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January 1st, 2004
Steve, Laura, and I went trackside to see who was working on New Year's Day. For a holiday, the tracks were pretty busy and in under 2 hours we caught 3 trains.
January 3rd, 2004
Steve, Laura and I headed to Ingersoll to railfan. We met Walter there first thing in the morning and Chris joined us in the afternoon... it was a real party!
January 11th, 2004
We were going to go to a hobby shop in Burlington... We never did make it though. We caught 432 on the siding with 2 depressed-centre flatcars, and 85, the International, meeting there. The car we were in needed to be boosted. We changed cars and headed to Guelph Junction to see if there was anything there... there was. We caught 6 trains including a CWR unit train, in the span of about 2 hours, and there were more coming when we finally called it a day.
January 17th, 2004
Steve, Chris, Paul, and I headed to Guelph Junction, Milton, Oakville, Burlington West, back to Guelph Junction, and then home in a great circle route of train tracks and hobby shops. The second stop at Guelph Junction yielded an SD90/43MAC doubling the escarpment grade.
January 18th, 2004
We were just going to go catch 153 at Puslinch and come home...
January 24th, 2004
Steve and I headed up to Ingersoll for the day. We caught 26 trains, though missed photographing a couple of them. The Telus engine came through unannounced at a healthy 80 miles per hour and we missed the Illinois Central Operation Lifesaver unit while chasing a CP train on the St. Thomas sub. We saw 4 CP trains and all of them were powered by 2 GP9s.
January 31st, 2004
February 1st, 2004
On February 1st, 2003, I started railfanning. On that day, I borrowed a camera, and I shot trains. It was a great day. On February 1st, 2004, I wanted to celebrate the first anniversary of my train chasing by heading out. We missed a parade at Guelph Junction, went up to Scotch Block, got stuck in the snow... CAA finally showed up as the only train in the area came by. Meanwhile, my camera's LCD ceased to function, so I could no longer see what the camera was doing. Oh well. It's in for warranty service now, maybe they can figure out what happened - and fix it.
February 15th, 2004
With my regular camera getting a new LCD at Canon, I borrowed Laura's point and shoot analog camera and got the pictures back a week later on CD. This is the result of one roll of film. We caught 2 ex-Amtrak MMA F40PHs and CP 9303 switching the Waterloo sub. Interesting day.
February 22nd, 2004
My digital camera returned, we set off for the Copetown train show and made a day of it -- and what a day! Over 200 photos.
February 28th, 2004
I had to test out my new car's ability to serve as the new railfan vehicle. Off to CP and CN we went!
March 1st, 2004
Nothing like a new car to get me trackside. My old car died November 12th and I finally buckled and bought a new one. Armed with a new car, I spent the day at Guelph Junction on my laptop working, and seeing what I could see. As luck would have it, I saw a lot - starting with CP SD90MAC-H 9301, one of the 4 6000HP units CP has.
March 3rd, 2004
I spent a little under 6 hours at Guelph Junction on my laptop working, but managed to catch 12 trains (and miss OSR!) and a self-propelled crane. Among the interesting stuff was a UP Dash 9, the crane, and the day was finished off by CP 8218 leading a track inspection train - which I tried unsuccessfully to chase East.
March 6th, 2004
Our first big trip in my new car... Chris, Steve, and I went to Ingersoll hoping to catch a lot of CN trains. We ended up catching more CP than CN, including a meet at the Beachville siding normally used for parking freight cars.
March 8th, 2004
I worked at Scotch Block for the afternoon.
March 9th, 2004
March 10th, 2004
I drove out to Guelph Junction and worked from GPRS from there. At the end of the day, the car's alternator died and I got towed home.
March 19th, 2004
A beautiful day and a lot of trains. What more could you ask for?
March 22nd, 2004
Armed with a brand new car battery actually capable of handling my laptop and all the other gadgets I run, I headed out for a day of trackside work.
