Wednesday, September 21, 2016

40 Mile Rail Starts Up

The new 40 Mile Rail locomotive, JLCX 4004
Congratulations to new Alberta shortline railway 40 Mile Rail on receiving their locomotive and 20 grain cars on Wednesday!

About 40 Mile Rail

Forty Mile Rail (FMR) label on crossing post.
Near Wrentham, AB - Jason Sailer photo
I wrote about 40 Mile Rail in my description of the grain elevators of the CP Stirling subdivision back in April. Back then 40 Mile was planning for a June 1 startup.

That slipped, obviously.

Forty Mile Rail was originally called Red Coat Rail and was discussed by local farmers, including Paul Laqua, about a decade ago.

The last train ran on the CP Stirling subdivision sometime in 2002. CP used Brandt rail trucks for a period after that but it appears that nothing has run on the line since perhaps 2006.

There was some work being done on the line in early to mid September. Between 50 and 60 crossings were fixed up and a transfer track was built near the Pioneer grain elevator for CP and 40 Mile to interchange cars.

The Locomotive

Bright blue JLCX 4004 has been leased by 40 Mile to work their line. This locomotive is a GP9 originally built as Southern Pacific 3877. It was acquired by RaiLink as RLK 4004 and worked on the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway in Nova Scotia. It was leased to the nearby Windsor and Hantsport Railway for a period of time.

The loco became JLCX 4004 sometime in 2013. It looks like it spent the last few years in Montreal. The J&L Consulting Facebook page shows it being prepared for service in July 2016.

JLCX 4004 was on the move in September and went via CP through Sudbury, Ontario through Winnipeg. It arrived in Moose Jaw, SK on September 17 and was photographed by Ken McCutcheon there.
JLCX 4004 in Moose Jaw, SK - photo by Ken McCutcheon

It continued on to Swift Current on the 19th then arrived in Lethbridge, AB early on the 20th. Jason Paul Sailer shot it there from the highway.
JLCX 4004 in Kidd outside Lethbridge - photo by Jason Paul Sailer


Early on the 21st, a CP "toaster" locomotive took it and the 20 hopper cars to Stirling, AB, then and crawled along the Stirling subdivision to the new interchange track, where the CP unit cut off and left.

Frontier Signworks shared this Facebook live video of the arrival of 4004 in Foremost, AB around 7:30 PM. The locomotive and the grain cars are pulling past the Buffalo elevator in the town.

Dalton Photography shared a large collection of photos taken of 4004's arrival in Foremost.

The Future

Hopefully this new shortline, only Alberta's second (after the Battle River Railway), has a bright future ahead of it. The Foremost elevator has a new employee and will be loading pulse crops for rail loading.

I'm assuming the railway acquired their own cars to help with car availability, so they aren't kept waiting for CP to supply cars from their pool.

I'm looking forward to photos of the train on the line and maybe I'll get some photos myself the next time I am in the Lethbridge area!


See also

Monday, September 19, 2016

The CN Family Day Train

This post is dedicated to David Othen.

The CN Family Day train
On September 10 CN hosted a Family Day in Symington Yard in Winnipeg. CN brought in a ferris wheel and hosted shop tours and other activities for employees and their families. As part of the activities, CN ran a short excursion train along the CN Terminals Cutoff track several times during the day. This track is sometimes known as the St. Boniface spur because it goes through the St. Boniface neighbourhood of Winnipeg, but it's not really a spur at all since it connects to Symington Yard at one end and the CN Redditt subdivision at the other.

The train started just inside Symington Yard, in front of the shops, and headed down the ruler-straight spur over Marion Street and Archibald Street. It stopped on the bridge over the Seine River then back to Symington for the next group of passengers.
CN "Sandford Fleming" car
The train's route
I looked at the line on Google Maps and it was obvious that the light was going to be a... challenge. Basically the light would be behind the train at the start, and as the afternoon wore on it would shift to the front, but in all cases it would be high in the sky.

The train was scheduled to run from 11 AM to 4 PM and I was only able to be there for the first few runs, so... high noon sun. Oh well, work with what you have!

I elected to go to Dawson Road to shoot it shortly after it came out of the yard and crossed over Lagimodiere Boulevard. I parked by the side of the road, and a railfan on the other side of the tracks waved at me and told me the light was much better on his side. I had time so I drove around to Speers Road and parked behind him.

It turned out to be Jim Burnside, a local railfan whose photos appear often on RailsMBSK. We had never met so it was nice to finally put a face to the name.

