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STO 7901 Charter:

STO 7901 Charter:




            In 2006, OC Transpo in Ottawa retired their last fishbowls. However, across the river, STO continued to run fishbowls in service. They even bought two fishbowls from Ottawa.


            In late 2008, I read on the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board that someone was planning on chartering STO fishbowl #7901 which is the last original STO fishbowl in service at the end of May. This would be the first time since the Kingston 7975 charter I used VIA to go to a charter.


            I was originally planning on flying to Ottawa on the morning of the Charter and taking VIA home afterwards. However, Air Canada jacked up the price on the flight I was looking at and found it cheaper to take the train to Ottawa the day before and stay in a hostel. I managed to get the weekend of the 30th off work. My final plan was to take VIA train 44 to Ottawa on May 30th and spend the night there. The next day, I would go on the charter and then take train 49 home.


May 30, 2009:


            I got to Union almost an hour before my train was to leave. I walked over to the west end of the station and photographed train 73 awaiting its departure to Windsor.



            I then walked back to await the boarding of my train. When I got back to the great hall, I saw my friend Jason with the THRA tour of Union Station. On the last Saturday of each month, the THRA holds a tour of Union Station that takes people to places regular passengers who pass through Union station don’t usually go. I have been on one such tour.


            I joined the line to board train 44. Soon it was time to board. I photographed the train before I got on.



            I was seated in LRC coach #3322 which was the last car on the four car train. The train departed on time. I barely managed to film the yard where on my last trip I saw a TTC fishbowl parked. However, I was unable to film the TTC’s Greenwood subway yard as the train raced past.


            The train stopped at Oshawa and would run non-stop to Kingston. VIA train 57 passed with its typical consist of an F40 and stainless steel coaches, but I was unable to film it. The train stopped at Kingston. Shortly after we left, train 45 passed, but I was unable to film it.


            The train stopped at Brockville. A little while later, we stopped at Smith Falls. I photographed a CP freight from the train.



            We left Smith Falls and soon we were approaching Fallowfield. We had to proceed slowly through two railway crossings. We rounded a curve before arriving into Ottawa three minutes early. I filmed another VIA train before I got off.




            I walked through the station before I took one more photo of my train.



            I then headed to the Transitway and boarded a D60LF on route 95X. Shortly after I boarded the bus, I ran into another bus fan on the way back from a charter on an OC Transpo 1990 New Flyer D40. I had decided not to attend that charter but he told me it was enjoyable. However, he would most likely not be on the STO charter.


            I got off at the Rideau Center and photographed the bus.



            I then walked to the Ottawa Backpackers hostel. I checked in and dropped my suitcase in my room. I went downstairs and had a chat with two women in the lobby about the O-Train.


            In 2006, there was a proposal to turn the O-Train into a more traditional light rail line which would have shut the line down for two years. However, the proposal was shelved and the O-Train operates as it did when I first rode it in 2004.


            I left a few minutes later discovered my hostel was two blocks away from the hotel my family and I stayed at in 2004. I also ran into Richard Hooles who I know at the Toronto Transportation Society who was in Ottawa for the same reason I was.


            Soon, I caught a bus back to the Rideau Centre after buying a day pass. I took some photos and then boarded a bus on 95 and road eastbound.



            When I got to the Hurdman Transfer station, I saw a 1990 D40. I got off and photographed it.




            I also photographed one of OC Transpo’s new Orion 7 NG’s.



            Even though Orion 7 NG’s are common in Toronto, at the time there were only two or three in Ottawa. Meanwhile, I was about to resume heading east on the Transitway when D40 #9028 started up and stopped to go west on the 95. I got on and photographed the interior. I rode the bus to the Lees Transitway station and filmed it leaving. I also filmed sister bus #9010 pass.


            I then got on a bus on route 95 and rode to the St. Laurent Transitway stop and walked upstairs. I immediately saw Classic #9317 which I photographed.




            I hung around for several minutes. During the time, I filmed another OC Transpo D40 leaving. Meanwhile 9317 went into service on route 14. I photographed it before getting on. The driver asked why I was taking pictures. I told him I was a bus fan. He seemed to be okay with that.


            I rode 9317 briefly before I got off and filmed it pulling away.



