Friday, October 20, 2017

One last loooooong look

London, Ontario, Part V

With my last post about my weekend of railfanning in London in August, I wanted to share some photos of a long freight train I caught up with in CN's London East Yard. I was on Egerton Road, a city street that literally crosses the entire rail yard (six tracks at this crossing, if you can believe it). I noticed from a signal that a train was making its way from the west so I decided to head back a few tracks and get a few wide shots of the slow moving consist. I tried to frame the train around the excavator in the middle of the yard at first.

Here's a better attempt at incorporating the construction equipment with the train. As I have mentioned throughout this year, I really feel as though my rail photography has improved this year, since I have paid better attention to details like these construction vehicles that are trackside. The results aren't always there, but I was happy with this shot below.

After a few shots with the construction equipment, I pulled the lens back to try and get a wide shot of the train. I was intrigued that a single autorack would be the buffer car between the two lead units and the tank car behind it. I don't often see autoracks leading a mixed freight consist, but readers have assured me before that it does happen.

I also tried to keep an eye peeled for some interesting rolling stock. Sadly, this train didn't have a lot to offer, but I did manage to catch this old RailGon gondola, which is now patched DJTX. I recall seeing a better shot of this type of gondola in another blog recently. The logo is barely visible in this shot, but I'm glad I got the shot nonetheless.

I love seeing these carbon black hoppers, since they remind me of the old Cabot Carbon fleet that once graced the St. Clair River Industrial Spur in the Chemical Valley in Sarnia when I was younger. At some point, the cars lost the Cabot logo, which was usually stenciled top right.

This shot shows you the train making its way through the yard. As the train made its way past Egerton Road, I noticed it was crawling to a stop. I took a few shots of the train going away and scrambled back to the Highbury overpass (you can see it just beyond the front of the train. Also, can you see the yard geep in the right of the image?).

As I made my way up the overpass sidewalk, the lead units were uncoupling from the train, although the autorack and tank car were kept in tow. I tried to get a shot of the train alongside three of the yard units. The wires frustrated my efforts, but I thought I'd share this shot anyway.

Here's a closer shot of the two lead units making their way toward the overpass. I tried to capture the two workers in this shot, but I couldn't work around the one wire.

The two units made their way under the bridge, which allowed me to get these overhead shots of the vents, although the afternoon light washed out a few of my shots. Yeesh.

I shuffled around a bit and tried to mitigate the effects of the sun. I was pretty happy with this shot.

So, that concludes my five part series based on a single weekend in London. It was a great weekend for me and a lot of fun. Next week's post will bring me back to Ottawa. Lots going on here with the O-Train Confederation Line. Lots to talk about. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 12, 2017


London, Ontario, Part IV

When I mentioned that August was a record month for me, I wasn't kidding. My visit to London alone yielded more railfanning than I have ever done in a weekend. The highlight of the weekend, at least from a photograph standpoint, came when I caught this container train from the Highbury overpass over the London East Yard.

It started when I was passing over the Highbury overpass and saw the signal lights for eastbound traffic flashing green. I knew that meant that something was on its way. So I turned my car around and headed for a nearby parking lot, which allowed me to scamper up the overpass sidewalk and position myself for some great shots. In a few seconds, a container train with two locomotives rumbled around the curve near the Western Fairgrounds and hit the straightaway. I initially set myself up almost straight on (see above), so I could get a shot of the train and the train yard in the same shot.

But I quickly shifted to my left so I could get a little more of a profile of the train. I was pretty happy with the above shot, since it pretty much confirmed to me that everything came together. Perfect lighting, perfect positioning (no shadow) and great framing. I won't pat myself on the back too much. I know my limitations as a photographer. But when I saw this shot of 5487 and 2635 pulling a long string of containers, I knew I had a special shot.

I did a quick zoom and got a close up of the lead units. You can see the exhaust in this shot. Always a plus for me.

I zoomed out a little and got a shot of the train itself with some of the London skyline in the background. You can see this train snaking around the curve in the top of the photo. I was waiting for traffic on Highbury to lighten up a little so I could cross to the other sidewalk and get a going away shot of the train, especially since the other side had some interesting features for a rail photo.

I really like this shot of the containers heading under the gantry as the train heads east toward Toronto.

One final going away shot, although by this time the sun was washing out the sky to the extent that I couldn't colour correct it in a way that still did the rest of the photo justice, so I left the shot unfiltered.

This was the first CN container train I have shot since I ran across two container trains in Markham in 2013. Yep, it's been that long. I will concede that these trains hardly thrill most railfans and I am no exception. However, when you get an overhead shot and the light and positioning are just perfect...well, it's a satisfying meet for sure.

I have one last item to share from my time in London, which I will save for the next post. Actually, I have two items, but one of them will be saved for a more thematic post later this year or next. I think a six-part series about London might be overkill.