We chatted for a bit and I agreed the light was better on this side. As it happened we were standing on what used to be route 59, so there is broken and overgrown pavement visible in a few of these shots.
CN 102 in Winnipeg
The train was scheduled to start at 11 and we heard a few toots from the yard but nothing came. I assume they were loading at 11 so it took a bit of time for them to get underway. During this time, another local railfan, Tim Burridge, showed up. We had met before but it had been a few years!

The train finally got underway and was upon us at 11:24. The sequence of shots around this text is the first run.

CN 3105 on the Family Day train
I swapped lenses to get the long shot on 3105 with the sun in its face. I was a little slow deciding to do this, so I had to crop in pretty far.
CN 3105, going away
I said my goodbyes to Jim and Tim and tried to beat them to Archibald Street. Unfortunately I had not planned my route, so I took a right turn leaving Speers Road and got stuck in a subdivision with no exit. Sheepishly, I drove back around and down Dawson Road to see the train coming back up the spur.

I took a moment to photograph the line of GWWD maintenance cars sitting outside their yard - a couple of flatcars, a ballast hopper and five Hart cars.
GWWD maintenance cars

Run 2

I returned to Dawson Road and waited by the side of the road for the second train. I knew the light would be terrible but I wanted to be ready to beat them to Archibald Street.

Yep, the light was terrible
11:51 for the second train.

The going-away shot was OK, though.
CN 3105 going away
I hopped in my car and drove down Dawson Road to try to beat them to Archibald. The lights and traffic were in my favour and I arrived beside the crossing a good 30 seconds before they crossed at 11:56.

Backlit CN 3090
The going-away shot looked pretty fine.
CN 3105 going away.. again
In retrospect I should have stepped across the intersection once they had passed, to get at least a bit of sun on the side, but A) I wasn't sure how far they were going and how much time I had to cross over, and B) it honestly never occurred to me.
Sun and shadow
They did not spend any time on the bridge; they pulled onto the bridge, stopped, then started back up the spur. I decided to shoot video with my iPhone, since I had all the stills I needed from the last minute!

I liked the little guy in the cab of CN 3090!

The conductor waving from the vestibule is Mark Perry, noted photographer and one of the many CN volunteers giving up their Saturdays for the train and the festivities. Many thanks to Mark for the intel on the train and thanks to all of the volunteers for their time and effort.

Round 3

I thought I could maybe squeeze one more train in before I had to leave. I went to Marion Street, midway along the route, and waited near the crossing there for the train to come along.

Unfortunately CN had to pay the bills so they ran a freight train on the "X track" which blocked the Family Day train from leaving. When I saw that, I decided it was time to leave. I headed out on Dawson but as I passed the location where I first shot the train, I saw the Family Day train was en route.

I pulled off the road and jumped out to take video of the train passing by. Jim was right - the light was much better on the other side.

That was it for me.

About the Train

The train was:
  • CN 3090
  • "SANDFORD FLEMING" / IC 800653
  • "TAWAW" / CN 1059
  • CN 102
  • CN 3105

CN 3090 and CN 3105 are shiny new GE ET44AC locomotives, the latest in CN's fleet.

CN 102 was shiny but not at all new, being an E9 unit built in January 1950 as Chicago, Burlington and Quincy #9940A. It was acquired by Illinois Central in 1996 and may still be an IC unit for all I know. You may have noticed that some locomotives labelled as CN are actually IC units, with a little "IC" under the side numbers. I don't see that here but that might not mean much... I'm just a railfan reporting what I see or don't see.

CN 102 was just along for the ride... it wasn't running. In 2014 it was "leading" on the Family Day train, which was better for railfans!
2014 Family Day Train with CN 102
SANDFORD FLEMING is an observation car, lettered for the Illinois Central. It's too bad that it was in the middle of the consist so passengers couldn't see anything out of the end picture window besides the end of TAWAW. I last saw SANDFORD FLEMING in January 2016.

TAWAW is an ex CN car, ex "CAPE CHIGNECTO". It has been extensively rebuilt and is quite nice inside, based on the photos I've seen.