March 28th, 2004
We planned to have 6 of us go to Ingersoll for the day. Like all well-laid battle plans, it did not survive contact with the enemy and Steve and Matt ended up going alone. I went to the Kitchener train show at Bingemans and checked out the Kitchener GEXR yard before leaving town. I missed GEXR 432 by only a few seconds... Late afternoon Laura Chris and I managed a trip to Guelph Junction. There we caught an Eastbound with 2 leasers - both having failed coming up to Guelph Junction. The crew told RTC that they weren't sure if they'd make the final grade into Toronto with only one engine and over 7000 tonnes, but that they'd try to start the second engine at the bottom of the hill and hope it lasted all the way to the top. Nuts.
April 5th, 2004
Laura and I went to Guelph Junction and Scotch Block for the day and saw pathetically few trains, but we did catch a GCFX-CN-GECX-GECX lashup on CN, with the two GECXs being ex SP and UP tunnel-motors.
April 9th, 2004
Good Friday saw me and Laura head to Puslinch at the crossing at mile 46.76 and then a couple of crossings West of Guelph Junction. It was a very good day for unusual stuff.
April 10th, 2004
Laura drove the car for the first time and took us to Scotch Block mile 30 Halton sub. There was a long lull in the afternoon but for the most part it was fairly busy.
April 13th, 2004
On my way back from the first day at Real World Linux 2004 Conference and Expo in Toronto, I heard on my scanner that the engine on my train was VIA 6406, one of two VIA engines on my Most Wanted list due to having an HO Via engine with that number.
April 14th, 2004
On my way to the second day at Real World Linux 2004 Conference and Expo in Toronto, I wanted to take a picture of VIA 6406 which was leading the morning's #86, one of two VIA engines on my Most Wanted list due to having an HO Via engine with that number.
April 18th, 2004
Amtrak's train called "The International" from Toronto to Chicago's final Sunday in existence... 27 people took the train together as a group trip up to Sarnia for a final-miles excursion, through the GHRA.
April 23rd, 2004
Amtrak #85/#88, the International, ended on this day with the final run being a morning Westbound from Toronto to Chicago. It went through Guelph with its trainee Via trainset in tow. Via with an engine and 3 LRCs will be taking over the route only as far as Sarnia. Later in the day, Steve, Chris, and I met up at Guelph Junction for a few regular freight trains.
April 26th, 2004
Laura returned from the US on the Maple Leaf. I spent the day at Guelph Junction and then went down to Aldershot to pick her up, catching CP 166 on CN.
April 28th, 2004
Laura and I headed down to Guelph Junction for the day to work from there.
April 29th, 2004
Laura and I headed down to work from the Junction again. The day started out nicely with OSR and CP's Guelph Junction turn working together in the Goderich wye. At 9pm, we found out two Alaska units were dispatched out of London on train 724. We scrambled to Galt station where we caught them at 23:48, catching them again at Guelph Line road in Campbellville at 00:16.
May 5th, 2004
Another Alaska unit scramble. ARR 4322 departed London at 16:45, which would normally mean arrival at Guelph Junction at around 18:15. It came about 21:30.
May 7th, 2004
Laura and I headed to Guelph Junction for 10 solid hours and caught 3 7-engine trains among a variety of others.
May 16th, 2004
Laura, Steve, and I headed down to Ingersoll for a few hours. Among the highlights was an Ontario Northland SD75i on horsepower hour repayments.
May 21st, 2004
Laura and I headed down to Ingersoll to catch 148 and then headed up to Scotch Block to catch it again. It had a pair of E8 6-axle widebody units with a business train.
May 25th, 2004
I spent a few hours working from the Junction after hearing about dimensional loads on the scanner. Apparently they only meant excess-height cars, and I only caught 4 CP trains, a hy-rail truck, and OSR.
May 29th, 2004
Steve advised that there were 3 dimensional loads parked at CN Guelph Junction after we heard discussion of them on the scanner. Steve and I chased 432 around downtown Guelph, though GEXR #432 only took one of the loads. The remaining 2 left a little bit later on a second 432, but I never did get to see them.
