August 3, 2013:
We got up at 8:45 and got ready. We went to the restaurant for breakfast. Today we were going to the Elgin County Railway Museum and then onto Port Stanley to ride the Port Stanley Terminal Rail.
After breakfast, we went back to our room. I had booked a rental car with Enterprise. I phoned Enterprise. I had originally booked at a rental place downtown, but they transferred my reservation to another Enterprise car rental place a few blocks from my hotel. My uncle had pointed it out two days earlier.
We went to the lobby to wait for Enterprise to pick us up. While waiting, Mark attempted to use the internet on the computer in the hotel's lobby but the internet wasn't working there as well.
Enterprise came to pick us up in a Ford Fusion. We went to the rental place where I filled out the appropriate forms. We were soon ready to go. I would be the only one driving.
When we left, the car had a ¼ tank of gas so we stopped at a Petrol Canada where we bought $25.46 worth of gas. Mark paid in exchange for me covering the rental charges.
We then headed out and drove to St. Thomas. I had printed out directions to the Elgin County Railway Museum and Mark navigated.
A little while later we arrived into St. Thomas. We passed some St. Thomas Transit cutaways before we arrived at the museum. Once I was park, I photographed our rental car.
Here's our rental car; a Ford Fusion.
We went inside and paid admission. I then photographed various pieces of equipment in the museum which is the former New York Central locomotive shops. I photographed some displays and some speeders on display.
I then went to another area and photographed former London and Port Stanley interurban #14 and box cab L1.
#14 originally went to Exporail along with L&PS #10 until #14 was acquired by the Elgin County museum in 1999 where it has been undergoing cosmetic restoration. #14 is a lengthened version of cars 4 and 8 at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum. (#4 used to be part of the Ossawippi Dining Express in Orillia when the restaurant was closed and last year, #4 went to Halton County.) I then photographed a model railway display.
I then photographed some more equipment including CN F3a #9171 which they had acquired from Exporail a few years ago. I had photographed #9171 at Exporail on previous trips.
I then photographed and filmed an old “wigwag” railway crossing on display. When you press a button, it would activate. It reminded me of two things at Halton County: First was an exhibit where you pressed a button to activate a more modern railway crossing. Second was that there was a wigwag that used to activate when a streetcar would cross a railway crossing within the museum’s parking lot. Unfortunately that wigwag hasn’t worked in years.
Sorry this photo’s dark, but this is the wigwag at the Elgin County Railway Museum.
I then photographed CN 4-6-4 Hudson #5700 which was originally #5703 but was renumbered 5700 after the original #5700 was scrapped despite the fact it was slated for preservation. I photographed #5700.
I learned that they were going to pull #5700 outside and they invited me to film it. I photographed former Wabash switcher #51 (which is named Tillie.)#51 is what was going to tow #5700 outside.
In addition to #51, I photographed the two cars from the Port Stanley incline railway which have been preserved by The Elgin County Railway Museum.
I invited Mark to also check out them pulling 5700 out. He got there in time for both of us to film #5700 being pulled outside. We then photographed it outside.
I then went inside and photographed former CP RSC-17 #8921, the Empress of Agincourt.
I spoke with a member of the museum and saw another member attempt to move a wooden door on the ground with a forklift. The door broke apart as it was being moved.
I then photographed other equipment on display. I could see a replica of Thomas the Tank Engine from the popular kids show. The weekend before, the museum had a “Day out with Thomas” weekend. I chose this weekend to avoid dealing with a bunch of little kids.
I then went to the model railway layout which was now operating. At one point, I saw the last three cars on a model C&O freight train come uncoupled. I informed the person running the layout. I filmed various trains and photographed some models as well as some pictures on the wall.
I then went into the gift shop and bought a t-shirt and two baseball caps. I then went outside and photographed what was outside including a TH&B covered hopper.
I then went around back to see what was out there. Only a C&O gondola was back there. However there was a transfer table which has to be operated by being pulled or pushed by a vehicle. I took some photos outside but was told not to go inside which I was okay with.
Here’s L&PS #14 again.
Mark came by and he took some photos as well. We then photographed some ex CP boxcars before we headed to the car.
We got to the car and headed out. We were going to Port Stanley, but we missed the first turn. We looped around and stopped for lunch at a McDonald's with Wi-Fi so Mark could find out where we were. We soon found the route and after lunch were underway again.
Along the way, we crossed over the right of way of the L&PS interurban line. We arrived into Port Stanley a little while later and arrived at the Port Stanley Terminal Railway.
The Port Stanley Terminal Railway runs on a portion of the former London and Port Stanley Railway. It uses small diesel switchers hauling passenger cars made out of cabooses though they have a few heavyweight passenger cars in their collection. I had ridden the Port Stanley Terminal Railway once somewhere between 1991 and 1997 and I remember that my sister and I got to ride in the locomotive.
Mark and I were soon parked and I went inside and we bought tickets for the next train that was leaving in a few minutes. That train had a two axle locomotive, a special caboose intended for birthday parties, an open car, and a closed car. I photographed the train.
At first, we went into the open car which was pretty full. I asked someone from the PSTR if we could ride in the party caboose and we were told we could. We moved and had a seat.