Other Coverage

Many other area railfans were out to shoot the train, and I'll link to a couple:

See Other "business train" blog entries

Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Questions for Owen Laukkanen

This series is modeled after the "Interesting Railfan" series in Railroad magazine from years ago. I'm asking each railfan 10 questions, some standard and some customized for the particular person. I hope you enjoy it. (See all in the series)

I put 10 questions to Owen Laukkanen, who is an author and a railfan in British Columbia. I first became aware of him through his Instagram profile. He was kind enough to take a break from writing his next novel to answer my 10 questions.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an author and railfan from Vancouver. I write a series of FBI thrillers about a beautiful Federal agent and her (decidedly less beautiful) counterpart on the Minnesota state police. We’re five books in, and the sixth is out next year.

I’ve also written two obnoxious young adult books novels under the name Owen Matthews, and besides that, I’ve worked in professional poker around the world and as a commercial fisherman on both coasts—but I’m a Vancouver guy at heart. You can’t beat the scenery, the weather or the railfanning out here!

2. Why do you like trains?

Near Spences Bridge, BC
I’m not sure, to be honest! I’ve always been fascinated by transportation—ships, planes, cars—but trains have always been closest to my heart. I got into trains when I was really young, walking along the tracks with my dad, and I guess we pick things up when we’re young and sometimes hold onto them for life. Trains have certainly been that way for me.

Plus, I’m a passenger train freak. I’ve taken VIA’s Canadian across the country a couple dozen times, and a bunch of Amtrak routes, and whenever I have to travel I try to go by rail. It’s partially because I’m a tall guy and I hate cramming myself into an economy seat on a 737, but also because I can’t think of anything more relaxing than spending a couple days in a sleeping car (or better yet, the Park car), watching the country go by.

In the last few years, though, I’ve become more and more interested in photography, and trains make a wonderful subject. I’m a pretty outdoorsy guy, so anything that can combine a good hike with a couple decent shots is a perfect day, in my book.

3. How long have you been a railfan?

CN 3072 near Boston Bar, BC
Since I was five or six, I guess. I remember riding on the Royal Hudson steam train about that age, and that was around the same time my parents bought me my first Life-Like train set. Even though my dad wasn’t a railfan, he and I would go for walks along CP’s Arbutus line, and on one memorable occasion we were invited up into the cab of a switcher for a short ride through Marpole. I was hooked!

After that, we moved to southern Ontario, where I grew up on a steady diet of rebuilt CN geeps, CP SD40-2s and VIA LRC equipment, plus the occasional visitor from Conrail, NS or CSX. My heart was back on the west coast, though, for the trains and the scenery, and by the time I turned eighteen I was making semi-annual pilgrimages back to BC on the Canadian. So it was only a matter of time before I came back to mountain railroading for good.

4. What's the best part about being an author?

I mean, the best part is getting to do what I love as a career. I’ve been really lucky in that I’ve been able to make a living writing crime fiction, but I would still be writing if nobody wanted to pay me for it. And if one day I woke up rich beyond my wildest dreams and never had to work again, I would still write, and I think that’s the true test of what makes a person happy. Writing is essential for me, it makes me happy, and I’m so fortunate to get to do it full time.

A close second is getting to make my own schedule and having free time to chase trains!

5. What's the worst part about being an author?

Reviews. I’ve been pretty lucky in that regard, too, but even good reviews are painful to read. I try to avoid seeing any of that, or focusing on sales figures, or whatever. I learned pretty quickly to uncouple my sense of self worth from how the books were being received in the world, but that’s a tough skill to master, especially when that critical reception is going to determine whether you can pay the rent next month.

That’s one of the reasons I really enjoy train photography, incidentally. It’s a creative pursuit that I’m never going to monetize; it’s just something fun and challenging that I can throw myself into without worrying about a critical reception, or sales figures. There’s such a great and supportive community of railfans online, so many talented photographers, and the joy is really in just going out and shooting.
CN work train at Goldpan Provincial Park, BC

6. Are there any trains in your books? I saw shipping containers on the cover of "The Stolen Ones"...

Yeah! I try to chuck in a reference or two to trains in all of the books, but next year’s novel, The Forgotten Girls, is about a serial killer who stalks train hoppers on a fictionalized version of BNSF’s Hi-Line through the Rocky Mountains.

I had to tone down my railfan side while I was writing it, obviously, because people are reading for the murder and not to hear me wax poetic about a GEVO in Marias Pass, but it was still really fun to mix my love of trains in with the writing.