June 3rd, 2004
Jay advised there was a UP dash 8 eastbound. UP 9153 went through but my camera didn't cooperate, so I caught a picture of it going off in the distance. Them's the breaks.
June 5th, 2004
The Royal Canadian Pacific travelled to Windsor on the 4th. On the 5th it returned from Windsor and headed to Hamilton, then up to Guelph. It's probably the first train in three decades that has gone straight from Hamilton to Guelph up the Hamilton and ex-Goderich subs.
June 10th, 2004
Taking a few minutes out of a busy day, Laura and I took pictures of Amtrak's Vermonter heading through Brattleboro. The tracks through Brattleboro are on the New England Central (NECR) and operate at the same frequency as the CN Dundas sub. The detector in Brattleboro uses a distinctly synthesised voice and gives both axle and car count.
June 15th, 2004
I wanted to catch Amtrak open hoppers parked in Brattleboro that I'd seen on the 14th without a camera handy. They were already gone! I did find the detector on the NECR line through Brattleboro. It's the first crossing out of the city to the West about 3 miles from town, at mile 116.
June 16th, 2004
Finally, just before leaving Brattleboro, I heard an EOT on my scanner and got to the tracks just on time to catch a short local train heading North on the NECR tracks in town.
June 28th, 2004
Laura and I married on June 27th. Our honeymoon consisted of travelling from the wedding site in Ste-Agathe, Quebec to our home in Guelph, Ontario, following train tracks and interesting towns. On the 28th, we started at the Chateau Veaudreuil, travelled to the CSX Montreal sub on the South shore, headed back up to Coteau, and then went to Cornwall. From there, we travelled to Smiths Falls and spent the night.
June 29th, 2004
The second day of our honeymoon saw us originating in Smiths Falls, where we spent much of the day, before heading through Perth South to Belleville, through Prince Edward County. We spent the night at Brighton.
June 30th, 2004
The third day of Laura's and my honeymoon saw us at Newtonville for the middle part of the day. In the evening we took a sight-seeing flight out of Guelph airfield which lasted a little under two hours. In that time we travelled from Guelph to Guelph Junction to Cambridge back to Guelph Junction to Burlington to Toronto, around the CN tower, back toward Hamilton, up the Hamilton sub, back again to Guelph Junction, up Guelph Line road to the streetcar museum after taking a brief tour to take pictures of southbound OSR, and finally took pictures of GEXR 431 stopped for a hot journal at axle 271 before coming in for landing.
July 2nd, 2004
Laura and I had to run into town for a minute and caught GEXR at CN Guelph Junction running light.
July 3rd, 2004
CSX units led 432 through Guelph at lunch time on Saturday.
July 4th, 2004
CSX SD70ACes ran light through Guelph running as GEXR's only power for 432/431.
July 5th, 2004
Laura and I caught OSR up at the interchange. They headed South a few minutes later with about 30 cars down to lower yards and PDI.
July 8th, 2004
We had reason to believe that GEXR 432 may be carrying the long dead 177 and 901 GP9s that had spent a long time parked in Kitchener and been moved on July 7th into Kitchener yard. When the train did finally come, it had neither the GP9s nor the CSX engines it had recently been sporting, but was exceedingly long.
July 11th, 2004
Laura and I ran up to the North end of town to run some errands when we got a call from Steve that 432 was on its way and OSR was to move a transformer. We caught 432 at CN Guelph Junction/Alma Rd. Later in the day, Chris and I caught 431 at Alma/Guelph Jct again and then going over the Hanlon as they set off some cars at the Junction. Then we moved on to River Run centre where we caught OSR with a little flatbed and a transformer with no time to spare - they arrived at the same time we did.
July 14th, 2004
July 17th, 2004
Laura and I tried to go to Ingersoll for the day and found it dead as a doornail. After several hours of boredom, we headed for home and the parade finally started. We went on to the small community of Creditville where we watched the parade until we got too hungry.
