Monday, September 26, 2016

A Different Perspective

"It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view." - George Eliot, "Middlemarch"
I've photographed VIA Rail's Canadian in Winnipeg many times... 131 times at the time of writing. That's a lot!

I've shot the eastbound Canadian, at many locations along its route out of Winnipeg, but there are a couple that I have shot at many times.

St. James Junction

VIA 1 passing a CN container train
When I first moved to Winnipeg I often photographed it at or near St. James Junction, because that was close to my office and I could spend my lunch time trackside catching VIA 1 and whatever else came by.

It was great because it was close and also because you could also see BNSF and CP there at times.


The Canadian approaching Diamond
Once I started working from home, that became less convenient and I opted to shoot VIA 1 at or near Diamond, just west of Winnipeg on the Rivers subdivision.

I've written about Diamond a lot (even recently) and it is certainly my "go to" location.

Scratching the Itch

This past Thursday, I had the itch to try something different. I feel a bit stuck in a rut, creatively speaking, so I wanted to go to a new location that I'd never tried before. I pulled up Google Maps and looked at the route of the Canadian from Union Station downtown through Winnipeg and out past Diamond.
Route of the westbound Canadian through Winnipeg
The Canadian leaves Union Station at top right and rolls along the Red River, past Fort Rouge yard and the VIA Maintenance Centre, through Portage Junction, then past St. James Junction and Carman Junction out of the city. Around mile 10 (where they pass under the Perimeter Highway) they usually put the hammer down and accelerate up to 60+ MPH and pass Diamond and hurtle westward to Vancouver.

I feel I've covered that stretch from Diamond east to Portage Junction very well - maybe too well. There is a little bit between Waverley Street and Portage Junction that I haven't photographed much, but honestly I have tried it and I am not really that impressed by the possibilities there. 

A New Hope

How about here??
I did notice an intriguing section of track just south of Union Station that I had never photographed at before.

There is a walking path between the tracks and the Red River that seemed to come pretty close to the tracks, and it would be on the east side of the tracks for morning photography.

I asked on the RailsMBSK Facebook group and people seemed to think it was an OK location, but I was warned that there is a fence between the walking path and the tracks. 

Sunlight... Camera.. Action

On Thursday I arrived behind the Mulvey Flea Market off Osborne Street at about 11:15 AM. I parked, grabbed my camera bag, and walked down the path to check out the view.

There was indeed a chain-link fence between the trail and the track. It has a gate and it was wide open. I believe that fuel trucks use that gate to refuel locomotives here. I didn't go in.

I had prepared for this eventuality. I went back to my car and fetched a stepladder out of the trunk, then set it up by the fence and waited.

I had a few odd looks from the passing joggers and walkers, but that was it. As a railfan, I'm used to that.

It took about half an hour, but the first train was a big one. CN 3025 was leading what may have been CN 111.
CN 3025 approaching Subway in Winnipeg
I like the going away shot too.
CN 3025 approaching the Osborne Street bus rapid transit station

As I watched the containers roll by, there was time for a selfie.

There's always time for a selfie, right? ;)

I'm not quite sure what podcast I was listening to at that time....

The train had a mid-train locomotive, CN 2856.
CN 2856 in Winnipeg as mid-train power
Finally the end of the train came in sight, with a third locomotive pushing hard.
CN 2821 passing under the signal bridge
So that was exciting!

I picked up my stepladder and did a little more scouting, looking for different angles or better locations. I strongly considered a location further east, across from the apartment building visible above, but in the end I ruled it out. It wasn't bad but it didn't "feel" right.
Not quite
I went back to where I shot the CN train and waited for VIA.

I didn't bring my scanner - I hardly ever do - and so I was reduced to listening for locomotive noise and obsessively checking VIA's web site to see if the departure time for VIA 1 had been updated.

In the end my listening was what alerted me to the approaching Canadian, as VIA's web site wasn't updated in time.
VIA 1 leaving Winnipeg
Just a bit of fence in the shot...

I was being adventurous and recording video with my iPhone while snapping photos with my camera. I've tried doing both before, with mediocre results, but I felt confident that day for some reason.

I shot every car as it went by, to record the consist, and you can see my phone-holding hand in a few shots..
Taking video
Here's the video:

Like most Canadian photos, the going-away shot is just as good as the approach. Nothing like a PARK car to finish off a train!
Glacier Park on the rear
That was all of the time I could spend there, but I was pleased with the location and pleased with my photos. It's definitely a spot I could return to!

If you're interested, I posted some photos of the Manitoba Mega Train Show on one of my other blogs... lots of model trains and a great show!

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