to my hotel and watched the latest episode of Survivor. I also worked on this report some more. I then walked to the nearby variety store before I returned to my hotel. I worked on this report for a little while longer. I eventually set the alarm on my phone for 8:00 am and called it a night.
April 10, 2014:
I got up and got dressed I finished packing. I noticed I didn't have my train tickets! I looked all around the room without luck. I figured I'd have to buy my ticket again. After I was done packing, I checked out and walked to the restaurant for breakfast.
After breakfast, I returned to the International Transit terminal and I saw Classic #521 in service. I photographed it.
I filmed #521 leaving the terminal. I had decided not to ride in case I saw #539. However, it didn't show. I photographed Nova LFS #551 in service on the tunnel bus.
I eventually boarded Classic #544 which I saw the day before, but I didn't get to ride. I photographed it before I got on.
I rode #544 to Wyandotte Street and got off. I photographed #544 and filmed it pulling away. I then photographed Classic #521 again which was going to other way.
I then waited for a route #2 bus to come. When it did, it was an Orion 7. I rode it to Goyeau Street near where I had stayed the last time I was in Windsor. I hung around for a little while. I saw Nova LFS #553 go into the Detroit-Windsor tunnel. I attempted to photograph it, for some reason, my camera was acting up. I ended up missing it. I photographed an Orion 6 on a seniors special.
I eventually boarded a bus to the International Transit Terminal again hoping to see #553 there, but it wasn't. I photographed Classic #544 again and filmed it pulling away. I took another bus to Wyandotte Street and walked over to a McDonald's for lunch.
The building in the background is the water park I visited the day before.
After lunch, I saw #553 again. This time I was able to photograph it.
My bus came seconds later. It was a D40LFr. I rode to a block from the VIA station and got off. I went into the station and went to the ticket counter to get a new ticket for train #76. However, it turned out my tickets had fallen out of my pocked while I was on train #73 and they had it at the station so I didn't have to buy a new ticket! The person at the ticket counter said that even if they didn't find it, I wouldn't have to pay for a new ticket anyway. I gladly took my tickets and sat down. I saw the equipment for train 76 back in. I filmed it backing in and then photographed it.
Boarding began just before 1:30 pm. I was seated in LRC coach #3338, an unrefurbished coach which was dirty. I had a window seat on the left hand side of the train. We departed on time.
Shortly after we left, I photographed Classic #529 at the Tecumseh Mall.
We passed the yard with the shells of several ex Transit Windsor fishbowls. I had missed it when we arrived. This time, I filmed it when we passed. I also saw what looked like an ex OC Transpo fishbowl there as well.
I bought a chocolate bar and moved back to my assigned seat. I worked on this trip report some more. The train stopped at Chatham. As we departed Chatham, I photographed the CN baggage car on display near the station.
I continued to work on the report. The train stopped at Glencoe. At Glencoe, I photographed the old caboose on display.
After we left Glencoe, I went online and worked on this report. Around 3:00, I knew that we were to pass train #73 at some point. However for awhile we were running on single track. We eventually passed #73 west of London.
A few minutes later, we were approaching the London station. I attempted to film the Aboutown yard with an ex London Classic which I had photographed when I went to London last August. I also saw two ex Belleville Orion 6s with two repainted Classics nearby, but I was unable to film them. We stopped at London a minute later.
At London, a big crowd got on and I gained a seatmate. When we departed, I filmed the equipment that would be tonight’s train 88 to Toronto.
As we passed non stop through Woodstock, I filmed the three box cars on display by the station and the Woodstock Transit bus garage with the two fishbowls parked outside. We stopped at Brantford a little while later.
We were soon on the outskirts of Hamilton. The train stopped at Aldershot. I filmed train #83 at Aldershot which was bound for London. My seatmate got off at Aldershot.
Just before Oakville, I filmed the ex TTC D40 parked in a yard beside the tracks. We stopped at Oakville. I saw some Orion 6s in service there. We passed a few GO trains.
As we passed VIA’s Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed the equipment in the yard. While I was filming the yard, VIA train #75 passed on the other side of the train.
We were nearing Toronto. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off. Train #76 arrived into Toronto on time. I got off and took some photos.
I then went downstairs and phoned home. I then got on the subway and rode to Finch. I met my dad and we headed home by way of a grocery store.
I would have liked to have ridden Transit Windsor Classic #539 since it’s the only Classic left in the old Transit Windsor yellow livery. I also would have liked to ride GM Classic #523 and Nova LFS #553 but not enough to go into the U.S. on the tunnel bus.
Still, I rode more than half of the active Classics and saw 75% of the active fleet including the buses I rode. I also would have liked to have seen the active Orion 5 they have as well.
Both trains ran on time and I lucked out that I didn’t have to pay for a return ticked on train #76. I don’t know if it would have helped when I rode the Adirondack where I missed train #56 due to a careless mistake. However, I’ll be more careful in the future.
As for me, my next trip will be at the end of May when I go to North Carolina for the event that kept me off the TTS Classic charter in Windsor. Until next time…