trains

Chasing trains

I believe I’ve mentioned before about the lack of railroading in Ottawa. Let me iterate; there is very little in Ottawa for a railfan/train person to see beyond VIA trains, which are very typical. In fact, most trains in Ottawa are typical and predictable. So one must make the most of what little there is.

I live near the main track that VIARail uses, and passenger trains just don’t do it for me. I like freight trains. Again, there is very little in Ottawa as I mentioned here. Where I work, I do have a limited vantage of the track going up to Arnprior. There is a weekly local that takes some tank cars up there and that really is the only thing to see. From my cubicle, I can hear the train coming and watch it trundle up the line. Its about a five hour turn to come back, and if its a later train, I can make a stop after work and wait for its return. Of course, the camera comes with me every Wednesday, just in case.

Such was my luck last week. It was a late one going up, meaning I could get to a spot to see its return. Being winter and all, I kept to a spot that I knew I could access easily with all the snow (although, not as easy as I’d imagined). After a short wait, I heard the tell-tale horn and got ready for some shots.

I brought my Fuji X100T. Not the best for variable shots, but I like the camera, and I can learn to make do. As it approached the level crossings, the bells and lights went off. As it came around the corner it blew its horn. As it went under the highway bridge, the echoes made it very loud.

And shortly thereafter it came by. It goes at a fairly slow pace, so there is time to get ready for the picture.

The consist is typically three to four tank cars from (and to) the Nylene plant. Again, very predictable. Even the engine is typically the same. Sometimes there is two locomotives, which I suspect is only because one has had some repairs, and it is sent up the line with the other as a backup should the “fixed” one fail.

And within 30 seconds, the train has passed, and I wait another week to possibly see it again.

Fleeting as it is, I look forward to potentially seeing this train each week. As the warmer temperatures approach, I hope to catch it in a few different locations and scenery.

Times are changing

Last week I took a walk near my work at lunch. It was a 10 minute drive to a spot where a path followed a bit of the CN tracks up to Arnprior on the Beachburg subdivision. At one spot, the trail comes very close to the tracks, so I took a little detour up onto the tracks. I knew that the only train through here was on Wednesdays and it was a Tuesday. That and my Spidey senses are always in tune for a train or any train sounds, and the max speed is about 20 mph, so I knew that if something did happen to come, I would hear it well before and have time to get out of the way (and it didn’t stop me from looking over my shoulder constantly…just in case).

At one point there used to be a junction (switch) that would lead up the valley on a different route. A year or so ago, that was ripped out and all that is left is the remnants of where the rails went. I was surprised to see a lot of the track bits still scattered about the location. I figured they would have cleaned it up and sold it for scrap.

Bonus for me, as it made for some fine photo shots with my trusty Fuji X100T. Sad that there is a little less rail traffic in Ottawa. Especially for someone like me who likes trains.

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Textures

A couple of weeks ago at lunch I drove down to the nearby railway tracks. Like those who like the sounds of the sea or rain that takes them to a calm space, being near railway tracks is mine. Growing up I had the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo railway running near my house, and the CN line wasn’t far away either.

So I went to walk the tracks. These tracks are rarely used – a once a week, up and back run, so its not particularly busy, and the line has a 10 mph max speed. And I have an ear for trains coming, so I wasn’t worried about something coming up behind me.

With my Fuji X100T in hand I wandered up the line, and one picture I grabbed was a spike in the rocks. The contrast of colours and textures made for an interesting composition.

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Blue Sky

Yesterday winter made one of its last hurrahs with a moderate snow fall. I was up to Carp to see my doctor and the snow on the trees looked fantastic. As I have mentioned before, a local freight runs up through Carp on a regular basis, and I always ensure that my appointments are on the correct day and rough time that it comes through. So I had my camera with me.

After the appointment (all is well) I drove around the area to scout out a new position for the train. In doing so, I caught a few pics of the snow covered trees. The blue sky just looks awesome.
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And after shooting this, I noticed the yellow fire hydrant. Blue and yellow are complimentary colours, so…

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Sadly, no train came. It seems to be a no luck week for the limited freight trains around here. Did make this shot down the line heading just outside of town.

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All shots with the Fuji X-T1 and 16-55 f2.8.

Low Rail

The theme of the month on a Facebook group is “down low”, or “pet perspective”. I placed my Fuji X-Pro1 right on the rail, shooting somewhat blindly as I couldn’t look through the viewfinder or the LCD at the back.

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Now, I’m a big train fan. I like trains. I don’t believe in hanging out on the railway tracks, or shooting photos around them. Safety first. I believe in the mantra “anytime is train time”. Even though mostly scheduled trains run through here, there are the odd freight train can come by. I will also point out that this photo was made at a level crossing, which is right behind me. So there was little risk of getting hit by a train. The bells and lights would have alerted me. And even this shot was very quickly done and I moved on.

Anytime is Train Time.

To Catch a Train

A few weeks ago I as up in Carp visiting my doctor for a check up. As I have mentioned in another post about the local train situation, the changes are slim, but always possible to see a train. Its a very rare event, so I’m always ready with a camera. A few weeks prior, I was in the area, and with a bit of spare time, reconnoitred the area and where the roads and tracks crossed.

After my appointment I was heading to the car when I heard the train horn. Woo hoo! But hearing the train horn, meant it was already at the level crossing in the main part of town, not too far from where I took the pictures mentioned in a previous post. However, thanks to my earlier recon and knowing that the speed is only 10 mph, I went to the new spot to catch it. I wasn’t even in a panic to get to my location, knowing the speed limit. In fact, I had enough time to park, get out the camera (my new Fuji X100T) and take a look down the tracks. The train hadn’t even rounded the corner yet!

I considered affixing the teleconverter but opted to take my time and get the settings right.

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A short train, and about as good as it gets in Ottawa for freight trains, sadly.

As it trundled by I took a bunch of shots and watched it carry on down the line. I noted the time, and its roughly the same time as the previous view. I’ll have to make a point of making my appointments at or around that time all the time.

Arnprior Local

A couple of weeks ago I was, again at my doctor (just a normal blood pressure check, no big deal). I had finished, and was heading out, and on to work. At the lights at March and Carp road while waiting for the lights to change, I looked left and saw the said local just crossing the road down the way. This is a small train that runs up the valley at an irregular time, and its been a challenge for train watchers to see. I quickly (and safely) did a quick turn and rushed back into town to catch the train.
Having been through this before in a way, I knew where to go, and went to Salisbury street. The line runs right next to the road. I hurried over, and being a 10mph limit, had to then wait quite a while for it to get there. But that was fine; I had time to get exposure and composition set.
Taken with the Fuji X-Pro1 and 18mm f2.
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