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Filling a few holes in my map I realized I have nothing on the Talbot sub, despite a few chases in 2004/5. Here's a neat story which is a bit of dumb luck and well, just the way things were 10 years ago - be warned: a few of you younger folks are probably going to shed a tear:
After a night of debauchery in Downtown London with friends, I managed to get out by 10 AM to see what CN had in store - given the timeframe that I got out of bed I must have had a reasonable amount to drink that night. In the next 2 hours I managed to catch six moving freights - which back then just seemed normal.  Then the NI dispatcher lit up the radio and I heard the following:
"Clearance two, to NS 8349 south, proceed from Walton Junction to St Thomas" - NS 327 has arrived. Not being much of a locomotive guru at this point, I didn't know what the heck that was. I set up a few crossings down the Talbot sub and managed to shoot the scene you see here. A pair of ex Conrail - neat. You'd think I'd follow this the rest of the way to St Thomas.. wouldn't you.. but no, I did not. Something else happened that peaked my interest even more. (see next photo)
Copyright Notice: This image ©Stephen C. Host all rights reserved.



Caption: Filling a few holes in my map I realized I have nothing on the Talbot sub, despite a few chases in 2004/5. Here's a neat story which is a bit of dumb luck and well, just the way things were 10 years ago - be warned: a few of you younger folks are probably going to shed a tear:

After a night of debauchery in Downtown London with friends, I managed to get out by 10 AM to see what CN had in store - given the timeframe that I got out of bed I must have had a reasonable amount to drink that night. In the next 2 hours I managed to catch six moving freights - which back then just seemed normal. Then the NI dispatcher lit up the radio and I heard the following:

"Clearance one ohh two, to NS 8349 south, proceed from Walton to Mile 12.7" - NS 327 has arrived. Not being much of a locomotive guru at this point, I didn't know what the heck that was. I set up a few crossings down the Talbot sub and managed to shoot the scene you see here. A pair of ex Conrail - neat. You'd think I'd follow this the rest of the way to St Thomas.. wouldn't you.. but no, I did not. Something else happened that peaked my interest even more. (see next photo)

Photo notes: D70, 50mm f/1.8, time is 1251.

Photographer:
Stephen C. Host [1415] (more) (contact)
Date: 06/18/2005 (search)
Railway: Conrail (search)
Reporting Marks: NS 8349, PRR 5360 (search)
Train Symbol: NS 327-18 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Talbot Subdivision (search)
City/Town: London (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 22064

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
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11 Comments
  1. After NS 327/328 were abolished CN yanked the west-facing switch to the Talbot Sub at London Jct. Now it’s the Talbot spur, under control of the London yardmaster. Curious to see what happens to the line in the next few months, but probably won’t be as interesting as the NS operation.

  2. You got lucky with the sun. I shot the same train under dark cloud at Copetown West and Paris West… I see I should have kept going!

  3. Well, lucky for you, ol’ Smith…..I didn’t even hear about it. But then, this being a Saturday, I was probably working.

  4. Thanks Rob – I honestly don’t know how I got photos off back then – I sucked at this hobby but managed to get lucky sometimes.

  5. The more shots I see of these trains the happier of a man I become, just wish I could share some of my own.

  6. rob: post yours ! :) I wish I shot a wider angle to show off both engines :)

    miles at least 582 still runs in daylight, can go shoot it :)

    back then you had 582 at noon and 584 in mid evening (8 pm) southbound, plus ns and any extras (cn or ns) up to 8 movements a day

    down to one each way now.

  7. Steve, I must decline you offer as I was not as technically advanced or knowledgeable back in the day. I was still shooting slides with the camera in automatic mode, which doesn’t work so well on dark days with a fast moving train!

  8. Roger Mr. Smith – understood. I remember my silliness in my younger days too. :) At least we had fun ;)

  9. Great story !

    Interesting circumstances !

    Conrail Quality was a later addition – for Conrail represented anything but…

    For many of us that Conrail word – Consolidated Rail Corporation – and the ‘death blue’ paint scheme meant a horrible end to many many flags. And the Conrail was a ‘scheme’ indeed – horrors: a Government Run Railroad! In the USA! The lands of Trump, Obama, Bush (s), Clinton, Regan, Nixon !

    . … During the post 1976 years Rail-fanning got real interesting, some seventy five ( ! ) flags fell into the death blue of Conrail, credit an un real mix of power lash ups ( oh!… to be track side at Silver Creek ! ( too bad rpix is Canada only) ) …but within a very short few years everything just faded into that horrible ‘ death blue ‘ paint.

    In the end economic reality is just that – and (no) thanks to the 1972 Hurricane Agnes ( and I did witness re-routed EL trains through CP Rail Leaside! CP crews would not ride the EL hacks (vans): too dirty ). Those were desperate days indeed! Unprecedented. And CASO represented a significant number of track – miles.

    For those of us who may want to reminisce,

    The following courtesy Wikipedia:

    The Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) was formed on April 1, 1976 not by a standard merger, but as a new government corporation that took over only designated lines and other rail-related assets from the existing bankrupt companies. Seven major companies were included:

    Penn Central Transportation Company (PC), successor to the New York Central Railroad (NYC), New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (NH), and Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)

    Erie Lackawanna Railway (EL), successor to the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) and Erie Railroad (Erie)

    Ann Arbor Railroad (AA), controlled by Penn Central[1]

    Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ)

    Lehigh and Hudson River Railway (L&HR)

    Lehigh Valley Railroad (LV), controlled by Penn Central

    Reading Company (RDG)

    So were most railroads that had been leased or controlled by them, sometimes jointly.

    In addition, Conrail acquired long-term leases on several Canadian properties (all PC-NYC): the St. Lawrence and Adirondack Railway, the Canada Southern Railway * , and its subsidiaries Detroit River Tunnel Company and Niagara River Bridge Company. All of these Canadian companies but the St. Lawrence and Adirondack were given up in 1985.

    ( The Canada Southern Railway (reporting mark CASO), also known as CSR, was a railway in southwestern Ontario, Canada, founded on February 28, 1868 as the Erie and Niagara Extension Railway. It adopted the Canada Southern Railway name on December 24, 1869. The railway was leased to the Michigan Central Railroad (MCR) for 99 years; in 1929 it was subleased to the New York Central Railroad (NYC). Its successors Penn Central (formed 1968) and Conrail (formed 1976) later exercised control before being sold to CN/CP in 1985. )

    Above, thanks to Wikipedia.

    (Though I do want to add that the only reason CN/CP wanted CASO was to acquire: 1) the tunnel; 2) the bridge and 3) to eliminate any possibility of new competition. Prime objective was to dismantle CASO – and take the rail for use elsewhere)

    And to think that Seventy Five (bankrupt) roads consolidated into Conrail !

    ( perhaps a Heritage Project for CSX ?)

    Great shot..what’s next ?.

    sdfourty

  10. sdfourty: Interesting narration on the start-up of Conrail…..I remember a lot of it and the chaos that the NE railroads went thru; but when Conrail was broken up it was the same sort of calamity. I was a D&H fan at the time and almost every siding they possessed was plugged with dead trains in the “Great Meltdown”. A book could be written on how the roads handled the demise of Conrail. Badly.

  11. this is pretty awesome. sucker hole conrail on the talbot? no complaints.

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