Friday, May 05, 2006

Last VIA Budd train for a while

David Morris, Peter Gough, Ken McDonald and I decided to go chase the last Budd Ocean* on Wednesday, May 3. We left Fredericton at 11:00 and made it to Oxford Junction by 13:45. Good time on the highway!

The signals were red-over-red at the Junction so we went to Tim's to fortify ourselves for the chase. We returned to the Junction and looked for places to shoot from. I scrambled up a hill to check out a bridge shot but ruled it out (too sharp an angle) then walked east beside the track to see what was up there (not much). In the end I set up my tripod just west of the rest of the people.

A few CN high-railers came in from the west and parked by the depot. They said VIA would be through at about 10-15 minutes after 3.

At 15:11 VIA 15 blasted through with VIA 6426 on the point.

It had 6426/6405/6416 leading baggage 8623, coaches 8107 and 8139, Skyline 8504, diner "Acadian" (8401), Sleepers Latour, Bienville, Radisson, and Viger (8212, 8202, 8221, 8229) and Evangeline Park (8704) bringing up the markers.

We hopped into Peter's car and hit the highway for the border. Our plan was to get inside the curve at Aulac (just on the New Brunswick side of the Tantramar Marshes) and shoot him going around the curve. We made it to Aulac in good time, and waited for him to arrive. Another railfan, Roger Cook, showed up. He said he had chased them down from Matapedia to Halifax and was now chasing them back.

The Ocean showed up at 16:00 on the nose.

We hit the highway again, intending to catch him just west of Moncton before proceeding to the station. We called Bill Linley on his cellphone and had a good chat as we hurtled toward Moncton. He said he was enjoying champagne in the dome!

After some discussion we decided to go to Painsec Junction. It's easily accessible from the highway and left us in a good position to get downtown to the station. We set up there and called Bill again for a position report. They rocketed through at 16:45.

This shot was taken with my digital camera, pointed blind, while I shot video of them. It turned out OK, I thought, for an unaimed shot.

We beat it downtown through medium traffic and found them at the station.

Peter and I talked with Bill for a few minutes before heading out to Gort. David was going to the Mitsubishi dealer to get them around the curve and Ken was going to remain at the station.

We got to Gort in good time and set up on the Delong Drive overpass. We saw a freight (CN 308) pulling into the yard, which unfortunately left a few autoracks casting shadows over the tracks. What can you do?

VIA 15 ambled through at 17:25.

A CN local with a GP38 on the point was waiting for VIA to clear before proceeding onto the main line. They ended up pulling onto the main, then backing out of sight around the curve.

Bye-bye steel cars! See you in the fall.

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