Saturday, December 12, 2015

December Garden Railroading in Canada ---------------- Trains in the 12th Month

It's December in Ottawa and this is what my house typically would look like on a bright, but cold Ottawa day.  This year, however, Old Man Winter must still be snoozing as we have not seen a single snowflake in the air reach the ground and survive!
You must know what this means?  Yes, we can run trains in December in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
And...that is what we did this morning!
The garden gang met for the annual celebratory meeting to discuss how train ops ran this past season and to determine if we need to make any changes for next year.  Well, one change that may very well be in the offing would be to extend our season just a tad longer should Old Man Winter continue in his sleepy ways.  Here's Lela with her Christmas Diesel that she and Chris decorated so appropriately for this time of year.
You can see that the canopy is down with the skeletal remains in place.  Heck, even some of the operators are not wearing jackets.
We were so happy to be able to bring our locomotives out and run around the layout in a "Christmas Parade" of sorts.  Here's Henk's high speed European train...a pleasant surprise for many of us who had never seen it before.
Steve is hot on Henk's tail with his beautiful Canadian Pacific "Pacific"!
Followed by Pat and his Pacific...with refreshments to boot!
"Seasonal Equipment" up top!
The parade at Mount St. Helens.
Downgrade to Ironwood.
A Toronto Transit Commission Streetcar!  Thanks to Doug for bringing out this beautiful specimen!
You've got to love the colours in this paint scheme. To learn more about the history of these TTC streetcars, visit the link below.
At Spruce.
Henk rounds the bend between Ironwood and Spruce.
Pat and Moe in dappled shade...but rest assured, they are not shady characters!
Steve, happy as a lark, with throttle in hand hauling his passenger train.
Chris looks on with jacket undone.
Paul and Pat smile for the cameras!
Paul is "shovelling" through the pine needles.
Steve rounds the big curve out of Spruce destined for Glen Hammond.
He finds December daylight.
While Chris railfans the parade of trains.
Meanwhile, I've brought out my Annie.
And Bernie has brought out his GP7 in TH&B colours.
Oh, look, we've spotted one of Santa's elves.
No,'s just our good friend, Bernie, clearing the tracks ahead of his diesel!
The lower December sun creates interesting lighting...something we don't see in the summer time.
Under Mount St. Helens we spot an oncoming train.
It's Paul's British steamer.
While above at Mount St. Helen's we find Bob's CN unit.  Where are the ore cars, Bob?
My Annie has exited the trestle outside of Nelson Yard.
A three engine shot!
Pat, Stu and Bob enjoying the December rays.
Henk is parked temporarily on the caboose track at Nelson Yard.
Look, Santa, I want one of those and one of those...and oh yes, one of those as well!

Love the lighting on this shot.
Engineer Henk is all smiles while running trains in a very odd, yet even, month!
Bob, Bill and Moe supervise the action!
While Paul, Pat, Chris and Bernie railfan the yard.  I think Bernie is railfanning this railfan!
Another higher angle view of Nelson Yard in December.
Steve, Pat, Malcolm and Henk enjoy the activity at Nelson.
Stu, Doug and Steve do as well.
A bevy of railfans get all sorts of angles of the action.
We see Seanna, Moe, Pat and Paul, Steve and Malcolm all in the shot!
Beautiful close-up of the front end of Pat's locomotive.
Bernie's geep basks in the sun.
Henk's train waits patiently for the train ahead to clear the main so he will be able to move on out of the yard and hit the high iron.
Henk's train is sandwiched between Bob's and Bernie's units.
Chris and Lela's Christmas Special rounds the bend at Lily.
In the meantime, I pierce the two passenger units and head over to RP&M rails.
Climbing the grade up to Rat Portage.
Into Rat Portage.
Out on the front lawn!
Station stop at Pratt's Bottom.
A look back at Steve, Pat, Malcolm and Doug enjoying the action at Mercer Siding.
I'm now at Bell where I get to watch the parade once again.
Two steamers from two different roads...The Anadian Pacific and the Canadian Pacific!  (Big grin)  It's an inside joke! 
Later with a single unit, Steve rounds the big bend out of Bell destined for Firgrove.
Meanwhile, Paul is seen departing Firgrove.
Paul is not a shady character either, although the images seems to tell otherwise!
Man, do we appreciate Paul with electronics expertise keeping our engines running like Swiss watches!
A roster shot at Bell.
More activity at Bell.
Henk's train at Bell.
Chris and Malcolm checking out the action.
The other Chris in control of my locomotive.
Aha!  Both Chris and Chris.  I'm getting dizzy!
After an hour of fun outdoors, we headed inside for tons of treats and a social gathering.
Steve and Fred in conversation with Bill seated in behind.  In the distance we see Henk and Moe sharing some stories.
Fred addresses the gang in an informal meeting of the minds!
Paul, Chris and Lela enjoy the chili and friendship.
Gord also enjoys the offerings.  The images on the board are of our great friends who have left us.  They will always be with us in spirit!
Seanna and Steve, Bernie and Gord.  You've got to love the Portage du Fort sign above the living room window.
Everyone enjoys the camaraderie and laughter that abounds whenever we gather at Fred's place.

Once again, a great big "Thank You" to Fred for hosting the crew each week during the ops season as well as for our December annual meeting date.  Malcolm took this shot of Fred earlier in the fall.

As for the arrival of thoughts echo those I spotted on the sign outside a local church which read, "Anyone hoping for a blizzard - go to the Dairy Queen!"

Our good friend, Chris Lyon, has posted some great video footage of the morning train parade.  Check it out at
Thanks for checking in, everyone.  Have a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season!
Mike Hamer - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


  1. A very Merry Christmas to all the Northerners. A thank you out to Mike for the pics and running commentary with a thanks to Fred for sending it my way.
    Looks like a great time was had by all, maybe you'll be able to open the new year with another run.

  2. Hi David, Thanks so much for checking in. Indeed, it was great fun for we Canucks to be out running trains in the garden as opposed to playing pick-up hockey on the frozen ponds! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Thanks for posting Mike. The shot of Pacific 2453 is actually Pat's. Mine is 2402.

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    1. Thanks for checking in Steve. I'll make the name change, for sure.

  5. Hi Steve, Thanks for the correction. I changed the name of ownership on the caption. The both units sure looked great together once again. Say, maybe we could meet in the garden with the gang once again in January! Hehehe!

  6. Thanks for great shots of a "gasp" December run! Enjoyed seeing all the "special" trains… and pics of our Canadian friends! God willing and the creek don't rise, see you at the Invasion! Happy whatever you celebrate this season!

    Diane and Ed

  7. Hi Diane and Ed, So happy to hear from you! Thanks so much for checking in on what this happy bunch of "Canucks" have been up to "deep into December"! Yessirree, the gang is very excited about the 2016 Invasion of Friends this coming summer! Merry Christmas to you both and to all of our American friends!

  8. What great coverage of what looked like a grand social event. I'm beginning to see the values of 'cloans", so we can be in more than one place at one time.

    Jan and I wish all the best to all of you. Great friends deserve the best and you guys are all such great friends, may your stocking over flow with joy and peace.

    Smooth Sailing,
    Ric and Jan Golding
    Kaskaskia Valley Railway
    Carlyle, Illinois, USA

  9. Hi Ric and Jan, For sure we had a ton of fun, but it would've been even better with a Kaskaskia Valley locomotive in the mix run by you and Jan up here with us! Yes, A very Merry Christmas and best wishes in the New Year to you and all your extended family and friends.