Well, it’s that time again – time for the year-end roundup. 2019 is almost over.
What went on in 2019 for me?
Well – plenty!
The biggest news was the death of the Sanford, MB grain elevator, as seen above. I was there to document it – along with a lot of other people – and I recorded my memories of the elevator and its demise in this video.
I went on another grain elevator tour on one long day in August, revisiting a boatload of Manitoba’s elevators (and flying my drone around some of them).
I’ve been back to a number of elevators with my drone and I still have more to revisit. More on that later.
- 52 posts
- 225 comments
- 6 book reviews
- 1 guest post
- 13,290 photos and videos kept
- 8,319 taken with the Canon 77D
- 4,137 taken with the iPhone 8
- Many of those are not train photos! (see Trips below)
I’d like to take a moment and mention a few railfan blogs that I think you should visit. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please comment with more!
Trackside Treasure is Eric Gagnon’s baby and is a frequent source of oddball information and deep dives into various subjects. He’s a lot more alliterative than I am but otherwise he’s an OK guy. 😉 I was glad to meet Eric and his wife this year.
Michael’s The Beachburg Sub is a railfan blog about the Ottawa, Ontario rail scene, and it also features excursions “out of theatre”. Recommended.
The Trackside Photographer, curated by Edd, is a fantastic series of photographic essays. Be sure to read every story, as each one is worth your time.
Tim’s Train Travels is a great series of detailed VIA Rail trip reports by Tim Hayman. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Tim in person this month.
I left Canada three times in 2019 – twice to Europe and once to Mexico. I didn’t blog about any of those trips (yet) so there’s nothing to report here.
Within Canada, I made three trips out of province. I went to Saskatchewan in early 2019 and wrote about visiting the Stony Beach grain elevator, and railfanning the Weyburn subdivision. In late spring I went to Kamloops, BC, but I haven’t blogged about that yet. Finally, in December I went back to my old stomping grounds, the Maritimes.
One significant outing for me was a short one, to document the Prairie Dog Central’s excursion on Greater Winnipeg Water District track. That ended with a drone shot of the train that was featured in the PDC’s internal magazine.
Many of my posts here are about trips or outings to see trains. Occasionally I do write about specific topics, like these:
- CN’s rail inspection portals
- Zoom lenses for cameras
- CN’s new power
- Restoring David Othen’s files
- 100 Years of CN
- VIA’s Canadian – How Many Locos
I purchased a DJI Mavic Air drone in late 2018. Read my 2019 summary over on Dronegeek.
My railfanning in 2019 was heavily influenced by the drone. I really wanted to include it in a lot of my railfanning so I planned to go to areas where I could fly it. Since the laws changed on June 1, it has been a lot easier to fly it since there are fewer restrictions.
So far I’ve only flown it in Manitoba and briefly in British Columbia. I want to get into western Ontario and do some flying amongst the lakes around Kenora… such a pretty area.
Now that the cold weather is here, drone flying is going to be limited! I’m getting out when I can…
I haven’t written a lot about volunteering at various organizations, because I haven’t really been doing that on any consistent basis. I want to help out but my schedule and some personal issues prevent me from making a regular commitment. I always want to follow through on commitments and so I try not to promise what I can’t deliver.
In many cases I make donations of money rather than time to rail related organizations. That much I can do.
That being said, in 2020 I did take a few steps toward volunteering more:
- I became the web master of the Winnipeg Railway Museum this fall. Expect some significant changes in 2020!
- I joined the board of Transport Action in December. I will be writing more here on public transit, so if you have anything you want covered, let me know! I will be focusing on bus rapid transit here in Winnipeg, the LRT systems in Calgary and Edmonton, and buses throughout western Canada.
It’s a start. As I get closer to retirement, I hope to volunteer more. Your local rail museums and organizations need help.
Plans for 2020
I haven’t made a lot of plans for 2020 yet, but I do have a few goals in mind:
- Photograph some grain elevators in Saskatchewan
- Railfan around Kenora, Ontario
- Fly my drone by the Uno trestle in western Manitoba
- Get published in TRAINS magazine
- Write another book!
A “stretch” goal is to ride the VIA Rail “Canadian”. That one I definitely have to plan. I’d also like to take the train to Churchill… someday.
I need to sit and discuss these with my wife to come up with some priorities and a schedule.
If you don’t come up with dates and a plan, your goals will just stay dreams and will likely never happen.
I’m 52 now and I’m not getting any younger.
Now I want to hear from you.
What were your successes (and failures) of 2019?
What are your plans for 2020?
What would you like to see here in 2020?
Leave a comment!
THANK YOU for reading.