Benny is my dog. He's a good little pup and he's very smart. Benny loves trains almost as much as I do. Every time we walk him we go to the bridge where we can see the subway trains. He always jumps up to look through the railing until the train goes by. These are TTC trains, not freight trains. But he also LOVES CP trains. When we go to the cottage he barks with joy at the trains and every time there's a train coming he jumps up into thin air.
I love my dog. He's a great guy and he's the best.
On Saturday we went to the UP Express opening. There was a ribbon cutting and I was on tv! And my sister too, of course. Here is a photo of me being interviewed:
There were lots of people and there was a huge cake of a UP train.
The UP is the Union Pearson Express. It goes from Union Station in downtown Toronto to Pearson airport. And the ride takes 25 minutes. I got to ride on the train in both directions.
There were lots of sites to see and we went over very high bridges. One of them was a bridge with just train tracks on it, close to the end of the journey to the airport. Here's a picture:
On the train we rode with Chris Drew who also loves trains a lot and he gave me this amazing train hat. Thanks Chris! Here's a photo of me with Chris and Anne Marie who is very nice and works at Metrolinx.
We also met William. He is also a train fan and he likes high speed train.
When we got to the airport there was another UP train cake and we ate some and then we got on the train for the ride back.
When we got back we got to go in the cab of the train. Here's me sitting in the cab:
I liked being at the opening of the UP Express. Thanks for inviting me. I think it's a great way to get to the airport!
On Monday we went to Dr. Noyek's house. Dr. Noyek is a doctor and he has won lots of awards, including the Order of Canada. Dr. Noyek has lots of model trains. First we went to the N track upstairs. He had tiny winy, winy people.
And he told me that some train horns that Canadian trains use are called "Nathan horns". They sound like this:
I think I've been named the right name!
Then we went to another track called the Z track. It was much smaller. And the people were even tinier. I think it was even tinier than an inch. Then we went downstairs and we saw the bigger trains.
We had to duck to get in and out of the room to see the trains. They were cool. We started with a VIA train. That was very, very realistic. All of Dr. Noyek's trains were very realistic. Then we switched to a CP freight train. We put lots of different cars on the tracks. We put on gravel cars and box cars and freight cars.
Dr. Noyek let me drive the trains. And he said I improved my honking really well. Two long, one short and another long at each crossing.
Thank you for the visit Dr. Noyek. I hope to come back again.
On the long weekend I went to the cottage. Well, I'm not here to speak about the cottage. Oh no, no, no. I'm here to speak about trains. On the drive to the cottage we saw one CP train, then when we got there we saw one each day. Two on Saturday, including the one on the way up to the cottage. Here's a photo of the one at Wilkinson crossing near the cottage:
We saw one train on Sunday and one on Monday. We had good luck up at the cottage because it was a weekend and we saw four trains. I didn't expect very many trains on Sunday, but we saw one. And I didn't expect to see a train on Monday but we saw one. On Monday, while we were playing baseball we heard a loud train and we drove really fast from the baseball diamond to see the train. We heard it from really far away. It was very loud and it honked a special honk for me. Here's a picture of it:
Thanks to all the CP drivers who honked and waved at me. I just loved that trip to the cottage. It was a great trip and I will go back soon to watch for more trains.
To all the readers of Nathan's blog,
First, let me thank you for following along and supporting Nathan on his journey to learn more about the trains he loves so much.
CP Rail, along with Metrolinx and VIA, have fulfilled Nathan's wildest dreams and given him experiences he will cherish for a lifetime.
Nathan has accomplished more than we could have imagined with this blog so far and we are so proud of him.
Along with that pride comes responsibility, of course. And Rail Safety Week is a good time for us to remember that.
We need to remind Nathan and his sister that what they love about trains - the giant machines hurtling loudly down the tracks at high speeds - is also what can be so dangerous about them. We need to remind them to stay off the tracks, to stand back at the crossings and never approach a parked train - it could move at any time.
CP Police Officer Ron Morrison was kind enough to visit Nathan's classroom and taught all the kids about train safety. He said it best: Any Time Is Train Time.
Pass it on.
Thanks again for reading and safe train spotting!