            I then headed back to St. Laurent station and boarded a bus and rode to the St. Laurent bus garage. In the back, I saw several dozen D60LFs as well as a twin coach and GM Articulated bus #8222 which are both part of OC Transpo’s historic fleet. I also saw a third bus inside.





            At one point, I saw an OC Transpo Invero being towed back to the garage. I also saw two of OC Transpo’s three new double-decker buses. I was hoping to ride them in service. However, I wouldn’t get to.



            I then walked over by the front looking for a warehouse where a group is restoring an original Ottawa streetcar, but couldn’t find it. I eventually caught a New Flyer Invero which was heading to Hurdman. The bus entered the Transitway at St. Laurent. When the bus stopped at the train station, I saw two people get on and one had a camera out. They sat in the bus near me. I had a gut feeling they were transit fans, and I turned out to be right.


            One of them thought they saw me before. It turned out they were on the Toronto Transportation Society’s last two charters: GO Transit Provost #1600 and a York Region Transit New Flyer D40.


            At Hurdman, we got off. I saw Flyer #9028 was back and I was told it was the extra in case a bus broke down. They were very interested when I told them about my ride on it earlier.



            I heard that a Flyer was on route 9 and it showed up a couple minutes later. I took a photo of it before we got on.



            The route 9 has low frequency. The people I was with said if it ran more frequently, it would get more riders. Route 9 is the closest route to where the Prime Minister lives; however, it’s a long walk.


            At one point, we passed 1992 Flyer D40 #9221 operating on route #1. I filmed it as it passed. We got off at the Rideau Centre and I took one more photo.



            We then waited for a bus to take us to the Bayview station on the O-Train. We got there just in time to miss a train. We waited for the next train. When it arrived, I filmed it arriving.



            The operator went into the cab and we were soon off. We noticed the operator opened the curtain in the cab more so we could see even more. It may have been the O-train hat I was wearing!


            We rode the entire length of the line. At Carleton, I filmed the train going the other way. We arrived at Greenboro. We got off and I took some photos.




            It was here where we went our separate way, though I would see the people I was with again on the charter the next day. I caught a bus and rode to the South Keys Transitway station. When I arrived, I got off and walked over to the nearby Wal-Mart and had dinner at the McDonalds.


            I had eaten lunch at the same Wal-Mart when I came to Ottawa in 2004. This was before I even started working for Wal-Mart. After I got my dinner, I looked around the store. I saw it sold comic books which my store presently does not. Associates still page over the store’s P.A. system.


            Back at the Wal-Mart I work at, management bought walkie-talkies for associates to replace paging over the P.A. Unfortunately as I found out through a manager who has “rubbed me the wrong way”; Wal-Mart was too cheap to buy enough so each department can have an associate with a radio.


            At one point, the manager paged the associates to the Jewelry department for a meeting, I wandered over there in case the manager was a former manager at my store, though not surprising, he wasn’t. I soon left the store and headed back to my hostel. Along the way, I took a few more photos at Greenboro and Hurdman.




            I got back to my hostel shortly after 10:30 pm. I saw I had a bunk mate. He was an older man of German origin. His name was Osy. Osy told me how a few days earlier he had innocently been walking down the street when a police car drove up and he was handcuffed and forced into the police car. They took Osy to the station where he found out that why he was arrested. They thought he had broken into cars. It took 20 minutes before they realized they had arrested an innocent man. Although they released Osy, they wouldn’t tell him the names of the officers or the address of the station. He’s told his story to newspapers and wants to have officers carry a name tag on them at all times for future incidents.


            I told him about some of my encounters with the police including that run-in with the Amtrak cop in Philadelphia on my New York trip.


            We talked about reincarnation. I told him that a fortune teller had once told me I was a warrior in a past life and my two run-ins with YRT drivers who were under the impression that photography was not allowed and how one transit fan contacted the head of YRT. After a long series of calls, YRT has since informed drivers that bus fan photography is allowed without exception. Or so I thought.


            A month after my last trip, I had two run-ins with the first YRT driver who gave me problems about photography. The second time, I asked for the bylaw, the driver said the privacy bylaw which I knew was a lie and I argued with her and I came out on top which seemed to vindicate my past live as a warrior.


            I took a walk and soon, I called it a night.


Click here for part 2:  part 2.