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Niagara Falls trip:

Niagara Falls trip:




            One evening in mid August, my friend Jason and I was over at my friend Mark’s house when Mark suggested the option of going to Niagara Falls for the day. Jason and I agreed and we made a plan almost right on the spot. Our plan was to go to Niagara Falls on VIA train 97 and come back on train 98. Trains 97 and 98 are the outbound and inbound Maple Leafs that goes to New York.


            Prior to heading off, I spoke to my aunt who works for the Maid of the Mist, and arranged to get Mark, Jason, and I free tickets. We were now set. In addition, this would be the first time I went to Niagara Falls since my grandma’s funeral back in May.


August 24, 2006:


            I got to Union station at 8:02 am, 28 minutes before train 97 was to depart. I met Mark and Jason at the Harvey’s in the station, but I was 12 minutes late.


            We soon lined up for train 97 and shortly after that, boarding commenced. When we got to track level, I took a photo of the rear of the train and VIA’s transcontinental Canadian which was scheduled to depart 30 minutes after train 97.





            We were seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25010, a refurbished coach with a white and blue interior, digital display boards, and AC outlets by each seat. The train left on time. As the train passed VIA’s Toronto Maintenance Centre, I took video of the equipment that was in the yard including ex BC Rail lounge car Glenfraser.


Amtrak P42DC #188 was in charge of the train today. We stopped at Oakville and Aldershot. Mark, Jason, and I decided to walk the train. We determined that all the coaches with the exception of the last car were refurbished. The next two stations we stopped at were Grimsby and St. Catherines. Between St. Catherines and Niagara Falls, I saw the conductor with several cards for the passengers crossing into the United States. He didn’t hand any to Mark, Jason, or I since we were getting off at Niagara Falls, Ontario. We crossed the drawbridge over the Welland Canal. Shortly after that, we stopped to wait for a freight train. We were underway again shortly and we arrived into Niagara Falls station where Mark, Jason, and I took a photo of the train.

We then decided to wait for the train to leave to film it pulling out. After the longest time, the Maple Leaf finally departed and each of us filmed it. I also took one more photo of the rear of the train.

After the train left, we caught one of Niagara Transit’s Orion 7 buses running on route 5 to Clifton Hill, which is were we would spend the day. Shortly after we got off, we saw Niagara Transit’s oldest bus: Classic #8372, a 1983 vintage Classic that was bought second hand from an American transit property.  I took some photos and hoped to ride that bus later.


Mark, Jason, and I then headed to the bottom of Clifton Hill, and headed to the Maid of the Mist boat tours. My aunt had told me that we should come down the employee driveway. When we got to the gate, my aunt buzzed us in and we headed down to the office.

My aunt met us in the office where we dropped our stuff that we didn’t want to take on the boat. We then got raincoats and waited at the dock for the next boat. When the boat came, I noticed it was the newest boat in the fleet; “Maid of the Mist VII”. The previous times I had been on the Maid of the Mist, I had always been on the “Maid of the Mist VI”, the second newest boat. As the people disembarked from the boat, I unfortunately saw someone suffering from sea sickness which wasn’t all that pleasant.

Mark, Jason and I got on the boat and soon we were off. The boat sailed past the American Falls, and then got close to the Canadian (or Horseshoe) Falls. While on the boat, the crew made announcements about Niagara Falls. As we came close to the Horseshoe Falls, a whole lot of mist came in. We soon were back at the dock where I took a photo of the boat.

We then headed back to the office to retrieve our stuff. Mark kept his souvenir raincoat while Jason and I didn’t. My aunt gave us coupons for various attractions in the area. We then left and headed over to a nearby Wendy’s for lunch. After lunch, we went on the Sky Wheel that had opened earlier this year.


After riding the Sky Wheel, we went through a maze that was across the street. After the maze, we visited a haunted house. We then visited the Guinness Book of World Records museum.

At one point, I wanted to go on the Pile Driver thrill ride, but I found it was closed for maintenance.

After that, we visited Lego Brick City. They had several buildings and landmarks made out of Lego bricks. They even had a railroad with trains running and done in various railroad liveries including CSX, Santa Fe, C&NW, Conrail, CP, Amtrak, and BNSF. I took a few photos there.



After, we headed over to the Hershey’s store. I called Julie to find out the status of Amtrak train #63 which would become VIA train 98 and found it was going to be late. We then waited to catch the Falls Shuttle back to the train station. I was hoping we’d get on Classic #8372, but we ended up getting on an Orion 5 instead.

When we got to the VIA station, we saw VIA train 94 which would depart after train 98. It had an F40PH-2, a Hep1 coach, a Hep2 coach, and lounge car Glenfraser which was still shrinkwrapped for the Fallsview Casino. We took some photos of the train.


I headed to a nearby TD Canada Trust to get some money out of the ATM. I then waited, hoping to see Classic #8372 again, but it never showed and I eventually gave up and returned to the VIA station across the street. We kept waiting for train 63 to arrive. Finally, train 63 arrived running 69 minutes late. I filmed the train arriving and took some photos.



Once the train arrived, we still couldn’t board until the customs inspection was complete. After a long time, they finished the inspection and we were allowed to board. Just before I boarded, I caught a glimpse of Niagara Transit Classic #8372 again, but was unable to photograph it.

Mark, Jason, and I were seated in a semi-refurbished Amfleet 2 coach. This coach had blue seats, but it had the old reader boards, no AC outlets, red curtains, and beige walls. We departed running 1 hour and 25 minutes late. As we passed train 94, I filmed it. Once my ticket had been taken, I went to the café car for dinner. After I purchased my dinner, I took it back to my seat. On the way, I saw that there was a big line for the café car that the line actually extended to the coach behind the café car!

After I finished my dinner, I took a couple photos of the interior of my coach. Outside of St. Catherines, we stopped. VIA train 95 passed us, but I was unable to film the train. Not much happened as we stopped at Grimsby, Aldershot, and Oakville. Train 98 made up some time and arrived into Union station about 72 minutes late. As we got off, I took some photos.




After, we headed to the subway. Once we got to Finch, Mark drove us home.



This was a pleasant day trip. I wish that we could have had a bit more time for sightseeing and I would have liked to have ridden Niagara Transit Classic #8372 as well as the Pile Driver ride. Oh well, until next time…