From Nathan's mom, Dana
Today I went to the CP yard. I met Salem and Jim and Shane and John and Doug. First we went to Jim's office and learned all about signals. He told me how the computer works. When it's blue, there are workers on the tracks. When it's green there are green signals and when it's red there are red signals. And all the CP train traffic is controlled from the Rail Traffic Control in Calgary.
And Jim told me about the crossings and how they work. There's a sensor on the tracks that once the train wheels go over it, it tells the barriers to go down at the crossings. And the sensor knows the train is coming a couple of crossing ahead. It has lots of wires to make it work, but it also has a battery that backs it . There's other sensors too to keep trains safe. Theres a sensor on the tracks that scans the wheels when the train moves by and if the wheels get too hot it tells the engineer to pull the train onto a siding and a mechanic comes and fixes the train. Jim was very nice.
Then we went to the simulator room and I got to drive the simulator. There were lots of different kinds of buttons. They were different than the ones at the railway museum. And if the engineer doesn't press any buttons in 30 seconds the alarm goes off. And I had to press the alarm reset button to let the train know I was still there. If you don't press the alarm reset button the train will come to a stop. That was my favourite part of the visit. Here's a video of me driving the simulator:
Then we walked down the road to another building. We went into the back of the building and saw the radio room. John programmed the walk is talkie and I could hear someone all the way from Calgary. The cool thing about this was that John talked on a train radio and I talked on a walkie talkie and we could hear each other. Here's a video:
Doug and Shane and John also showed me a remote control that controls a real CP train. It was heavy. I was surprised it was so heavy.
But Doug and Shane thought it was light. The old remote controls were much heavier than this one. Can you really believe it controls a real CP train? Here's a picture of it.
I learned a lot about signals and I had fun at the CP yard. CP is a good safe company with safe trains. And you should be safe too.
Thank you to Salem, Jim, Shane, John and Doug for making this happen.
I hope everyone keeps safe during rail safety week! See you later CP!
We had a trip to New York City. We took the train from our car to the terminal at the airport. Here's the view of me and my sister looking out the front window:
We took lots of different kinds of transportation. Including the airport train, planes, subways, ferries, and taxis. And we did a LOT of walking.
And we saw lots of different things including the view from the Brooklyn bridge, which we took the subway UNDER. And then we walked back across it.
We also saw the view of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry, and the tunnels out of the subway window.
We went to Grand central Station before we got on the subway, and guess what we did. There are arches that a father and son built and the secret about them is that if you whisper into one corner you can hear the whisper from the opposite corner. I tried it with my dad and my sister. And we actually could hear each other!
We had a fun trip to New York. I hope to go back one day.
P.S. Rail safety week is coming up April 27th-May 3rd. I am going to visit the CP yard again but I'm not sure what I'll be doing there yet. So keep reading my blog!
On Saturday it was finally time for my 7th birthday train trip to Niagara Falls! We woke up early, at 6am. Then we drove down to Union Station. We went into the business lounge and met the woman at the front desk. And it said happy birthday Nathan on the big screen under the clock!
We went into the business lounge and met the woman at the front desk. I got apple juice at the lounge.
There we met VIA manager, Bill McDonnell. He has worked at VIA for 30 years. He knew lots about trains and he was very nice.
He introduced me to Chris and Edric. They worked their way up until VIA said 'ok, you can be an engineer.' Chris cleaned the VIA trains. Chris and Edrik met when they were in engineer school 4 years ago. They were the engineers on the train that we took to Niagara Falls. Before we left they let me in the engine to ring the bell. It was very nice of them.
It was an AMTRACK train and it was going past the border into New York. But there was an announcement on the train that said at Niagara Falls they were switching engineers. Emi was, the conductor on the train (Bill told me they're not called that anymore. They're called the service manager). He sat with us in the cafe car. He told me some stuff about trains that I really didn't know before. Like the VIA train's top speed is 160km per hour maximum. But they actually go 130km per hour unless they're going through a station or a busy area and then they go slow down, and then they speed up again. Here's a picture of me going to the cafe car.
We got off the train and went into Niagara Falls. We had a fun time there. We saw the falls like never before. There was ice on the falls.
