2019 Roundup

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!

Grain Elevators

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.

Remembering the Sanford grain elevator

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
  • 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)

Blog Partners

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.

Non-Railfan Posts

Many of my posts here are about trips or outings to see trains. Occasionally I do write about specific topics, like these:

The Drone

I purchased a DJI Mavic Air drone in late 2018.

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.

Your Turn

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.

8 thoughts on “2019 Roundup”

  1. I enjoy all the photos you post here, especially those shot from your drone. I don’t have an specific suggestions, but however you develop, I look forward to seeing your efforts. Best wishes for a happy and successful new year!

  2. I make a big effort to look up your blogs. I hope they continue each week. I live in Lindsay ON where up to maybe 50 years ago there were 40 to 45 trains per day, by CN and CP both. So I love following train stories as a rail fan was kept busy on watching all the railroad action here. Of course as a child south of the Rivers junction with Carman sub. I grew up with train action close by.
    Happy New Year.
    Richard Poersch

    • Hi Richard, happy new year! I have read a few articles on Lindsay and area featuring the steam trains that used to run frequently through that area. So much history!

  3. Hi Steve – Enjoy your blog and interesting stories of your adventures in the WEST, Not much down here – Three VIA Halifax to Montreal trains a week in both directions with most consists 13 cars or a few more – No extra Xmas trains this year – The Museum is still open in the summer but no operating excursion trains since 2005. Have a great year !

  4. Happy new year Steve! Caught a glimpse of a SD70 heritage unit going through Winnipeg last week, but the view was being blocked as they passed an oil train. Didn’t have my camera anyway.
    Look forward to the pictures and drone video’s you’ll be posting.

  5. Thanks for the shout-out to the Beachburg Sub. Always appreciate the mentions from the leading blogs. As for my 2020 goals, I already met one goal, which was to do some railfanning in Florida on a family vacation. I also want to get trackside in Smiths Falls or along the Winchester Sub a few times this year. Mostly though, I want to focus a bit more on Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, which is a hard task, since there’s so little to capture sometimes, but the demand from readers seems to be for Ottawa content. I look forward to seeing what this blog has to offer, as always.

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