|CN GP40 #9306 leads train #411 westbound through Paris, Ontario, on May 19, 1994, with C630M #2038 and M636 #2322 assisting. Reg Button photo, author's collection.|
Tonight's Throwback Thursday goes back to May 1994, where we find CN GP40 #9306 leading Toronto-Sarnia freight #411 through scenic Paris, Ontario. The train is westbound in the late afternoon, having just crossed the large bridge over the scenic Grand river (out of sight, in the middle of the S-curve through which the train is visible), passing the location of the long-demolished Paris train station. Assisting are C630M #2038 and M636 #2322, all three engines in a somewhat run-down rendition of CN's 'zebra stripe' paint scheme. Privatization of the crown corporation is a little over a year away, and the big MLW's wouldn't last much longer either. The lead unit survives today, however, unlike many of the other 15 CN GP40's (CN 9302-9317); once common in southern Ontario (sometimes referred to as "tunnel pullers", a remnant of their assignment to Sarnia-Port Huron tunnel duty), the lead unit would end up spending more time in southern Ontario than most other CN GP40's. After sale to RailAmerica, the engine became RLK 4096, and would be assigned to the Goderich-Exeter Railway for a number of years. Currently, the unit is still in Ontario, now serving on sister-road Ottawa Valley Railink.
Fast-forward 23 and a half years, and we again find a westbound passing the John Street overpass with an EMD in the lead. This time the train is #397 and SD70M-2 #8953 is assisted by ES44DC #2300 and IC SD70 #1029. The intervening years have brought a merger with Illinois Central, privatization, droves of (in my opinion, rather bland) GE's, but Paris is still a great location to watch trains, be it from the John Street overpass, the bridge over the Grand River, or Paris Junction, just west of this location. To paraphrase the Dos Equis spokesman, "stay trackside, my friends!"