And we went swimming and we stayed overnight. Then we took a taxi back to the bus station. We waited for 10 or 15 minutes and then our bus came. It was a GO bus. We took a bus ride all the way to Burlington station where we saw a CN train go by. You can see the video here:
And then we got on our GO train. Here's another video:
I enjoyed the smooth ride home. We sat on the top floor of the train. And then we arrived in union station. In fact it was the same track that we took our GO train tour from!
And then we went down to the platform of the subway station and we got on the TTC train and took it all the way to St. George Station because there was construction on the line. And then we went home from there.
I enjoyed my VIA trip. Thank you to everyone at VIA who made it happen.
I am taking my birthday trip (finally!) to Niagara Falls this weekend on a VIA train with my dad. I am looking forward to it. I am going to get to meet some VIA crew members before my train leaves. I will post all about it on my blog when I get back.
Also, I just signed up for Twitter. You can follow me there at @aboylovestrains.
Thanks for reading!
On Thursday I was invited to GO Transit for a tour. We had an entourage including Anne Marie who works with Metrolinx and she was the person who invited us for the tour, Officer AJ, who is with the GO Transit police, and one reporter and a photographer from the Globe and Mail.
And we met lots of nice people along the way.
I got showed around the building. We saw the big clock. Officer AJ said that at least 10 or 20 people ask him where the big clock is every day because most people meet there. We also got a look from the upstairs of Union Station which was a pretty good view of Union Station.
And we saw a golden sign that was to remember a VIA engineer who saved a lot of people's lives.
And then we walked over to the bridge and we saw VIA and GO trains coming in and out.And then it was almost time for our train to come.
We climbed up the stairs and waited on the platform for about a minute and then we saw the headlight of the train coming.
That's where we met Rob who has worked in train operations for 22 years and is a complance officer. He came with us on the train.
The train came in and I got to climb up the stairs and stand beside the driver. It wasn't the locomotive. It was actually the back of the train. The conductor and the engineer sit there to drive the train when it was going west. I got to look out the window and the engineer, Aaron, and the conductor, Jeremy, let me ring the bell.
We went all the way to the Willowbrook maintenance facility which is in Etobicoke. We were picked up at Aldershot station by Kevin, another Metrolinx police officer in a GO van. And then we walked on the bridge with the big train painted on it.It was also Anne Marie's tour because she had never been to that yard before.
And then we went into the maintenance facility and met Al. Al was surprised we had such a big entourage. But he gave us vests and hard hats and safety glasses.
He gave us a tour around the maintenance yard. We saw lots of big trains getting repaired and we saw a bit of inside an engine. It was grey and the engine has a lot of horsepower so it uses a lot of fuel.
And then we went to the wheel place where the old wheels from trains are "remachined" and they make them like new wheels.
Thanks for the tour Al!
Then we went back to the train station.
The Train Ride Back to Union Station:
Rob was there to see us again. I climbed up into a cab and I sat where the engineer sits.
The engineer's name was Anna (my sister was excited to hear there was a girl driving!) and the conductor's name was Chris. I sat in the driver seat and honked the horn and rang the bell again.
Anna went into the engine room to release the hand break. That's an extra break to make sure the train is stopped from going, even if you have the regular breaks on. Like Officer Morrison said, any time is train time so the hand break is an extra break to be more careful.
I sat in the engine car with my mom but everyone else had to sit in the passenger car. I got the special spot of the train.
Here's the view I had from my seat:
Anna and Chris told me a lot about how the train works and how they drive and how the signals work. I learned that trains should usually be 2 blocks apart (those are the poles over the tracks with lights on them). And I also learned when the top signal is green that means go and that different lights shown together mean the train should drive at different speeds.
When we got back to Union Station we said our goodbyes to everyone. Everyone was very nice to me. I had a really really good time.
And you can read more about it in the Globe and Mail. Oliver, the reporter, was with us on the tour. He was very nice. Here is a link to the article.
Thank you to everyone at GO who made my day great!
(And keep reading - I have more pictures and videos from my visit to add to my blog soon!)
Nathan is a 13 year-old boy who loves ALL trains. Especially freight trains. And especially CP Rail.