July 25th, 2004
July 30th, 2004
CP 9300, the last in CP's 6000HP roster for me to photograph, was heard at Coakley so I headed down to the Junction to watch it.
August 7th, 2004
We caught GEXR with 2 CSX units going through Guelph again. There were 5 parked in Stratford but the same two seem to be on 432/431 every time.
August 8th, 2004
We picked up my mother-in-law at Aldershot, pausing frequently to take pictures...
August 15, 2004
I went up to Scotch Block for the afternoon, leaving when it started raining.
August 17th, 2004
On the way back from the North end, I found OSR switching on the South industrial. Later in the day, Walter called in that a BCR unit was through Ingersoll about 13:40. It finally showed up at mile 30 at about 17:00 after lifting at both Beachville and Aldershot.
August 19th, 2004
I stopped at mile 30 for three trains before heading down to Aldershot to pick up Laura.
August 21st, 2004
Laura, Steve, and I went to CN territory to see what we could see. And boy did we see. CSX, BNSF, a business car, and a spiderman engine were just the highlights.
August 29th, 2004
GEXR and OSR were both working Guelph on this very wet Sunday so I went to see who I'd find. I never found GEXR working but OSR was working PDI. Later, GEXR 431 came back with 4837 and 4839 - two more CSX units in testing.
August 30th, 2004
OSR had 2 trains, GEXR 580 broke down at the Junction, 432 had CSX engines leading... just another day in Guelph. At CP we found a crane working. 159 went through, tripping the hotbox detector at Puslinch, and CN was busy but didn't have anything particularly unusual.
September 2nd, 2004
OSR was running with ex-BCR unit OSRX 646 in third position. A scramble call later I was at the tracks.
September 9th, 2004
Ingersoll was busy and the only place in the region that was not being rained out.
September 12th, 2004
Sundays don't normally have too many trains, but railfans are in abundant supply. This Sunday, though, there was no shortage of either, with CN even yielding a little foreign power...
September 18th, 2004
CP 5431, a CP engine in UP colours, got a clearance from Kinnear to the Junction. That was all the motivation I needed to go spend a couple of hours at CP territory. In that time I saw 7 GP9s and 9 other engines, a bit off-balance from normal.
September 19th, 2004
CP had 3 trains coming up the Hamilton sub, so I went to see if I could catch them. I ended up spending 8 hours at the Junction and seeing only about 5 trains in burning cloudless conditions, and missed the first Hamilton sub train which was the Automax!
September 22nd, 2004
It has been said that the CP is the SleePR. This day saw some interesting trains with a lot of long, hot waits.
September 26, 2004
Sundays on CP are about as dead as it gets, but this Sunday saw 4 trains in a few hours and so I went home satisfied.
September 28th, 2004
GEXR gave an empty Schnabel to OSR to give to ABB. I missed the move by seconds... but it has to come out soon, I'll try to get that move.
September 29th, 2004
432 had CSX engines, 580 had back-to-back RailAmerica-painted engines, 85 had a whole 2 cars.. another busy day in Guelph.
October 1st, 2004
OSR pulled out a 12-axle transformer, put in an 8-axle, and switched around a pair of regular flats with transformers inside ABB. The 12-axle went to the interchange. 580 brought it to CN Guelph Junction almost immediately. 432 and 580 arrived at CN Guelph Junction at the same time. 432 took the 12-axle depressed flat with the transformer to Toronto. Total time from ABB to Mac yard: 3 hours. Total trains it went on: 3. Now *that* is fast service.
Now, OSR has 646-506-180 as its power, though only 180 was on line. 646 was, however, leading, with all 4 ditch lights. GEXR 580 has RLK 4096-2210, the matched pair in RailAmerica colours. GEXR 432 has CSXT 4845-4846. 432 left with 6100 feet, 3 GM flats (2 with loco trucks, 1 with tanks), and a lot of cars.
