Friday, August 14, 2009

Transport: Not Seeing What's There

St. Lawrence and Hudson SD40-2 #5560 led Canadian Pacific "Expressway" train #124 over the Humber River in Toronto, Ontario on 14-August-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - In a past post, I mused on the fact that it is not uncommon for a railroad enthusiast to not even realize the significance of what one is seeing in front of them until doing some later research. Sometimes, though, the disconnect is much simpler--not even seeing what is right in one's viewfinder, with obvious significance, until looking at the picture later.

I had such an experience tonight when I followed my occasional routine of heading down to the Humber River in Toronto to take pictures of whatever Canadian Pacific trains might pass through in sunset light. Since recent changes resulting from the poor economy, this has not been a very fruitful activity, as several trains that used to fairly reliably pass in that general time frame no longer run.

Tonight, the only train to pass was one of the remaining common trains, Expressway train #124 which runs overnight trailers from Hornby, Ontario west of Toronto to Montreal, Quebec. It showed up after ideal light but before complete darkness, and I was able to get a passable picture, seen above.

In a more obvious situation, St. Lawrence and Hudson SD40-2 #5560 was in westbound Expressway train #121 at Scarlett Road in Toronto, Ontario on 5-May-2008.

At the time, I was somewhat disappointed as looking through my viewfinder, it looked like the lead locomotive was in a Candy Apple Red paint scheme, in contrast with the second unit which had an older Action Red paint scheme. They didn't match, and since the train had been operating with matching Action Red units, I wasn't happy with the change on the front of the train.

Upon processing my digital photos tonight, however, I discovered that the lead unit was indeed in Candy Apple Red, but was not a Canadian Pacific unit. It was painted in the St. Lawrence and Hudson paint scheme. There were only four such SD40-2 locomotives remaining in service on the Canadian Pacific, so this was a quite rare train that I had captured!

The St. Lawrence and Hudson was a 1996 attempt by Canadian Pacific to make the eastern half of its system east of Chicago and in the northeastern United States more efficient. It was thought that the railroad was intending to sell off this portion of its system, but instead the performance on this portion of the railroad improved so dramatically that just a year later, it was decided to keep the entire St. Lawrence and Hudson in the Canadian Pacific system. As a relatively brief experiment, it was surprising that any sign of the St. Lawrence and Hudson remained more than ten years later at all.

GP9u's #8212 and #8219 showed the difference between the St. Lawrence and Hudson and Canadian Pacific paint schemes at Lambton Yard in Toronto, Ontario on 21-June-2006. The yard is now closed, and #8212 was repainted back to CP paint in 2007.

Sometimes, it's not just obscure things that the railroad enthusiast misses when looking through a viewfinder. Sometimes, it's the obvious.

No comments: