You could GO home

On a nicer summer afternoon I would ride down from “the mountain” and get off my bus around GO Transit’s former Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Hunter Street station. I consider the station itself to be one of the most attractive pieces of railway architecture anywhere and it’s preservation a real tribute to the attitude of “doing it right” in so many ways.

GO trains leaving Hamilton for Toronto exited the station and into a tunnel, under the City, and my walk home would take me over that tunnel’s entrance. Most days I could time a walk to match the departure of an evening train and this evening was no different. These three photos remind me of just such a time.

I remember thinking I should probably get around to “someday” spending more time photographing GO’s F59’s but they just seemed ever-present and as permanent part of the landscape that there was never a rush. Not many years after I took these photos I’d be proven wrong. Come to think of it, I’ve probably taken more photos of these GO diesels in Montreal commuter service than I did when they were on home turf.


RBRX 18524 (former GO Transit) at Dorval, Quebec, in AMT service. November 4, 2010.

We’ll always have Dorval

My “stuff” purge continues to inch its way through my photo collection. Rather than prints in albums I’ll never open I figure I’ll scan them and keep digital copies. This evening I grabbed a small album of photos I took on a trip to Montreal to ride and chase AMT commuter trains. I’m so proud of the way Montreal’s commuter rail provider has modernized and how much more mature it is now. If I were using it to travel to work, today’s is the better option. Mind you, it’s not the same for those of us who’d drive all that way just to watch their former fleet in action. These photos were all taken on a single afternoon in July 2000. There is so much I didn’t get a chance to see that day but even in these photos I am reminded of the variety that awaited the commuter rail junkie when he walked through the sliding glass doors at Lucien l’Allier (“LuLa”) and into paradise.

AMT July 22 20000029

Above is one of my favourite train photos, of all those I’ve taken. I’m at LuLa and have wandered pretty far down the platform to take this one. On the point of our train is an F40 leased from VIA Rail, number 6455.

AMT July 22 20000004

Walking back toward the station here’s a closer photo of 6455. In VIA service this engine would have worn the Government of Canada wordmark and the Canadian flag in several locations. I don’t know if it was official or not but it’s hard not to notice that someone has applied strips of tape to mask almost all the flags on this engine.

The Montreal commuter rail fleet was always a study in contrasts. No more evident is that than in the first car behind 6455. This coach was built by the Canadian Car and Foundry for Canadian Pacific Railways. It has spent its entire life in suburban services. When it would have entered service, it would have been pulled by CPR steam engines.

The balance of the train is made up of, then, AMT’s newest coaches. Built by Bombardier and of similar design to Amtrak’s Horizon fleet coaches these cars were gaining popularity with other commuter rail agencies (Conneticut’s ConnDOT and Boston’s MBTA immediately spring to mind). This was the first time I’d seen them up close and I still like their subtle lines. Lovely riding cars too – in my opinion.

I’ve always thought I’d someday like to build a model railway to showcase commuter train operations in and out of this station and every trip with a camera has provided an opportunity to record a few more random details. I wonder how many times I’ve photographed these same lights?

I rode the rain out to Dorval station that afternoon. Stepping down onto the platform I turned to grab a quick photo of the tail of my train as it departed. Moments later an inbound train arrives on the opposite track led by former CP Rail #1301. It was leading a train of former GO Transit, single level, cars. The entire train was decorated for the Rivertrain service. I believe this was the last time I’d see an FP7 in AMT service.

Thanks for following along on this adventure. I may very well have shared a few photos from this in previous posts but it’s nice to present the entire afternoon. I’m proud of these photos and considering it was me snapping that shutter, they turned out okay. As for the camera, it couldn’t of been more humble: a disposable I bought at a Jean Coutu store.

CP 1412 at Dorval – July 20, 1978

I found this shot online and really wanted to share it. This is just beautiful. With any luck the link from Flickr works and you can see it too:
CPR 1412

Looks like the hood of an RS18 or RS10 trailing that FP7 on the back track. I wonder what train it was on? I’ve seen lots of shots of that arrangement on the lead of the Canadian but to be honest I’d really like to hear it was on the lead of the commuter train headed in the opposite direction.


Thanks to some excellent detective work as noted in the Comments attached to this post, the mystey trailing MLW is an RS10. Great points Chris, thanks for sharing them.

AMT #1301 in Rivertrain service

The #6455 led my train back to Dorval airport (now Trudeau, maybe it was then too and I’ve just forgotten!) I had just gotten off my train at Dorval station when approaching fast on the opposing mainline was a Rivertain lead by AMT FP7 #1301. I frantically found my camera and grabbed these three photos.


AMT Dorval – Pine Beach railfanning

I shot these from the Hobby Junction parking lot just past Dorval on October 29th while in Montreal to attend the Canada Central open house. The scene is just so very different from the AMT that caught my attention and we’re a long way away from platforms filled with FP’s and GP’s pushing half-century old commuter cars. That said, this is all excellent progress and I’m really just as excited about this AMT as I was with the one of old.

Dorval on Youtube

Two really great clips from Youtube. It’s super late here and I’m not listening with any sound on so my apologies if these have lousy sound.

CN Commuter Train in 1970

Dorval Winter 1977

LRC To The Rescue

Okay so I thought the video was really ironic evidence given that the whole reason to withdraw the LRC locomotives was their unreliable ALCo/MLW 251b prime movers and here we have a video where the thing is rescuing a dead F40 pulling a string of LRC coaches. The coaches are still in service and I anticipate riding in them in a couple of weeks first from Toronto to Ottawa and then from Ottawa to Montreal.