|Our first stop was at CN (formerly WC) Soo yard in Sault Ste Marie Michigan. The sole occupants of the yard were these two former Canyon Tour Train domes, GBW 901 "Agawa Country" and ex-WP California Zephyr car "Spirit of Superior."|
Photos and Narrative by Peter Mumby
By early 2014 I was aware that CN intended to terminate its passenger service on the Soo Sub (Algoma Central) on the last day of March. I didn't give it a lot of thought until I got a call from my friend Luc Sabourin in Sarnia. Apparently the Algoma Central "Tour of the Line" (Sault Ste Marie to Hearst and return) was on his bucket list, and it was now or never. Did I want to go along? By the time minds were made up, CN had announced a one month extension, so we settled on the first week of April.
A room was booked in Hearst for the evening of April 3 (a necessary pre-condition to reserving a train ticket) and return tickets were purchased for April 3/4. Cost was $237.65 each. We planned to go north through Michigan, then return through Ontario with railfanning stops in the Sudbury and North Bay areas.
|This sign at Soo yard detailed the yard's ownership prior to the CN takeover of Wisconsin Central.|
We were up early the next morning with CN 632 departing Hearst (the most northerly point on Ontario's highway system!) at 08:00. We left with four passengers and made no stops until we arrived at Sault Ste Marie about 30 minutes later than the advertised 17:40.
The next morning we set off for Sudbury, with several stops along the Huron Central Railway on the way. Our route to London was hardly direct, with stops at Capreol, North Bay, Englehart, Huntsville, and Washago to photograph CN, OVR, ONR, and CN trains and equipment. I'll let the photos and captions tell the rest of the story.
|All the HCRY and OVR vehicles and structures we saw were nicely maintained and branded.|
|Huron Central 3802/802 in the yard at Sault Ste Marie Ont. April 02, 2014.|
|Power car AC 78 at Steelton yard in SSM. April 03, 2014.|
|CN 104 has backed onto its train and is ready to take #631 to Hearst.|
|The train stopped at mile 96.5 where this interesting sign was located. The first passenger getting off had snowshoes; the other two ladies stepped off the coach and sunk into snow up to their hips.|
As a postscript, I should mention that CN has subsequently announced that Algoma Central passenger service has been extended for another year. Care to make some plans?