7. You have some really great locations for your train photos. How do you find them?

Thanks! It’s a fun challenge, seeking out new spots to shoot. I grew up devouring Greg McDonnell’s photo books, and J.F. Garden’s, and basically compiling a mental list of the iconic shots. Southwestern BC is pretty much an amusement park for railfans, and as a kid growing up in Ontario, I could only long for the day I’d have a chance to get out here and explore it.
Lytton, BC
So nowadays, I do plenty of exploring, and through railfanning I’ve met a number of cool people to go on adventures with. I tend to scrutinize Google Earth for potential spots, and then I just drive around a lot and poke around trackside until I find something cool. The exploration is definitely half of the fun, and I always feel like the more effort I put into a photo, the more rewarding it is.

8. Are you a railway modeller as well?

I am, but since I live in a downtown apartment, I’m more of a collector at this point. My dream is to build a basement representation of the places I like to railfan, circa the early 80s, from the passenger station in downtown Vancouver out through the canyons on both the CP and CN mainline. I model in HO scale, so I’m going to need a big basement!

Nowadays, I’m busy accumulating locomotives and rolling stock for whenever I get the space, which is fun, but also kind of torture. My Rapido Canadian has never seen revenue service, and it’s driving me crazy!

9. Who are your favourite authors?

I was a huge fan of John Steinbeck when I was growing up—his passage in Cannery Row about the tuna fleet going out to sea pretty well sealed the deal as far as me becoming a writer—and I really dug Raymond Chandler and Ian Fleming, too. I read all the James Bond novels when I was traveling to poker tournaments around the world, to imagine that I was a secret agent instead of some hack going to watch a bunch of gamblers throw cards around.

Nowadays, I’m a big fan of Don Winslow, who writes amazing and insanely visceral novels about the drug war in Mexico and the western United States. I really enjoyed Sam Wiebe’s novel Invisible Dead, based loosely on the serial killer Robert Pickton’s murders in my part of Vancouver, and I love John McFetridge’s Eddie Dougherty series about an anglophone cop in Montreal in the sixties and seventies.

And obviously I have a ton of books about Canadian railroading on my bookshelves, as well!

10. What's your next project?

My next project is actually a fun departure for me. I grew up in a fishing family; my grandfather was a fisherman and boat builder in BC, and my uncle was a professional fisherman for decades. Even my dad, who was a doctor, also fishes for lobster in Prince Edward Island. I worked on both of their boats for a few summers, and I’ve definitely inherited the love of the sea.

So my next book is a nautical adventure novel, featuring a shipwreck in the Aleutian Islands and the rush to claim its cargo. There’s also secret stolen bearer bonds onboard, and plenty of gunplay in store, so it’s kind of a pulpy read, but it’s been a heck of a lot of fun to write!

Thanks, Owen! To see more of Owen, visit his web sites at and; see his Instagram profile at @owenlaukkan or see him on Twitter as @owenlaukkanen

See all of the 10 Questions series

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Railfanning with Michael Berry, Part 3

Michael Berry and I went railfanning on Saturday September 3rd. Michael is from Montreal and wanted to experience Winnipeg's railfan scene. In part 1 we went to CN's Diamond and in part 2 we visited the Prairie Dog Central Railway. This is the third and last part of the story.

After we finished photographing the Prairie Dog Central's steam train, we drove back down the Perimeter Highway toward CN's main line. We wanted to catch VIA's Canadian out there and we didn't have a lot of time.

However, we were hungry.

Wizard Needs Food, Badly

Am I the only one here who played Gauntlet?
We stopped at the Tim Horton's near the raceway on Portage Avenue to grab a quick sandwich... so we thought. The lineup wasn't long but the service was quite slow... so slow that we had to ask if our orders had been forgotten. We were reassured that they hadn't.

Michael was checking the VIA web site on his phone and noted that VIA 1 hadn't left the Winnipeg station. Note that due to some quirk on VIA's site, you can't see VIA 1's status using their normal web site but you can see it on the mobile site. It's and it's important to include the "s" in https.

Eventually our food came, and we raced back to my car and hit the road. As we approached the CN Rivers subdivision, we saw a westbound intermodal train. We crossed over the train - thank you overpass - then set off in pursuit. It was clear that we weren't going to catch up to the head end, but the train had a DPU on the rear, facing the sun, so it was worth chasing to get that. We caught up to it just before Diamond and we bailed out to get the shot.
Trailing but still a worthwhile shot!
We hopped back in and chased it for a few more kilometres, to try to get it on the curve at mile 16. I like this photo because it shows the super elevation at the curve.
CN 2938, taking the turn
We left off the chase here. On our way back to Diamond we ran into Brian, the "Mayor of Diamond", and his girlfriend Deanne. I need her to convince my wife to accompany me on more railfan trips! ;)

After a brief chat with His Honour, we set up a little east of Diamond to get VIA 1 in the wide open spaces.

