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19,000kms zig-zagging across the USA and Canada, April/May 2018


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#141 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 07:43 AM

The unloved Saskatoon station. Enquiries in relation to Via Rails Adopt a Station program should be sent to PO Box No-one Cares, Toronto GPO.Attached File  86871370-D631-462B-BC97-73BDFC958E87.jpeg   76.32KB   11 downloads
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#142 cpotisch

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 08:48 AM

My photo of the river at Winnipeg I thought I would miss, as I was in the diner at the start of a meal-time. However, the train stopped on it for around an hour after leaving the station, 300m earlier. I was delighted to be able to capture the scene from my room after the meal service had concluded.

Dont you agree it was worth the delay?attachicon.gif26AD328F-9CD5-4B0C-98F1-14A83912E99B.jpeg

I most definitely would.  ^_^


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#143 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 10:06 AM

Via Rail mightn’t run the timeliest of rail services, and their management personnel might be responsibility-dodgers, but their on-train and in-station service workers are ace.

I had a feeling I had not packed my small camera at the time I left the train. I didn’t want to rummage through all my belongings on the platform to check. I had what I thought was a thorough look-through of my cabin (including under my hat), but couldn’t see it.

In the light of The Great Chicago GPS Incident, I was not inclined to make any assumption about its fate. I assumed total culpability. It was possible that I had klutzily placed it somewhere in my belongings. And in any case, I had checked before leaving the station that any property left on the train would be handed in to the Baggage Area personnel, the same place I stored my baggage until I was to return later that afternoon for another Via Rail journey.

So I left for a day with friends to Toronto’s east, knowing I would be back at the station to collect my bags, before I then departed for some time with friends to Toronto’s west. I could check then if anything had been handed in.

On my return, I collected my bags, and asked if an orphan camera had been found on Train #2 earlier that morning.

I described the camera and its cover, and I could see the delight on the face of the two blokes staffing the desk. It had been handed in and they were obviously happy that it was about to be claimed by its rightful owner.

They had checked through the images to see if there was any chance in identifying anything about who it belonged to. They wondered which countries had appeared in the pix. And at least one was a football fan because he identified an image of a ticket for a Europa League match I’d attended in the Turkish city of Konya where they played a famous Ukrainian side, Shaktar Donestk.

We had a little conversation about some of the places, and that game, but their happiness at being part of a good news story was obvious.

Good on them, and the train-cleaning crew who found it.

As part of the process they underwent to try to find the images, they also seemed to take a couple of pix by accident. So I have three to display. One is a blurry accidental selfie, perhaps of the train crew member who found it trying to work out how to call up the images. The second is another accidental shot of part of the cabin, probably indicating that’s where it was found.

The third looks as if is part of the baggage crews’ front desk.

Accidental images can also tell an interesting story, so I will keep them, with fond memories of the diligence of the Via Rail staff involved.
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#144 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 10:12 AM

Accidental Images - Pic 1

Attached File  058BE050-1AC7-4230-AC82-8D596C5F90C0.jpeg   40.05KB   7 downloads


Accidental Images - Pic 2

Attached File  549561C7-AB86-45AE-84F4-70E1A17FEAEC.jpeg   48.07KB   6 downloads


Accidental Images - Pic 3

Attached File  F89E0728-3174-423B-B7B1-1FD5232E4CFF.jpeg   83.57KB   6 downloads
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#145 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 07:37 PM

Last Trains

I had arranged to see some friends, Karen and John, who I’d met the previous year on another trip in Yurp. We’d based our meet-up on the basis that I’d find my way to a nearby GO station on my day of arrival and stay with them that evening before departing the next day.

Train #2’s very kate arrival meant I would see them once they had awoken on the morning of my 0200h arrival and make it a flying visit during the day only.

After coordinating our best time to meet up, I took a GO train from Toronto to Pickering, east along the Lake Ontario shoreline for about half-an-hour.

