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April 12, 2012:

April 12, 2012:


            I got up around 8:30 am and got dressed. I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back to my room and finished packing. I had arranged for a taxi to come at 9:30 am.


            I went downstairs and checked out. The taxi came a few minutes late, but I had plenty of time. I got to the Amtrak station a few minutes later. I paid the driver and went out. I saw the train that would become today's 353 parked south of the station. This is because of a grade crossing at the south side that is blocked when the train's in the station. I walked over and photographed the train.



            I then saw some highway coaches in a yard nearby including an MC-9. I photographed them.




            I took another picture of the equipment that would be my train 353 and the Pontiac Amtrak station.




            I then walked back to the Amtrak station and worked on this report some more.  I then went out onto the platform and watched the train waiting for it to move to the platform. 8 minutes before departure, the train was moved to the station platform. I filmed the train as it was moved to the platform and then photographed it.





            I was seated in Horizon fleet coach #54547. My ticket was taken before departure. I watched the Titanic DVD again. The train left on time. The train stopped at Birmingham. We stopped at Royal Oak at 11:00 am. We soon departed. I saw a large tank car with 8 axles south of Royal Oak. The train crew announced that the train would be full. However, since I was getting off at the next stop, I wasn't too concerned. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off in Detroit 15 minutes away.


            Train 353 arrived into Detroit on time. I got off and took some photos.




            I sprinted one block west of the station and was barely able to film train 353 departing. I then walked to a White Castle across the street from the train station and had lunch. After lunch, I took a bus downtown. I got off near the Detroit people mover and photographed a train.



            I then walked to a nearby station which was Financial District. I paid $0.75 to ride the people mover. I had just missed one train, but they run frequently. When the next train arrived, I photographed it.



            I rode the train to the Times Square station. The yard appears to be near the Times Square station however, the only thing the public can see is a track leading from a building.


            I exited the station and went out to the street. I got off at Times Square because it's right beside DDOT's downtown transit terminal called the “Rosa Parks Transit Centre”. Ironic a transit terminal is named after someone who's claim to fame was breaking an unfair transit bylaw. However, I'm sure many people are proud to have a transit terminal named after Rosa Parks and I'm proud too. Who knows, maybe in 50 years there will be a transit terminal named after me! {Wishful thinking, but you never know!} Again, if Rosa Park's peers has accused her of giving the black community a bad name instead of rallying behind her, I don't see this terminal named after her. I took a photo of the terminal and then photographed a DDOT RTS as it entered the terminal.




            I then photographed the RTS again with the people mover in the background.



            I was hoping it would go into service soon so I could ride it before I headed back to Canada. However, a second RTS; number 3820 showed up and I photographed it before I rode it.



            I got off the RTS at the same place I got off the 53 bus and again walked to the Financial District people mover station and paid $0.75 to get on. I photographed the next train to arrive.



            The front doors of the front car didn't open, so I boarded through the second set of doors. As I said in my Washington-Lancaster trip, the Detroit People Mover uses Mark 1 cars similar to the Scarborough RT in Toronto and the Skytrain in Vancouver. The cars in Detroit even have the same style chimes like the Scarborough RT and the H-class subway trains in Toronto!


            After the train departed, I photographed the Detroit Princess boat on the riverfront. I could see Windsor across the river and even made out a Transit Windsor Classic! I got off the train at Times Square and took some pictures around the Rosa Parks Transit Centre.



            Transit Windsor's Tunnel Bus serves the Rosa Parks Transit Centre. Transit Windsor Nova LFS #564 showed up. I photographed it before I got on.









            I was the only passenger on the bus. We soon entered the tunnel. I remembered what happened when I rode the tunnel bus to Detroit on my Washington-Lancaster trip with the customs agent asking if my parents said I could go to the United States and actually phoned much to my dad's disgust. I figured the agents on the Canadian side would be a bit better. After we got out of the tunnel, I caught a glimpse of the hotel I would be staying so it wasn't too far. The bus stopped at where the inspections are done.


            The agents went though my bags, but weren't rude or anything. However, prior to this trip, no customs agents have ever gone through my bags whether they were from Canada or the U.S. I was soon cleared and left the clearance area. I walked over to my hotel which was a couple blocks away. I figured that with the agents going though my bags, I will most likely not use Transit Windsor's tunnel bus again! On the way to my hotel, I filmed Transit Windsor Orion 5 #499 as it drove past signed up “extra”.


            I got to my hotel and checked in at 2:00. I went to my room and relaxed for a bit before I headed out. I noticed there weren't a lot of electrical outlets in the room. After awhile, I headed out and walked over to a bus terminal. I photographed Transit Windsor Orion 5 #411 parked on the street.



