Friday, August 11, 2017

A Day with the Canada 150 Train

July 31, 2017 saw Canadian Pacific's Canada 150 Train roll into Edmonton. CP had posted on their website well in advance which day the train would arrive in the city. This provided plenty of time to plan out the day. One extra challenge was using public transit to get to the shots I wanted.

The Plan

Prior to heading out, I needed to decide on where to shoot the train entering and leaving the city.

One thing that I always tell myself is "Google is your friend". Google search, earth, maps, images, and YouTube (Google owns YouTube for those that don't know that) are great resources for finding the right location. Despite searching Google, watching a few videos, and browsing images, I decided to try some different spots. The first being Parson's Road under the Anthony Henday Drive for arrival, and the second being the 23 Ave overpass for the departure.

I chose the Anothony Henday for the northbound arrival as it looked to have a nice curve, and was easy to access from public transit (both from home, and the destination) by way of busses 23, and 78. It would also be an easy trip to the event at South Edmonton from here. Back on to bus 78, transfer to LRT, and then bus 4 directly to the event where I would meet the Fiancee with the car to enjoy some music, and getting up close with the train.

The second location was not as much of an issue to get to, as I would now have a vehicle. That being said, 23 Ave was an easy choice as I had scouted it out on Google Streetview a number of times before, but was waiting for the right train to shoot here. The overhead shot of a train with downtown looming in the background is what drew me here.

Executing the Plan

I woke up that morning with the basic plan in mind, but was also receiving updates on the trains location from a friend, as well as from the RailsAB Facebook group.

At 12:30 I was out the door to catch the first bus, and arrived well in advance. As I walked up to the first location at Parson's Road I noticed something I hadn't considered. A tall fence that lined the tracks. There's a reason I always try to carry my gorilla tripod in my bag, and I would use it if necessary. Luckily, the underpass had a flat concrete barrier which allowed me to set my video camera up almost perfectly for the shot (needed to angle it downward a bit with a spare battery).

After about an hour of waiting, the scanner finally picked up 40B - which is the ID the train was running with - talking to a foreman. They were close. Quickly, I got the video camera rolling, and made sure the settings were correct on my Canon Rebel XTI for the pictures.

2 minutes later, they came rolling around the corner.

Not bad!

As the tail passed me, I packed up and it was a quick 5 minutes walk back to the bus stop to get to the event location.

Upon arrival at South Edmonton, myself and a few others found that there would be no access to the event site until 16:45. Time to sit around, relax, and snap a few shots from the edge of the property.

The hour or so went by quickly, and we were granted access to the event. Where I grabbed a number of pictures of the train, as well as the concert.

Above: Performers get the crowd ready for Dean Brody to hit the stage.

Left: CP 1401 sits parked at South Edmonton.

 Above: A CP employee stops to chat with some members of the crowd before continuing his inspection of the train.

Left: People write their hope and dreams on the Spirit of Tomorrow Car.

Below: Dean Brody has finally taken the stage, and is putting on quite the show.

Alright, I've got the shots I had hoped for at the show, time to head to the 23 Ave overpass.

A quick 5 minute drive later, and I've parked at the McDonald's nearby and am walking up to the overpass. Upon arrival I noticed some power lines hanging over the tracks, and blocking part of the skyline. After a quick debate with myself over moving, I figure it is worth the shot, and I can use Lightroom to remove the lines later.

I'm glad I stuck around, as the finished product looks pretty nice!

That was all she wrote for my day with the train. It goes to show that things don't always go perfectly, but if you are prepared, you can make it work.

Enjoy the video below from the day showing shots from each location.

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