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A Second to Spare at Swastika
There are close calls. And then there are the mop your brow and curse to the heavens, way too close for comfort, close calls. As Canadian National detour train no. 188 rolled around the bend on ONR's Ramore Subdivision at Swastika, Ontario, I experienced the latter. 

The morning of February 23rd looked promising. With word that 188 (a Hornepayne, ON to Taschereau, QC detour train) would be making a daylight run over the ONR to Englehart, I devised a plan. Knowing that 188 had departed Cochrane at 0700, I pressed north along the Trans-Canada Highway to Matheson, where a handsome ONR station still stands. With a general understanding of ONR's run-times, I'd arrive at Matheson shortly after 0800 to find a perfectly lit scene, shoot at the station and the chase would be on. In my head, everything played out flawlessly. In reality, I was dead wrong. While driving up to Matheson, I had unknowingly committed one of railfanning's cardinal sins: driving towards an oncoming trains. And yes, the train managed to sneak by me in the handful of spots where the railway does not parallel the highway. While a silent scanner on the drive north should've been my first indicator that something was wrong, every passing minute at Matheson sealed my fate. Now, almost 40 minutes after arriving at Matheson, I was starting to get very nervous. 

Following a horrible gut feeling that 188 had (somehow) snuck by me along the way, I started back towards Swastika. In my mind, Swastika is the 'signature shot' on the line and I wasn't going to miss it. About 10 miles out of Swastika, and still with no sight of the train, the scanner crackled to life. "ONR equipment defect detector, mile 29.6 no defects". SHIT. Swastika is located at mile 26 and I'm at least 5 miles behind the train. Now the chase was really on. Literally flying into town, I arrived at the station and threw my car into park - engine still running and my legs trembling. By the grace of god, the train hadn't gone by the station yet, but I didn't have much time. As I ran up a snow-packed set of stairs to track-level, CN 2561 was already coming around the bend. Now, I'm sprinting down the platform as the train is coming at me. Its absolute chaos. Stumbling into place, I abruptly raise my camera and fire a rapid burst of photos. In total, I fired 8 hectic frames. This photo was the 8th. Between the first and last frame, a total of 2 frantic seconds had eclipsed. Now that is what I call too close for comfort.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Ryan Gaynor all rights reserved.



Caption: A Second to Spare at Swastika There are close calls. And then there are the mop your brow and curse to the heavens, way too close for comfort, close calls. As Canadian National detour train no. 188 rolled around the bend on ONR's Ramore Subdivision at Swastika, Ontario, I experienced the latter. The morning of February 23rd looked promising. With word that 188 (a Hornepayne, ON to Taschereau, QC detour train) would be making a daylight run over the ONR to Englehart, I devised a plan. Knowing that 188 had departed Cochrane at 0700, I pressed north along the Trans-Canada Highway to Matheson, where a handsome ONR station still stands. With a general understanding of ONR's run-times, I'd arrive at Matheson shortly after 0800 to find a perfectly lit scene, shoot at the station and the chase would be on. In my head, everything played out flawlessly. In reality, I was dead wrong. While driving up to Matheson, I had unknowingly committed one of railfanning's cardinal sins: driving towards an oncoming trains. And yes, the train managed to sneak by me in the handful of spots where the railway does not parallel the highway. While a silent scanner on the drive north should've been my first indicator that something was wrong, every passing minute at Matheson sealed my fate. Now, almost 40 minutes after arriving at Matheson, I was starting to get very nervous. Following a horrible gut feeling that 188 had (somehow) snuck by me along the way, I started back towards Swastika. In my mind, Swastika is the 'signature shot' on the line and I wasn't going to miss it. About 10 miles out of Swastika, and still with no sight of the train, the scanner crackled to life. "ONR equipment defect detector, mile 29.6 no defects". SHIT. Swastika is located at mile 26 and I'm at least 5 miles behind the train. Now the chase was really on. Literally flying into town, I arrived at the station and threw my car into park - engine still running and my legs trembling. By the grace of god, the train hadn't gone by the station yet, but I didn't have much time. As I ran up a snow-packed set of stairs to track-level, CN 2561 was already coming around the bend. Now, I'm sprinting down the platform as the train is coming at me. Its absolute chaos. Stumbling into place, I abruptly raise my camera and fire a rapid burst of photos. In total, I fired 8 hectic frames. This photo was the 8th. Between the first and last frame, a total of 2 frantic seconds had eclipsed. Now that is what I call too close for comfort.

Photographer:
Ryan Gaynor [153] (more) (contact)
Date: 02/23/2020 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: CN 2561 (search)
Train Symbol: CN 188 (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Swastika, ONR Ramore Subdivision (search)
City/Town: Swastika (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 39865

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2 Comments
  1. Great story and photo Ryan.

  2. Ryan, I was sweating just reading your account of what went into this great image… nice work, and you managed to get all of Swastika in the shot :)

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