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October 22, 2011:

October 22, 2011:


            I got up around 8:30 and got dressed. I then went to the lobby for breakfast. I could see Dundas Street and saw some London Transit Classics in service. It reminded me of how 10-11 years ago, fishbowls could be seen in service on Saturdays including their oldest, #116. I'll talk a little more about 116 later on.


            I went back to my room and finished packing and worked on this report some more. I then went and checked out of my hotel. I then went to catch a bus to Argyle Mall which was where the charter was starting.


            As luck would have it, the first bus that came was Classic #225. I photographed it before I got on.



            It was a short ride to Argyle Mall. When the bus arrived, I saw Kevin Nicol was already there. I got off and photographed 225.




            I checked in for the charter. Kevin mentioned that there were at least four Classics in service today. Gradually other people arrived for the charter. One of them was Luke, a local bus fan I had met before and 10-11 years earlier I had done fanning with him in London.


            I photographed a few more Classics that stopped at Argyle Mall while waiting for our charter buses to arrive. There was so much interest in the charter, TTS added a second bus.









            Another person who arrived was a TTS member who I'm a bit miffed at; don't ask. I opted to be on the bus he wasn't.


            The first of our charter buses arrived: Classic 246 in the old scheme. We had asked for the second bus to be one of the few Classics in the current livery. Two in service Classics showed up. We photographed them with our charter bus.




            Our second charter bus showed up: Classic 242 which was also in the old livery. I photographed it with the three other Classics.




            I boarded 246, but soon switched to 242. The buses departed.


            Our first photo stop was on the route 20 which was one of the first routes to be made accessible.    We got off and took some photos.







            We had stopped in front of an apartment. A woman asked why we were taking pictures. I explained that we were bus fans and we liked buses. She thought it was a little weird. She asked if this would be on the news. Someone said no, but I said it would be on my website.


            We got back on the bus and headed out. We headed downtown for the VIA station. A couple blocks away, I saw VIA train 72. We stopped across the street from the VIA station where two people joined the charter. Many of us stepped off the bus and took some photos.




            We got back on the buses and went two blocks west to the Greyhound station where more people joined the charter. I photographed the buses.





            We were joined by a few more people. We got back on the buses and headed out. Our driver pointed out various buildings. Our next photo stop was where routes 1A and 1B run. I took some photos.




            We got back on the buses and headed out. As we passed over the CP main line, the driver said that London is a crew change point and sometimes the freight trains stop on the crossing which really messes up bus schedules!


            We passed by St. Joseph Hospital and the driver pointed out a smaller medical centre across the street which was going to be demolished in the future. I photographed it.



            Our next photo stop was at the University of Western Ontario. We took some photos of the buses.






            We then got back on and ran down a street that is bus only. It's usually used after 6:00 pm, but it was open, so we drove down it.


            We had another photo stop on the Western Campus. We took some photos of the buses.









            We then stopped near the oldest road bridge over the Themes River on the Western campus. We were let off and walked ahead where we filmed the buses driving over the bridge.





            Our lunch stop was at the Masonville Mall. I photographed the bus before I went inside.



            I bought lunch at New York Fries. After lunch, I made my way to the buses. I saw a Cops for Cancer event in the mall. Cops were having their heads shaves for cancer awareness. I saw on a table nearby some donuts from Tim Horton’s!


            I made my way back to the buses and saw the two Classics parked near the bus terminal. I photographed them.





            At one point, D60LF #602 pulled up. I attempted to photograph it.



Sorry this is not in focus, but I was hurrying to photograph #602.



            I then got back on Classic 242 and we soon headed off. Our next photo stop was on Proudfoot. We took some photos.





            Our next photo stop was on a fairly busy street.



            During that photo stop, a driver of an SUV asked what was going on. He said, “This is my house and I'm not famous!” Someone explained what we were doing and compared our love of older buses with antique cars. He seemed to understand.


            I boarded Classic 246 for the ride to the next photo stop so I could have ridden both Classics. Our next photo stop was at Springbank Park. This was near Storybook Village which I visited a couple times as a kid.  We took some photos of the Classics and an in service bus.





            I then got back on Classic 242. Our next photo stop was at London Transit's new garage. The garage opened on May 2nd of this year. It is normally used on weekdays, but we were able to have a supervisor give us a tour. We pulled in and I saw Classic #249 and lots of low floor buses. The supervisor said the garage can handle 100 buses, but right now it only has 44 but that could change in the next few years. We photographed various buses in the garage including some hybrid buses, Some EZ-riders, and two D60LFs.















            They pulled one of the EZ-riders out and we photographed it.




            The EZ-rider was than moved back into the garage. The supervisor gave us a tour of the maintenance area. We took some photos. We were told that London Transit has some buses on order including three D60LFrs.





            We then went into the offices of the garage. I saw a binder with pictures and names of banned passengers. One of which was a former London Transit employee. For most cases, it didn't say what the people had done, but one person was banned for vandalizing a bus. Another was banned for assaulting an inspector. We then headed towards our charter buses and I took a couple more photos.





            We then got on the Classics and posed the two buses side by side in front of the garage. I saw a muffler on the road. Most drivers avoided it, but we saw one car hit it, but it didn't appear to do any damage.



            We had our group photo at the garage as well.



            We then got on the buses. My bus left first. We passed a Marble Slab Creamery. At one point, we got ahead of the other bus. We actually lost sight of it! At one point, we passed over a railway line running north to south. We saw some people walking on the tracks. It made me wonder if this line was part of the London and Port Stanley Interurban.


