As you drive along the highway parallel to Ontario Northland railroad tracks next week, keep an eye out for an excursion of motorcars.
Also known as speeders and putt-putts, they’re the single-digit-horsepower rail vehicles that used to carry track crews from one spot to another. They were made obsolete by pick-up trucks equipped with retractable train wheels.
Lifelong ONR enthusiast and photographer Mike Robin says the members of the North American Railcar Operators Association leave North Bay Sunday morning, en route to Rouyn-Noranda. They’ll stay overnight in Cochrane on Tuesday.
“They’re always open to a conversation,” he says. “They’re always open to show you the cars and stuff like that. They’re used to talking to the general public, which is nice.”
Robin encourages anyone to watch for the excursion.
“Just wait along the tracks, be safe about it. They’ll be happy to see you and they love to see people come out and wave them along the way.”
There’s a lot more in our conversation with Mike Robin, posted below.