Sunday, November 27, 2011

Six Forty-Eight at Twenty One Twenty-Five

Last night I had the pleasure of delivering a copy of my book to a VIA train. Engineer Chris Diddy was operating VIA train 648, on this night not J'ed to VIA train 668, but running about ten minutes later arriving at 2125. (Spoiler alert: the photo above is NOT last night's train. It was a dark and stormy night; not good for my usual delivery photograph, so 6505 at Kingston on VIA train 169 in 1988 will have to do.)

Chris and I had been trying to arrange this delivery since June 5, just after the release of my book. Operating on the other side of Toronto, combined with our schedules not meshing led to this 5+ month delay, but tenacity and timetable aligned on a drizzly Sunday night in November.

After Chris alighted from the cab of P42 912, we were able to have a short conversation about the working for VIA and railfans' altered view of Canadian railways in the 21st century. Chris, enjoy the book - safe trip and hope to meet you Trackside again.



Monday, November 21, 2011

But It's a TRAIN...VIa RAiL Video

As a bit of a departure, I decided to produce a short VIA Rail-themed rap music video. Note that the letters of the word 'viral' are in block caps within 'VIA Rail' in this post title. No, no, the video has not gone viral yet, nor do I expect it to. However, it is being received favourably in the railfan community.

The video was born out of the anniversary of massive VIA cuts thirty years ago this month. Usually referred to as the 1981 Pepin cuts, one resulting major loss was the Super Continental. Recently, while doing some enjoyable VIA 'fanning at Kingston, it struck me that there's still lots to see trackside, even with all the changes, cuts and improvements to VIA throughout its history. My son shared the 'Songify' app on his iphone with me, and the rest is history. Here are the full original lyrics, used in the But It's a TRAIN video which appears on my main blog, Trackside Treasure.

I was standin' on the platform
Feelin' down, feelin' forlorn
The classic trains all gone
Yo, yo, what's goin' on?

Not the Super Continental
It can still be transcendental
Canadian's got a Park car
I'm a railfan sittin' in my car

But it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN
'Cause it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN

It's not the Scotian or the Ocean
Ain't got no Sceneramic magic potion
On the Kingston Sub like a yoyo
I still like to watch them go go.

'Scuse my Cavalier attitude
Don't wanna sound too rude
It ain't blue & yellow
But I'm chill, yo I'm so mellow.

But it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN
'Cause it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN

Now and then I like the Ren
LRC sweet as can be
P42 whatcha gonna do?
Ain't got no steamy SGU.

F40PH what the H?
HEP yeah it's gotta be.
Skeena Turbo Rapido GONE
Atlantic Limited with E8 GONE

But it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN
'Cause it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN

Comin' down the mainline
It's HEP ain't got no steamline
Not carryin' emotional baggage...CAR
You can join my club...CAR

Print your ticket get on board
Down the track you won't be bored
Doesn't matter which train you're on
Ride it like you're Jason Shron

But it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN
'Cause it's a TRAIN
Yeah it's a TRAIN

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Donation

Lyon Valley Northern blogger Chris Lyon recently posted a request for donations for a great cause. Eastern Ontario's largest model railroad show, the Ottawa Train Expo is coming up in May. A Draw Table is part of the event, where tickets are sold on items donated by participating vendors or in this case, VIA book creators. Proceeds from the Draw Table will go to Roger's House, an eight-bed pediatric hospice located on the grounds of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

Upon reading Chris' request, I was happy to donate a signed copy of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years. Here's hoping it will add to funds raised during the event. To find out more, simply click on