Friday, March 27, 2015

The Drive: Part I (Ottawa - Chicago)

The trip that came along with moving to Saskatchewan involved a lengthy trip from Ontario, but to make it more interesting, we took a route through the United States by way of Chicago, and Minneapolis.

Google Maps image of our route
The original plan was to take our time and have a third stop somewhere in North Dakota. This would have given me more time to do some railfanning along the way. However, the moving company that had taken our stuff through Canada, arrived three days before before the earliest estimated delivery date. This threw a wrench our plans, and resulted in doing the whole 11 hours between Minneapolis, and Weyburn in one day.

Now this isn't to say that we didn't still see some trains along the way! I don't pictures of them all, but I aim to give some info to where we saw the ones that slipped past as we drove(there were quite a few).

The first leg of the trip was from Ottawa to Kitchener, where we would spend a night visiting relatives. The only sighting of the day came near the Pickering GO station as a westbound intermodal train was stopped after meeting an eastbound freight. This train was lead by a CN CSX combo. An interesting note was that there was a distributed breaking car right behind the units. Much like this one. I later learned that it was CN 107.

Leg 2 of the trip was Kitchener to Chicago via Sarnia. We had a few sightings in Michigan, but none were overly note worthy so, we continued onward.

Arriving in Indiana, we made a stop at Chesterton to hopefully catch a few trains. It was not to be though, as no trains came by in the 30 minutes we were there.

Chesterton is a railfan hotspot, as it is directly on the Norfolk Southern Chicago mainline. It is also home to the Chesterton Cam which many railfans throughout North America enjoy to watch.

Waiting a train that never came

After coming up empty at Chesterton, we began the drive into Chicago for an overnight pit stop. If you drive the I-90 into chicago (toll road in Indiana), it follows along the NS Chicago line for awhile in Illinois and Indiana, which provides an opportunity to spot a few trains. Below are two photos of NS trains that we encountered.

The first was an eastbound intermodal train lead by NS 9260 (I apologize for the quality of the photos, as they were taken while on the I-90).

The second was a shot of the other train that 9260 was passing. This was a mixed freight lead west by NS 9273, and 9600.

Aside from a Union Pacific train those were the final sightings of this leg of the trip, as we arrived at our hotel shortly after. Chicago is a beautiful city, and we definitely will make an attempt to go back some day. Below are a few pictures from our walk around Chicago.