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Running from Hearst to Noranda (via Englehart) over the Ontario Northland, CN 2561 sweeps through the scenic rock cut at Boston Creek with detour stack train Q188. After two previously failed attempts at shooting a detour here, the third time was indeed the charm.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Ryan Gaynor all rights reserved.

Caption: When it comes to photographing the ONR, Boston Creek is undoubtedly one of the signature shots. However, like the majority of great locations for railroad photography, you'd better be ready to put in the leg-work to get the shot. The drive to Boston Creek is questionable, at best, during the warmer months of the year. And during the winter, it is an entirely different story. Now, I’m not saying that it’s impossible to access, but if I had to pick one word to describe the drive, “harrowing” would probably be it. So, with the recent frenzy of Canadian National detour traffic over the ONR, I knew that a trip (or two) up north wouldn't be complete without checking this shot off of the list. As I soon discovered, though, that photo wouldn’t come easily - and it didn’t. Fortunately though, staying true to the adage “third time’s the charm”, I finally got my opportunity on attempt number three. First though, a nail-biting chase from Swastika to Boston Creek would ensue. As if the sketchy road conditions weren’t bad enough, getting stuck behind a slow-moving pickup loaded with logs (go figure) was the icing on the cake. However, with some creative maneuvering, I arrived at Boston Creek with just seconds to spare. The crossing lights were already activated when I threw the car into park. I likely uttered an expletive, or combination thereof, as I frantically waded through the waist-deep snow. With just enough time to frame up the shot, CN 2561 popped into view. Here, detoured CN stack train Q188 is seen rolling through the scenic rock cut at Boston Creek on their southbound run from Hearst, ON to Noranda, QC (via Englehart). Phew - that was close! Afterwards began the long drive back to Hamilton. However, there was great satisfaction in knowing that all of the hard work paid off in the end.

Ryan Gaynor [154] (more) (contact)
Date: 02/23/2020 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 2561 (search)
Train Symbol: CN Q188 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Boston Creek, ONR Ramore Subdivision (search)
City/Town: Boston Creek (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
Share Link: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=40438
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Photo ID: 39233

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

Full size | Suncalc
Note: Read why maps changed. Suncalc.net for reference only.

  1. Via Englehart? Wow. Did they do this because they had to run around the train? Guessing there isn’t a north to east connection is there?

    Do you have anymore of your shots from this trip anywhere? They are very cool. Glad you made the trip.

  2. WOW! That’s dedication. More great stuff Ryan. More to come?

  3. Thanks for the comment, Tim! Great to hear from you.

    The Hearst to Noranda detours ran via Englehart as a result of the north leg of the wye at Swastika Junction being out of service (and under 4 feet of snow). Essentially, the trains ran southbound into Englehart where the power would then swing around the wye and connect back onto the rear of the train for the run out to Noranda. Glad you’ve been enjoying these photos. I plan to share more of them in the coming days on here, Flickr and my Instagram page. Stay tuned.

  4. Thank you, Stuart! The whole trip was an exercise of dedication. Between the blown out tire, some unplanned “off-roading” at Val Gagne and spending a night in the “Chateau RAViera” (I drive a Toyota RAV 4), it was quite the adventure. Lots more to come. Stay tuned.

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