The Port Stanley station is near a drawbridge. The drawbridge opened and I photographed it.
The train departed shortly after we left. I filmed the PSTR yard as we passed. At one point, we passed a depot in the town of Union. They mentioned it was the smallest Union Station anywhere! There was also a sign on a pole in which in the L&PS days, anyone wanting to board a train could raise the sign to let an oncoming train know that they should stop. I filmed the station as we went past. In addition, Elgin County's L&PS L1 was once photographed at Union station on the PSTR line and its home rails. Maybe when #14's restoration is completed, it can be brought out to the PSTR as well.
The line passes over two bridges and three crossings. While the line goes all the way to St. Thomas, most trips including this one stop part way at Whytes Park. At Whytes Park is an old boxcar that is made to be a “circus car”, a snowplow, an old tank car, and a caboose. We got to Whytes Park and I photographed the train and the equipment on display.
The line continues to St. Thomas.
I went inside the plow and sat in the engineers' seat. I then went to the caboose. I saw in the cupola the original seats had been replaced with seats that looked like they came out of a TTC bus! I took some photos.
We then got back on the train which reversed all the way back to Port Stanley. As we passed over the first bridge, I filmed it. I also filmed the PSTR yard near Port Stanley. When we got back to the station, I photographed the train.
I saw the crew was uncoupling the party caboose from the train. I heard they would have done it for the previous trip, but there were so many people wanting to ride, they left it on. I went up a nearby hill and filmed the locomotive and party caboose pulling out. I then went back to the platform and filmed the party caboose being coupled to on of PSTR's heavyweight coaches. I then photographed the engine moving light to the rest of the train.
I filmed the locomotive coupling to the two coaches. I quickly photographed the interiors of the cars before I returned to the hill. Once I got to where I was before, I photographed the party caboose on the siding.
The nearby drawbridge went up again. I photographed it and once it went down, I filmed the train depart on the last run of the day. I then went into the gift shop and photographed a display on the history of the L&PS and Port Stanley Terminal Rail.
I then went outside and photographed one of PSTR’s heavyweight cars.
I then went to a convenience store across the street and got some snacks. Mark and I decided to leave. However, the drawbridge went up again. We ended up driving around for a few minutes before we headed back to London. The drive back was uneventful and we ended up returning the rental car hours before we needed to. The rental place was closed though.
After we dropped off the rental car, we walked back to the hotel. The Wi-Fi was working again and we went on the internet for a few minutes. We then went for a swim in the hotel's pool. After, we returned to the room, I worked on this report some more.
We then went to a Wendy's a couple blocks away from the hotel. Along the way, I photographed a couple LTC buses including a D60LFr.
After dinner, we returned to the hotel. I worked on this report some more. I then went to the variety store near the hotel were I bought some milk before I returned to the hotel. I phoned my uncle to see if he was still going to drive us to the VIA station. He said he was. I returned to the room and worked on this report some more. I eventually asked for a wake up call at 8:30 am and called it a night.
August 4, 2013:
We got up at 8:30 and got dressed. We went to the restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast, we finished packing and went to check out. My uncle showed up early just as we finished checking out. We headed out. My uncle drove us around and showed us the house where he and my dad grew up in. We were still early by the time we got to downtown, so we headed to a TD Canada Trust where I used the ATM to withdraw some money. We then headed to the VIA station where I logged onto the station’s Wi-Fi and worked on this report some more. While we were waiting, a CN freight passed with a Dash 8 and a GP38 leading.
Eventually, we saw people lining up for train 72. We lined up to. I attempted to film train 72 pulling in through the station windows.
We were seated in LRC coach #3304, an unrebuilt coach. The train departed on time.
Shortly after we left, I photographed some CN locomotives in a yard including a GMD1.
I bought lunch from a VIA attendant as he came by. I also filmed the three tank car bodies off to the side of the tracks. I logged into the train’s Wi-Fi and worked on this report some more. The train passed through Ingersoll non stop before we stopped at Woodstock where there were quite a few people waiting to board. We soon departed Woodstock.
We stopped in Brantford a little while later. While we were stopped, a westbound CN freight train passed. We soon departed Brantford.
A little while later, we stopped at Aldershot. After we left Aldershot, I got up and filmed the ex TTC D40HF in that lot in Oakville. The train stopped at Oakville. As we arrived into Oakville, I filmed train 73 also arriving. We must have been early since trains 72 and 73 usually pass between Oakville and Aldershot.
We soon departed Oakville and I sat down at my seat. I filmed the VIA yard as we passed. I saw in addition to the #6205, one of VIA’s RDC-1s assigned to the Vancouver Island run was also in the yard with the other RDCs including the five or so in storage.
Train #72 arrived into Toronto two minutes early. I got off and took some photos.
I went downstairs. I tried to phone home but no one answered. Mark and I took the subway to Finch. We then took a VIVA bus north. I got off at Royal Orchard and walked the rest of the way home.
If I had been able to ride the fishbowl in Woodstock; (or at least the Classic), this trip would have been excellent. Still, this trip was good. The Elgin County Railway Museum is interesting and I may go back when L&PS 14’s restoration is finished. London was all right as well.
My next trip will be my biggest trip of the year when I head out to Alberta on the Canadian. Until next time…
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