            I got to the terminal and noticed I missed Classic #565. 565 was originally built for Detroit. After it was retired, it was sold to St. Thomas Transit. St. Thomas is a town south of London. However, St. Thomas traded the Classic for a couple cutaways from Transit Windsor so it was living not to far from it's original home! If it was used on the Tunnel Bus, it would have been running in Detroit once again.


            A minute later, Transit Windsor Classic #535 arrived. I photographed it before I got on.



            I got off 535 and filmed it pulling away. I then rode back to the terminal on a DE40LFr. I photographed one of Transit Windsor's new XDE40s, Classic 541, and an Orion 6.






            I filmed 541 pulling away. As it pulled away, Nova LFS #553 showed up. If you read my Washington-Lancaster trip, you may recall that 553 was the first Nova LFS I rode back in 1998 having taken three rides when I first visited Windsor. It looked strange to my parents. I also rode 553 on the tunnel bus back on my Washington-Lancaster trip as well. Needless to say, I photographed it.



            553 went into service on route 6. I boarded it and bought a day pass. I rode it a fair ways. I noticed it would jerk to a stop. I got off and filmed it.


            I saw a freight yard and saw a cut of auto racks being shoved. I saw a Classic show up and walked alongside looking for a stop but gave up. I eventually caught a XDE40 back to the terminal. I photographed Classic #529 on route 11.




            Meanwhile, Orion 5 #411 was moved. I filmed it as it passed. I was hoping it would be going into service at the terminal, but it drove away. I photographed Classic #548 before I got on.




            I rode 548 a short distance before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I rode another XDE40 back to the terminal. I decided to walk near the riverfront and I could see the Detroit People Mover. At one point, I photographed the train and a nearby tug boat.




            I then walked to the bus terminal. I thought of riding a Nova LFS on route 8 to Windsor's airport, but Classic 565 arrived. Unfortunately, 565 went out of service, but I got some pictures of it.






            I then walked to a restaurant called “The Honest Lawyer” and had dinner. There is an Honest Lawyer restaurant in my area as well.


            After dinner, I made my way back to my hotel where I watched TV and worked on this report some more.


            I went out for a walk to try to find an open convenience store, but found none. I did see Transit Windsor Nova LFS #553 deadheading back to the garage. I eventually bought some milk at the McDonald's next door to my hotel. I returned to the hotel and worked on this report for a little more. I eventually set the alarm on my phone for 9:00 am and called it a night.


April 13, 2012:


            I got up just before 9:00 am and got dressed I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I went up to my room and watched some TV and finished packing. I checked out just before 10:30 am and made my way to the Windsor International Transit Terminal where I was fanning the day before. I rode a DE40LFr to the terminal. When I got there, I photographed Classics 541 and 567.




            I filmed 541 as it pulled away. A little while later, I photographed Transit Windsor El Dorado #701.



            I could again see the Detroit People Mover running along the river. A little while later, Transit Windsor GM Classic #523 arrived. I photographed it before I got on.



            523 is one of Windsor's oldest buses. They retired their last fishbowl a few months ago. It's nice to see a GM Classic running around noon. I rode 523 to the intersection of Campbell and Wyandotte. As we approached the stop, someone stepped into the road to get a coin and came within INCHES of getting hit by the bus! I got off and photographed 523.



            I filmed 523 pulling away. I caught a route 2 bus to Goyeau Street and bought lunch at the McDonald's near my hotel. I then waited for the next route 2 to take me to the VIA station. I had read the route 2 was an accessible route. However the next route 2 was Classic #533! I photographed it before I got on.



            I rode 533 to Walker Avenue and got off. I filmed the bus pulling away. I then walked one block to the VIA station. At first, there was no train at the platform, but I saw the equipment that would be today's train 76 reverse into the station. I saw there was a rebuilt LRC coach in the consist. I hoped I would be on that coach. I took some photos of the train.





            I then went inside the station and worked on this report some more.


            Boarding began shortly before 1:30 pm. I was seated in LRC coach #3366 which was the coach behind the rebuilt LRC. I took a window seat on the right side of the train.  A few minutes before we departed, I caught a glimpse of Transit Windsor Classic #533 going back into Windsor. The train was quite full and I got a seatmate right away. Train 76 departed on time.


            15 minutes after we left, I filmed the lot with several shells of Transit Windsor fishbowls. We were now travelling pretty fast.


            A few minutes later, we passed a farm with lots of wind turbines. Some were going and others were not.


            The train stopped at Chatham. After we departed, I filmed a CN baggage car on display near the station. We passed a CN GP9 on a siding.


            I decided to watch the second Titanic DVD I had bought. Train 73 passed, but I was unable to film it. We stopped at Glencoe a few minutes later. Just east of the station, I saw an old caboose on the other side of the train, but I was unable to film it.


