Friday, May 26, 2006

New Brunswick Southern decals

I just wanted to let you know that Rail Flyer Model Prototypes has two decal sets available for all NB Southern Southern locomotives. They also have sets for Sunbury and CN trailers and the Chicago, Fort Wayne & Eastern Railway. In addition they have several model parts including steps and bells. Visit them at www.railflyermodelprototypes.com!

Saint John sightings 2006/05/25

I was down in Saint John yesterday and saw a few trains.

At 09:45 NBSR 3703 was shunting the Dever Road yard while some MOW equipment was working behind Moosehead Breweries and some people were doing work on the Reversing Falls bridge. In the CN yard, CN 2645 and 2662 were sitting in the usual location while CN 5775 was by itself on the other side of the engine house. CN 7000 was shunting the yard.

I went to lunch with a local railfan (who was very good company), and on our way out we noted that NBSR 3703 and CN 7010 were at the east end of the Island Yard with a transfer freight of a few boxcars, about 15 empty CN gypsum cars, and some doublestack containers.

On my way out of town I noted that 2645 and 2662 had started shunting around 1345. I heard on the scanner that 3703 had stopped at a red flag before the Reversing Falls bridge, so I set out to find them. They were stopped around the corner from the Douglas Avenue crossing. Apparently they had seen the red flag at the west end of the bridge, then backed up to clear the crossing circuit.


The red flag was soon removed and he was on his way.

I had a quick look at the Dever Road yard and saw one yellow NBSR unit by the engine house:


I saw a spot of green in the distance and it turned out to be NBSR 9803 working the west end of the yard.


That was it for one day!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Stats Canada survey on transportation

I read a Canadian Press article today in the Globe and Mail about a Statistics Canada study on the economic importance of transportation. The Canadian Press article does a fair job of covering the study, except it fails to mention railways at all - unless you count railways in the "other equipment" section of "aircraft, trucks, ships or other equipment"

One of the major findings of the study is more money is spent on "own-account" trucking (trucking owned by a company) rather than "for-hire" trucking. The other modes of travel are predominantly "for-hire".

Rail contributed just over $4 billion (0.4% GDP) to the Canadian GDP, just behind air at $4.67B (0.5% GDP). Trucks-for-hire are well ahead at $16.85B.

It's frustrating to see the press totally ignore rail in this study when it was comparable to other modes of transportation like air.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

New video online

I put a video of Saturday's NB Southern passenger train online at the usual place. It features three clips of the train, at Saint John, Westfield Beach, and coming back through Westfield.


NBSR Passenger Excursion, 2006/05/13

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Saturday's NB Southern passenger train and a bonus

Saturday turned out to be a bright, sunny day - perfect for chasing NB Southern's passenger train. I set out from Fredericton at 12:20 with my son and daughter to spend a few hours following the Rally of Hope charter from Dever Road in Saint John to Welsford. My plan was to chase them all the way to Welsford, then chase them part of the way back and get back to Fredericton by 17:00. Of course, plans change...

We arrived at Dever Road by about 13:40. The first thing I noticed was that the consist was different than previous years. They had two engines (9803 - I was wrong about the number but not the colour) and 2318), the usual three passenger cars, but no caboose.


I spoke with the engineer, Bob, and he said they had 9803 on to try to find a ground fault that has been troubling it. I asked him when the eastbound freight would be coming in, and he figured it would follow the passenger train in to Saint John. He promised to ask the RTC as they approached Welsford if he remembered. Bob's a good fellow - I met him at McAdam a while ago.

Here's Gary the conductor helping the last few passengers on.


I decided to get my first video at the wye just west of the yard. I'd never shot there before so I figured, "why not?" I waited for the 2 PM departure and.. no train. Shortly thereafter I heard quite a conversation between the engineer and Don the RTC about some late passenger. The RTC called and found the passenger, who finally boarded. Long story short, the train passed me at 14:29.


I gave chase. There was a fair bit of traffic and I wasn't able to get ahead of him until the overpass over the tracks just south of Grand Bay at 14:38.


I then grabbed a quick shot at Grand Bay on the straightaway by the rink at 14:42:


Next was the Westfield Beach overpass at 14:50:


I encountered Wendell Lemon along the way and I almost got into one of his shots (sorry Wendell). We exchanged a few words before I took off again. I got two more shots along the highway (14:53 and 14:56) before getting him at the LaFarge quarry crossing at 15:03:


As we approached Welsford the engineer of the passenger train asked the RTC where the freight was. I heard another engineer speak and say he was stopped at mile 25. That's just about a mile north of Welsford so he was stopped to wait for the passenger extra. There was quite a bit of discussion about what to do. The passenger was "work 9803" and therefore they had two options: cancel the work permit and get a new order once the freight went through, or retain the work permit and allow the freight to pass through. They elected to retain the work permit. The passenger train took the siding.

As I passed Wendell at the highway 7 crossing I gave him the news, then I went up to Welsford Station Road to wait for the freight to come through. NBSR 2317 East came rolling through at 15:16. Note the superelevation on the curve here.


The freight was NBSR 2317, 2319 and 9802 with 29 cars (3 tank cars, 21 boxcars, 3 empty centerbeam flats, and two TOFC (1 Sunbury, 1 white)).

I gave chase to the freight, figuring I would pick up the passenger train once it was done its runaround. Surprisingly, I beat it to the highway 7 crossing at 15:22 - it had to run slowly by the passenger train.


I stopped at the LaFarge quarry crossing (still in Welsford) to catch him again at 15:28.


