Here’s some timely video I came across on YouTube taken in 1994 from the southbound regular passenger train, starting from the longest (middle) of the three trestles at Oba Lake. Video begins with showing the train crossing the wooden trestles on Oba Lake at mile 212.7 and 211.9, then has a fair bit of running between Oba Lake and Franz, with several other small lakes and at least one siding (at Hilda or Scully) seen before arriving at Franz near the end of the video. The southbound approach signal is seen before arriving at the Franz diamond.
In the video, you can see that the long trestle at mile 212.7 was still the original wood trestle in 1994. This bridge was replaced by a trestle with steel pilings sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s.
Here again is the modern trestle and widened approach alignment where you can see the track has been moved to the right:
One of the great things about the modern internet is the massive amount of free user-posted content, whether on personal sites or blogs like this one, various archive and gallery sites of user-submitted content like RailPictures, or the big photo and video archive sites like flickr and YouTube. Of course you sometimes have to wade through material that’s less than useful in some cases, but there’s a lot of pure gold out there to be found if you spend enough time looking.
Here’s a couple of video selections from YouTube’s archive that nicely highlight a few aspects of operations on the ACR before the WC takeover, mostly from the early 1990s.
Classic compilation 1988-1994
Nice compilation of video from several visits to the ACR in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The first part of video features mostly shots of the passenger trains, both the Agawa Canyon Tour Train and the regular train to Hearst along the highway between Sault Ste. Marie and Searchmont. Note in particular one sequence of clips during the fall season where the regular train is expanded and equipped with coaches leased from Ontario Northland. During peak periods, the ACR’s entire coach roster would be pressed into service on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, and extra coaches would be rented from Ontario Northland and VIA Rail to fill out the regular passenger service. At such times also, with the Tour Train running at full capacity the regular passenger train would basically be operating like a second section of the tour train – extra coaches would be dropped off at Canyon, and lifted by the southbound regular train, which would also run 30 minutes after its normal schedule to allow the overflow Canyon passengers more time in the park.
The last couple minutes of the video also feature some nice freight operation at Hawk Junction yard and Michipicoten harbour and the northbound regular passenger train with a borrowed CP track evaluation train set tacked on the end.
Southbound train no. 10 out of Hawk Junction in September 1994
A nice big southbound freight leaving Hawk Junction. Note several cars of lumber from Dubreuil Forest Products (including one of the 60′ woodchip gondolas rebuilt as a unique looking lumber hauling car), LOTS of pulpwood loads, and some assorted traffic near the rear including some other lumber loads (from CN interchange at Hearst?) and flatcars and gondolas for steel loading.
Northbound train no. 5 out of Hawk Junction in September 1994
Mostly interchange traffic in the form of empty CP boxcars in woodpulp service and steel loads are visible in this clip.