Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Railfan 5 Challenge - 5 photos showing why I love trains and model them

Hey again readers! So I recently watched a video by Youtube model railroader/railfan BArailsystem, and he talked about why he loves trains and is an avid modeler in a format called The Railfan 5 Challenge. The challenge was started up as an idea by Eric Gagnon, publisher of the Canadian railfan blog Trackside Treasure, as a railfan version of the world-famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you don't do a Railfan 5, you must donate to a railway preservation society of your choice. I'm closest to the Great Canadian Plains Railway Society, who runs the Galt Historic Rail Park at Stirling, AB. I have yet to donate to them, but I will next time I go.
Societies that I have donated to and support are the Rocky Mountain Rail Society, the Alberta Pioneer Railway Association(Alberta Railway Museum) of Edmonton, and the Revelstoke Heritage Railway Society(Revelstoke Railway Museum) in Revelstoke, BC. I donated to all three during the summer. You can read the original blog post here.

So I come here today to do my Railfan 5. I will share five photos that depict the reasons why I love trains, real and model. It's just that simple!
I will also challenge a few friends to do it too. They are listed at the bottom of the post.

Number 1
The Lethbridge Viaduct, known locally as the High Level Bridge(not to be confused with the Edmonton High Level Bridge). Built in 1909 with a length of 5,328 ft and 314 ft high, it continues its legacy as being the largest of its kind in the world.
This bridge plays a major role in my train interest, and always will.
This photo was taken in March 2013 on the west coulee looking east. The river valley below is Indian Battle Park with the Old Man River flowing low with a murky green tint.
Number 2

Lethbridge's Southern Alberta Model Railway Club(SAMRC) has been a favorite for me all my life. Their operations and era of choice(late 60s to early 70s) has intregued me enormously. It also helped fuel my desire to run model trains myself. Although I never actually started to model until late 2012. Before then, it was more or less considered a toy.
This is a picture of their HO yard, taken during their October 2014 open house. The operating era is easily seen with the type of power and stock shown.

Number 3

My three GMD models pose in front of some of my rolling stock. Model Railroading has turned into an amazing hobby that is although expensive, very well worth it and extremely fun! I'm closing in on two years of serious modeling, and my layout has changed a lot. I've doubled my amount of rolling stock and locomotives. I've found detailing, scratchbuilding, and kitbashing my favorite part of the hobby, and it can be seen on the locomotives shown in the photo. On the left is my Walthers Trainline GP9M nearly converted prototypically to CP GP9u 1597. Centered is my newest locomotive, an Athearn RTR SD40 CP 5541. It's getting GMD specific detailing. And finally, my Bachmann GP38-2 CP 3126. Almost finished being detailed to the prototype before it was repainted to CPs current scheme.

Number 4

Railfanning is my all-time favorite pastime, although I'm not on it as often as my model railroad. I began railfanning in early February 2013, and caught my first official train a few weeks later. I'm always armed with a camera of some sort, either my Canon PowerShot SX510 HS for photos and/or my Apple iPod for video.
The photo above I still consider my best shot I've ever taken. CP ES44AC 9372 and 8770 head west through Canmore, AB on the evening of April 2, 2013.

Number 5

Vacationing is always fun for me as a train fan. The opportunity to see new places, things, and everything else excites me. I know these are two photos, but these depict my most memorable experiences.  Starting on the left is me with Rocky Mountaineer leader RMRX 8013 at Banff, AB on September 31, 2013. This was when I got my second official catch of the Mountaineer on its Calgary to Kamloops journey. I first caught it come in the other direction the night before. When the train started leaving after this photo was taken, the conductor threw me a bag of peanuts as I filmed the train's departure. I still have those peanuts, hanging on my wall as memorabilia.
The second photo was taken on August 4, 2014 during my trip on the Alberta Prairie Railway at Big Valley. Our train was the Railfan's Special. The locomotive, APXX GMD-1 1118 was our power for the trip, and the second locomotive that I got to tour, after the GP9(APXX 7438). It was also my second GMD-1 to catch as a railfan! So it was a very cool experience. 

So there you have it readers! I hope you enjoyed my Railfan 5, and I hope you might do the same while encouraging your railfan friends to do it too!
Since this is like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, I'm going to challenge a few railfan friends to do it, or donate to their preservation society of choice. I'll list their YouTube channel names with the names.

I challenge:
• My good bud in Edmonton ;) (has asked to remain anonymous)
• Mitchell Gault(MrMitch5656)
• Shaun Hennessy(AwesomeRailFan)

Braedan D

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