On a recent sunny spring day, I was attracted to the banks of the Rideau River, opposite Carleton University in Ottawa. My mind was set on getting a picture of CP's Montreal to Ottawa Train no. 85 as it crossed the bridge located near the university campus. After some careful study a spot was chosen which was partially hidden in the trees that line the south side of the river.
Not long after I settled in, an elderly couple strolled by walking their dog. The gentleman, upon seeing me crouched in the trees with camera in hand, snapped smartly,
"Taking pictures of birds, eh!"
"No", I replied, "Trains!"
"What's that?", was his response.
I detected a possible hearing problem that wasn't helped by the sound of the fast flowing water, so I spoke up.
"I'm taking pictures of trains!"
The gentleman gave me a strange look and quickly swung around to view the shoreline that was littered with seagulls searching for a noonday meal.
"Taking pictures of cranes ... Huh! those aren't cranes lad, they are gulls. Don't you know the difference between cranes and gulls?"
"No, no, you've got it wrong, that's trains, as in choo-choo."
"Oh-h-h, trains", came his reply, then a pause. "But where's the train?"
"It's not here yet, but it will be crossing that bridge in a few minutes."
Not overly impressed, the man gave a brief glance at the bridge, and with a shrug of his shoulders started off towards his wife and dog who had continued down the path. Over the sound of the rushing water I heard him say, "I didn't think there were any trains around here anymore."
On such a beautiful day and in such a choice location, I'm glad he was wrong .... but for how much longer?
Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, July-August 1987, page 16.