CN, BNSF and Leased units lead a freight eastbound at Milepost 30 on the Halton Subdivision between Milton and Georgetown in 2005. This was (and is) one of my favourite places to go sit and railfan, though it used to be 10 minutes from my parents house, now its about a 45 minute drive to go there, and I don’t get out that often.
Canadian Pacific 1151, formerly an SW9, now a yard slug remote control unit (by now I mean 2002 when I took this near Agincourt Yard in Toronto). Note the lights for remote control signalling and plated over exhausts, this is a locomotive in outline only. Similarly, 5476 behind is an SD40-2 that has similarly been converted to yard use with another locomotive being used to control it.
To remind winter that its attempt at a last blast on the weekend is unwelcome, a shot of real winter at Fallowfield Station after disembarking from Train 48 from Toronto to Ottawa in early November 2018.
Eastbound GO Train at Long Branch, viewed from the Browns Line Road bridge over the tracks. Look closely and you’ll see there are two locomotives, an unusal situation that occurs after a locomotive has either had repairs or is newly delivered with Metrolinx for GO Service. A new/repaired locomotive is run with a second just in case something goes wrong in the break in period so as to not disrupt service.
First, there was no Tuesday Train last week as I forgot, and by the time I remembered, it was just too late to do it!
So this week, something special and rare. An Amtrak GE Dash 8-32BWH leading Amtrak Train 63/VIA Rail Train 98, the “Maple Leaf” from New York City to Toronto. It’s seen here at Sunnyside in Toronto from the Footbridge connecting King/Queen/Roncessvalles to the Martin Goodman Trail on the waterfront. While the Amtrak Dash 8’s have been rare sightings in Toronto, this arrival on Saturday March 16, 2019 was its third consecutive appearance in Toronto. The equipment for the Maple Leaf is on a two-day cycle. One day the equipment runs from New York to Toronto, the next day it does the return trip, and so on. This week, 514 arrived in Toronto on Tuesday (I found out after it had left), Thursday (where I tried to get a shot but chose a location where the light failed and the monsoon started before it arrived), and Saturday, where I didn’t know for sure it was coming, but had enough free time in the evening to take the shot at going out to see if I got lucky. On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, I guess the Irish side of my background was working and a little bit of railfan luck came my way!
The reason these are rare is Amtrak only owns 18 (2 have been transfered to the State of California from the original 20), and generally they are used for switching yards or on longer distance trains as emergency fill ins. Generally when they have appeared in Toronto, its been a one-off because of a failed locomotive and the need for an emergency replacement. The fact that it has stayed on the route for 3 complete cycles now, means either Amtrak is really short locomotives, or the crews have been happy and there hasn’t been a reason to pull it off the route. Either way, it’s another rarely seen locomotive in Toronto. The Dash 8’s are a variant of the Dash 8 freight locomotives built by GE, the biggest being the ability for the locomotive to divert power from propulsion to provide Head End Power to power the passenger coaches.
The Maple Leaf in June 2017, with the normal Amtrak motive power, an EMD P42DC.
The shot below shows Dash 8 514 powering along the Gardiner Expressway from an angle that shows off its freight locomotive design heritage much more than a traditional passenger locomotive.
Sometimes you regret your decisions in life, like going to IKEA on a snowy Saturday afternoon, until when you leave the parking lot and you find a unicorn…or in this case, a Canadian Pacific Railway switching crew working in the daylight, and on the Canpa, two rare things in one shot!! The crew was taking a break in CPR 2269, an EMD GP20C-ECO, technically a “rebuild” as enough parts from a GP9 were reused that it doesn’t qualify as a new locomotive. The 2nd unit facing south away from the camera is CPR 3040, an EMD GP38-2. Sometimes a trip to the unhappiest place on earth leads to something a bit more fun!