What we do for photos:
Some photographers go to great lengths to get a photo or to find out what they’re photographing. This page is about some of the more unusual things I’ve done to get a photo.
On the day I returned from my Sarnia-London Trip, I went out in the evening and met up with some people at a golf course in Newmarket. When I got there, I discovered an ex Richmond Hill Transit Orion 1 on the driving range! The bus was in rough shape and had all its glass shot out. However it was still in the Richmond Hill Transit livery and still was lettered for Richmond Hill Transit.
Richmond Hill Transit had a fleet of seven Orion 1s numbered 504-510. When Richmond Hill Transit merged with four other systems in 2001 to become York Region Transit, two of the Orion 1s lasted long enough to be relettered and renumbered. However, all the ex Richmond Hill Transit Orion 1s were retired by then end of 2003.
I was unable to tell what the number of the Orion 1 was, but I was able to narrow it down to one of four buses: 504, 505, 506, and 507. I was unable to walk up to the bus for liability reasons at the golf course.
However, I had an idea of how I could possibly identify the bus. One of my transit fan friends who I’ve gone fanning with had a camera with a really good zoom lens. I figured if I could get him to the golf course, we could identify the bus.
That chance came on August 29, 2012 which was just over a month after I first discovered that Orion 1. I had an opportunity to go fanning with him and we decided to go to the area. He had seen my photo of the bus which I had posted online and he knew like I did that with his camera, we stood an excellent shot of making a positive identification to that bus.
We headed up to the golf course. Just so we wouldn’t annoy the employees, we decided to play a round of mini-putt at the course so we’d have a legitimate reason to be there. Mini-putt was the cheapest thing we could have done there. So we played a quick round. We decided to bend the rules just for that game! I took some photos prior to finishing the game.
Here’s the main entrance with the Orion 1 framed in the middle.
We each got a hole in one during the game, but not on the same hole. After we completed the last hole, it was time to do what we had come for. We got into position and my friend Larry used his zoom lens to take a picture of the bus. We looked at the photo and we determined the number of the bus was 507. #507 was retired in either 2000 or 2001. So the bus had been sitting there for awhile.
I remember seeing Richmond Hill Transit’s Orion 1s in service. However, I only rode one of them: 509.
Besides #507, there are also three old cars on the driving range as well in similar shape as the bus. I photographed two of them.
I am presently unsure if I have any photos of 507 in service or not. If I find some, I will post it.
My next interesting experience to get photos occurred over a year later. I again met up with Larry. This time, we were going to photograph work cars on the TTC subway network. The work cars come out after midnight so we stayed up late.
We had planned to meet after 10:30 pm and go to Eglinton station. Since 2007, the TTC has been closing the section of the subway between Eglinton and Finch early for tunnel repair. We would see former Hawker passenger cars converted to work cars going through Eglinton.
Unfortunately, Larry was delayed leaving work by 30 minutes and we wouldn't have had enough time to get to Eglinton so we decided to delay that until next time.
We then headed to Broadview station and parked. Work cars usually come through after 1:00 am. I expected to see some H-6 subway trains which are now the oldest cars in service, though some had been retired at this point. We went down to the westbound platform. We saw an H-6 pull in going eastbound. I photographed it.
I filmed the train pulling out. Larry commented how the ceiling had been painted black. A few minutes later, a westbound train of H-6s pulled in. We got on and rode three stops west to Bloor-Yonge. We got off and photographed the H-6.
We then filmed the train pulling out. We then went upstairs. Larry was taking photos around the station. I suggested we go to the northbound platform and catch a Toronto Rocket signed up “Eglinton”. Larry agreed and we went to the northbound platform.
The first train to arrive was a Toronto Rocket. However, it was signed up for Finch instead of Eglinton. However, I noticed it was the 5801-5806 set. The Toronto Rocket trains are assigned numbers that end from 1-6 in order since they are all a connected train instead of two “married pairs” as per older subway cars.
However, cars 5801-5806 are one of two misnumbered Toronto Rocket trains. A month or so ago, I saw a Toronto Rocket train with the following cars: 5781-5782-5803-5784-5785-5786. I thought it was odd. I later found out that the inside of car 5803 was numbered 5783. For the set with 5801-5806, the car ending in 3 is 5783 but is numbered 5803 on the inside. I’m told that an original car was destroyed by fire, so Bombardier built an extra car for TTC.
Anyway, I photographed the train and filmed it pulling out.
The next northbound train to enter the station was a train of T-1s. As more Toronto Rocket trains enter service, T-1s are displaced to the Bloor-Danforth line which has been bumping the H-6s into retirement. As of the time I went fanning, some H-6s had been retired and some cars had left the property. I photographed the T-1.