CN had other plans, though, and sent CN 347 along first.

CN 347

This train is an interesting one, certainly one of the most recognizable CN freights in the Winnipeg area. It always has a lot of empty centerbeam flatcars on it, empties going back to British Columbia for more lumber loads.

This CN 347 had CN 8924 and CN 5695 for power, followed by... nothing but centerbeam flats.
Grab a chair!
I noticed two discarded lawn chairs nearby and stood them up as props for this train. Something different...

Michael was a little closer to the tracks... though not as close as this might indicate.
Getting the shot
Empty car after empty car rolled by, seemingly without end. After what seemed like forever, but was actually only 3 1/2 minutes, the end of the train passed.
Finally, the end of CN 347
After that, things were quiet for a few minutes, until the next train came along...

The Canadian

Here's one little chair for one of you, and a bigger chair for two more to curl up in. For someone who likes to rock, a rocking chair in the middle. - The Friendly Giant

This was a good summer length train, two locomotives and 23 cars. It wasn't going as fast as I would have expected.

I was very happy with the going-away shot. Glacier Park was beautiful in the early afternoon sun.
One of the few trains that looks better leaving than coming liked it. They also liked Michael's version of the same shot.

Michael was listening on his scanner and he heard them call a "Clear to Stop" signal. I urged him to jump in the car and we set off in hot pursuit.

Normally you can't chase VIA 1 as it is rolling along at 60 MPH or greater, but with a "Clear to Stop" indication, they would not be going too fast. We hurtled along the dirt road, observing the speed limit, and overtook the train within a couple of miles. We jumped out to get the second series of photos.
VIA 6452 on the open prairie
There was a friendly table in the Acadian diner!
Friendly waves and intense focus
I found it interesting to contrast Michael's shot choices with mine. In general we never stood beside each other and took the same photo. He seems to prefer a more head-on approach whereas I like the wide open vista photos. Maybe it's a city versus prairie perspective?

After VIA 1 passed for the second time, we jumped back in the car and chased it for a few more kilometres. We came to the highway 424 crossing - with a stop sign - and I decided that would be it for the chase. We bailed out once more and I shot video at the crossing while Michael took some more photos.

That was the Canadian.

Over the Hump

We left Diamond after that, and as I was driving back toward where Michael was staying, we decided to take a few minutes to visit the hump at Symington Yard. This hump is one of the few hump yards still operating in Canada (CP's Winnipeg hump shut down several years ago) and there are usually three sets of power either at work or ready for work. This day was no exception.

A set with CN 7522 / 7511 was on the hump itself.
CN 7522 / 7511 on the hump in Symington Yard
Another set with CN 7500 / 7513 was sitting to the side.
CN 7500 / 7513 in Symington Yard
The third set was pushing cars over the hump. This was the set that Michael was really looking for, the one with three SD40-2 units! CN 6015 / 6005 / 6012 and 225 were well down toward Navin.
Slug and three SD40-2 units... what could be better?

While we were looking at the hump set, CN 3047 was pulling south/east out of the yard. We believe this was train CN 438.
CN 3047 leaving Symington
That was the end of our time together, and I dropped Michael off to meet up with his family and I headed home to my own family. Railfanning is fun but family is way more important!


We saw 7 trains over 6 hours, which is pretty good, I think. I hope Michael was pleased with his Diamond experience and I look forward to see more photos from him from this trip and from his normal Montreal railfanning! Thanks for reading and thank you Michael for the company and the experience.

Further reading:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Railfanning with Michael Berry, Part 2

Michael Berry and I went railfanning on Saturday September 3rd. Michael is from Montreal and wanted to experience Winnipeg's railfan scene. In part 1 we went to CN's Diamond.

Prairie Dog - this way!

The Prairie Dog Central

Michael and I left Diamond and headed north on the Perimeter Highway to see the Prairie Dog Central's steam train depart. They have numerous excursions from their station and each trip has a theme. You can always see what's coming up by going to and they even indicate whether it will be steam or diesel pulling the train.

This time it was a steam train, good old #3 ready to haul the ancient coaches to Grosse Isle and back. They had a long train this trip, with the normal four coaches 104-107, combine 103, the caboose, and even bunk car #110 behind the locomotive for some reason.

