Northward Bound – Huntsville

I arrived at the Huntsville station at 2pm and noticed that the car behind me looked the same as the one Wayne Shaw said he’d be driving.  Sure enough it was him with his gigantic (to me) dog in the backseat.  He told me there was some action happening with 595 (the CN industrial local) and we should get over to one of the spots he usually gets some shots from.  With that, we took off for Martins.

When we arrived, 595 was pulling around the corner with some surprising power: 4138.  When I visited Huntsville last April, 4136 was the locomotive that served the area and this was generally what I had seen from searching online.  Here’s 4138 pulling four box cars down the track towards Martins.


And having broken two of them off, 4138 pushed them up the hill towards Panolam.


Surprising to both Wayne and myself, 4138 came back down the hill with one boxcar instead of dropping them both.  I guess Panolam didn’t have two boxcars worth of stuff to be picked up.  In order to get to the front of the three boxcar set, 4138 had to pull all the way back to the crossing.  Before it did that, I grabbed a shot that I’m fairly impressed with.  Using my 55-250mm lens, I grabbed this shot of the back as it came towards us.

A member of the train crew was talking to the engineer while we were standing there and we could hear them over Wayne’s scanner.  He shouted down to us when Wayne asked what happened to 4136; he didn’t know, but said that 4138 was a former Illinois Central.  I was told this wasn’t correct, but the source of confusion wasn’t clear to me.  I’ll get back to that later.


Before 4138 got itself going, Wayne told me we should catch it heading back into town.  Getting back into our vehicles, we took off down Domtar Rd. back to Aspdin Rd.  We pulled off to the side at Old Ferguson Rd. and broke into a fast walk to get to a group of birch trees where Wayne had shot before.  This is at mile 144 of the Newmarket subdivision.  The walk turned into an open jog as the train approached.  I went to the near side of the road while Wayne stayed on the far side.



You can see something on the nose that looks like a “40”.  It’s actually the letters AR.


The last shot includes the curve and the road.  In the distance you can see our two vehicles at the side of the road.  Doesn’t my car look green to you?  I’ve been told it’s blue, but I’m fairly sure it’s green.

Once we were done, I followed Wayne back to stately Shaw manor where I left my car so we could go in his car and so he could show me some of the other good spots.  It was at this point that we decided to shoot the southbound Northlander at Utterson.  This is the smallest place I’ve been to that could be called a town.  We pulled into a spot close to a crossing and directly beside the track.  This was where the station for Utterson used to be located.  Having a bit of time, we walked north along the right of way, checking out the track and seeing some of the leftovers from when two tracks ran through the area.  The brush had been cut back at the sides, some by machine, some by Wayne himself to clear out the crap that was in the way when he was shooting.


The weather was being very temperamental at this time, with the clouds bringing some pain as we waited for the train to come by.  When we heard the first horn, it seemed like the clouds might stay out of the way.  But by the time the crossing signal went off, the sun was partially obscured.  1805 came roaring around the corner in full, yellow and blue glory.



I’m pretty proud of the second shot.  1805 looks like it could break through side of the picture and out into the real world.

After it passed, we returned to stately Shaw manor where I refilled my water bottle and hung around for a few minutes.  As it was getting later in the afternoon and I still had over 100km to drive, I decided to take off.  I thanked Wayne for his time (and thank him again now as I hope he’ll be reading this when it gets posted).  His work is solid, as I’ve said before, and can be found on under W.D. Shaw.

Before I left Huntsville entirely, I went to the station to grab a few shots of the signage and 4138 at rest.




Here’s a closer shot of the AR on the nose.  This locomotive was used in the film The Wrong Guy (thanks again, Wayne) and painted as such for the AR Illinois railway.


I left town and headed for South River.  This small town is directly on Hwy 11, so it wasn’t out of the way for me to get to.  I took a few pictures of the station and left with North Bay as my destination.



It was almost 6pm when I got to North Bay.  I checked into my hotel and rested for a few minutes.  Somewhat recharged, I drove around the city for a little while, looking for an LCBO to buy some beer and somewhere to eat.  In that time, I drove over the large bridge near the ONR shops and saw a few engines sitting there, just waiting to be photographed.  I only had by 18-55mm lens with me, so I got as close as I thought I could and shot ONR 2101 and 1604.


Not my best work, but I was glad to grab something before I shut myself down for the night.  I got some dinner at the East Side Mario’s, then returned to the hotel to organize my pictures from the day and watch the hockey game.

On the next installment of Northward Bound, I do a bit of exploring around North Bay on Good Friday.

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5 Responses to Northward Bound – Huntsville

  1. Wayne Shaw says:

    Hey Adam. Sure, I’ve been reading this and anxiously awaiting what you had to say about the Huntsville area! You’re more than welcome for the tour and thanks to you for the props! Now that you’re familiar with the area I’ll keep an eye out for your BLUE Hyundai alongside the tracks. 😀
    Oh and by the way, I like the “stately Shaw Manor” thing. Cute. Not necessarily accurate but cute none the less! Shadow says Hi. Actually she’s just slobbering all over my face as I type this so I’m just interpreting that as her saying Hi. Then again maybe she just wants a cookie.
    Anyway you got some good shot in (in spite of the unsettled weather) and it seems like you enjoyed yourself in the process so I’d rate your trip as a success overall, in spite of locking your keys in the car. Next time maybe keep a spare in your wallet! Take care and drop us a line next time you’re by this way. We’ll grab Judy to come along too if she’s not working. ‘Bye for now, and keep up the good shootin’ & bloggin’,


  2. Eric Gagnon says:

    Adam, I can’t think of a better combination…a day of railfanning, then hockey and beer.

    Nice shots. I took the Northlander in 1994 and we had a meet at South River. The station looks much better…federal stimulus money no doubt helped. I’ve seen and photographed 4138 with its strange nose logo here at Kingston…now where did I stash that photo? I’ll be blogging about my trip in a future post. The Huntsville switcher is a rarity these days, stationed far away from the nearest shops in an outpost setting. Great report, thanks for sharing,

  3. Adam Walker says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Wayne: the amount of slobber that dog had when I was riding with you was ridiculous! Even more so when I saw the results on the ceiling of the car.

    Eric: I like to think of it as the quintessential Canadian experience. It’s a shame how things turned out for Montreal in the end though…

  4. Anders Nyquist says:

    Nice shots! I once saw both 4138 and 4136 at the Huntsville station at the same time.

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