The arriving trains were disgorging full loads of Toronto city workers as you would expect on the morning of a working day. These were large trains of ten double-decker carriage. I am sure I counted one which was eleven.

When I boarded in for a trip in the opposite direction, I had next to no fellow passengers. Such is the life of s suburban train.

The ride was fast, on schedule, and the line and its stations seemed to be in very good order.

I met my friends, spent a number of interesting hours catching up, sharing a lovely meal which would have been for the previous evening, and having a squiz at where they lived, and then it was off again.

The GO train back to town was similarly as you’d want from a suburban carrier - capacious, on time, and clean.

Well done those who are part of Toronto’s GO trains.

I collected my stored bags from the folk at the Baggage Area and got the good news that my camera had been handed in (see above).

While finding my way to the Baggage Claim area, I noticed a long snaking line of those waiting to board my next train: Via Rail’s 1635h service to Brampton on Train #83. My ticked showed I had a reserved seat in Car 5, seat 8A, so I was unconcerned about the quese’s length.

Presently, the lin bgan to move forward and I found my way past the ticket-checkers to my car and seat.

It was another short ride of just over an hour. We went through Toronto’s western suburbs not far from the north-western coast of Lake Ontario before hitting the farmlands and smaller communities along the run. The train’s top speed was 130kph - a speed which it maintained for long stretches at a time.

I detrained at the pretty little station at Bramton to meet two of my next hosts, Joyce and Louise, who I’d met on the same trip as Karen and John.

I would get a chance to have a few days in the same location, have a shower in a bathroom which did not shake, and pour a cup of tea without getting half of it in the saucer.

I would not bord a train until my final ones of this trip: a return on Via Rail from Brampton to Toronto, and an UP train from there to the airport. Time constraints meant I had to get back to my starting point in Philadelhia to catch my flight home to Oz, by air, rather than on the ground, a matter of some regret.
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#146 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 07:40 PM

Go Train loco 659 at Toronto station awaiting a run alng the Lakeshore East lineAttached File  576768EF-2523-479D-99F8-9E8A362F01A8.jpeg   138.04KB   6 downloads
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#147 cpotisch

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 08:07 PM

An MPI MP40, in the old livery. I've got a bit of a soft spot for the GO-comotives (yes, I'm punny). Did you see any other GO locos? 


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#148 mcropod

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 09:54 PM

I saw scads of them, both those which were going through the GO platforms at Toronto station, as well as what looked like resting ones at a staging point for them off by the side of the mainline tracks a little to the west of the station.

I don’t have your level of awareness to have worked out much about their history or loco classification, sorry.
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#149 cpotisch

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Posted 19 May 2018 - 10:55 PM

That's totally fine. I'm just a casual GO fan.  ^_^


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#150 mcropod

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Posted 20 May 2018 - 10:33 PM

I depart Canada tomorrow to return to my USA entry point of the journey, Philadelphia.

Today I had this view from my diner:Attached File  B7A83353-4342-46A8-BCCA-1D3725F22C3D.jpeg   122.12KB   7 downloads

And earlier in the arvo, the view from a little closer:
Attached File  C52E053F-B837-439E-8143-9B6E7E96D6B2.jpeg   66.73KB   6 downloads

Attached File  0CA065A3-0B8E-4805-B873-E93791E4503D.jpeg   44.82KB   6 downloads

Attached File  3B892E31-CBE0-4767-81CB-A9B9D0B1A546.jpeg   44.63KB   6 downloads

And in calmer waters downstream
Attached File  CBC894E4-F6E2-400D-BF21-5BD156FD605D.jpeg   73.28KB   6 downloads
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#151 cpotisch

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 08:40 AM

I depart Canada tomorrow to return to my USA entry point of the journey, Philadelphia.

