I needed to do something I enjoyed Thursday, so what could be better than railfanning? I arrived at the St. James diamond at about 11:30 and found another railfan there, as well as a CN eastbound freight train waiting nearby. The railfan (never got his name) brought me up to date quickly: the eastbound had been there for half an hour, with crew. CN 115 was in Fort Rouge with his tail end sticking out onto the mainline, and VIA should be on time. We waited in our respective cars, as the temperature outside was -20C, or -32C with wind chill. On the plus side, it was sunny.
CN 115 ended up being the first train we saw, crossing over from the south to the north track just west of Waverley Street.
CN 5746 and CN 2440 provided the power. CN 5746 is an old friend from Saint John. I saw it there on five separate days over the years.
Pretty much right on the heels of CN 115 was VIA 1, the Canadian. They stopped just east of the diamond on signal indication, waiting for 115 to get out of the way. At the same time, the CN freight that had been sitting on the south track started to move. We were concerned that the freight on the south track would block our view of VIA on the north track, so we moved down closer to the Canadian to get our shots. Fortunately, VIA passed by us first.
It had a refurbished F40 on the head end, VIA 6431. I have seen VIA 6431 many times, on seven Oceans and even one Canadian, but this was the first time I've seen it since it was refurbished.
We were close to being skunked!
The eastbound turned out to be CN 784 with engines CN 2254 and CN 8851.
My railfan friend told me that CEMR should be right on VIA's heels on its way to the Carman subdivision. We waited, and sure enough CEMR came around the corner at Portage Junction, but stopped short of Waverley Street, on the north track. Why?
The answer came soon with the news that some train had passed through the mile 10 hotbox detector on the south track. Clearly this train was going to have to pass by before CEMR could cross over to the south track and get onto their subdivision. The train came into sight and was CN 314 with CN 2579 and the second Dash-8 of the day, CN 2405.
I was out of time by that point, so I hit the road. As I left, I noticed that CP was heading south on the La Riviere subdivision, so there would have been at least two more trains - CEMR and CP. Sometimes you just have to quit!