Talking to a loco engineer on a Saturday Night!!!

Since my dad was taking us up to Kahshe Lake on Sunday afternoon (June 24), we decided to to hit the Vivian Crossing on Saturday night. There were two things of interest. First we wanted to hike along the tracks to check out a spring fed Oak Ridges Moraine pond we discovered on Google Maps not far from the spot where we sit. Secondly, we had watched a night train the weekend before and wanted to see if the same schedule would would happen again.

Well, two things did happen. First of all, the pond was a bust. Lot’s bull frogs and lily pads. Didn’t look good for swimming which is what we wanted to do in the first place, maybe even take Bumper for a swim. It almost looked like the pond had been drained somewhat. We saw a beaver and you could tell that there were fish in there but didn’t look too appealing. We walked back to the siding after that and just waited in the car watching the fireflies and swatting mosquitoes.

What a wild machineAbout 10:00 PM (my dad had fallen asleep by now) I heard a horn off in the north. We jumped out and looked at the signals…two reds…in both directions. What gives we thought! The excitement started when the southbound train (a freighter) was approaching on the siding where my dad was standing! Low and behold it slowly approached and stopped right in front of us! We waddled up to the front of the loco and then to check the northbound signal. It was Orange/Red. Something was coming north and this guy was waiting.

The best part was that we noticed the conductor got out to have a pee beside the track and then the Engineer came out to talk to us! While we were we were chatting, the northbound freighter came through on the main line. It was explained to us that the northbound freighter was too long (9,000 ft) for the siding and thus they had to come in on the siding and wait. His train was only 6,000 ft and fit well into the siding.

He was a great guy and spoke to us while the other train passed. We talked about the whole George Brown course thing. He told us that CN also would train new people right out of high school. It got me thinking!. The other part of the conversation related to the fact that he was 50 years old and would be retired in 4 years as well as many of his baby-boomer buddies and that they would be needing new young guys like me to fill the void. I can’t wait! Anyway, the big northbound freighter passed and then he climbed back up into the cab, powered up (that was soooo frikken cool) and off they went.

It was all so sureall, happened so unexpectedly and it was so incredibly cool. We were out there, it was dark and there we were chatting with this loco engineer while he waited for this other freighter to pass!

More to follow. Still hearing this early morning horns going to Bradford. I know there is something going on we are not being told about!

About Jeff

Benny's dad and major railfan
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2 Responses to Talking to a loco engineer on a Saturday Night!!!

  1. Dave Hulings says:

    Hey Ben,

    It’s great that you got to talk to the crew, and so unexpectedly. You never know when something like that is going to happen, but you’ll remember it always! My first “chat” with an engineer was when I was 12. He and his crew were running a pusher set. He let me up into the cab, and then I rode with him a few miles down the mainline, waited for another train to pass, then we went back to our starting point where I got off, and he coupled onto the train to help shove them over the mountains. I will never forget that day!

    Keep up the good stuff on your site.. it’s enjoyable reading and you have some great pix and videos too.

    Dave H.

  2. Brandon says:

    Hey man,

    cool stuff here, but if I may say, I work for CN, you don’t want them to know how much you love trains though.
    That makes the company think you’ll be paying too much attention to the train to miss something extremely dangerous that about to take place.

    Just a thought

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