The Prairie Dog Central steam train
They have to have a "buffer car" between the steam locomotive and any passenger car, but normally the combine (seen above behind the water tank) provides that function as it doesn't carry passengers. I saw from other photos taken this day that the steam engine and #110 were turned together on the wye in Grosse Isle, so maybe the caboose was occupied and they needed 110 as the buffer when they headed back from Grosse Isle.

While we were waiting for the train to leave, we photographed some of the other equipment in the yard.

VLSX 5232

The PDC acquired ex CN SD40 #5232 from the Central Manitoba Railway in the spring of 2015. At that time it was in a faded CN "sergeant stripe" scheme. It was repainted this summer into a classy black and white scheme and this was the first time I had seen it in its new.. "colours" isn't the right word... in its new paint scheme.

VLSX 5232 in Winnipeg
It's now VLSX 5232, labelled for Prairie Rail Solutions, which is the freight arm of the Prairie Dog Central and handles car storage and other railway services. Both the PDC and PRS are owned by the Vintage Locomotive Society, which is where the VLSX reporting mark comes from.

I immediately thought it looked like the New Brunswick East Coast SD40 locomotives' scheme. Here's a comparison:
Comparing PRS 5232 to CFMG 6907
Both are ex CN SD40s. NBEC/CFMG removed the snow shields behind the cab and made some changes to the filters and doors to try to reduce snow ingress into the body. You can also see that 5232 still has her class lights above the number boards while 6907 did not.

For comparison, here's CCGX 5232 in July 2014.
CCGX 5232 in Winnipeg
By the way, the fine print under the cab window of 5232 says "Prairie Rail Solutions is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Vintage Locomotive Society Inc. Operators of the Prairie Dog Central Railway".

Anyway, tangent over - for now.

Other Equipment

ex Virginia Central #1238
We photographed the two ex Virginia Central steam engines that are stored at the PDC (ex CP 1238 and 1246). These came to Winnipeg back in September 2015 and have remained at the PDC since.

ex Virginia Central #1246, power car and ex BNSF 1685
I don't know what the plans are for these locomotives. The PDC does not own them.

You can see the freshly painted "genset car" #111 and ex BNSF 1685 in the row as well.

PDC's main diesel, #4138, was sitting out at the other end of the shops.
The high hood GP9s... ex BNSF 1685 and PDC 4138
As 11 AM approached, people started lining up to board the train. Tickets indicate which car you are on and the seat you're assigned to. If you go to their ticket site you can pick which coach and which seat you want... assuming it isn't already taken. It's pretty slick! They used to link out to Ticketmaster but I see their ticketing is now fully integrated with their web site. Nice work.

The crew did some final oiling of the locomotive before the trip to Grosse Isle.
Oiling the locomotive
The platform was emptied as people found seats, and there were only a few stragglers left on the platform when we took our final shots before getting ready for the pursuit.
The Prairie Dog Central at the Inkster Junction station

Smoking It Up

They made some serious smoke before getting under way!
Smokin' it up
The PDC's line goes north-south, and since we were shooting at 11 AM, the sun was right on the rear of the train, and high. This made head-on or near head-on shots impossible as they would have been terribly backlit. For example, even with heavy editing this photo isn't great:
Smo-o-o-ke on the prairie / a fire in the boiler

A Short Chase

We chased the train from the Inkster Junction station to the Perimeter Highway. That's a short chase - 4.5 km (2.8 miles) - but there's a dirt road paralleling the track and the train doesn't go very fast, so we were able to stop three times to shoot the train. I elected to shoot video.

Here's the train leaving the station. Lots of wind noise. :(

Round 2 - no crossing = no whistle here:

Round 3 - I elected to shoot this at the Lilyfield spur. The track in front is the track CN uses to service the nearby Paterson grain elevator.

Round 3.5 :) - we saw it was approaching the highway crossing and Michael wanted to catch it crossing there, so I stopped the car at the bend near the crossing and Michael jumped out to get the shot. I stayed by the car and photographed him photographing the train!
Michael at left capturing the ancient train with the modern crossing
That was it for us, as we had to get back to Diamond to get the VIA Rail Canadian. No rest for the wicked!

Bye for now!

Up Next

I'll wrap up this three-part series with a few CN trains at Diamond, along with VIA Rail's flagship Canadian, finally... with a little bonus action at the CN Symington hump yard.


Back to part 1