13 June Train to the Train Museum and ride back
Taking the train needs some training
As a new member and standard bearer (G. T. Bishop), the president asked me to recount some of the events of the excursion to Saint Constant.
Arriving at the Vendome station well in advance of the train departure time does little to alleviate the stress of actually trying to purchase a ticket for the train from the one working machine available and then hoisting your bicycle up the stairs to the platform. Five members made it to platform 2 to catch the 9:40 train to Saint Constant though who knows how many might have been desperately scrolling through tariff screens in the tunnel below.
The train departed on time and it is truly a pleasant way to travel once one gets on board. After getting our bicycles squared away there was time to chat and take a few photos out the window.
Not long after crossing the St. Lawrence Seaway at Kahnawake we arrived at the Saint Constant station and man-handled our bikes down onto the platform to the kindly 'Come on, Come on!' from the conductor at the end of the train. Shortly after, we were crossing the street and entering the Exporail site with very little chance of missing where it was.
There was lots of parking available if you had four wheels but less so (read none) if you arrived on two wheels.
This was my first time visiting the museum and I was very impressed with the number of trains and trams on display as well as the information panels and exhibits.
The working tram that took visitors around the site was also a bonus.
There were also a couple of old train station buildings that had been relocated from other locations in Quebec. Passengers might be waiting awhile for the next train.
Just prior to departing the museum and heading for Cote Ste. Catherine lock for the return to Montreal, we stopped for a group photo. A.T.'s bike is standing in for him as his camera wouldn't sit still for a timed shot.
Homeward bound...by any means possible
A couple of minutes from the museum we picked up a bike path that led us all the way to the Seaway lock at Cote Ste. Catherine. Well, it did except for a slight bit of road construction that required some off-roading on people's lawns.
As the blue sky of the morning had turned to grey clouds threatening rain, the construction work delayed us just enough to watch the Bascule bridge at the lock rise up as we approached. So, with our stomachs now grumbling, we had a twenty minute wait while some pleasure craft exited and entered the lock for a transit.
The guard entertained us with facts about the lock while Ian decided it was time to eat his lunch on the fly and head home once the bridge came down. The remaining four members cycled down into the Recreo-Parc and found a pleasant spot along the river just in front of the cafe/pavilion.
Post-lunch, A. T. was interested in exploring the road leading to Kahnawake to see how far you can go along the dyke. Roger and Marie were less interested in embarking along a gravel path and continued towards the ice bridge. The standard bearer went with A. T. to fly the banner.
We quickly reached the end of the park section and were greeted with signs advising that this was Kahnawake territory and trepasses would be prosecuted! This did not dampen the adventurous spirit and we carried on. Vehicles passed us on the now dusty path throwing us clouds of fine particles and we carried on! A ship passed us going eastwards, perhaps indicating the direction we should be travelling, but we carried on.
Nothing was going to impede us from our endeavour...except a flat tire. We stopped and A. T. set about fixing his flat. Turns out replacing the tube on the back wheel of his elegant 3-speed is as complicated as trying to get a ticket for the REM train. In the end, the new tube was in place and the wheel back on, and we decided that the cycling gods were sending signals to turn around and head for home.
It is altogether overkill, in this reporter's estimation, for the cycling gods to add in a second flat after we had listened to them in the first place. Now, discretion being the better part of valour, we decided to walk back to the lock so A. T. could catch a taxi. Still, he didn't lose his smile at any point in the process.
With a couple of kilometres still to go to the lock, we were able to flag down a pickup truck whose driver kindly accepted to give A. T. a lift and I headed towards Nun's Island for the return home.
In the end, all made it safely to their abodes. The driver ended up taking A. T. all the way to Angrignon Metro station; Roger and Marie waited for us on Nun's Island for awhile and then headed home and I got home just before the skies opened up.
This is the route I followed during the day (including the train journey).