Today I had this view from my diner:attachicon.gifB7A83353-4342-46A8-BCCA-1D3725F22C3D.jpeg

And earlier in the arvo, the view from a little closer:
attachicon.gifC52E053F-B837-439E-8143-9B6E7E96D6B2.jpeg

attachicon.gif0CA065A3-0B8E-4805-B873-E93791E4503D.jpeg

attachicon.gif3B892E31-CBE0-4767-81CB-A9B9D0B1A546.jpeg

And in calmer waters downstream
attachicon.gifCBC894E4-F6E2-400D-BF21-5BD156FD605D.jpeg

Gorgeous. I absolutely loved Niagara Falls when I went in 2012.  ^_^


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#152 Bob Dylan

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 10:11 AM

Nice pics!😎

And even though it's a tourist trap of the first order, everyone should visit Niagara Falls at least once in their life!( the Ontario side is the place to be!😄)

Edited by Bob Dylan, 21 May 2018 - 10:13 AM.

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"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#153 mcropod

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 12:07 PM

I took my last domestic trains in the north American continent this morning, and I’m now safely through USA’s customs and border control procedures, even although I am still in Toronto. The call will come shortly to board an Air Canada flight to Philadelphia.

My journey started at Via Rail’s Brantford station where I took Train #70 Torontowards. The train’s cruising speed was around 145kph as it made its way on the eighty-minute trip to the city.

It tracks the northern shore of Lake Ontario for the latter part of its journey, and passed GO Trains headed west as it sped into town. Today is a public holiday here, so I wasn’t in competition with any work-bound commuters, a bonus I discovered only a few weeks beforehand.

So the train was not full, but still well-patronised.

On arriving at Toronto Union Station, it was just a short, well-signposted, walk to the airport UP service. That was running about every quarter-of-an-hour. I gave myself plenty of time, so wasn’t fussed when I was still in the ticket-line when one train departed.

The UP service is an above-ground train, sharing some of the alignment with suburban and inter-city traffic, but branching off onto its own lines after the last of the two intermediate stations it services before the airport.

It is a short train, with plenty of luggage space, and draws up close to Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. A short walk leads you right in amongst it. And at just 25 minutes or so doors close to doors open, it is a speedy service. I clocked it at just under 100kph, and that seemed to be its top speed.

It has a very sharp curve just before reaching the airport station, and it sounds like it’s near the limit for the train as the wheels loudly protest and shake throughout the turn.

Both trains had wifi, and power outlets for charging devices.
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#154 mcropod

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 12:15 PM

CN loco #4713 on shunting operations at Brantfords yards on a public holiday Monday morningAttached File  5B42D4FB-FCC2-4100-9C3A-6EBBA1BBA531.jpeg   75.7KB   4 downloads

Brantford Railway Station buildings
Attached File  38BB7A42-8B03-4261-96E7-6A3A447F2E42.jpeg   136.94KB   4 downloads

Toronto Union Station, Via Rails Info Desk in the Great Hall which is currently undergoing restoration work Attached File  23D409EB-D274-4EC6-A82F-4B90C57360F5.jpeg   191.71KB   4 downloads
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#155 railiner

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Posted 21 May 2018 - 06:42 PM

Ha! I was in Montreal this morning, on the way to Jonquiere...also enjoyed the light Victoria Day traffic. :)
metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#156 mcropod

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 01:51 PM

I’m away in a few hours for my Qatar flights home.

I wasn’t able to take advantage of some spare hours in Philly this morning. My back was a bit crook and I didn’t want to risk it blowing up on the day of departure.

Thankyou for your readership and comments. I had a blast.

I put together my trip and booked it direct with Amtrak and Via Rail, as well as the necessary hotels, from my Oz home in the sticks, after taking into account your input, gleaned from the pages of this site.

Part of the reason for posting details of my trip were to add to the range of information and advice for subsequent travellers. And as a bit of a payback for the advice and help I received from these pages.

I hope future travellers have as much fun on the rails as I did, and that the on-train services I encountered are continued.

The first joy of travelling by LD train is seeing the country in a way that is not otherwise possible. The second is making contact with, and learning the stories of, your fellow passengers. I was privileged to learn some wonderful life-stories; remarkable, astonishing, life-affirming ones, from colleague passengers, who just like me, were ordinary folk, living ordinary lives.