Then he really started motoring. I could tell he was running at track speed (40 MPH) because I was barely catching up to him. Once he got to Westfield Beach he had to slow to 30 MPH so I managed to get ahead of him and catch him just before Grand Bay:


I gave up the chase here and went back to Welsford. I decided to stop at the intersection with highway 102 to wait for him. I heard the chirp of the SBU and tried a few still shots that didn't work out well. I gave chase and shot him along the highway near Westfield Beach at 16:04.

I saw Wendell had decided to shoot him from the overpass, which was a smart move as the train would fit in the shot there.

The kids and I decided to get one more shot, at Hardings Point at 16:08.


As I panned, someone unexpected got in the shot.


She said, "I was totally in your shot, wasn't I?" I agreed but said it was OK. I had lots of shots already, and besides, she was cute.

So ended a fabulous afternoon of chasing trains.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

NB Southern passenger excursion today

I'm going to chase the afternoon NB Southern passenger excursion today with my two oldest kids. I'll blog about it afterward, of course!

In case local people don't know, the schedule for the next couple of weeks is:
- Saturday May 13, leaving at 10 AM and 2 PM
- Saturday June 3, leaving at 10 AM and 2 PM
- Sunday June 4, leaving at 1 PM.

They are leaving from the Dever Road ex-station and proceeding to Welsford, where the engine will run around the consist and pull them back to Saint John. These excursions are part of the Rally of Hope to benefit the regional hospital.

I'm planning on shooting half-and-half video and stills. I have a fair amount of video of this train from previous years. I'd like to get a few good stills of the train at a few points where I would normally shoot video. I found a good spot at Welsford where I will shoot the engine running light. Of course, this assumes that everything goes to plan, which is a big assumption!

The big question is - a yellow or green engine pulling the train? I'm guessing... green. I'll even go out on a limb and guess.. 9801. :)

NBSR business train, Bayshore 2005/06/04

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

NB Southern's Track Crane 2006/05/09

I was traveling through Welsford yesterday afternoon when I heard the Welsford hotbox detector pipe up: "6 axles. No warnings" SIX? I guessed right away that it was a MOW vehicle. I pulled off the road at the LaFarge quarry and parked at the crossing and opened my CRHA magazine to read while I waited for the MOW vehicle. A white pickup showed up soon and a guy with an NB Southern ball cap got out and stood at the crossing. I went over to talk with him and found out that the NB Southern track crane was coming. I set up to take a little video.

Sure enough, it came motoring around the bend with an empty flatcar in tow. It "sped" right through the crossing and kept going east. Later I heard on the scanner that they were headed right into Saint John.



European and North American railway passes

I've put scans of two European and North American Railway passes up on my web site. The E&NA was built to run from Shediac, NB through Saint John and into Maine. Thanks to Ed Jordan for providing the scans from his collection of passes.


ENA Pass 1878

Sunday, May 07, 2006

More videos on Google

I've put more of my videos on Google and updated my index page. I broke each railway out onto its own page, since the one page was getting too busy.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Last VIA Budd train for a while

David Morris, Peter Gough, Ken McDonald and I decided to go chase the last Budd Ocean* on Wednesday, May 3. We left Fredericton at 11:00 and made it to Oxford Junction by 13:45. Good time on the highway!

The signals were red-over-red at the Junction so we went to Tim's to fortify ourselves for the chase. We returned to the Junction and looked for places to shoot from. I scrambled up a hill to check out a bridge shot but ruled it out (too sharp an angle) then walked east beside the track to see what was up there (not much). In the end I set up my tripod just west of the rest of the people.

A few CN high-railers came in from the west and parked by the depot. They said VIA would be through at about 10-15 minutes after 3.

At 15:11 VIA 15 blasted through with VIA 6426 on the point.


It had 6426/6405/6416 leading baggage 8623, coaches 8107 and 8139, Skyline 8504, diner "Acadian" (8401), Sleepers Latour, Bienville, Radisson, and Viger (8212, 8202, 8221, 8229) and Evangeline Park (8704) bringing up the markers.


We hopped into Peter's car and hit the highway for the border. Our plan was to get inside the curve at Aulac (just on the New Brunswick side of the Tantramar Marshes) and shoot him going around the curve. We made it to Aulac in good time, and waited for him to arrive. Another railfan, Roger Cook, showed up. He said he had chased them down from Matapedia to Halifax and was now chasing them back.

The Ocean showed up at 16:00 on the nose.



We hit the highway again, intending to catch him just west of Moncton before proceeding to the station. We called Bill Linley on his cellphone and had a good chat as we hurtled toward Moncton. He said he was enjoying champagne in the dome!

After some discussion we decided to go to Painsec Junction. It's easily accessible from the highway and left us in a good position to get downtown to the station. We set up there and called Bill again for a position report. They rocketed through at 16:45.

This shot was taken with my digital camera, pointed blind, while I shot video of them. It turned out OK, I thought, for an unaimed shot.

We beat it downtown through medium traffic and found them at the station.



Peter and I talked with Bill for a few minutes before heading out to Gort. David was going to the Mitsubishi dealer to get them around the curve and Ken was going to remain at the station.

We got to Gort in good time and set up on the Delong Drive overpass. We saw a freight (CN 308) pulling into the yard, which unfortunately left a few autoracks casting shadows over the tracks. What can you do?

VIA 15 ambled through at 17:25.


A CN local with a GP38 on the point was waiting for VIA to clear before proceeding onto the main line. They ended up pulling onto the main, then backing out of sight around the curve.

Bye-bye steel cars! See you in the fall.