William Baird – CRO Editor



August 2011



Thank you Will (and your team) for posting the banner ad on CRO.  Not sure exactly when you posted it, but I've already had 41 pageviews on my book blog as of this morning.  The ad looks great and is obviously working.  In return, I just added a blog post aboutCRO. 

I enjoy CRO each month, and there's so much news in there that I have to reserve some time where I can properly view, digest and enjoy it each month.  And yes, I think there is still room in the Canadian marketplace for electronic and print media.  Good job, and thanks again very much.

Eric Gagnon

See below for more details.


From the Editor:

 Hi all,  

In memory of my Father Bill Baird Sr. (1920-2006)

This photo was taken at my Father’s Toronto apartment during the Disco-era when I was a teen.  Funny of me I know, but a great shot of my Dad.  One fond memory as a boy railfaning with my father in the mid-1970’s in Buffalo, NY.  We were enjoying a June   afternoon trackside on the Penn Central mainline at the west end of Frontier Yard. At peak times, eastbound and westbound freights would arrive one after the other and pull up and stop right on the  mainline  for a crew change.   (The tail end caboose would be reached via the crew truck (an yellow-orange painted Suburban with a green, white and black PC logo on the doors).   With a new crew, the engineer would waste no time, throttle up through transition, and highball out of town!  My Dad and I would share this thrilling railfan experience for many years, and enjoy and discuss some of the wonderful diesels we had seen.   One day  just as we were leaving Frontier Yard to head back home to Canada, a PC e/b freight with fresh crew had caught up to us  as we drove along Broadway, and we paced a Penn Central SD45 and Alco C630 for a stretch.  I clearly recall the excitement I was feeling, the roar, the exhaust blasting above the all-black units, and watching the springs bounce in those six-axle truck sideframes over the jointed track. The train was soon at track speed and passing ahead of  our car  bound for Selkirk Yard. While  being child-like disappointed my Dad could not keep pace the speeding motive power, I was smiling and was aware I had just experienced a great railfan moment which I would cherish in the years to come.




Eric Gagnon has compiled and released a new 114-page book  intended for Canadian railway enthusiasts of passenger train fans, specifically targeting  interests in passenger train numbers and  consists.  For these individuals, this book will be a valuable reference source.

 Trackside with VIA is divided into six sections, by "era", plus a bonus section:


1976-81 / Beginnings

1982-86 / Potpourri

1987-90 / New Power

1991-95 / End of Steam

1996-00 / Transition

2001-11 / Renaissance

Western Trips

 Each section has a page of text talking about the changes in VIA during the period, together with a half dozen or so black-and-white photographs. The real meat of each section is a list of trains he saw during that period, with times and locations and all the engines and cars he noted for each train. We railfans call these "consists". These are a treasure trove for train researchers, as well as anyone wondering what kinds of engines and cars VIA hauled at various times in its life.

 In soft cover and perfect to bring trackside, Eric is offering the book for the low price of $25 (this includes shipping in Canada). The book also includes a foreword by Jason Shron of Rapido Trains, paint transition data for the modeler, provided by Jakob Mueller, a brief VIA roster, train schedules in the Ontario-Quebec, the various Canadian/Super Continental routings, and recommended readings. I think Trackside with VIA is a book by a railfan, for railfans. This book will appeal to VIA Rail enthusiasts, and train enthusiasts in general. I don't think the "general public" (whoever that is) would really enjoy it, and they are not the intended audience.

I recommend Trackside with VIA: The First 35 Years to anyone with a serious interest in railways, especially the history of VIA Rail. As Eric notes in his recommended reading section, there have been very few serious books on VIA Rail. Now there is one more.

CRO Editor: :editor@canadianrailwayobservations.com

CRO Facebook is a vehicle for our readers to view CRO news updates, daily news photos and Vignettes from years past.  As well our readers are invited to post their own railway photos for all to see.

Our CRO FACEBOOK posting guidelines are simple: 



The photo posted must be of interest to our readers.


The photo must include a caption with  Date, Location, Loco Number and any pertinent info. (If Known try to include The Train #, Loco Model,  direction, and the Subdivision as well) 


If the photo is not your own, you must have permission to post it by the photographer.

