Friday, May 17, 2013

Just Barely

VIA 6415 outside Winnipeg
It had been a long time since I'd seen a Canadian on the road, so on Thursday I decided to catch it at noon. As luck would have it, I was delayed a few minutes leaving work and ended up sitting at the traffic light by IKEA and watching VIA 1 roll by in the distance. I made up a bit of time on the Sterling Lyon parkway heading west but I was stopped again at a red light at Shaftesbury Boulevard. Darn it!

The road speed limit is 80 km/hr (50 MPH) for several kilometres, while track speed is 35 MPH so it is possible to make up some ground. The road speed limit goes up to 90 km/hr/55 MPH after Elmhurst Road but unfortunately for train chasers, the rail speed limit goes up to 45 MPH at mile 8.3 and 60 MPH (80 MPH for passenger trains!) at mile 9.8 just short of the hotbox detector at mile 10. If VIA has a clear signal, there is no catching them after the hotbox!

Fortunately for me, the VIA crew didn't seem to be in a huge hurry after Carman Junction, so I was able to slowly pull ahead by mile 12. As it happens, they had a CLEAR TO LIMITED signal approaching Diamond. Trains get this signal when they are changing tracks at Diamond. The Diamond interlocking is at mile 14.3 but the important thing is that there is a STOP sign at the intersection of Wilkes and Harris Road. I will not blow through a stop sign so I knew I had to get my shot before then, or there was zero chance of getting anything but stainless in the distance.

So I hastily pulled over a few hundred metres short of the stop sign and jumped out, camera in hand. I grabbed the above shot of the lead engine, VIA 6415, and then started recording the consist using the classic Bill Linley method of photographing every car. The train had 22 cars, including a deadheading WATERTON PARK just behind VIA 6431.

The trailing car was TREMBLANT PARK, with someone taking my photograph!
Tremblant Park near Winnipeg

Here's the "going away" shot as they cross Harris Road and approach Diamond.
VIA's Canadian outside Winnipeg

I did not make any attempt to pursue, of course!

Fellow railfan Manny Jacob shot the train later on in Portage la Prairie.
VIA 6415 in Portage la Prairie by Manny Jacob

Afterword: I have reworked the home page of my site. I'm trying to streamline the navigation and feature my photography more. I'd appreciate your comments, good or bad.

EDIT: Revised the signal indication that VIA would have seen.


GP9Rm4108 said...

You have mentioned one thing that is slightly incorrect. The VIA would have approached Diamond under a Clear to Limited signal and had the Limited to Clear at Diamond.

They would have been able to do 80mph right up to the signal at Diamond and have to have the train down to 40 (the crossover/diamond speed at the particular location) for the Diamond light.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Of course - thanks for the correction.