Larry was at the south side of the station photographing various features. He said that once the T-1 train departed, he would grab one more photo. However, shortly after the train left, we saw a work car was approaching! We could tell it was a work car because the lights on the tunnel walls had a blue tint. As the work car pulled it, we saw it was RT-66 and RT-67. RT-66 was a former H-4 passenger car which was one of the cars retired between 2011 and 2012 as the Toronto Rocket trains entered service. I took some photos and a video.
It was sure nice seeing an H-4 running again, even as a work car. However, the last Gloucester work train was retired three years ago.
A few minutes later, the next Toronto Rocket train pulled into the station. I noticed two things. First, the train was signed up for Eglinton. Second was that it was the 5651-5656 set which is wrapped for the Bahamas. There are two wrapped Toronto Rocket trains which have been wrapped. The other set is the 5411-5416 set which is wrapped for the new Hobbit movie. Gateway Newsstands is running a contest for people to Tweet a picture of the Hobbit train. (Now if the fact there’s a contest that encourages people to take photos doesn’t convince TTC that photography is allowed on the system, I don’t know what would!)
I photographed the Bahamas train.
Larry and I decided to go for a ride. We rode two stops north to Summerhill. We got off and filmed the train pulling out. We then went to catch a train back south when we saw lights from another work train approaching going north. We sprinted back to the northbound platform in time to see RT-43 and RT-44 pushing another work car. RT-43 and RT-44 are two of the few remaining H-1 work cars! We filmed them passing through the station. The driver of the work train looked surprised to see us filming.
It had been a long time since I saw an H-1 on the main line. I briefly saw an H-1 work train moving around Greenwood Yard back in 2005. The last H-1s were retired over 10 years ago, so this was a treat. RT-43 and RT-44 are used for removing asbestos from the subway tunnels.
After RT-43 and RT-44 has departed, I said to Larry “Did you see that?!?” unnecessarily. We then headed back to Broadview station. By now it was 1:00 am. We knew that the work cars would start appearing in the next 30 minutes. The first work car was RT-72. I photographed it as it passed.
The next train to come west was a train of T-1s. After the T-1s had left, the next work car to pass through was RT-28. This wasn’t the first RT-28 on the TTC roster. The last RT-28 was a flat motor that had some components from retired Gloucester subway cars. It and sister RT-29 went to the Halton County Radial Railway Museum in 2001. RT-28 was used as a trailer until 2011 when its body was scrapped. RT-29 is still at Halton County though.
I photographed the current RT-28 as it passed through Broadview station.
Another westbound passenger train passed through. The next work car was flat motor RT-81.
After RT-81, another regular passenger train passed through. I then photographed the next work car to pass.
One minutes later, an H-6 train pulled in going Eastbound. I recognized it as the train we had ridden earlier. I photographed it.
After the H-6 departed, we saw a work car going eastbound. It was RT-76. I filmed it passing through.
RT-76 slowed at the east end of the station but didn’t stop. The next work car that passed through was the tunnel washing train. From the late 1980s to 2001, the tunnel washer used to be hauled around by some Gloucester work cars until the washer unit was motorized and no longer needed the Gloucesters. I photographed it as it came through.
Larry commented how there were two work cars in a row. A few minutes later, a TTC employee told us the last westbound train had gone. We left the station though after we left the platform, we heard the horn of another work car. Larry and I got a few work cars, but we were a little disappointed that we didn’t see cars RT-14 and RT-15 which are an H-1 paired with an H-4. At least I got to see RT-43 and RT-44. We then headed out. I got home shortly before 3:00 am. However, Larry and I are planned to do something like this again.
Since that day, Larry and I went work car fanning on four more occasions. The second time we only saw 4-5 work cars and none were former Hawker passenger cars. The third time we went, we didn’t see any work cars.
The fourth time we went work car fanning was much better. We were able to photograph three H-4 work trains including RT-66 and RT-67 again. This time we made it to Eglinton to see the H-4 work trains from Davisville. We filmed two trains passing through Eglinton including a work train led by RT-60 which is a former H-4 passenger car.
It’s nice to see an H-4 leading for the first time in about 2 years.
After we saw RT-62 and RT-63 pass by, we headed to Bloor. At Bloor, we filmed RT-66 and RT-67 passing through going north. We saw RT-73 going east on the Bloor line but we didn’t see any work cars going westbound like the first two times. We also didn’t see RT-43 and RT-44 again. RT-14 and RT-15 eluded us again. A week later, we returned to Eglinton.
A week later, Larry and I went out work car fanning again. We parked near Bloor and Yonge and went into the subway. We had originally planned to go to Davisville, but it was very cold out, so we decided to go to Eglinton instead. We boarded a Toronto Rocket train. This was after midnight so trains were going to turn around at Eglinton instead of Finch.
We boarded a northbound Toronto Rocket and rode to Eglinton. I noticed the train was signed up Eglinton. On board the train, I noticed the stops north of Eglinton were not lit on the train’s display map.
