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Parry Sound trip:

Parry Sound trip:




            On my Washago and my 2006 trip to Timmins, when I rode the Canadian in Economy class, I couldn’t get into the dome car right away. So I decided to ride the westbound Canadian in the cheapest sleeper class: An upper berth.


            I had originally planned to incorporate this into my Sudbury trip, but found it to be pretty expensive to do so. I ended up waiting until winter when the Canadian consist is smaller. My eventual plan was to ride the Canadian to Parry Sound in an upper berth, then take the Ontario Northland bus home. In October, Ontario Northland bus operators went on strike which threatened to delay my trip. Fortunately, the strike was resolved before Christmas. So my trip was back on.


January 10, 2008:


            I got up shortly after 6:00 am and had breakfast. After, I got a ride to the Langstaff GO train station from my dad. In order to prevent missing the GO train as what happened on my 2006 trip to Timmins, I had bought a round trip ticket two days earlier and used one trip to go home from Toronto.


            My GO train arrived at 7:03 am and we were soon off. We arrived into Union station 35 minutes later. Once I got off, I took a photo.



            I then saw VIA train 71 and Amtrak’s Maple leaf in the station. I photographed them both.





            Moments later, a security guard at Union said I shouldn’t do that. I argued with him, saying that it was legal to take pictures and there was no bylaw prohibiting. He insisted the fake rule existed because of “security”. And the 9-11 terrorist attacks which he said were four years ago. One can’t take a guy seriously if he doesn’t know his math!


            Also, two days earlier, there was a discussion on the Canadian Passenger Rail Yahoo Group about the topic and everyone was in agreement that there was no policy.


            I went to the main concourse and muttered, “Jerk”, to myself. After, I went to the skywalk and eventually met up with Robert Lubinski who I briefly talked about the Canadian. We discussed how two days earlier, one of VIA’s few remaining ex CN blue and yellow coaches headed out west on the Canadian. I had been hoping to see the car heading west on the Canadian for five weeks and I kept going down to see it, but I missed it two days earlier because of a dentist appointment; much to my frustration.


            I then photographed VIA 71 departing. It consisted of a P42, a VIA 1 class Hep2 coach, and three economy class LRC coaches.



            I filmed train 71 pass before I headed back to the VIA concourse. I checked in since I was in a sleeper even though I would be on the train for only four hours. The VIA attendants were a little surprised, but they understood when I said I wanted to get in the dome car right away. I then went to the VIA 1 lounge where I attempted to have a massage from the coin operated massage chair just like on my Moncton trip last year. However, the chair wouldn’t take any of my coins.


The Canadian started boarding sleeping car passengers just before 8:30 am. I was in Berth 1U of car Draper Manor. My Canadian consisted of F40PH-2s 6436 and 6442, baggage car #8605, Hep1 coaches 8123 and 8131, Skyline #8512 (which was on the Budd Ocean on my Moncton trip and the Canadian on my Sudbury trip), Brock Manor, dining car Fairholme, Draper Manor, Butler Manor, Fraser Manor, and Tremblant Park. All but coach #8131 were ex CP cars.


Shortly after I boarded, I was behind a family who were traveling to Vancouver and had booked at least three double bedrooms. I got a glimpse of the Maple Leaf departing. I got settled into my berth and photographed VIA F40PH-2 #6407 which had just arrived from London with VIA train 86. I also filmed the coupling of the trains that would become 56 for Montreal and 42 for Ottawa.


I stepped outside the train for a second and took two photos. I then headed to the Park car and went up to the dome. I began talking with the family who were in the same car as me. I told them about my website and some trips I had been on. There were a lot of people my age in the group and for some reason; they reminded me of the high school dance club I crossed paths with on Amtrak’s Three Rivers back in 2005.


The Canadian left on time. Shortly after we left, we passed the consist of what would be VIA train 85 for Sarnia. I stayed in the dome until the train passed the York subdivision. As we passed above the York subdivision, I saw an overpowered freight train. It had three locomotives and two double stack cars!


I then went to the bullet lounge and filmed the reverse move. I then headed back up to the dome as we headed forwards. The Canadian turned from the York sub onto the Bala subdivision. As we turned, I took a photo and a video of the train.



Shortly after, I saw some ex GO transit highway coaches in a yard just east of the tracks. We passed railway crossing on Green Lane that I had often filmed the outbound Canadian. As we passed, I saw the older man who comes out every time the Canadian leaves town and waves to the people on the train who I had met several times in the past. I watched as we passed VIVA’s Richmond Hill Centre bus terminal. I stayed in the dome until we were out of Richmond Hill and passed under highway 404. I headed back to my birth.


A little while later, it was time for lunch. I went to the dining car and ended up having a bean burrito. Since I was in a sleeper, lunch was included in the ticket price. It reminded me of my first dinner in Tucson, Arizona. After lunch, I took some interior photos of my sleeping car before I went back to the Park car. Once in the Park car, I bought a can of coke and took a few interior shots. I headed up to the dome.


