Thursday, October 1, 2009

Via and Guelph Junction

The fun all started on Tuesday when I took the Via Train home from Toronto to Brantford. I really didn't need to take Via, but I wanted to.

I must say it was quite comfortable, the chairs were a pleasure to sit in and snacks and beverages were available. The whole ride I was constantly looking out the large windows, taking in the scenery, which unfortunately at times consisted of slag, ties, and dingy old buildings. It also gave me a chance to observe some of the signs and signals that I learned in class. The trip lasted about an hour, which was too short for my liking.

Anyway Wednesday came and unfortunately I woke up with a cold that only got worse as the day progressed. But Awesomeness prevailed and the days events outweighed the sneezing, and runny nose. The day started at Mohawk Inn where the class met and we had a job briefing. Everyone then carpooled over to Guelph Junction. Once we got there the class was split into 3 groups. Mine, which is the most important, first took a look at the yard's various switches, we each got a chance to unlock the keeper on the switch and then throw it for a normal route and a reverse route, locking it when we were done. Then we practiced placing a derail in derailing and non derailing positions (those things are heavy).

After an early lunch we started going over the components of the different air brake systems, and we practiced applying and releasing the handbrakes (this I think was my favourite part). Then we tried entraining (getting on) and detraining (getting off) the equipment. The equipment by the way is HUGE! Pictures cannot show how big it is. We also got to practice on a moving engine first at 1mph and then at 4mph. The engine was an older model but it was big enough to live comfortably in. The exhaust that was realease when it throttled up was a black as the keys on my keyboard, and as it dispersed you could see the particles of the diesel fumes. It made you wonder how all these old engineers and conductors got to be as old as they did.

Tomorrow I am going to Procor for a tour of their facilities, I will write if I think you would care to hear about it.


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