October 2nd, 2004
OSR was ordered at 0430. They departed Guelph Junction at 0500 and pulled Schnabel car HEPX 200 out of ABB along with 2 smaller transformer loads, delivering it to the GEXR interchange a little bit before 0700. At 1000 GEXR finally pulled out of CN Guelph Junction with the loads, expected to arrive in Sarnia by evening where they will be interchanged with CSX and taken to Courtright, Ontario.
October 9th, 2004
I went to CN Guelph Junction hoping to catch GEXR 432 with CSX engines, but instead got regular power... in a way I guess I kind of missed the regular power anyway, so that's not so bad. Later in the day I went looking for OSR. They were working late and I caught them heading from the interchange back to PDI after 18:00.
October 10th, 2004
Having received word of foreign power coming out of the Sarnia tunnel I moseyed over to Scotch Block and waited. Unfortunately a truck stalled on the tracks in London tying up traffic for hours. 8 hours after the train went through the tunnel the light began to fail and I was getting hungry, so home I went, picking up two more trains on the way, without ever seeing the train I went to see.
October 14th, 2004
The CP TEC train, 8218 leading, ran the Guelph sub -- my first opportunity to catch a CP engine on the GEXR. 8218 met Via #84 at Guelph, holding up the passenger train for about 15 minutes. 8218, it appears, got back on the CP at London either through Kellog or GM's spur track, and returned through Guelph Junction about 4pm.
October 23rd, 2004
We went to the Junction first thing in the morning, hearing a full 7 eastbounds clearing before we got there. Once there, it was dead. Eventually we moved up to mile 30 and saw 3 trains before coming home.
October 27th, 2004
An ex-Rio-Grande tunnel motor was spotted heading East. Needless to say I couldn't pass that up...
October 28th, 2004
CN RTC said there would be a parade on the Halton sub from about 1pm to about 5pm because of border crossing issues in Buffalo and Sarnia.
October 30th, 2004
After a morning of intense rain and lousy weather, the sun came out and we went trackside. And boy was it worth it! EMD SD70ACe demonstrator unit GM 70 and two brand new CEFX AC4400s punctuated a short, productive trip.
November 1st, 2004
November 5th, 2004
580 went on the ground at CN Guelph Junction. 12-axle depressed centre heavy duty car KRL 300302 with a ~300 ton load spread the rails and took a hopper down with it. KRL 300302 derailed in Guelph a year ago, too.
November 6th, 2004
We went to get Jay at Woodstock and spent the rest of the day mostly in Ingersoll watching what there was to see. CN 271 had a UP in second, and 399 had a UP and a CSX engine. Not a bad day on the foreign power front.
November 13th, 2004
I took my father to the Junction to show him this crazy hobby I have. 3 of the 4 engines we saw on 2 trains that passed were CEFX rentals.
November 20th, 2004
We went to Brampton to see the OBRY/CN diamond, in spite of very bad weather.
November 22nd, 2004
What do you call the day after two days of rain? Monday! CP pulled an exception and ran some trains in the day, making for a very fruitful couple of hours at the tracks.
November 25th, 2004
I heard CEFX 1037 and CP 6607 West approaching the Junction. By the time I got to the tracks, I saw the tail end of the second train, and decided to head West. I got a couple of minutes ahead of both trains at Zorra siding, some 56 miles West of where I'd seen the tail end. CP 6607 was leading 2 other SD40s and had 532 axles.
November 26th, 2004
Guelph Junction turn lifted OSRX 505 at the Junction and took it on the start of a long journey to Montreal for a new generator. In the evening, London Pickup delivered OSRX 182, OSR's newest RS-18u. It was formerly QGRY and before that a CP engine. The day was punctuated by a 3-hour lull on both CN and CP followed by the loss of one of my proprietary Canon 2B-NL camera batteries. If you happen to run across it, please let me know.
November 27th, 2004
I set out on a search for the battery I lost on the 26th. On the way to Scotch Block, where I thought it might be, we heard the detector at 25.0 Galt sub with 524 axles, so we went to the Halton/Galt overpass in Milton, and then up to mile 30 Scotch Block where we saw 5 trains including 391 with a series of dimensional and unusual loads on it. On the way back to Guelph we heard OSR working and found them with all three odd-ball paint schemes working: ex-BCR 646, ex-CP 506, and ex-QGRY/exx-CP 182. 182 arrived the day before at the Junction on London pickup but was not on when we found it in Guelph.