The train curved around Lake Muskoka. As we went around some curves, I took some photos of the train.



Soon, we were nearing Parry Sound. The train crossed over from the Canadian National main line to the Canadian Pacific main line. The area around Parry Sound is configured for directional running. All westbound trains run on CP while all eastbound trains run on CN. As a result, there are two VIA stations in Parry Sound.


I went back to my berth and began to pack up. The sleeper attendant let me keep a souvenir book that was in a nearby seat pocket and gave me a certificate to commemorate me riding in “Silver and Blue” class on the Canadian, even though it wasn’t for overnight!


This is my VIA card commemorating my {brief} trip on Silver and Blue class on the Canadian.


I mentioned that I wanted to photograph the engines, and the sleeping car attendant led me through the train to the first coach. As a result of my request, the Canadian would not have to make a double spot as there was a coach passenger getting off in Parry Sound too. I was told to be fast because we had a westbound CP freight right behind us.


The Canadian crossed over a large bridge just before the station. We actually pulled into Parry Sound a couple minutes early! This is especially rare because the Canadian has a hard time keeping to its schedule. Once I got off, I walked to the engines and took a photo.



I waited for the Canadian to depart and filmed the train pulling out of the station. I then went to the station to call a taxi. I had a couple hours to kill before my bus was to depart. The station attendant called the cab and we talked a little about trains and how the Canadian it typically late. The station attendant is a former CN engineer. I told him how I had taken a conductor course, not mentioning my school, (SAIT; see my Western Canada trip report).


A few minutes later, my taxi came. I asked the driver to wait for a minute while I filmed the power of a westbound CP freight before I headed out to the bus depot. I could see the bridge and saw the freight was still passing over. We got to the bus station almost two hours before my bus was scheduled to leave. Again, taxi companies were much better here than in Cleveland by either not sending the cab and causing me to miss my train or going to the wrong place to pick me up! I paid for the cab and went inside and bought a ticket to Yorkdale Mall bus terminal in Toronto because it was closer to my house than the downtown bus terminal.


I phoned home and checked in. Moments later, I saw there was a Wal-Mart a block away. Since I had time to kill and since I am still working for Wal-Mart, I decided to walk over and buy some snacks for the bus ride home. After I was done at Wal-Mart I walked back to the bus terminal.


My bus was supposed to arrive at 3:00 pm and leave 15 minutes later. At 2:58 pm, I saw a bus approaching. I thought it was my bus, but it turned out to be a Greyhound bus that pulled into the parking lot of a nearby Comfort Inn hotel. It was back to the waiting game. About 15 minutes later, I saw another bus. Once again, I thought it was my bus, but it turned out to be another Greyhound bus that also pulled into the parking lot of the Comfort Inn!


My bus finally arrived 29 minutes late. I found it ironic how the Canadian was early, yet my bus was late! I took a picture of my bus.



The bus departed 29 minutes late. Once we left, I phoned home and let my dad know the bus was late. We headed out onto the highway. We went on some side roads. At one point we passed above a CP freight train. We stopped for a few minutes in a small town. Unfortunately, I was seated near a family with a baby who cried a couple of times.


We passed by Mount St. Louis-Moonstone, a ski resort which I have been to in the past which I found to be good. The bus soon arrived into Barrie, Ontario. At one point, I saw Barrie Transit Nova LFS #65598 which is ex TTC #1001. That bus is the only Nova LFS that Barrie Transit owns. It was also the only LFS the TTC ever owned as well. Unfortunately, I was unable to photograph the bus. At Barrie, the family with the baby got off much to my relief. We soon departed.


After awhile, we were approaching Vaughan, Ontario. As we passed Canada’s Wonderland, I looked out to see how construction was progressing on the park’s new roller coaster Behemoth, which is to open in May and be Canada’s largest roller coaster. Unfortunately, it was dark and I couldn’t see anything.


The bus soon arrived into Yorkdale. We had made up some time and were now only 10 minutes late. Once I got off the bus, I took a photo of it.



I phoned home and let my dad know I was at Yorkdale. I looked around the mall for a few minutes before I bought dinner in the food court. I then headed home on the TTC and VIVA. When I got home, I learned that vandals had struck the Halton County Radial Railway Museum. I looked into that and learned with disgust that they had seriously graffittied former Gloucester subway cars 5098 and 5099 which are two of my favorite cars in the collection! This was a bad ending to a pretty good trip.




Aside from the run in with the “dimwit” security guard at Union station and the left-over frustration of missing seeing the blue and yellow car on the previous departure of the Canadian, this trip went good. I was impressed by the Canadian arriving into Parry Sound early. VIA needs to do is keep it on time (which also takes cooperation with CN and CP.) Learning of what vandals did to the Gloucesters at HCRR was a bit of a downer though.


So far, I have at least two more trips planned for 2008. My next trip will be in less than a month where I plan to go to Quebec City. Until next time…