Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Vancouver Island trip on the Dayliner

When working as a photographer for the Goldstream Gazette in January of 1978 I was contacted by a reporter, Bruce Obee who was doing freelance work for the Toronto Star at the time. The Star assigned Bruce to do a story on the E & N Railway Dayliner. The Star also wanted some photos to go along with the story, so I ended up with the photo part of the assignment.

 A bit of back ground, Victoria–Courtenay train (formerly the Malahat) or what most people just call the "Dayliner" is a Budd Rail Diesel Car that used to run from Victoria to Courtenay, BC on Vancouver Island a distance of 362km ( 225 miles ). The Dayliner rumbled past my parent's home on Station avenue in Langford on a daily basis twice a day except Sundays. I remembered the train well, I could always tell when the train was passing our home as it slightly shook our house, we all got used to it after a while, one year it even derailed not far from our home, it was one of my first “spot news” events that I photographed but never got published, I was still in high school at the time. The Dayliner was operated by Canadian Pacific Raiway ( CPR ) in 1979 it was taken over by Via Rail, it ran until 2011 when the passenger service was discontinued due lack of repair of the track and several railway bridges.

 I don't recall the reason behind the story and why the Toronto Star was interested in a passenger train from Vancouver Island, I think it might have been about the CPR selling the passenger train service to Via Rail. I wish I had a copy of the story and photos that ran in the Star, I seem to remember seeing a copy of the paper, but I never kept copy.

 The photo assignment was day long affair leaving the Esquimalt area of Victoria early in the morning, the trip to Courtenay, BC was almost a 5 hour trip one way, it returned the same day, so it was dark when returning to Victoria in the short days of winter.

 It was a really wonderful day, although it started out as typical dark rainy day with some wet snow in the Victoria area the snow was much greater in dept the further one travelled up Island, so by the time the Dayliner arrived in Courtenay there was a foot or more of fresh snow, it was as they say a winter wonderland. The snow was magical it made for great photos with the old train station and the Dayliner parked along side. While the train was travelling along the route I made photographs of the train engineer, the conductor and passengers.

 I shot a half dozen rolls of Kodak Tri-X ( 20 exp. ) black and white film during the trip with my Nikon cameras, I went back the next day to shoot a few pictures of the train going over the Niagara Creek trestle, a specularly high trestle along the route accessible from Goldstream Park. Then I processed the film, made some 8 x 10 prints and gave them to the reporter who sent the pictures and the story off to the Toronto Star. A few weeks later I received a cheque for $75.00 ( about $257 today ) not bad pay for a young photojournalist just starting out.

 These pictures are scans from my original negatives which I still have today.


Kerry Nobbs Akanaphotography said...

Great pictures. Very nice simpler time. Thanks for the share.

Mary Converse said...

My father was an engineer on "The Bud Car" around that time. I wish the service would be re-instated.

Tim Bode said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos. In 1978, I was a high school student in Minnesota, but in the mid 1960s, I lived in Courtenay less than a kilometer south of the train station. Just an alley separated our yard from the railway right-of-way. About 1966, my Courtenay Elementary class rode on the Dayliner for a field trip.