Mo & Terry Smedley


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Sudbury to White River by Budd car

Today we rode VIA Rail's "Lake Superior" from Sudbury to White River.   Budd cars (RDCs) are used on this route, which operates primarily as a service train supporting the roadless areas North of Lake Superior.   The pictures show canoes and camping gear being loaded in Sudbury, and offloaded right beside the tracks in the wilderness.  A couple of dogs made the trip, too.   In many ways this route is reminiscent of BCRail's Cariboo Prospector, which provided similar services to roadless areas between Whistler and 100 Mile House.

The operating crew (CPRail) was very friendly, and allowed reasonable access to the cab and vestibules.  Our train was delayed several hours by track maintenance which put our expected arrival time in White River after 9PM.  With no meal service onboard, our tour leaders were concerned about dinner for the group.  The engineer of our train radioed ahead to his wife who was meeting him for a crew change at Chapleau.  She took our tour leaders to a local grocery store in her car, where they stocked up on cold cuts for a dinner on the train as we continued our trip into White River.  Now that's service above and beyond!  We've had similar experiences with "Northern Hospitality" when we've traveled on BCRail's wilderness routes.   It's just one of the reasons why we enjoy visiting Canada.

We're spending the night in White River, which is "where it all began" for Winnie the Pooh.  At least according to local legend, the namesake of the Pooh story came from here.  There's a small park in town commemorating the bear and the story.  Mo and I will walk through the park before we hop our bus tomorrow morning for our trip to Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan.

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The canoes, camping gear, and dogs arrive at Sudbury station in the morning. Our three-car consist is being switched into position.  A third car was added to the usual two-car consist because of the extra passengers today. Canoes are loaded into the baggage car in Sudbury. This dog (and its owner) boarded at a flag stop just outside of Sudbury.  Dogs were permitted as long as their owners kept them on a leash in one of the baggage areas.
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Some of the hikers and canoers unloaded their gear at Cartier. Our second canine passenger, in the baggage car, but staying out of the way of the baggage handlers, at Cartier. Me with the Budd cars at Cartier. The seating arrangement on the RDCs is with facing seats so nothing has to be turned around at either end.  This shows how we nested our legs together so four of us could sit more or less comfortably facing each other.  Our seatmates were Lloyd and Claire Bailey from upstate New York.
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The train will stop just about anywhere when flagged.  Here, some campers are getting off trackside in the middle of nowhere. I got a few "vestibule shots" between the cars. The Golden and its people hop off the train at another wilderness flag stop. Lloyd went to visit the engineman, and I headed to the vestibule, so Claire and Mo spread out and got comfortable lengthwise in the seats.
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More canoers offload trackside at Biscotasing. This dog appeared to be waiting for somebody to get off the train at Biscotasing.  We rode away without anyone coming to greet him. Our CPRail conductor was very busy!  With all of the canoe and camper pickups and drop offs, she had plenty to do.  But she did it all with a smile! After the dogs, canoes, and campers have gotten off, the front baggage area is empty.  Some of our group are talking with the engineman in the cab.
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Here's an engineer's eye view of the control signals at a siding turnout.  It was misting a little, so the picture isn't crystal clear. Some of the passengers were pretty thirsty on the ride up!  I have to emphasize that none of this was consumed by our operating crew!!  This was all work done by the passengers hanging out in the baggage car! There's a 2-8-2 steam locomotive on display in Chapleau.  We had a little time to explore the area while the engineer's wife took our tour leaders to the grocery store! OK, but unusual.
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Here our leaders return with supplies for an impromptu onboard dinner, which the crew helps to load onto the train. Carl and Barbara Whitehouse man the counter, while tour member Sid Saltzstein ("the surgeon") takes care of slicing the buns. I didn't take many pictures of the wilderness through which the train passes.  It's impossible to capture in one or even several photos the immensity of the area.  This is as good a shot as any - this is what you pass through mile after mile. A dusk arrival into White River.