The train pulled onto the northbound track so we’d have to wait for the train to leave before a work car came.
Several minutes after we arrived at Eglinton, the train we were on departed. A few minutes later a train pulled into what is normally the southbound platform. Minutes later, we saw blue lights on the tunnel wall which indicated a work car was coming. It was RT-62 and RT-63; an H-4 work car which Larry and I had photographed the last time we went work car fanning. I filmed it anyway.
The next work train came in six minutes later. It was RT-64 and RT-65; another H-4 work car. As it passed, I noticed two things: That RT-64's former passenger number was #5610; a car that was retired when the Toronto Rockets entered service and that it had “Not in service” exposure was on a red background instead of a black background.
Three minutes later, Larry and I saw the next work train. I saw it had two Hawker subway cars instead of one and it was pushing a car which turned out to be RT-57. At first, I thought the Hawkers were RT-43 and RT-44 again. However, it turned out to be the elusive RT-14 and RT-15! Needless to say, we filmed the train. RT-15 is a former H-4 and RT-14 is a former H-1. RT-14 was on the end.
Larry and I high-fived after RT-14 and RT-15 had passed since he had seen those cars last August, but was unable to photograph them. Larry and I had a nice chat with a subway janitor at one point.
The next work car to come through was H-4 work car RT-38 and RT-39. This is the third former passenger train to carry those work numbers. The first two were former Gloucester work cars and former H-1 work cars.
The next work car we saw was RT-82. I photographed it.
One more H-4 work car passed through Eglinton. It was RT-66 and RT-67. This was the third time I had seen that work train. I filmed it passing though.
Larry and I then boarded a southbound train to go to Bloor to try to catch some Greenwood work cars. When we got to Davisville, we saw RT-9 and RT-10; another former H-4 work car on the third platform. We got off and photographed the train.
This bar code displays the car’s original number; #5626.
We noticed that RT-10 was former H-4 #5626. We also saw that a sink had been installed in the car! I made out cushions from the car’s former passenger seats as well. It felt good to be able to go this close to a stopped H-4 for the first time in two years.
I almost missed seeing RT-28 as it snuck past us on the main line.
Larry and I then boarded the next southbound train and rode to Bloor. We were hoping to see some more work cars from Greenwood, but we didn’t see any. We did see one H-6 train in service. So now Larry and I had seen examples of each H class subway train still running on the TTC in one form or another. No H-2s or H-5s were converted to work cars. The H-3s were 6 H-2s that had Chopper controls installed in the mid 70’s but removed in the early 80s and were then reclassified as H-2s.
Larry and I stayed until the last trains of the night arrived. We then left and headed home.
Despite getting photos of many of the H-4 work trains based out of Davisville, Larry and I still wanted to get a video of RT-9 and RT-10. For over six months we tried and were either thwarted by ignorant TTC employees who don’t know their bylaws or we weren’t in the right position at the time.
On the night of September 30th / October 1st, we decided to try again. Instead of parking at Bloor as we’ve done the last few times we’ve gone work car fanning, we decided to park just north of Eglinton.
Larry and I paid our fare and we decided to go to St. Clair to see some streetcars. We photographed a couple CLRVs before heading back to the platform.
We waited for a Toronto Rocket to come in Larry photographed it, but I didn’t I noticed it was set with cars #5541-5546. I had photographed #5546 on a flatbed truck in Aurora prior to it being delivered in 2012 and rode the car a few times since it entered service.
After the train left, I saw the blue lights of a work car. It was RT-72. We filmed the car passing through.
We then rode back to Eglinton. I had to use the washroom. While I was in the washroom, Larry saw H-4 work cars RT-64 and RT-65. However, we’ve already gotten some photos and videos of the cars. I headed back to the platform.
Although we didn’t need one, Larry had a photography permit. He spoke to a couple employees to let them know what we were up to as a precaution for when RT-9 and RT-10 came through.
We saw blue lights on the wall and got into position. It was RT-29. We filmed it passing through.
A few minutes later the next work car came. It was H-4 work car RT-38 and RT-39. We have gotten photos and videos of that train, but we filmed it passing through anyway.
A few minutes later, more blue lights appeared on the wall. It was RT-9 and RT-10. We started filming not knowing if we would get the train or if the train crew would ruin the video. Fortunately luck was on our side and we were able to get a video of the train passing through without incident. We were very happy and relieved to have finally gotten a good video of RT-9 and RT-10!
Although it was still early, Larry and I decided to quit while we were ahead and left the station. We wished the employees in the station a good night since they did not hassle us.
On the way back home, I did learn there’s still one more H-4 work car I have yet to film: RT-68 and RT-69. However, that train is based out of Wilson Yard so it may be a little trickier than the Davisville work cars, but we’re at some point going to try.
I will also add to this page if I have any more unusual photo stories.