As my travels commenced, I realised I was making an editorial decision not to refer to anyone’s ethno-religious background or race unless it was a key part of their story. So I sat with this policy deliberately.

The two nuns on the Capitol Limited, the young Amish travellers on the Empire Builder, and the now London-resident Kenyan Portugese Indian family trio on The Canadian I think were the only times I did so, because without doing so, I did not think it was possible to tell their stories. In just about every other case, this was not relevant, so I thought it would be gratuitous to do so.

I loved meeting my fellow passengers and having a chat with them. If you take a LD train trip and seek to isolate yourself from your travel-companions you will miss this important aspect of train travel. If you only make contact with people who look like you, you’ll also miss out.

Reach out - say “G’day”.

Governments and others who insist they speak for us assume they can control how we think of each other based on crude generalisations. Make them irrelevant in this matter - that’s for us to decide when we get a chance to have a conversation with a fellow member of the human race at a meal table or in the sight-seeing car.

Learn something - share something. And the LD train is the perfect place to do so.
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#157 Bob Dylan

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 03:17 PM

Safe trip home mate, and come see us again!😊😊😊
"There's Something About a Train! It's Magic!"-- 1970s Amtrak Ad
 "..My heart is warm with the friends I make,and better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#158 cpotisch

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 07:20 PM

I’m away in a few hours for my Qatar flights home.
I wasn’t able to take advantage of some spare hours in Philly this morning. My back was a bit crook and I didn’t want to risk it blowing up on the day of departure.
Thankyou for your readership and comments. I had a blast.
I put together my trip and booked it direct with Amtrak and Via Rail, as well as the necessary hotels, from my Oz home in the sticks, after taking into account your input, gleaned from the pages of this site.
Part of the reason for posting details of my trip were to add to the range of information and advice for subsequent travellers. And as a bit of a payback for the advice and help I received from these pages.
I hope future travellers have as much fun on the rails as I did, and that the on-train services I encountered are continued.
The first joy of travelling by LD train is seeing the country in a way that is not otherwise possible. The second is making contact with, and learning the stories of, your fellow passengers. I was privileged to learn some wonderful life-stories; remarkable, astonishing, life-affirming ones, from colleague passengers, who just like me, were ordinary folk, living ordinary lives.
As my travels commenced, I realised I was making an editorial decision not to refer to anyone’s ethno-religious background or race unless it was a key part of their story. So I sat with this policy deliberately.
The two nuns on the Capitol Limited, the young Amish travellers on the Empire Builder, and the now London-resident Kenyan Portugese Indian family trio on The Canadian I think were the only times I did so, because without doing so, I did not think it was possible to tell their stories. In just about every other case, this was not relevant, so I thought it would be gratuitous to do so.
I loved meeting my fellow passengers and having a chat with them. If you take a LD train trip and seek to isolate yourself from your travel-companions you will miss this important aspect of train travel. If you only make contact with people who look like you, you’ll also miss out.
Reach out - say “G’day”.
Governments and others who insist they speak for us assume they can control how we think of each other based on crude generalisations. Make them irrelevant in this matter - that’s for us to decide when we get a chance to have a conversation with a fellow member of the human race at a meal table or in the sight-seeing car.
Learn something - share something. And the LD train is the perfect place to do so.

Wow. Well said. :) Hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy a train trip like that someday. It’s reassuring to know that it was as fun in practice as it seems on paper. So long, and as Bob said, come back soon.
Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

#159 SarahZ

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 08:16 PM

What an amazing trip. I loved your pictures and stories. The visual aid with the coffee creamers serving as train cars was one of my favorites.  ^_^


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Amtrak Miles: 48,312
 
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#160 MikefromCrete

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Posted 22 May 2018 - 09:15 PM

Thanks for your continuing reports on your trip. They were excellent and it sounds like you had a good time. Have a safe trip home and come back some day. 


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