Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Watch Steve Boyko's video of the CN Christmas train

That's right. There is a CN Christmas train. 

Our good friend Steve Boyko, author of the popular blog, "Confessions of a Train Geek" took this great video. Steve also gave the WMRC one of the finest shows we've ever had at our November meeting when he made his presentation about Manitoba's vanishing grain elevators.

Capturing the CN Christmas train is a rare find indeed. It's not publicized at all, and it doesn't do the cross country charity route that rival CP does with their annual holiday train. But it does exist! However, it's only for CN employees and their families. WMRC member (and CN employee) Dwight Kjartanson even took a ride on it!

Steve caught the train at night at the Waverley crossing (which is a great place for rail fans, but absolute hell for commuters in the south end of town). Fans of vintage first generation diesel power F-units (and who isn't) will love the sight of the perfectly restored CN 103 leading the way, literally lit up just like a Christmas tree!

Our thanks to Ian Lisakowski for sending this video our way. Watch it by clicking here.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

There will be no Christmas lights at the Assiniboine Valley Railway this year

   This image, taken by our good friend and WMRC member John Longhurst, now only serves as a sad reminder of what was a wonderful part of Winnipeg's Christmas season that is no more.

     For the second year in a row, the AVR will not be having their Christmas light display. This is because of a lack of resources, manpower, and most significantly, the absence of AVR founder Bill Taylor.

     Bill was the Christmas light master of the AVR. There were 100,000 lights on display, which was TEN TIMES the amount Chevy Chase had on his house in the classic movie, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation". As the AVR was on his property, he had more time than others to string these lights. He was also the only one who knew the proper electrical schematics for wiring them all together (It's safe to assume that you don't just plug in 100,000 light into an ordinary 110 volt socket, even when they're LEDs).

    It's been a tough year for the AVR, but they managed to hold their usual monthly open houses in 2014. But they weren't able to hold their annual "Dinner Train". Hopefully, the lights will be up again for Christmas in 2015.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The CP Rail Holiday Train is coming your way!

   It's that time of the year again! The CP Rail Holiday Train is coming to Manitoba, and it will be making five stops in our province. The CP Rail Holiday Train is North America's longest rolling food bank fundraiser and since they started in 1999, the program has raised close to $9.5 million and 3.3 million pounds of food.  Over the three weeks of the program, musicians will play more than 150 concerts from a boxcar we've turned into a traveling stage.

   The concerts are free, but you are encouraged to bring a donation for your local food bank -- either a non-perishable food item or a cash donation. All contributions will stay in your community.

   Their first stop in Manitoba will be on December 3 at Whitemouth on Railway Avenue, across from the Whitemouth Hotel, at 6:45 PM. They arrive that same night in Winnipeg at 9:00 PM at Molson Street, between Panet Road and Munroe Avenue.

   On December 4, they arrive at Portage La Prairie, opposite the Centennial Arena at 390 1st. Street NW at 4:45 PM. They roll in to Brandon that same night at 7:45 PM by Assiniboine Avenue, west of the 8th. Street overpass.

   Before heading to Saskatchewan, their last stop in Manitoba will be at Virden on December 5 at 9:15 AM, on the north side of the tracks on 5th. Avenue South between Lyons Street and Ashburton Street.
   Entertainment for the Manitoba leg of the trip will be provided by Roxanne Potvin and Odds.

  The full CP Holiday Train schedule is now available on cpr.ca.

   Supporters can also join the Holiday Train on Facebook and follow the two trains on Twitter, and Instagram @CPHolidaytrain #CPHolidayTrain. For additional information, photos, a route map, and downloadable pictures of the two trains, visit: www.cpr.ca.