Saturday, September 29, 2012

Next stop...prochaine arret...Toronto!

I met a member of the Canadian Railway Historical Association's Toronto & York Division at last March's Kingston Rail-O-Rama, and he kindly asked if I'd be a presenter at an upcoming meeting.  Do fish swim?  Were VIA locomotive noses meant to be yellow!  Of course!  

Unlike the above image of slanted yellow nose FPA4 6768, I'll be arriving in Toronto behind a GO Transit 600-series MP40PH-3.  No, GO Transit has not been extended to Kingston, just to Oshawa.

My presentation will cover four main areas: VIA's Six Eras, My VIA Book(s), Why you should write a book, and triVIA.  By the way, I expect to hear some scintillating news from my printer this weekend about my Cross-Canada Compendium.

The Division meeting will be held at 1900 hours on October 11, at Metro Hall in beautiful downtown Toronto. Next stop...prochaine arret...Toronto!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

We Got a Pair!

Ex-CP E8 1802 was one of two surviving such CP units that were transferred to VIA.  Though built in the US, they were the only E's operated by a Canadian railway.  Sometimes they operated together in VIA service and/or with ex-CP F-units and/or ex-CP RS10's.  In Winnipeg, (shown in this partial photo, which will appear in full in my second book) they're pulling a train headed by an ex-CN baggage car eastbound.  I wonder if they're together??

This blog has split, like a cell dividing itself.  Part will be devoted to my first book, and part will be devoted to my second book, the latter getting the majority of the limelight.  A new joint order form and advertising is on the way.  The red background means the second book is close to completion.

Just like a green signal at the east end of Winnipeg station, when the green appears, you can probably guess by now, it's time to...


Friday, September 21, 2012


In spring 1974, long trains of CP* RDC's were operating in Montreal's West Island lakeshore commuter service.  Approaching Valois, station, the 'hockey-stick' or 'warpaint' scheme adorns the nose of the first of six Dayliners on a weekend run into Montreal.  Waiting on the platform (L.C. Gagnon photos) were two other Canadian classics, who had their debuts in 1961 and 1964:
*Today marks the birthday of the 1961 edition, who knew early on that CP rightfully stood for Canadian Pacific, but now thinks it means Collaborative Piano!  Oh well, deep down we both know that railways are absolutely the bedrock of modern North American society as we know it, and that all else is secondary, right?

I'd like to link these three years with 2012, and another birthday...that of the proof cover of Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium, fresh from the designer's desk.  Bear in this mind this is a proof, but I like the way it's looking and hope you will, too.  The next step is to fill that space between the front and back covers...
And Happy birthday, sis!
Highball! (no, not the drink, but we can raise a glass to celebrate anyway, across the miles)
Baby Bro (Eric)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Things that are Red

Remember the show Password?  The category today is...things that are red*.  Clues: the New VIA Rail Book blog background, the CBC 40th anniversary F40, and my face.  Why, you ask?

This blog's background has gone from blue to red to signify that a significant amount of material has been sent to Bryan Babcock at Allan Graphics here in Kingston.  He puts it all in this computer thingie, fires it up and it spits out a book design.  Presto!  OK, it's not quite that easy, but the red signifies something is about to happen.  When the background turns green, the book is ready!!

I photographed the CBC F40, 6403 at Kingston station on a snowless December 22, 2002.  A problem with CN train No 363 ahead led to a backlog of VIA trains, so VIA trains 642 (left) and 60 (right) entered the station at the same time.  Reminds me of my book - once I receive a proof from the printer, I'll be adding a second section to bring my second VIA book up to fighting weight (I really mean mailing weight).  It's a getting two VIA trains in the same photo.
My face is red because I haven't mentioned Manny Jacob's VIA F40PH-2 site.  Manny has been busy documenting and photographing VIA's F40 fleet including 6403, and I think these units would make a great book all on their own.

Many readers have expressed surprise that I'm already at this stage with my second book.  Well, I surprised myself too, and now I can't wait to see the results! The proof will the proof.


*Hosted by Allen Ludden, who married twice-divorced Betty White, the show revolved around clues passed between contestant and celebrity, to identify specific words in a given category.  Ludden was born Allen Packard Ellsworth, and yes, I did check to see if Ellsworth was the name of an E-series sleeper.  It was not.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's Ren-tastic!

I snapped this photo while boarding VIA train 59 at Ottawa Union Station.  The Ren consist fairly glints in the late-day sun, as the ultra-modern (back in the day) station cantilever rooflines frame the scene.  VIA's logo is at left, the track leads into the [literal] distance and [figurative] future at right.

That feeling of stepping aboard is what I feel now.

I just loaded a thumb-drive with 220+ photos and 35+ documents.

I'm going to see the printer about this second VIA book.

The feeling is really Ren-tastic!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gold Discovered in Winnipeg!

What do you notice about these two pictures?  What do they have in common?  What makes them different?  (This sounds like back-to-school time, doesn't it?)  Well, they're at about the same location - the timetable west end of Winnipeg Union Station.  Brian Schuff took both photos.  The Hotel Fort Garry looms over the nose of each locomotive.  Decades show how VIA has changed, from a standardized paint scheme to cool wraps, in this case exhorting Quebecers to donate a few more 'piastres' to the provincial government and maybe find the golden egg (Quebec provincial election tonight, politicos!  Tune in to SRC or CBC for the results!)

These photos also show how far this second book on VIA Rail has progressed.  Over the last year-and-a-half, it's gone from scribbled notes to completed computer files, nearly ready for the printer.  Photos have been sourced, selected, scanned, formatted and fully captioned.  I've received many, many messages of support, interest and offers of assistance that are altogether quite overwhelming.  Thanks to all!  Going with the school theme, this is what I did on my summer vacation.

Who said MLW's didn't make it to Winnipeg.  Duh, steaming!

I expect to have some more very good news, very shortly.

Second section...

My first book is now available at four new locations:
-Canadian Express Line, Brighton ON
-The Right Track, Bracebridge ON
-Doug's Trains, London ON
-Flying Yankee Enterprises, Littleton NH, USA
Thanks to these retailers for stocking my book.