Only three photos may be posted in a row to allow others to share as well.


CRO Administrators may delete any photo that does not comply with our guidelines, and we will delete and block any posts that contain offensive language or images. 


Our thanks to all our website readers and our new FB Fans!  


WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUBMIT A SPECIAL REPORT, OR JOIN THE CRO NEWS TEAM?    CRO is seeking potential columnists for our news pages.  We are always unterested in your ideas for new  SPECIAL REPORTS, simply contant us with your what you would like to submit.  Out guidelines are on the home page and please check out our ARCHIVES page for previous Special Reports we have published.

 We look forward to hearing from you,

 William Baird – CRO Editor:



Thank you to all of our readers who kindly offered donations in May & June … allowing another month for all of our readers to enjoy CRO for Free. Please note:  All large donations receive CRO gift packages

Dear Readers ... Please, CRO needs your help!


When CRO started it was only a 9 page all text "snail mailed" monthly newsletter to 50 readers. Now CRO is read in over 25 countries by over 6000 readers and has grown to over 30-40 pages per month, and published in 3 different formats. With CRO now  offering a full embedded version, CRO has had to increase our server size and bandwidth requirements. Web hosting and web server costs have increased substantially as well.  Each month, and all year we offer FREE professional-looking and up-to-date rail newsletter with amazing photos. The CRO staff spends many hours producing the newsletter ad we are funding cost out of our own pockets. The intent was to keep CRO free, but we may be forced to go to a subscription only newsletter to cover our costs.   In order to prevent this, we ask each reader to offer a thoughtful donation  simply by clicking the "Donate" button on our web page or the one below and sending what you can, however small.  


Thank You,



Guy-Pascal Arcouette, Ralph Beaumont, William Beecher Jr., Michael Berry, Steve Boyko, Kevin Burkholder, Jay Butler, J-P Cadieux, Guilio Capuano, Andy Cassidy, Bruce Chapman,  Daniel Dell’Unto, Darren Doss, Geoff Elliott, Joe Ferguson, Mike Garza, Sean Graham-White, Tim Hayman, Helm Financial, Ken Lanovich, Roman Litarchuk, Don McQueen (Froth),  Bruce Mercer, Jeremy Mobile (WCRA), Jody Moore (Green Locomotive News), Terry Muirhead, Peter Murphy (CRHA), Jason Noe (Railpace), Ronald Pelletier, Mark Perry, Donna Peters, Walter Pfefferle, John Read “GR17f”, Vern Richardson, Earl Roberts (Branchline), George Redmond, Bill Sanderson, Wayne D. Shaw, Wilco van Schoonhoven, Cor van Steenis, Avrom Shtern, John Soehner, Len Thibeault, Jean-François Turcotte, Ron Visockis, , Dennis Weber, Ed Weisensel, the Bridge Line Historical Society, and the Canadian Trackside Guide. Merci a Mike, James, John, Michel, Tony, Denis, Mohammed et tous mes amis a la St-Luc Diesel Shop.


New issues of CRO are posted each month on our website. News stories pertaining to Canadian railways, photos, comments, favourite links, and questions are always welcome. Please send us your photos, newsworthy sightings and railway stories and if used, will be placed in the CRO newsletter.  Please indicate if you wish your name to be withheld. If your own website pertains to Canadian railways, please contact us.

Submissions should be sent to News & Photo Submission.


We encourage our readers to forward current pertinent news photos, and historical material. Please include the unit no’s, train no. or direction, date, location, etc, and send to Photo Submissions

DO NOT send entries for the monthly contest but only those for the newsletter. Use the submit link on the photo contest page.


Note: Photos submitted to CRO should be 1000 pixels wide max and no bigger than 500 K in size.


Please follow these photo submission guidelines to make sure your photos are accepted.

As you can appreciate we receive 100's of photos each month so must limit the sizes we receive.


Look forward to your submissions.

CRO Team



We encourage our readers to subscribe to CRO. It is FREE, fast and easy!  Simply click here:

 Please inform us of e-mail address change, or to cancel the announcement mailings.

We invite you to visit the Canadian Railway Observations website to access past issues.


© CRO Aug 2011