My missing camera battery was sitting on the ground at Scotch Block and even seems to work, still. Phew.
December 3rd, 2004
CWR train in Guelph heading to Kitchener, meeting 580 at Mosborough. Yesterday, 518 - the CWR train, and previous to that a GM extra that we all missed - met 432 at Rockcut siding. Like Mosborough, it is very much unused. To make matters more interesting, the CWR train, led by the 2 2210s, set off an original-paint and reporting marks D&RGW hopper at CN Guelph Junction. The CWR train is fully loaded, and CWR only stretches from Silver (Georgetown) to Guelph.
December 5th, 2004
GEXR laid CWR on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Saturday they worked for more than 14 hours straight in intense rain, but Sunday was a beautiful day and they were able to wrap up their work within only about 6 more hours. By the time I found them they only had 2 pairs of strands left to lay, and only one of them was near enough to a public road for me to see.
In the evening, CP's 2004 US-bound holiday train (there is a second holiday train which heads North and ends up in British Columbia) stopped in at the Galt station. Though I heard its clearance from Guelph Junction to Orr's Lake on the scanner, we didn't leave till later on and only caught it moments before it left.
December 19th, 2004
Travelling from Ste-Agathe, QC (the site of the Ste-Agathe sub, abandonned in the late 1980s) where I grew up to the US, we stopped at Ste-Thérèse yard, near a recently abandonned and torn down GM car factory and the site of a CP-QGRY interchange, then on to Beaconsfield and across the border to the origin of Amtrak's Vermonter at St. Albans.
December 20th, 2004
We woke up at 6am in St. Albans hoping to catch the 6:35am Vermonter outbound. We missed it by a hair, and after learning from NECR's friendly AGM that there would be no more trains scheduled until about 13:00, we headed South to Burlington, eventually working our way down the VRS line to Rutland. We then headed to White River Junction to spend the night, finding NECR 324 switching in town shortly after we arrived. They continued switching until well after we went to sleep.
December 21st, 2004
We got up in White River Junction and headed for the tracks just in time to see the Southbound Vermonter. After that we toured the museum next to the station and proceeded along the tracks to Bellows Falls before concluding our travelling in Brattleboro.
December 22nd, 2004
We went looking at Deerfield yards, and while we did find them, I blew all my pictures of them. :( So it goes. In the afternoon I found a Guilford train heading to the NECR from the yard in Deerfield and chased it at its whopping 5 miles an hour from Bernardston to Northfield before running out of light.
December 24th, 2004
Having a few minutes to get away a couple of points during the day, I checked the Brattleboro yard, finding it again having shifted its cars around. Brattleboro seems to host a lot of what appear to be coal cars, though I can't figure their purpose there. The yard seems to be switched only at night, which makes finding trains there tough. I also tried to get better shots of the Deerfield Guilford yard. While my shots were better, I really should try again another day (not this trip, unfortunately) to see if I can do it right.
December 29th, 2004
On the final leg of our trip from home to Quebec to Vermont and back, we saw a CN train with 3 CN units and 2 CSX units heading East on the Kingston sub just West of Montreal. Frustrated, we went to the tracks at Coteau Junction. There we caught wheel service work, and a CN freight with a BC Rail dash 9 in second place, pretty well making up for missing the CSX engines.
December 30th, 2004
We heard of an 8-engine train coming in from the West, but missed it at the Junction and hours later left having seen only foremen and OSR working. As we left the Junction, the grade crossing lights at Campbellville road were on, so we went back to the tracks. Apparently it was nothing more than a signal test.
December 31st, 2004
GEXR discussed the presence of a D-6 dimensional on #580 leaving Kitchener and that was all the motivation I needed to head out into the haze and see.