            Outside of London, I saw a yard with three retired London Transit Commission Classics. We stopped in London a minutes later. The coach filled up. We left London a few minutes later.


            East of the station, we passed a CN yard and saw a CN GMD-1 and a GP38-2W. We passed by the older London Transit Commission garage.


            East of London, we overtook an eastbound CN freight. A little while later, we passed non-stop through Woodstock.


            A little while later, the train stopped in Brantford. The train was now sold out. A westbound CN freight passed.


            Later, I could see the skyline of Hamilton from the train. We passed through Bayview Junction and then stopped at Aldershot. At Aldershot, there was a GO train stopped on the track next to us. A few people got off.


            Train 83 arrived at the third platform track at Aldershot. Train 83 departed just before we did. I went one car back and filmed it. I returned to my seat.


            A couple months earlier, a Toronto bound VIA train had derailed shortly after departing Aldershot when it took a switch over travelling at four times the speed it should have. The engine and first coach flipped onto their sides and the engine struck a building killing the three men in the cab. This was VIA's first fatal derailment in over a decade. The locomotive involved was rebuilt F40PH-2 #6444 which I had photographed on my last trip leading train 54 in Brockville! I also have a model of 6444 as it looked before it was rebuilt on my electric train set!


            Fortunately, we were all right, but I didn't see signs of the fatal event at the accident site.  We stopped in Oakville a few minutes later. I saw an Oakville Transit XD40 in the station. My seatmate got off in Oakville.  We departed a few minutes later. I decided to look in the rebuild LRC coach one car ahead. The seats in the rebuilt LRC coach felt a little more comfortable and it would have been nice to have been able to ride in this car since I was riding the entire run from Windsor to Toronto. I guess I'll be able to ride in one eventually.


            We passed a yard with tank cars and a Geep lettered for a railroad or leasing company I don't know. Unfortunately, I was unable to film it.


            We passed through Port Credit where the girl was struck by a GO train last Tuesday which made me take a bus to Niagara Falls instead of train 95.


            As we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Centre, I filmed it. I saw three Park cars in the yard, five Renn cars including 4 sleepers, lounge car Glenfraser, and one of the six ex VIA RDCs had been moved. VIA train 75 passed, but I was unable to film it.


            Soon, we were approaching Toronto. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.  From the train, I could see CLRV 4041. I could tell it was 4041 because of the air conditioner on the roof that only 4041 received.


            As we passed the CNE grounds, a westbound VIA train passed but I was unable to film it. I did film VIA train 87 though.


            Train 76 arrived into Union on time. I got off and took some photos.




            I saw on the track next to where train 76 had stopped was a cut of LRC coaches without a locomotive. I photographed them.




            I took one more photo of the last car of train 76 before I headed to the arrivals area.



            I phoned my mom who arranged to meet me at Finch. I got on the subway and rode a Toronto Rocket train to Finch. I then met up with my mom and headed home.




            Aside from two things, this trip went good. The first was the circumstances behind this trip. It’s up to each and every one of us to protect our rights. I have no regrets in arguing with the driver of TTC 2855; especially since I was 100% in the right! The other thing that was a downer was having to take a bus instead of VIA train 95. People need to be more careful with trains and not trespass. If people treated a railway line light a major freeway, these types of accidents would be drastically reduced. This is the reason why Operation Lifesaver exists.


            I had planned to ride five passenger trains so as a result of my detour to Ann Arbour, I did! As a result of the customs agents on the Canadian side going through my bags and the customs agent actually phoning my parents on my Washington-Lancaster trip back in 2010, I’m not going to use the tunnel bus unless I absolutely have to.


            However, Windsor is a nice city to visit and I would most likely visit there again; though I might stay at a different hotel since there weren’t many outlets in my room and I couldn’t control the A/C in the hotel room.


            This trip was the first taken as a result of a confrontation with a driver who had no clue on photo policies. The way things are now, I don’t know if this will be the last. However, given the number of coincidences between my argument with the driver of TTC 2855 and Rosa Parks refusing to move; (both of us standing up for what we believe against bus drivers giving us crap while they were driving buses built by General Motors whose numbers were only two away), it seems a higher force wanted me to visit the Henry Ford Museum which was an extremely enjoyable experience.


I can say that Rosa Parks is my hero by refusing to take crap from that bus driver. While she did break a bylaw, the bylaw should never have existed in the first place. However, she proved that by taking a stand, things can change.


            If Greenfield Village was open it would have been even more. I may have to go back.


            As for me, my next trip won’t be until the end of May when I head out to Halifax for a bus charter. I won’t be keeping this trip secret! Until next time…


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