            We then headed to the older London garage. Despite the new garage, this one is still active and will be active for awhile yet. We stopped outside a large tent containing some buses in storage. These buses were Classic #228 which has been retired, two burnt out New Flyer Inveros, fishbowl #116, and two old Brill coaches. We got off the bus. I noticed the other bus on the bridge above the garage. We went into the tent and photographed the buses inside.















            Fishbowl 116 is the last fishbowl on London property. Presently, it is not operational but is being kept because it was the 5000th bus built at GM's London plant. I had ridden 116 when it was in service.



I took this photo of 116 back in September 2008 during the last TTS charter to visit London.


            At one point, I changed the battery on my camera. Meanwhile, the two Classics were parked outside the tent. I photographed them.






            I noticed the right front turn signal on Classic #242 was cracked and there was some water in the turn signal. It still worked though. After awhile, we got back on the buses and we went inside one of the storage sheds for buses. We saw one of only two Classics to have been painted in London Transit's new livery. It was parked behind Classic #243 which I rode the day before. We got off and took some photos.





As you can see, this bumper and engine came from Classic #199. Bus #199 was retired a few years ago.





            We then followed our driver to another part of the garage where we saw the other Classic in the new livery. We took some photos.






            We then went by the maintenance area. We were told we couldn't go past some yellow lines on the floor for safety reasons. We took some photos. We also learned that London does its own rebuilding should a bus get into an accident or what not.





            We were then taken to a hall where there were pictures of London's old buses and streetcars. I took some photos.








            We then headed to the drivers' area where Kevin gave our drivers a token of our appreciation.


            We then headed back to the buses. This was the end of the charter. One bus would go to Argyle mall while the other would go downtown to the VIA station and the Greyhound terminal. I chose to go to Argyle mall since I had more than two hours before my train left.


            Classic #246 would go to Argyle Mall. I boarded it and we headed off.  We got to Argyle Mall a few minutes later. After we got off the bus, I filmed it pulling away.



            I then waited for the next bus downtown. As luck would have it, Classic 232 showed up. I photographed the bus.



            The driver asked what was going on with all the cameras. I told him about the charter. He seemed to be okay. I got on the bus and we left.


            I saw a motel that was closer to the mall than my hotel, oh well. I got off 232 and filmed it pulling away.


            I then walked over and photographed former CN 2-6-0 #86 which is on display near the Western Fair grounds.





            I then walked back to the bus stop and photographed a Classic heading east on Route 2.



            A New Flyer Invero arrived and I got on. I rode the bus to the intersection of Richmond and Dundas. I had dinner at the McDonald's at the corner. After, I caught another Invero one stop east and then walked to the VIA station. I didn't see anyone from the charter in the station. I plugged in my laptop and worked on this report some more.


            A CN freight train passed. I filmed the locomotives and the first car. The sun went down.  I went back to working on this report for a little while. I soon put my computer away and waited for train 78. The train arrived a few minutes early. I noticed it was the same consist as train 73 which I had seen the day before except the Hep1 coach was no longer in the consist. I photographed the train before I got on.




            I was seated in Hep2 economy coach # 4112. I sat down in a window seat on the left side of the train. Train 78 departed on time. Shortly after we left, train 75 passed on the other side of the train.


            We picked up speed. I bought a chocolate bar and a milk from the attendant as she passed. Train 78 takes the southerly route which is faster than the route train 85 takes.


            We passed non-stop through Ingersoll. We then stopped at Woodstock. After Woodstock, I heard a thumping come from underneath the train. It sounded a little worrying, but since the train didn't slow down, it couldn't have been much.


            Train 79 passed. A little while later, we stopped at Brantford. We sat in Brantford for several minutes. We left and soon we picked up speed. There wasn't much to see from the window since it was night time. 


            We passed over highway 403 on the outskirts of Hamilton. A few minutes later, we stopped at Aldershot. It felt good to be in GO Transit territory again. We departed Aldershot a few minutes later.


            As we passed the Appleby GO station, the train slowed down. We then stopped completely. My seatmate moved to the seat across the aisle. The train started moving again. We had stopped for a signal.


            We passed a westbound GO train. A few minutes later we stopped at Oakville. We departed a couple minutes later.


            We overtook an eastbound GO train. A few minutes later, we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre. I filmed the yard. I couldn't see LRC locomotive #6917, but I could see VIA F40 #6408; one of the Coors units, the Maple Leaf, the Northlander, and some Hep1 coaches.


            I readied my stuff to get off the train.


            Train 78 arrived into Union station 9 minutes late. As we pulled in, I noticed we were pulling into track #3 which is mostly used for GO trains and the Northlander. I also saw the Canadian as it departed. The Canadian consisted of two rebuilt F40s, a baggage car, two coaches, a Skyline car, three Manor sleepers, a diner, another Skyline, three more Manor sleepers, and the Park car.


            I got off and photographed the train.



            I then went inside the station and phoned home. I then got on the subway and met my dad at Finch. We stopped for gas on the way home.




            Aside from what happened when I was trying to get to the hobby store, this trip was great. I finally got to London on my own initiative. I saw Karl back in Chicago instead of London in 2006. VIA did not run RDCs on trains 85 and 88 in 2007. London was a mostly decent place to visit.


            The charter was great though I wish we had got one of the Classics in the old livery and one in the new instead of two in the old. I also was glad Dundas Street is the last hold out for Classics in London. It's like how Lawrence Avenue in Toronto is a holdout for TTC's fishbowls; but not for much longer.


            As for me, I think I may be done travelling this year. If I do take another trip, it would most likely be a day trip to Woodstock. Until next time...


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